Sunday, May 01, 2016

Brinkerhoffs Go Downtown

Time for my 6 month dental cleaning so I scheduled it for a Saturday so Jane and I could go on a date but the weather was so nice FINALLY that we decided to make it a family date instead. 

 We hopped on the train and headed downtown. I'm sure glad I brought Wendy with me because I could not get enough of her cuteness the way she styled herself. Most awesome 4 year old on the train this year I'm sure!

Crazy girls on the train. Everyone within ear shot got a good laugh at whatever came out of their mouths.

This is the first time Boston road the train that he can remember so everything was new and mind blowing to him. At first he just wanted to be in Brandt's arms (he loves his daddy) but eventually warmed up to sitting on a seat and the fun began.

He pointed and would scream "OOOOOHHHH!" at every single thing he saw.

He. Loved. It.

Here he's very seriously pointing at something to show us with his "Ooooohhhh!" scream. People were laughing so hard in the train car for how excited he was. He sat in my lap the whole time just looking out the window.

I went to the dentist while Brandt took the kids to the park downtown and after I was done I got to meet up with them. My cute girlies:

Sisters. They dressed themselves that morning to be like Shimmer and Shine (a cartoon). Wendy was Shimmer and wore everything pink and Jane was Shine and wore anything blue that she had. I'm to the point where as long as it's weather appropriate and they're happy, I don't care...

By the time I got to the park Boston was pretty tired so I couldn't get a good picture of his amazing smile. Brandt tried to help by sending him down a slide but he got hurt/scared so this picture is right after that. Daddy helping his little boy feel better.

I think it's working. Boston doesn't stay sad for long. I think he likes using his smiling muscles more than his frowny ones.

 We found some fun fountains (the water wasn't on though) and Boston loved sitting on them like he was the king of the mountain.

There's that amazing smile...

Part of the date I had planned for Jane was to take her to Dylan's Candy Bar. I had gone the Saturday before on my own because I'd been wanting more Sour Patch apples Brandt brought home once like a year ago. I decided right when I walked in that I HAD to bring Jane there after the dentist. I didn't tell her what the surprise I had in store for her was even though she asked and asked and asked. Since we went as a family I got to bring Wendy too!

The walk from the park to the candy store was REALLY far. We brought the double stroller so Wendy and Boss got to ride in it but Jane had to be a trooper (me too) and tough it out. The candy store was on the other side of the Chicago River so we walked to the bridge which happened to be malfunctioning! We waited a while because they said they didn't know when it would be fixed but eventually decided to walk to the next bridge, adding more than a half mile to our walk. I know that may not seem like a lot but Jane is 6 and I am super pregnant. It was tough but I knew what was on the other side of the river.

Aaaaaaaand... it was worth it!

I let them pick 7 pieces each. It took some time because they looked at everything and made sure to think about each choice before asking me to add it to the bag. They got gummies and got to try rock candy for the first time. Jane chose one of those wax bottles with liquid in it. She was so excited when I told her the outside was edible (though I'd never eat it) and was really disgusted and disappointed when she took a bite of it. She said, "Ew! That's so nasty! It's like eating plastic! Why would anyone eat this?!" I agree Jane. 

Outside the store with their bounty.

After the candy store we started our walk to the train and ate our candy as we went. Boston was so funny. Brandt kept handing him gummies after he'd finish the one he just gave him and eventually told him he couldn't have any more (I may have bought $22 worth... don't tell Brandt). That didn't work though because Boston learned the sound of the plastic bag they came out of so every time Brandt would sneak one Boss would throw a fit and Brandt would give in. We all ate way too much candy but it was yummy AND we sure walked a lot that afternoon so it was cancelled out, right?

We decided to stop at Chik-fil-A for dinner (the only one in Chicago) since it was next to the train stop. I realized the week before that Wendy just plain doesn't like getting chicken nuggets and fries from restaurants. She would always ask for them but would never eat them and tell me after I told her to eat her dinner that she doesn't like them. It irritated me because SHE asked for them. She DOES however like salad and will eat a salad anytime, any day. I tested out ordering her a salad and getting Jane and Boss a kids meal and guess what!? It worked! Wendy ate half the salad and wanted to save the rest for the train ride home. I told her she couldn't eat it on the train but that she could have it when we got home and off to the train we went.

