Lent 2015 – Electronic and Social Media Free

We are having another “electronic free” lent in the Thoele house.   All the kids devices (kindles, ipods, etc) were put up.  Jason and I still have our iphones, but the only time the kids get to touch them is on the couple times were at the doctors office and I needed to distract the boys in the waiting room.  It was high time to get the electronics put away, as we were to the point that the kids were not at home without a Kindle Fire or Ipod in their hands.   The boys would fight over them and it was just a constant source of fights and distress.

So how are the kids doing with their Lenten sacrifices this year?   Let’s see….. Abby and Katie are pretty okay about it and have only asked for our phones on a couple of occasions when they really want to listen to Pandora.    Jake on the other hand, asks EVERY chance he gets if he can have an ipod or Kindle and tries to steal our phones when he sees them laying within his reach…. he just doesn’t “get it.”  But that is to be expected for a 3 year old.  Kyle seems unaware that we have no electronics in the house, kind of how Jake acted last year about it.   In addition the girls are bringing home Lenten sacrifices that are suggested at school and doing most of those.

What about Mom and Dad — since I have to use an iphone on a regular basis for work, I gave up social media (facebook and instagram.)   I am missing it a little bit, but not terribly.  It is nice to have the extra time and I really do think it is a bit less stressful when I am not looking at them on a regular basis.  ((And for all of you worried about me cheating with Facebook….. WordPresses posts automatically without me getting into Facebook, so I am not violating any Lenten promises!))  :-)

Jason gave up chocolate, because he could care a less about electronics and cares even LESS about social media, which is a major sacrifice for him.  He loves his chocolate!

The end of Lent is very near (it’s Palm Sunday already!) and so I am pretty sure we will all make it through to the end again this year!!

Kyle – Early Intervention – Speech

For the record books…..

Kyle started speech therapy today.  He will have the same routine (and therapists) that Jake had, 1 hour a week of speech and 1 hour a week of developmental therapy.    Our therapists are AWESOME, and were so absolutely great with Jake, that I requested them again.   I got word that Kyle did excellent for his first session, so fingers are crossed it continues to go well!

At this point Kyle knows several more sounds than Jake had at this age, but no actual words are used.   He will sometimes say something that sounds like a word, but will never repeat it so we can confirm it was a word and not just an accident that sounded like the word! :-)    I will be so excited when he can talk, and I am just not guessing what he wants/needs, which is a very frustrating task as he gets older and more opinionated about what he wants.

I hope the therapists are ready for Kyle, they thought Jake was a character, but Kyle has him beat when it comes to getting into mischief and trouble.   Exhibit A:


(Marker, not food)

Best of Luck Karen and Julie……..and don’t turn your back on him!  :-)

Springfield Illinois, March 2015

Last Sunday our family got up early and loaded into the van to make the 2 hour trip to visit the Webers.   My girls were ecstatic about the trip, because they love playing with Anna and Emma, but don’t get to very often, so it is always a treat when we find the time.   Jake was excited because his sisters were excited and Kyle….. well Kyle doesn’t like car rides more than a few minutes, so that sums up how he felt about it.

We arrived at their home and played and ate lunch, then the Weber women took all 6 of us Thoele’s on a small field trip over to the State Capitol Building, which was on Abby’s “Must See” list.   We actually ended up walking in and going to the top floor and taking in the sites.  We didn’t stay long in any one area because, after all, we did have 8 kids in tow all age 9 and under.

After seeing that we went on to Scheels sporting goods store.   We watched the fish for a while and then the older girls and Jake and I took a Ferris Wheel ride and then to the little play area for a while and finally we did a little browsing/shopping before getting back in the car around 3:00, it was HIGH time for Kyle and Jake’s naps!

The ride home was fairly uneventful.  At one point 3  kids were asleep, Jason and I decided that was a great opportunity to stop for a drink at the McDonalds in Taylorville…… but of course as soon as the van stopped Katie woke up and decided that she needed ice cream (and so did Abby.)  So we got them ice cream and went on our way.   Kyle woke up right before Pana and started screaming.  We were out of snacks to feed him and so when we got to Shelbyville, I decided that I needed ice cream… so we stopped at the DQ and quieted Kyle, Jason and me with ice cream.   We got back on our way, and just as we passed the last opportunity for ice cream in Shelbyville, Jake woke up and was VERY unhappy that he was the only one without dessert in his hand.   In Stewardson we stopped at the gas station and the soft serve machine was broken, crap!   So we went on to Effingham and made a trip through that McDonalds to finally get the 6th order of ice cream for the day!   :-)    We also picked up pizza while in town and took it home to eat and call it a day.

