Saturday, October 30, 2010

Owen's first field trip!

Tuesday was Owen's first field trip! We went to a pumpkin farm/ apple orchard in Poolesville with his class. It is funny that they call it a field trip, considering that each child had to be accompanied by an adult and we all met at the farm. Oh, well! I guess that is how things work with 3 year-olds! And, I was more than happy to go (more like overjoyed!) I have been waiting to see O in action with his school friends and teachers. Best of all, we got to bring Ben, too!

Climbing the hay bales

In the barn

Feeding the goats

Stinky sheep!

Hayride to the pumpkin patch
Searching for that special pumpkin

Found it!
Ben doesn't know what to think about that pumpkin!

Hayride back to the farm.

Owen actually took this picture of Ben and I

A nice mom took these pics of the boys and I... I wish it was easier to get a good picture of 2 little boys!
Owen doesn't quite get how these things work. We need to keep practicing, I guess! We bought some apple cider and the most delicious fuji apples ever! I think we'll have to take an apple picking trip to Homestead farm next fall.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Getting Acclimated

Columbus Day Weekend
On Thursday morning before Columbus day, I was driving Owen to preschool and listening to NPR. They mentioned it was a holiday weekend and it dawned on me that Mike might have Monday off. Indeed he did! Gotta love working for the government and getting all of those silly holidays off! Here are a couple of fun adventures we'd like to share with you...
Saturday morning we got up, drove to the Shady Grove metro station, and took the train into Washington, DC! Owen told us his favorite part of the day was the train ride. We weren't very surprised!!!

Ben liked it, too!

Smithsonian Sculpture Garden

The Capitol

Another one of Owen's favorite attractions on the National Mall... he was being "shy"

The Washington Monument

We also met our friend Sarah from college for lunch. She lives in Dupont Circle, so we walked her back to her neighborhood, played in the fountain for awhile, and then took the train back to the park 'n ride. It was a long but fun day! I didn't get any pictures of the boys with Sarah, unfortunately, but here is a picture of Owen enjoying his strawberry milkshake!

Sunday, after Mass, we went to have brunch and walked around this outdoor shopping/ restaurant area. The weather was beautiful and the boys looked pretty cute if I do say so!

Monday, we met my cousin Sean, his wife Jess and their two kids at Butler's Orchard which is a pumpkin patch less than 10 minutes away from our house! Unfortunately, no apples to pick, but we had a fantastic time (minus the dead stink bug in my bbq beef sandwich! I wish I had a picture of that! I was too grossed out to think of it, I guess!)

The Great Pumkin Slide!!! I got to ride with Owen because Mike had just gotten Ben into the carrier! It was so much fun! Usually I don't get to do this kind of stuff because I have Ben. It was a fun change of pace. This was Owen's favorite!

Hayride to the pumpkin patch... I think this was Ben's favorite part of the day!

The perfect pumpkin!

Owen and his cousin, Corinna! She is just a couple of months younger than Owen. They are just about the same height and they wear the same size shoes!
Who knew Bob the Builder and Scoop would be at the pumpkin patch?!

Racing ducks with Dad

Combine slide! Two thumbs up from Owen!

And they had a petting zoo, too! Like we really needed to get dirtier!

What a great weekend! It was so hot at the pumpkin patch! Instead of hot cider, they had cider slushies! I guess that is something we'll have to get used to in our new home!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010


Yes, we make it!!! And, no, I haven't abandoned the blog!!! I have been putting off re-starting the blog because between the last week in Evanston and making it to Germantown, MD, I took 800+ pictures!!! That is correct- 800+! I was so overwhelmed by the idea of blogging about our awesome last week in Evanston along with a week in Omaha and 2 more in Kansas City. We did so many fun things and saw so many friends. It was really like a vacation (for Mike. He got to stay in Chicago and work for 3 weeks!) It was really fun and (mostly) felt like we were on a vacation.
Let me start at the beginning...
We did tons of fun things with tons of different friends before we left Evanston...

The boys took their first bath together! Ben was in heaven and Owen had fun, too!

A fun dinner with the Lakofka's!

Owen hijacked the Jeep and took Benny for a spin around the neighborhood ;o)


Always lots of silliness around the house!

A trip to the Wonder Works Children's museum with our friends Abbie, Izzy, and Emelia

And, how cute is this, Mike and Owen unknowingly dressed in matching outfits one morning!

