Monday, June 29, 2009

We're moving!

Well, at least our blog is. I've decided I have just too many sites that I post things on, so in an effort to simplify my life, I'll no longer be posting on this site. I'll instead be using shutterfly, where I can post photo albums, videos, and a little blog. So, check it out and you can even sign up to get weekly updates. It's at gatesfamily5.shutterfly.com

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Day Out With Thomas

Today we took Kyle to a Day Out With Thomas in Green Bay. Aunt Sue-Z bought the tickets for him for his birthday and it was the best gift. Our train ride was at 9:15, so we had to leave the house by 6:45. On a Sunday. UGH. Kyle must have known we had to leave at the crack of dawn, and he helped us out by waking up for the day at 4:45. Sweet. At least it meant that we got on the road on time, which was a good thing because the road we needed to take was closed and we had to drive around for a while until we figured out where we were. Our day there started off with a special surprise for Kyle. We got to ride a school bus over to the Railway Museum where the event was. Kyle was in heaven. He's been asking to ride a school bus for a long time, and I've been telling him he could when he was 5. The actual event was awesome. There was so much to do and we had a fabulous time. Of course the highlight was riding on the train pulled by Thomas, but we also got to meet Sir Topham Hatt, do some crafts, play with trains, bounce on a bouncy castle, play in the sandbox, listen to some music, and board and explore all the trains at the museum. I'm so glad we got to go, and I'm sure we'll be going back again next year! Kyle was great and napped the way there and the way home. He loved it!! In the afternoon, it was gorgeous out, so we went to Brad's softball game. Kyle wanted nothing to do with watching the game, but there was a playground nearby, so we played over there for almost 2 hours. We picked up pizza on the way home, ate outside, and played outside for the rest of the night with our neighbors Cole and Chris. It was really the perfect day. Now, back to reality.



Tuesday, June 2, 2009

We're in Arcadia!

And we've been so busy I haven't had a chance to write. Brad, Kyle, the dogs, and I made the trip up here Memorial Day Weekend. We went in on Friday night to Brad's parents' house to cut down on the drive some (and to get Lou Mal's!) We left about 5:00 on Saturday morning and made great time. Kyle did awesome in the car. This was his first long car ride since he was a newborn, so we didn't know how it would go, but he slept, snacked, played, and amused himself just fine. Brad and the dogs stayed for a week and Kyle and I will be up here until next Monday. We've been busy clearing out the house, setting up the hot tub : -), and exploring with Kyle. It didn't take him long to figure out how to get everywhere. He can find the park, the beach, GG's house, camp, the trail. He's having a blast even though it has been COLD. We've been taking some great walks and even done a few bike rides too. Last year he hated riding on the bike, so I'm glad he likes it now. Either I'm way out of shape though or the bike needs some air in the tires because that thing is hard to ride with both of us on it! We of course went and ate at Boone's and stocked up on some seasoning. Brad and I also went to eat at Arcadia Bluffs, we had pizza in the park one night, and my mom and I went out to lunch. It's so quiet up here this time of year which is kind of nice, but I also miss seeing other people around! We're going to be crazy busy the rest of June after we get back, so I'm enjoying the peace. The rest of our time here I'll be busy painting! Lucky me!! The pictures here are of Kyle playing baseball, climbing up to the treehouse, playing at the park (he climbed all the way up that big slide and then decided not to slide down until later when Brad went with him), eating the bread that he was supposed to be feeding the geese, and 'checking his email' - that's what he tells me he's doing at the computer. He's still cracking us up - his latest phrase is "Yay, we made it!" whenever we make it anywhere - to camp, the beach, up the stairs, wherever. He also likes to say "There we go" when something is done right or a top is put or something like that. He's fiercely independent and wants to do EVERYTHING by himself. I never really got what that was like when I didn't have kids. Wow. Literally everything. Turning on the water, holding the book, picking out clothes, pouring orange juice, etc. It's crazy but fun times!!















