Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

He is Risen! 
He is Risen, indeed!  Alleluia!

Anders is actually yelling "He is Risen!"

 Blessed Easter everyone!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Gus is 4!

Gus had a birthday last week.  He, like most kids, was really looking forward to the big day.  His classmates sang to him on Friday and he got to wear a birthday crown, which he still has and wears almost every day.  Then on Saturday, his actual birthday, I heard the boys waking up and John said, "Good morning, Gus", and before he could get anything else out of his mouth, Gus said, "Don't you have something to say to me?"  He then proceeded to tell everyone that he should get to pick all the shows that were watched that day and pick what to eat for every meal since it was his birthday.  Last year he didn't care about any of this and now he is a full blown Birthday Nazi.

This little birthday boy actually got to celebrate his birthday 3 different times.  Each time we had a special dessert and presents.  What a lucky, lucky boy.  On his actual birthday we had Debbie, Pam and Sophie over for a dinner of hot dogs and homemade french fries.

Presents were on his mind...
 and his outfit of choice was his buzz pajamas.  Because the cool Spiderman shirt was "not his first choice."

 Gus got some Cubs underwear.  The boys love getting underwear.  It's a little weird.  Hans says if one has to wear Cubs gear, the best place to do it is on your butt.

 More Buzz pajamas!!  

John decided to lend a helping hand, as if Gus wasn't ripping through the presents fast enough on his own.  Gus likes to get everything opened in 2.5 seconds and then actually look at the gifts he has received.  It is a bit frustrating and I hope he is over this by next year.

The top present of the day was the Spiderman bicycle.  Or as Gus calls it, the Spidey-cycle.  Debbie and Pam sure know the way to this kids heart.

 After all that hard work opening presents, cake was needed to re-energize the boys.

I asked Gus to give me a real smile...
 and I got this.

 I think he liked his cake.

 He loved blowing out the candles.

This boy had a pretty fantastic birthday.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spiderman Cake

I was totally surprised when Gus asked for a Spiderman cake for his birthday.  (Hans can't be the only one in this family that is sarcastic.)  Gus tried to get me to make a Spiderman cake with "all of the super heroes on it. Even Larry Boy."  And, unfortunately I had to tell him that I was not talented enough to pull that off.  But I promised I would do my best to make a cool Spiderman cake.

I decided this would be a great time to use my airbrush.

 The finished product.

I learned a lot doing this cake.  I was just about to give up on the whole cake thing because the cakes NEVER came out like I envisioned them.  Cakes would fall apart when I would try to put the layers together and fondant is not necessarily my friend.   So, I'm going to share a few tips I learned, and re-learned this time.

1. Cake is always easier to cut the day after it is made.  This is something I already knew, but that means you have to actually make the cake the day before you want to put it together.  I usually try to do a cake marathon day where I'm baking and decorating in a few hours and I'm always disappointed.  Maybe this time the lesson will stick.

2. After filling the cake I ice the cake.  This is called a crumb coat.  This time, completely by accident, the frosting was very thick and a little on the dry side.  This actually made the crumb coating easier!

3.  Letting the cake chill after crumb coating and before putting the fondant on makes life so much easier.

Even though fondant is not really my friend, I use it.  I know I just need to spend more time working with it.  I use it because this allows me to have bright, rich colors on the cake with out having my kids consume all the dyes.  The fondant is edible, but most people peel it off.  I'm not sure I've actually met anyone who likes fondant.  So my kids know to peel off the outer layer and enjoy the cake with the crumb coating.  Everyone's happy.
I just had to get a picture in here that showed how flat this cake was.  No lumps, bumps or sinking in the middle!

The birthday boy loved his cake.  Which makes this one a success!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

John the Cowboy and Gus the Superhero

It was spirit week at school not too long ago.  Each day the boys got to dress up in different fun attire.  But since the boys go to different schools with different Parent Councils they had different dress up days.

John's teacher was kind enough to send me a picture.

