21 01 2014

I have lots of Christmas photos to upload, but need to upgrade the blog to allow more photos.  So in the mean-time I wanted to record some cute Kingston stories.

Me:  Kings, what’s your nickname for Lincoln?

K:  Lincs

Me:  What’s your nickname for Malachi?

K:  Mac-a-lacs

Me.  What’s your nickname for Kiki?

K:  Teeks

Me:  What’s your nickname for mommy?

K:  Moms

Me:  What’s your nickname for daddy?

K:  Ethan


A few weeks ago Kingston saw me going to the bathroom and asked if I had a pee-pee.  I told him, “No, I have a vagina because I’m a girl.”  Kingston replied, “Oh, where did you get it from?  The bo-gina shop?”


Today we went the museum for MLK Day and Ethan was up ahead skipping with the twins.  I said, “Kingston, do you want to skip like brothers?”  He said, “I can’t yet because I”m not a brother, I’m just a boy.  When I get bigger I’ll be a brother and be able to skip.”

Christmas tree shoppin

1 01 2014

We spent Thanksgiving this year in rural Indiana at my mother-in-law’s house.  It was a great time and relaxing for us all.  At the end of our time, we went to a tree farm nearby to pick out our tree.



DSC_0295 DSC_0299

DSC_0303 DSC_0306 DSC_0309 DSC_0311 DSC_0315 DSC_0317

My snaggle-tooth sweetie

5 11 2013

Planning to post more about our Halloween this year, but wanted to write this down before it slips from my mind.

Malachi is very close to losing his top tooth and I’m definitely hoping he’ll lose it before school pix this Thurs 🙂  Right now, he’s rocking a pretty crazy snaggle tooth!

So this evening I was sitting down with Malachi to do homework.  We went over his sight words and he started getting frustrated.  He teared up, “My brain just isn’t smart enough to learn to read!”  He started sobbing.  I was fighting back the tears too.  My heart was breaking for him as he was starting to realize that the other kids in his class and his brother were picking up on it much quicker than he….  A few minutes before, I’d prayed for patience with the kids b/c Ethan is gone again for the 4th time this month traveling for work and they were being a bit crazy….  I didn’t know quite how to respond.  So we talked abt how big his brain was and his ability to learn.  I then asked him if he wanted to pray about it and we did.  We asked God to help him learn to read and have confidence that he can learn.  We talked about how telling himself that he’s not smart enough to learn to read is a lie.  And then we started sounding out the words and he got it!  He was so proud of himself!  He said he wanted to share about it during share-time in school tomorrow.  And then wanted to keep practicing writing and reading sentences the rest of the evening.  What a relief to see him excited and confident in what he can do!  And LIncoln was so sweet in encouraging him and giving him high-fives everytime he learned a new word.


Through the glass… a look at our babe…

28 10 2013

What a funny little independent guy he is!  He is very decisive regarding if he wants to speak to someone or not… often coming across rude.  We’re working on it, but often when he sees a stranger (or friend) that says hello to him, he will so, “No.  I don’t want to talk to you!”  On the other hand, he will often be super sweet and say the funniest things like today, “You’re welcome.  Any time!”


Shows:  Dragon Tales, Power Rangers, Rescue Bots

Playtime:  Toy zoo animals, trucks, pretending to the characters from the above shows!

Friends:  Zachary, Everett, Matthew and Alex, Cenea, and Lily

Food:  Anything carbs!  I’m now requiring him to eat fruits or veggies before every carb snack!

Phrases:  “It’s perfect!”,  “Sure you can!”

Clothes:  He’s more particular about what he wears than the twins ever were!  Has to wear his croc shoes every day and red hat

Continues to be our sweetheart, mama’s boy, highly opinionated, and very funny babe!





15 10 2013

Just wanted to record a few funny things the boys said lately…

Overheard Malachi and Lincoln talking about girls last night in bed… preview of years to come I’m sure!  This morning, Malachi cuddled up with me and I asked him if he likes any girls.  He said, “No, but if I was a teenager I would.”  I asked what girls he would like if he was a teenager and he got embarrassed and said, “Mom, you’re making me smile!”  🙂

We rode the train today and Malachi said, “Look, all the people look like little mice!”  And Kingston said, “Look at all the cheese!”   The train announced the next stop would be King Drive.  Kingston looks confused and says, “I don’t drive!”

