Thursday, December 30, 2010

Highlights of 2010

Kian started 1st grade in August!

My nephew, Braeden Thomas Liam Harrison, was born on September 13th. He was extremely early but...

he's thriving and as sweet as can be (and must have a pretty cool aunt too boot!)

I landed a part time job as a froster for Cakes on Walnut. I love the job and so do my friends and family...where I go cupcakes are sure to follow (or at least the scent of powdered sugar).
Jamie was promoted to Design Director on an upcoming project at his studio! Needless to say, Kian and I are extremely proud of him!

We look forward to what 2011 has in store for us. And we plan to kick it off with a bang when we leave for Disney World in a week! woot!

New Year...New Blog...

Since I haven't been posting much over the last few months, I decided to make this blog not just about Kian but about our family, me, my blabberings and so on. I'm hoping that since it's not just Kian news that I will tend to post more :) Hopefully in the coming year you will hear more for me and hopefully learn something or just be entertained.

Chirstmas 2010

Sorry folks, no personal photos yet but here is a recap :)

This year was our year to spend Christmas in Kentucky with Jamie's family. Thankfully this year mother nature decided not to bring a blizzard on while we were driving (that happened the first year we went for Christmas)! Since we leave close to Christmas we do our family opening of gifts the weekend before - that way we all have time to enjoy our new "toys" before we head out for a week or so.

This year my top fave gifts were the Ireland hoodie I have been wanting for over a year! (Thanks Mom and Dad!)

And my wonderful husband got me the following....

Instead of an angel we now have a fairy on top of our tree :) He wings change colors. She's so cute! I put her up straight away!

And this awesome treeskirt which Jamie had personalized with our family name! Of course that was put on right away as well :)
And this was an early gift from Jamie - not this platter but a set of dinner plates, mugs, and desert plates all done in this pattern! And for Christmas I opened a salt and pepper shaker to match :) These are some dishes I do not mind having to wash (I'm the dish washer, not some mechanical device).

We headed down to Kentucky and the day after we arrived it started to snow....and snow...and snow! The snow was normal for us northerners to see but in Kentucky for it to come down that much and stay is rare! It made for a beautiful Christmas but also canceled our trip to Gatlinberg with the whole clan. We made the best of it by spending the day after Christmas sledding, drinking hot cider, and playing card games. We all had a blast and it was so good to see everyone. Kian really went down a snow covered hill for the first time ever that day. He had a blast! I had not planned on riding down at all but was coerced by Jamie's cousin Caleb to join him on going down - I caved and ended up going a few more times! I had not been sledding since I was a child.

Kian brought home a haul of gifts which included a remote control truck (!!!) Kian had been wanting and a Star Wars At-At (that I live vicariously through Kian watching him play with it) among a myriad of video games, and various cars. He made quite a haul this year! Now we just need to find homes for all the goodies he got from all his family and Santa :)

Monday, November 08, 2010

Halloween Recap

We all had a great time on Halloween! Our friends invited us over to their place for ToTing (our third annual ToTing with them :)). Kian made quite the haul and had a blast ToTing with his friends :)

Here are some photos from All Hallows Eve....

Our stoic Ghostbuster.
Ghost busting is a serious job!

Ghostbuster Kian has his phaser out and is ready for action!

AND THEY'RE OFF!!! The race to the next house for candy begins!

Notice the pumpkin behind Kian in the photo above....

No see where it has landed (to the right of Kian). And his friend Nick gets a little laugh out of it lol!
Just another casualty of Trick or Treating.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Butter face?

All three of us were heading to Kian's piano lesson. Lady Gaga was playing in the CD player and I asked Jamie if he thought she was pretty. He asked why and I said because I heard a DJ on the radio say something about 'butterface' (but, her face).

Kian was in the back and little did we know he was really listening to our conversation in the front.

Kian: Momma, is that Lady Gaga
Me: Yep
Kian: How did she get the butter off her face?

Jamie and I laughed - how do you explain a not-so-nice pun to a 6 year old? lol!

