Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Katie and Cecilia!

Katie and Ceci turned 3 years old on November 21st. We celebrated with a party with friends and family including grandma and grandpa Patterson who came from California.

It has been a big year for the girls. They started school and can now go to activities without mom. They LOVE swim class. Ceci tells their teacher to let go of her and just let her swim. She is fearless and doesn't hesitate to plunge her head underwater. Katie also loves the water but is more timid than Ceci. She'll stick her face in and then pull it up with a huge smile saying "Mom! Mom! Look...I did it!" They have so much fun together splashing and cheering each other on. It's amazing to watch their relationship evolve. They really care about each other and have a special connection.

Katie is as sweet as can be but also always thinking of ways to get into mischief. She'll look up and me and say "You're the best mommy in the whole world!" or tell a little secret to me which is usually "I love you". The next moment she's writing on the walls or cutting the tails off of Sophia's stuffed animals. There is always a big apology afterward. She's the first one up in the morning and comes right into our room between 5:30 and 6:30am. She's very cheery and wants to talk and talk and talk and talk. Our little morning ray of sunshine. If someone doesn't get up with her she goes back to her room and wakes up Cecilia so she has a playmate. This year she started school and loves going and playing with her friends. Her favorite is the dollhouse where she'll sit and play family with the dolls.

Cecilia goes with the flow and is such a joy to hang out with. She's always smiling. She loves playing with other children and goes out of her way to make friends wherever we are. At the park she doesn't hesitate to go up to a group of older kids and say "Hey guys, here I am!" and just joins in the game. She loves to sit on my lap and read books or play. She plays with Polly Pockets and will sit and change the clothes and act out families all by herself.

The girls are playing together so well and always look out for each other. I love watching them grow up and mature.

Here are some pictures from their party:

Daniel came and managed to sleep through most of the festivities.

There wasn't a cohesive theme. I thought it would be fun for them to pick out their own cakes so we all went to Jewel to flip through the big cake binder where they picked and then changed their minds over and over with help from their sisters. Finally we settled on Care Bears and Tinkerbell with a Scooby Doo pinata. Scooby Doo is their obsession right now.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Permanent Pedi

Katie came up from the basement this afternoon and said "Mom, Mom, look at my toes!!"

She had given herself a pedicure.

With a Sharpie:

Thursday, December 3, 2009


We had a lively Halloween. The neighborhood was hopping despite the chilly temps. Katie and Ceci didn't remember last year so were thrilled all over again to get candy from strangers and managed to keep up for a while in the mad sprint from house to house with their cousins and big sisters.

Here is the crew:

Sophia was Hannah Montana. The wig didn't last long.Katie put on a hat but didn't want to ditch the tiara:
The adults on Greenwood dress up as well. Our neighbor John was Batman:
Ceci was very concerned to see the Riddler a block later. We assured her that nothing bad would happen to Sean's dad:The real excitement of the evening was the arrival of cousin Daniel at 10:15pm. Elizabeth went home and her water broke while reading stories to Anna:

And of course there was the day after candy breakfast. Sophia took an inventory to make sure her full size Skittles were still there. We passed out 400+ pieces of candy. I couldn't believe how many large candy bars they got. Must have been someone new to Kenilworth Gardens.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pumpkin Patch

We went to the pumpkin patch for our annual trip to pick out pumpkins, see the giant pig, ride on overpriced carney rides and polish off a six pack of apple cider doughnuts. It was a chilly but beautiful day and the girls all had fun. They got to run through the corn maze. Whenever Ceci and Katie are allowed to just run and run they have a blast.

Katie is my runner. I'm hoping she pays me back for my racing heart most of the day with a track scholarship. Today at Ella's skating lesson I literally looked away for a minute and she had run away from me onto the large ice rink...onto THE ICE. Another mom there said to me "you really have your hands full." Which I hear ten times a day. It's like when a stranger is staring at me and doesn't know what to say that's what comes out. Then she said: "I recognize you from pick up at Harper School. That one really can run. I've always wondered how you do it." Katie loves to just take off running. She's still doing that road runner sprint where her upper body is still and her little legs are a blur. On the way home from picking up Sophia she'll run for a long block without stopping a smile on her face the whole time. She just loves it.

