Sunday, December 5, 2010


Our Fall has been full of soccer. Sophia made the Wilmette Wings travel soccer club. She tried out in June and I know I was more nervous than she was. Her tryout bib was #62 and I knew they were only taking 24 girls so this meant there were going to be a lot of girls not making the teams that Sophia was pretty confident she was going to make. She did make the team and at her first game Rick said he had tears in his eyes watching her play. She really plays her heart out in every game and we have all loved watching her games.

Ella has been a soccer star in her own right. She played her first year of Kindergarten soccer this year and the Fireflies dominated the Kindergarten group. :) Their uniform color made the nickname obvious. Ella had at least a goal in each game. One game she had 5 and the Fireflies completed an undefeated season.

Here Ella is on her way to scoring a goal...what a game face!
I don't think I've ever seen anyone more excited to get a trophy:
One afternoon I looked out the back window and saw Ella in shorts, her ski jacket and uggs kicking the soccer ball around the backyard. Here is my candid of her celebrating a gooooooaaaaalllll.
Here's a picture of Ella and Sophia during a chilly game:
And Ella with her BFFs Sean and Jane:

Friday, November 12, 2010


My rule every year is that they pose for a photo before they are allowed to start the candy dash. I get the frozen smiles for the first one until I tell them that I need real smiles in order for them to go out with their friends.
Here is the better shot after they realized they weren't going anywhere until mom got her Halloween picture.
Katie and Ceci's costumes may look familiar because they wore the same ones last year. They really wanted to be Tinkerbell and Ariel again and the costumes fit! Here they are in 2009:
I love this one of Ella because it captures Ceci sprinting in the background.
This is actually a great candid by Rick because it captures how crowded the sidewalk is with kids and their entourages with coolers in their wagons.
Ceci was keeping up with the big girls and could barely stop for a photo.
Katie was having a harder time running with her fish tail. She kept tripping over her tail and had a difficult time running with it so tight around her legs.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Summer pictures

We had a great summer and I'm now finally posting photos. Here are some from our trips to Michigan. This one is my favorite of Rick and his surfer girls.

Most of the time was spent hanging out on the beach.

And of course a beach cookout complete with Drier's hotdogs, corn from farmer Dingis and s'mores.

Rick decided that being on vacation also means a vacation from taking pictures so I don't even have his famous "candids" of me doing random things from the angle of him sitting in a chair. I promise I was there for all of the fun. :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Blonde moments with Sophia

I made some delicious Ethiopian meatballs last night for dinner and told the girls it was North African food.

Sophia: I wish I lived in North America.

me: We do live in North you mean North Africa?

Sophia: Yeah, right. North AFRICA.

Rick: Maybe you'd rather live in North AMERICA.

Sophia: Well, actually, I wish we moved to England.

me: Why England?

Sophia: So I could speak two languages.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Walking Home II

Ella: One big difference between kindergarten and preschool is that we don't pray at kindergarten.

me: Well, you can always pray quietly to yourself. You just don't pray out loud together.

Ella: Maybe I can pray to God to not make me so shy at school.

It was so sweet.

She is loving Kindergarten and making new friends. One mom came up to me at the park and asked if I was Ella's mom. She said that her son Charlie is obsessed with her and drew a picture for her and he was so nervous to give her it to her it took a couple days to get up the nerve. Ella showed me the picture which was an adorable drawing of Ella and Charlie playing legos.

She said: "He walked up to me with a piece of paper in his hand and said. 'Take it if you want'. Then walked away."

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Walking home

Walking home from school with Ella yesterday:

Ellla: Was I adopted?

me: No. Do you remember seeing pictures of when you were in my tummy? Do you know someone who was talking about this? Do you have questions about it? Why are you asking?

I was prepared for a long conversation about something that had been on her mind.

Ella: Just checking.

mom: Huh? "Just checking?????" Are you sure you don't have any questions about adoption or any friends of yours?

Ella: Nope, just checking.

And that was that. Ella is really turning into a funny girl.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Ella

I finally downloaded all the pictures from our camera and can post the ones from Ella's party back in June.

Ella turned five and was very excited. Since she's a summer birthday many of her school friends are already five so she was very anxious to finally be five herself. We had her party before her actual birth date and she was disappointed to find out that she wouldn't turn five at her party but have to wait until June 13th to tell everyone that she's five years old.

It has been a big year for Ella. The end of preschool and kindergarten in the Fall. Her teachers loved her at school and everyone at St. Joe's will miss her. She is such a sweet girl and has lots of friends. Whenever I'm at school or camp with her all sorts of kids are saying hi to her. She can still be shy but once she warms up she's a true friend. Last week we were taking a walk and talking about how if she's nervous at school she can say a little prayer and know that God is with her. She said "and if I'm shy I can pray to God to make me not so shy." It was so sweet. I've watched her grow up so much this year. She is amazing with Katie and Ceci. Always including them and coming up with games to play together. She loves puzzles and has gotten really good at solving hard ones.