Me: I don't know, Kian. Maybe it has something to do with boogers on her face.

Kian rolls with laughter and thankfully drops the butter to say boogers as many times as he could before we got to piano lessons lol

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Recap of the last few weeks

Highlighted Events:

  • We traveled to Kentucky the first weekend in October for the Woodlee/Harris family reunion. Kian had a blast with his Aunt TyTy, Granna, and Papaw. We also scored another Jeff Woodlee print that was up for auction to raise money for the next year's reunion
  • Kian's Grandad (Jamie's father) came for a very short visit the weekend after our Kentucky trip. The three guys went on their first Durall Men Golf Outing on Sunday morning. It was so neat that Kian could join them with his own clubs! For more highlights and photos check out Jamie's blog.
  • My nephew's birth and continued card in the NICU (more details below). It's amazing how motherhood has brought my relationship with my sister closer. I'm so thankful for her and that we are able to talk so often!
  • My new job started about a month ago! (see below for details)
  • Jamie shaved his head lol Yep, he did and it actually looks really good. He has yet to post photos on Facebook. I think he's waiting until he gets his new glasses in the next week or so.
  • Planning continues for our trip to Walt Disney World in January! We are all getting excited about it and continue to do our family movie nights to count down until we go to WDW. Jamie has done a TON of research and has made some flippin' amazing reservations for us for character meals and places that just have awesome food. I have never been disappointed at Disney ;)

Yeah, yeah, I've been a slacker with posting. But I have a good excuse! I'm now a working mom! I started working as a froster at Cakes on Walnut. I posted a photo from their website below. You can see that the frosting is one of the most important parts of the cupcake and so is the technique for the swirl. Believe me, I know from all the practicing I've been doing before I frost anything that goes in the store. I have a feeling I will be moving to frosting my own cupcakes very soon. For now I make the frostings and the two owners frost the cupcakes.

Being a froster is part time gig that's 4 days a week from 8-12 so I'm home to help Kian get ready for school and able to pick him up with school is out. It has caused me to have to do some major adjusting to my household work since I usually did that when Kian was at school. Sometimes certain rooms get attention and others look like a tornado ripped through it! But everyone is happy in the house and that's all that really matters. Oh yeah, and we have cupcakes at least once a week in the house ;)

My Nephew

It's now been a full month since Braeden entered the world. He's doing well. Still in the NICU but progressing toward not being hooked up to anything.

The above photo was taken a few weeks ago but it's one of my favorites of my Lil' Irish :) He's such a fighter and I can't wait to meet him at Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Halloween Costume Time!

Well, at least a search for a Halloween costume.

A few weeks ago we received a catalog in the mail from a costume place online. Kian quickly took over the catalog and has looked at it often in his room.

He informed us that he wanted to be Iron Man.

The next week, he wanted to be an astronaut.

And finally, the last two weeks he's wanted to be a Ghostbuster. Why? I have no idea since the movie was popular when *I* was a tween! The only thing that Jamie and I can figure is that he got the idea from the game that was released sometime this summer. Kian watched Jamie play through the Ghostbuster game and loved it.

So, today, I asked him if he was for sure about the Ghostbuster (which also comes with an inflatable proton pack and yet another reason why I think he likes it). He said he still wanted to be it and I told him to make sure becuase he couldn't change his mind after we got the costume. He was sure so I took him to the Spirit Halloween store and we snagged the last small of the uniform. He's pretty excited about it!

So now we wait for Hallow's Eve to come and see if our little Ghostbuster still wants to take on the job. Hopefully so or he will be going as "Kian" lol

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Braeden Thomas Liam

12 weeks before he was due, Braeden Thomas Liam decided to make his way into the world. He was born September 13th at 2:05AM and weighed only 2lbs 11oz. He is doing very well considering he is premature. He does have a long road to go until his due date which was December 4th. He will remain in the NICU until that time.

Oddly enough, on Saturday, September 11 my mom, my cousin, Laura's best friend, and myself threw a baby shower for Laura! In fact, I had been home about 6 hours when I got that call that Braeden had arrived.

