John and Dana

and our life with the munchkins!

Goodbye 2nd Grade, Hello 3rd!

Today was Kaelyn’s last day of 2nd grade! She had a wonderful year ๐Ÿ™‚ She continued to excel in reading and writing but also continued to improve in math! Mrs. Krewer was a fantastic teacher and I hope she’s still around when Ian gets to Dundee Highlands! The boys and I went to the school to see the end of the year bell ringing but didn’t get a chance to take any pictures of Kaelyn and the bell.

Here is one pic I took with my phone right as she came out the doors into her new found summer vacation freedom!

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Ballet Recital

Kaelyn had her ballet recital this past Saturday and it was so much fun seeing her and all the kids up on the stage! John, myself, the boys, Maga, Baga, Uncle Steve, Nana, and Papa were all able to join us at CMS to see Kaelyn dance!

She said she couldn’t get her eyes to open any more…She had too much makeup in them! I loved their costumes this year!

Floating away!

Oh these boys were so so SO good the entire recital!

Naps normally start at 11:30 at our house. So by 1pm Gavin took a nap on Baga’s shoulder. Thanks Baga!

Kae and Ian with Maga, Baga, and Uncle Steve (home from college for 3 days…now off to an internship for the summer…Mr. Golfer)

Meltdown? What meltdown! Papa being a superstar holding on to a screaming, bucklebacking Gavin.

And finally…we haven’t had a family photo taken of us since last LAST Christmas. Gavin still didn’t want to participate but we’ll take it!

NEXT UP: GAVIN TURNS 3 TOMORROW! WOAH.

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Kaelyn’s Parties!

Well… being 8 and all, Kae decided to ask if we could have a friends party this year, because she thought she was old enough now and had enough friends ๐Ÿ™‚ We decided on having it at the Centre in Elgin. They have an awesome zero depth pool with water slides and things for kids of all ages and it was perfect because they provided lunch and drinks and 2 hours of fun in the pool! Baga and Papa helped wrangle the boys while Maga and Nana helped keep an eye on the girls. The girls had a blast and were EXHAUSTED sitting in the party room eating. They all looked like they were gonna fall asleep in their pizza! The boys and neighbor boys were totally amped up and ready for more party by the time it was all over. How do little people have SO MUCH ENERGY?! Agh. I don’t get it. Well enough of my yapping…pics from this party:

Kaelyn, Ella M, Ella P, Marissa, and Julia

All a bit sleepy after swimming.

Ian all sugared up with a cupcake the size of his face.

Jackson enjoying his cupcake and Gavin staring off into space. Oh boys.

On St. Patricks Day, we had Kaelyn’s family party at Maga and Baga’s house! We had loads of corned beef, cabbage, carrots, bread, and polish sausage (I’m probably forgetting a bunch more…we tend to make a lot of food and eat it too). Oh and can’t forget black and tan’s from my dads bar. It wouldn’t be an irish/polish celebration without mentioning the bar and the booze. ย ๐Ÿ™‚ Sloshy sloshy beer. HA. We stuck with the St. Patty’s theme but did a bit more rainbow than anything else. Kae got to go with Nana to Deerfields Bakery and got to design her cake. Again…enough with the yappin’…here are the pic’s:

Kiki’s creative cake!

Boys reading with Uncle Al

I just love her face in this one! Muah! My big 8 year old…wow…just wow.

ย We also got to celebrate another birthday! Nana Jean turn 87(??) this year so she got to celebrate with Kae and all the other March babies in the family (Aunt Gail, Uncle John, Aunty Ann, Matthew…I’m probably forgetting someone). March and May and September are big birthday months in our family!

I’ll be back shortly (a day or two) to update on spring break (did absolutely nothing and LOVED it) and Easter! xo

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Wait…She’s HOW old now?

Yeah. I get that A LOT from my friends. It’s definitely a ‘holy shit’ moment when you realize it too.

Where were you 8 years ago? Well I was running around with my mom, dad, and brother trying to finish up some last minute stuff before I needed to be in labor/delivery at 9am on March 10th. My mom and I drove with Sue (our neighbor) and John drove his car so he could leave at night after she was born. Insane.

I just remember trying to keep calm and I didn’t cry until I got to Northwest Community because the hospital was so huge and ominous. The staff took such great care of me. Not everyone looks at a 17 year old and smiles. That was tough, going in knowing I would be part of the ‘teenage mother’ population by the end of the day. But the staff was so incredibly loving and caring, all my fears of labor and delivery were slowly going away.

And just as everyone had expected, I had Kaelyn 5 hours after I was induced. My doctor made it just in time. My mom and John were in the room, my mom helped me the whole way through the pregnancy and I had to have her with me. She was my rock. John was my ice chip man. And to be honest, I hated him at that point because the whole thing hurt so much (no epidural) but I got over it quickly as he held Kaelyn in his arms and helped wash her and dress her. Love.

Our sweet bunny.

