Friday, December 16, 2011

Santa For Real!

Every year we visit Santa at the Lions Pancake breakfast.  They have the same Santa every year and he has his own white beard.  Last night at kids daycare/after-school place, they had a Santa there.  Apparently Gretchen told Steve that Santa was a fake!  Ha!  Makes me wonder when will she start to question it... She already told me the other day that some kids think Santa isn't real!  Which she followed up, "Can you believe that?".  

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving Break

Dinosaur Bone
Our school district gives the entire week of Thanksgiving off because they have report card conferences instead so we had the week off mostly (I had to work Monday).  While I am not ready to discuss report cards, I can say we had a really busy week.  We hit the Kohl's Children's Museum, The Field Museum, Ringling Bros Circus, IKEA, Woodfield Mall and the Jelly Belly Factory.  We also had 16 people total at our house for Thanksgiving and spent Sunday getting our Christmas decorations up.  Whew!  They have two weeks off at Christmas so I don't know how we will top last week.  Gretchen wants to go to the Art Institute again so we may make a trip after New Year's.  I personally like to see the Christmas trees at MSI but we went the last two years so I could wait a year.  However, they are doing a Dr. Seuss exhibit so there is something to see!  Gretchen has been asking me if we can make a gift for Santa.   When I ask her what he needs or what we should give him but she does not know......  She knows she wants three things for Christmas though and that we should at the very least give Santa one thing!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween 2011

Gretchen opted to go as the bride of Frankenstein this year (the boys went as Matt Forte).  She wore my Frankenstein wig (it fit her head mostly).  A friend from work lent us a wedding dress.  Gretchen was quite pleased with her look.  If you know me at all, you know I'm not a fan of hootchie mama costumes so I too was quite pleased with the costume.  May I be so fortunate every year!

That's her pumpkin next to her.  Steve painstakingly helped her carve it herself!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I think 6 is a rough age...

Gretchen is still struggling with writing.  Truthfully we did not push her too hard over the summer like we could have.  Part of me I guess hoped that a new school, more visits with the OT and a full day at a desk would help Gretchen.  Turns out she still needs extra help.  My little girl as so many ideas in her head but not enough something to get them on paper.  I have been told sometimes it just clicks in a kid around 2nd grade and they start to really blossom.  I hope that for Gretchen because I don't want anyone to tell her she is not smart and as good as the other students just because she has a  hard time writing.  Sigh.....

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Talk Much?

Gretchen got a note home from school yesterday indicating she talked so much at school that the teacher asked us to talk to her about it.  Oh boy.... I was a talker too so I'm sure she got that from me.  The day before, at the first girl scout meeting of the year, she showcased this attribute for me and her troop leader by cutting her off and talking over the other girls.  Sigh.... what do you do with a talkative child?  Steve gently got her to be quiet for five minutes.  He handled it much better than I did... It's times like these when I wish my mom were alive so I could hear how she handled me!

Monday, September 12, 2011


She finally got her gi!
We did our best to keep the kids busy this summer.   I tried very hard to get Gretchen to take dance again but she refused.  While she liked doing the show, it was not enough to motivate her to do it again.  It turns out she's not like a lot of little girls we met in dance who love the spotlight.  She liked the make up and the outfit but just not enough to go to dance every week.....  I told her she had to do something so she decided she wanted to try karate.  After a lackluster round with soccer last summer, I was hesitant to throw a lot of money into karate stuff.  I resisted all summer to buy her a gi (the white karate/martial arts uniform) until I was sure she really wanted to keep going.  So she finally got a gi for the fall session of karate.  I am impressed with the instructors at ISKC especially Sensei Martel who is teaching Gretchen's class.  They seem to have a good approach at teaching children and from what I understand adults as well.  Gretchen's OT thinks it 's good for her too so I am hoping she keeps it up. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

First Day of School

My baby started the first grade at a new school and I am terrified for her.  We got to meet the teacher and she seems wonderful.  I know my daughter isn't like most kids but I hope she adapts to the environment and doesn't let any of her difficulties with writing hamper her learning. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Kiss the fish and make them cry.....

We took the whole family to a Cubs game in Milwaukee.  It was fun but really hot (they closed the dome and I thought we were going to melt).  The kids got a little rest in the car on the drive back.  As soon as we got home, Gretchen wanted to do something so Steve took her fishing (I think he is a saint to do that after the day we had sweating....).  Steve told her she had to kiss the first fish for good luck.  And she did!  It must have worked though as she caught 9 fish in like 90 minutes.  Priceless!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

And so it begins....

A birthday gift that took her hours to make!
Gretchen had a spectacular luau with a bounce house, three different swimming pools, 30 kids and their parents in our back yard.  It was a hectic day so I didn't get many pictures this year.  Gretchen got a lot of craft things for her birthday.  Crowns, stencils, jewelry and magic wands even to make at home.  I know it we'll be able to finally give her something to do when she says "I'm bored, I want to make something....".

