Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Starved Rock Camping, 8 Months Pregnant

To celebrate our anniversary, we went camping last weekend.  That's how much Evan loves me.

We made a reservation for Starved Rock State Park about a month ago.  This park is probably the most popular park in Illinois, and every time I tried to make a reservation last year, it was always booked.  So we made reservations early in the season this year.  And we totally lucked out with the weather.  The one and only nice weekend in April turned out to be the weekend we made reservations.

Being the camping snob that I am, I'm not a big fan of midwest camping.  And Starved Rock isn't much different than the other places we've camped at, but it's different enough that I'd say it's my favorite so far.  Even though the actual campground isn't anything to rave about, there's at least a different type of scenery to hike to.  Like these sandstone bluffs with waterfalls that we hiked to on Saturday:
Most of the other midwest hikes we've been on have been sort of a stroll through some of the few remaining woods in the area, with nothing really interesting to look at.  But the kids actually enjoyed this hike.  We saw a few waterfalls, and they got to play in some "caves":

Proof that I was there, 8 months along:  
We ended up hiking about 4 miles that day.  There are a lot of hikes at the park, but because of the severe flooding the previous week, all but two of the hikes were closed.  

I'm sure the view would be a lot prettier with leaves on the trees, but we didn't want to go camping any later this season with baby due in a month.  
Erik joined us, which always makes it even funner for the kids.  He's always a great sport and does what the kids want him to.  He played "catch" with Spencer for hours back at the campsite, played with Waimea on the swingset, and played Molkky (Finnish lawn bowling) as well:  
The weather was beautiful Saturday, but then we got rained on that night and it was drizzly all morning Sunday.  We ended up going home earlier than we had planned because the sun just wasn't making an appearance.  But we'll definitely be back.  Of all the places we've camped at so far in this area, this is the only one I've had any desire to go back to.  That's saying something.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Happy 8th and 9th

 8 years ago Evan and I spent our 1 year anniversary in the hospital giving birth to Spencer.  (Luckily, baby #3 didn't come early and make us spend our 9th doing the same thing).  I knew there would come a time when Spencer got old enough that our anniversary would take a backseat to his birthday.  This is the first year I have really felt that.

Spencer had a great day.  In fact, it started last night with his first day of Scouts.  He's been so excited to go.
He's been waiting for days to open up his gift that came in the mail from Grandma and Grandpa.  We finally let him open it up this morning:
 We decided to just get all the festivities over with in one day, so he had his birthday party today, too.  He's been begging for a bowling party.  We told him he could invite 3 friends and we'd go play for an hour at a local bowling alley.  He invited M, J, and J, just like last year:

 Then we headed back to our house for pizza, presents, and birthday cake:

 He opted for an ice cream sandwich cake this year:
I attempted to make a bowling pin decoration on top:
And for party favors, each of the kids got a t-shirt:
I got the idea for these shirts from this blog.  If you are looking for inspiration on a bowling party, that blog is a great place--she went all out.  Not my style (or my price), but I liked her idea for shirts.  I found the plain shirts at Joanns for $2.50 each, and used the freezer paper stencil method to paint the bowling pins on the shirts.  So, after buying the paint and t-shirt, each one came to just under $3.  And considering this was my first attempt at fabric painting, I think it turned out pretty good.  The boys were all excited to get them and wear them today at the party.  Success!

Happy 8th, Spencer!

As for our 9th anniversary...like I said, it took a back burner today.  Evan gave me this gift (combined anniversary, mother's day, and birthday):
  It's a waterproof i-pod shuffle that clips onto goggles.  It's going to completely change my swimming experience.  Can't wait to try it out tomorrow!

We're also going camping this weekend at Starved Rock State Park.  Probably not Evan's favorite way of celebrating an anniversary, but I'm glad he's game.  :)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Spring Break, Easter, and the Flu

We try and make spring break fun for the kids.  Most of the year we do very little because of lack of funds, but we splurge a little over spring break.  Luckily this year Evan had his spring break at the same time as the kids, so it made everything easier on me.  Here's the run-down of what we did:

Monday:  took a trip to Jump Zone (one of those inflatable bounce/jump places)
Tuesday:  dinner at McDonalds and playing in the playplace
Wednesday:  took a trip downtown to the Chicago Children's Museum (we bought a groupon for a annual membership last year but this was only our third time going)
The structure that Evan and the kids built at the the museum
Thursday:  using another groupon, we went to Kiddie Kingdom (kind of like Chuck-e-Cheese).
Friday:  our plans were to go bowling, but Mea came down with the flu in the middle of the night so we spent the day at home.  Mea was pretty miserable all day.
Saturday:  Easter egg hunt day.  Even Mea got off the couch for 10 minutes to participate.

We also bundled her up really good and set her in a chair while we had a Saturday night fire in the backyard.  Followed by some egg dyeing.

Sunday:  Easter!  Unfortunately for us, because of Mea being sick we weren't all able to go to the Easter dinner at our friend's home that we were invited to.  But at least Spencer and Evan we able to go.

Monday:  technically Spring Break was over, but Evan had the day off.  Which was good because I had a root canal that day.  The poor endodontist seemed very nervous about doing a root canal on a 7-month pregnant woman.  Every time I touched my belly (which was quite often--baby was kicking and I was trying to distract myself) she would ask, nervously, "Are you okay??!"  It got pretty funny after awhile.

Tuesday:  we could tell Spencer was a little under the weather, but didn't have a fever yet so we sent him to school.  His fever came later that evening, along with his croupy cough that we thought was history.  Evan also started having cold/allergy symptoms, but no fever.

Spencer ended up being out of school for the next three days with a fever and bad cough.  Friday I woke up with a cough.  Saturday with a fever and continued cough.  Sunday same thing.  Monday same thing.  Today I have more coughing and congestion, but so far no fever.  Here's to hoping it ends soon!!!  I can't tell you how bad it hurts to cough right now, trying to not cough too hard that it sends me into labor.  My back and upper stomach muscles feel like they are ripping to shreds.  But it's got to end soon, right???

In other news:

I had an ultrasound sometime at the end of March.  It was just a follow-up to make sure the placenta's position wouldn't cause any problems at birth.  Results:  baby is doing great, no complications with the placenta.  Here are the latest pictures:

This isn't really news, but I have some funny interactions at the pool (not that I'm swimming right now with the flu, but before I got it).  A lot of people ask me if it's okay for me to swim.  (Uh, yes--you can do what your body is used to).  I still get people trying to compete with me, even though I'm still faster than 90% of the people at the pool.  (Really, people??  Is there any real satisfaction in beating a pregnant woman??).  One man said, "maybe it's an optical illusion, but it looks like you've got something growing in there."  (Roll eyes.  Just ask me if I'm pregnant already.)  Another lady said I looked "cute" in my swim suit.  That one took me by surprise.  They just don't make maternity swim suits (or clothes, for that matter) for tall, long-torsoed, not-very-big pregnant women.  So I have to improvise, which means I wear old, mismatched two-piece swim suits.  There's no way I actually look cute with my belly hanging out and my belly-button about to pop out.  But I'll admit I was flattered.  Comments like that are better than the flat-out stares I usually get.

Anyway...that's enough blabbing for now.