Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Snow Much Fun.

The kids have been begging to play in the snow, so finally, we got them out there! Grandma has a park in her back yard, so we even ventured there and went down the snowy slides!

Blake liked the snow as much as Reese. He wasn't happy to go in!

Angel Reese making a snow angel.

Chase had fun, but called it quits after Blake and I went in. Five minutes later he just walked home alone to get warm!

Group shot!

Say Cheese!

This is AWESOME!

It's hard to not love Ryan... one of his greatest characteristics besides his sense of humor and  thoughtfulness is his creativity. If you don't have boots, wrap up from shoe to pants with Saran Wrap! Works wonders.

Wheeeeeeeeeeee!

This stuff is cold.

"Daddy threw snow at me."- Chase
"Toughen up!" - Dad

Friday, January 27, 2012

18 Great Months for Blake

Blake is 18 months. Actually, he turned 18 months one week ago, but it was the day we closed and we were busy and I am slow. So, here's the update on our youngest.
  • Blake is mostly a happy boy. He goes with the flow and will just do his own thing.
  • He is a Mama's boy. He will cling to my leg for a bit but always loosens up.
  • He loves to make some animal noises.
  • He can watch TV for quite a bit. He enjoys Mickey Mouse Clubhouse the best.
  • He is about 34.5 inches tall (95%ile).
  • Blake is about 30 pounds (93%ile).
  • We went to the doctor yesterday and he is doing fine. I commented on his lack of talking but the Doctor said he was more than impressed with his understanding and social skills.
  • It's true- Blake understands everything. If he is naughty and you tell him to go to time out, he knows right where to go.
  • Blake LOVES to play with his siblings and cousins. He gets too into the wrestling and since he's a big boy, I am sure he never has issues holding his own.
  • Blake still take 2 naps,but the first one is getting shorter and we may be to 1 nap soon.
  • He eats well (really,like that was a question). There isn't much that he won't eat.
  • He wears size 2T.
  • Blake LOVES dogs. (Too bad we won't be getting one!)
  • He still sleeps in his crib, and at my mom's he is in the room with Reese and Chase. He prefers the company.
  • He is a climber and is getting better and running.
  • Blake is a boy of little words - No!, Mommy, Daa, Eeese (Please) and tries Chase a little too, Noah, I think sometimes he tries Thank you, can say Owl, hello... maybe a few others, but let's face it... as the doctor said, "He's just a slow talker." We continue to work at it and hopefully he picks up more words soon.
  • The funny thing is, Blake doesn't talk a lot, but he is getting better with the potty all the time. It's not that he is telling me, but if I ask him he will tell me No! or shake his head yes and run to the potty. I can usually catch him at home before it happens and he will sit on the pot and poop. This happens quite frequently. I think he is going to be my easiest to potty train. He wants cool undies like his big brother.  I think he just hates diapers.
  • Blake is really a happy spirit. He makes us laugh all the time and he smiles so much. He's fantastic and we love him so much!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Adios Carol Stream

Good-bye Sype Drive!
It's hard to believe that we are now homeless. It's finally time to share the adventure. To be honest, I didn't want to blog about it because we didn't know how long it would take and if the adventure was going to just be so painfully long that talking about it all the time could have been annoying to everyone.
We loved our townhome. We had enough space, it was brand new, a good community, awesome neighbors, nice schools... the list goes on and on, but there were a few things missing... a yard for the kids to play in as they are getting older and location closer to the highway, my work, and our childcare situation. We knew we would be taking a loss with the market the way it is, but the hope is we make it up in the long run.
We first tried listing our house by ourselves for like 45 days, but we priced it too high and we didn't have the time or motivation to go at the realtor game ourselves. So, on September 30th, we listed our place with Remax (Realtor Ralph Binetti- he's great by the way, got him from Mark and Sabrina). We knew it was going to be really hard to sell since we were competing with the new models going up in the townhome complex, but we decided that we weren't in a hurry so we could just take our time and hope someone realized that our layouts were better than the current homes going up by the new builder.

Bye Kitchen and pretty back splash that we put in.


Keeping the house clean was a huge challenge. We de-cluttered a lot, which isn't too easy with 3 kids, but somehow, we made it happen. Leaving the house in the morning spotless was a task too, but if someone calls, you have no choice but to have it ready to go. We had about 1 showing per week and in October-ish we got our first "someone has your house in their top 2." We were competing with the new models and we lost out and honestly, I lost most hope. Part of me wanted to just take it off the market and call it quits, but Ryan said, let's just keep on going! So, that's what we did...
On Saturday, December 3rd, we went to out friends house, the Bucholzs. As we were leaving, Stephanie gave me her St. Joseph. (The story is that you bury him in your yard and then it helps you sell... then you keep him on your mantle for 1 year and then you can pass him on.) She passed hers on to me and I put him in my purse and said a prayer and told St. Joseph I was going to put him in the yard. I think that was enough because 3 days later we got an offer. Of course Ryan was in Kentucky and I was home, so we countered a few times and they accepted with a closing date of Jan 6th. Just one month later!?! How on Earth were we going to get it done with the holiday and the New Year? We figured the shorter the time to closing, the less chance for it to crumble.
Blake's last days at his first house! He could care less. He did start sleeping better at my mom's once he was in his crib and in the room with Reese and Chase. He just LOVES to be by them.

