Monday, September 22, 2008

GO CUBS!!!!!!!

In honor of the Cub's amazing season. I had the kid's pictures taken in Cubs clothes as a surprise to Brian. Brian LOVED them when he got home from work Friday night! Here are some of the best and funniest!

Amara continues to amaze us! Photos were scheduled during naptime and I wasn't sure how she would do...this was the first photo of the shoot and was amazing!

The two Cubs fans together!
Amara looks great in her Cubs uniform ( thanks to cousin Veronica for letting us borrow)
Alaric kisses his sister!
Amara cracks herself up ( and Mommy and the photographer)!
Alaric poses with his hard ball.
Alaric jumped high!
Alaric cracks us up too! We has so much fun!

Amara's Baptism Weekend

Oh What a weekend! It was a whirlwind but so much fun!Friday started off with the sweetest brother sister combo ever- Alaric and Amara really love each other. No matter how upset they are with us, they never seem to fuss or whine with each other. The kids got their pictures taken in Cubs clothes ( next blog ) but I snapped this before we left.

Another photo that morning was our son's new "uniform". He sleeps in just a diaper and when he gets up, he's ready to go and races for his toys. This is him in his Bob the Builder outfit in the carport as we said goodbye to Daddy as he went to work. He's got his Bob the Builder work boots (winter snow boots), his work belt ( daddy's belt wrapped around twice) and his work gloves ( actual work gloves). Usually he also has his construction hat on which really pulls this ensemble together but I'm sure you can use your imagination.

Saturday morning before our family and friends began arriving for the baptism weekend, Amara rolled over!!!!!!!!!! She had done it one other time just a few days prior but we weren't sure if it was just a fluke- nope, she did it more than once!

Brian's parents, and grandparents came in Saturday morning for the weekend. Brians' best friend Anthony and his girlfriend, Maria and my best friend Jenny and her husband Joe arrived Saturday evening. We were all able to go out to dinner together on the Square in Monticello. Brian's parents graciously agreed to babysit so the young ones could actually leave the house Saturday night. Brian and I definately needed some time out of the house with friends. We had a great time.
Sunday morning the Godparents met at our home before heading to church. Jenny Lahart Murray is Amara's Godmother.

Anthony Ippolito is Amara's Godfather.

Family pictures before the service begins.

The Bechtel Family
The Fulton Family
The Godparent Families
We were so nervous about how she would do during the service as it is her nap time. She slept for about 20 minutes. She started fussing right before we went up for the baptism. When our pastor, Heidi, took her, she began to really cry and then as soon as the Holy water hit her, she immediately calmed down. She was great!
After church, everyone ( both sets of Brian's grandparents, great aunt and uncle and uncle along with parents, Godparent families, and Katie's parents and brother and sister-in law) came back to our home for lunch, gifts and cake. Katie's mom made the most beautiful cake as always that matched the invitations and the plates and napkins.

Jenny and Anthony show off their new "Godfather" and "Fairy Godmother" t-shirts!

Sweet and Precious Amara Christine!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Amara Eats "Real" Food

Well....if you call rice cereal "real". You can see by the picture below that the first bite did not go well. She didn't know what to do with the mess we were shovelling at her.
But...she did a great job. Usually, a baby's instinct is to push out or lap at the spoon and for awhile that's exactly what she did but by the end she was pro- kinda!
She was giggling while she ate- Alaric helping feed her may have been part of the giggles.
Much of it ended up on her face and bib but it was so much fun to see our sweet baby doing something new- now lets just pray she'll sleep through the night!!!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Amara is growing up fast

Now that the colic is over- we've really started to enjoy Amara! She really is a sweet baby.

Here she is all prim and proper in her rocking chair waiting patiently after she got changed while Alaric got changed for the day too.

Until a week and a half ago, if she wasn't sleeping, she was all swaddled up to stay calm. We just started introducing belly time to her this week. This is her first time on the belly. She did really well- for about 4 minutes.
Daddy and Alaric discovered that if you blow on Amara's face, she blows bubbles and then giggles! They had so much fun playing this game!

This morning was Amara's first time under her playmat. Alaric has been waiting very patiently for her to begin enjoying this toy- it gives his an excuse to play with it too. You can just see so well in this picture how enamored Amara is with Alaric and how sweet he is to her.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Demo is complete

The demo is complete, almost- and it was a long day! Alaric was so ready to help with his Bob the Builder Hat, gloves, hammer, and stud finder.

