Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Merry Christmas

A few pictures to remember Christmas 2013:

Shaun and Bill once again hosted our festivities.  (Thank you!  I know we're quite the group!)  After celebrating Christmas Eve at Aunt Kathy's house, our family enjoyed time together in East Peoria on Christmas Day.  Although you wouldn't know it by looking at the pictures, the amount of Christmas presents changed a lot this year.  I decided for the family that it might be nice to do fewer presents and just have fun spending time together, both on Christmas and on a family vacation later this spring or summer.  I talked everyone into it, and I'm glad we did.  We had a few thoughtful presents and stocking stuffers for everyone, and then just relaxed, cooked, ate, played games, and did a puzzle.  

Forrest seemed to be exempt from the reduced presents rule.  He received so many fun and thoughtful gifts that we'll enjoy for a long time.  Some favorites already are the Sit and Spin, personalized book bag, books, and 4 wheeler.  (Yes, Shaun and Bill went there... and although I may protest, I secretly like it because it makes Forrest smile.)  Also, we haven't had a chance to get it out yet, but I know Forrest is going to like the water table Poppy and Gigi got.  

Grandpa and Grandma drove down in the afternoon for a visit and to enjoy our "Christmas Carnival." Shaun and I had fun frying up some carnival favorites including corn dogs and funnel cakes, both gluten free!  And Mom and Dad surprised us by renting a cotton candy machine.  That Jon G loves a good rental item.  It really was a fun day. 

What a blessing to spend the holiday with family!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Fall 2013

My goodness, such lazy blogging lately that I have to lump entire seasons into single posts!

So what have we been up to?  Forrest and I have been enjoying our days taking care of the house, exploring, and learning.  Along with the usual, we have branched out this fall.  We now attend Wednesday story time at the library.  Many days we don't make it through the stories because the library staff stores their vaccuum within sight in their basement where story time is held.  Who can sit still when a delightful vacuum is just steps away?  Certainly not Forrest.  (Vacuums, rice cookers, mixers, toaster ovens... they all continue to be favorites.)

Also this fall, we have joined a Montessori parent-infant community.  We meet on Monday mornings for play time and snack with a few other infants and toddlers in a Montessori home environment.  It's so nice for Forrest to interact with other children in a safe environment with new things to learn and discover.  I've really enjoyed attending and have learned a lot myself.  Who would have thought to hang hooks at Forrest level so he can hang his coat independently?

Joshua continues to be busy at work, at his shop, and picking up extra shifts at the Prompt Care in Peoria.  He works so hard for our family.  Despite his long hours, he and Forrest still have plenty of time for wild activities, mostly chasing and climbing games, which Forrest loves.

For Thanksgiving, we stayed put in Monticello.  Joshua's Dad and stepmother hosted the entire family.  It was very convenient for us and allowed us the entire day to relax at home until dinner.

During an adventure to Schaumburg, we visited Ikea and Woodfield Mall.  Forrest was overwhelmed with joy to see the bin full of Mr. Foxes!  We now have three sets...  He also rode the escalators in all department stores and would have continued all day if we would have let him.  Very fun :0)

On to Christmas in three short weeks!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Summer Wrap Up

Ahhh, another summer gone in a blink!  We've stayed busy rounding out the season.

Forrest and I spent some time at the farm with the family at the annual Labor Day party.  This year marked the return of beautiful weather.  It was so nice to see everyone, including Kati and Ryan.  

While we were relaxing at the party, Joshua was hard at work in Champaign.  He and Mark opened a gaming store, franchised with The Gaming Goat.  Opening day was September 6, and they haven't rested since.  They've been busy!  Mark is running daily operations, and Joshua works a couple of nights each week to help with some of their bigger events.

Besides getting the store going, Joshua spent a week in San Diego at the end September attending a conference.  He was able to meet a couple of friends out there and had a great time (as well as learned a lot!).  While he was gone, Forrest and I "vacationed" with my parents.  Mom was here for three days, so I was able to get lots accomplished.  My flowers are going to be beautiful in the spring.  Forrest and I then spent another four days at Mom and Dad's.  Always fun to go visiting.  

I had to include the picture above.  Rachel and I spent a Saturday morning shopping for treasures at Decatur's junk and antique stores.  We both found a couple things and had a lot of fun.  Olga's house of stuff was a place we both had been curious about for a long time.  And my goodness, there was a lot of stuff!  

