Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Go Karyn GO!

Saturday is my big day. I am participating in a triathlon. My first triathlon. Gulp.
Training started for me in March when I registered for the race.
I have been running in the mornings before Andy leaves for work. I joined a local gym to train for the swimming (free babysitting... woohoo).
The race is a half mile swim in a lake, a twelve mile bike ride, and a 3.1 mile run. Consecutively. I am excited and nervous for the race. I have trained hard and improved my swimming and running greatly. Say a little prayer for me Saturday morning. And stay tuned for results.

Ruby the Walker

My baby is starting to walk.
Ruby took her first step mid-April. Since then she has been working hard to master the art of biped mobility. She climbs our stairs to strengthen her legs. She speeds across the patio pushing her hippo as fast as her little legs can go. She hangs onto the table and does squats. She stands and balances for as long as can. Ruby is determined to walk, so she is training hard.
This weekend she started taking several steps at a time without assistance. She gets so excited. Andy does too.
Alli wants to help Ruby walk, but her "help" is more of a deterrent at this point. She is a great cheerleader though. She gets Ruby all fired up.
I am excited for Ruby to walk. She is so proud of each step, and I can't help but love my child's accomplishments. And watching a wobbling infant walk to me just melts my heart.
Ruby's first birthday is coming up. This year has passed in an instant. My baby is walking.

The Ride

We did it! We made it to Navy Pier before closing time, the weather was gorgeous, the Ferris wheel was working, and we finally got to ride it! This was our fourth attempt to ride the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier. Alli has been looking forward to this ride since last summer, and she has been disappointed three times. As we waited in line we could hardly believe we were actually going to ride it this time.
Allison was thrilled to get on the Ferris wheel. She was all smiles. Ruby was giggly too. The Navy Pier Ferris wheel has an amazing view of downtown Chicago and Lake Michigan. The ride lasted about seven minutes... and so did Alli's grin.
After the Ferris wheel, we took a ride on the carousel. Alli picked her favorite horse and Andy hoisted her up. Alli rode her own horse. She is such a big girl. Ruby rode with me. She loved the up and down and around motion, the bright lights, and the happy music. Andy rode ahead of us to get some pictures.
We had dinner in the food court at Navy Pier (not very fancy, but keeping with the carnival spirit). By the time we got home, both girls were exhausted. Money well spent.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Alli Ballerina

At 6:00 am, Tuesday, I heard movement in Alli's room. I went to check on her and discovered her climbing in the closet to reach a skirt. She was wide awake and fully dressed in a leotard and silver sparkly slippers. She slipped the skirt on and said, "I'm ready for my ballet lesson."
How is that for a hint? She is not currently in ballet lessons, but I am now looking into it.
So Andy got her to go back to sleep, and I snapped a picture of my little sleepy dancer.
Alli has been obsessed with ballet since then. At the park, she asked me to do a ballet lesson for her. She said, "Mom, say 'It's time for all ballerinas to stand up and twirl around'." I said it and she got up and twirled around and around with her arms flung open wide, her head thrown back, and her feet nearly tripping over one another. She was wearing a leotard, skirt, silver slippers, a sash, veil, tiara (worn backwards), and3-4 necklaces. She left her purse in the stroller. She has been dancing around all week, in the picture she is doing a "water squirting dance."
We will be visiting Grandma and Grandpa soon, and I asked Alli if she wanted to take a leotard so she could dance for them. She looked up at me and said, "Well, does Grandma have a studio?"

Laundry Season

A prize goes to the first person who can correctly identify the four types of stains that Alli is modeling. (Click on the picture for a larger view.)

I can tell summer is here by the laundry. I am doing lots of laundry (and using lots of Oxi-Clean). As of late, almost every day Alli and Ruby are getting so dirty that they need a mid-day change of clothes. By the day's end, they wear the evidence of a very busy, fun, sticky, summer day from head to toe.
After dinner, they go straight to the tub. The filthy clothes go straight to the washer. The girls splash around the tub until their fingers and toes are wrinkly and pink. They love bath time so much, sometimes I think they get extra dirty to ensure a daily bath.