By 9AM when our helpers were to arrive, Brian's dad Bob and Bri had gotten down much of the horrible dropped ceiling. Our next door neighbors, Staci, Sierra, and Katlyn arrive and saved the day!
The panelling came down fast and the demo team worked hard. Brian's mom, Chris, was on baby/kid duty which was not easy since Amara couldn't sleep with the pounding the basement was too messy for Alaric to help.
Once we got the walls opened up, our mission was confirmed and we felt so good about doing the demo...there was mold under the flooring, on the furring strips, in the drywall, and even on the cinder block walls.
The toughest part of the day proved to be the removal of the tile that had been under to carpet for year. By this time however, Katie's mom, Ann, and our dear friends, The Eckhardts, had arrived to help. Everyone grabbed a crow bar and just started working.

THANK GOD FOR KATLYN AND SIERRA SMITH!!! The kept all the kids busy and gave Chris a break. When the Eckhardts arrived, they had another toddler and another baby to deal with. The babies went for a walk in the stroller, played outside, and were rocked and jiggled while the boys played baseball and football and construction worker.
Matt, D, and Brian make a final push to get the floor done.
Katie and Brian pose on top of their dumpster
The demo is complete. Living room area.

Guest room...there is a bathroom off the guest room that will need to be demo-ed however it's a working bathroom so Brian will demo it by himself the day before the waterproofing system is installed.

What a day! We got everything done before noon and we were able to enjoy BBQ Brisket provided by our neighbors and relax knowing we didn't have to go back into the basement to work.

Thanks to Bob and Chris to came in for the weekend to celebrate Bob's Birthday on Saturday but also ended up babysitting and allowing Katie and Bri to go to the Illini Game. They worked SOOO hard to get our basement in shape.

Thanks to Heidi and Matt Eckhardt who came from church and jumped into the fury to help us get the job done. They win the coolest friend award this week!

Thanks to Katie's mom, Ann, for getting on the floor and scraping up that floor and being determined to get every last tile!

Thanks to our amazing neighbors who take the cake- The Smiths! Staci worked her butt off and proved that any woman can kick some butt doing construction and even has a lacarated eye to prove it! To D who came from church and never stopped till the job was done and to Sierra and Katlyn who did whatever was asked of them and worked so hard for nothing in return.

Now we live with our basement in shambles for a few weeks until the waterproofing system is installed and then the fun begins!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Before the demo begins!

As many of you may know, on June 3rd numerous storms came through the midwest and caused major floods. Monticello experienced lots of flooding too. Thank Goodness is wasn't as bad as other parts of the midwest like Iowa but for our little family with no money, shovelling water out of the basement and the reality that it caused thousands of dollars of damage was a bit overwhelming...not to mention it happened on Amara's second day home from the hospital.

Needless to say its been a busy summer trying to figure out what we were going to do. We've decided to re-finish our finished basement and make it a family/playroom.

Before construction begins, we decided to put in a major waterproofing system- B-Dry systems( ). they will dig a trench all around the outside of our basement walls and put in their system which will include a new sump pump. The system will be installed on the 29th and will take 4 days. After they are done, our dear friend and contractor, Jamey Schurvinske and his company, Precision Decks ( ), will begin construction.

Demolition of the basement down to the studs and cement ( the rains caused mold in the walls so EVERYTHING MUST GO) will be this Sunday. Brian and I have been working extra hard to clear out our basement and have put everything in storage. Here are some before photos!

This is the living room portion of the basement. The outdated panelling, carpet, and drop ceiling will be replaced with new carpet and drywall. New lighting will be installed too.

Here's the guestroom off the living room. We just redid this area two years ago.Since the water came in on two of these walls, we must tear this out too. Drop ceiling becomes drywall and this room will become carpetted too.

View from the guest room into living room. We are removing the bar and all the tile area. We will either have the whole area ( that also includes a sink and cabinet) become carpetted and just be part of the family/play room OR we may move the bar to come perpendicular off the staircase landing and create a small wet bar area in the corner.

Alaric has been helping like crazy. He becomes BOB THE BUILDER. Here he has the shop vac hose and is spraying down the place.

We'll post demo pics next week!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Coolest Neighbors

We have the coolest neighbors. We love them all but our neighbors to the North of us are truly remarkable! They live in the pink Victorian next door. Jack and June McGreggor are like grandparents to all of us. Jack is a crazy CUBS fan who lives and breathes according to the Cubs schedule. June, a retired teacher, is amazing with kids! She is also the most creative and crafty women we know. Often times we sit out on their porch and talk or have happy hour or whatever while the kids play. June is even making BBQ bricket for our demolition day of our basement this Sunday!

Anyway, June has made each of the neighbor kids their own "wimsy" character. She takes a photo of the child and then create a little doll designed just for them. Alaric's is perfect- it's a Cubs player!!!!!!!!She uses baby and kid clothes to create the dolls and makes them special to each person's interest. The shoes on Alaric's doll were his when he was a baby!

Thanks a million June!

Amara is so stinking cute! I wish pictures did her justice. She is just a beautiful baby and she looks just like Alaric did but with brown hair. She's such a big girl! Check out her first time in her Bumbo seat!