Adelie and Staley's World

Adelie and Staley's World

Monday, July 31, 2017

Good-bye, July!

It's hard to believe that July is already over.  In just two more weeks, school will start back up and summer break will officially end.  Luckily we filled up our July by checking lots of things off our summer bucket list.

Zoo fun with cousins
(Notice all the kids standing behind the rope except one.)

We enjoyed the Emergency Expo, which was a free event where we got to check out fire trucks, police cars, helicopters, ambulances, police horses, Coast Guard boats, and other emergency vehicles.

As you can imagine, one member of our family was particularly excited.

Adelie enjoyed her horse riding lesson.  The girls also did a free trial karate lesson.  Staley didn't really care for it.  On the other hand, Adelie loved it.  Not a surprise.  Even though Adelie really enjoyed it, I'm not sure we'll continue with lessons.  I'm not convinced that teaching Adelie how to punch and kick is the best idea.

There was a cousin sleepover.

Playdates with friends.

The kids enjoyed swimming in our blow-up pool on one of those uber-hot days.  I got so hot watching the kids in the pool that I decided to join them, clothes and all.

We fit in a bunch of our appointments and check-ups, including Briggs' first dentist appointment.  He did amazing!!  The hygienist commented that he was the best 2 year old check up she'd ever had.

Remember my post about Staley's face paint kit and my realization that it would consume the rest of my summer??  I wasn't wrong.  We've had plenty of costume parties and plays.

We've been enjoying plenty of ice cream treats on hot days.

And when it's too hot to play outside, a trip to the children's museum is a great way to stay cool.

The kids had sleepovers with their grandparents.

The sleepovers concluded with Family Fun Day at the Apostolic Christian Home.  The kids came home with prizes, treats, and (of course) face paint.

While the kids had their grandparent sleepovers, Zach and I went to St. Louis for a Guns and Roses concert.  One of us was a huge GNR fan growing up.  One of us was super-excited for the concert.  One of us LOVED the fact that the band played for 3.5 straight hours.  One of us really enjoyed the 10 minute guitar jam solos.  The other one of us was game to go along and found it enjoyable, although would have been happy to call it a night after the first 2 hours.  #thatonewasme

A fishing trip has been on the girls bucket list for the past few years.  Zach finally made it happen.  They were so excited.

I thought they'd last 15 minutes, tops.  Zach dragged them away 3 hours later.  Both girls caught a couple of fish, no one got snagged by a hook, and they had a blast.  Although Staley was disappointed that none of the fish were big enough to eat, it was a highly successful trip.

We made it to Peoria for a Chiefs baseball game. 

In addition to baseball, hot dogs, and mascots, it was also Super Hero night at the ball park.  Winner, winner!!

Briggs has a Green Lantern stuffed toy and brought it with him to the ballpark.  He was scared of most of the Super Heroes, but was excited to see Green Lantern.  I think Green Lantern was pretty pleased to finally be the main attraction.  #suckitbatman

We've also found plenty of time for things like chasing squirrels, building fairy houses, riding bikes and scooters, going to the library, swimming, and going on family walks.

It's been a very fun and full July!! 

Friday, July 28, 2017

They Say...

Briggs spent the night with my parents last night.  After dinner, he had a cookie.  This morning while eating breakfast with Grandpa, he asked if he could have another cookie.  Grandpa said, "We don't have cookies with breakfast."  Briggs replied, "I was asking Grammie."


While Briggs stayed with my parents, Adelie and Staley (and 2 of their cousins) stayed with Zach's parents.  Adelie couldn't fall asleep and was keeping the rest of the girls awake.  At one point she came downstairs and told Uma, "I really want to be quiet, but I just have to be loud."


Today the girls were playing house together and had this conversation:

Adelie:  "I want to be the teenager."
Staley:  "No, I am the teenager.  You can be the mom."
Adelie:  "I don't want to be the mom.  I want to be the teenager."
Staley:  "I know!  You can be a teenager who is a mom."


