Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spring Has Sprung!

We're in that weird, unpredictable time of year when we may need to wear jeans and a sweater in the morning, but by mid-afternoon we're sweating in a t-shirt and sandals! It's hard to plan too far in advance, because it's uncertain whether we'll be greeted by a sunny, cloudless day or a torrential downpour... (or a snowstorm?)

This is a little bit how I'm feeling right now about my pregnancy. Both of my boys were born around two weeks early, but both times the doctors were shocked that I made it that far. My body is handling the pregnancy better than ever this time, so right now it looks as if I could make it all the way to my due date! But who knows what will happen in the coming weeks... Baby Girl might decide to grace us with her presence long before she's scheduled to arrive. So that put us in the ballpark of "sometime in June", and it makes spring/summer planning a little difficult! Do we RSVP 'yes' to a wedding when our baby may be anywhere from two weeks to two months old? Do I sign Max up for summer activities that begin the week of my due date? Do I need to worry about my husband being out of town when I'm 5 weeks from my due date? So much uncertainty...

Tee Ball!
For the most part, I've decided to wing it. We're making decisions as they work best for our family, and we'll make them work whether I'm 40 weeks pregnant, in the hospital, or nursing a newborn! We signed Max up for Tee Ball, and we are putting him in Cat. Chat Vacation Bible School at our church. Paul is going to his sister's graduation, but the boys and I will stay with my parents in case of baby emergency. The wedding? I found out we don't have to RSVP until the end of June, so we can actually make an informed decision! PLUS (and this is a huge plus), Paul's sister Megan is living with us this summer! Not that I am planning her nanny duties or anything (well... maybe just a little...), but it sure helps in this time of uncertainty to know there will be an extra set of hands around the house if needed.

 It's looking to be a fun and eventful spring and summer! The one certainty we have is that we will be welcoming a new little one, and no matter what we have planned, I have a feeling that time will stop when her time comes!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sound it Out

Max is learning to read! We just started a simple reading program that takes about 15 minutes a day, and he has really been enjoying it. So far, he has learned the sounds for 'm', 's', 't', 'a', and 'e'. His favorite part, though, is the writing practice at the end of each lesson. I think it probably has to do with the fact that we use the whiteboard. Whiteboard markers are so much more fun than pencils!

A couple of days ago, after practicing some individual letters, he asked me if I could teach him how to write some words. Using the letters he's been working on, I first came up with "mat", then "sat". He sounded out the words after I wrote them and then did his best to copy them himself. Then suddenly a light bulb went off in my head! I carefully wrote the letters "m...a....s...t" on the board and asked him to sound them out.

"Mmmmaaaaasssssst," he said. "Ok, now say it fast." "Mast." then his eyes lit up as he realized what he had just said. "Mast! MAST!!" He had just learned to read his first pirate word!

If that's not motivation to learn to read more, I don't know what is. Now he's itching to learn all of the letter sounds so that he can read "sail" and "pirate" and "shark" and "eyepatch". I think this may have been his first glimpse into the power that reading will give him. I can't wait until he can start reading to me!

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Full House for Easter

We had a blast this Easter with visitors from the East and the West! Monica and Glenn joined us on the Tuesday before Easter, and Paul and Maureen, Patrick and Liam came on Holy Thursday. We were packed to the gills, but what a wonderful way to spend the most important days in the Liturgical year! We put up bunk beds in the boys' room so Liam would have a place to sleep, we put Monica and Glenn on a pull-out couch in the guest room, Maureen and Paul got the guest bed in the basement, and Patrick scored the couch. Ten people in our little house? No problem! 

I also discovered that I enjoy cooking for lots of people! My mom has equipped me well with a few recipes that serve gazillions of people, so I was set. Plus, Paul's family members are about the most laid-back guests imaginable, so I never felt any stress or pressure to play hostess unless I felt like it. 

We had a fun time catching up with Monica and Glenn in the two days before the rest of the Yantes clan arrived- grilling out, scoring majorly at Goodwill (new kids' winter boots for 25 cents??) and some last-minute grocery shopping before the full house. Errands are really easy with an auntie in tow! 

