Friday, August 28, 2009

Act III, Scene 3, 4, & 5

Our summer 3 act play picks up in Act III...

Scene 3: Sophie's 2nd birthday party was held on Mark's 35th birthday (7/11) at Mark's parent's new home. All of the kids were given aprons and then the cupcake decorating began. Icing of many colors, m and m's, spice drops, and sprinkles were on the tables as the kids decorated train and car shaped cupcakes. It was a deliciously fun and messy time. The adults enjoyed a giant cupcake, ice cream cone shaped cupcakes, and ice cream. The top of the giant cupcake was white and the bottom was devil's food. I've really enjoyed these specialty cake pans and though they are expensive to buy, we use them a lot. We also had my favorite punch (fruit punch, ginger ale, and raspberry sherbet). Yum.

It was a beautiful day for a party. Sophie had so much fun that she fell asleep while opening her presents. She was so cute in her tank top with the number 2 and her new birthday tutu. As I was busy hosting the party, my sisters took the pictures for me. Katie's computer has been broken and I just got her photos this week. Thanks girls!

Scene 4: Later that night we grilled out and a few of our friends came over for dinner to celebrate Mark's birthday. Good times.

Scene 5: We headed back home after being in Iowa for a week and a half. We stopped in the Quad Cities at Whitey's (ice cream) and met a few friends.

Our trip to Iowa was wonderful and we look forward to heading back there in 2 weeks for their Buddy Walk.

This concludes our summer 3 act play. (finally, sheesh)

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

Yesterday started off great. (MIL) Paula, the kids and I drove 30 minutes away to an outlet mall to get Alexander's school clothes. I forgot to load the double stroller, so I ended up renting some. In one trip we got Alexander's fall/winter wardrobe and the kids all got shoes. I picked up a few fun items for the girls too. I'm loving the printed tights for Soph. Thank goodness for outlet prices and Grandma! They even have a Stride Rite, which is good since our local store that sells them closed. My oldest 2 kids have wide feet and regular shoes just don't cut it. Alexander's favorite pair are his rain boots and the matching umbrella (which he got to use today at his preschool's open house). So cute, I had to snap a pic. While eating lunch in the van, Sophie kicked the cruise control switch which (was) connected to the steering wheel and broke it off. The wires are still connected, and I got it reconnected, but the cruise control isn't working. It goes in the shop on Wednesday. grrr

Later last night Mark attended the parent's meeting at the preschool. They had all of the parents go through the activities that the kids will be doing. This will be Alexander's 2nd year there, though last year he attended MWF and this year he's going all 5 days. It was a new school last year and it is really well run. Anyway, Mark and the other parents had storey time, did art and science projects and even sang songs. It makes me laugh just thinking about it.

By the time he got home the kids were asleep, so since Paula was here, Mark and I decided to go out. A very slowly moving thunderstorm was almost here when we left. We headed downtown to the Esquire and grabbed a table outside. The lightening show was spectacular and lasted about an hour without rain. The thunder was deafening at times and we all had a great time watching it and jumping when it was really loud. The skies eventually opened up and dumped a massive amount of rain. Massive I tell ya, so we headed inside for pinball and Megatouch.

Around midnight we decided to go as it had stopped raining. I was feeling pretty good, but not blasted by any means. As we were walking to the van, I was not paying attention to where I was stepping. We were looking about a block up at 3 cars that were in the street submerged in the flooding almost up to their roofs when my foot slipped off the sidewalk about 8 inches down to the parking lot. I biffed it so hard. Seriously hard. Thankfully I had my arms up to protect my head. If I hadn't (or if my guardian angels hadn't been there) I could have broken my face, neck, teeth. My left elbow and both knees look like ground hamburger. Mark drove me home bloodied and angry at myself for pulling such a stupid stunt. He gently washed my ginormous wounds and bandaged me up. We discovered that I have asphalt ground into both palms as well. Today I am sore from head to toe and feel like I've been in a car accident. Stepping over the baby gate, using my hands, getting in and out of the car, and lifting kids is painful. Tylenol isn't cutting it, so I took a Vicodin that was left over from having Helena (delivery was without meds, but I took some afterwards for a few days). Even still, it really hurts. I thought about taking pictures, but really, no one wants to see that. I do believe a nap is in order.
1st post pregnancy black and tan. Look at that perfect line!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wordless Wednesday July Trip to Iowa

Bus, Moved

Extreme Makeover - Home Edition came to our neck of the woods last week! Ty surprised the Montgomery family of Philo, IL at their organization Salt and Light which is a local, non-denominational ministry whose mission is to share the love of God by helping and educating our neighbors in Champaign County who are at or below the poverty line to meet their needs. This is an amazing family that gives back to our community in a big way and they really deserve this makeover. Become a fan on Facebook (Extreme Makeover: Home Edition - Central Illinois) for more photos and videos.

On Sunday we headed to Willard Airport to take the shuttle to the closed set. It was a perfect day and so comfortable as it was in the lower 70s. The exterior of the house was pretty much done, so much of the work that day was on the interior and landscaping.

Tuesday was the big reveal and Mark's first day of classes, so we headed back out with Paula, Mark's mom, who is up for a visit. She described the town, event and the crowd as a slice of America and I agree. People of all ages came out to cheer the family on.

Riding in the charter bus, the spectators sang happy birthday to a boy who turned 11. We rode past cornfields to Philo, the Center of the Universe (according to the watertower). The town is tiny. I mean tiny! We passed a Casey's and I hear there is a bar. The Spectator entrance was on a baseball diamond in front of the house and was a quintessential snapshot of a midwestern American small town. There was free popcorn and brats on the grill for a donation. The show provided case after case of free water and wheat and gluten free 120 calorie packs of cookies (seems quite thoughtful, doesn't it?). They said it didn't make for good tv to have the crowd dropping like flies as it was very sunny and hot yesterday. We even had local cheerleaders leading the crowd to cheers for Brady Homes, the company that built the house.