We had such a good time with the Weber family and hope to make things like that happen more often!


(Clockwise from the top left:  Kids on the Capitol steps, Kyle was over the top excited we were there! :-), Jake put on his ear muffs before we left, the girls playing dolls, the boys eating lunch, Kyle playing trucks, Taking in the sights at the Capitol, The Capitol, Herding cats into the Capitol.)

Surprise Party

Sunday morning and Jason has the girls at church, I am cleaning and putting out my Easter decorations.   Jake sees the birthday party hats and demands we put them on. 

I agree – but ask for a picture and am told he is too tired for a picture.   About 5 minutes later he comes up to me and says:

J: I am going to yell SURPRISE! 

Me: when Abby gets home?

J: yes

Me:  oh she will be very surprised, so will Daddy and Katie. 

J: I will be surprised too!

10 days

Funny that we go from this:

March Snow

to this:

PicMonkey Collage

in just a matter of 10 days!   (My preference is the 60 plus degrees and bright sunshine for anyone who is wondering!)


In February Jason and I took an opportunity given to us to fly to Los Cabos, Mexico and spend 5 days there at the Royal Solaris resort.   Jason’s employers had won the trip from a vendor and were not able to be away from home on the dates of the trip, so they asked us if we were interested in going, and of course, duh!

We left home at 6:30 on a Tuesday evening and stayed in St Louis.  We flew out at 6 am on Wednesday morning and made it to Mexico that afternoon (with a stop in Denver).    We got off the plane in Cabo and through customs and walked outside to the warmth and sunshine that I had been missing terribly, after a long cold winter at home.   We bought our $9.50 (a piece!) beers from the bar outside of the airport and went to board our bus to the resort.   We got there and spent the first day exploring the grounds and figuring out everything.   By early evening we were exhausted and we called it a night after supper.

The next 2 days were spent next to the pool, meeting new friends and getting plenty of drinks and sunshine!    We met an awesome couple from Missouri.  We spent a decent amount of time with them while were on this trip, and I am so glad we met them, they made everything so fun!     During the course of those days I was queened “Miss Solaris” at the pool (during a competition put on by the entertainment staff) and also showed off my “volleyball skills” (#sarcasmfont). :-)    Friday evening we had decided to meet another couple to go off site for supper (because the food at the resort was not the best) well while getting ready I got sick….. vomiting :-(   I was under the weather for about the next 18 hours.

Saturday morning (while I was still sick) we were scheduled (and had already paid) to go on a whale watching trip.  Jason said we could skip it, but I knew that he was looking forward to it and I was hopeful I would feel better sooner rather than later.   Turns out, I didn’t.   I spent most of the trip in the bathrooms being miserable.   I did make it up on the deck to see the whales, and was present when we went past Lands End (where Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean) and that was awesome.

Cabo Feb_landsend

After that was over we took the “struggle bus” (that is what one of the passengers called it – 10 of us – 5 of us sick, the other 5 were supportive spouses) back to the resort.   I laid down and took a 2 hour nap and woke up feeling better.  We went down for Jason to eat lunch and I ate a small plate of plain rice and we sat on Ann and John’s patio (our new friends) and gossiped the afternoon away.   That evening we went to supper and called it an early night.

Sunday I woke up feeling better, so we went down for breakfast and then got ready for church.   We walked into the town for an English mass at the Mexican church…. there was VERY little actually in English, but we still got the gist of it.  We explored the town a bit and did a little souvenir shopping.    We went back to the resort and remembered that I had won a gift certificate to the bar and grill across the street, so we went and got that out of the room and headed over there for some lunch.   Rock and Brews was the name of the place and the food was the best I ate the whole time I was in Mexico…. it was good old American Bar food!!    After filling our bellies we got our spots around the pool where we camped out the rest of the day.  That evening we had the members dinner, so we got all dressed up and went to that.   We had a nice time and followed that by going in to the “disco” at the resort.  It was fun and we stayed out WAY too late considering the fact that we were spending the next day in airports and on planes.    Monday started early and was a LONG day but we thankfully got back to St Louis as scheduled (some in our group had to stay at the resort an extra day or be rerouted through other towns and spend extra nights in the states waiting on flights because of the weather.)

cabo 2

Clockwise 1. Jason in the waves, they were huge and sounded like thunder claps from our room. 2. My pizza at the resort, with what I assumed were hotdogs on it (I ordered a sausage pizza) 3. Miss Solaris and one of her groupies. 4. Land’s End 5. Us in front of Church 5. The beach 6. Beach Selfie on our morning walk 7. “Stop looking at me Swan” said at least 1000 times. 8. Thank goodness Jason remembered (and had room) to pack his air guitar, he needed it!

