Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Boats and Life Jackets

What is it with kids and life jackets?  All of my boys have just hated wearing their life jackets for the first time.  Not just an attitude of I'd rather not but a no way, no how attitude.  John had no complaints this time.  I was thankful for his lack of complaints since the other two Fiene boys decided to complain loud enough for our neighbors, their neighbors, passers-by and possibly some people across the lake to hear.

 John loved riding in the paddle boat.  Look at his short legs trying their hardest to reach the peddles.

 On a boat, in a life jacket with dirt on his face.  This is the life.

 Awww, Jimmy.  The boys just love Jimmy and his sister Ericka.  I am blessed to have a family that loves kids and is exceptionally good with them.

This is what John looked like every time we made him get out of the boat.

Anders started crying the second he saw the jacket.  In his defense it didn't look like it was the most comfortable thing.

 Gus was just miserable.

I didn't end up taking Anders out on the boat.  And my thought was that once Gus got out on the water, he would soon forget he was even wearing the life jacket.

He did forget all about the life jacket, but he also threw such a fit that he fell asleep from utter exhaustion.

Oh well, maybe next time.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Tales of John

John is really a sweet boy.  I have to give some of the credit for his sweetness to his dad.  The boys have grown up not only hearing from their dad that mommy is pretty, but have also been encouraged to tell me that I'm pretty.  One morning I was getting ready for church and decided to try on a dress that I had not been able to wear in a long time.  The dress fit and I was excited, but had decided not to wear it since I wanted more of a sleeve for church. John came into the room before I could change, took one look at me and said, "Mommy that dress is spectacular".  How could I not wear that dress?

For VBS (Vacation Bible School) the kids learned the hymn "God's Own Child I Gladly Say It".  This can be a difficult hymn to learn, but kids have brains like sponges and they could all proudly sing the first two verses by the end of the week.  I was going over the words with John and he kept singing, "God's own child I gladly sing it" and I would tell him that the words were "...I gladly say it."  "Why Mom?  I'm not saying it, I'm singing it."

John has been going to VBS for 3 years now.  But this year he heard it called  Vacation Bible School whereas in other years he has just heard VBS.   John kept asking everyone when the vacation started since they were already in Bible school.  We tried explaining several times that Vacation Bible School referred to a time when kids were on vacation from school, but the concept was lost on him.  I think we are just going to go back to calling it VBS.

John loves all things church related, school related, social related.  To put it simply, John love all things.  He has particularly honed in on Sunday School because we didn't have that in Denver.  He loves everything about Sunday School and looks forward to it each week.  One week I was preparing him in the car on the way to church that he wouldn't be having Sunday School that day.  He was very upset.  To get all the unpleasantness over in one sitting I informed him that for the two weeks we were on vacation he would also not be going to Sunday School because a lot of churches don't have Sunday School in the summer.  "And why not?" he asked.  I explained that many people travel during the summer and sometimes there just aren't a lot of kids.  I told him sometimes there could only be one kid.  "Well, shouldn't that one kid have Sunday School?"  I found I could not argue with him about this since he was quite right.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Start of Something New

We started some new things in our family this week.  First of all, we had an Open House/Birthday party for John last Saturday so this means that I stayed up late and woke up early for at least a week to get everything painted and cleaned.  I pretty much neglected my children.  It's a good thing they like to play outside.  Since the party was on Saturday I told myself that for the next few weeks, or months, I would cease all painting and big projects in order to spend more time with the kiddos and to properly train our mischievous dog.  All of that is going well.  I love reading books, playing with the kids and cooking meals that make it on the table before 8.  Well, that last part hasn't happened yet, but I'm hopeful.  I'm thinking the rest of the house can wait.

Here's the biggest start of something new...John started Kindergarten!  He has only been going for three days but he loves, loves, loves it.  As excited as he is when he gets home he doesn't want to sit and tell me about it because he has more important things to do, like play outside.  He has told me that he will be learning math this year and that soon he will be good enough to be in Kelsey's class.  Kelsey is my old roommate, maid of honor in my wedding, long time friend (you get the picture) and she teaches High School math.  In Texas.  A number of things will have to happen before she becomes his teacher.  One of these things would include moving.  And I am never moving again.  Ever.  John also talked about his teacher going over the rules and how he doesn't find them as hard to follow as some of his classmates.  Boy, I wish I had that recorded so I could play it back for him when he does find it hard to follow the rules.

Waiting for the bus with the neighbors.  Gus made sure he was dressed because he wanted to go to Kindergarten so bad.  It was a little heartbreaking.

I didn't actually take this picture, but John puts up his hands like that for only two reasons.  
1.  He is embarrassed that his father (or mother) is making a fuss.
2. He is creating a tunnel so the outside world can not distract him from paying attention to the person that is talking to him.