I think someone played and walked a lot:

Boston was just as amazed at everything on the ride home and Jane rested on my lap most of the way. It was a long day. When we got home we got the kids bathed and ready for bed. While Brandt was getting the other two ready, Wendy pulled the salad out of the backpack and sat at the table to eat it. I said, "Wendy, it's too late, you need to go brush your teeth." She very sweetly and so very grown up said, "But you said I could eat my salad." She had me there. Why was I denying a child a salad? I let her eat it and she gobbled it right up. We got the kids down for the night ON TIME and they fell right to sleep, even having eaten a ton of sugar.

Brandt and I collapsed on the couch, not moving for a good hour. It was a fantastic day. I'm so glad we could spend the day as a family doing super fun (though exhausting) things.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter 2016

We started off Easter this year by asking the girls what they thought Easter was about the week before...

Wendy: "Going downstairs and finding eggs and coming back up here and opening them." Which, is actually a great answer from her because she pulled that memory from a year ago and we were impressed she could describe it so well.

Jane: "It's about love and peace." Um, if it wasn't her "primary" answer to a lot of things these days I would have given her a thumbs up.

Based on those answers, we had a little teaching to do this last week. We had a family home evening about Jesus and his resurrection followed by what I assume is the only thing they will remember... Jane's choice of treat which was rice krispie treats with M&Ms on top.

After that, the week was spent prepping for our Easter party which was yesterday and trying to explain to Wendy when the party was. She doesn't understand time yet :)

We invited some friends over and ate some yummy food (including a bunch of homemade egg-shaped chocolate-covered marshmallows) and then let the kiddos do an egg hunt out front. We had a really fun time and love this tradition. Here are some pictures from the hunt:

 Seriously a pro now. She found all ten of her eggs on her own this year!

I loved her excitement each time she found an egg: 

Twin friends, Jane and Poppy:

My cute little egg hunter:

One of the first to find all her eggs so she gave me a great smile and then got to eating her candy right after. She's not a fan of jelly beans so she picked them all out, told me I could have them and ate almost everything else before the day was out.

Oh this girl and her adorable face! She is a fan of every kind of candy but is saving hers and eating only a little at a time. I love that when she asks for more and I tell her only one she responds with, "Ok, I'm fine with it."

Boston had been acting really tired during the first bit of the party so we decided to put him down for a nap. I was really sad about it because I didn't want him to miss out on his first egg hunt that he could actually really do but it was for the best. Not only did he sleep through the noise of 12 crazy kiddos and take a 3 hour nap, we were able to use his eggs for our neighbor girl so she could join in on the fun.

After everyone said goodbye, we cleaned up and waited for Boston to wake up. Luckily, since Jane doesn't like jelly beans, we were able to fill her empty eggs with her discarded candy, giving Boston a chance to do a personalized egg hunt. Watching him find the eggs was probably the highlight of my year so far.

This is him after finding the first egg. He was so happily surprised and kept gasping in disbelief. Obviously he heard the jelly beans inside so he popped it open, causing the candy to fall out but quickly grabbed them and gobbled them up (yeah, third child... 5 second rule can apply to the INSIDE of our fenced yard). After downing the three jelly beans he was on a mission to find more.

We told him there was another egg and pointed in the direction of this one. He seriously stood here, looking down, not seeing what we were talking about for a good 30 seconds. It was hilarious watching him not find it. "Where!? I don't see anything!"

Oh, THERE it is! Ha!

 He got really good at finding the eggs, putting them in his basket and running to the next one. He was cracking us up with his excited "Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!" as he ran toward egg after egg. After he was done we asked him if he wanted to find more and he did so Brandt took a bunch from his basket and he hunted for those with just as much pleasure.

He ROCKED his first Easter egg hunt!

And because he was so awesome and adorable we let him eat every single jelly bean.
 I seriously love this munchkin, donut-sugar covered shirt and all :)

We went to a park that afternoon where Boston was in heaven going down the slides over and over, Wendy had a blast laying with her tummy on the swing, winding it up and then spinning fast as it unwound (Brandt helped her get REALLY high) and Jane asked a group of kids if she could play with them and then used all her energy playing tag with them. 

That night they had pizza while they watched a show because Jane asked and it WAS Easter Saturday so... why not!? I did say no to her request of a "fizzy drink" because the sugar intake was at the "I hope they don't throw up tonight" limit.