Monday, May 18, 2009

We had a busy weekend! Friday night we started up by going to Costco to get new tires for the Jeep. That ended up not happening, but we also had to run to Target and Home Depot, so we did that and grabbed a quick dinner at QDoba. In typical Kyle fashion, he didn't touch the 'kids meal quesadilla' but instead only wanted to eat Brad's burrito. Not only did he eat the thing, but he wanted to hold it as well even though it's about the size of his head. Such a goof. If only I had my camera with...Saturday we took the Jeep to get new brakes (yes, the car was a danger to be driving - I don't know how Brad made it to work every day) and then I went to a few garage sales while Brad and Kyle hung out. Brad got to play softball on Saturday afternoon which made his weekend. We spent the rest of the day cleaning out and organizing the garage. We still have way too much stuff in there to be able to fit a car, but at least it's well organized stuff, right? Sunday was spent doing more stuff around the house - cleaning up in the basement from all the construction dust that migrated into the other rooms, mowing the lawn (finally! the grass about buried poor Macy and Morgan when they were out there), and getting started painting our bags game! We've been planning on doing this for a year now. We finally got the Illini orange and Illini blue paint and I painted the boards. Now we just have to put the decals on and spray them and they'll be finished. So cool. They already look awesome with just the paint. This week is supposed to be beautiful - finally warming up. Let's hope it stays that way. On Saturday we'll be driving up to Arcadia!! Can't wait - to be there that is. The drive I could do without. I was going to take the boat with Kyle, but the times for both the fast and slow boat were awful. I could've either left at 6 AM or right at Kyle's naptime. Kyle's not the most adaptive sleeper to new places and not wanting to spend a 4 hour boat ride with a crabby toddler, I opted to drive with Brad. This of course means that we get to stuff 3 people, 2 dogs, and a whole bunch of stuff in our little car, but at least we get to go up! So excited. We'll be there for 2 weeks (Brad for 1) and then back home for a couple weeks before heading back up to RKD. I should go begin the packing process - I'm honestly not sure how it's all going to fit. Maybe instead of packing, I should start researching bigger cars...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!!

Happy Mother's Day everyone! A special wish goes out to my mom, the most amazing mom on the planet, and my grandma. I wish we could be with you today. It's hard living so far away. Kyle sent a special Mother's Day message to his grandma (Ma), Bubbe, and his Godmothers. When I woke up this morning, the first thing I heard was his sweet voice saying "Happy Mother's Day". I didn't need anything else - so precious. We've really had a great weekend. On Friday, Brad was playing in a golf benefit with a dinner after, so Kyle and I were on our own all day. We started off the morning by taking a hike at the Audobon Nature Center with 2 friends and their kids. We walked down to the beach and let the kids play for a while and then hiked on the trail. Of course we all forgot our cameras, so we have no pictures of our first beach day of the season! It was beautiful out though and the kids had fun. Later in the day we ran a bunch of errands and went out to dinner. We chose Culver's because it's fast and we were planning on hitting the park after. When I asked Kyle what he wanted to eat, he said steak. I told him that Culver's didn't have steak, so he just insisted that they needed to buy some. I told him I'd pass that along to the store manager. We enjoyed a nice dinner together and headed home quickly to let the dogs out and feed them. As we were getting ready to head out to the park, Brad pulled in the driveway! Turns out they decided to not stay for dinner because it was the 10th anniversary of one of the guys he was playing with and he decided he should go hang out with his wife. So we had a family park date. It was a great day!
On Saturday, we got the carpet put in downstairs (the right carpet this time) and spent the rest of the day trying to clean and organize. We got a new computer desk and some storage units for the living room. Anyone who knows me knows I love to organize, so this was actually fun for me! We went out for breakfast on Mother's Day at The Pancake House and came home to do more organizing!! The basement is about 90% done and I'm so excited for Kyle to have a true playroom again. I got some wonderful Mother's Day gifts - a charm for my Pandora bracelet, a change box that Kyle made at school, and a digital picture frame keychain. It was a fantastic weekend. Here's a picture of our (almost) finished playroom and one of my favorite pictures of Kyle and me. The last one is from breakfast this morning. We love you Moms and Grandmas!!



