Thursday, May 29, 2008

Princess Jackson




I know, I know...but he was having so much fun!!! (Though you can't tell by the look on his face!) He was sad because he was having a hard time walking in heels. I told him most ladies had a hard time at first...it just takes practice. I'm sorry I missed the shot with him wearing a crown. Classic!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Michigan




























We loved our vacation to Michigan. The car ride was less than pleasurable. It started off rough...Jake got on the wrong train to go pick up the car and ended up in Queens instead of Manhattan, so that meant we left an hour and a half later than planned. As navigator, I took us on the New Jersey turnpike instead of the Newark turnpike, which added about 30 minutes and a lot of anxiety as I tried to figure out how to get us back on track. THEN Sydney threw up. Yeah. Gross. So...when we finally got into New Jersey, we stopped at Kmart and got some accoutrements so we would be prepared when she got sick again, including a special "car shirt" aka plastic bib with a pocket to catch throw up. We finally got back on the road and it was pretty smooth sailing from there on out...if by smooth sailing you mean trying to make up time by driving fast in an unfamiliar car in lots of rain with kids constantly asking for items they've dropped and taking very few naps.

We stopped in Cleveland, Ohio for dinner with one of my best friends, Kendra. She made an amazing meal that Jake and I are still thinking about. Jackson had tons of fun with Brady and was so sad to leave, as was I. I was able to calm him by assuring him that he would have plenty of time to play with Brady when we live nearby in California. That made him (and me) feel better.

We finally made it to Joe & Heidi's place in Ann Arbor that night. We had so much fun with them...just seeing their favorite places and enjoying all the trees and open space. We had a bbq, and I think the pictures require some explanation. It started out so innocent...Jackson and Kayla wanted to feed the ducks so we gave them some bread. Unfortunately, the cute little ducks were soon driven away by a gaggle of blood thirsty geese. It was terrible...the kids were terrified (I was even more terrified), yet kept dropping food not realizing it was causing the geese to follow them. We had Jake scare most of them away. I did get brave and confront a couple but I will admit, I'm scared of birds. I DO NOT like them AT ALL!!! Something about the hard beaks, pecking, and wings flapping in my hair. (Yes, I've seen The Birds.) After the birds cleared we ate and took turns in a canoe Joe rented. The guys took the kids on a ride and when it was time to return the canoe, Heidi and I decided to take it for a spin. It took us awhile to get used to rowing together (the guys called to ask if we were trying to row in circles) but we made it to the dock with time to spare.

We also went to a farm, Jenny's Farm to be precise. Both Kayla and Isaiah got horn-butted by a mean goat after they'd so nicely fed it hay. Then Jackson and Sydney got terrified by a very photogenic horse. (He looked at me every time I held up the camera.) All in all it was fun and we got some yummy cider and donuts out of it. (And the kids have a selective memory and talk about how fun the farm was even though they all were crying at some point!)

Grandma & Grandpa Skousen, Wendy, and Grandma Bradshaw showed up the day before we left. We soaked up as much of them as we could...Jackson loved hearing stories from Grandma and even helped her with the dishes. They'll be here this weekend and Jackson and Sydney are so excited! Jake, Joe & dad went to Hell and back…but I’ll let Jake tell that story.

Thanks Joe & Heidi for such a fun trip! We should've definitely done it sooner...and more often!


The Henry Ford






Of course our favorite thing about our trip to Michigan was just spending time with Joe, Heidi and their kids, but it was also fun to see The Henry Ford. It's not The Henry Ford museum, just The Henry Ford. But it is quite a museum. It was HUGE and there was so much to see! Jackson loved all the cars, trains and planes...all his favorite things! Some of the most famous pieces in the museum are the car JFK was shot in, the car Reagan was shot in, and the chair Lincoln was sitting in at the Ford Theater when he was shot. Weird fascination, but cool to see.

We also toured The Rouge, which is the factory where they make the Ford F-150 truck. There were two movies during the tour, one was about the history of Henry Ford, the other was a mixed media production similar to shows you see in amusement parks where they blow wind at you and spray water on you. The kids were a little scared by the loud noises but all in all they thought it was a lot of fun. Later when I was telling a friend about it Jackson was delighted to tell her that we got painted! (The man in the movie sprayed the camera and we were sprayed with mist at the same time.) At the factory we got to walk around the assembly line where they're actually assembling the trucks. Unfortunately, the line was not operating the week we were there, but we saw all the stations and parts hanging, ready for the line to start again.

Sun dresses




I'll admit it. I'm not much of a seamstress, although I'd love to be. But I have found a very satisfying project. These dresses are pretty easy to make...in fact, I finished both of them in 2 short evenings. That's saying a lot for me since I have several unfinished projects floating around the house. But for now, I'm a success because my girls went to church on Sunday in home made dresses. And just for now...I won't think about the unfinished things in the recesses of the closet.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Kate's Smile


We have several fabulous pictures of our trip this past week to Michigan and I promise to post them, but for tonight...I'm tired. So here is a teaser of Kate's amazing smile she's decided to grace us with on a regular basis these days. Isn't she funny? Enjoy!

