Sunday, April 27, 2008

April 26

Bill taught Billy how to cut the grass today (he is on the other side of the sidewalk just outside of view). Not quite sure how I feel about this.

April 25

I know this is really stupid to get excited about, but I AM SO EXCITED THAT OUR MAGNOLIA IS GOING TO BLOOM! I've said before that this is the 2nd magnolia tree that we've had, and that the first one never bloomed and died the 2nd year after we planted it. That we got this one 2 years ago and it is blooming this year has me positively giddy.

April 24

Alex got his baseball uniform tonight. He is so excited. His team decided they wanted to be called the Sox (NICE! They've got the same colors as the White Sox, so we're doubly happy). His first game is on Saturday. Tonight they had a scrimmage and Bill reports he did well. It's his first year in "kid pitch" and I'm anxious to see how he does. I hope he can hold his own - he's one of the youngest on his team this year.

April 23

Now that the weather is nice again, Milo is primed for going out and finding all of the mice and bunnies that have been getting fat all winter long. This is him, getting antsy. He's wants OUT. NOW! He is incessant when he wants to go outside - meowing, knocking into the blinds, and peeking out the window until we open the door.

April 22

Our sweet pup. Well, I guess at 3 years old he is no longer a pup, but still....Isn't he a handsome dog? Bill and the kids were riding bikes, again, and Sam and I were getting ready to go for a walk. I've decided to start walking around the block after dinner. One lap is exactly 1/2 mile so my plan is to do 3 laps a night and build from there. Sam is always more than happy to accompany me.

April 21

What a beautiful day! I feel like I keep saying that, but MAN is it nice to finally have warm days and long nights again. Bill and the kids went for a few laps around the block after dinner tonight. Here are the boys rounding the curve in front of our house.

April 20

Well, we are now offically *those* kind of parents. Caty got a pair of Heely's today. She's so excited. Her best friend has them so she is stoked to learn how to use them. She's been trying to skate through our kitchen and family room all day. It won't be long before she is rolling all over the place - she's already starting to get the hang of them.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

April 19

Spring is officially here, now. Today was warm, breezy - I opened up all the windows and aired out the house. The sun was brilliant and everything is starting to look so green. I was liking how the green grass, red bricks on the planters, and the black iron glider all looked together in the bright sunshine.

April 18

The boys were playing around being silly, but I got a shot of them being "good brothers".

Thursday, April 17, 2008

April 17

Do you see that? Caty is wearing SHORTS! Today it was 74 degrees and, unlike yesterday, there weren't 30 mph sustained winds. It was absolutely gorgeous outside. I'm looking forward to more days like this one. We've got 6 more weeks of school until summer break (I'm not counting or anything =p)

The picture is a bit blurry because it was dusk, the flash popped, and Caty was moving. I tried to correct it, but it didn't look right.

April 16

It's finally happening!! Today we had our first 70 degree day of the year. These are the buds on my magnolia tree. I'm so happy to see them. This is the 2nd magnolia we've planted. The first one never bloomed and by the 2nd year it was dead - not even leaves. This is the 2nd year for this tree so I'm hoping we get flowers with the leaves this year.

April 15

Thought I'd give it another try tonight. This time I waited until the sun was down and the stars were beginning to pop out. I love the progression of color in this one.

April 14

It was a nice day today. Bill left for Boston this morning so it was just the kids and me after school. There was a really pretty sunset. "Unfortunately" it is still early in the season and we don't have the perfect view yet that we get in the summertime. The really pretty part was hidden behind the houses across the street to the west of us. There were still a lot of colors, though, so here is my 2nd official sunset picture of the year.

April 13

Today we bought a new printer. Our old one broke due to pulling paper jams .out of it the wrong way *cough* kids *cough* *cough*. This is a 3-in-1 - printer, copier, scanner. It's got a lot of nice options on it. I was just happy to get something that I could print my paperwork out on. It prints really nice photos, though. Maybe I'll start printing some now -LOL!

April 12

Well, you'd never know by looking, but we spent most of this day cleaning house (and disagreeing about the distribution of labor).

Saturday, April 12, 2008

April 11

Catching up here. I posted the pictures I've taken all week and just didn't have the time to upload, edit, and blog about. It was quite an eventful week, as you will see.

Friday morning a new weather front moved in, breaking up the doom and gloom skies we'd had the day before. As the sun started to peak out, it was reflecting off the clouds and they looked so pretty. I took this picture in the parking lot at school with my camera phone. I was going to post it in color, but it looked so pretty in sepia...

April 10

April 10th has been circled on our calendar for weeks. Caty's class was taking a field trip to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and I volunteered to be a chaperone. The day was cold and rainy -yuck - but we were excited. The bus ride to Chicago was expected to take an hour and a half. Because of the rain, it took about an hour and forty-five minutes. This cut into the very short amount of time we had to look around in our groups before having to be at the oceanarium for the dolphin show. We made a mad dash to the seahorses, sea dragons, jelly fish, underwater viewing of the beluga whales, the penguins, and the otters before heading for our seats. Truth be told, the dolphin show was pretty lame. It was 15 minutes long and the dolphins only breeched the water a handful of times. The rest of the time they did tricks around the edge of the tank near their trainers. It was hard to see them, too, because the seating faces a glass wall of windows that look out over Lake Michigan and the sky was reflecting off of the water. Anyway, after the show we had about 45 minutes to explore on our own again. We headed up to see the River Fish collection from around the world. We saw a Tinfoil Barb and a Bala Shark - two fish that I have in my little 10 gallon tank at school! They also had a bunch of Cichlids - we had those in our tank at home. The kids in my group (pictured above at the dolphin show) had such a good time looking at everything. In the middle of all the exhibits is a HUGE reef tank. Stingrays, hammer head sharks, moray eels, parrot fish, an ancient sea turtle - so many cool fish to see and they swim nice and close to the glass. We actually looked at this tank three different times because the kids kept wanting to go back to it. After lunch we had 15 minutes to hit a few last tanks. We looked at the Rainforest collection - frogs, lizards, turtles, piranha, catfish and one more time at the reef tank. At 1:15 we headed for the busses and at 1:30 we pulled out. It was pouring down rain on the ride home. This time I had Caty and her friend in the same seat as me. G'head and ask me how long it took to get back to school - I dare you. TWO AND A HALF HOURS!!!! Traffic on the tollway was crawling through a construction zone. It was horrible. I had my iPod with me, but I had given it to the girls when we got on the expressway and the battery had died about 30 minutes into our trip. We were due back at school by 3:00 and at that time, I started texting Bill: "Not even to (name of road) yet. Going crazy. Send help!". It was horrible. We didn't get to school until 4:00 - 30 minutes after dismissal. I am nearly certain I left a permanent ass print on the seat.