Here are some pictures from the big party:

We had an incident with the cake. Katie dragged her finger from one end to the other before the candle blowing. She's learning from Sophia the master cake sneak. Sophia knows to hit less obvious spots though. Katie just went for it.

I'm pretty sure that's Sophia's handiwork on the backside.

We had a balloon guy come who did big balloon people for all the kids. Here is Ella with her Ariel:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Memorial Day

We had a busy Memorial Day weekend with three barbecues and a parade.

The highlight was marching in the very large parade in Arlington Heights with the Dold for Congress group. Sophia got to sit in the classic car with Harper Dold and practice her Miss America wave. I asked her if people were waving back:

Sophia "No, mostly just throwing stuff at us."

me "Like candy?"

Sophia "No, like garbage"

They were probably reacting to Katie who was at the front of our pack cruising on her scooter coming within an inch of the crowd sitting on the sidewalk. She may be following in her father's footsteps as an expert in crowd control. She had this grimace on her face while buzzing the spectators. I was cracking up watching the expressions and hearing the comments from her victims while yelling at Katie to slow down. I got lots of bad mom looks during the two mile parade route. Cecilia slept in the stroller through the entire parade. This was a role reversal since Katie is the one who usually sleeps through events.

Here is Katie's patented scowl. She was probably bitter at the lack of candy which was rightfully deemed not appropriate to toss in a parade honoring fallen soldiers. I'm sure there will be plenty at the 4th of July.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ice Time

We spent a lot of time at the ice rink in May. Ella began hockey and Sophia and Ella both were in the Centennial ice show which is quite a production.

During Sophia's skating class Ella would go watch the hockey teams practice in the large rink and she asked if she could play hockey. I signed her up for it the next quarter and she really loves it. The first night she slept with her new hockey skates in her bed with her. She's the only girl and could not look cuter. Here she is in her jean skirt and pink tights keeping up with the boys:

The ice show ended up being a huge commitment when each girl was on the ice for approximately 3 minutes in the actual show. They each had multiple rehearsals leading up to the big show which was really shows since there were three performances and a dress rehearsal. Ella's group was first and they were adorable. Ella did not have patience for the slower future olympians and just skated around girls who were slowing her up in the routine of skating across the ice and back flapping their arms like little wings.

Sophia and her buddy Maggie jockeyed for positions once they were on the ice to be next to each other while trying to do the routine which was more complicated than Ella's group of munchkins.

During all the time spent sitting at the rink Katie and Ceci ran around the waiting area while I tried to keep them out of trouble with Polly Pockets, Barbies and various snacks. All in all they were troopers. A low point was when Katie walked up to me and said "Look what I found!" holding a piece of chewed up gum in her hand. When I screamed "Where did you get that!" she proudly pointed to the underside of a railing. She was pleased with her discovery and about to stick it in her mouth when I made her throw it out.

Here are some pictures:

Monday, May 10, 2010


We have two new additions to the family. Ricky and Rosie the hamsters. Don't worry, we weren't thinking clearly but weren't crazy enough to buy a girl and boy hamster, just let the girls name them whatever they wanted. Now Rick is not as outnumbered in the house. The pet conversation began when Ella found a pet in the backyard. Lanie the ladybug lived in a Panera cup for about 5 days which was 4 longer than I thought she'd last. Ella gave her fresh grass everyday. Each morning she'd come down to check on Lanie and I'd have the speech prepared that Lanie was in ladybug heaven and Ella would smile and say "she's still alive and walking around". When we went to the pet store Ella was looking for ladybug food and treats. We were surprised to not find a little wheel or yogurt drops made for ladybugs.

First we looked at the guinea pigs. When the petsmart lady told us they live 7yrs we quickly changed our search to a rodent with a shorter lifespan. The girls saw the bin of crickets and thought those would be fun pets until I broke the news to them that those were food for pets and not actual pets.

So...we settled on two stinky hamsters. I made it very clear that I was not supporting this decision and that I would not clean the habitat or play with the hamsters. I actually said, making sure I had a witness and the petsmart lady was present, that I wanted to officially go on the record as being against the purchase of these little furballs. Rick was enthusiastic and said he would do it all.

Here is one of our babies in their ball which is the only way we let them out of the cage.

The girls are definitely not ready to handle them without a hard plastic barrier. One day I looked down and Katie was walking around carrying a hamster ball under each arm like she was on her way to the playground for a game of kickball. She did place them on the ground gently however after my heart stopped.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Rick's morning with the girls

I tried to convince Rick to write an entry about his morning watching the girls but he couldn't find time between working, teaching a graduate class at DePaul and training for various triathlons and another marathon. So...I'm going to try to summarize it...