A couple weeks ago I was cutting Lincoln’s hair and I asked him if any of the kids in his class ask to touch his hair.  He said, “No.” and paused for a bit, “they just touch it without asking.”  LOL.  IMG_3087



Ode to Garwoods Orchard

1 10 2013

Decided to go up to one of my favorite childhood places and one of our favorite annual traditions!   Garwoods Apple Orchard!  There was also a field nearby that I loved and envisioned getting a few sunset shots.  This one turned out to be my favorite!  I plan to print it (along with the following 2 photos) as 20X30 prints to frame in our living room.


I love the colors, the flow, the openness in this photo.  When I’ve been in the city too long, I usually just need an open field to breath in and feel refreshed again.  So glad this image will grace my home.

The next two photos are some of my other favorites.  The first is probably the best family shot we got.  Kingston was much more cooperative this year for photos, but gave a funny forced smile in most pictures.  This was one of his more natural smiles.


I asked one of my friends and clients Ashlie Otis to take our photos this year.  I photographed her wedding in 2012 and she is so great with children and was gracious enough to take our photos and allow me to have all the raw images to edit myself.  I always appreciate seeing other photographers ideas.  She had the idea to pose them all with their hands in their pockets and I adore how it turned out!


A few other favorites…

IMG_3139 IMG_3209 IMG_3087 IMG_3049

Those brown eyes get me everytime…


And a rarity… shots of my and my love of 8 years!   If you’ve spent any time around us, you know this first one really captures our relationship well!


IMG_3392 IMG_3171

The next day we went back to the orchard to go apple picking.  The  boys are great tree climbers these days so loved scrambling up the trees to help get the apples up high!


We like having the boys carry the bags these days… free labor, right?

DSC_0004 DSC_0002





Soooo excited about apples!!



Sometimes I think he looks so much like my side of the family… and then other times he looks so much like Ethan!


Our favorite summer spot!

5 09 2013

Can I sing the praises of the Southside of Chicago a little more?   There are soooo many gems down here and you rarely have to fight the crowds like you do downtown or the Northside.  One of our favorite spots is Promonotory Point.



This is where George Lucas recently had his wedding as well!  It juts out into the lake and provides great views of the water and the city.



But our favorite thing is to go on a windy day and watch the waves crash up against the rocks.



The boys call them water fireworks and comment that “God really gave us a great show!”

We’ve been doing a TON of biking this summer and this is one of the places we come to most often as it’s a reasonable distaance for the boys to go without getting too tired.


Labor Day Getaway!

5 09 2013

The boys had barely 8 weeks off of school this summer and between work, photography, and all the school meetings due the the school closures that I was a part of, we never took a family vacation.  On Labor Day weekend we planned to take a camping trip with the twins, but all campgrounds required a 3 night stay and we weren’t really wanting to do THAT long with them just yet!

So instead, we decided to take a day trip up to Holland, MI.  We left Kingston with my mom and Carl and headed to a great little petting farm called Critter Barn.  It’s a free petting farm that uses volunteer children over the age of 8 to help care for the animals and teach visitors about them.  They were so friendly and eager to show us all the rabbits, chickens, goats, pigs, cows, etc.  It was such a fun experience for us all and honestly would’ve been my dream job as a child!  🙂



The main barn


Linc feeding the baby goats.  They give us free buckets of hay for all the animals…



Some animals were more aggressive than others!



Malachi’s favorite was the calf.





Lincoln loved the rabbits and the goats.

We then hit up lunch in downtown Holland and got some great icecream at Kilwins.

Afterwards we took them for their first go-carting ride, bumper boats, mini golf, and arcade.  The loved every minute of it!  Except the mini-golf!





Malachi was literally squealing with delight the whole ride!



His form is a little lacking…



Trying to teach them the rules and form for mini golf.  Lasted about 3 holes and then we let them do what they wanted.






So glad we took a day with our Kindergartners!  They were so happy the whole day and we love seeing them experience new adventures.


One child is a day at the beach!

29 08 2013

Okay, not really… he hasn’t been taking long enough naps and has approximately 10 meltdowns a day over random things.  But I really do enjoy having the freedom of doing things with just one child and enjoying Kingston on his own.  We spent a rather chilly morning at the beach.


I love his little grown-up saunter.  He’s such a sturdy little guy and runs like a linebacker.   But also imitates pretty much everyone older.


I’m counting on family pictures to go better this year as he actually will look at the camera now and say “cheese” (although it often ends up looking a bit forced!)


Picking up rocks and throwing them in the water is still a favorite activity.


Notice the rock in the background


“Look mama!  The rock went super far!”


This face.  Such a mixture of his father and my father.  ❤


We walked out on the pier and enjoyed watching the waves crash up against the rocks.