Of course I can't resist adding a few pictures of Forrest.  He's 13 months old now and learning and doing so much!  Exciting news for the month was finding shoes to fit his wide feet.  He doesn't wear them a lot but does a good job with them.  They make him look like such a big boy!  He's still loving all things with cords and enjoys being outside.  Wrestling with Daddy is also a favorite pastime.  We're slowly finding new foods that pass the "poke test" as we like to call it.  This little boy is quite picky and often pokes questionable food items.  Very funny for those watching.  

He is understanding so much of what we say to him and follows many directions.  We're still waiting for some new words, trying to be patient.  We seem to be stuck at "done" and "help."  We've started working on some signs, and he picks them up easily.  He signs "more," "up" and "open."  So, while we wait for speech, we'll keep working on signs.  

Plans for October include enjoying as much good weather as we can and spending a couple days in Peoria while Joshua works at the prompt care.  Happy October!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Maybe caught up?

Okay, so another long-overdue post.  In April we celebrated Shaun and Bill's marriage.  After waiting many weeks for her professional photos to arrive, we were thrilled to see them!  Now it's been several more weeks, and I'm getting around to posting my favorites.  Sorry for the delay!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

One Year!

We're celebrating one year this week!


Things we have learned this month:

What a happy boy we have at the end of a year.  Such a blessing!

This kid looks adorable, especially when in costume at an Evil Knievel-themed birthday party.  Thanks, Poppy and Gigi for hosting!

First haircuts are bittersweet.  (Yes, there was hair in the back that was getting too long.)  Thanks Great Grandpa!

Still loving anything with a cord.  He is especially fond of the rice cooker these last few days.  Too funny.

Have I talked about Mr. Fox on this blog?  I'm not sure I have.  Another obsession, and has been for awhile. Mr. Fox is always ready to entertain and snuggle.  I give him credit for helping us through nights, car rides, and crabby times.  Thanks to Polly for gifting Forrest this fox months ago!  (We've purchased another, *just in case*)

We love you Forrest Edward and can't believe how quickly you've grown!

Thursday, August 15, 2013


It seems that a certain almost-one-year-old doesn't care for time spent on the computer, specifically, my time.  So, I'm blaming him for not getting this post up sooner.

At the end of July, I went on an adventure to Texas to visit my forever friend at her homestead.  I've never done anything like this on my own, but I'm so glad I did!  We packed a lot of fun into a weekend.

We visited a couple of fancy yarn shops in Dallas.  At this one, The Shabby Sheep, (love how yarn shops always have cute names), I bought some yarn that was hand dyed and spun right there in the shop.  It's currently an in-progress hat for Forrest.

 We also found a couple of fabric stores in Dallas.  This one, The Fabric Factory, advertised 4000 home decorator fabrics.  I don't think they were exaggerating!  It was amazing, and I've never seen anything like it.  I bought a couple of things for two projects that will be fun reminders of my trip once I get them done.

The last day of the trip, we visited a boat show.  Jenna and Randy live near a large lake, and they're thinking of becoming boaters.  While there, they found some nice pontoon boats that looked great, and I decided on this yacht.

Other activities of the weekend, included some sewing for Jenna and Randy's little one scheduled to arrive in February, hanging out and catching up (it had been too long!), and eating some delicious food.  I know that Firehouse Subs is chain, and probably not all that exciting to the locals, but I'm still thinking of the pork and coleslaw sandwich I had :0)  I just looked, and my closest location seems to be in Springfield.  I used to live there...

Thanks, Jenna and Randy, for a great three days!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Going on a Visit

Last week we went for a drive to visit Joshua's grandparents in Wisconsin.  We had a beautiful week with lots of fun, discovery, and sunshine.

Thanks, as always, to Grandpa and Grandma for being such fantastic hosts!

Friday, July 26, 2013

11 Months!

Getting to be such a big boy!

Enjoying time with Aunt Mary.

Have we been robbed?  No, just some organizational help from Forrest.

Things we have learned this month:

Walking!  At ten months and two weeks, Forrest took off, and he hasn't looked back since.  I'm amazed at how quickly he moved from tentative steps to confident walking most places.  
We love parks!  So much to see and do.  With his new love of parks and more time spent on his feet outside, we've had to get creative with footwear.  I can't seem to find reasonably-priced shoes to fit his wide feet, so "sock-shoes" it is :0)
Bachelor time spent with Daddy is great!  Forrest and Joshua spent all last weekend together so I could visit my forever friend in Texas.  It was an adventure for all of us (blog post coming soon!).  Thanks, too, to Polly for watching Forrest on Friday.  
Playing in the sprinkler is wet fun.  We've had the sprinkler going a lot lately to keep our new sod healthy, and Forrest is always happy to help with this chore.  He never seems to mind being a little, or a lot, wet.
Next stop, one year!