Monday, November 17, 2008

Fall Fun

Sorry these pictures took me so long to share. October was such a busy month for us, and when it was over, I let the ball drop. Now that it's almost Thanksgiving, I thought I had better get this post out!

The Saturday before Halloween is when we got started with the fall festivities. Here we are at the Gethsemane Gardens fall event. I'm sure it had a catchier name than that, but I don't remember:It was lots of fun, and they really went all out with their seasonal displays. I couldn't get a picture with both kids looking at the camera at the same time, and Braden was upset about the sun in his eyes. Here's one of the better ones:Madeline loved it that there were pumpkins that she could pick up by herself, and chose this one to take home with her:Braden enjoyed the "petting zoo", a pony ride, and an animal presentation where he got to hold baby chicks, pet chinchillas and even hold a tarantula!And he had his face painted to look like he had a scar. (Though he said he would be too embarassed to keep it on with his knight costume for Fall Fest later that day)Braden and Madeline debuted their costumes at Lakeview's Fall Fest. (For the last few years, our congregation has gotten together to have a chili supper, play some games, and let the kids have an extra excuse to parade around in their costumes on the Saturday evening before Halloween.) Braden, again, was a knight, and Maddie was Snow White.On Halloween Day, there was a carnival at Braden's school. He didn't want to wear the knight costume to school, so he pulled Spiderman out of his closet. Here he is lining up to go back to class after playing games:These were his favorite carnival prize:That evening we went to the Andrea's house for trick-or-treating. Here are Braden, Madeline, and Maggie just before going house-to-house:And yes, Braden is wearing yet another costume - this time, a pirate, minus the accessories that actually make it resemble a pirate costume. (He said they made him look "absolutely ridiculous!")

It was a beautiful evening. We didn't even have to wear jackets! Here are Braden and Maggie making their way around the neighborhood, with Maggie's dad Joe in the lead: Braden is already in the planning stages for the perfect costume for next year. But for now, we are just going to enjoy the rest of his Halloween candy (yes, there's still a ton of it in our kitchen), and look forward to spending Thanksgiving in Tennessee. I'm trying to take it one holiday at a time!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Montrose Harbor

Yesterday, after school, it was so nice out that I hated to just take the kids home and stay indoors. So we crossed Lake Shore Drive and parked at Montrose Harbor.
That's one good thing about Braden going to school in another neighborhood. It gives us an excuse to visit places along the way that we wouldn't usually stop at. You can see from the pictures it wasn't the sunniest of days, but it was so cool and breezy that we had to take advantage. One of Madeline's favorite things to do is take a bath. And in the bathtub she loves to play with her ducks. So you can imagine how she felt about seeing these little guys:At first, she was a little confused. After all, they aren't pink and polka-dotted! But after Braden got them to quack, she was beside herself.

We walked through the park for a while, then made our way to the beach:Again, it was hazy, so excuse the fuzzy look of the pictures. Braden loves the beach in any weather, though. It was Maddie's first time to go to the beach! I was wary of taking her all summer because I didn't know what she would think of it. Braden HATED the beach at her age, so I was very hesitant to pack up all that gear, unpack it once we arrived, just to have to leave right away because she was miserable and making it miserable for the rest of us as well. So I avoided the situation completely. It is now clear that I shouldn't have worried.From the minute she heard the water and felt the wind, Madeline was all smiles. (Maybe in her eyes it was just one huge bathtub!) She was pulling to get out of the stroller to get into the sand, so I walked her around for a little while. She squished the sand between her toes and laughed at Braden running around, waging war on the seagulls.

Madeline's footprints (and my flip-flop for scale):And Braden's footprints:Soon, it was time to head back to the car. Of course, we passed an ice cream vendor on the way, and Braden said he was so hungry from all that running around on the beach that he NEEDED some Spiderman ice cream.
By the time we left, the sun was peeking out from behind the clouds and it began to get very hot. So we headed home to clean up and chill out.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Madeline all alone

If any of you were wondering what in the world Madeline is doing while Braden is in kindergarten, here is your answer:
She talks to Braden's pictures on the wall! She loves her brother (whom she affectionately refers to as "dey dey") and misses him when he's away from her.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Kids these days

Braden started Kindergarten last week! It's been hard on him (and me) but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he will someday learn to enjoy it. Below is a piture of him outside his new school. He is attending Walt Disney Magnet School.
Hopefully I'll remember to take a better picture this afternoon. It's a beautiful day.

When I was in Kindergarten, I didn't know what a computer really was. I had a Fisher Price record player, maybe a few cassette tapes. By 5th grade, our library had just a handful of computers for us to share, mainly to play Oregon Trail. Typing was a school subject in middle school, but we typed on actual typwriters, not computers. (Braden saw a picture of a typewriter the other day and asked me what it was. After I explained, he said, "Oh! Like a little computer!")

BOTH of my children are already more technologically advanced than I was in middle school. Here is the evidence:

Braden on the internet, probably Playhouse Disney:Madeline on her computer. She prefers the family laptop, but she'll settle for most anything with a keyboard and screen.Braden listening to my iPod, no help required:Madeline is pretty quick when it comes to problem solving, too. See below? It didn't take her long to figure out that if she dumps the whole bin of toys over, she can reach all of them!

But, of course, she still chews on toes. Even if they're not her own:

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Girls in Gulf Shores

A couple of weekends ago, I took a trip down to Gulf Shores, AL with my friends from Baton Rouge. It was so good to spend time with them and catch up. Not to mention the luxury of NOT changing diapers for almost a week!!!