Rick took a day off last week and I ran errands in the morning. We went over the schedule in the morning:
  • Ella had a playdate and that mom was dropping her off
  • lunch
  • pick up another girl we carpool to gymnastics then 45min of hanging out at the rec center while all the girls all had gymnastics
I checked in with Rick in the morning to see how things were going with Katie and Ceci:

Rick: We're at the library. Going to take the girls to McDonalds for lunch. Going great.

me: Do you want to pick up Ella at the playdate? Then you can just head to lunch instead of waiting for the mom to bring her home.

Rick: Yeah, that would be better. Hold on...what...UGH! Katie just peed in her pants!

me: At the library??? On the floor??? WHAT IS GOING ON???

Rick: Gotta go...

So, I called the mom and told her that Rick would pick her up at 11:15. I figured he'd bring Katie home and clean her up and go hoping there wasn't a pool of pee on the carpet in the newly redone children's section. from Rick checking in...

me: did you get Ella ok?

Rick: NO! I thought Susan was dropping her off.

me: You said you were going to get her instead.

Rick: That all changed when Katie peed at the library.

Quick call to the playdate to apologize for not picking up Ella and the mom dropped her off.

I checked in with Rick to see how gymnastics was going. Figured this would be some downtime for him.

me: How's it going?

Rick: Well...I kind of lost Jenna

(this is the name of the older sister of Caroline who is the girl he actually picked up)

me: Caroline? What do you mean "lost"?

Rick: I thought they all ran into the gym. A little while later a woman walked up from the front desk with Caroline in tears. I looked up when I heard the crying and said, "Uh, she goes with me. Sorry." I didn't look like dad of the year at that point.

me: Were you playing with your new iPad and not paying attention to the girls?

Rick: Kind of...

Caroline had gotten confused. Didn't know where to go and walked all the way to the front desk which is down TWO hallways and around a corner.

I made my second call to a mom in two hours apologizing for our lack of organization and explained what happened so she wouldn't panic when Caroline returned and told her that Mr Patterson lost her. She said she knew he was having a rough morning when he picked up Caroline and asked if she knew where he was going. He said that "his wife" hadn't left directions. When he said "his wife" instead of "Sarah" she said she knew he wasn't having a good morning and was making it my fault for not being there. Which of course was the case. :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

We had a traditional Irish breakfast for St. Patrick's Day:

Lucky Charms!

Friday, March 5, 2010


I got an email from Sophia's teacher yesterday:

Hi Sarah,
Can you tell me a little about Sophia's glasses? Is she supposed to wear them all of the time, including lunch, recess and P.E.? One day she thought perhaps not, but today she said she was supposed to wear them all of the time.

Hmmmmm...this was interesting because Sophia has perfect vision and does not wear glasses. I quickly realized that she was wearing a pair of glasses I got her for their career day today for which she was assigned the role of librarian. When I spoke with her teacher she said that Sophia had come in from recess wearing glasses for the first time and said "Mrs Murray, the other kids were making fun of me because of my glasses!" She was milking the glasses for all they were worth.

I'm not sure how Sophia was going to eventually stop wearing the glasses and explain to her classmates that her vision was miraculously restored. She has the best first grade teacher in the world, Mrs Murray, who was quite concerned when I told her Sophia was in trouble for lying. She said "Sophia is the sweetest, kindest girl. It was more deception and not so much lying. Please don't punish her." She talked me out of telling Sophia she can't go to Ryan's bowling party on Saturday.

Sophia is such an awesome girl full of sweetness and fun.

Here she is in her librarian outfit and her new glasses. You can see why Mrs Murray thought they might be a bit "severe" for a seven year old's daily glasses when Sophia informed her she had to wear them all the time.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Sophia!

Happy 7th birthday Sophia! This has been another big year for Sophia. A new school and new friends. She has done so awesome and made the transition seamlessly. Her teacher described her as a very kind and sweet girl. She is so fun to hang out with. She has not only excelled at school but also in athletics as one of the stars of her soccer team. Watching her head up the quad lift skiing in Santa Fe after only two days on skis I couldn't believe how well she was doing.

She had two parties. One family celebration with the Vanheukelums and a dinner at Ron of Japan with her BFFs Grace and Jenna.

Here are some photos from the pizza party we had at home:

Ron of Japan was a blast. It felt like we were entering Japan circa 1970. The big girls kept disappearing and I realized they were staring at a small tv looping sumu wrestling matches.

I love all the missing teeth:

Ella was the only one not appropriately scared by the fire. In fact she found it quite entertaining. I made a note to myself that night that we're going to have to keep her away from matches. You can see in this picture that she is really enjoying it.The girls loved the dinner. At one point Sophia told the chef that he is the BEST COOK she has ever seen!