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!

Update on the Dalys!!

20 07 2013

Trying to catch up on the last couple months of our busy lives!  The boys basically only have 8 weeks of break over the summer b/c of the longer school year schedule.  We’ve spent the days playing, going to parks, riding bikes (both can ride bikes without training wheels), going to the beach, and playing with friends.  Lincoln started riding with no training wheels when he was 4.  Malachi was scared to try and surprisingly about a month ago, he all of sudden was ready and started riding and never looked back!  No help needed from us at all!  So proud of him 🙂

During Kingston’s naptime I have the boys do different educational activities.  They have great attitudes abt it.  Lincoln is learning to read and Malachi is learning his letters and sounds they make.  My biggest complaint with all 3 is they’re fighting more these days.  The twins instigate with Kingston and his response is screaming.  It becomes particularly frustrating when we’re all in the car together.  But other than that, we’re all have a blast.

We took them all to a water park yesterday and all 3 had a lot of fun.  Kingston mostly wanted to stay in the wave pool or lazy river, but the twins loved the slides.  We *may* take a camping trip this summer.   The boys are excited to start Kindergarten at Woodlawn Elementary which is about 5 blocks from us.  I’ve spent a lot of time this Spring and Summer on the school transitions happening in our neighborhood.  Lots of meetings and more meetings.  But all in all we feel hopeful and positive about the school they’ll be attending.  

Here’s a photo drop, including their 5th bday party, Mother’s Day trip (we went to the Botanic Gardens), Father’s Day activities at school, a hiking trip to Starved Rock State Park, and the 4th of July!  



For their 5th birthday, we re-did their bedroom in a super-hero theme.  Above are photos of their reactions.  They got bunk beds, bean bag chairs, and personalized super-hero posters.  They loved it!!  And it still warms our hearts that they continue to sleep in the same bed every night even tho they could sleep separate 🙂



Another big thing that happened in the Spring was Malachi losing his two bottom teeth!  We’re pretty sure that he knocked them loose and they fell out after a couple months b/c the permanent teeth still aren’t coming in!  Took them to the dentist this week and the dentist isn’t worried as all 3 have very healthy teeth.



Mothers Day is always my favorite day of the year!  The boys do a wonderful job of making me loved, appreciated, and special that day.  We had a fun time at the gardens!


The boys Pre-K class had a Father’s Day event at their school.  Some of the dads came and played games with all the kids.  It was sad to see some of the boys who don’t have fathers that are around.  Makes me all the more thankful that Ethan has broken the absentee father cycle for our sons.  The twins absolutely ADORE him and want to play with him, talk to him, and imitate him all the time.  Kingston tolerates him b/c he’s still a mama’s boy 😉



We have had the opportunity to take several mini-day-trips with the boys this year.  It’s so nice that Ethan’s work schedule offers that kind of flexibility.  We aren’t taking any long vacations, but he’s able to take an afternoon here or a day there.  We had a great time hiking through Starved Rock park last month.  



The boys still love playing with all the many kids in our neighborhood.  We set up a pretty successful lemonade stand one afternoon.  It was fun to see the boys become little salesmen and Kingston got his full share of extra lemonade!



We spent a great and relaxing few days in LaPorte for the week of the 4th of July.  Our friends the Blodgetts come from Chicago for the day to watch the parade and fireworks.  It was really fun for all of us!



Two going on Six!

11 05 2013

Boy this little guy is keeping us on our toes!  He is quite possibly one of the cutest and sweetest 2 yr olds ever.  But also soooo opinionated about how things should be and expresses it as if he were 6!

A few cute things to note from this week about Kingston:

-When I squeeze his legs and ask him what I’m squeezing he says, “Those are my chunk-em thighs!”

-His bedtime routine consists of wearing a super hero cape, taking his Little People zoo animals (daddy hippopotamus and mommy flamingo) to bed, and saying prayers with mommy rocking him.

-Lincoln was upset yesterday and he very sweetly said, “You want a hug, Lincoln?  Don’t cry.  It’s okay.”  ❤

-His favorite phrase these days is “I don’t like _____ anymore.”  Fill in the blank with a tv show, color, food, person, etc.  When he says he doesn’t like a person I tell him we can’t say that because it’s not being kind.  He now tells me when I get mad at them and yell, “That’s not being kind, mommy.”  ouch.

-He wanted to wear big boy underwear this week, but wet them twice and never used the toilet.


I like exploring with you

1 05 2013

I wish I had brought my camera on our outing this morning.  We took advantage of an unseasonably warm Spring day and walked to the lake while the boys were at school.  Kingston was in a great mood, super agreeable (isn’t always the case for my little two year old!) and chatty.  We played at the playground for awhile, took our shoes and socks off to feel the sand in our toes… then walked down by the water and explored sea shells, looked for fish in the water, and chased after geese.  He talked about everything he saw and told me, “I like exploring with you mommy!  I like exploring with daddy too!”  We walked to the pier and watched a fisherman.  It was a perfect morning and I loved the alone time with my little cutie.  He’s so smart and has the best personality!  I just love these days 🙂



I’ll try to update the twin’s 5th bday soon!

Story for the evening

27 03 2013

The boys told Ethan a funny bedtime story tonight and wanted to record before I forget.

So, the story goes (as told by Malachi and Lincoln)… there was a super hero that lived in the town that could turn into any animal he wanted.  Then one day, the bad guys came to town and their names were Winton, Wanton, Gonejin, John Jonesson, and Hatey.  They called themselves The Terribles.  Hatey could shoot boom bombs out of his eyes.  Gonejin was big and strong.  The super hero was Captain Stronger would change into different animals to defeat them.  In the end he turned into a monkey and performed tricks and made all the bad guys laugh.  They laughed so hard that they all decided to go out and get icecream.  Malachi says, “Um dad, here’s the thing.  That’s not the way this works. The bad guys are supposed to get defeated.”

A few weeks ago we got a good snowfall and the boys made a snowman outside.

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