God must have felt pity for me. As it turns out, there is a Bunco group in my neighborhood (I am not a regular player) and they needed a sub player that night. I got to go out with some of my neighborhood friends for grown up talk and drinks. Two other chaperones from the trip were there, so we all shared the misery that was the ride home. We were able to laugh about it at that point.

April 9

What a proud day at our house! On Friday the 4th, Alex brought home an invitation from school for the 2008 Recognition Ceremony. It is for 3rd and 4th graders only. Kids are chosen by their teacher to receive one of three awards - Academic Achievement, Overall Improvement, and Outstanding Character. All of the classes, except Alex's, had multiple recipients for each award. Alex's teacher chose one person for each award. Alex was recognized for Outstanding Character. Apparently he saves all of his "energy" for home and is a really good, caring, considerate person at school. We are so proud of him! He was SO excited about getting a medal, too =)

April 8

What can I say? Milo is a strange, strange cat. This is one of his favorite places to curl up and take a nap - the bathroom sink. He fits perfectly in there, too.

April 7

The weather was nice today - warm enough for short sleeves and no jackets - finally! This is the time of year (Spring, Summer, early Fall) where we have to keep tabs on Billy. Since learning to ride a bike nearly two years ago, we can't keep him in the house. When he gets bored he grabs his bike and rides up and down our block. This is him, in motion, looping back to our house. His eyes are shut because I happened to catch him blinking (Billy has a tendancy to shut his eyes when he is stimming, but I assure you he was alert while riding - he always is).

April 6

I couldn't grab my camera fast enough. Alex was playing on the computer and Milo, his cat, was laying on top of the desk, to his left, rubbing his head on AJ's arm. It was so cute! Of course by the time I got my camera and focused, the cat had moved and plopped himself in front of the monitor - his typical "Pay Attention to Me" position. Alex was happy to oblige him with a nuzzle.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

April 5

(The picture was taken with my phone)

Today we had a really cool experience at dinner time. We all went out to TGI Friday's. We haven't been there in awhile. In fact, I think it was the 2nd time we've been there since Billy pulled the fire alarm there 6 years ago. Anyway, Billy was a little edgy. Of course he remembers the fire alarm incident so he doesn't "WANT TO GO THERE! IT'S TOO SCARY!!!". We get him in, calmly, and he settles down as we wait for a table (coincidentally, we are one table away from the fire alarm!). We order a Three For All appetizer - mozzarella sticks, buffalo wings, and loaded potato skins. To mine and Bill's surpise, the kids dove in - ALL OF THEM. Billy would normally have nothing to do with a plate of that food, but he must have been in an open mind kind of mood. He tried TWO new things from the plate - mozzarella sticks and buffalo wings. We didn't even ask if he wanted anything, he reached for them and tried them on his own. Not only did he try them, he LIKED them. If you know Billy, you know he doesn't like sauce on anything - he doesn't like mixing food textures. The fact that he ate two buffalo wings was a total shocker to us.

It didn't end there. When the waitress came to take our order, Billy was the first one to speak. She asked if he wanted french fries with his pizza and he replied, "How about.....ummmmm....CINNAMON APPLES". She told them they don' t have those there and suggested the fruit cup - mandarin oranges, bananas, and strawberries - or the carrots. We were bracing ourselves for the typical, shouted response of "EWWWW!!! THAT'S GROSS!!!!" that we normally get when we suggest foods to Billy we know he doesn't like. Imagine our pleasant surprise when he calmly said "Well, how about those french fries, then?". GO BILLY!!!

April 4

Saw this advertisement when we went to fill up. The very thought makes my stomach queasy. A sausage dog?? WTH is that?? Is that like a sausage hotdog or something? NASTY!

Friday, April 4, 2008

April 3

This is an Electrasol 3-in-1 Powerball Tab for the dishwasher. I love these things. They work brilliantly in my dishwasher - no spots, no grit on my dishes. They've got detergent and rinse agent all in one neat package. I can't say enough about them.

There is only ONE THING that I don't like about them. That little powerball in the middle? IT ISN'T A BALL! One of them happened to fall out a few months ago and that was when I was betrayed. It's a half-sphere, living like a ball. Isn't that false advertising? ;)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

April 2

Finally, FINALLY the weather is getting nice. For the last two days I have taken my classes outside to play on the playground at the end of the school day. GOD we all needed that! Fifty degrees has never felt warmer, I tell ya. Today Caty wanted to ride her bike after dinner. Rock on, little girl!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

April 1

Happy Autism Awareness Month! If you haven't already, please consider a donation for my Walk Now for Autism 5k on May 18th. Details are to the right along with a link to the donation page. Your generosity will help kids like my Billy (above).