John and Dana

and our life with the munchkins!

Come Back Summer!!

Oh my goodness, the past few days when we had 80 temps were just glorious. We played outside ALL day, grilled our meals and just enjoyed it. Well…now this rain/wind/cold snap has gotten my hopes crushed. I was just getting used to wearing shorts and t-shirts, and so were the kids honestly. And the cats! Yes they were loving it too. Here are a few shots from when we actually had warm weather. Sigh…this too shall pass.

Such a sweaty hammy.

She had to be in her castle with the bubbles. I loved her braids, she told me she liked them too. So we kept them in for a long time.

“Bubbles Bubbles Bubbles” is all John and I could say the rest of the day. *Finding Nemo reference…what would we do without Pixar???*

This weekend it’s supposed to clear up thankfully. I need the sunshine. I’m afraid my white shorts are going to have to wait a few weeks otherwise I’ll look like I’m not wearing anything at all. Ghost Mommy.

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He’s All Grown Up Now

Well when I entered the family Patrick was a youngin. So being invited to go to his graduation was super special. John, Meg, Al, Kim, Mark and Nana Rork made the trip to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in St. Charles to see the Class of 2011 from St. Edward’s Central Catholic High School graduate. The ceremony was very nice (short, considering my graduating class at DCHS had 500+)and Bishop Doran came in from Rockford to hand out diplomas to the graduating class.

Walking in!


Diploma!! Yay!!

TOTALLY ignoring our waving arms. I probably would have too.

All the guys he went to elementary school with.

Pat, Meg and John. Amazing how Pat now towers over John. I remember him being shorter than Meg.

The whole Rork family. Sidenote: IT WAS SO DARN COLD AND WINDY LAST NIGHT. Thank god it was in the church and not outside.

Pat and Mary Gale

We then headed home to change and went out for dinner to end the night!

Also: My dearest cousin Collette (she’s like a sister though) graduated from Harper with her Associates Degree! So her fiance threw her a surprise party on Sunday after graduation!


John was being ridiculous with the camera at this point. Definitely sounded like paparazzi. 

Oh you know, cause you are supposed to STAND on the bags set. Ooof.

And climb on it. He was totally cheating here.

So it was a fun and busy few days! My brother is home for a couple days (he had a few days off from his job in Des Moines) and then we’ve got a few birthdays coming up. Uncle Al on Sunday (28??), Me on Tuesday (25), and Pat on Friday (18). Fun fun times…

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A Very Hungry Caterpillar Party

Well it was such a fun day, we all needed a day to recover from all the eating! Of course, since we were having a Very Hungry Party, we made sure to have lots of yummy foods for Gavin’s 2nd birthday! He is in love with bugs and will lay down on the driveway just to watch them. So when I pulled out The Very Hungry Caterpillar G instantly loved it and became quite attached to his BUG book. And of course, Ian loved it because he could sorta read along when we read it out loud daily. My parents took on hosting this time and it worked out perfectly. The weather was supposed to be rainy but the day turned out to be beautiful! Ok enough of me yapping….Here are the pics!

Our Very Hungry Cake! The woman who made our wedding cake and grooms cake made this fantastic AND delicious cake! She is so talented!

Butterflies that Ian helped me make. He was very proud of them.



More Cookies.

The kids goodie buckets with our favorite book!

Our happy little birthday boy.

Kiki hanging outside on the patio in the sunshine! Yay sunshine!!

Ian-man was was snacking with Dziadzia on the patio. I’m so glad we had the opportunity to hang outside! I’m totally ready for summer!

Jen and Jonathan brought over their bounce house for the kiddies to play in! It was a total hit!

Oh man. Birthday boy was a bit frazzled that he had to share. It was totally Jacksons turn but Gavin would not have it. Jack was a total trooper and let Gavin push him!

See!! All better!!

Cameron making a face?? Stinker!

