Monday, April 9, 2018

April 2018 - It has been a while!

Hello everyone.  My apologies for the long time between the update.  Life seems to get ever busier.  As the children transform and grow we become more and more absorbed into our family life.  Here are the highlights from around Christmas 2017 through now!

The Kid, Lovie, and Baber can be seen posing for their Christmas photo.  Sled courtesy of Gigi!

This was our Christmas Card photo this year (I think).  Poor Baber - he looks less than enthusiastic.

We got to get together with Gampa Butch and Gamma Janet as well - it was fun to see my stepbrothers Nick and Andrew - as well as their families.  I don't get to see those boys often enough.  As well - my niece "Rufflebutt" was there too (far left, back row).  

A chance for Great-Grandpa to see Jonathan.

- ~ -

While the above photos tell the tale well enough - the children are growing well.  The Kid continues to flourish at his Montessori school.  His brain is truly amazing.  Without exaggeration I can say that he has memorized 90%+ of the streets in Peoria IL - he knows every right, left, forward, back, highway and bi-way.  He's our little GPS.

He's also a total punk!  Check out his right hand.  See that?  Yeah he got me too!

Winter weather hasn't stopped our hikes!

Our nearly weekly tradition of heading to Hardee's before school hearkens back to my childhood, when The Kid's namesake would take me to Hardee's for breakfast.

Oh Lovie-Loo.  You are my heart.  I love my boys - but you are something special.  She turned 2 this winter - a feat she was very proud of.  Any any excuse to enjoy some "Aye-Peam" (ice cream) and "Cayke" (cake) is appreciated.

Here she is with one of her favorite stuffed animals - her "Buckey" (monkey).  Picture included as it highlights her personality quite well.

This little girl got to experience her first "'Oh" (snow) - and loves to make "ohbawls" (snowballs) and "ohmayn" (snowmen).  

"Finger Peets!" (Finger paints) have been a favorite lately.

Look who got a new tricycle for her birthday!

She is my best snuggle buddy!

It hasn't been all fun though.  Lovie had a run in with what seems to either be a cyclic fever or recurrent upper respiratory infections.   Poor thing had to have blood drawn, TWICE, and get a chest x-ray.  No worries, everything came out normal - but it was NOT a fun ride for Lovie.

The kiddos love to play together - and what joy it brings when they play peacefully together.  Grandma Polly sent a wonderful gift - a house that can be colored on!

When you're toting a 3-kid circus, Steak-n-Shake is fine dining, let me tell you.

Last but not least is J-Scott!  Or "Baber" as we have come to call him.  Baber has quite the personality let me tell you. He is all smiles, almost all day - and quite the charmer.  Chinch is thrilled that he has taken so well to breastfeeding.  And as you can tell from those cheeks, this kid ain't missing a meal.

I am the naps master!

Sure - he's not constructing elaborate lake houses and train-neighborhoods. But he can lego with the older kids in his own way.

Didn't I say that I was the naps master?!

Chinch and I have found some time together too, thanks to Poppi and Gigi's handy babysitting service.  Here you can see us at the site of our engagement - almost (we realized) 12 years to the day we were engaged.

In March we took a trip down to sunny FL to see the sights, my mother, my grandmother, and the beach!  Poppi and Gigi came with.  We did VRBO for the first time and loved it!

Abbe's Donut Nook was a must-try for this family.  "Mmm mmm Eelicious" (as Lovie would say).

Grandma Polly was as smitten with Lovie Loo as everyone usually is.  She sees a lot of herself in Lovie I think.

Chinch loves the beach!

Baber was less impressed.

This was The Kid's second trip to the Gulf.  And just like last time, he had to get in.

Lovie Loo was a bit more reserved.

I love this woman.  She is the greatest reason that I am who I am today. I see so much of my graceful Grandmother, my formidable Grandfather, and myself in her.  Thank you Ma.

The Kid Genius - at it again, with his first completed game of Scrabble (at 5 years old).

And finally (for the family at least) was Easter Sunday.  Lovie-Loo gets 2 pictures, because she's so flippin cute.

