Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Girl After My Own Heart

When I was a kid, I taught myself how to rollerskate at the Taste of Chicago on Navy Pier.  My dad worked at Chicago magazine which sponsored the event and was working the booth there.  I was bored hanging out with him so he gave me some money to go do something else.  I remember it fondly because I pretty much held the rail all the way around the rink.  I did this for four days and I was pretty good by the end.  Gretchen went skating for the first time with Girl Scouts.  I hadn't been on skates in about 12 years so it was an experience for me as well.  After a good crying fit, she gathered up her resolve and did what I did at her age: hung to the wall for dear life and kept going around and around the rink.  By the end of the afternoon, she was asking me when we can go back and skate some more.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Do You Recognize this Girl?

Cheer has been all encompassing lately right next to scouting in our lives.  I thought it might break Gretchen since she is mature enough yet to really commit to a discipline but after getting this trophy, I think we may have turned the corner on that....
So it looks like we'll be doing it again in 2013.......

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Girl Scouts!

Last weekend, Gretchen and I attended an area wide girl scout camp out in Juniper Knoll Camp (East Troy WI).  I haven't been to a camp like this in 25 years but oddly enough it did not seem to have changed much!  We stayed in a lodge and slept on mats on the floor.  It was very crowded with about 25 girls and 11 adults so there was a real incentive to keep busy and out of the lodge.  There were a bunch of craft stations and activities for the girls to do.  They enjoyed letterboxing (it's a cross between geocaching and a scavenger hunt) and performing in the talent show.  I did pretty good energy wise but sleeping on the floor really hurt.  I mean really. hurt.  Even Gretchen was not happy....

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Growing Up

Gretchen has a friend across the street who is also in second grade.  While she has always lived across the street, they have just started playing together on a regular basis in the last 18 months or so.  Anyway, the girl across the street got her training wheels taken off recently from her bike.  She and Gretchen were riding a week ago and it made Gretchen want to take her training wheels off.  Steve told her we need to work at it and she did!  Gretchen can be hard to consistently motivate but she REALLY wanted those wheels off.  She has been riding whenever she gets a chance with Steve.  He has been great with her, riding his bike all over the neighborhood.  I don't like bragging but this is a moment where I am just so proud of her for working so hard at it.  She got her wheels taken off a few days ago and has been riding with Steve all over our town.  Now..... if I can get her to feel this way about math and reading! 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Give me a G!

We have tried many activities with Gretchen in hopes of finding some kind of sport that she enjoys doing.  I was never much of a team sport kind of kid preferring to ride my bike, roller skate or swim.  Gretchen picked cheer leading so she could be with her best friend (who does not go to her school).  I was never a cheer leader so I don't quite get it but it seems to be VERY popular in suburbia.  I don't remember it being like this growing up in the city but perhaps I never noticed.  Anyway, she seems to like it.  They practiced three times a week until school started and have had their first game.  It is a huge commitment of time and effort so I hope she likes it.  If not, there is always archery.....

Monday, August 20, 2012

First Day of School

The boys are still in Early Childhood so preschoolers again.  Gretchen is a big 2nd grader....

Thursday, August 16, 2012

An End to A Summer

This summer has been crazy!  We didn't do any birthday parties but yet we seemed to be busy a lot!  A family of five makes it difficult to do anything on the cheap so we have several passes this year that we did our best to maximize:  Six Flags (of course), Brookfield Zoo, MSI and Field Museum.  So, almost every weekend, we went to one of those places!  We also went to Six Flags St Louis and camping.  One of our last (or second to last) outings before school started was our annual Cubs game with the kids.  They are getting better and better at tolerating the whole weird atmosphere (sitting in the nosebleed section) and at honing in on their taste for junk food.  Gretchen has a list of food she "needed" to eat at the park which included:  hot dog, ice cream, cotton candy and peanuts.  The boys were not as bad but they did enjoy quite a bit of cotton candy!  We have one more day off before school start so we may have one more outing left in us though I am not sure I will survive it!