 What does this say about me when my kid RUNS to the school bus?  I wonder how long this will last.

Yep.  He is officially over it and wants his dad to stop taking pictures.  He should be thankful his dad didn't follow the bus to school to make sure he got there okay.  Apparently this actually happens.  That would never have crossed my mind.

 My mom knew Gus would be upset that his best friend abandoned him, so she sent a Slinky Dog to help soften the blow.  Good thinking, Grandma.

All the crying after John left and the excitement of the new toy was just too much.

The final new thing that started this week was my part-time job at the library.  I love, love, love my new job.  I have fond memories of spending hours at the library as a kid.  John actually got his very first library card on his birthday.  Training on the computer system came easy for me and I start my actual position in the youth department on Monday.  So far, this is one of the best jobs I've ever had.

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Messy Painter and a Clean Painter

While my Mom was here, we decided to paint John and Gus's room.  John remembers Grandma painting his room in Denver and insisted she help paint his new room too. The room is fantastic.  I'm happy, the boys are happy and my mom is happy.  All of this is just a teaser since I'm not actually going to show you pictures of their room yet.  You'll have to wait.  The boys didn't actually help paint the room, but they did get to paint a wooden letter of their first initial.  We brought the boys with us when we purchased the letters and Gus was not happy with the 'A' for August.  "My name Gus" he insisted.  So we got a 'G'.

The boys were able to use some of the same colors we used in their room to paint their letter.  To my surprise, John took his time and painted without making a big mess.  Gus, being two and all, slopped on all of the colors to make an interesting brown.  He finished the letter early on and began painting himself.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Name Mishap

A couple of Mondays ago we went to the zoo with the Blaschke family, minus two Blaschkes.  We had a great time walking around looking at animals and playing in the splash pad.  We also discovered that the Brookfield Zoo has a dog house that is home to over 170 different breeds of stuffed dogs.

Since Hannah is such a dog lover, we just had to go in.  Kathy decided to purchase cute little stuffed puppies for the boys.  John and Gus were able to pick out their own puppy.  Boy, was that a tough decision.  John finally decided on a Doberman Pinscher and Gus picked a Dalmatian.  Then both of the boys picked a Chocolate Lab for Anders.

The boys were excited to show their new stuffed friends to their dad.  Hans then asked John what he named his dog.  Remember, the last time he had a stuffed animal he named it Creaky Crant.  John had walked a few paces ahead of Hans so he turned around and loudly said "Fluck", although it sounded like a certain four letter word.  Surprised Hans said, "What did you say?"  Why do parents ask children to repeat themselves when it sounds like they've said a bad word?  I've done this to.  It only leads to more embarrassment.

So after Hans asked him what he said, John turned around at at the top of his lungs, in the middle of the zoo, yelled "fluck," which sounded even more like the four letter word than the time before.  After running over to John, completely embarrassed, Hans was able to determine that there was indeed an 'L'.  It was just a soft 'L'.   Since John doesn't actually know any inappropriate four letter words, he didn't understand why he needed to change his dog's name.  After having a nameless dog for several days, he has finally decided on Charlie. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Grandpa's Farm

My Dad built a shed.  Keep in mind it is a shed.  He and my mom picked out some building plans and my dad went to work.  I think it turned out a lot bigger than they thought it would.  We visited during the building process and John immediately started calling it a farm.  He even told my dad he should get some animals.  Then getting animals morphed into "you should get animals with no faces".  It took me a second to figure out that he wanted animal cut outs that you can put your face the kind you see at a zoo.   John has been talking about this farm for months.  When Father's Day came around he asked if we could buy red paint and send it to Grandpa so he could paint the farm.  I'm pretty sure my parents weren't going to paint the shed red.  But there was no turning back now.  This was a farm now and not a shed.

Here is the farm.
I have to say my dad did a wonderful job.  John can't wait to go back to Grandma and Grandpa's to play with all of the animals.  Knowing my parents, I'm sure they will scrounge up something when we come to visit.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary to my sweet, fun-loving husband.  Father of my children.  Pain in my neck.  Love of my life.  It has been a fantastic 6 years filled with many wonderful memories.  Today we celebrate by going to A Day Out With Thomas.  Yep, that's right.  This is what happens when you have a kid born three days after your anniversary.  Here's to many more years of matrimonial bliss.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Movies

Hans and my parents took the boys to a movie.  Not just any movie but Cars 2.  John and Gus had been excited about seeing Cars 2 for a couple of months.  This was also Gus' first movie in a theater and he actually did pretty well.  So I heard.  I wasn't there.  Someone had to stay with Anders.  I was working while they went to a movie, ate popcorn, had lunch and even ice cream.  No hard feelings.