As for my personal projects - well they are humming along.  We have started our second Arcannan Campaign - this one set in the desert nation of Al-Qatan.  A big change of theme for the group, who seems to be making the adjustment well.

Jonesy!  Got to have a dinner with this guy when he was in town.  A must-include for the blog!

Well that is all for now - hopefully it won't be so long before my next post.  But in all honesty it might.  So much to do.  And so precious little time.

Stay Healthy everyone, and God Bless.


Matthew 4:4 - NASB

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

December 2017 - Its been a busy 3 months!

Hello again everyone.  Wow has it been a busy three months!  Sorry for the long wait between blog posts, but the arrival of Baby J has kept us hard at the parenting game.  Not as much time for blogging with a newborn.  Finally found a minute to take a breather and get a post up, so here we go!

Have to start with the biggest news first, of course! Chinch and I welcomed our third kiddo into the world.  Sweet little Baby J.  He came in September, just a few days after his due date. He was our heavy-weight champion child.  Biggest yet!  Topped 8lbs :D

The newborn phase is necessarily tough.  Babies are demanding, and they only have so many ways to communicate.  That said, Baby J has been pretty great.  He's sleeping in his bed (some) and took to breast feeding like a champ!  That was a fun change of pace.  Though, it makes me fairly useless.  That said I get my snuggles in, and give Chinch a break from 24/7 baby time.

Grandpa Butch stopped in to see his newest Grandkiddo.  Fun for him to spend some time.  He's out in California now working with a greenhouse facility there.  Its a long way to Santa Barbara, so we cherish every moment we get.  He was awful smitten with Letty Bean!

Thanksgiving dinner at Gigi's gave Grandma G a great chance to see Baby J.

Now that we have three kiddos we have to play Zone-Defense.  That means sometimes I am taking Letty Bean out for the same kind of adventures the Kid and I used to have.  He's in school now, too busy for dear old Dad.  That's okay, Letty Bean and I had a good time at the Bass Pro Shop!  She loves to see the "bish".  While the weather held we would take walks down to the creek in our neighborhood.  She loves to toss "Ocks" into the "Coll wawa".

Letty Bean couldn't resist stopping at the "Bahtsy" bench (her word for Fox).  She has a few stuffed foxes that are on loan from the Kid Genius that she cherishes.  This girl loves her stuffed animals.

Christmas time is here.  The garland is hung with the stockings.  LB is real keen on which stocking is hers.

The Kid Genius and I aren't without a few adventures.  One rainy Saturday we headed up to Utica to Grizzly Jacks.  We were originally intending to hike around Starved Rock but the weather was just too rainy and gloomy.  Too bad, because it was the warmest November day we had.  But we made the most of it.  We met our friends Nate and Sarah-Eva there.  Before they arrived the Kid made a new friend, Tinley (pictured above).  Within minutes of meeting they were running around and having a blast.  He was so sad when she had to leave.

The Kid Genius is living up to his nickname.  He continues to crush academic standards for his age.  He's 5years and 4 months.  Already he can read almost anything, is writing well, doing basic addition and subtraction reliably - and learning Chess.  He can set up the pieces correctly every time, and knows the basic rules.  Strategy is still not there, but that is to be expected.  He loves to do puzzles and play a game or two.  Love watching his gears turn!

Here's the crew!  Love these kiddos.

Celebrated a small personal milestone as well.  I finished up my first "Arcannan" campaign.  For those who don't know I am a huge nerd. I am the Dungeon Master for this rowdy bunch, in a homebrew world called "Arcannan".  We run Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition.  Pictured above from left to right are "Sir Arthur Drake" Ascendant-Paladin of Helios (played by Neighbor Mark), "Danica Chase" Rogue Extraordinaire (played by Suzanna) and "Graham Aleson" *deceased* Warrior Bard (played by Wes).  They defeated the villainous Fire Giant "King Zalto, Wielder of the Sword of Kings Reforged" in what was almost a 2 year campaign.   It was quite the accomplishment, and a fun time!

That is about it for me. I'll try to post more regularly going forward now that we are settling into a routine.  For more info/pictures you can always check out:

Stay Healthy!

"The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you.
The LORD lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace."

Numbers 6:24-26