Brayden was a total trooper too! He was totally mellow and he had plenty of hands to hold him so his mom and dad could get a break! Who DOESN’T love holding a baby!!?? 🙂

Auntie Katie sure didn’t mind hanging with Brayden!

Gavin decided to take off running with his new truck and all the kids followed.

Oh boy, they are all going to be trouble!

Mr. Landon had a great time partying too! Yet again, lots of hands=let mommy relax a bit! Cutie!

Ian and Cam were having a blast at the end of the night. They just dug right in, no pun intended 🙂

More pictures to come from dinner to cake!! Woo! Thank you to everyone who came out to have fun with us yesterday! It was definitely a memorable party!

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Pre Party Prep

Now say that 3 times fast…

Well yesterday after going back and forth on what I really wanted to make for Gavins party, I decided to officially make fun cookies. With the help of a few friends with the right sized cookie cutter and cutely shaped rolling pin, I got started when the boys went down for their non nap.

So I used my favorite cookie mix to make sugar cookies and made an icing/glaze out of food coloring, water and powdered sugar. The results?? Here ya go!

My “paint”

My flock of butterflies in the process of getting their glaze.

My model butterfly.

Ta DA! And oof, my legs definitely got a work out from all the bending over and standing up!

And of course, I couldn’t leave out the main character 🙂 The best thing is that I didn’t have a bug shaped cookie cutter but I did have a carrot! I just molded his head til it was round. Eat that Martha.

And here is proof that I did all the work myself:

I believe this was taken at 5:30 on Friday night. I then ate dinner and went to bed at 8. It’s been a long week, can’t wait to par-tay today!

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New Photos!

John has always loved photography/cameras/technology and with his job now gets to take photos for the school district for their websites! What a sweet deal right?? So to figure out how the camera works, he’s been taking some pretty cool photos of our kids and other objects! So here are a few really beautiful shots from Wednesday and Thursday!

My Mother’s Day Orchids from John

My Fatty Catty

My OTHER Fatty Catty

This guy has mastered “The Pout”

Smiling for the camera. She said it was like a photo shoot!

John asked them to show him their teeth. What cheezies.

Our rocking new park at South End! Should be ready in time for summer break!!

Can’t you just smell them through your computer screen??

I think at some point the boys asked John to KEEP GOING. I believe his response was NO with a foot stomp.

They finally made it to Maiden Lane park.

Can you believe these are all just practice shots?! I can’t wait to see what other practice photography comes out of this! Good job John!!

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I know…I know…

Sigh. Can you say un-motivated?!

Plenty of things to update, not enough hours in the day. Well I’ve had my gallon of coffee this morning so my fingers are a bit jumpy and ready to type away furiously.

When we left off, Kaelyn just turned 7. Big girl, I know. She has been excelling in school, jumping reading levels in her reading group. She is reading at a high 2nd grade level and she is loving all the work that goes along with it. She really enjoys riding on her razor scooter and it’s been helping her balance A LOT. We will be riding our bike without training wheels in NO TIME. I know I know…we haven’t been the greatest teachers in the bike riding aspect but HEY she can read at nearly a 3rd grade level, BOOYA. They are also working on a money/coins unit in school so I think John and I will be starting chores and allowance with her. She will learn how to manage her time and money and get to buy fun things if she does what she needs to get done! Exciting! School is almost over (6 weeks…WHO’S COUNTING……….) and then we will be doing swimming lessons and possibly a summer camp or 2. Kaelyn has been getting a bit more emotional, not certain if it’s just her personality or the fact that she has been exhausted and still waking up at the butt crack of dawn to read. In any case, she’s been a bit snarky and moody (like her mama) and hasn’t been playing well with the boys (although Ian knows how to get under peoples skin…more on that LATER). So it’s been a bit of a struggle these past few days but having the kids playing outside has done wonderful things to their moods.