We are slowly working through my toddler “check list”.  He is in a big boy bed and we got rid of the pacifier.  Now to tackle potty training.  He is quite resistant.  But this morning he came in to my room and said, “Mom, my diaper is falling off.  Fix it.”  So we’ll try in a couple weeks I suppose (can you tell my resolve and enthusiasm!?)


He said, “Mom, your toes are black.  Paint them pink again.”  Okay boss.


Love these little chubby feet with his flip flop tan lines.


Finished off with a picnic.  He loves having picnics at the beach and told me in detail what to pack.  The other day I gave him a cookie and he said, “This is the most delicious cookie, mom!”  He is so grown up sometimes!  But still such a momma’s boy… until I ask him to take a picture with me!


Not your typical Kindergarten journey…

28 08 2013

I remember when we first moved to Chicago, the twins were 16 months and I wondered where they would end up going to school when the time came.  We lived in Albany Park and I assumed we may still be in that area, so they’d go to one of those elementary schools.  After a very winding path, we ended up in Woodlawn and in the middle of the school closures.  The boys attended a school at the end of our block for Pre-K and we thought we’d keep them there for Kindergarten too (so convenient!)  The school was shared with a Middle/High School Charter run by the nearby University of Chicago.  When the list of potential school closures came out, there were two in our community that were closed.  It was decided, upon much community protest, that the Elementary school would move and “take over” one of the closing schools.  Without going into too much detail on the drama, it ended up being very difficult and detrimental to our neighborhood.  The charter took over the building and the elementary is now in a new building 4 blocks away.


(Old Wadsworth school building- large, lots of green space, away from the streets, and 3 playgrounds)


(New Wadsworth building- taking over closing Dumas school- smaller, broken playground, no green space, near two busy streets)

And in the midst of these huge changes, we also had our Principal announce early retirement.  I joined the Local School Counsel (equivalent of PTA), attended countless meetings, protests, etc.  Put 110% into making the transition as positive as it could be.  But at the end of the day, knowing their class would be over 30 students to 1 teacher, resources would be very limited, they’d be dealing with merging two schools together, a new Principal, no playground… we decided to look into other options.  *I do want to note here that a lot of positives came from this as well.  I was able to connect with a lot of neighbors over this cause, find a great deal of personal purpose and connection rallying around this, and form lasting relationships with neighbors that continue on!

At the urging of some neighbors and their former Principal, we checked out another public school abt 5 blocks from our house.  It’s a smaller school, but does quite well academically, and is more selective with its enrollment.  The boys went in for an interview and were accepted.  The school’s Principal is from Ghana and incorporates a lot of African traditions into the school, which includes a drum circle with the whole school each morning and reciting values.  It has a much smaller, family feel and students seem to be thriving there.


This is the playground at their new school.  To orient them to the area, we played there often this summer.


Malachi practicing his balance skills


I’ve done a terrible job of documenting the boys this summer and the benefit has been whenever I get out my camera, Kingston is more than happy to pose and smile for the camera!


The twins are looking so tall these days!!  The had their check-ups for school a few weeks ago (didn’t cry for their shot!) and both are in the 45-50th percentile for weight and height.  Same as they’ve always been.


One of their biggest accomplishments for summer was learning the monkey bars.  Lincoln is currently working on skipping a bar.  His arms aren’t quite long enough yet 🙂

So this brings us to this week!  We had originally wanted the boys to be in the same class.  Being in a new school in daunting and being one of the only biracial children in the school can be intimidating.  They were very independent in Pre-K and made their own friends easily, so we thought Kindergarten would be the same.  The school’s policy is to separate twins and they said they would consider putting them together if it became a problem.  They were both scared to be separated, as were we.  But we talked a prayed about it quite a lot before school started.  Malachi seemed to be most resistant to it.   He prayed (on his own) the night before school that he would be excited.


And you can see God answered his prayer!  He went into his classroom without fear and had a great first day!


LIncoln also had a great first day, though when we left him in his class, he was fighting back tears.  And so was I.   He told me later that he prayed to be brave, and God answered his prayer as well.  I love seeing through these examples of how God answers both big (our prayer of which school to send them to) and small (their prayers for excitement and bravery).


Here they are waiting with their class for the morning ritual to begin. I should also note that little brother has had quite a hard time leaving them every morning.  He wants to stay in school with them.  However, I’ve been really enjoying time with just one child at home 🙂

On their second day of class, both teachers said they had great days and both boys said they made new friends.  Thankfully they get to still each lunch together and play at recess.  AND, a huge positive for me is that both are in small classes of 16-20 students each!

I’m going to attempt to keep up with this blog better this year.  Next post will highlight my adventures with Kings!