Friday, July 20, 2012


We survived another camping trip with the kids this year!  It was quite a trip - we went to Devils Lake State Park like we do every year.  We spent the first day at the Circus World Museum and all three kids were in the show.  Gretchen told me before we got there that this year she was going to be the ringmaster in the kids Interactive Circus that they do.  And she was right!  In fact, she was in every show:  the clown show, the magic show (with Sean) and the Interactive Circus.  What a ham!  She seemed to really enjoy the spotlight so we may have a theater bug going on there.  There a lot of pictures here if you're interested (both camping and the circus)! 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

My baby turned 7!

Gretchen has been through a lot in the last few years with occupational therapy and the such.  A few therapists have told me that sometimes it's a maturity thing that resolves itself around age seven.  I am hoping for my little bunny's sake that SEVEN is her year.  We gave her a scooter for her birthday back in March so she could practice riding and she has gotten really good on it.  Maybe seven is the luckiest number!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Summer Camp

This year Gretchen is doing a YMCA camp.  We wanted to try something where she would be swimming a lot, trying new things (like boating, archery, etc) so we sent her to a camp that some friends recommended.  She was nervous about it and excited.  She worried that she wouldn't have any friends there (which in truth she doesn't have any existing friends there but she's making new ones).  Like most camps, they have a theme every day and so she feels involved, I am making extra effort to have stuff for the theme.  So far she has done archery and a lot of swimming!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Happiness is a Warm Pool

June hasn't proved to be hot quite yet but the pool we had at our hotel in St Louis was warm.  We gave the kids a choice of going back to Six Flags or stay in the pool.  The pool won hands down... Hee

This is a Roller Coaster Summer

Gretchen has moved up in the world - she can now ride a lot more interesting rides including the Viper and the American Eagle at Six Flags.  As season pass holders at Six Flags we decided to maximize our passes and visit Six Flags St Louis.  Gretchen could ride every roller coaster but two of them.  It was very hot the day we went but so we hit a few water rides as well.  The only bad thing about St Louis was there was no Whizzer type roller coaster that under 40" set could ride.  Evan had to stick to the baby rides and other smaller rides.  He wasn't thrilled about it but we did our best to find things for him to do.  Sean could also ride a bunch of things so two out of three kids were pretty happy!

American Thunder at Six Flags St Louis

Monday, April 2, 2012

My pet shark

We took the kids to the Indianapolis Zoo and to the Indianapolis Children's Museum for spring break.  We are kind of spoiled by Brookfield Zoo so it was hard to love the Indy Zoo but there were a few things that kind of wowed us.  The boys loved the roller coaster but Gretchen really got into their shark exhibit where kids could actually touch the sharks in this giant pool.  We went to the exhibit twice since it was her favorite.  All of us got a chance to touch the sharks!  Their desert exhibit was pretty cool too.  It is in a giant biodome so the whole thing is about 80 degrees in there and dry.  Of course, after walking all day at the zoo and the next day at the museum, the kids still wanted to go swimming in the hotel pool.  The water was kind of cold so Gretchen kept asking to go to the hot tub.  I let Steve go with her most of the time because those things make my legs feel rubbery and woozy.  She did not seem to be affected though!  It was a good trip overall.  We plan on going to Six Flags in St. Louis this summer so now Gretchen wants to know how long until that trip and will our hotel be as good as the suite we got this time and are we going to swim there and what else are we going to do in St. Louis and on and on and on.......

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Happy New Year!

Gretchen wanted to stay up for New Year's eve this year so we decided to let her try.  We did a celebration around 6pm with the boys with streamers, hats and noise makers.  After the boys were in bed, we watched Annie Get Your Gun since Gretchen has been singing "Anything you can do I can do better" for a few weeks now.  Surprisingly, she really liked it but we had to explain a lot of the context to her since it was almost foreign to her that a woman was not "allowed" to do some stuff.  After the movie, we watched some standard NYE shows and my girl promptly fell asleep.  She made it to roughly 10:30ish.  Pretty good really.  She kept asking us what else we were going to do and she was very disappointed to know that this was it!  Television and then bed...