So I am officially an aunt! A worried aunt, but an aunt none-the-less :)

A cool side note, that I can't resist sharing, is about Braeden's name. His name is Irish, just like Kian's! Laura asked me a few months ago for help on where to look for Irish names to get some ideas and to throw out some suggestions. Braeden has two middle names to honor both of his grandfathers. Thomas is the name of his paternal grandpa. Liam is the Gaelic form of William which is our step-dad's middle name - our stepdad has always been a dad to us. In fact if we were having any other kiddos I would have used either William or Liam for a boy's middle name for the same honor (no we aren't having any more, not worth the risk to my life!)

Anyway, Braeden not only has a strong name but some good Irish blood in him to help him fight through these next 12 weeks. This Aunt's heart is with him...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"Booger" Face

A few weeks ago I took Kian to get his hair cut. All three of us go to the same stylist and have since we moved here so she knows us all fairly well.

Anyway, she was cutting Kian's hair and had the radio on in the background. All of sudden Kian starts laughing. I said, "What's funny?" He said, "That song." I listened to the song. "Poker Face?" Kian laughed again, "yeah." I was thinking to myself, how does he know anything about poker? I don't think he knows anything about it...

Then he started to sing, "my, my, my, my, my booger face" along with the music. It took me a few times through to understand what he thought Lady Gaga was singing.

Yeah, I would say if I heard the song "Booger Face" on the radio I would laugh too!

So today I go to get my hair cut and what is the first thing the stylist tells me? "I've been telling all my clients about my 1st grader client who likes the song Booger Face." lol!

Let's just say I will never hear that song the right way ever again! ;)

If you want to hear the song follow this link and see the video as well:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Kian's First Day as a 1st Grader!

August 19th was Kian's first day back at school. He was so excited! We learned who his teacher was going to be just the week before. I also took a photo of the roster with my iPhone so I could tell him who would be in his class. He was so excited to see some familiar names (and so was I).

Here's Kian waiting with the other 1st Graders for the bell to ring!
Take note of his shirt. I made sure he wore this shirt today since Daddy couldn't be with us on the first day back (he was in Germany for work). His shirt says "Dad's My Allstar"

Kian sitting with Ian, a friend from his class last year. They had to sit down because they were so tired. Man it's hard to be 6!

The kids could sit anywhere they wanted. Kian ended up sitting with Kaidyn, Ian and Michael. All friends from his class last year. I thought that was so cute!

For some reason Kian thinks this looks like a smile. I think he just looks constipated lol!

Me with my 1st grader! Man, the time has really flown by fast!

Today was his second full day of school. He seems to really enjoy it. It's always hard for me to get him to tell me about his day - I think it's just because he's not sure where to start! When he got home today and after a snack we laid down on my bed and talked about what he did. I went through what did you do after you put your backpack away and sat down? I found that this really helps to jog his memory - he seemed to have a lot to tell me about then! I will have to make sure this is one of the questions I ask once he's had a snack and chilled out a bit.

Today I got a funny story out of him. He said he got in trouble once. I asked him what happened. He said he had to sit in chair that's not next to anyone. I asked him why he had to sit there. He was hesitant to tell me. I told him, you can tell me. He burst into laughter and after some slowing down and asking if I was understanding what he was saying, he told me he drew a robot being blown up by a bomb. I guess he laughed so much that he had to sit in a timeout (most likely because it wasn't the first time he was asked to be quiet). Although, I'm not sure if he got in trouble at all about the exploding robot lol I laughed with him a little bit and just told him that he needed to make sure he was following the rules. I'm chalking this one up to "sometimes you just gotta laugh."

Jamie in Germany and Growth Spurts

Jamie in Germany

It's been one whole week since Jamie left for Germany for GameCom. He's promoting the new game he's working on; Red Faction: Armageddon. I've seen him on one interview so far and I'm sure there will be more to follow.