Now onto Ian. Ian Ian Ian. He’s a very cautious yet stubborn child these days. Terrific Threes anyone?! Geez, I forgot all about that (maybe pushed it out of my brain once Kaelyn passed this level). He is such a good natured kid but damn it, when he doesn’t get his way, he’s P-I-S-S-E-D. Which then results in a screaming match and a nice long time out. Sorry to anyone who walks by our house when there is a time out in process, I’m not strangling cats, it’s just Ian. Using his lungs to their full and wonderful potential. He usually gives up after 2 minutes and then sits quietly til his 3rd minute is over. He loves trucks and cars and things that move. He is a splitting image of his Uncle Pat (John’s brother). Only, thankfully, Pat has gotten over his temper tantrums 😉 He’s 17. THERE IS HOPE! Ian will be starting preschool in the fall and I think he is completely ready for it. We will be getting him signed up for a preschool camp this summer as well as swimming lessons. Wish us luck!

And last, but not least, Gavin. Gavie, GG, G$. He’s got quite a few nicknames that we all call him when we need him. GG is probably my favorite and G$ is just silly. He is mischievous and is also the biggest button pusher we know. He bothers his siblings to no end and when you least expect it, he does it again!! He takes toys, he steals food, he does just about everything and anything to bother them. Yet they still let him play and hopefully G will learn from them (and us) what is right and what is wrong. But for an almost 2 year old, he is pretty sharp. His talking is getting a lot better, he is starting to string together 2 words, like Bye Truck, Hi Cat, Hi *insert sibling*. He loves to play outside and chase his siblings. They love running away so it’s a great compromise. He is terrible in the sandbox, loves to whip sand and dump it in the grass. Hopefully by the end of this summer he will understand that if he continues to dump it, there won’t be any sand to play with!

And no. I don’t have ANY new photos. Seriously. Depressing. *slap on the hand*

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Oh Goodness

Far too many things have happened and I haven’t blogged them (shame on me):

Groundhogs Day Blizzard– yeah…that happened. John got 2 days off from work and Kiki got 2 days off from school. The boys, well, they just hung out like any other day!

Our House-during our big dig out

The kids in front of the neighbors 5 ft fence, I guess the snow drift was close to 4 feet here at the bottom of the driveway.

Goofball, on top of snow mountain. (I love her jack-o-lantern smile)

Always Helping

Our Snowmound


Next: Kaelyn’s 7th Birthday! Chicka turned 7 on March 10th and she didn’t let ANYONE forget 🙂 Her family party was on the 6th and it was American Girl themed. Kaelyn is very much into American Girl right now, she currently has Lanie and Kit which were gifts from Nana/Papa and Maga/Baga, along with a bunch of their accessories including pets. She also has my Girl of Today, Samantha and Kirstin. So basically, we can say she is ALL SET. Now for future gifts, we plan to purchase clothing and accessories.

Kaelyn’s Samantha Cake

Lanie on one of her birthday cards, I love her face. This is just so KAELYN. 🙂

Gavin in the best seat of the house, on Papa’s shoulders of course.

Too Sweet to not post, she was so excited!

For her actual birthday Kaelyn requested a ‘White cake with pink frosting with white piping and writing on it saying Happy 7th Birthday Kaelyn‘. I improvised.

She didn’t seem to mind.

Ian enjoying cake.

Gavin without a care in the world, all he needs and wants is CAKE.

Kaelyn got a nightgown from Mom and Dad, and Kit got a matching one. She also got a fold out trundle bed that sleeps 2-3 dolls. Perfect for Kaelyn’s dolls 🙂

Last: IT’S MID-MARCH!! Which means we are super-d-duper busy here in the Rork household!

We are…

Spending time in time-outs…

Dressing our dolls…

Licking our plates clean…


Dressing our cats in miniature leprechaun hats!!



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A Look Into Their Minds

Now honestly, with the weather becoming cooler and less time outside, we have become more creative in what we do during the day. We usually walk Kae to school, then come home and play, then we watch a bit of t.v. and have a small snack. But today I witnessed something I knew had been going on (John caught them doing this on Sunday but no camera could be found) and happened to have the video camera(iPhone) handy.