Wednesday, July 26, 2017


I've determined that screen-free summer has had a bigger impact on me than on the kids.  Without TV time, there are very few moments where all 3 kids are occupied, silent, and not needing something.  They don't seem to miss it.  Unfortunately, I do.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Briggs Says...

Just like I hope I'll always remember how Adelie refers to night-time as "bed-night" or how she pronounces privilege as prigalive, I hope I also remember this time when Briggs is filling my days with cute little quotes that always make me smile.  I don't always remember to blog them in the moment and some just don't translate into writing, but here are a few recent gems:

Briggs still always says "mine" instead of "my."  One of his favorite questions is:  "Where are mine sisters?"

The other day at lunchtime, we had some unnecessary Adelie tears.  I told her that if she continued to cry, then maybe she was just too tired and would need to take a nap after lunch.  After we had eaten, I told Briggs that it was time for his nap.  He responded, "But I'm not crying."

A couple week-ends ago, I took the girls swimming at State Farm pool while Briggs went over to play with Grammie.  Last week-end we were getting ready to go to the pool as a family.  Zach was putting on Briggs's swimming suit.  Briggs looked down at his suit and then said, "I'll just play at Grammie's house."

When Briggs is doing something he's not supposed to, I will correct him and then tell him what his consequence will be if he continues with the behavior.  I always finish with, "Do you understand?"  Instead of answering with "yes" or "I understand", Briggs always responds by saying, "Got it."

Whenever we drive anywhere, Briggs is always letting me know whenever he sees any kind of exciting vehicle, like a train or a tractor or a digger.  I must always respond to him in the same way without realizing it.  The other day while we were driving, Briggs said, "I see a digger!"  I responded with, "I see it too."  Adamantly, Briggs corrected me.  "No!  You say, 'Awesome, buddy.'" 

One time Briggs used a public restroom that had a big, loud flush that startled him.  The next time he went into a public restroom, he asked if it had a scary flush.  Zach told him that this one would be better.  Now, anytime we use a public restroom, he asks if it has a scary flush or a better flush.

I sure do love this boy!
He always keeps me smiling.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Little Fish

All 3 of my kids are comfortable in the water.  They enjoy water-based activities, love bath time, and are always excited about opportunities to go swimming.  We aren't one of those families who gets to the pool every day during the summer, but we usually find our way to a pool every week or so throughout the summer.

This past week the girls had swimming lessons.  Staley and Adelie have both had some lessons in the past, but their lessons this week were amazing.  They were intense and all-business, but both girls made tremendous progress in their swimming skills...and had a really good time doing it. 

Adelie with her swim instructors Miss Gretchen and Miss Lisa

Today we went as a family to State Farm pool.  The girls had a great time showing off their new swimming skills.  Briggs' favorite activity was jumping off the side of the pool while holding our hands and then swimming back to the side by himself (with his Puddle Jumper on).  This was the first time he felt confident enough to "swim" without us holding onto him.  He thought he was big stuff!!

In lessons this week, Adelie was learning to float on her back and was starting to swim a few feet underwater from one instructor to the other.  At the pool, she loves to swim with her Puddle Jumper on.  She has no qualms about swimming off on her own.

Staley was in her element today.  Of all my kids, she is the one who LOVES the water.  In lessons this week, she went from doing a little underwater swimming to swimming across the pool.  She is always so determined child, not giving up until she meets her goal.  Today she taught herself to do a front flip under the water AND she jumped off the diving board by herself.  She'd jump off, pop up, and swim to the side...again and again and again.  She was so proud of herself.

I'm so glad that my kids are comfortable in the water and are learning how to swim.  And although it's a long time off before I can sit in a lounge chair and read while they enjoy the pool, I feel like we are one step closer.

