Sunday, December 28, 2008

Beating the Winter Blues

Being residents of Chicago, we have to get creative in the winter season when snow storms and freakish weather is to be expected any given day. Hence, I've scouted local venues and studied local magazines and guides to see if I can find indoor places that we could bring Joshua to play at, thus help him relieve some pent-up, 2-year-old energy during the dreary days of winter. These are just a few places that I've found to be very helpful, and frankly, quite the life-savers. If you know of other places, let me know:

- Jumps and Jiggles at the Elk Grove Village Park District (http://www.elkgroveparks.org/pavilion.asp?id=1971) - $3 per child (you can find coupons in Oaklee's Guide for BOGO), 10am - 12pm M-F, access to the indoor play area and unlimited rides on the carousel. It gets super busy, so you want to get there early. They will turn people away.

- Nibbles Play Cafe in Wheeling (http://www.nibblesplaycafe.com/) - even though it's a bit of a drive, it's totally worth it! It's become one of our favorite hangouts this winter! $7.50 per child, but this is waived if you purchase a kid's meal for $4.50. Great place to let your child roam around and play, while you sit and grab a cuppa, read, chat with friends, etc. Heaven!

- Woodfield Mall Indoor Play Area in Schaumburg (finally!!) - bring your hubby with, so he can watch the kids while you go shopping! I know there are indoor play areas at the Stratford Mall as well as Spring Hill Mall.

- Thomas the Tank Engine Play Area in most Barnes and Nobles Bookstores (except for the one on Golf Road in Schaumburg - what's up with that?)

- Pinstripes in South Barrington (http://www.pinstripes.com/momstots.html) - indoor bowling and bocce ball. Every Tuesday is Mom and Tot Play Date from 10am - 12pm. Just $5 per child, but adults bowl for free! Free shoe rental, and you get to keep the socks! Seriously, it's the most upscale bowling place I've ever been too (well, it is South Barrington!), but it's a great place to bring your kids. They have bumpers in the lanes and also a ramp for the kids to roll their bowling bowls down into the lanes. We went there last Tuesday with some of our friends (when we had that foot of snow!), and we're going again this week! Check out the pics I took (and hopefully a video clip of Joshua bowling)...

video

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas...Part 3

This Christmas was a little different, in that, we stayed local. We usually go up to Wisconsin twice during the Christmas season, but we are thankful to be able to stay in Illinois this year. So, Christmas Day was spent with the extended family in New Lenox, IL., at the Reandeaus (Jared's aunt and uncle), and Christmas Eve was spent with Jared's immediate family in Elmhurst. We did have a white Christmas, though - we had almost a foot of snow! On a side note, it still amazes me that friends and family overseas know about the weather here in Chicago - they know about the delays and flight cancellations at O'Hare, and almost the exact measurements of snow accumlation we had! Unreal! Anyway, we hope you all had a good Christmas, and may your New Year be blessed! Enjoy the pics...


Joshua with his presents on Christmas morning

Joshua and Mommy

Joshua and Daddy

Opening presents at Grammy and Grandpa's

One of the many vehicular toys he received!

Joshua made a Gingerbread Train, with Grammy's help

The Gingerbread Train...doesn't it look great?!

"Happy Birthday to Jesus" - Joshua's grandmother started this tradition when he was born. She makes a birthday cake every Christmas, and we all sing the birthday song to Jesus, and Joshua gets to blow out the candles!

"I'm dreaming of a White Christmas"...no need to dream...this was what our backyard looked liked Christmas morning!


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Meet our baby girl

She's 28 weeks in this 3-D picture which was taken at my ultrasound last week (sorry, it was hard to get a close-up pic). Please continue to pray that she will be content and stay in-utero till March!

Christmas...Part 2

We had our small group Christmas dinner last Friday night at our friends', Chuck, Laura and Henry Rayman. Laura made a delicious ham dinner (of which we were willing recipients of left-overs!), and we exchanged gifts with each other. Thanks for my teflon pans - I definitely need them!! Here are some pics from out night together...

Jared with Henry (8 months) and Joshua
Henry and Joshua

Henry opening his present

Joshua opening his presents (he received a Sesame Street DVD (yay!) and a Karen Katz's book (double yay!!)