$90,000 was raised for the family's mortgage and Salt and Light. It was touching to see the community step up in such a big way to give back to a family that has given so much of themselves. It was a long day, but we had so much fun being a small part of this life changing event. The show will air this fall (possibly Oct. 25th, but may air in November).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Team Sophie Gear, Store Grand Opening

Believe it or not folks, the season for Buddy Walks® is upon us. This year I decided to open up a line of Team Sophie gear through our own online store (here) as we received so many compliments on our team logo last year. Whether you plan to come walk with us or not, you may just find something you can't live without, so make sure and pop over to see what we have available. All proceeds go towards Team Sophie's DSN fundraising total. Click here or see the sidebar of the blog for the link.

If you're a new friend, or an old friend reconnected through the wonders of facebook, you may not be aware of what the Buddy Walk® is. The National Down Syndrome Society established the Buddy Walk® in 1995 to promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome and to celebrate October, National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Since then the event has grown to 275 walks! This is an affordable (and in the case of the walk in Urbana, IL - FREE) family friendly day filled with games, music, food, and fun. It's an opportunity to come out and show your love and support for people with Down syndrome, like my beautiful daughter Sophie, and I promise you, it will melt your heart.

This is our 3rd year of participating and you have TWO opportunities to walk with Team Sophie. On Saturday, September 12th we will be joining our friends in my hometown of Waterloo, IA with Designer Genes. Then again on Saturday, October 24th we will be walking in Urbana, IL with the DSN. Please let me know if you plan to attend.

Register for the walk in Waterloo by emailing designergenes2005 @ or calling 319-404-0396. Register for the walk in Urbana by visiting Team Sophie's DSN fundraising page (here) and click the link that says "Join this team."

Additionally, Team Sophie's DSN fundraising page is up and running and can be accessed by clicking here or on the sidebar of this blog. Donations are tax deductible and go towards local and national programs and services that enhance the lives of people with Down syndrome. Your contribution to Team Sophie is greatly appreciated.

Read more about our day last year here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Installment 5, the Helena files, Donita Jacobson photography

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

We Love You Eunice

God bless you. Thank you thank you thank you. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and all those who grieve this amazing woman.

If this video doesn't work, click HERE.

Monday, August 10, 2009

I (heart) Albert Pujols

Just another reason why this man is the greatest baseball player today. We hope to meet this legend at a game in October.
Click here and here for more.

Thank You Mrs. Shriver

and get well soon.

If the video doesn't display, click here.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Not 21 Anymore

Mark and I have been trying lately to make time for dates. Typically we go out for a meal and a movie. Often, it's lunch and a matinee because it's less expensive, but also because bedtime with our 3 is rough. Our absolutely fabulous sitter Tracy has been assuring me that she can handle bedtime and she certainly has the experience.

Last night we flipped the script and went out (gasp) at night! Tracy had her own date and came over at 10:30. I was ready by 11 and we headed downtown. The kids never made a peep and it worked out so well that we can't wait to do it again. In the 2 years that we've lived here, this is our first time we've gone out like this. Back when Mark and I were first dating, we went out to bars and saw bands at least twice a week. We worked together at the local independent music store and together we would open on Saturday mornings. We'd drag ourselves into the store on little sleep and with McDonald's to help our tummies. By the afternoon we were ready to do it all over again. That was 12 years ago and boy can we tell. Mark is really not feeling well today and more than anything else I'm just tired, but so happy.

We sat outside and I had a nice red wine at 7 Saints. That was probably my favorite stop of the night. 2nd stop was the Esquire. This is the kind of place that you throw peanut shells on the floor and makes a great burger. It's a beer tavern as I would learn. I ordered wine (mistake) and they had to get it out of the back somewhere. It was so so bad, beyond swill. It reminded me of the SNL skit about Robert Mondavi's grape flavored wine drink. It actually made me ill after only a few sips, so I set it aside and got some water. To calm my stomach we split a delicious cheeseburger and fries which caused me to totally blow my WW point allowance for the day. But, it was necessary. Yep, I'm counting WW points again. I lost all that I gained with Helena (and Soph for that matter) right after Helena's birth. However, I gained the weight of a small elephant with Alexander and never lost it before having the girls. It's time to take it off. I'm down 8 lbs. so far (but probably will gain a little after last night) I digress. 2 glasses of ice water later and we were off to Radio Maria's. They had a DJ, not our style though, but the place was ok. Then we hit the Blind Pig where Mark ran into one of his students. Actually, he got a few double takes from kids that we assume had one of his classes. Geez, I said kids. I am old. We ended the night at Mike and Molly's and closed down the bar. We will definitely be going back there to catch some live music. Got home by 2:30 and to bed between 3:30-4. Thankfully Helena slept in until just after 7.

It's been a Tylenol and tons of water day, but was totally worth it. Still, I can surely tell that I'm not 21 anymore.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Installment 4, the Sophia files, Donita Jacobson photography

Saturday, August 1, 2009

County Fair

Nuthin says summer like a good old fashioned fair. My must have are Tom Thumb donuts, but sadly they didn't have them. Mark's is an elephant ear so I had a few bites. Fried dough covered in sugar, yum. Here are a few of my favorite shots from the day. The girls wore their first matching outfits, but I didn't manage to capture that on the camera. Good times.

Here's the obligatory montage. It's probably only interesting to us, but feel free to watch, or not.