Friday, July 14, 2017


It was my fault.  I jinxed it.  After 2 weeks of waking up dry in the mornings and 3 nights of successfully sleeping in underwear, I wrote the diaper-free post.  That night, Briggs woke up in the middle of the night with a wet bed.  And then again the next night.  After writing that post, he was wet 3 out of the next 4 nights .  And so I must retract it.  We are back to being NOT a diaper-free home.  We are a daytime diaper free home.  And I'll make darn sure we are completely and utterly diaper free before tempting fate by writing another post about it.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


I've always enjoyed a healthy balance in my life between stability and change.  I do relish the comfort of the familiar, but I always love the excitement of the new.  My work life has been pretty static over the past 15 years.  I started working at the Children's Hospital after I graduated and have never left.  Although there have been many changes, I have spent the past 15 years working with both in-patients and out-patients at the hospital.  I've found comfort in the stability of my job, my co-workers, and my profession.  Although I have contemplated job changes over the years, the flexible schedule, job security, salary, and love for the work I do always counteract any of the negative changes occurring at any given time.

Change can be good.  And although I am not changing jobs, I am making a major change in the job that I currently have.  Starting this week I am changing my work schedule and I am changing my work focus.  Starting this week I am exclusively seeing in-patients in the hospital.  For the past 15 years, I have enjoyed a balance of seeing out-patients coming to the clinic and in-patients in the hospital.  However, most of my continuing education, most of my program development, and most of my focus has been on improving services in the out-patient setting.  That is all changing. 

The change was a little bittersweet as I had to say good-bye to the families that I work with in the out-patient setting, some of whom I've worked with for years.  But I am also excited.  Excited because I am also saying good-bye to the mountains of paperwork and insurance queries and scheduling difficulties and room shortages that have become a part of the out-patient world.  Excited because, instead of a split focus, I will have a single focus.  Excited because this is a new focus for me and I am looking forward to professional growth that will come with this.  Excited about building new programs and developing new relationships and establishing new processes that will hopefully enhance in-patient therapy.  Excited that I can keep my flexible schedule and my job security and my co-workers while getting re-energized about approaching my job in a new way.  Stability and change.  This balance works for me, and I'm looking forward to this new chapter.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Free at Last

Guess who slept in underwear last night?

Answer:  All of us

For the first time in six and a half years, we are officially a diaper-free home.  There are many milestones and lasts that make me a little sad as I watch my kids grow up so quickly.  This isn't one of them.

Free at last!!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

A Moment

On our way home from vacation, we stopped at Culver's for lunch.  Adelie was able to remove the top from her little milk carton all by herself.  So proud and excited, she jumped up from the table, did a little dance, and sang an original song about taking her top off.

Love this girl.
Love her enthusiasm.
Love that she's singing this song at 4 and not 16.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017


Staley played t-ball for the first time this summer.  After her lack of enthusiasm for soccer, I wasn't sure how t-ball would go.  Although she only had 2 practices and about 6 games, she really enjoyed it.  She learned the fundamentals of the game, was able to hit the ball from the tee, almost made an out one time, and never ran the wrong direction around the bases, so I consider that a win.

She had encouraging coaches and a few school friends on her team, which made the experience even better.

Adelie and Briggs made some friends amongst the siblings, so they really enjoyed t-ball too.

I think that baseball is definitely a better fit than soccer.  I little more structure, a little less aggression needed, and a little more time to socialize on the bench.  Staley learned about the game, was always enthused about playing, and is looking forward to next year.  That's a win in my book!!

4th of July

There may have been some tears.  Some tantrums.  Some heat.  Some unsuccessful photo attempts.  Some difficulty getting out of the house in a timely manner, resulting in this mama walking several blocks with kids in tow to get to our parade watching spot since the parade route was blocked off.  But amidst the sweat and tears, we still managed to have another wonderful 4th of July.

Briggs loved his 4th.  He LOVED the parade.  He waved...and waved...and waved at every vehicle that passed.  He identified every tractor and fire truck and police car, but he picked his favorite as the "bubble truck" (which was a float that had a bubble machine blowing bubbles off the back).  He also loved the food, the cousins, and the fireworks.  And I loved the 3 hour nap that we both took.

Although the day started off a bit on the dramatic side, Adelie pulled it together for a fun day as well.  She liked the parade (especially the candy), playing with her cousins, glow bracelets for the fireworks, and sitting with Uma to watch the fireworks.  Although Staley didn't cover her ears at all during the fire trucks at the parade or the fireworks, Adelie did.