This is the first time he's gone out of the country without us (the only other time was to Canada which doesn't really feel like out of the country anyway lol). We couldn't use cell phones to communicate to so we loaded Skype on my computer and Jamie's laptop - and also downloaded the app for the iPhone. It's amazing how good the quality is!

It was so neat to use the webcam. We could see and hear Jamie as well as show him things we were talking about that were going on or we bought. For most of the week he was gone, we were able to talk at least a few times a day. He was just getting up when I was getting ready for bed so just he and I would talk for a bit if it worked out we were up at the same time. Other than that our standing appointment was at 3-4 every day.

The conference ended yesterday so he's spending the next few days with his friend Tim. Tim lives in Germany and lived with Jamie and his family as a foreign exchange student when they were all in high school. So now Jamie is actually seeing some of Germany other than just the conference center :)

We sure do miss him a lot! Ten days is the longest he and I have ever been apart. Kian and I are counting the sleeps until he gets home. His flight is supposed to get in after Kian's in bed on Wednesday so there is one more sleep added that I don't have to add :)

Growth Spurts

Kian has gone through a growth spurt recently. Today he came home from school and was saying his pants were hard to button and asked if he could take them off like daddy does when he gets home from work lol! Of course I told him yes! ;) So I went through some of his shorts in his drawer and all his jean shorts are too small! Thankfully he does have some others. He won't be wearing shorts for that much longer. I may have to scour some of the clearance racks and see what I can dig up that hopefully will work for next year too.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

July Excitement!!

I've been a super slacker lately in posting, but we have been SUPER busy over the last month! Since today is the first of August, I thought I would reflect back on the highlights July.

4th of July

My parents came down for the 4th of July. We scoped out the fireworks in the area and headed over there a bit earlier than we could have, but Kian had a blast on the bounce house stuff they had there (thank God for unlimited trip bracelet purchases!) The fireworks were pretty spectacular! We will will definitely go again next year :)

Click here to see photos.

Great America

We took our second trip up to Great America the second weekend in July. I unfortunately felt sick after driving in the car and was out for the count after taking some Dramamine. I napped in the hotel room while the guys went back to the park and rode all sorts of rides.

When the guys were on their way back to the hotel, I felt like a normal person and started looking for a place to eat dinner. We found this STUPENDOUS place to eat! The place is called Divino and it's in Grayslake, IL. The food was good but the gelato was TO DIE FOR!!!! We all had different flavors but my faves were the mix the owner suggested: mango and strawberry. omg....words cannot describe how smooth and exactly like the fruit it tasted (because it's made with the real fruit!). If you're in area of Great America in Gurnee, IL make sure to stop by this little cafe. Tell them that the family from Champaign sent you ;)

It was also our first time at a park knowing that Kian's food allergy was not an issue! So we had our first funnel cake of the season - Kian opted for popcorn after a bite though.

Work Travel

Jamie made his second trip to Cali for Red Faction Armageddon. This time he went SF and got to meet up with some good friends in the area (lucky dog!). Click here to see his interview with Game Spot - one of the place he talked to when he was there. He got home later on Friday night and geared up for another trip that our family planned well before we knew about this SF trip.

Walking Where Lincoln Walked

We spent a weekend in Springfield, a place I have always wanted to go since I have always loved Civil War history and Lincoln is my favorite president.

We visited Lincoln's home and neighborhood, Lincoln's Law Offices, the Lincoln Museum, and Lincoln's Tomb. Jamie was amazing and took watch over Kian so I could geek out. I discovered many things about Lincoln that I didn't know or just forgot. Kian did get bored though so I sent the guys back to the hotel so I could meander the streets and take my time in shops and such. After dinner on Saturday, I headed back downtown for a Ghost Walk. It was very educational and entertaining. I am hoping to get back there around Halloween when they do more of a scary walk.

I honestly didn't think that Kian was getting much out of the trip and felt kind of guilty for dragging my guys around. But since we came back from the trip, Kian has talked about Lincoln at random times telling me facts he learned about him.

