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!!