Reese keeps asking if someone is living in our house. She thinks moving is an adventure and didn't care for a second. She has requested that the new house has a chimney (for Santa, of course), it has to be big and square, and her room to not be upstairs so when she was sent to her room that she didn't have SO many stairs to climb!
Chase seemed to be the one that was most confused by the entire thing. He wanted to be sure we were taking EVERYTHING with us. He also still says he has no home and just stays at Grandma's. He adjusted quickly now and is happy to be sharing the bunk beds with Reese.
The real estate process is NO fun at all. There are so many stages and always a way to get out of it. We constantly worried that it was going to fall through. They had to extend the lawyer period to get a Radon test, which we thankfully passed. It also took a while to have the loan approved. The closing day went from Jan 6th... to Jan 10th... to Jan 20th. We were nervous, but the weekend before we got a storage container dropped off and packed up the house. The brothers did stage 1 of packing (boxes, etc), and then the next day we had movers stuff all the large furniture in there. It was quite impressive to see how much we got in there. Most everything fit, but we did have to borrow some space in the Connelly basement for the leftovers (thanks guys!). Ryan and I cleaned and got all of the stragglers out before closing date finally arrived. We closed on the 20th with no issues. Whew. (Thank you John Fioti, our lawyer!)
The processes was only a month and a half, but felt really long. It was quite stressful and Ryan and I spent a million hours packing boxes, going through things, throwing things out. We were a great team throughout the process. (That Ryan is pretty darn awesome). About two weeks before we closed, I had my "moment". I got pretty sad thinking about all of the special moments in our house - Eileen lived there for a year, Chase and Blake came home from the hospital there, Reese had 3 birthday parties there, Mark's Cinco de Marco, Ryan's 30th, Carissa's bachelorette party and many other parties, many fun nights with family and friends, our fun nights with our neighbors, and really our first home with our complete family of five. My sad moment passed quickly because I know that home is where your family is -- and that's all we need to be happy.
My Mom has allowed us to move in with her yet again. I realized that Ryan and I lived here before we got married in 2005, before our townhome was done in 2007, and now again in 2012. We couldn't be more grateful that she has allowed us to take over so much space until we find our new home.
The plan is to hopefully be in our new place by June. We have already checked out some homes...
#1- No basement. Out.
#2- Very nice- just needs a few updates.
#3- It is across from a park, which is nice, but priced too high for needing MANY updates. Out.
#4- Needs a TON of updates. The price is right for needing the updates, but the bedrooms are small. Nice neighborhood.
Stay tuned as we continue on this journey.
Here are the boys packing up the storage box. Of course the day we have to load up was the coldest day was had in a long time. They did great. Thanks for their awesome help!

And while the men worked, the kids and moms ate pizza. Last day of the 10 kids in our kitchen!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A history lesson from Reese.

If you're like me, you wonder how much your kids actually learn at school. No offense to the school system or anything, but for 3-5 years olds I wonder if it's about learning or more about structured playtime. I mean, Reese is five - she should know all the state capitals by now, right? Is it too early for multiplication? I'm no Tiger Dad. I just wonder.

We'll I learned that they certainly do learn. When I was in the car the other day, Reese started to tell me the story of the Marsel.

Here's what she shared...

Reese: "Dad, did you know there once was this guy who changed the word. I mean, world"

EDITOR'S NOTE: If I'm going to be completely honest, the next part should be me saying "oh yeah, who?" But, it went more like this...

Reese: "Dad."
Reese: "DAD"
Reese: "DAD!"

Dad: "Yes Reese?" (When you spend so much time wearing your kidmuffs it's hard to know when to get in on the action...)

Reese: "Dad, did you know there once was this guy who changed the word. I mean, world"

Dad: Oh yeah, great - what did he do?

Reese: Well, he made all the people who were different become the same?
(The subject of cloning in preschool? I like it, I thought)

Dad: What do you mean?

Reese: There were people who were different and couldn't do, like everything, and he helped so they could. And, the people who were different couldn't even go to the same school. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?!"

Dad: "Yeah, that sounds bad."

Reese: "Yeah, he helped make everything that was different the same."

Dad: "Do you know who that was?"

Reese: "I do."

Dad: "Who?"

Reese: "Marsel King Junior!"

She went on to explain that they also cracked open a brown egg and a white egg and that no matter what the color of the outside of the egg, "they were still the same on the inside." Brilliant!

She told story again at dinner to Grandma and had me in tears, laughing. He went from Marsel to Master Junior King.

It was one of those great out-of-nowhere conversation that schooled me on a few things:
   - Don't underestimate what your kids learn at school - if you do, that makes you the dumbass dad.
   - "Yeah, he helped make everything that was different the same." Kids are awesome because they
       are simple. Simple is good.
   - Reese is as good at names as her Dad.

Signed,
Tiger Dad.


The great Marsel King Junior.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Family Picture by Chase


Well, Chase forgot Reese, but he was still very proud to show Daddy his first family picture. We are working each night on his name too and he is getting more excited as he gets better. So, if you remember Reese's family picture, you will see that my belly button also leaves quite the impression in Chase's eyes too.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Ringing in the New Year

Ahhhh.... New Years Eve. What use to be a big party night, has changed to a night with the family. We went over to the Connelly's with some Wii dance games in hand and rocked out the New Year. I am not much of a gamer, but we all got into the fun! I am not sure if Sabrina or Noah liked it more... and Reese and Ryan really brought some mad moves. Mark, Avery, and myself shook it too and got quite a workout in. Blake even busted a movie. The night was complete with some Lou's, drinks, and Monster Cake.

"What? You don't want me on the table? Really? Too bad. I will get up there one way or another!"
 G.I. Joe's in the house!
 Just the girls! They will so appreciate all these pictures I make them take some day!
 Little Logan.
 The life of the party.
 Some Smurf dancing...
 Some Dance Party
 Uncle Marky Mark and Reese
 Noah's feeling it... and Avery is getting some tips from Uncle Ryan.
 Here's Blake doing a major shoulder dance move.
Happy New Year! 
Let's hope 2012 is even more awesome than the rest!