I am extremely glad that we went and I am hoping to go back (at the very least just me) to see the Old Capitol and go through some of the other sites again. The Museum is definitely worth another walk through. It's pretty amazing and a must see if you go to Springfield.

If you're interested in photos, take a look here :)

Kian's Activities

Kian continued swim lessons for most of July. He has progressed a lot! I am impressed with the strokes he's able to do and he really enjoys the lessons.

The T-ball Clinic ended early in July. They worked up to playing a real game! It was really neat to watch and funny too since some of the kids ran to third instead of first or everyone tagged a kid on base with their glove even if they didn't have the ball. So cute!

The last week of July Kian took a British Challenge Soccer class. It was amazing to see how different these coaches were from the last time Kian did the class. I have to be honest and say that these girls were more organized and I think that the kids learned a lot more about the game. The other class he took focused more on skills, which is good of course, but Kian is ready to step it up a notch.

Tooth #8

Kian lost his 8th tooth a few weeks ago! And it's a good thing because the adult one was coming in right in front of it! After the dentist told him to start working on getting it loose, Kian set to work and the next day it was out and ready for TF pick up ;)

Friday, July 02, 2010

Some Awesome News!

As you all probably know, when Kian was a little over a year old we discovered that he was severely allergic to peanuts. On a scale ranging from 0 to 6 he tested at a 5.5 which made his condition life threatening. His allergy was so bad he would have reactions to things processed near nuts. We checked the labels of everything that came into our house and educated those who would have him in their care.

Recently, we thought Kian might have seasonal allergies. Since we live in a new area, there are different plants than what he was tested for in California. We also were unsure if Kian was allergic to fish. The allergist told us that we should avoid it until he was five. We figured we would have testing done just to make sure.

The nurse called with the results of the test and said that the only allergen that came back was to peanuts. No shock there until she said, “You can keep feeding it to him.” I asked the nurse, “Feeding what to him?” She said, “Peanuts.” I informed her that the last time he had peanuts he was 16 months old!

Kian tested a low 1 on the 0 to 6 point scale for a peanut allergy!!! On top of that he is no longer allergic to dogs or cats and is not allergic to fish!!!

Since our lives have pretty much revolved around his allergy, we were shocked and almost disbelieving! So we started experimenting. We gave Kian foods that were processed near peanuts. He had no reaction. We gave him something that had peanuts as the ingredient half way down the listing on the back. He had no reaction besides disgust because he doesn’t like the taste of peanuts.

Today we performed our ultimate experiment before we let others know of the test results. At the suggestion of a friend who has a food allergy, we put peanut butter on Kian’s skin to see if he would have a reaction. Kian had it on his skin for a few minutes. I asked him if he felt anything. He said, “I feel peanut butter.” Ha! When we wiped it off his skin there was absolutely no redness! We wanted to see if Kian would actually eat some peanut butter, but after smelling the jar he plugged his nose and said it was disgusting.

Needless to say we are still in a bit of shock! Our lives changed drastically when we discovered Kian’s allergy. And to be honest, it was (and still is in a way) my waking nightmare. Knowing that something that most kids love could actually kill my child, it was hard to let him go pretty much anywhere unless it was with well educated friends and family.

Now our lives will change again, but so much for the better! We will all be able to get ice cream at Dairy Queen or 31 Flavors. We will all be able to eat pastries and cookies of any kind since we won’t have to worry about nuts in the bakery. We can all eat at a Chinese restaurant! The world has opened up wide for Kian to have more experiences that most of us take for granted.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Tooth Fairy; Loop #7

Last Saturday we went up to Six Flags: Great America to start our season of fun. We all had a blast (even though I did a lot of waiting for my guys as they rode things - rides make me sick :P)! At one point we bought some popcorn and Kian was eating some in the stroller as we were walking to another area. All of a sudden Kian started to yell, "Momma!" Of course we stopped and Kian wanted to hand me something. I thought it was a kernel of popcorn, nope it was his tooth! Earlier that day he had told us that his tooth was loose but we certainly didn't think it would come out at the park!