Random Thoughts by Jake


If I was in the circus, cooking with my kids would be a nightmare. My little girl would be watching me cook from the top of a three foot unicycle rocking back and forth. Her brother would be teasing her by spitting fire in her face. My wife's beard would get caught in the cookie mixer. And I might set my leopard loincloth on fire while deep frying chicken.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

happy mother's day


Our two favorite moms! Not only are they wonderful to us, but our kids adore them too! Thanks so much mom for all you do! We love you so much and appreciate you more than we could ever say. Our lives are so busy these days with all we have to do for our kids...we can only imagine what your lives must have been like! It sure helps us to appreciate all the work you put into your family. FoxNews reported that a stay-at-home mom was worth $117,000/year. In our eyes you're worth much more than that! We hope you had a wonderful day and look forward to seeing both of you very soon to celebrate graduation. Hugs and kisses!!!

Oh yes...and happy mother's day to all my friends who are or will be moms! I love reading about all you do for your kids. You truly inspire me! Keep up the great work.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Just an update

I feel like we've been posting a lot of pictures lately but I haven't really said much. Usually pictures are what people are most interested in anyways, but this blog is also for our sake. So, on that note, I will give a brief synopsis of our lives as of today.

First and foremost, Jake is ONE FINAL away from being DONE with LAW SCHOOL!!! Wow. Unfortunately, it's a nasty, closed-book, closed-note final, so it will be the worst of the semester, but the LAST ONE, nonetheless. It really is a wonderful feeling. Of course, as the previous post notes, the real studying has only just begun.

That being said, we're about to embark on two weeks of "vacation" with Jake! His bar review course doesn't start till the 28th, so we have some time to have a little fun. That fun will start next week with a road trip to Michigan. The initial reason for the road trip was to attend Joe's (Jake's brother) graduation from Ave Maria Law School, but as the time grew closer we realized that with all the family there we would get to spend very little time with Joe & Heidi and we probably wouldn't even be able to go to the graduation because of our 3 small children. SO...we moved the trip up a couple days. We'll get there in time to have some "alone time" with Joe & Heidi and kids and we'll get to see the family but we'll split before the actual graduation ceremony. I'm SO EXCITED to see everyone! We haven't seen Joe & Heidi since Thanksgiving and haven't seen his parents since August! Since then we've endured an entire pregnancy and welcomed a new member to our family. Whew!

The only damper on the situation is the 10 hour drive to get to Michigan. Our kids are not used to being in car seats AT ALL since we don't own a car, so this will get interesting. We've got movies prepared and I've found a few games and things online, but any other ideas for distraction would be greatly appreciated. We can look forward to stopping in Cleveland to visit one of my best friends, Kendra, and her family.

After Michigan, we'll be getting our apartment ready for the onslaught of family arriving for Jake's graduation. Jake's parents, SIX of his siblings, one in-law, and 3 of their kids are coming to help us celebrate, along with my parents. Needless to say, our little 900 sq. foot apartment will be busting at the seems. They're not all staying here, but I can imagine we'll all be here together more than once. This will be one of the last times we get to take family on our "see NYC on a dime" tours. We've gotten pretty good at it!

We'll bless Kate in church on June 1st with the whole family here. That afternoon we're planning a big picnic at Brooklyn Bridge Park, directly under the bridge. Then we'll take the family on a little walking tour of DUMBO and lower Manhattan.

Jake will graduate on June 4th, amid his bar review course. After graduation, the kids and I will be deserting Jake (upon his request) so that he can concentrate his efforts on the bar and heading back to Missouri with my parents. As of now, we don't have a return date. Hopefully the neighbors won't think we've officially separated. :)

So those are the upcoming plans. Right now, the kids and I are enjoying the beautiful weather. Weather in the 70s all week. I've already started working on my "park tan" aka "farmer's tan." I'm making good progress. It's really nice to enjoy walking around again though. Today we took a walk on the Promenade, directly across the East River from Lower Manhattan. It's a beautiful walk if you think the city skyline is beautiful, and I do. I'm really going to miss that walk.

Kate is getting bigger and bigger by the day. She's really "waking up" meaning she's awake for maybe 5 or 6 hours a day. The kids can't get enough of her and just want to hug and kiss her all the time. Jackson is convinced that she's tickling him when her arms flail about and touch him. Sydney just says "HI BABY" and "HI KATE" over and over. Occasionally they get a little rough with her, but it doesn't seem to be malicious, just excitement.

Sydney is getting easier to understand. We finally deciphered one of her most famous utterances..."Shoo-pie." She says this as she runs around the the house with a hooded towel on her head after a bath. Finally we've determined she's saying "SUPER!"

Jackson is getting too smart for his own good. He told me this week he wants to be as smart as daddy so he can fix anything. I think he'll get there. He asks me question after question after question. It's gotten to the point that I've actually wanted to discipline him for asking so many questions! It's really annoying...but for the most part I really appreciate his inquisitive mind. I need to start documenting some of our conversations. They're pretty funny.

So that's us for now. I'm really enjoying our family. I think all these different personalities really make for a fun, interesting life and I'm anxious to watch it grow and change in the upcoming years. When I get crazy looks on the street as I see people silently count my one-two-THREE kids age 3 and under as I walk by them, I love looking them in the eye and saying, "Yep, they're all mine!"

Friday, May 2, 2008

Light summer reading?


Light summer reading? No. Worse. Heavy summer reading? No. Worse still! Heavy summer memorization is more like it. That's right, I'm supposed to memorize that stack of paper. And that's a 15 inch ruler too. There is a full 14 inches of paper there. And I have 9 weeks (or 600 hours, however you want to count 'em) to make that information mine.

Start yer engines!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

We love Kate's gentle, frothy curls!





Kate's curls are so fine that the flash washes them out. (I NEED A FLASH DIFFUSER!) Time will give them weight and perhaps a splashy dog.