On the way home from St Louis at midnight we hit a large rock (or some sort of debris) in the road and busted our tire rim, which in turn made our tire go flat.  Luckily it happened near an exit ramp, so we were able (we…as in Jason) to change the tire without the cars whizzing past in close proximity and with the help of a street light that was there.    We finally arrived home around 1:30 am.   It never felt so good to be home.

The boys were somewhat attached to us for a few days afterwards, but have since gotten over it.   Jason and I had a nice time, but both agreed, we don’t need to travel like that again for a few years, it got hard to be away from the kids for that long (unless someone is willing to pay for it, then of course we would go anytime!) :-)   We were happy to have gotten the break from the daily stress of kids, to meet so many wonderful people, and we got to spend some days in the sunshine and warmth, while home was in a deep freeze!


AMT – 9 YO

Abby turned 9 on Feb 26… 9! I am still in denial that this is our last year in single digits. This year she opted to take a train trip to Chicago instead of having a party with her friends. So on the evening of her birthday Grandma Polly and Grandma and Grandpa Thoele came over for cake and ice cream and that was the extent of her birthday celebration. The Saturday following her birthday she did get to go to the movies and out to lunch with her aunt and cousins.
She is morphing into such a young lady, with a hefty dose of sass. It is not uncommon to find her rolling her eyes at me or having a look of disgust on her face while witnessing something crazy her siblings are doing….. but luckily 90% of the time she is still willing to jump in and join in on the silliness that is happening around her.   I sometimes have a hard time believing that she is growing so quickly!



Today on the way home from daycare:
Me: do you have a new friend at Pam’s house?
Jake: Yes!
Me: what is his name?
Jake: I don’t know. But he is tall, and strong, and he has a nose!

**all the kids there DO have noses, so it is not really a unique feature for this group. :)

Jacob Speaks – Part 1

1 year ago Jacob didn’t speak.  He had a couple grunting sounds that he made for every question, request, feeling he wanted to verbalize, but no WORDS.    After about 9 months of speech and devlopmental therapy the child woke up and started talking in sentences.  No Joke, he went from zero to hero in 1 day.   Since that point, he cracks us up on a DAILY basis.  He talks like an adult most days and the phrases he uses typically stop us in our tracks.   Here are some of his most recent, that I don’t want to forget.

Sitter: “Jake, can you get me that sippy cup over there?”

Jake: “Certainly! I will get you that cup!”

Me: “Jake, are you going to pee or poop?”

Jake:  “You are correct, mom.”

While looking at the birthday banner hanging in our kitchen for his brother’s party:

Jake: H A P P Y Birthday Cake B I R T H D A Y   (The banner had a cupcake picture in the middle of the words)

Sitting down next to me on the couch after daycare/work one evening

Jake: “Well mom, I am going to need a kiss right now.”

Entering my room at 4:44 am (After a diaper leak)

Jake: Mom I need soap.

Me: What?

Jake: I need soap.

Me: Oh!!  Are you soaked?

Jake: Yes.

KJT – 2 YO

Kyle Joseph turned 2 on January 29th.  Jason and I were going to be out of town that weekend so we had his party the evening before his birthday.    He didn’t like us singing to him, but seemed to enjoy the rest of his party.   At 2 years old he weighs 37 pounds and is 38 inches tall.  He LOVES fresh fruit.  He has started to refuse some foods and is currently on an easy mac kick….. if he sees the bowl in the pantry he screams until he gets it.

He is not talking yet, but babbling a lot.  He will be screened for speech services in March to see if early intervention is needed.   He LOVES to follow his siblings along and has a strong opinion on most things, which he makes known with facial expressions and squeals (of delight and displeasure depending on the situation.)   He despises having his hair cut, and therefore we don’t do it often!  He hates to wear socks, if he doesn’t have shoes on, the socks are coming off.  He loves to watch people play the Wii and claps for them as they win a race or conquer another world.   He is still sleeping in the crib in his own room but will soon move to his brother Jacob’s room (still with the crib, most likely.)   He LOVES to sleep with a blanket on his head.   He loves his grandmas and has a special bond with his grandpa Jerry.  He is content to sit on grandpa’s lap for long stretches of time.

It’s fun to watch him grow and learn new things each day.  He understands so much and I can’t wait until he and Jake can start have conversations, I can only imagine what those will be like and the thought makes me laugh (out loud!) :-)

Kyle and Grandpa Jerry

Kyle and Grandpa Jerry