This morning we got to enjoy a nice service at church and I even got to go to one of my meetings because I "ripped the band-aid off" and left Boston in nursery the last hour for the first time. He cried the whole time but when I picked him up he was happily playing and gave me the smile that said, "You came for me!!! I love you!!" and then would look up at me every 5 seconds with another smile that said, "Ok good, you're not a mirage! You're really here!" 

I put the Easter baskets out for everyone after they had gone out to the car with Brandt for church that morning so it would be a surprise when they got back and we could still enjoy the more religious part of Easter without that distraction. It was really nice because they didn't even realize there were Easter baskets to get so they didn't ask about them or miss them that morning. When we walked in the house they were thrilled to each find their filled baskets. The girls got some toys and a chocolate bunny (mandatory) along with a "baby bottle pop" that they'd been asking for for MONTHS and Boston got a new swim suit, matching socks with Daddy and a dumdum (which he sucked on for 20 minutes before his nap and 20 minutes after he woke up from his nap!). 

It was a really fun weekend and I'm grateful for so many friends, a wonderful family to do fun stuff with and a Savior who made it possible to be with my wonderful family forever!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Dr. King Class Celebration

Jane's class has been working on little group skits and her teacher invited us to come watch them perform them today! I tried making dinner before it was time to leave so we ended up really cutting it close. Wendy wanted to walk so I pushed her in the double stroller and ran the first half block before realizing a 28 week pregnant belly and running just don't work for me so I power-walked the rest of the way. I almost died, seriously, but Wendy cheered me on the whole way. We got to her classroom and had JUST missed her group perform. Luckily, after it was over, Mrs. Nelson said they'd do it all over again for the parents who came a little late. Dream teacher!

So, here is Jane's group. She had her part memorized (perfectly actually) but the teacher said they could use their papers so she's using hers. Oh well, here she is!

Then, her whole class sang a song:

On our way out I noticed some books hanging on the board next to her classroom and Jane showed me which one was hers. Probably my favorite thing about coming today was seeing her book. I had no idea she'd written it and I'm so proud of her for choosing the topic and putting some good thought into it.

Here is the book, page by page:

(I love the "Fun Fact: This is a temple.")

After we left her school she told me she was starving and when I asked her if she was so hungry she was going to die, she said yes. Well, we couldn't have that could we?! A surprise trip to the Mexican bakery around the corner and all was right with her world. Love my Janie!

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Boston Knight: 21 Months

Third child? Is that my excuse for not getting around to doing an 18 month post for my little guy? Yeah... that'll be my excuse.

This boy. Seriously. I could not be more in love. He has got the sweetest little personality. He LOVES his momma and thinks his dad is pretty cool. He adores Jane and when Wendy plays with him the way she SHOULD he likes her too :)

We just got him down to one nap a day about a month ago so he dropped his second nap around 20 months. He says a handful of words right now. They include: hi (for hi and bye), momma, dadda, up, yeah, no, please, more, this, that, uh oh, and ow. He doesn't say two words together usually but once he said "mo ease" (more please) and I about melted. Probably one of my favorite things about him is his nod. If you ask him something and the answer is yes, he looks at you with a closed mouth smile and silently just nods his head up and down while raising and lowering his eyebrows. He could get anything he wanted in the world when he does this.

He figured out a joke recently. When I'm driving he'll say "mom mom mom mom" and when I turn around to see what he wants he just smiles. When I look away he does it again (rinse and repeat). I love it, though I love it most when I'm in the passenger seat.

He HATES stickers or anything like stickers (tape, etc). He actually gets really mad if you even ask him if he wants one. I've had to start telling the people at Target that he doesn't want a sticker before they ask him so he doesn't yell "NO!" at them. It cracks me up how passionate he is about it. He also falls almost every time we go to and from the car but he has yet to really cry about it. He's a tough cookie! I just help him stand up, he lets out the cutest little "ow" and then keeps on walking.

He still doesn't like milk (never has since we stopped nursing) so we make sure to give him yogurt at breakfast most days and cheese sometimes. He also doesn't like whipped cream or chocolate milk. One time I gave him my leftover fruit loop milk to trick him see if he would drink it and I got him to drink like a quarter cup. That was a miracle! He still loves apples and does a great job eating complicated foods if I feed him. If I don't feed him he won't touch it.