Needless to say, the TF was able to find us at our hotel (after she got some change). And thankfully her swap was easy since Kian was knocked out from having so much fun all day long, he didn't even stir almost all night!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Zoo Field Trip!

Being a SAHM is a wonderful thing and being able to chaperon some of Kian's field trips is one of the many reasons why I love it so much.

Today the Bottenfield kindergarten classes went to Decatur to see the zoo and children's museum. I was the Momma Giraffe to the three little Giraffes below (each chaperoned group was given an animal).

The photo above was taken on the train. Funny how Jong Min is the only one smiling - well not really - we were all pretty miserable because it rained the whole time we were there! None of us had jackets or umbrellas, but thankfully the zoo gift shop had umbrellas so we had shelter if we wanted it.

We ate lunch before we headed to the museum and at lunch I talked to the boys about their favorite animals. All of them said that there most favorite was the white peacock that was roaming around the park. It screeched at us after Kian made a high pitched noise to it - it scared the boys a bit and sent me into a good laugh. The boys laughed too after they realized the peacock was only just talking back and wouldn't come after them.

The museum was a lot of fun. Although there was a lot to look at and having three little boys to look after made it hard to keep them wrangled from running off! One of the favorite things for all the kids at the museum was a climbing structure. Below are some photos of my "Giraffes" climbing together.

All-in-all we had a really good day. I was quite exhausted when we got home and wondered how Mr. Keepes does this every day. It really does take a special kind of person to be a teacher.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Appendix? Who needs it anyway...

Well, Jamie certainly didn't! Thursday night he complained about a stomach ache that we just marked up to being indigestion. He felt a bit better in the morning but since it was Friday, we figured we would head to the doctor just to make sure everything was ok. Thank GOD for our main doctor, Dr. Walker and his thoroughness! He didn't think that Jamie had appendicitis, but to be cautious he sent him for a CT scan. After drinking 4 cups of what smelled like bleach over two hours and an hour wait, Jamie went in for the scan. Sure enough, his appendix had to come out so we were sent right to the hospital for surgery.

Kian came along toward the end of it all, after I picked him up from school. Of course, trying to keep an almost 6 year old wrangled in a very boring hospital is not an easy task. Thank God for our friends Brian and MaryBeth who offered to take Kian overnight. I seriously have no idea what I would have done otherwise.

Jamie went back into surgery around 8PM and was told at almost 11PM that he was going up to a room. He was kinda out of it and since I didn't get much sleep the night before AND I had 12 kindergartners to deal with on my own the following day - I thought it would be best if I stayed home for the night.

After I got up and got ready, I headed straight to the hospital. Jamie looked really good. He is sore of course but he was doing better than I thought he would be. The doctor saw him right before we left for the bowling party and gave him the all clear to head home. So, after the party, Kian and I waited with Jamie until the paperwork for his leaving was finished - we didn't get home until after 5:30....bleh....

Jamie is doing really well, although he's still sore and needs help with some things. The way he's describing pain is much like the pain I had after having a c-section. At least I can empathize with him a bit and try to remember what things I can do to help out.

Needless to say, this weekend has been a busy, crazy, insane, and exhausting one. But we all survived and Kian had a good time all around which really was the most important thing.

Kian's 6th Birthday Bash!!! (and other news)

Saturday was Kian's birthday (pretty cool it was on a weekend, eh?). He had such a great time with all his friends :) We bowled, ate pizza, cake, and ice cream! I am pretty sure everyone had a blast (including myself!)

I wish I had handed the camera off to someone else for photography duty. Jamie is usually our photographer, but since he was in the hospital recovering from an appendectomy the previous day, he wasn't there. I didn't get a whole lot of photos and but I am extremely thankful for the ones I did get. And of course you can see by all the smiles that everyone had a great time.

I do want to send out a special thank you to all the parents that stayed and helped out. And a special thank you to Brian, Ralph and Kristin - you guys just jumped right in and helped where you could - I deeply appreciate it more than you all know.