The biggest take away from the pumpkin patch was that there are more chickens in the world than people. On the tour of the barn we learned that and Sophia reminds us from time to time. Usually when we're having chicken for dinner.

Here are some photos from the afternoon:

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Marathon

Rick ran the Chicago marathon and did an awesome job!

I brought the girls and my mom and dad helped me while we cruised around the city catching Rick at various points in the race.

Our first stop was mile four. We soon realized as runners kept peeling off behind us that we were standing in front of the first set of trees along the course. We called it the pee tree and I kept having to tell the girls to turn around and stop looking at the urinating runners which were fascinating to them.
Here are Katie and Ella blowing on a dandelion.
Unfortunately we saw him more than he saw us. At one point all seven of us stood on a corner in Little Italy for 30 minutes waiting for him to come by. We finally spotted him and all were yelling and screaming. He totally ran past us without looking up. He just ran by looking straight ahead and unfortunately like he needed some encouragement. So we jumped back into the car and headed to mile 22 at Comiskey Park where we did catch him. While waiting for him at Comiskey the girls started sticking their hands out and got excited when the runners were slapping them. Katie and Ceci were trying to get in on the game too but faced the wrong way. I think Ceci was waiting for the errant runner coming the other direction and was confused when no one was coming toward her.
Here are Luke and Katie ringing cowbells that were passed out to the girls. I was hearing those bells in my head for a week after the race. We insisted Luke take home that bell to get back at Hans and Cathy for the High School Musical microphone they gave Sophia for her fifth birthday.

Maddy and Sophia wearing their dads' medals:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ella's on two wheels

We took off Ella's training wheels. She is a little speed demon on her two wheeler. The walk to school to pick up Sophia had gotten pretty painful. For Ella, because her bike kept tipping over and for me following with 60 lbs of twins in the stroller stopping and starting and picking up Ella each time her bike toppled. I told her she needed to learn to ride without the training wheels in order to keep riding to school and she was excited. It only took about an hour for her to be comfortable without the training wheels.

Now the challenge is keeping up with her on the way to school. I have to run with the stroller so now we're both getting a workout. She loves riding her bike and rides with Rick when he runs.

She's so proud of being able to ride her bike. When we're talking to an adult she'll whisper in my ear "does she know I can ride a two wheeler?" and then I'll tell her to let them know.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Soccer girl

We opened a youtube acct, finally! Rick posted a video from Sophia's soccer game this morning. She had an awesome game and scored two goals. The part Rick taped with his Iphone here is one that hits the post. She's got the gold jersey and blond ponytail. You can tell she's very aggressive and loves soccer.

Go Hornets!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


This morning was the usual rush to get everyone into the car and to school on time. As I'm yelling at Sophia and Ella to buckle their seat belts, Ceci says

"Mom! Mom! LOOK!"

I'm annoyed and turn to ask her what is wrong. She points out the window to the tree next to us. I still don't get it. "Whaaat?? We need to get going."

"Look at the tree mom, it's yellow!"

I realize that this is the first Fall for Katie and Ceci since they were one last year. She was staring at the leaves turning on the trees. It was a nice wake-up for me to stop and enjoy the "firsts" my girls are experiencing.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

THE Wedding

Last month we traveled to Sacramento for Stephanie and Tyler's wedding. I was apprehensive as always about flying with all four but looking forward to being with family and celebrating with Steph and Tyler.

Everything went well on the way out. We flew out of Milwaukee because the flights were cheaper and since we were buying six tickets it really adds up. We also thought the smaller airport would be easier to navigate. Rick had printed out diagrams of the Milwaukee airport parking garages since we had a 6am flight and we wanted to get in and out quickly. Rick dropped us at the curb and I sat with the girls and all the luggage. And sat, and sat, and sat. I was starting to worry what had happened to him. He had the maps and I could see the parking garage about 50 feet from where we were waiting. He finally ran up and said he got turned around and wasn't sure exactly where he had parked but would find the car when we landed.