Nursery is a struggle. He's been going for 3 months now and freaks out when I leave (or stay but am more than one foot from him). It doesn't help that there are only 2 nursery workers but he's GOT to get this under control in the next few months before his brother comes! He does do a great job sitting in his chair for the lesson and snack. I love seeing him sit there like a big boy.

Some of his favorite things are his muslin blankets, his thumb, when we throw pillows or stuffed balls at him, spinning in circles, my contacts case, sticking his sister's hair clips places (I found 16 in the A/C and 2 in the printer), cookies at the store, having his water sippy cup in his bed, putting oven mitts on his hand and roaring as he chases after us, when dad (not mom) brushes his teeth, and stomping in puddles.

When I was pregnant with him I craved EVERYTHING spicy. The heat didn't even bother me. The other day we went to a restaurant and he really wanted the jalapeno popper things we got. He was throwing such a fit when we told him no that we finally gave him a little (he ALMOST always gets what he wants eventually). He took one bite and then acted as if his mouth was on fire. After a little drink he wanted more and more and the heat didn't seem to bother him again. He ate like 3! He really is our little Sergeant Pepper!

He seems to get colds really easily but has only had one ear infection (a really bad one) since getting his tubes. We'll find out how his anemia is doing in a few months but he seems to still be much more tired than his peers and his sisters at his age. Other than that he is doing great!

His stats at his 18 month appointment:

Head: 19 inches (50th%)
Height: 34 inches (90th%)
Weight: 26.5 lbs (50th%)

So, what do we think of this little boy? We LOVE him! We even adore him when he's mad or doing naughty things! He gets away with SO much because he's just so cute when he's being naughty. When he's screaming in anger over something, Brandt and I just laugh at him and tell him how cute he is. He probably goes to timeout a hundredth of the time the girls did at his age. This is probably going to backfire on us (who knows what we're raising) but we're enjoying him and his tiny self, no matter his mood, 99% of the time. Maybe it's his big brown eyes, maybe it's his little voice, who knows but he's got it figured out.

Boston, you were a dream over 10 years before you were born and you're definitely a dream come true. Thanks for your smiles, your snuggles and your kisses. I couldn't love you any more than I do now!

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Weekend Family Fun!

The first nice-ish weekend of the year finally happened! The girls woke up and got dressed in matching outfits. They decided they were going to be zebras so they put on their matching striped shirts and black pants. When Brandt got Boston dressed, they requested Boss wear his black striped shirt and darkest pants too. By the time I woke up I had a house full of zebras!

Wendy said, "Can we go to the zoo today?" I looked at Brandt and we both silently agreed before I said, "You know what? I think we can! What a great idea Wendy!"

Boston took an early nap and off to the zoo we went. The first animal we saw? You guessed it... ZEBRAS!

My zebras with the zebras at Lincoln Park Zoo! Everyone who walked by us laughed so hard.

Silly girls riding hippo statues. You know, typical zoo behavior.

 We had such a fun time at the zoo that day.

It was nice to finally be able to play outside, feeling a little warmth on our faces.

And, it was great to be together, all of us. Brandt and I would mention to each other how lovely that day was for the rest of the week.

We decided that we had to do something fun the next weekend too so we made plans to finally go to the Jelly Belly Factory! Jane talked about it all week and her and Wendy counted down the days till the next Saturday came. We invited some friends to join us and off we went to Wisconsin!

After about an hour and a half of driving, we made it and met up with the Hickmans. There family is PERFECT for our family! Their oldest, Hazel, gets along so well with Wendy, their middle, Ginger, LOVES Boston and their youngest, Poppy, and Jane play really well together. I can't imagine better pairs!

We totally got Boston to wear his hat and I'm still amazed.

So excited to learn about Jelly Belly's!

The tour was a little long but all the kids did pretty well. 

That night I grilled the girls on things we learned during the tour and while they didn't answer the questions exactly right, I was amazed at how much Jane remembered. She's got a good brain.

We left with a ton of jelly beans, headed to the outlets and then out to dinner at Texas Roadhouse where the girls filled up on SO many rolls they wouldn't touch their dinner. That's Ginger holding Boston's hand. I love it.

 Two big outings in a row! Living it up before the baby comes!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Random February

Apparently February flew by with loads of little moments. And, here are those moments:

I found out one Saturday morning that a yummy frozen custard place in Evanston was having free Sundaes so as soon as Boston woke up from his nap we drove up there and enjoyed our free ice cream! My favorite was that Boston didn't really love his so Wendy and I got to share it. 