Our washer and dryer broke last week (just before Mother's Day), and I am so glad to say they are both working again! Summer just wouldn't be the same without them.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Fun Day

Andy surprised us yesterday when he came home early! He had been traveling for work, and he came straight home from the airport instead of going in to the office. When he arrived home, we were a half block away, on our way to the park. We waited while he caught up.
Our first stop was at the carousel at Stinky Pants. Alli had collected two quarters so she and her friend Elijah could ride the little carousel. Ruby also got her first ride. She was thrilled.
We went to the park afterwards. Alli practised climbing the rock wall. She is a very agile climber. Ruby climbed the playground equipment with Andy close behind. She loved being way-up-high and coming down the big slide.
Alli and Elijah loved playing in the sandbox best of all. They combined water and sand to make the ultimate mess. They left the park Monday needing baths urgently. They obviously enjoyed themselves.
We ended our day with a picnic on the patio and family time. And ice cream. After a few days of Andy being gone, it was just what we needed.

The Icing on Top

Last Friday I made cupcakes with the girls. I was holding Ruby while frosting cupcakes, and she reached out and swiped a big handful of frosting. It went straight to her mouth. This was her first taste of frosting, and she savored it. She sounded like Cookie Monster, saying "num num num" as she licked frosting from each finger. I tried to wipe her hand off, but she was not interested in that. She sucked her fingers clean, her cheeks however, were sticky and blue. She made her sign for "more."
Sorry Ruby, no more for now.
I can't wait to give her a piece of cake on her birthday!

Brussel Sprouts

Alli has been asking for brussel sprouts for the last few weeks. She picked some out at the market, carried them to the checkout, and put them on the counter herself. She was couldn't wait to eat them.
Last night we had a picnic, complete with brussel sprouts. You would have thought she was having a candy picnic, that's how excited she was.
She put some on her plate and took a bite. I held my breath, expecting extreme disappointment. She liked them! Brussel sprouts aren't my #1 food, but I'm glad she likes them.

Ruby sees red

Ruby is a perky little sprite most of the time, but when she gets upset, she knows how to work it. She throws little tantrums complete with bouncing on her knees, dropping to the floor, flowing tears, and the grumpiest faces. Her tantrums are rare, but quite dramatic.
I guess having a big sister means she has to stick up for herself a little and make some noise.
Ruby is adorable, even when she is mad. And luckily, after a short tantrum, she is back to her happy little self.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Easter Parade in May

Today Alli wanted to decorate an "Easter Bonnet," so we did. She chose ribbons, trim, feathers and flowers to adorn her hat. We decorated one for me too.
Alli took a picture of me in my bonnet.

Picnic in the Park

Monday was too gorgeous of a day to eat inside. For dinner, we got soup, salad and fresh bread from Cosi and we went to our park. We found a spot in the shade in the garden part of the park.
The girls were too excited to sit still and eat. Alli noticed all the exercising people and practiced her yoga on the grass. Ruby crawled around the grass enjoying the vast space and cool texture of the grass.
Dinner was great; I didn't have to cook. Alli spilled her vegetable soup though, and it looked like barf on our blanket.
We are so glad warm weather is here!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day Treat

Since it is Mother's Day, I took a little extra time this morning to get dressed up cute, put on makeup, and style my hair. I went to church looking good.
During sacrament meeting there was an animal cracker festival. Ruby was drooling cracker goo on me and Alli was breaking crackers into tiny pieces (which ended up on me). When the service was over, I learned a new definition for graham cracker crust. I left church looking like a dessert.
It has been a wonderful day, graham cracker goo and all. The girls (with help from Andy) got me some books and chocolates (which Alli thinks I need to share). Alli made a fruit cereal necklace for me and a card.
Happy Mother's Day to all the moms. I have an amazing mother. I wrote a tribute to her at with all of my other siblings.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