The girls were all awesome on the flights. At the Denver stop on the way out Rick went to grab breakfast at McDonalds and I ran to the bathroom. When I met him and the girls in line three unrelated strangers looked at me and with an expression of relief and said: "We are all glad to see you! We were worried about him traveling alone with that crew." You could tell they were trying to figure out how they could help this courageous dad.

When we landed in Sacramento and were walking to baggage Ella looked at me and asked why we got back on an airplane just to go back to the same place. She was right, SAC looked just like DIA and she thought we flew for two hours to be right back at the same place.

We had an awesome week. We stayed with Tyler's parents in their beautiful home with a pool we couldn't get the girls out of. It was like staying at an exclusive resort complete with gourmet meals fresh from Ron's garden every night. I think it was Mark Twain who said "House guests are like fish - they stink after three days". We were way past our expiration date but they made us feel so welcome all week. The girls still ask when we can go back and see Terrie and Ron.

Here are some pictures from the week:

Here's Ceci doing her patented belly flop. She's behind Ella but you can see her legs. She would just stand at the side of the pool and flop forwards then come up with a huge smile on her face. It was hysterical.

The wedding was the highlight and went off without a hitch. Sophia and Ella were the cutest flower girls I have ever seen.

Katie and Ceci looked pretty cute too:

We all had a blast at the reception. It was a fun wedding with friends and family who really loved Stephanie and Tyler. The girls loved dancing and Katie and Ceci discovered sparkling apple juice. I think they each drank a bottle. Katie looked at me at one point and said "Apple juice makes me haaaappppyyy!"

Here I am dancing with Katie. She's "raising the roof"

I love this picture from the end of the night. It reminds me of the fraternity party pics from the end of a formal. It cracks me up to see Ceci in the background cruising around solo drinking apple juice from a champagne flute. They just kept going up to the bar asking for refills.

After the wedding we took a day trip to San Francisco with grandma and grandpa. The girls did A LOT of walking and were awesome. Here are some pics:

A reward for all their walking with minimal whining was a trip to Ghiradelli's for sundaes:

We were all exhausted at the end of the week but the girls did an awesome job on the trip home. Actually, we all held it together until we got to the airport and remembered that Rick didn't know where the car was parked. This time it wasn't just Rick running through the parking lot alone. It was Rick, Sarah, Sophia, Ella, Kate and Ceci and a stroller, carry ons, car seats and a luggage cart stacked perilously high full of bags. We started out wandering aimlessly through the rental car area. I told Rick that this didn't look like somewhere he could have parked but he kept plowing ahead. It looked like the circus had come to the Milwaukee parking garage. At one point I turned around and at the end of our line was a strange woman dragging one of our roller bags. She must have just felt sorry for us and joined the caravan when Sophia dropped her bag. We finally realized we needed to be on the upper level...why Rick didn't at least remember an elevator I don't know. Inside the elevator the entire luggage mountain tipped and we were all six madly trying to restack in the elevator while the alarm was going off. Then inside the garage the luggage toppled again. A guy who looked a bit unstable was having a smoke and suddenly sprinted away from us at top speed. A nice couple witnessed this yard sale around us and Forrest Gump running the opposite way and asked if we needed some help. I looked at them and said very seriously "what would make you think we need help?' and then started laughing hysterically. Like clinically insane person hysterically. Rick joined in and we now both looked like lunatics. They tried to gingerly put some of our bags back on the useless cart and we were laughing too hard to even speak. They slowly backed away. Forrest Gump returned with another cart for us. I tried to pull the cart and push the stroller which was not working at all.

Rick had the bright idea that I wish we'd thought of in the terminal to leave us to wait while he found the car. He walked around pressing the alarm button on the key fob until he heard it and we all started cheering. The girls were all sound asleep the minute they hit their seats.