Monday, November 18, 2013

Wild Weather

We all laid around sick yesterday and watched the weather reports.  There were a couple tornado warnings close to here, but we mostly got rain during the day.  Our neighbors in Illinois weren't so lucky and our prayers are with them today.
I was surprised to wake up this morning to a tree laying in our neighbor's driveway.  It must have happened overnight.
These neighbors are out of town, so I texted them a picture first thing this morning and of course they called for more info.  It came REALLY close to the house and it seems there's some minor damage to the gutter, but thankfully that's it.

We are all on the mend now, except for Owen who is running a fever and just laying around.  School is on-hold for today and I'm trying to get a few things done around here, like organizing my office and catching up on some work-related emails.  And, of course, blogging.  :)

That's My Boy!

I came home from running errands this afternoon to find the boys' room CLEAN!  Well, not really clean by my standards but it was obvious something had happened in there because, first of all, I could actually see the floor!  Upon further inspection, it was clear that someone took a lot of pride in their work.  Every toy was taken out of the toy box and put on display...

Even the windowsills were full of stuff...

The stuffed toys hanging from the bunkbeds?  Who could have done this???

You can't see it in this picture, but the little Magna Doodle in the middle had the words
 "I Love You" written in William's unmistakable printing.

I left without asking him to clean, but he knows the way to my heart. 
Oh, my sweet, sweet William!  You are my angel!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Slow Week

We had a pretty light week of school this week.  It was our second week on Brazil/South America and the kids were a little bored with it.  The best part of this unit has been learning about the rain forests.  The boys especially liked a book called "The Ultimate Field Trip" about a group of 7th and 8th graders who went to the rain forest for two weeks.  They lived in huts, used outhouses and got eaten alive by bugs.  It was written by the kids themselves, so it was really interesting to hear their points of view. 
To get us out of our school doldrums, I planned a cute fall craft for the boys on Tuesday morning.  It was easy enough that even Luke could participate.  I made an example tree before we started:
The tree is made from a brown paper lunch bag.  You cut strips about halfway down and then twist the trunk and the strips to look like branches.  Easy concept, but a little challenging for the boys.
Here's Luke patiently waiting for us to get started:

I twisted the trunks for the little boys, but made Owen and Sammy do their own. 

William enjoyed twisting his branches all by himself.  I had to help Luke.

The cat is never far from the action.

After the branches were all twisted, I had them glue little cut pieces of colored paper on for leaves.  That was the one part Luke did all by himself and, boy, was he proud of the finished product!

I also printed out a bunch of Thanksgiving-themed sheets for the little boys to do. 

I was cracking up when William started talking about the "bananas" on his worksheet.  I had to go look to see what he was talking about; it was corn. 
This week we move on to Europe and start out in Norway.  We are going to try to pack two weeks of work into this week so that we can come back from Michigan after Thanksgiving and start fresh in a new country. 
We're all so excited about our trip and can't wait to see our family! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

To cut or not to cut?

With our impending trip to Michigan, we are gearing up for haircuts.  It's not a monumental event around here; it happens about every 4-6 weeks.  Chris cuts all the boys' hair (Thank GOD!) and has gotten really good and knowing their hair types and what will look best on them without styling.  This is very important because I think the two older kids look in the mirror approximately twice a week and almost never determine on their own that they should do something with their hair.  Oh, to be so low-maintenance! 
Anyway, the best style for boys who pay so little attention to their hair is the timeless buzz cut.  But as I mentioned in this post, I don't like it on any of the boys...except Luke.  I dug up a couple of before and after pics from when we first tried it on him as a baby.  I think he was around 18 months old here....
Before:  still cute, but kinda shaggy
After:  POW!  His cuteness just punches you right in the face, doesn't it?

Both Chris and I think he looks like a little teddy bear in this second picture.  ADORABLE!

But, as I mentioned in a previous post, he HATES the buzz cut.  So what's a mom to do?  I could bribe him to get him into the chair, but then I'd have to feel guilty later when he looks in the mirror and cries.  Part of me wants to take control of his hair while I still can, but then I also want him to be happy.  I guess I'll have to figure it out in the next 10 days or so...stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Last Wedding of 2013

This past Saturday was my last wedding for the season.  I was happy to have it over with and to enter the "off season."  Although there really isn't any downtime for me;  I already have four signed weddings for next year, three of which are full-service, and another 4 or 5 considering hiring me.  It's busy!

The wedding this past Saturday went really well.  It was at the Riviera Ballroom in downtown Lake Geneva.  Here are a few pictures:

The three pictures above were taken by Elyse, who helps me with weddings when Hayley's not available.  (The same Elyse who took our family photos a couple weeks ago.)  It really helps to have her camera to get detail shots for my website and Facebook page.
The rest of these pictures were taken by her hired photographer, Max with Matt Mason Photography.  Max and I have worked together several times.  He always does a beautiful job.
Check out this beautiful bridal party.  The tall blonde on the right is the bride's sister and was the Maid of Honor.  She was so sweet and friendly and thanked me so many times for helping her sister relax.  The bride was VERY Type A so definitely needed someone to take the reigns so she could let go on her wedding day.

It was chilly and rainy, but these outdoor pictures still turned out really great.  I love this one where you can see her cute shoes:  nude wedges.  So classy!

This was my favorite one, taken by the photographer's assistant in a candid moment between the posed shots.  Look at how joyful she looks!

The couple is currently enjoying their honeymoon in New Zealand.  Lucky dogs!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween 2013

It was rainy yesterday, but we had a great Halloween anyway.  How could a family with four little boys NOT have fun on Halloween?  It's one of our favorite holidays and Chris was so very glad that it fell on a Thursday this year, because he has Thursdays off. 
They had Messy Art Club at the library at 3:30pm and I thought that would be a fun start to our evening.  The kids got to make Monster Boxes out of tissue boxes.  They had a lot of fun with the CRAZY amount of craft supplies available.  Once again, I resigned myself to take them to a lot more of these free library programs that are available to us.  I love that I don't have to buy any supplies OR clean up the inevitable messes!
William wanted to be a zombie so Chris fixed him up with face paint and green hair.
In addition to the Monster Box craft, they had face painting.  Luke got a spider on his cheek.


Owen opted for a handlebar moustache.

After we were done at the library, we splurged on a fancy dinner at Culvers.  The boys were thrilled to have their own table - and Chris and I were pretty happy to have our own, too. 

Then we got down to business.  We usually go trick-or-treating in town, where the houses are more closely spaced.  I asked Owen's friend, Jonah, if he would like us to join him.  (This is a friend Owen had from his public school days and we still see him weekly because I drive him to AWANA class with us)  Jonah was thrilled to have some friends to go with, since he normally just goes alone with a parent.  The three of them ran off together, with Jonah's stepdad keeping an eye on them from a distance.  That meant Chris and I got to take just William and Luke and not worry about yelling at the older boys to hang back.  A win for all of us!
We sure did enjoy going at a slower pace with these two...

The rain started to pick up about an hour into trick-or-treating, but by then Luke and I were back at Jonah's mom's house enjoying a cup of hot chocolate. Chris and William joined us later (William wanted to go an extra block, but Luke was done after about 8 houses) and we waited for the older boys.  They came in soaked but happy at about 6:30pm.  It was a wonderful Halloween for all of us!