Owen and his buddy Evan at the pool. The Spongebob treats were to celebrate Evan's 3rd birthday! Happy Birthday to Evan!!! I just love taking pics of the little ones eating ice cream! Yes, Owen is 5 months older than Evan. These photos illustrate both ends of the growth curve :o)

Owen and Eliza, sunbathing!

Ben and Ameerah, enjoying the sunshine

The Morton Arboretum with Abbie, Izzy, and Emelia
This place is fantastic if you've never been there! If you are in the Chicago area, it is definitely worth the drive! So much kids stuff. Last year we went in the fall and it was so beautiful. Please
check it out!

The kids decided this "mountain" would be the perfect stage...

This, sniff sniff, was our last adventure of the summer with our Wednesday morning buddies. We met and rode the metra...

Down to the water taxi!!! If you get off at the right stop (I can't remember which stop) you can essentially walk across the street and ride the water taxi. Why didn't we know about this sooner! The taxi was cheap and you can buy a ticket to ride all day. The ride wasn't too long and the kids loved it. By the time they were getting antsy, it was time to get off!

Then, we walked to Potbelly for a delicious lunch!

The other moms went to get food while I held down the fort! Tons of business people kept walking by me and asking if all of the kids were mine :o) I think I had Ben in the Ergo, too! I claimed all of them! I got some really nice looks :o)

Guess who else we ran into at Potbelly's??? It was pre-planned! But we were all very excited to see her! Auntie Em came into town for a bachelorette party and extended her trip for a few days to help out! I am so lucky to have such a great sister, right?!

She joined us for one last lunch at the Choo-Choo Restaurant with our friends Ethan, Addie, and Mama Vicky. There might have been a yarn sale involved, too!

One last trip to the Farmer's Market! Everyone wanted to model Owen's hat!

Last nights at work... Don't even get me started! I can't even think about it! Still... like 2 months later! :o( I had a great last two nights at work filled with parties, breastfeeding poster making, and even some knitting! It was amazingly quiet... which never happens... especially when I get to work with my good buddy April! Crazy things always happen when we worked together... crash c-sections...JCAHO coming in the morning... horrible, train wreck transfers... general insanity! It was so pleasant to catch up with friends. I had very mixed emotions about leaving, but I managed to hold it together, almost! I miss all of my L&D friends so much! You all made Evanston feel like our home! I can't imagine working with a better group of women! Thank goodness for facebook, so I can still see what you are all up to!


Love this picture! Doesn't Ben look naked! He was wearing a diaper!

Here are some pictures from a playdate with the North Shore crew! It was such a fantastic time. I truly did not want to leave. The kids had a blast and it was such a nice time for the moms to catch up! You girls need to do this more often! Thanks so much for the fun time!

One last get together with our friends Noah and Eliza! We will miss you guys so much!

These pics are from our last night as a family in Evanston. We had to get a family picture in front of our building... the last picture of the grad school years. Happy and sad, you know! Then we walked over to our favorite park which we call the "Choo-Choo Park." Had to play there one last time!
The next morning, we got up and headed to Omaha! The trip went about as well as could be expected. Unfortunately, we forgot to pack the adapter cord for our DVD player. It was a pretty big mistake!!! Despite a stop at Best Buy and Target, we were not able to get the correct cord. We pressed on and made it safe and sound!

Delicious breakfast with the whole crew. Aunt Liz's best friend's family owns a restaurant that makes raspberry ricotta pancakes... Yummy! That will be a must stop place when we're in Omaha for the holidays :o) Also, they have crazy mugs!

Ben, eating up all of the attention!

Love this one!

Mimi works for Children's Hospital in Omaha. While we were there, they opened a new, beautiful building for their clinics. It looks like a children's museum! Clifford was even there! Lucky us for being in town on the right day!

Fire fighting with Bert and Ernie!

Dinner with some friends from college! It was a great mini reunion! TJ is 2 months younger than Ben.

Mimi played hooky one morning and took us to the zoo! Other than being crazy hot, it was fabulous! That is quite a zoo! And, it was empty!

The zoo is huge and hilly! I was very happy we had the double stroller!

The giraffes almost walk right up to you!

There is an enormous ski lift that takes you across the zoo and back! It was really awesome! Both the boys loved it (and so did I!)

The Omaha Zoo has an awesome butterfly area! It was kind of funny- Owen was really scared of the butterflies :o)
Aunt Kathryn met us at the Children's Museum for a day of fun! Here we are enjoying the special Clifford exhibit! As you can see, the museum was super empty, too!