Wednesday, May 6, 2009

K-L-E counts!

video

Christmas night

That's how I feel. You know how when you're looking forward to something for so long and then when it's over, there's this weird feeling - not really disappointment but more of can't believe it's over, now what?! Well, our basement got finished on Monday. A really nice guy came (and brought his wife and 1 year old son - which was a little strange but whatever) and put the carpet in for us. I had been so excited to start putting things back down there on Tuesday and getting the house in order. Well, while he was installing it, I had to run out and when he finished I was getting Kyle ready for bed, so I didn't see it until he left. Turns out they installed the completely wrong color!! Our contractor just came over though and is going to replace it. Oh great, he's here again - now what?? Okay, I'm back. Turns out the carpet I picked won't be in for 10 days, so I had to change colors. Luckily there was something very similar and we should be able to spend a fun weekend organizing and cleaning! Yay us. Last weekend was spent frantically painting to get ready for the carpet. We did get to go into Illinois on Sunday to celebrate birthdays - Brad's dad, who the kids call Papa David and Kyle just calls 'David', and 2 of our nephews - Adam and Jake. We had a good time and Kyle had fun playing with his cousins, especially Lauren. Kyle got to swing in a big swing by himself and loved it!
Today I was getting lunch ready and I guess I wasn't moving fast enough for Kyle. By the time I got out to the dining room, he had gotten the turkey out of the refrigerator, climbed up into his booster seat and started eating. He sure does love to eat!! I went out to eat last night with the girls from my MOMS club and Kyle devoured the rest of my leftovers for lunch.

I'm going to do my best to upload a video of Kyle showing off some new skills. (Success! It's above.) I swear they go from being babies to practically grown up overnight! Meanwhile, here's our original babies, Macy and Morgan, crazy as ever. They do have their own beds, but I guess sometimes they just like to cuddle!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Rain Rain Go Away

And never come back! So, we're making progress on 1/2 of our basement. Right now, the guys are down there working. Hopefully in another week (or 2) we will have our basement back again! We found these great guys who are so reasonably priced and they're doing great work. They're doing everything for us down there, including putting in carpet and CEILINGS! I never thought I'd get that excited about ceilings, but after living with the beams and pipes and wires for 2 years, it looks so different down there now! I cannot wait to get it done and finally have a playroom for Kyle. On the other side of the basement, not so good news. It poured last weekend - I think for 2 or 3 days straight. Saturday afternoon I went down to put some laundry in and saw a pool of water at the bottom of the stairs. After brief thoughts of just setting fire to the house, I got out the shop vacs and cleaned it up. Unfortunately, it was a constant flooding all day. The water was coming in from our 'well room'. I don't know what else to call it - it's just a mud room below our well. So we spent an exciting weekend trading off emptying the shop vacs and cleaning it up. Anyway, I'm hoping that it will be an easy fix as this room is right beside our sump pump. In my mind, they should be able to install a pipe to funnel the water from there right into the sump pump. We've got our guy coming tomorrow to look at it and do some grading work for us. With our luck, this simple fix will turn into another thousands of dollars project. At this point though, really what else is there to go wrong? We've had problems with and fixed what seems to be every square inch of this house, so we'll see what we're blessed with next!

Other than that, things are great. The grass is finally getting green. I had my teeth cleaned today and have no cavities. Kyle is still cracking us up. I asked him yesterday to guess who was at our house and he guessed GG, then 'Ma'. I guess he's still got Georgia on his mind! He finally guessed that it was Lazaro, our basement guy. The way he says his name is so funny - it's more like Waroro. He's repeating everything we say right now which Brad is having fun with - he was having him say corn dog, chili cheese dog, and turkey burger the other day. Too cute. I guess it means we really have to watch what we say now.

I'm usually a super (to the point of OCD) organized person. Before we had Kyle, I had alphabetized and made lists of our CDs and movies. Everything has a place and it stays there. Usually. With our house in a state of craziness though, it doesn't always happen lately. I took down all our Easter decorations a while ago, but we haven't gotten around to putting them away yet. So, Kyle likes to pull things out of the bins and play with them still. The picture below is of him this morning with the rabbit ears on. There's also a couple basement update pictures, and a picture from 'Thomas Day' at Toys R Us - which was crazy, but he had fun, so that's all that matters.



