John and Dana

and our life with the munchkins!

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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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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Running Behind

I know, I know. I said I would TRY to blog more. ‘Try’ being the key word here. The kids and the squirrels/mice have been keeping me busy! Halloween was so much fun this year. The kids had a bit of a cold and it was chilly outside on the 31st but we still made it around the neighborhood. Kaelyn trick or treated with her friend Marissa (all of those photos are on my MIL camera) and Ian kept up with them!

Monkey Gavin

Monster Ian

Asian Princess Kaelyn

Baga carved pumpkins with the kids. They chose to take home this pumpkin. Look at that detail! Good job Baga!

I carved this one for the kids. I learned from a master carver!

Gavin LOVED hanging with the pumpkin on the window sill.

I’ll update flickr with a lot more from Halloween. Happy Monday everyone!

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Halloween Part 1

On Wednesday the boys got to decorate sugar cookies, decorate cupcakes, eat mummy dogs, Halloween mac n cheese and watch It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown during their special Halloween party with Cameron (and Janine+Babybug Tummyhog).

*Sidenote: I have a strong hatred for homemade sugar cookies. The dough is awful to make, if you don’t work with it the right way it gets angry and breaks, and I generally use all of my patience during the day with the kids so  I bet you know where that is going I don’t have very much left to work with finicky dough. But Betty C. helped me Tuesday night *sound the angels singing* and things went SWIMMINGLY. (I pre-baked the cookies so they’d be ready for Wednesday just in case I decided to have a meltdown. I thought I’d prefer only John to see/hear my wrath if the dough decided it hated me.) John was certainly getting a kick out of it. I screamed/kicked/jumped every time I got a good cookie out of the dough! AND I GOT 32 cookies out of the batch!! WOOO!  At this point in my life it’s the little things that get me through 🙂

So we began icing our cookies first with Janine’s guidance and I worked on making some lopsided cupcakes! I enjoy my cupcakes lopsided, don’t you Convection oven cookers of America?!

Ian enjoyed icing his cookies!

Totally enjoying his cookie, pre-iced by mommy.

Slopping on his icing and grabbing another bottle to decorate THE SAME COOKIE!

Mummy Dogs for Lunch

FYI Make sure you have kitchen scissors to cut the dough, it makes the process MUCH faster when slicing the dough for the mummy wrap. Need the recipe, they are on Pillsbury’s website 🙂

Ian’s Cupcake…which then got gobbled up by Mac. The never-ending saga of my life… At least we got a picture of it!!

Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 of Halloween fun! Kaelyn’s Halloween parade at school, pumpkin carving, and trick or treating! Woo!

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Today is Ian Michael’s 3rd birthday! He woke up at the crack of dawn and has been going going GOING (“napping” wasn’t in the birthday boy’s agenda) all day! He may fall asleep in his cake tonight. Oh well, it’s all for fun!

Update: Can’t seem to find actual birthday pictures, hoping to find some and post sooner or later!

September 22, 2007 – Ian Michael Rork 7lbs 4oz, 19in @ 4:14pm (4 is his lucky number!)

October 4, 2007- a few weeks old

October 11, 2008- Before we took binky away his teeth came in super high, and he preferred one side than the other.

September 24, 2009- Who do you think he looks like?! Rork or Cathony?

September 19, 2010

Happy Birthday to one of the smartest, sweetest, kind-hearted kids I know. Ian sure is a handful a lot of the time but who could blame him!? He’s gotta keep up with Kaelyn and make sure Gavin doesn’t steal his thunder. 🙂 He loves his trucks, trains, planes, t.v. time, sleeping at night, and wrestling with daddy! We head to the Dr. on Friday to find out his stats!

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West Dundee’s Heritage Fest 2010

This weekend we spent some time down at our home town festival! Saturday was a short visit, but we munched on quite a bit of yummy snacks. The kids had kettle corn and the adults had corn on the cob! With a little bit of rain ruining our fun, we spent the rest of the day hanging out inside. Sunday we had the opportunity to head down again (yes, it’s only 3 blocks away so walking was our mode of transportation) and we joined the Foley’s for the car show, lunch, kids games and the Dundee-Crown High School homecoming parade.

Giant balloons kept the kids happy for a very long time. Ian loved the games too!

Gavin struttin’ his stuff and holding onto his balloon.

Mr. Jonathan, child/balloon wrangler

Kaelyn rocking the UPHILL monkey bars

Sitting on 72 waiting for the parade to start

Always the comedienne!

Gavin enjoying a yummy dum-dum. And getting totally sticky in the process. Ick.


Our two camera hogs 🙂

Check out our flickr site for more cute and adorable moments from our adventure. Up next: IAN’S 3 on Wednesday!