Staley enjoyed all her cousin time and staying up late for the fireworks.  She was also very enthusiastic about making things for our celebration.  She made a number of 4th of July signs and pictures, and was super-enthused about making the pretzel rod sparklers from her Aunt Sandi cookbook.

Adelie enjoyed helping make them as well, and they turned out really cute.

A parade, play time with cousins, good food, good naps, and fireworks.

Indeed it was a happy 4th!!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Question of the Day

While on vacation, we let each kid pick out one small thing to buy.  Can you guess which of my children chose a little car?  A sparkly mermaid finger puppet?  A face painting kit?

Can you guess which purchase I'm already regretting?


Pentwater 2017

We just returned from another fun and relaxing week in Pentwater.  (Well, as relaxing as a vacation with 3 young kids can be anyway.)  Although the weather was a little cool and a little cloudy, we still spent most of our days at the beach.  The kids didn't mind the cool weather--it just meant more sand play and dune adventures.  Like every other year, Pentwater is all about beach time and family time and traditions.  And I love it all!!

Briggs loved the beach.  He loved the sand and the water and the snacks.  Briggs had watched us pack up all his sand toys and trucks.  When we got to the beach on our first day, Briggs looked around and asked, "Where's the sandbox?"

Adelie's favorite beach activities included sifting through the sand for jewels (small, polished white rocks), playing with Aunt Maggie (my mom's sister), and catching ladybugs.  She also loved dressing like "twinsies" with Carolyn since they had matching swimsuits.

Staley loved going on "dune adventures" with her cousins.  They would head up into the sand dune to build forts, make spy clubs, and explore.  When it was warm enough, Staley also LOVED going into Lake Michigan to play in the waves.

The kids had so much fun with their cousins and "beach cousins" (my cousins' kids).  There were 18 kids in all, ranging in age from 7 months to 12 years old.  One day, we ended up with 3 pairs of swimsuit "twins" among the cousins.  How fun!!

On the coldest of our days in Pentwater, we skipped the beach and headed to a farm market and petting zoo.  It was SO much fun and there was so much to do!!  We spent the entire day there playing and seeing the animals.

Briggs loved the barrel train rides and the giant sandbox.  He also enjoyed playing on all the different wooden playsets like the pirate ship, the tractor, and the train.

The big kids loved the giant jumping pillow, the wooden playsets, the spinning hamster wheel
to run in, and all the animals to see and feed.

Adelie was our most resourceful child.  Since we didn't buy any animal feed, she would find all the feed that other people had dropped on the ground and then give it to her siblings and cousins to feed to the animals.  She had more fun finding it than actually feeding it to the animals.

And the birds really liked Staley's shoes.

There was so much to do and it was a great way to spend a non-beach day.

This year, we had to switch up our living arrangements.  Because there are now 7 adults and 7 kids with my brothers and their families, we had to split into 2 houses instead of one.  We stayed in our usual house with Evan and his family while Erik and his family stayed with Ethan in a house down the street.  We still spent all our days together at the beach and our evenings together at our house, but it was a little different not living all together this year.

Evening time was still family time when we would all gather at our house for dinner and playtime.

Pentwater traditions remain the same every year.  We get together with the whole extended family for spaghetti night and s'mores night.  We walk into town for ice cream.  We always make time to go to our favorite stores and play games after the kids go to bed.

This guy definitely enjoyed s'mores night.

We also continued our tradition of trying to get all the cousins together for a picture with everyone looking in the right direction and smiling.  This was a pretty successful attempt!

Since the sunset comes after bedtime for our kids, Zach and I got to enjoy one of my favorite Pentwater traditions--Michigan sunsets on the beach.

I love our weeks in Pentwater.

I love that my family loves our weeks in Pentwater.

I love that we are carrying on the traditions of my childhood while making new ones along the way.

Thanks, Pentwater, for another great year!

See you next year!!