Enjoy! I know Mac did!


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Apples and Pumpkins and Scarecrows, OH MY!

Lets just say we’ve been a bit busy the past few weeks.  And keeping up with everything has been a bit of a challenge since we were all hit with a lovely fall cold. Bring on flu season, we are prepared!

Last weekend was a bit of a chilly one here in Dundee. So of course we decided to take the sick kids to the apple orchard before all the apple were picked! We don’t let snot noses get in the way of a good old fashioned family fun weekend.  Janine, Ben and Cameron  came along for their first apple orchard adventure too! John drove our butts up to Royal Oak Apple Orchard in Hebron, IL and we got there at a perfect time! The chill was in the air so the sweatshirts/jackets were a must. We forgot our gloves at home but those would have kept our apple juicy hands from freezing off. The kids had a blast and the adults were treated to a lovely Dairy Mart lunch on our way home!

Getting ready to go to the field on their wagon

Ian loving his apple


Family photo op

Gavin got his chance to pick an apple

Kids got to ride on the tractor and that was probably their favorite part

Then on Sunday, after our birthday bagel/lox fest with my parents, we bundled up the kids and headed out to Goeberts to get our fall essentials. Essentials being: pumpkins, gourds, kettle corn, apple cider, apple cider doughnuts, indian corn and mums. The kids loved running around the fields and playing on the train, tractor, and other wooden objects.


Thing 1 and Thing 2

Thing 3

Snarfing down his kettle corn by the handful, he wouldn’t let me wipe his nose either. Ick.

He loves being with his sister, can you tell?

They (Kaelyn) wanted a photo with the pumpkin. Super Dad to the rescue!


This past weekend we headed to St. Charles for the Scarecrow Festival with Nana and Papa and the Flahertys. It was such a lovely weekend and the weather was PERFECT 🙂 Definitely good eating festival food and  looking at scarecrow weather! We didn’t bring our camera but Nana remembered. I’ll share them once we get a few of them from her.


Other than busy weekends we all have had some busy weeks too! John has been doing quite a lot at work, I’ve been trying to keep up with the boys/housework/life, Kaelyn is still liking school and has gone up a letter in her reading level (K), Ian has started working on reading/colors/numbers and loves to sit and color, and Gavin has become a monkey with the amount of climbing he does in a day. I won’t be surprised if he finds a way to climb on the ceiling.  Spider Pig anyone?! Not gonna lie, never had climbers before, he’s the worst to keep up with. I was “worried” when he wouldn’t walk. Now I’m worried he’s gonna be running faster than I can.

I also finally signed up Kae for gymnastics at Spring Hill Gymnastics. She couldn’t be more excited! Ian will also be taking his first structured class at SHG ever, and I’m nervous/excited. He doesn’t like to listen to us, but does listen to other people. Should be interesting to watch!

And there you have it. Busy busy busy!

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Oh September

Where did August go?! I’ve been lazy with my blogging and so many things have been going on. Writing is a bit of a release for me, so it’s very nice to be able to do it in a way that I will be able to look back and see all the fun events and memories we’ve had. This family is growing up. We’ve got a 1st grader, an almost 3 year old, and a 16 month old WALKER. Yes finally, those small weasley steps turned into a full-on run. Am I in trouble? Yes. Did I ask for it? Yes.

September is a wonderful month for us. The heat dies down so we can actually enjoy being in our house once again. Although, we won’t be taking the A/C units out just yet, I’m still waiting for one more little heat wave. Wishful thinking? Sigh. In 07′, just as I went to the hospital to have Ian, we got that lovely heat wave. Happy mommy, hot sweaty Ian. Poor guy has been a sweat box ever since. But we’ve got all our fall/winter clothes put in our drawers, with a few summer t’s at the top of our bins. The boys are set with clothes this year, minus a few things Ian will get for his birthday. I saved a boat load of Ian’s stuff when I found out we were having another monkey. And Kaelyn will always have more clothes than the boys. Because it’s a whole lot more fun to shop for her and with her. I have heard though, from miscellaneous sources (Mom), that girls get more difficult when they get older?! How true can that be. *handslapsface* Oh, karma…you are a bitch.