Everyone else arrived Thursday afternoon. We had an early dinner, went to Mass at St. Joseph's (filling up an entire pew!), and spent the evening catching up and playing cards. Early Friday morning, Paul Sr, Maureen, Liam and I participated in the Good Friday Prayer Vigil outside of Planned Parenthood in St. Paul. What a beautiful, beautiful way to spend Good Friday! Archbishop Nienstadt gave a wonderful reflection, and we sang hymns and prayed for an end to abortion. I found out later that there were over 3000 people praying there throughout the day! 

Around lunch time, the men went to Stations of the Cross at the Cathedral while the rest of us stayed home to do our own Children's Stations with Max's drawings, and to color Easter eggs. I must say, we had some creativity flowing in the house! Several eggs ended up with Jolly Rogers and Pirate ships drawn on them, and Liam was getting pretty creative with his color combinations. In the afternoon, we went to the St. Paul Cathedral for Veneration of the Cross. The boys did surprisingly well during a very, very long service, and I'm glad we got to experience one of the Triduum liturgies at the gorgeous Cathedral! After the boys were in bed that night, a group of us headed to Target for Easter basket stuffers. I thought we bought WAY too much candy, but realized quickly that the candy that didn't make it into plastic eggs would be consumed very easily by a household of ten people. Very few leftover goodies for us this year!

Maureen, Liam, Max and I spent most of Saturday at the Science Museum enjoying the Real Pirates exhibit. And I actually remembered my camera this time! Even though we weren't allowed to use a flash so my photos aren't the greatest, I'm still really glad to have some pics to remember this momentous event in Max's life! Real pieces of eight, real swords, real cannons, a detailed model of a pirate ship, actors portraying real pirates from the Whydah, a full-scale model of the Whydah's hull, including the Captain's cabin... I could go on and on.

We also checked out the rest of the Science Museum, including a real tugboat and a news station!

Maureen and Paul, Monica and Glenn went to the Easter Vigil at St. Joseph's, and the rest of us went to Mass on Easter morning while Grandma and Auntie Monica hid Easter eggs in the backyard. We attempted a family picture (After about a thousand attempts, I think we all look decent in this one...) and then the egg hunt began! 

"I love this chocolate bunny!"
Paul cooked an amazing Easter brunch, complete with a German pancake, sausage, bacon, a yummy egg bake from Maureen, fruit salad, and mimosas. Then we regretfully had to say goodbye to Monica and Glenn so they could get back to work on Monday (darn Chicago public school system!!) But thankfully they'll be back in June for a Baptism, God willing!

Handsome chef!
Later on Sunday, Patrick helped Max finish his Easter crown, after all of the thorns had been removed from our Lenten Crown of Thorns. They glued the jewels on a gold-painted braid, and Max was pretty pleased with the result! (although you'd never guess it from the expression I caught on camera)

Sunday evening we had another huge Easter meal: ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, candied carrots, apple walnut salad, and cherry pie. I discovered that I truly can host a holiday meal, at least for a small crowd. Don't get any ideas, Mom, I'm not ready for the Moorse extended family!!

On Monday, we had a relaxing final day of our visit, checked out the Como Zoo and Conservatory, played lots of cards, and had our last meal together (Chinese takeout, of course!) The family hit the road early Tuesday morning, so we said goodbye Monday night. It's hard to believe that next time we see everyone, we will be introducing our new little baby! 

I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter season. Make sure you celebrate all 50 days! I know we will.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What a difference a year makes...

Or maybe not so much! To tide you over until I finish my blog post on this Easter, I've decided to treat you to a little comparison: Easter pictures last year versus Easter pictures this year! It was fun for me to look back and see how much the boys have grown in a year, but how much they have still retained their personalities and expressions! (And obsession with candy.... Lucian...)

Max loved dyeing eggs last year and this year, but he was able to take a more active role this year!

Lucian tore into the candy both last year and this year. Given the choice, this is how he would have spent the entire day- digging into Easter eggs!

My sweet Max, both years he had trouble stopping long enough for a photo, but I managed to get at least one smiling picture!

But the biggest difference, by far, is Lucian's transition from baby to boy!

More pictures to come, when I have a few spare moments!