Gus had to dress up as a superhero and couldn't decide whether to wear his Spiderman costume or his Gus cape.  So he wore both.  It was superhero day after all.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Adventures of August

See this kid?
This kid is stubborn.  Extremely stubborn.  Don't let his initial quietness fool you.  Don't let his impossibly cute smile, gruff voice and contagious laugh lead you to believe this kid would never take a stand.  Gus feels the need to take a stand on about 15 random things a day.  Sometimes it is utterly exhausting.  Gus's latest displays of stubbornness involve food.  The list of foods he finds acceptable has gradually dwindled down, leaving only chocolate peanut butter (Jiff's version of Nutella) sandwiches and chips.  I only cook one dinner a night in my house.  I am not, nor will I ever be, a short order cook.  You eat what I have, or you don't eat.  That is your choice.  More often than not, Gus finds my meals unacceptable.  Mostly likely because I don't serve peanut butter sandwiches and chips.  It isn't like I'm placing a bowl of weird looking vegetables in front of him.  And it isn't that I am asking him to love everything he eats.  I'm asking him to try.  And apparently that is asking too much. 

This sweet little boy has gone to bed more times than I can count with out eating dinner.  Often times he will leave the table with his dinner untouched and then come to us a few hours later and tell us he is hungry.  He suddenly becomes full when he sees us pull his dinner plate from the fridge.  He REFUSES to try even one small bite.  He thinks one day he will win this fight.  But slowly Gus is coming to realize is that he has one stubborn mom.  Don't let my blue eyes, big smile and friendly personality fool you either.  I'm probably one of the most stubborn people I know.  (Editor's note: This is true.)  I just don't feel the need to be stubborn about everything under the sun, because I'm not 3 and am logical:-)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Swaddling Clothes

Sometime last year, Hans came up with the idea to have a "store" of sorts at our church filled with baby stuff.  When he presented this idea to the congregation, he called it the "mom stuff store".  That was its name for several months until he came up with "Swaddling Clothes."  Which I find very fitting.  At this point, my wonderful husband handed me the reigns and said, "make it something".  I set this project to the side while I was busy with other parts of life.  Then this article came out in our District's newsletter.  This was no longer a back burner project.  With the help of some wonderful people at church, we will be open the first Saturday of every month starting in April.  Someday we hope to get into a bigger space that will allow our "store" to be open more often.

Here is our pamphlet.  Cover art by my talented mom.

If you know someone in our area who needs the help, please let them know.  If you want to donate clothes, diapers or money to go towards clothes and diapers, please let me know.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Just A Normal Saturday Morning

Even the fighting at the end is very normal for our house.  Who wants to come spend the night here and be woken up with all this energy?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Mystery Reader

John's teacher has a mystery reader come in every Friday to read to the kids.  Hans had his turn at the end of February and he was a big hit.  Some of John's classmates were also in his Kindergarten class, so they remember Mr. Fiene.  Hans has also helped out with a couple school parties this year.

In retrospect I should have read first.  I go in to read in a couple of weeks and I'm sure I will hear Aw where's dad? Oh well, such is life.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Handmade Sweater

You'll just have to ignore Gus' goofy grin and super model pose.  This is what happened when I asked if I could take a picture of his sweater.  If I'm not mistaken, my grandma made this sweater for my brother.  My mom kept and gave it to me after I had John. I don't remember John ever wearing this.  We must have missed the season.  But this is one of Gus's favorite sweaters.  You mix dogs with the color red and this boy is hooked.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Doting Wife

I bet you thought just for a minute that I am a doting wife.  Ha!  I generally don't go running around talking about how proud I am of my husband.  Not that I'm not proud, but I'm just not the doting wife type.  If that is even a type.  And, you know, my husband is my husband.  He is Hans.  The father of my children.  The guy who is incredibly sarcastic, hardly ever serious, and the one for whom my children favor...Because he can be a bit of a push-over...a statement he will probably not agree with.

He's the guy who reads stories in funny voices, is always late, wrestles with the boys, leaves his dirty laundry everywhere, and makes fantastic and extremely messy dinners.  Do you like how I put some undesirable facts in between the more desirable ones?  That's what this doting wife does.  Hans is a wonderful husband, father and Pastor.