We had so many visitors too. Family. And some of our best friends who have stuck with us through the tough times and we are still so grateful to have them in our lives. And they all have an Auntie or Uncle in front of their name, and Kaelyn won’t ever let them forget it.

Auntie Katie, Uncle Brendan, John, Uncle Dane, Uncle Phil and Ty

It’s been a long and incredible journey and I wouldn’t change any of it.ย  My parents are my best friends as a direct result of it. Without them, John and I would have floundered.

Happy Birthday to my sweet Kikisaurus. You’ve changed me for the better and can’t wait to watch you grow some more! Muah โค

 

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This Never Stops Being Fun

So when Kaelyn was born and the following 2.5 years we lived with my super awesome parents while John and I went to ECC. Our days were often split, Kae would come with me some days and she’d go to daycare at ECC, and other days she would spend time with John depending on our work and school schedules. We loved to play outside at Maga and Baga’s and there was loads of room for her to run and play. The one thing she loved to do the most is probably still one of her favorite things to do when we head out to play there. The stone wall around my parents patio island has been around as long as I can remember (they had all landscaping/stonework done right after they built the house). ย I even remember walking and walking and walking in circles on those stones! So here she was circa August/September 2006:

and May 2011:

I love the ‘Dad…stop taking photos’ face. Priceless. And I LOVE how compact and round she was in 06. She’s going to be a lean mean fighting machine, probably towering over me in a few short years. Wow. Just wow. Where has that time gone?!

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Easter Weekend 2011

We had a fairly eventful weekend starting with a day off on Good Friday! John was home and the kids absolutely loved it! I’m boring, he’s not….I’m the mean one, he’s not….I see a pattern forming. Womp womp. Such is life. So the kiddos played games, played on the iPad (John got one from work the other week, the kids LOVE it), and watched a few tv shows on netflix in the morning. Then they went with Nana, Papa and Uncle Pat to the Rainforest Cafe and to get new shoes (for their Easter present).

Gavininator

EE

iPad time for Gavin

Game time for Kae and Ian. He LOVED playing this with his big sister. She was fairly patient with him.

Mac had a relaxing day on Kaelyn’s American Girl Doll bed. Kit and Martha (her dolls) were not pleased.

Holy Saturday was a bit of a blur. The kids went with my mom and brother to my Babcia and Dziadzias house in Niles to color easter eggs and go to the easter basket blessing. They had a blast and were completely exhausted by the time they came home. John and I spent the day shopping for our Easter dinner and cleaning for our guests! This was my first official hosting of a holiday and it honestly couldn’t have gone any smoother. I pre-made a bunch of stuff so that I would have more time to spend with family on Easter morning.

Easter table. It was fun to put together!

Easter Egg hunt at Babcia and Dziadzias Easter morning

Not really in focus but he was focused on getting his eggs. Uncle Steve helped him and cousin Matt helped Ian out.

Ian having a blast

Bunny Katie (my cousin) and Bunny Kaelyn

Dziadzia loves the easter egg hunt! He’s very helpful too! I just love this photo so much.

All done with the hunt so now it’s time to chow down on all the goodies.

Drippy nose, drippy chocolate= Gavin

Of course, can’t put the candy down at all. Must keep it near him at all times. The kids are finally coming down off of their sugar high. Finally.

We came home after breakfast and tried to get the kids to rest but that didn’t happen. So then began our second event of the day, Easter dinner with the Rorks and Cathonys. It was very nice to be home and with family. The kids got their hunt on AGAIN while I got dinner set on the table.

Papa was helping get the hard to reach eggs for the older 2.

He ran all over the yard.

Kae filled her basket (14 for each kid max) so she was helping Ian find his eggs. He was so excited!

AMeat Trifecta- Ham, Turkey AND Polish Sausage (fresh and smoked).

Because 1 9lb ham isn’t enough, we needed to make a whole turkey and 2 links of sausage. I blame my mother for my feeding people skills. The leftovers have been quite tasty. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now I’m sure you are wondering why I put this picture up. Other than it being hilarious and blurry (sorry…). My cousin Collette (up front) and my lovely friend Katie (trying to grab the bouquet out from under Collette) both have/had things happen to them this weekend/week. Collette got ENGAGED on Saturday to the love of her life Jeff. And Katie is getting married this weekend to the love of her life Steve! I love them both dearly and am so happy for both of them! Can’t wait to celebrate with Katie/Steve this weekend and with Collette/Jeff AND another special couple whom want to remain incognito until all family is notifiedย in the next year! Woo!


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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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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…

AND

Dressing our cats in miniature leprechaun hats!!

HAPPY MARCH MADNESS EVERYONE!


 

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To Great-Grandmothers House We Go!

Well, we really call them Nana Nana and Papa Papa but I thought that was a cute title! Gotta keep it creative here people! Just kidding. So we recovered from our busy Christmas weekend by driving down to Springfield to see John’s grandparents. We hadn’t seen them since July 09′ so it was well over due, and it worked out perfectly with everyone being free to join! We left around nap time for the boys and got there 4 hours later, definitely not a tough trip for us (South Carolina is 19+hrs) road warriors. It was so nice to see them and Nana Nana made tons of food and Papa Papa showed Ian and Gavin his tractors! They were in heaven!