On Saturday, we went to Willow's Christmas Service with John, Jane, Rachel, the Raymans, and our friends, Olivia and Hailey (Olivia is a fellow Tastefully Simple consultant, Hailey is her daughter). After the service (okay, it took us over 30 minutes to get home because of traffic and snow!), we had family over for dinner. Great-Grandma Uecker (or as Joshua calls her "Gi-Gi" or G.G.) was there too! We had a good time since we have our very own live-in 2-year-old entertainer, who relished the attention from all. He better milk it now, because Baby Sister and Baby Cousin are coming soon!
More Christmas celebrations to come...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas...Part 1

Christmas is almost here...hence, the parties, cookies, shopping, etc., but more importantly, time with family and friends. Here are some pics of our first of many Christmas parties. We had our Moms' Group Christmas Party last Saturday at the Paks. The kids had a lot of fun, and so did the grown-ups! It's amazing to see how much these little ones have grown. We've had a couple more additions to the group - welcome Baby Ben (Mikes) and Baby Zoey (Pak).
Joshua opening his Grab Bag gift

Joshua and Evan

Joshua and Daddy making a Christmas craft

Joshua and Daddy making dessert for another Christmas Party

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bed rest...again!

It's official...I'm on bed rest again. Fortunately, it's only partial bed rest this time. Which means I can still do short errands, and more importantly, my Target runs - yay!

I was feeling a lot of tightness and shortness of breath about 2 weeks ago. So, I called my doctor and she told me to come in for an evaluation. After being strapped to monitors for an hour or so, it showed that my uterus was irritated (I guess I'm one of those people who are susceptible to that!) which causes mild contractions. Fortunately, Baby Girl is fine. Because of my prior history of preterm labor with Joshua, Dr. Keith wants to monitor me, and just be cautious. Hence, I've been put on partial bedrest, and have had to stop work.

I do see it as a good thing...it's the best thing for the baby, and I'm forced to rest. While trying to stay on the positive side of things, it can get discouraging thinking about the income that I'm not bringing in to help our family, especially with the economy these days. Still, God is in control and will provide for us.

So...now that I'm in my third trimester, with 13 (God-willing!) weeks to go, please give me suggestions on how I should/can pass the time. Any good movie, book recommendations? I would love suggestions on how I can play and interact with Joshua whilst being in an incline position! Finally, I would appreciate your prayers for our family.

Thanks in advance!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008/Joshua is 2 1/2!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!



We actually had Thanksgiving on Friday, instead of Thursday, in Elmhurst. Jane made a great turkey dinner, and we capped off our meal with most of us napping in front of the TV. Way better than fighting with insane shoppers in the crazy malls!


We have a lot to be thankful for this year! Obviously, Jared and I are thankful for Joshua and his soon-to-be little sister, Orpah.


We're kidding about the name...


Here are some pics Joshua took with the family (why didn't we get a family pic?):



Joshua with "Papa" and "Mimi"


Joshua with Uncle Matt & Auntie Anne



Joshua with Auntie Rach



This is a preggo pic of Anne @19 weeks, and me @ 25 weeks



Joshua is 2 and a half years old!


* he's able to hold a conversation with you (in Joshua-ese, of course!)

* he's high energy 24/7

* have you heard him pray? It's too cute!

* he goes to Promisetowne once a week (our church's daycare/preschool program) and loves it!

* he loves to watch Cars, Finding Nemo, and the Lion King

* he still loves his Wiggles!

* he can sing simple songs

* he exerts his will very strongly...hence

* he's been in more time-outs than ever!

* he knows his colors, numbers, and some of the alphabet

* he still loves to cuddle (yay!)

* he understands that he has a little sister coming soon!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Skunk!!

Check out this poor, little skunk! We found him wandering aimlessly in our parking lot with his head stuck in a peanut butter jar!

It's okay to laugh...but say a little prayer for little stinky, too!












Monday, November 10, 2008

This makes it official...

I received my US Passport in the mail this weekend!! Yippee!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day!


As a new American citizen, I voted for the first time today!!!
It is, indeed, a historical day!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween 2008

In keeping with the "brown outfit" theme, Joshua was a Monkey this year for Halloween ($5 on Ebay!). Of course, he was the cutest monkey around! We had a few trick or treaters come to our home - the little ones are adorable, the junior high kids...not so much. We swear that some high school kids came knocking on our door at 9pm! Not to be party-poopers, but we didn't open the door. Well, it was way past curfew time for trick-or-treating, and our policy of "no costume, no candy" still stands (this only applies to high schoolers though).

The day before, we had our annual Halloween Party at our neighborhood Moms' Group. We had a red dragon, a construction worker, a fairy princess, and a lion (see pic below! Yes, it's still a feat to try to get a group of 2-year-olds to take a picture together). At least there were no duplicate costumes this year! The kids had a good time, and went home with lots of treat bags in their Halloween baskets.