Kaelyn is doing well in school.  She has had a bit of trouble following directions and keeping quiet when asked. She has had quite a few card changes from talking when she’s not supposed to. I know she is going to have to learn to keep her mouth zipped but she is so intelligent  and social that sometimes I think it’s hard for her to do. Her mind is working a million miles per second, always taking in everything and processing. It’s going to be a lot of hard work but fun work to keep her focused and interested in school. If anyone  has any suggestions on keeping her motivated, we are all ears! Kae also enjoys coming home to her brothers. It has been a fairly smooth transition for her with being at school all day with no down time to relax or play with her brothers. The boys seem to interact with Kae a lot better now too. I’m gonna keep my fingers crossed that Ian and Gavin have the same relationship with each other. She also lost another tooth 🙂

Ian, Ian, Ian. It has been a battle with EE for a while now. He knows he can say no and he uses it to the best of his ability. If I were grading him right now in his ability to say and use the word NO correctly, he’d be getting an A++ with extra credit points for all the times he makes me put him in his time-out chair. Was it this difficult with Kae? Yes. But it’s been 3+ years of not having to deal with it so I’m starting from scratch with this kid. His vocabulary has grown exponentially since he turned 2. I’m always amazed when he communicates with us at how precisely he says his words. No slurring his v’s, no s’ing his f’s. *sad face* No Ian-isms. No ‘Sive o Sive South Surst Street’ <—Genuine Kaelyn-ism. More on Ian next week for his 3rd birthday update.

Gavinator. Gavi-gav-sinosen. Baby. Lil’ Man. Bitty. Bubba. Tiny one. GG. NO NO BABY! Poor thing won’t ever know his real name. Gavin has been RUNNING throughout the house as of last week. And he’s been getting into a lot of trouble and making a lot of messes. I had to officially bring out “the grey gate” and it is now locking the children out of the rest of the house. The boys only have full rein of the living room and dining room. No kitchen, no den, NO STAIRS, NO BATHROOM. *crazy eye twitch* He says mama, dada, kitty (di), EE, Ki, nana, uh oh, NO, hi, om nom nom.  Gavin LOVES the cats. However, Cooper sees no need in liking Gav and Mac could care less about anything other than food. If Gav has food then Mac is his buddy and will wait under the high chair/table/ottoman for droppings. He’s on a one nap schedule with Ian, and they sleep from 11:30-12 until 2-2:30. That break in the day gives me a bit of a time to rest and recover from the early morning events. Waking up while it’s still dark is hard and I think this winter is going to royally suck for everyone involved.

Stove. Or technically speaking, Frigidaire Gallery 30″ Freestanding Gas Range In Stainless Steel – FGGF3041KF, arrived at 9:36 am on September 11, 2010. Weighing in at a whopping 217lbs, 30 inches wide and she is beautiful. And we will treasure her forever or until the first thing goes wrong and we get her replaced.

Other Happenings:

John and I saw John Mayer. I melted. We celebrated Megan’s 27th birthday at Ravinia last month. We saw Rodrigo y Gabriella under the lovely stars and perfect weather. Loads of cheese, meat, and wine were consumed by all.

Uncle Steve turned 2-0. Happy Birthday Brother/Uncle! We love and miss you! Can’t wait to see you soon! (the following photo is from 09′, perfectly shows what the kids are truly like-screamy, chill, picture perfect )

Ian’s 3 on the 22nd! John’s busy with work and has gotten a few other projects to keep him even more busy at home! I’ve been working newline at Gymbo which has allowed me to get out of the house for a few hours every month.  And that’s all folks! *Looney Tunes exit*