Ben recently learned to wave... We have lots of pictures that look like this! I remember when Owen went through this phase :o)
Owen the fireman!
Ben, enjoying a snack... I just love to look at his little feet sticking out from under the hooter hider!

What do you suppose Ben is thinking about???

Owen the grocery man!
Hover chair

Aunt Kathryn, sharing her artistic talents!

Ben and Owen

O for Owen!

I found him like this when I went to bed that night. He sleeps in his Thomas tent at Mimi and Grandpa's house!
We just had to squeeze in a trip to the farm before we left town. We were surprised with chilly weather! I did not pack for it at all! Owen was too excited to be cold!

Owen, Pa, and Vinton checked out the GIANT combine!

Nana kept Ben from getting too chilly!

Lucky Owen also got to go for a tractor ride with Pa. Next time, Ben and I get to go, too!

Last, but not least, we went to Aunt Liz's volleyball game. She is on the freshman team at Duschene High School. Owen loved watching (and cheering loudly!) She played well and her team won the game! Ben wore his jammies because it was so chilly and we only had summer clothes! After Liz's game, Grandpa Jimmy and Mimi took us to Mound City to meet Grandpa George. Thank you to the whole Walsh and McCall crew for their hospitality and fun during our visit! Come visit us in MD soon!

Well, we made it to Kansas City, ready for lots more fun!!!

Em and Jim live right across the street from the City Market. We had a great time people watching and ate some yummy lunch!

A surprise Labor Day guest... Daddy! We knew he couldn't stand 3 whole weeks without us!

A scooter ride with cousin Matt

Kansas City Railroad Museum

Roar from Science City!

A mom and Owen date to get a haircut! Owen picked the pink Barbie Jeep for his haircut chair!

Ben and his girlfriend, Penny!

Owen the Builder

The Legends

Someone got a new big boy coat... for some reason, he wanted me to try it on too!

The only place Owen napped on the trip... Note the fireman hat!

Enjoying the swingset!

Climbing trees!

A diaper escape artist!

Fishing with Uncle Mike at the Farmstead! Success!

Owen's first game of Candyland!

This is Ben and Owen's cousin Mitchell. He is a little bigger than the last time we saw him!

We squeezed in a trip to Falls City to visit my Grandpa and Grandma, too! Both the boys were in great moods and I think it made Grandma and Grandpa's month!

I don't know if you can tell, but Ben is wearing underpants over his jammies. This was Owen's idea!

Our last night in Overland Park, my family had an Adios Fiesta! Em and Jim made some delicious tacos and margs. It was so fun to have one last delicious meal with everybody!

My mom drove with us all the way from Overland Park, KS to Germantown, MD. She deserves special blessings for this one! If I could have figured out a way to get out of it, I would have ;o)

This photo commemorates our grossest meal on the rode! Never go there! Ever!

And here is Ben in one of the many McDonald's high chairs he sat in on our drive!
Honestly, the boys did very well and we definitely rode in style. Yes, we got a mini van! It is a dark blueish/grayish color Sienna and we all love it. Have you seen those Sienna commercials where the mom goes out in the van in the driveway and watches The OC? If we still lived in the condo, I'd probably do that. Now that we have a little more room, it is possible to get a little quiet time to myself after dinner while Mike plays with the boys. Who knows, I'm sure I'll end up out there in my bathrobe one of these days...

The day after we moved in, Owen started his preschool career. We couldn't find his shoes and we were frantically opening boxes, but he went! And he did just fine. I know the director was a little bit nervous about him missing the first two weeks of school, but I had a hunch he'd do okay. I hung around for about 45 min and then gave him a kiss and promised I'd be back soon. And, the rest is history! Last week, I asked his teacher how he was doing, and she said, "I have no concerns about Owen." Such a relief. Yesterday when I picked him up he said "Preschool is my favorite, best thing ever."

Mike likes his new job, too. Thank goodness, because moving really stinks! Here are a couple of pictures I took of him on his first day of work! He has had lots of orientation, but he's finally getting going on some research, which he likes. And, his hours are pretty great so far, too. He goes in early but is usually home before 6. I guess this could change once his research gets going, but we love it and are enjoying it for as long as it lasts!
We are so lucky to have family out here. It is really great to have some familiar faces around. Mike's grandparents, aunt and uncle, and cousin all live in the area, along with my aunt and uncle, cousin and his wife and kids. Everyone has been extremely hospitable and welcoming. We've been over to everyone's house for dinner, met up for Mass, and even a trip to the pumpkin patch... but that is for another post!