Friday, April 24, 2009

Fantastic Friday

We have been waiting for a day like today. It was 80 degrees and beautiful! Kyle and I spent the day playing outside. We had to hang around home because 'the man' (as Kyle calls him) was here working on the basement - woo hoo! We spent all morning outside playing with all the outdoor toys - the sandbox, water table, slide, we did it all. Kyle even got to have his first popsicle of the season! We took a short break to go get Kyle's haircut and he took a super long nap this afternoon. I guess the sun tired him out. It tired me out too, but I didn't nap because I was waiting for another guy to come over who was supposed to do some grading work for us. He didn't show up which was weird, so hopefully he'll make it here next week to get that fixed. We are making progress on the basement! I'm hoping in 2 weeks it'll be functional and full of toys again!! After Kyle woke up, we went back outside to play some more. Brad surprised us and came home early from work. We ate dinner outside and later took a walk to Baskin Robbins for some ice cream. It was a perfect day - I wish they were all like this!













Tuesday, April 21, 2009

22 months!

Kyle is 22 months old today! I can hardly believe it. He has changed so much even over the past month. He is just the cutest, and yes it may be bragging, but he's my son, so I'm allowed - the kid is so darned smart. He's started talking A TON these past few weeks. He's coming out with words I have no idea he knows - like coupon yesterday. Today it was bye bye Target (that's one of my favorites along with Snuggle - as in Snuggle Puppy). He can spell his own name which he loves to do, he knows his colors and most of his shapes. He just amazes me at how fast he picks things up.
We got home from Georgia on Friday and had a beautiful day here Saturday. Kyle got to play outside all morning - our neighbors Chris and Mara came over with their son Cole, who is about 6 months older than Kyle and the boys played together for a while. I'm glad we took advantage of the beautiful weather, because this morning we had snow again!!! Okay, so not a lot and it was mixed with rain, but still - snow on April 21?? UGH. I think we're back in the 40s. As if I didn't already, this weather makes me really miss Georgia! We're still waiting on our basement to get finished - hoping to start that very soon as I'm going out of my mind with the craziness in our house. We spent the morning at Just 4 Fun which was, well, fun. It was crazy packed - partly because of the weather but there was also a school group there. We still had a good time. Kyle has become Mr. Independent lately and decided today that he was going to do the big slide all by himself. The only problem is that he couldn't make it up the last step to the slide, so I would have to help him get up there, tell him to wait at the top, then run around to the bottom of the slide to catch him at the bottom. He waited every time though and he had a blast. The rest of our week is pretty uneventful, which works for me, as I'm still not totally unpacked and have lots to do around here!
Taken in GA as Kyle saw a train!
Our goofball at dinner tonight - he seriously scratched his head and left the fork up there by accident.
He found his Elmo Easter basket!
Cleaning up GG's yard

The playhouse at GG's

Saturday, April 11, 2009

We made it!

Yay! We're in Georgia!! Kyle joined me for his sixth round trip flight on Thursday. He's becoming quite the traveller - we'll have to get him a frequent flier card. The flight was good - luckily a nice woman gave us her row so that Kyle and I had space to spread out. I thought (hoped) he would nap on the way down here, but no such luck. He amused himself with snacks, books and toys and we're so happy to be here! We've been keeping busy these last few days - lots of hanging out with aunts, uncles, cousins, Grandma, GG. The weather is great so we can be outside a lot, which is a welcome change from the never ending Wisconsin winter! We saw the Easter Bunny the other day - Kyle got his picture taken with him, which he loved! We also got to ride on a train at the mall. Today we had a clean up the yard day at Grandma's house. Then this afternoon we went to Jamie and Devin's to celebrate Alesi's first birthday!! Kyle had a blast playing with the kids, riding the cars, and bouncing in the bounce house! Happy Birthday sweet girl!! It'd been awhile since we'd been to their house, so a funny thing happened when we got there. My mom, Kyle, my sister Beth, 2 of her kids, and I park and walk up to the house that has the balloons and tons of cars parked at it. We walk in and are greeted at the door by some people I'd never met before. They said, "Hi! Come on in. I'm Emily's mom, what's your name?" I assumed they were just random family or friends I hadn't met. Then I looked around and noticed that the dining room, which is in the back of Devin's house, was right beside us. I look around and recognize no one. Then I turn to my mom and tell her, "Um, we're at the wrong house." Embarrassed and laughing hysterically we left and then walked up the street to the correct house. Only in Georgia can we walk into a stranger's house and they don't think it's odd at all. In fact, they welcome us in! This place is great. Tomorrow is Easter and I'm so thankful to be able to celebrate down here with family. I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter!!