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Walkin, Talkin, Kissin, Huggin

We kinda sorta have another walker! Gavin still favors crawling but we’ve been able to get him to walk holding onto our hand! And he has walked a few steps on his own, mostly between us and to Kaelyn. He LOVES being by Kaelyn, and is always looking for her. This school year will hopefully allow Gavin and Ian to become buddies. Yay!

As far as development goes, Gavin seems to be doing everything at a slower pace than the other two. I would have guessed the opposite since he always wants to be with his siblings, but he’s taking his time and we are ok with that! Once the full-blown walking begins we are in trouble. He has been babbling away recently. We ask him to say Mama and he says Dada. We ask him to say Omnomnomnom (think Cookie Monster when saying that) and he says Mama. Gavin LOVES to say HI. And is super friendly, once he knows who he is dealing with.

We did have our 15 month appointment today, Gavin is 22lbs 4ozs and in the 25th percentile for height (forgot to write down his measurements). So he’s growing! Yay! He did get 3 shots today but was a total trooper. Like I’ve said before, I was kind of worried about his development since he was a month early. But the dr said there is nothing to be worried about either. It’s just his personality (the baby) that is keeping him from wanting to do anything for himself. He said he sees Gavin progressing and he is doing great!

Letting go, and swatting his hands up and down. It is so hard to catch him walking but he’s been doing it more frequently.

This week is another big change for the boys. Gavin has now moved onto one nap a day. The past few weeks, Gavin has been fighting me on the second nap when clearly he wasn’t tired. So to break up the day and keep him from falling asleep on the carpet, I’ve been taking the boys to the park, or grocery shopping, or other errands. This past Tuesday Jen and Jackson joined us at the park. And as you can see from the photos, the kids are not going to stop for the cutest photo-op. They are ON THE MOVE.

Both my boys trying to climb the swirly thing. Jackson running away from the camera.

Crawling and getting completely filthy.

Ian made it the whole way across AND he didn’t kick his brother! Yaaaaay!

Yes, cute photo opp. No? Oh ok. *sad mommy*

And last but not least, Fur Baby 1 (Mac) has been a complete lounge cat. He loves to hang with me so he usually comes into the den, finds the most comfortable thing possible to lay on, and then curls into a ball. Awee! Fur Baby 2 has definitely become the gremlin under the bed. I was searching for dirty clothes and he hissed from behind the shadows. Scary.

Yes, he does hold his legs together. It looks like he’s getting ready to dive.

This week has gone by quickly! Steven is off to college tomorrow so we are having Dad’s homemade pizza at their house tonight! Woo hoo! Let the weekend BEGIN!

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South Carolina 2010

This year we went to Seabrook Island, South Carolina for a week-long relaxing and rejuvenating beach vacation. We tend to go there fairly often because we love it so very much. The island is private, and there are no major hotels or hot spots so it’s a very quiet and calm place to be. My parents are owners of some land on the island so we go and rent a home for a week, dreaming of what life will be like when they build or buy! Dreams do come true, people! We’ve got proof 😉

We left Friday at 5:30am, and were in S.C. by Saturday. There was a minor glitch though, the kids (after riding in the car for 13 hours) decided they didn’t really want to sleep in the hotel. Sorta crappy, we mostly felt bad for the people around us who had to listen to insane-o shrieking from the G-Man. But we got up BRIGHT AND EARLY, and got back into the car for day 2 of driving. Once we got to Seabrook, some genius plowed into the generator and knocked out power to the whole island. Well at that time, we had 2 cars full of groceries from Costco, 3 gangry and antsy kids, and 4 hot adults having to move loads upon loads of luggage from the car to the hot-house. Did I mention that South Carolina gets hot but in a muggy, suck the air right out of you, way? Oh well, there. It does. And we love it. And we go back almost every year! So we bitched but dealt with it. Cause WE WERE ON VACATION DAMN-IT!

All the kids: Josh,Me, Kae, Zach, Ian and Steve.

My parent’s long-time friends, Jim and Marsha Blake and their 2 kids Zach and Josh, also joined us on the vacation. And they brought with them the A/C, cause the second my parents and the Blakes came in with 100lbs of ice to keep the food chilled, the electricity came back on. So it goes. So it goes.

Jim, Marsha, Dad and Mom- Jim and my dad have been friends since Elementary school.

We drank. We ate way too much food. We crispified our bodies on the beach, then we tanned. We swam. We ate. We drank. And drank some more. Did I mention the drinks there are always better than back home? Yes? Oh ok. Well they are! We also rented bikes. John pulled Kae on the tag-a-long(she has no sense of balance so this was hard!!), and I pulled Ian and Gavin in the Burley Trailer. Let me just say once that I enjoyed every minute of pulling what seemed like 800lbs of bricks on a no-gear bike, on the beach, into the wind, barefoot, uphill, and in the snow. Nevermind. It seriously was so much fun! The kids loved every minute of every single day. Zach and Josh were like built-in buddies, who each took a kid and played with them until they were completely exhausted. Ian became so attached that all he could ask when we were coming back home was, “Where is Mr. Zach? Where is Mr. Josh? Where are Jim and Marsha?”

Gavin enjoying some Sticky Fingers. I have never seen a more spotless rib bone. He’s a pro.

Kaelyn with her Baga.

Ian pointing at something. (Helicopter, Fighter Jets, Boats, Bridge?! Could have been any or a combo of those.) Charleston Air Force Base  practice a lot, and we get to watch!

We also had another vacationer with us. Steve flew in on Sunday night! He had to work the weekend but then was able to get a few days off to enjoy the S.C. sun and of course golf courses. The kids were absolutely devastated when he left Thursday, but knowing he’s at home for a few more weeks made it all better. (Steven goes to Eastern Kentucky University, and is in the PGM program…aka…GOLF GOLF and MORE GOLF are in his agenda at all times.)

Baked French Toast!

Did I mention anything about food yet? Oh I guess I’ll do that. So Jim/Marsha/Mom/Dad are foodies. We ate something amazing for breakfast almost every day. French Toast, Bacon, Biscuits and Gravy, Fruit Salad, Blueberry Pancakes, Ham and Egg bake, Bagels, and Eggs. Dinner’s consisted of Burger Night, Mexican Night, Italian Night, and then Sticky Fingers BBQ and Seafood at the Crab Shack on Folly Beach! Other nights were left-overs and John and I even got out to Charleston to eat at the Noisy Oyster!

On our last day , Friday, everyone went on a bike ride then headed to the beach for some crabbing. Not cranky crabbing. CRABBING CRABBING. Standing in knee-deep water with twine and chicken necks on a crabbing hook in one hand and net in the other, CRABBING. Very relaxing and infuriating at the same time. Right Dad?! *crazy gleam in his eye*

Mmm, we’re gonna eat you now. *Crabby wouldn’t let go of the tongs, I think she was a bit pissed*

And that was it. We packed up Friday night, cleaned out the fridge, loaded the cars and were out the door Saturday morning by 9am! John drove the whole way home and we got back by 4:30am on Sunday! The last few hours through Indiana made us go a little crazy and I think my dad wanted to shoot us. But staying in a hotel sucks for us. The kids slept in the car and I was co-pilot/flight attendant. We drank a lot of coffee 🙂 And talked about a lot of useless things. But we had fun. And that’s all that matters. Happy Vacation!

This week is going to be all about getting re-acclimated to our house, getting the cat’s back into a normal routine (they were P-I-S-S-E-D when we came home), and we have a wedding to go to on Friday for my childhood friend Pam!

*The photos I have up on the blog are from round 2 of uploading, round 1 is on John’s laptop. Once I figure out how to get those onto the family comp, I’ll upload um to Flickr*

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Boys Will Be Boys

Hmm…I never truly understood that statement until Ian was born. Kaelyn was always a sweet, calm and very independent little girl. She has since grown out of the calm stage but has gained so much more maturity in these past 6 years. I mean, come on, she’s going be a FIRST GRADER next year! Woo Hoo!

Now Ian, lets just say he’s testing my patience. He’s a very loud, rough and tumble sort of kid. We always joke that he will be the first to have a broken bone (knock on wood PLEASE) or join wrestling in middle school just to pummel kids down. But seriously, he loves to test his limits and tries to get away with anything he wants to. Well today we had our friend Jackson over to play for a bit, and Ian decided that eating sand wasn’t enough…He needed to throw it up in the air to try and catch it in his mouth?! I say it like that because SERIOUSLY?! He’s gonna send me to the crazy house. I can’t wrap my mind around the insanity coming out of his little brain. Oh well… Here’s some pictures. And hopefully a nap for the boys will cure them of all their crazy thoughts.

Also, 1-year-olds love climbing large slides that are taller than their mothers. And usually get stuck near the top hoping for a rescue. Geesh. (no pictures of that today…next time I’ll keep the camera around my neck)

Getting each of their own toys in their own corners. Sharing is a rare happening these days, at least for my boys. Jackson was very generous in his sharing today.

Ian, after whipping his sister in the face with a shovel full of sand. It never fails to have a camera ready to capture such precious moments in life… smoke coming out of my nostrils and snarls out of my mouth

Kaelyn has mastered the monkey bars at home AND at the park! “Mom! Take a picture!”

Mr. Jackson was hanging out watching everyone and everything. What a cutie pie 🙂

Ah, the sand munchers. I’m pretty certain I said “NO, DONT EAT THE SAND” to both boys about 2o times. Ah, Boys will be boys. (but very cute boys indeed)