Sunday, July 10, 2011


For the second year in a row, we spent the 4th of July at Six Flags.  The boys missed the fireworks at the end but we awake the rest of the time.  Gretchen watched the fireworks but did not stay awake for the short drive home from Great America.  All in all they had a great time.  They can ride so many things now that we have really gotten our money's worth.  A down side is eating at the park.  We have been getting away with bringing in food for the boys but it's not always easy.  The best deal is the popcorn bucket for $6 that you can refill all year long for a $1 each time.  We had to buy two buckets since all five of us kill the first bucket really quickly... 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

First Time at the Taste!

I try to schedule some time for just me and Gretchen every summer.  Usually we hit Great America or the Children's Museum but this year we did something different...  I took her to the Taste of Chicago.  We parked in Skokie and took the train (CTA not Metra) into the city.  She was very excited... We got to the city too early for the taste so we hit Harold Washington's library.  Gretchen's eyes popped open at the size of it.  The children's wing/section was larger than the library in our town.  I think we could have spent more time there but she was hungry.  I didn't push her too hard on being adventurous but she did pretty good for a five year old.  She had Italian ice (duh...), egg rolls, pizza, pad thai, chocolate covered banana, cheesecake and ribs.  Steve was close by at a training so he joined us for lunch.  Between the three of us we had a good variety of food.  After that we headed over to the place I promised months ago we could revisit:  the water fountain/glass block sculptures on Michigan Ave by the Art Institute. 
I had to beg Gretchen not to get all wet but she still kind of did... Her and at least a dozen other kids....  She wanted to come back the next day but I had to say no....


Monday, June 6, 2011

The end of Five

June has been a big month for Gretchen already and it's only the 6th day!  She graduated from Kindergarten last week with her friends at LECC.  I have posted many pictures of the big event.  This past weekend was her big dance show.  Even though she pouted and threw fits about how boring dance is (it's the same dance every week!!!), she looks fairly happy in the makeup and costumes.  She told me quite firmly on the way home she needed a break from dance.  To reward her hard work we let her be the first one to take the polar bear plunge in our unheated swimming pool.  She didn't seem to mind at all so joke's on us!  Tonight was her end of year scout ceremony.  She is still a Daisy with her friend Phoebe but she was proud to wear her uniform and proceed to ask the scout leader during the actual bridging if they were the only two Daisies left in her troop (there are as of now).  This weekend, at her request, she is starting karate.  Should be interesting.......

Friday, May 6, 2011

Aloha my friends

The school year is winding down and Gretchen is about to graduate from Kindergarten.  We are very excited for her and I'm of course scared since she won't be going to private school but our local public elementary so it will all be new for us as well. New teachers, new routines, etc. etc.  We have been working this winter to get Gretchen evaluated by the district for special education services since she has visual motor integration problems that really impact her current schoolwork and confidence.  She told her teachers that her eyes don't work like the other kids' eyes (that made me sad somehow).  I think she needs more help that we are currently getting (30 sessions a year of OT).   She is doing well in dance - her big recital is coming up June 5th!  Graduation is June 2nd so the next month will be a busy one.  I think we will be able to relax a bit around June 7th......

I started planning her birthday party and she has selected a Luau theme.  I let her pick out the decorations and goody bag things.  We have set the party for July 9th so mark it on the calendar.  It should be fun.  I bought her a Hawaiian dress on eBay and she is quite smitten.  She picked out a grass skirt too so she can be a hula girl!

Looking forward to summer and all the fun it brings!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The little Daisy

Since I was a girl scout, I have been patiently waiting for the time when I could get Gretchen into scouts.  I didn't start until I was 8 yrs old but then I stayed all through Senior scouts.  I remembered being a little embarrassed in high school because none of my friends were still in scouts.  It took some time to find a troop in our area but Gretchen finally started Daisy scouts in January.  Many of you dear readers were nice enough to purchase cookies from her and we thank you!  I don't know how long it will last but she enjoys the meetings, hanging out with her friend Phoebe (she's the only girl from her class that is in this troop) and she likes the arts and crafts projects they do.  Often she asks me if we can do an "arts and crafts project" usually at the most inopportune time like when the boys are screaming to eat or we're trying to get them down for a nap.  It's hard being the big sister sometimes....

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I believe in him!

This was the year that Santa really sunk into Gretchen's psyche in my opinion.  She "got it" last year (at age four) but this year she seemed really sure.  More than once she said to me "I believe in him" and would point at the Santa snow globe on our table.  It was very, very busy five or six weeks.  Gretchen was in a school program, a dance recital and a church Christmas pageant.  We spent a lot of our holiday break doing Gretchen stuff - we went to the Museum of Science and Industry and the Art Institute.  We baked cookies and made ornaments for gifts.  We saw Santa at the Lions Pancake Breakfast.  We played in the snow.  We watched lots of holiday movies and cartoons.  We sang carols and took lots of pictures.  Not that previous years were bad but this was the first year I think she's really going to remember.  She is going to connect swedish meatballs and tamales to Christmas.  She knows Tres Leches cake is only for New Years.  She will expect to go to a museum or similar institution over the holiday break.  She'll know this time of years means fun!  The boys aren't quite there yet but when they are, Gretchen will be an old pro!  Hope everyone had a great holiday!  There are links to pictures and videos on the blog.