John and Dana

and our life with the munchkins!

I Do!

Well wedding season is officially over. Sniffle. My cousin Collette and her husband Jeff got married August 18th and everything went perfectly. She had quite the time planning her wedding, so when the finally arrived we all made sure that everything went as planned ☺

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And for our second family wedding, Johns sister Megan got married September 8th at the Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford. John and I were each in the wedding party and the kids were the flower girl and ring bearers! Let’s just say we were exhausted after the weekends events! So happy to have Alex officially be a part of our family! The kids love their Uncle Alex!

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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 🙂 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.  🙂 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.

 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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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!

PJR

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!

Surprise!!

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.

Cookies

and…

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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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. 😉

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 notified in the next year! Woo!


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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  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.  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  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 😉 )

After our Cathony celebration, we headed home and  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 😉 Healthier foods and exercise are on our agenda in the new year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Birthday Activities for the Ian-miester

So yesterday we had a bit of a cranky day with the boys, we left the house in the morning to drop off Kaelyn then just hung out inside. I was able to bake a cake for Ian who requested Chocolate Chocolate BIG cake. I tend to make cupcakes just because it is easy to do and to serve to the little ones. But birthday boy REQUESTED a BIG CAKE and I had time to make it.

For dinner we made homemade pizza crusts and the kids (and John and I) made our own pizzas!

Snarfing down some pepperoni before he decided to put it on his pizza

Watching what K was doing

Ian’s Creation

K’s creation with that crazy smile

Birthday boy blowing out his candle on his BIG CAKE

Thumbs up! Birthday was a success!


Next is his party! Can’t wait to see his face when he see’s his REALLY BIG CAKE 🙂

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