After frozen custard we ran into Barnes and Noble where Jane found a lockable diary (she was in heaven) and she spent her Texas tooth fairy money on it. She's spent every day since coloring the cover and back a little at a time. She said I could have a key to read her secrets :)

Jane and Wendy destroyed their room after I had organized it. I walked in and started getting all grumpy when Jane walked up all happy, handing me this note and saying, "But I made this for you..." Made everything better. She knew what she was doing.

Jane, I will love you more than anything too.

This is Wendy's favorite dress. She wears it every single day. I think Boston thought, "Hmm, Wendy's not wearing it and she loves it so much so maybe I will to?" He brought it to me and with grunts and motions, told me to put it on him.

He LOVED it! I couldn't get enough of his giggles while he wore it for those hilarious three minutes.

I can't even remember what Wendy was pouty about but this picture just cracks me up. This is TOTALLY Wendy. Sums her little self up so well. She has got so many drastic emotions in her 4 year old body.

They love having two Cinderella dresses because when they get along they like to both wear them and be matching princesses. Jane had made Wendy this crown and I think she wore it for 5 hours straight, so in love with the fact that Jane made it just for her. When they get along they are the best sisters.

I woke up one day with a donut craving so after dropping the girls off at school I took Boston to one of my favorite donut spots. I love donut dates with my kiddos!

He didn't make it home before falling asleep. Sugar crash...

I don't know why but my kids are obsessed with squirt bottle tops! They walk around with them all the time. Wendy found one and decided this is how she would drink her juice.

My first instinct was to take it away but she was enjoying herself so whatever. Knock yourself out :)

Probably one of the things I love most about Wenders is her love for style. This is her having a snack after school while watching a show. I love her double headband and she is wearing that sweater and Jane's skirt because they both have stars. We went on a bike ride after and the skirt was too big for her bike so I had to take it off and I didn't realize till we were too far from home that she was wearing pink bike shorts over her leggings. She cracks me up.

 My crew! They love snuggling on the couch and watching a show after we get Jane from school some days.

I hope they always love each other. I mean, why wouldn't they? They are all pretty rad people...

 Wendy loves apples. Wendy doesn't love eating apples with vampire teeth. She tried and tried but it was just too difficult.

Boston got his first ear infection since his tubes almost a year ago. He always looks so so sad when he's sick. It breaks our hearts. Melts them too because he's just the sweetest sick baby.

I picked Wendy up from school one day and she had been one of three girls to color all over their faces during craft time. The marker came off a couple days later but she was so proud of it that I loved seeing her colorful beaming smile. Never again though... she got a stern talking to. Here is my pink super hero butterfly with a face full of color:

 The kids are lucky I'm just like my mom. I wanted a drink while we were out shopping so we got a large Icee and shared it. Probably one of my favorite moments of the month. Boston would freak out every so often because he had brain/chest freeze and didn't understand it and Wendy kept confusing where her brain was and kept grabbing her chest screaming, "My brain hurts!!!!!"

Jane got Honor Roll again! I got to go this time to see her accept her award and she was so happy to see us. Boston kept yelling "Hi" to her when she was on stage. I'm proud of you Janers!

She only got a B in gym (she doesn't love gym) and in focusing. Not surprised about either one :)

And back to Wendy's style: I didn't realize until she pulled some tights out of a bin that she'd never worn tights. Her mind was BLOWN! She kept telling everyone, "They are like pants but they have socks!" She wouldn't take them off all day, even after church for our family bike ride. She just put some bike shorts over the top and she felt good to go. (I love that her half sweater is upside down too). Such a funny girl. So proud of herself!

Other funny moments:

Jane and Wendy were watching Planet Earth and while they were watching, Jane got her finger stuck in a hole of a toy. It was stuck good. After lots of pulling and lotion we got it free and I asked her if she learned a lesson. She said, "Yeah... Never go by a shark." Well, at least she learned SOMETHING. 

After three days of making food the kids don't like (but we adults do) for dinner, they asked what I was making and I jokingly told them something gross (because I'm making them their favorite-- noodles). They started their whine fest and said:
Jane: You know the rule! If you want to make something we don't like...
Wendy: (finishes her sentence) Don't make it!