 All ready to go with their Cars shirts.

I didn't realize until later that Gus was making this face.
 I wonder if this is his new smile.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


My mother in law was able to sneak in a visit before we went on vacation.  This was her first time to see the house so we were all very excited.  John likes showing off his new digs.  I'm not sure how much he loves the house, or if it is just that he knows we won't be moving again.  Ever.  I'm still very serious about this.

My in-laws, and the rest of the Fiene family, had just returned from Germany.  Solveig brought us gifts...of course.  We had a wonderful visit and hope to have her stay again soon.  Maybe next time Grandma can bring Grandpa.

I tried to grab a picture of the boys with Solveig.  I'm a glotten for punishment.
 Anders and Grandma seem to feel the same way about this picture.

 This is a pretty accurate picture of all three boys.

I really just need to give up.

 John and Solveig got this hat in Sweden just for Anders.  Too cute.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Comfortable Anywhere

While Eva and Machara were visiting, all of the kids spent a lot of time in the playroom.  There was a lot of yelling, laughing, screaming, crying, hitting, hugging, bossing and playing.  The four older kids just wore themselves out.  At one point in time I opened the door because I couldn't hear anything.  That is never a good sign.  At the bottom of the stairs I saw Machara.

She must have been too tired to make it up the stairs.  She slept like this for at least an hour.

Gus must have thought Machara had a good idea.  A couple of days later it was again too quiet and this is what I found...

This doesn't look comfortable to me.  I tried laying on a stair (no, no pictures of that) and it was horrible.  It must have been somewhat comfortable because both kids slept there for a long while.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


You probably saw the title of this post and thought I had taken up knitting.  Boy were you wrong.  I have nothing against knitting but I just can't add another thing to my schedule at the moment.  Kelsey is the knitter and she brought her stuff with her when she came to visit.  She is pretty good too.  She knit me a scarf last year and I love it.  So Kelsey had some down time and decided to knit...this is important to note so people don't start feeling like I worked her to the bone while she was here.  John thought the whole process looked interesting and wanted to give it a try.  Kelsey was kind enough to show him what to do.

Deep in concentration.

John kind of forgot all about this until he saw these pictures.  Then he tells me that he would like to "continue with the needle thing".  He was a little upset when I told him that I don't know how to knit.  After a moment he said, "Well, that's okay.  Kelsey can just come and stay with us again."  So Kelsey, if you have an opening next summer, instead of bringing paint clothes, you can just bring knitting needles.

Monday, August 8, 2011

July 4th Activities

Kelsey came to visit us again this summer.  I was actually surprised she wanted to visit again.  Our house is a bit hectic.  Just a bit.  I'm always thankful when she comes.  I was especially thankful for this visit because I had so much to get done around the house and Hans had just brought home a new puppy.  However, I couldn't have her visit for two weeks without some kind of fun.  We decided to go to the July 4th celebration at the community park in Channahon.  There were bouncy houses, music, dunk tanks, a playground and a splash pad.  We also decided to bring Fritz.  This was his first social outing and, while Hans and I were consumed with the three boys, Kelsey took control of Fritz and dealt with all of the "Oh a PUPPY!" comments.

 Fritz stole the show.  He was actually pretty good the whole time.

 Fritz was starting to bark and Gus was telling him to be quiet.  It was very cute.

 Gus stood here in the middle of chaos for a long time.  Just watching.  He isn't always sure what to do in a big crowd.

Then, out of nowhere and with no help he decided to climb something.  He is the poster child for "it is always the quiet ones".

 Anders had fun finding random trash and trying to eat it.  I had fun fishing things out of his mouth.

 If you ask John to smile, this is what you get.  What a weirdo.

People were telling us it just couldn't get any cuter...a baby and a puppy.

 Anders decided he was thirsty.  He does not like sippy cups.  I've tried every sippy cup there is and I haven't found one he will drink from.  Evidentally the dog bowl is the way to go.

Poor Fritz.  Anders licked the bowl dry.  As cute as this is, I also think it is quite disgusting.  But what are you going to do?

 John was dancing to the music.  He just can't help himself.

 He was showing me some of the moves he has learned from So You Think You Can Dance.

I'm so glad I caught this picture.  I love it.

After spending the afternoon in the park we all went back to the car to catch the fireworks show.  I didn't know it at the time but we were really close to the point of origin.  Really, really close.  I'm-pretty-sure-it wasn't-the-safest-thing-close.  It was so much fun.

 This was Gus' first fireworks show.  He LOVED it!
And before you ask yourself, "does that kid ever wear pants?"  The answer is no.  But he did have pants on before this and then played in the water.  I'm not crazy enough to leave the house with kids with no pants...but I may return to the house that way.

We all had a blast and can't wait to go back next year.