Oh, and on a side note: I ate way too much chocolate that night, and Baby girl was not too happy...or maybe she was? She kept me up all night by kicking and moving around like there was a party going on in there! She did it again when I was sitting in church this morning...no, I didn't learn my lesson from Halloween.









Joshua (monkey), Talia (fairy princess), Joel (dragon on the piano), Jack (lion), Evan (construction worker was MIA)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sugar and Spice

...and everything nice.
That's what little girls are made of!

WE'RE HAVING A GIRL!!!!!

Here's the email that we sent out:

Hi family & friends,

Just wanted to share our happy news with you...

I went for my Level 2 ultrasound yesterday and we found out that we're having a girl!! We are so happy and just thankful to God for blessing us with a daughter! I feel like our family is complete!! Whenever we asked Joshua if he wanted a brother or sister, he would say "sister". So, I guess he was right!!

The technician was able to give us 3D pictures of her, and she's pretty cute (am I allowed to say that??). The ultrasound also showed no immediate concerns, and it seems like everything looks good - there are no existing conditions to warrant preterm labor. Please praise God with us - He is so good, and is indeed the giver of perfect gifts!!

We'd appreciate your continued prayers for our family and our little sweet pea.

Rejoicing in His goodness,
Yvonne, Jared, & Joshua

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Royal Oaks Apple Orchard

Last weekend, we went to Royal Oaks Apple Orchard in Harvard, IL with our friends, the Rayman Family. It was a gorgeous, sunny day, and we had a lot of fun. We didn't pick apples, but bought a bushel from the apple store. We also indulged in some apple cidar donuts - yum! Joshua got to ride on a kiddie train all by himself, and of course, the carousel! There were a lot of activities there for kids (we usually go on a Friday), so the place was bustling. Enjoy these pics!





Devil's Lake State Park, Baraboo, WI

This year, we went on our annual Fall family vacation to Baraboo, Wisconsin. We went with the intent to see some lovely fall colors. However, we were a little too early as everything was still pretty green. According to the locals, the reason why the trees hadn't changed their colors is because of all the rain that they've had. Makes sense, I guess. But I was a little disappointed - Fall is my favorite season, and one of the reasons is because of the magnificent hues of orange, red, and yellow on the trees. Oh well...

We still had a lot of fun, though. We went hiking at Devil's Lake State Park. Being pregnant, we hiked 2 pretty easy trails. Joshua was able to do some hiking on his own, versus carrying him on the Kelty backpack. We also enjoyed the quaint downtown atmosphere of Baraboo. It seems like everyone knows everyone. Here are some of the places we visited, and things we did in Baraboo:

- we found a cute toy store that had trains galore, much to Joshua's delight!! They had a great selection of Melissa and Doug puzzles and toys. So, we HAD to buy a couple for Joshua's Christmas present!

- the first night, we had dinner at the Java Cafe, which was owned by ex-Chicagoans. Another local store owner had suggested that we go there for their pizza. It was okay...I think we've been spoilt by having great pizzas like Nancy's and Lou Malnati's, that nothing else seems to quite compare!

- we had a great lunch at Jen's Alpine Cafe the next day. They are known for their homemade soups. We highly recommend that - it was worth it!

- our favorite place has to be the Coffee Connection. One of the great things about small towns like Baraboo is that there are no Starbucks around. So, we were happy to support this local business! We even bought some bags of coffee home (and the nice guy even gave me my cup of decaf mocha for free!). We asked him about Friday Night Fish Fry, and he recommended this place called "Corner Garden Cafe" (notice that most stores in that town end with "cafe"?).

- Corner Garden Cafe...we do NOT recommend getting fish fry there (Thanks, coffee guy. But maybe stick to your coffee next time!)

- Saturday morning, before we left for home, we went to the Mid-Continental Railway Museum. We thought it would be fun for Joshua. They even advertised a 50-minutes train ride at 10am. So we wanted to get there in plenty of time. Well, we were disappointed when we pulled up and was told that the museum was closed. Bummer!! However, the guy in charge said we could walk around and take pictures.

- after the museum, we decided to check out the local Farmer's Market. It was pretty small compared to the ones we have here in the Chicago suburbs. Jared wanted to get some pies, so we bought a couple from an Amish guy.

All in all, we had a nice time. It was nice to just get away for a couple of days, and Baraboo was a good place to go.