Life with 4 kids 6 and under. Our trip to pick up Tonito in China is: mid-March 2008 through April 12. Our trips to pick up Ricky in Ethiopia are in June and August of 2010.

Friday, March 26, 2010

MOMs Club Storytime

We take turns planning different playdates and events for the MOMs Club, and today was my day for Storytime! We did a garden theme: we put bean seeds in a jar with a wet paper towel to watch them sprout, painted a flower pot and planted some annuals, planted grass seeds in a sock (which will hopefully grow grass hair), and made a "dirty" snack of crushed oreos, chocolate pudding and gummy worms. We also read some great books about gardens and planting seeds.

Playgroup isn't complete without jumping on the trampoline!! How many kids can you pack in and still avoid injuries??

Friday, March 19, 2010

Thank you Stacey!

My cousin is the director of a preschool in the Chicago area. I helped her gather some supplies for a unit on Mexico, and she sent us a huge box of crafts and Girl Scout cookies to thank us!:) here are the amate crafts- on brown paper with flourescent Do-A-Dots!! The made baleros with foil and a cone paper cup, and cute sombreros with jewel and tissue paper decorations. Thank you so much Stacey!!! My kids love to do art projects, the messier the better- they loved it!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

23 lbs of strawberries!

Fresas!!!!! Strawberry season comes early in Texas!!! Can you believe it is March and the reddest, sweetest, juiciest berries are ripe already??

There were a lot of families out in the fields, and some of the rows were really picked over. If you're ever in this situation, look for the MUDDIEST row, that the other moms and kids skipped over, and then you'll hit the jackpot. We Frankensteined it, dragging around 2 inches of mud stilts around the green mounds, heavy with the best pick of the fields. Of course 10 minutes into the harvesting someone had to go potty and we had to hike back to the porta-loo, and then back out to the promised land. The kids really, really liked to pick the strawberries, but they enjoyed eating them even more. We picked 23 pounds.. wait-- we brought home 23 pounds:).

The farm also has a pecan smoke house on the grounds and I bought some incredible smoked pork chops and some jalapeno/cheese venison sausage. We bought some local produce in their little market and some Texas honey.

We supplemented our strawberry picnic with pb&j sandwiches and carrot sticks.
Of course the next couple of days we spent making freezer jam, fruit leather, frozen strawberries for smoothies, and eating lots of fresh fresas!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Big Airport Adventure

Who: Mommy, Tonito, Vivi, Maya (+3 car seats, 3 carry-ons, 2 checked bags, one airport cart)
What: Traveling home to Houston via plane
Vivi (as I am holding Maya and trying to push a toppling cart of 3 car seats + our carry-ons through the overcrowded security at O'Hare): "Mommy, you only have 2 hands! You can't doo all of this!"
After making it through the ticket counter, and the very long security lines, we make it to the metal detector. Kids stand here: shoes off, jackets off, laptop out, put the car seats through, the camera, backpack of toys, lemur,, tiger, purse with liquids in a baggie. Walk through one by one, now sit against the bench and put your shoes on and help Maya. Balance the 3 car seats on the cart, re-pack the lap top, Tonito grab the Dora backpack, Vivi grab the camera and hold the cart, Maya you sit on top of everything- where's our gate? Find the concourse, realize we can't do the escalator, find the elevators, squeeze in, run to the next elevator, back up and running to the gate. "No, we'll go potty on the airplane... No I have snacks once the plan takes off.. Keep running guys, we're almost there... Mommy is hot and tired too"- there's our gate, the farthest one down the hall. "Wait, please hold it!!" We got to the gate at 3:07, for our 3:12 flight and were the last ones in. As we got to the plane, they noticed the 3 car seats- "Those will not fit in the plane. I'll have them ready for you when we land in Houston." We made it!!! The flight was a piece of cake, and as soon as we all sat down I started to breathe again. Landing in Houston, the car seats were NOT waiting for us- they put them through the regular checked bags (what I didn't want to happen), and of course stopped the baggage belt as they got stuck in the chutes. Ugh. Anyway, to answer your question:
YES, I am that "crazy" lady in the airport traveling by herself with little kids!
3:07 w

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lemurs, tigers, and cheetahs- OH MY!

Look at these amazing costumes!!!! My mom MADE these for the kids. Vivi's love (obsession) for lemurs started at the Brookfield Zoo. In the family center, you can dress as a lemur and climb onto a tree trunk next to the real lemurs (that are just behind glass). She was mesmerized by the graceful animals and since then has been in love. Fast-foward a couple of years to New York City, when Auntie Colleen found a stuffed lemur at the museum. Now the saga continues- Vivi always pretends she is a lemur mommy, but now she can dress-up as one too! Tonito asked for a tiger costume, since hs loves his stuffed tiger, and Maya has recently become fascinated with cheetahs (technically, Vivi pointed out that the pattern on Maya's is a leopard, but we all promised to refer to her costume as a cheetah:). Can you believe these costumes!!??

Our time in Chicago has come to an end! We went to the Riverwalk to feed the ducks and spend one more afternoon together.

Visiting LOTS of family and friends!

How did we spend our 10 days in Chicago? We played with our cousins a LOT, visited with friends, had playdates at homes and playdates at McD's, and went on some field trips!

We tried to fit in as many different friends and cousins as we could, and looking back at our calendar, I think we were very successful. What a fun week for the kids, playing with all of their favorite people:).

One day we went out to Annie's house to visit with Sam and Nate. Tonito LOVES his cousins and has a special bond with them that will be there forever. When we left their house that day, Tonito says "I love Sam. He's from China just like me." Me: "Well, he's from Taiwan, but it's close!" Tonito: "Yeah. Taiwan isn't China. But he looks like it. I'm just gonna say he is."
Here the kids are practicing chopsticks with Sam and Nate:

We made scones at Auntie Colleen's house:

And of course loved on Maevie (and Vivi shared her most valuable possession: Lemur!)-

We loved playing with Ewan and Beckett:

And again, loved admiring our precious baby cousin:

Grandma and Grandpa with their 4 grandkids!! It is so fun to see our family expanding:

So sweet:

We spent the morning at the park, hiking through suburban wilderness:)-
It was a little chilly outside, so we had a picnic in the back of Annie's car:

We spent the day at the beautiful Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago:

Walking through the conservatory with my 2 aunts and mom, we were treated to wonderful memories of when my Grandpa used to work there. He was a gardener in the Chicago Park District for years, and helped to design and maintain the conservatory. My aunt was telling us how he would walk them through the different rooms, and before entering the next section, would tell them exactly which plants were blooming, their Latin names, locations and origins. Grandpa would have been proud to see 5 of his great-grandchildren running through the foliage.

We really enjoyed the brilliant colors of all of the spring blooms:

The morning before we left, we headed to Timo and Colleen's house again:

Sue came with the girls, and so we got to visit them again:

Here is the Wilkin legacy- all 6 of the newest generation: