Friday, September 13, 2013


So, I don't really know how many people frequent my blog, but I figured it is worth putting up here anyway.  I am running my first triathlon next Saturday.  I am super excited about it; even more so because I have the amazing opportunity to use my race to earn money for a great program called Girls on the Run.
My good friend Kathleen runs the program here in Eastern Iowa and I think it is such a unique and great program.  Basically, it gives girls in 3rd to 6th grade the chance to meet twice a week and learn valuable life skills.  They make friends, find positive female role models, and develop healthy social and emotional skills while training for a 5k.  The program does have a fee, but they don't want to turn anyone away who wants to participate.  As such, fundraising helps to give scholarships to girls who can't afford it.
I am a little late to the party here since I registered so late for my race.  I was a bit nervous I wouldn't be able to pull myself together in time with knee problems that forced me to take time off running and eye surgery that forced me to take time off swimming.  Luckily, I am back on track and doubly motivated by the thought of helping this program.  If you have a minute check out my fundraising website and donate if you can.  Every little bit helps.
As a little incentive, here are some of the pictures we had taken in Utah and some other shots of our adventures with the family (for those of you outside my immediate family who haven't seen them yet)
The first real family picture we have had taken since I was pregnant with Penny.  I think it turned out pretty well, even if Ian had to be eating snacks to not scream.

A couple shots of Penny, she is so cute, even with her self-cut bangs.  She loves the camera too.

And some of Ian, who was less game for the camera on picture day, but totally willing to ham it up the rest of the time.
And Ben, who was being too tough to smile, but once we got him laughing, he was really fun.

Penny with the groom (my brother, for those of you who didn't know)

Jon, Ben, Penny, and my nephew Dylan on the water toys.  Ben had so much fun on the water toys, even with rope burns all over his fingers (some of them 3rd degree) from his zip-line mishap.

Penny showing her complete lack of fear on the slider with my sister. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Quick Video

It is late and I am tired, but I really wanted to get this adorable video up.  Today I discovered that Ian likes to jump and the results were awesome.  Next time, I will try and get it with the video camera instead of Jon’s tablet in silly portrait mode.  Also, I am kind of standing in Ian’s light so you can’t see his cute little face.  Still, if you listen closely you can hear him saying “jump” a few times. 
Man that kid is too adorable for words.  Good thing I have videos.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Cute Videos

So, I have some pictures of Ben’s last day of school and Penny’s last day of her co-op preschool, but some have to be scanned or uploaded or e-mailed from other moms.  Until I get those up, here are some cute videos.

Somehow, I forgot to put up this video of Penny at the Chicago airport.  I could have sworn I put it in the post about our Utah trip, but I didn’t.  She was pretending to be a ninja on the moving walkways. 

Apparently Penny is a ninja. She had a blast breaking out her moves on the moving walkway at O’Hare.

And this is one of my recent favorites.  Jon was playing with Penny’s recorder (I don’t know why, he likes to be obnoxious) and Ian wanted to play too.  When Jon gave him the recorder, adorable-ness ensued.  Seriously, Ian is too cute for words:

So Ian “Plays” the recorder by making a pretty convincing recorder noise with his mouth while he holds the recorder.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Almost Summer


So, this post isn’t really about summer, although we are feeling super grateful that the weather has finally improved. Especially since gas prices here in Iowa City went up 50 cents while I was in Utah for two weeks, so we are using bikes exclusively now. The purpose of this post is mostly to do an update on all the kids and share a few videos.

Ben is doing great. He will be done with preschool next week. They took a really cute little graduation picture of him yesterday at preschool. It is adorable, but I will have to scan and upload it. He is a great kid and we keep him super busy. He is currently playing soccer and really loves it. He gets so excited about it. Every time he comes off the field he gives me the very animated play by play of every minute he was on the field. I caught part of it on my phone:

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He is also a very good teammate. He is probably the only kid on the team that sticks around on the sideline when he is out and cheers his little heart out for his friends.

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Tonight is his last game, but he starts Tee Ball in two weeks. Also, he turned five last month. I can’t believe my little man is five. He is so sweet and fun and smart. He is a great older brother. He and Penny are always playing the cutest little imaginary games together. The other day, they were having a travelling adventure and Ben kept saying that Penny could come visit him in City-cago. Classic.

Penny is a little firecracker. She jumps right into Ben’s imaginary games and has started making up some of her own while he is at school. She and I just spent most of the morning making a pretend cake. Penny just had her dance recital on Tuesday for her little ballet class. It was pretty adorable. Here are a few videos. First, they did a little parade of all the classes. Here is Penny’s:

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And her part of the actual dance. The theme of the dance was a toy box, so each class was a different toy. Penny was a bouncing ball. Ian was “helping” me tape it, so sorry about the really shaky camera work.

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And last, the girls just got to dance however they wanted.

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Man, that girl is cute. I got such a kick out of watching her. Ben did too. It turns out he is a good spectator for just about everything. He clapped so hard for Penny. He was very excited about a dance that had a story. Especially since the story was about toys coming to life. He kept saying “It’s like Toy Story but in real life!” He also said at one point, “This is the best thing ever!” I do have to say that I was pretty pleased with how her little ballet bun turned out. I am not great at doing hair, so that was an undertaking for me. Here are some pictures of her up close. Unfortunately, they changed into the costumes backstage, so I just got to take good pictures of her in her normal ballet clothes, but it is still cute:


As for Ian, he is growing up so fast. He turns one next week. Unfortunately, he has been losing a bit of weight on account of refusing to drink milk (which should be the main source of his calories). So now he is on a high calorie diet. Hopefully I can get him to gain some weight so more drastic measures don’t need to be taken. It feels very weird to be putting butter and heavy cream in or on pretty much everything I make for the little guy. Still, he doesn’t seem any worse for the wear. He is so pleasant and happy and busy. He still doesn’t crawl normally, but he gets around pretty fast with his belly-flop crawl. He also has been starting to pull himself up on stuff the past few days.

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I am pleased for the little dude, but it sure makes my life harder to have him so mobile. Jon and I have been re-babyproofing our house, but he is still constantly getting into trouble. But, seriously, look at that face, I can’t get mad at him.


Trip to Utah

So, the kids and I went to Utah, and it was great.  I really don’t have many pictures of the visit because they are all either on my mom’s camera, who is currently in China and unable to share those with me, or Russell’s camera.  So there you go.  Here are the few I have.
Ian got his first haircut, courtesy of Aunt-to-be Natalie.  I am so glad we got to meet Natalie before Brad marries her in August.   Here she is with the big kids:
And here is Ian before his haircut:
And, after:
Cozying up to Grandma Geri:
Getting to know Great Grandma and Grandpa Willes at Michelle’s farewell:
Michelle and Ian on the Carousel, we miss her already.  We are so glad we got to spend some time with her before she went on her mission.  Good luck in Japan!
Penny and Geri on the Carousel:
And Ben on the carousel:
We really did have a great time.  We got to go to the zoo, and City Creek Mall, and obviously a carousel.  We also went to the new Scheels in Utah, twice.  It is that huge and awesome.  The first time, the kids rode on the Ferris Wheel with my mom.  Yes, there is a Ferris Wheel inside the Scheels.  The second time, we discovered a little play palace for the kids.  This in addition to the giant archway aquarium that we saw a person scuba diving inside of to clean it.
It was really fun helping my mom and dad get ready to go to China.  My mom was such a good sport to have us when she was right in the middle of getting ready for such a huge thing.  It was also great to get to see pretty much all of Jon’s family at Michelle’s farewell.