Riding in the coal car

Playing at the indoor playground

A horribly blurry but still cute picture of the picture with the Easter Bunny.

Little man riding in the airplane with his 'buckle' on.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

2 in 1 day!

Wow, I'm back again so soon. I had so much to catch up on, I forgot to mention anything about today. Kyle and I went to a playdate at another MOMS club member's house - had a great time as usual. Then we picked up Brad and went out to lunch. I love that we're able to do that here - and Kyle loves it too. Brad also shared the news that he heard back from one of our possible basement contractors. For those that don't know - we have been dealing with a nightmare in our basement. We found out in September that there was water coming up through the concrete foundation - not tons but enough to cause a problem. So, since then, we've had to take everything out of there (which means our living room is currently a toy room), throw out all the stuff that got wet and ruined, and then we had a company come in, jackhammer out the old floor and pour a whole new floor for us. Now we're in the process of finishing the work. We need someone to come in and re-frame and drywall the bottom 18" of wall that had to be removed to pour the floor. Seems pretty simple to me, but geez these quotes are expensive. Hopefully we can find someone reasonable and get the work done SOON because I'm going out of my mind. So, if you know anyone looking for work, let me know!! The ironic thing is that the 'finished basement' is one of the reasons we bought this house over a couple others that had basements that needed work. Little did we know! Below are some pictures I took during the work before they poured the floor.
On another note, I was finally able to publish the hysterical video a couple posts below. Puts a smile on my face every time!













I'm Back!!

Yup, it's been 2 months since I last wrote on here. I'm making a promise to myself though to write more frequently. I'm not going to say anything crazy like I'll write every day or anything, but we'll see how it goes. So, what's been going on all this time? Well, we've had cold windy weather and lots of snow. We did have a beautiful day on St. Patrick's Day - Kyle, Brown Bear and I took a trip to the park and had lots of fun!

In March, Brad took his annual trip to Vegas with the boys. This year though, I got to fly out and join him (after the guys trip was over, but that's just fine with me). We had a great time - I got to go to the spa, we ate great dinners, saw great friends, went to an awesome show (Love), and did our share of gambling (and losing). Mom (who is now called Ma - as it sounds in mat for example) flew up to watch Kyle and they had a great time. Stephie and Chloe came up too which Kyle LOVED! He loves his Chloe oe especially and still asks about her. After Beth came to get them, he kept saying to me, Chloe - bye bye - Beth - I told Beth she was in trouble for taking her away! We had a great time having them here - even took a trip to the zoo!
Kyle is great. He's talking TONS right now - it's so fun to hear him talk. He's getting so big and he has a big personality to go with it too. He knows what he wants and he isn't afraid to tell you - usually what he wants are 'nacks' all day long. He pulls you into the pantry and it's 'up' so he can pick out what he wants. He loves being outside and we both can't wait until this weather warms up so we can play outside all day. Lately, he hasn't been too happy when we come home and have to go inside instead of to the park. Soon buddy, soon. He plays hard all day and has a great time. He does like to walk around in our shoes a bit - see the picture below. I think Brad would prefer him walking around in his shoes, but oh well. He's having fun.
When I shower every day, Kyle comes with and amuses himself while I get ready. I usually bring in a basket of toys for him - today he emptied it out and climbed inside to read a book. He's a goof but we love him tons! He definitely makes us laugh.

We got to see some good friends on Sunday night - had Lou Mal's pizza and hung out while Kyle and Jason and Jaime's little girl Eden played. They had a great time and so did we. Wish we lived closer so we could hang out more often. On Thursday, Kyle and I are heading to GA to visit my family, celebrate Easter and my Grandma's 89th birthday. I'm so thankful that we'll get to be there for that and see my family too - I miss them! And, Kyle will have a blast playing with all his cousins too. Can't wait for some warm weather down there!