So, Hans started these satirical cartoons called Lutheran Satire not long after we moved to Illinois.   I'm going to go right on ahead and admit that I don't watch them.  I live with the satire king.  There is no jonesing for satire in my life.  Evidently other people love his stuff.  And some people HATE his stuff.  There are often heated debates.  While I knew that others watched his videos, I didn't realize how many people watched his videos.  Or that he had followers.  Which for some reason gives me an icky feeling.  Not sure why.  See?  I'm not the doting wife.

I heard when he went to Fort Wayne, IN this year for Symposia people asked him to take pictures with them.  Then there were others who took clandestine pictures of him at another conference in Naperville and tweeted about being in the same place with the Lutheran Satire guy.  This cracks me up and grosses me out all at the same time.  It isn't that I'm not supportive.  It's just that to me Hans will always be Hans.  I'm wondering if this is the same way my friend, Laurie, felt when I met her brother Nick and totally geeked out.

And maybe I'm a little jealous that Hans is WAY more popular than I am.  He has become the favorite at my childhood church, my work, my boy's favorite parent.  And I'm also sure that, if he ever had the opportunity to do a Toddler Time session at the library, he would probably become the favorite with all of the toddlers too.

So you guys go ahead and watch a few Lutheran Satire videos.  Become followers, take pictures of him or with him and blog or tweet about him.  I'll just laugh at all of you while I'm picking up his dirty laundry.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Grandparents, Kids, Pizza and Chocolate

The Sunday before Presidents Day, Hans' parents came for a visit.  Sunday afternoon/evening was filled with games, laughter, food, partial conversations, and screaming.

 Solveig brought the boys super hero blankets.  They immediately took them downstairs to get nice and comfy while they watch some sort of super hero show.

 Anders is always up for a good snuggle.

 While the boys were enjoying some snuggle time with Grandma the men got to work making pizza.

Pretty soon everyone migrated upstairs to watch the masters at work.  

For the boys, watching pizza being made morphed into running circles around the house.  This, of course, gets Fritz all riled up and makes for one noisy house.

In an effort to decrease the noise the boys picked out some games to play.
 But this only calms the boys down momentarily.  Anders likes messing with other people's pieces.  John is a sore loser and Gus cheats.  Makes for a very emotional game.

I'm not even sure anyone is playing by the rules. 

 The house was quiet for a little bit after the pizzas were done.  YUM!  

Fritz decided to place himself where he thought he'd get the most food.  And he wanted to be close to the table in case we all walked out of the room, giving him a small chance to steal food off of the table.  We have a dog with little to no self control...just like our children.

The next morning we decided to make a trip to the Children's Museum.  But it was President's Day and EVERYONE had that same plan.  So we spent some time walking around Naperville and found this wonderful place, Le Chocolat du Bouchard.

This place was fantastic and the prices were reasonable.  I'm anxious to go there without children.  I'm thankful it is about 30 minutes from my house, otherwise I might be there everyday.

It was a delicious ending to a great weekend.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Fun Friday

The Friday before Presidents Day, Gus had off of school.  I had off of work so it seemed only fitting that I do something fun with the boys.  After getting John on the bus, I loaded Gus and Anders in the car and we headed out to the Children's Museum in Naperville.

 The boys could have stayed at the water and bubble stations all day.
 As soon as we stepped foot in the museum Gus ran for the bubble center.
 These bubbles were pretty cool.  I'm pretty sure they use glycerin in the bubble solution.  I'll have to try that out this summer.
 Anders was constantly moving and it was really hard to get a picture of him.  Between moving from thing to thing and attempting to push kids out of his way, this was the only picture I got of him.  You can definitely tell that Anders is the youngest.  He feels the need to push anyone and everyone out of the way. Well, I guess I shouldn't say anyone and everyone.  He only tried to push the boys, he was nice to girls. I think I'm in trouble.
 Gus was trying to build a track for the golf balls.  After about 15 minutes he said he couldn't do it by himself anymore.  I told him I would help, but he said he really just needed John. I guess I'm chopped liver. 
It was a fun, quick trip to the museum.  The boys already have plans to go back when John is off of school.