With Roger and his parents looking after the kids while I was away, I flew down to New Orleans on Wednesday the 20th to meet up with everybody. Kimmy picked me up from the airport and took me to visit with Rachel and Melissa. I was excited to see Rachel's twin boys, Cooper and Cohen - they're getting so big! I can't believe they're already a year old!!! That evening we ate dinner at Las Palmas, just like old times, but with more kids. I finally got to meet little Maddox (born in July) and cuddle with him for a few minutes before he fussed for Mommy. After dinner we went to church, then headed home (well, to Bill and Melissa's) to get our stuff together for the next day's drive to Gulf Shores.

We stopped at Lambert's on our way in and stuffed ourselves! Melissa will thank me for this one:

We spent most of Friday settling into the condo and going shopping for groceries, etc. But Friday morning, we woke up to sunny skies and headed to the beach!

Here are Jennifer, Mary and Becky lounging in front of our condo.

We really lucked out this year. The condo was huge (there were 11 of us, and we had plenty of room), it was right on the strip, and right on the beach.

According to weather reports, Faye was headed our way, so we spent as much time as we could in the sun and in the water. I had the burn to prove it! After we all got our fill and got showered and dressed, we went out to have some fun.

First up, dinner at LuLu's. Yum! (clockwise from bottom left corner: Jennifer Yale, Kimberly Harper, Christy Holstein, Brooke I'm not sure what her last name is, Leigh Anne Russell, Becky Hendrix, Mary Raines, Rachel Stewart, Melissa Woolford and Rebecca Johnson.)

A better group shot as we were leaving:Then we made our way to the Flora-Bama.That picture does not accurately represent my feelings for the place, but it's the only one I've got. I will admit that it's great fun to people-watch there. Never a dull moment!

The pictures end there. It's a good thing we enjoyed ourselves on Friday because the rain started on Saturday. Not the monsoon we expected, but just gray and drizzly enough that we didn't want to get out. Half of us spent the afternoon lounging around watching Movie and a Makeover while the other half read (more specifically, the Twilight series), then we made tacos for dinner. Sunday morning, we packed up and headed back to Baton Rouge. I got to spend Monday morning hanging out with Rachel, Melissa and the twins again before flying back to Chicago.

And I'm not convinced that my kiddos missed me at all!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Where do I start?

Since the last post, a lot has happened. I am so behind, that I don't even know where to start! I think it would be best to break it up into more than one post.

(And let me warn you that I'm posting with Madeline sitting in my lap trying to take over the computer, so this will be brief!)

I suppose the most significant event that has occurred is that we celebrated Braden's 5th birthday! We invited our friends and family to play with Braden at Pump It Up and had a great time.The kids - okay, the kids AND the adults - did lots of sliding and bouncing...There was even a rock wall!After play time we enjoyed pizza and cake. (Braden chose a Spiderman and Friends-themed cake.)We were so excited to have Nana and Pickle and Taylor and Marileigh in from Tennessee for the weekend! Thank you to everyone who was able to celebrate with us! Also, Roger took Braden to the Cubs/Pirates series at Wrigley the weekend before his party. It was the first Cubs experience for both of them, and they plan to have many more.
For the Saturday game, Roger's office got a box, so they cheered in luxury. The next day, they had just as much fun cheering from the stands
I'll have to tell Roger to edit this post if he has anything he wants to add about the games. Since I wasn't there, I don't have all the details, but I know Braden loved the Cracker Jacks and the bag of Cubs goodies he came home with!

Next up will probably be my trip to the beach with the girls! Stay tuned...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Family Fun

We just returned from spending two weeks in Tennessee with my family. As always, it was a busy time, but full of fun.

We arrived Thursday afternoon, just before the annual Brewer family reunion on Saturday, June 28th. Unfortunately, I didn't get my camera out the entire day. Not once. But we had a great time catching up and showing off all the new additions. Madeline was a hit!

Two days later, we headed to East Tennessee. Our caravan consisted of myself, Braden and Madeline, my parents, my sister Rachel, my brother Seth and his girlfriend Emily, my dad's sister Aunt Marilyn, and cousins Taylor and Marileigh.

For four days we enjoyed the best of Pigeon Forge, which included a day and a half at Dollywood, then a dinosaur adventure, the Dixie Stampede, Wonderworks, and shopping!

For some reason, Dollywood has a cheesy reputation, but after one visit, you'll be hooked! My family has been visiting Dollywood since the early 80's, when it was still Silver Dollar City. There are lots of great rides, shows, foods, etc. as well as a huge children's area. Braden loves it, and this year he rode his first "grown up" roller coaster, Blazing Fury!

Braden also enjoys the Dixie Stampede. The show is interactive, and the food is delicious!

Here are some of the activities Braden enjoyed at Wonderworks:

In the picture above, the shadow of the Mona Lisa on the wall comes from the "jumble" of metal on the right. There were several examples of this type of art. I thought it was pretty interesting. Some other fun things that we got to experience at Wonderworks: what it feels like to be in an earthquake, what hurricane winds feel like, and what the water temperature felt like during the sinking of the Titanic.

When we weren't in Pigeon Forge, we simply enjoyed time with family:

Braden and Grandaddy are big buddies

Madeline spent some time with her great-grandmother, Jane (who she is named after!) Mur and Maddie Seth and Braden picked blackberries. It was braden's first time picking blackberries, and his first experience with chigger bites! Emily and BradenBraden and Seth being silly
Maddie with her Nana Uncle Jack and Aunt Michelle met Madeline for the first time
Pickle and MaddieBraden with his favorite cousins, Taylor (r.) and Marileigh (l.)When we are at my mom and dad's, we also like to just spend time outside, enjoying the views. Two pretty photos of views from their house to leave you with: