John and Dana

and our life with the munchkins!

Summer: Part 1

I left off with a post about birthdays and swim lessons. A few other things have happened but nothing of major substance for me to blog about. I recently took back my old position at Gymboree (one that I had back when I didn’t know I’d be a mom to 3 kiddlets). It’s been great getting out of the house, and doing something that I really do love. Yes, I admit it. I love retail. Roll your eyes 🙂 And yes, there are times when I’ll complain about it but the flexibility it gives me to stay at home with the kids during the day is fantastic. Plus the clothes rock and so does my discount. So…I’ve been working 20-25 hours every week for the past 4-5 weeks and it’s been a huge adjustment. Hence my limited blogging/picture taking.

John has been a huge help to me by making dinner, getting kids to and from camp/swim lessons, and keeping the house tidy. With out that help, I’d be sunk. So, fair warning to anyone wanting to ‘drop by’. My house is a pit even with husband cleaning service, the laundry is about 3 loads behind most days, and sometimes dinner is just a frozen za because I can’t get off my tired rump to figure out a decent meal. I guess we’ll see how long it takes for me to adjust, I’m just glad I’ve got John here every step of the way. Funny how far 5 years of marriage have taken us.

The kids finished up swim lessons a few weeks ago. Gavin-major fail, Ian-minor fail, Kae-SO CLOSE to next level. And honestly, they just loved being in the water and mostly listened to their teachers instructions! That’s all I cared about. Not looking for 2012 Olympic swimmers in this household. I just want my kids to be kind and respectful to ANYONE who is teaching them something. The older two have that down. G-man needs some help but thankfully preschool will be starting and his teachers are wonderful yet don’t take crap from small people! Wahoo!

They then jumped into summer camps! Ian went Monday/Wednesday/Fridays (9am-11am) for 3 weeks, and Kae went for 2 whole weeks (9am-3pm). Both kids LOVED being in their structured environment, and it was super nice not hearing the whining of them both-IM BOOOOORRRREEEEDDDD. Gavin hung with me on the days when Ian and Kae were both in their camps, and we mostly shopped for groceries and got Jamba Juice. He loves his one on one time with us, but really did miss his siblings.

Currently we are knee deep in wedding season, so showers/bachelorette parties are upon us this week and next. I’ll try to get some posts with pictures up but I honestly don’t want to fish for the camera cable. Mamma is LAZY.

So that’s part 1. Part 2 will come at a later date. When…no promises 😉

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Goodbye 2nd Grade, Hello 3rd!

Today was Kaelyn’s last day of 2nd grade! She had a wonderful year 🙂 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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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).  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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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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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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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…

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  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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Books and Ornaments

We have been busy busy beavers here in the Rork household. Please bear with me as I go back in time and remember what we did all through December. (just look at the pretty pictures if you must)

This Christmas Kaelyn and I made ornaments for our close friends and family. We made drip ball, paper-mache  and got fancy with stick-on jewels and glitter glue! And boy did Kaelyn work hard!

Concentrating. She loved mixing the colors and making them mesh together. Baga Baga would  have been proud.

Part of the finished product! So pretty!

Now Gavin has been busy getting into things he shouldn’t.  One way we divert his attention is to remind him of his book area. I set up 2 baskets filled with some of his favorite books and he will sometimes sit on the window sill for 30 minutes! He is become such a big boy, can still be quiet at times but is studying what everyone else is doing. He loves saying his animals and what sounds they make, and sometimes will hum Twinkle Twinkle perfectly.

Reading his favorite, Fuzzy Fuzzy Fuzzy. I remember Doggies being Kaelyn’s favorite and Moo Ba La La La by Sandra Boynton being Ian’s favorite. I love the humor in her writing. Too cute.

Once he is done reading his book, he either throws it down on the ground (typical) or puts it back in the basket (completely shocking). Lets just say I clean a lot of book up off the floor every day.

Soaking it all up.

Ian News: As of today, he has finally figured out the whole pooping on the potty deal. He’s also in the ‘potty game’ to win the gummy bears. Total manipulator. One squirt of pee and he thinks he can get a gummy…too funny. No pictures from this photo shoot. Next post should have EE too.

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