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Laughter is the best medicine

This video totally makes me laugh. I love hearing Kyle laugh like this. Don't know what he found so funny, but something was cracking him up! Hope it brings a smile to your face too.

video

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Where's Waldo

Kyle has this Look and Find book - kind of like the old Where's Waldo books where you look through the picture to find the hidden man. Well, Kyle's is Little People and the objects to be found are a bit more obvious, but still, same concept. Anyway, I had to share this because I find it so funny. This book is his latest obsession. He pulls it out and can spend a good amount of time looking from page to page to find the different things. He'll open it up and on the side of the page is a little key with small pictures showing what you're supposed to find. Our conversations go like this:
Me: (Pointing to a picture of the sun in the key) "Kyle, can you find the sun?"
Kyle: (Pointing to the same picture of the sun in the key) very enthusiastically: "There!"
Me: "Yes, that's one sun." "Can you find one that's actually hidden in the picture?"
Kyle: (Looking at the picture, finds the hidden sun) very enthusiastically: "There!"
Me: "You found it! Can you find the blue balloon?" (pointing to the one in the key)
Kyle: (Pointing to the balloon in the key) "There!"
And on and on.
He either thinks I'm crazy (Mom, did you forget already? You just pointed to the sun. Oh well, I'll play along. Remember Mom, it's right here in the big box!) or just thinks that's part of the fun.
Speaking of the sun, it's actually shining here! We finally have a warm weekend! I was out this morning (at the workout center no less) without a coat on. So, I'm off to enjoy it because we all know it won't last!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Snow Fun!

Well, today we got stranded at home. I had a doctor's appointment this morning, Brad had come home to watch Kyle, and when he went back to work he took my keys with by mistake. So we couldn't leave the house the rest of the day. Luckily it was nice out - well okay, nice for January in Wisconsin. So I decided to take Kyle outside to see if he liked the snow. We got him bundled up in snow pants, hat, mittens, jacket, boots - the whole 9 yards. I didn't think he'd last long, but he played outside for an hour! He loved walking around in circles, trying to pick up the snow and even sitting in it. He did have one Christmas Story moment when he fell down and couldn't get up again, but overall he loved it. We even pulled out the sled and cruised around the yard. In other news, we found out we need to basically replace our entire basement floor and our sump pump pipe was frozen solid the other day. Luckily we pulled out the MacGyver moves and fixed the pipe. The floor is another story. We're still waiting to find out we've won the lottery - the way our luck goes we'll get that news in about, oh, never!!!!! Oh well. No one can say our lives are boring!
































































































Monday, January 12, 2009

Kyle Update

Kyle is 18 months old. Can you belive it? He's getting so big and is full of personality. He LOVED opening presents on Christmas. He dug right in and now has some cool new toys to play with. See the picture below - he's a crazy man. He had his 18 month check up today and weighs 23 pounds and is 31" - a little peanut but growing. Watching him eat, we're not sure how he's not about 40 pounds by now, but seeing him run around all day, I guess he burns all those calories off! He also started 'school' last Wednesday. He goes 1 day a week for 2 1/2 hours. More of a little break for me and a chance for him to get used to sitting, sharing, playing with kids his age, etc. He was unsure of it at first, but didn't want to leave when I picked him up. It's a great place - they sing songs, have cool toys (a ball pit, gym to play in, sensory table), and do art projects. I think he's really going to like it. He's starting to talk more and more now too. My favorites are mama and dada of course. He sounds like an Englishman when he says Dada - I hear it constantly and it's so cute. He's always looking for his Daddy. He also says Maymay (for Macy the dog), up (bup), more, and does tons of animal sounds - our latest favorites are cat (meow meow - it has to be twice), giraffe (which isn't really a sound just a giraffe eating), pig (he snorts), cow (moo), and hippo (gotta hear that one in person). He's learning more and more signs - help, please, shoes, orange, and thank you are the latest. He just keeps us entertained. I don't know what we did without him. I'll put up a video later of his latest pasttime - spinning - loves to get dizzy I guess! He still loves vacuuming and is getting more and more independent - always wants to feed himself, pick out his shoes, carry groceries, etc. We hope you all are surviving winter - we're figuring we got about 2 1/2 more months to get through. Wish us luck!!
















Kyle's big 'ol monkey



















Just being cute





















Daddy's boots





















Riding his new bike
















Feeding himself some pudding