We were bad about taking photos this round. We enjoyed everyone’s company so much that I think we just forgot to whip out the camera.

Reading a book and keeping himself busy.

Listening to Daddy talking.

Megan and ย Aunt Mari

She was going to steal his blanket…and he loved it. Nana and Nana Nana

We brought down the box Brio tracks (they come with a Tupperware snap n go lid…ROCKIN) and the kids played for hours.

Ian with one of Papa Papa’s small tractors.

We don’t travel light. We had our pack n play, everyone’s blankets, a suitcase and a duffel bag. Along with Pillow Pets and Lanie, we needed to roll our crap up and down through the hotel. Gavin just decided he had enough so he hopped on.
John and I also got the chance to visit the new Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. That man was one amazing guy and the artifacts and exhibits were very special to see. The have a trip through his boyhood years and a trip though the presidential years to his assassination. One of Four of his stovepipe hats is there, and a lot of other cool Lincoln artifacts. We are planning a summer trip to see Nana Nana and Papa Papa and all the Lincoln sites! (no camera’s allowed in the exhibits so we decided to leave the camera at home for this trip)
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Christmas Day 2010

This Christmas morning the kids woke up and giggled all the way down the stairs to find all of their goodies Santa had stashed under the tree. We let them open their stockings while John and I woke up. That took about 2 seconds and they were ready for round 2 of present opening. The one thing the kids all wanted were those godforsaken Pillow Pets. So of course Santa went all out! Kaelyn got her ladybug, Ian got his dolphin (definitely not a comfortable pillow) and Gavin got a dog. ย The kids also got other miscellaneous things like more wooden train tracks, puzzles, LuLu the Kitty that doesn’t ever stop meowing, and some board games.

The boys got dinosaurs from Santa in their stockings.

Gavin looking for more.

He was being such a cutie pie Christmas morning!

Kae with her Dolly and Buttercup. The boys also got Mr. Pricklepants, Rex, Trixie, Lotso and Stretch, all from Toy Story 3 of course, in their stockings as well.

Oh man, there she is. 13lb LuLu. That’s all I have to say.

Gavin lovin on LuLu. Thinking that this cat doesn’t run away from me!

Ian got some extension pieces to make his Thomas and Brio wooden railway systems bigger. Little did he know a much bigger railway surprise was waiting for him at Nana and Papas!

After the opening of gifts at home, we headed over to my parents house to opening up stockings, gifts and have John’s special biscuits and gravy breakfast before Baga had to work. The kids got more spoiled with all the attention from Maga, Baga and Uncle Steve and loved seeing what was hidden under all the wrapping paper. By this point, Gavin was kind of over the whole “gift” thing but Kae and Ian had no problems helping opening his gifts.

Ramone, from Cars, was in Ian’s stocking. He has been sleeping with him ever since. He also changes color, totally ย just like the REAL THING! Too cute.

Kaelyn with her Selena Gomez and the Scene CD from Uncle Steve. She got this one signed by Uncle Dane today. Kaelyn also got the animals she wanted from the American Girl doll catalog, along with some more accessories and clothing for her dolls.

Gavin with his very own pop-up toy.

My dad got his Griswold Family Christmas shirt from us. It vividly brought back memories of putting our own cut down tree on top of his jeep and having it fly off the top of the car onto Rt.31. Oh the memories. Definitely one Christmas memory I won’t forget. It’s a bit full. Lot of sap. *spits*

I just love how this picture came out. Seabrook Island and Dad, two things that go very well together! Mom ended up getting some awesome new pj’s, perfume, and necklace. Dad got a rocking new esspresso maker and made some for all of us! It was truly a great Christmas morning. (also, his mustache is back…if anyone was wondering ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

After our Cathony celebration, we headed home and ย all took naps. We then headed over for round 4 of Christmas! The Rork Christmas! Nana, Papa, Megan, Pat and Al were all around to join in the festivities! Nana and Papa made an awesome roast, with tons of sides and drinks to go around!

Kaelyn opened up her big gift from Nana and Papa and it was her very own American Girl doll, Lanie!

Auntie Megan made Kaelyn and Lanie matching hats for the winter months!

During the BIG reveal! Ian and Gavin got their own Brio table and new track set from Nana and Papa!

The one and only time we will capture on camera the boys behaving so nicely and sharing.

Well Santa got a bit carried away. The boys love Toy Story and so does Mommy, so Santa decided to get them their awesome Buzz and Woody pjs for Christmas this year. He was able to find some Tangled jammies for Ms. Kiki too.

 

I’m almost finished wrapping up the end of the year posts. Just a few more to go and I’ll be all caught up! Next up blog: Downstate Springfield Trip to see Nana Nana and Papa Papa! We had a blast and are still full from all the eating we did down there ๐Ÿ˜‰ Healthier foods and exercise are on our agenda in the new year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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