A Night at Wrigley Field

Last night Andy and I went to the Cubs game. This was our first Wrigley Field experience. Andy got our tickets from a friend at his work. We were surprised to take our seats and find ourselves just a few rows from the field. We had amazing seats! Mike, Andy's coworker, and his fiance Amanda were there with us.
Our experience was complete with hot dogs, a loud heckler nearby, grumpy-old-men-Cubs-fans behind us, the Pittsburgh coach getting kicked out of the game, gorgeous weather, crunchy peanut shells all over the ground, a no-nonsense old-lady usher who could silence the most obnoxious drunks.... oh yea, and a baseball game.
Wrigley Field is very charming and unique. There are many traditions at Wrigley Field that add to the nostalgia and ambiance. Watching a game at Wrigley Field truly is a baseball experience, now I know what everyone is talking about. The fans are devoted to the Cubs and they show their enthusiasm.
We stayed for nine innings, then we had to get home. The girls stayed home with a babysitter. They were sleeping like angels when we got home.
We had a wonderful evening, though the Cubs ended up losing in the 15th inning.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Uncle Adam

This morning we met Andy's younger brother Adam at O'Hare Airport to spend a few hours with him. He has been in Arkansas and parts of Tennessee and Missouri for the last two years serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He was on his way back home, and he had a layover in Chicago. We couldn't pass up the opportunity to see him.

Adam hadn't seen Alli since she was 16 months old. He had never met Ruby before.
We were delighted to see him. Alli was shy at first, but she ended up running races with him around the baggage claim. Ruby was her happy little self.
Congratulations, Adam, on completing your mission.

Family Night

Monday evening, we picked Andy up from his office and went to the Navy Pier for some family fun. It was a gorgeous night. There was a warm breeze and the sky was lit up with red and purple evening clouds.

Our plan was to take the girls to the Children's Museum and then ride the Ferris wheel.

We took the girls to the Children's Museum. They had so much fun playing in the water works exhibit and in the wilderness play area. Alli loves the tiny toilets in the bathroom at the museum, they are just the right size for her.

We played until the museum closed. Then we strolled along the pier back to the Ferris wheel. Unfortunately, we got there ten minutes too late. The rides were closed for the evening.

Alli has really been looking forward to riding the Ferris wheel. Every time we drive by, she points it out. She has gazed at the Ferris wheel from a high corner office at Andy's work and dreamed of riding it one day. We have tried taking her on the Ferris wheel a few times before, but it hasn't ever worked out for us. Once it was closed for maintenance. Another time it was closed because of high winds. She will get to ride it someday (soon).

Alli was a good sport. She posed for a few pictures. We felt bad about not getting to ride the Ferris wheel, so Andy told Alli we could have ice cream. So we went to the Navy Pier food court, and everything was shut down. Alli was very concerned.

We ended up driving to the McDonald's downtown to get some ice cream. Their "bistro" where the good gelato is was closed for a private event. We settled for regular McIce Cream. I got the Shrek-inspired mint chocolate shake. It was a nasty color and it tasted like mint syrup. It was gross.

Alli enjoyed her strawberry sundae, and Ruby wiggled and reached and fussed and tried to get any little taste of ice cream.

Despite the changes in our plans, the setbacks and disappointments, we had a very fun family evening. That is what being a family is all about.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Get your groove on

This morning Andy was taking pictures of Alli and she busted out into an amazing dance. Not only is she a talented artist, singer, and speaker, she may also have a future as a choreographer... or a fashion stylist.

Flashback 1993

Several people commented on Andy's passport photo (even though there are no comments on my blog), and so I am sharing another glimpse into Andy's teenage years.
To celebrate prom season, here is a little flashback to 1993. This is one of Andy's favorite pictures. Andy is giving a classic teen-posing-with-parents-face, his mother is holding on to her boy and his father is beaming with pride.