#Camping2015

One of our “summer bucket list” items this year was to camp 1 time a month – May – October.  So far we have made good on the promise, with July looking promising too (reservations are already made!).

Our first trip out in May was to Wolf Creek just our family of 6.   We originally planned to go with other families to Ramsey, but at the last minute they all had to back out and the forecast was for rain the entire weekend…. so we changed our mind to Wolf Creek and got a concrete site next to the park.   The location as excellent, as Jake and Kyle could go play at the park and we could stay at camp and see them the entire time.   Because we were on concrete, we could walk out of the camper barefoot, and sit around without worrying about mud, bugs, etc.  I actually kind of liked that part a lot, although it didn’t feel like “real camping.”     We realized that the girls prefer to be with other families after the 60th time we heard “I’m bored.”   We ended up getting decent weather that weekend and it was a good first trip out for the year.

This past weekend we went to Charley Brown Park in Flora.   It was the first time we had ever been there.   The Lawrence family got a new camper, so they were ready to go along so they could try it out.   Again the forecast was calling for a good chance of rain and storms the entire weekend, but again we lucked out!   We only got a little rain and it was in the evening and through the night (oh and when were cleaning out the camper at home… )  The campground is in the city park, so the playground was great compared to the state park campgrounds.   It also had a pool and a train that you could ride on.  The kids really enjoyed it.   Jill and I decided it felt like we were camping in some ones yard, as it didn’t have the “campground” feel to it.   The kids had a great time and LOVED having an entire weekend to play with their cousins.   Baby Weston couldn’t have been better and besides Wyatt’s kitten that was along, the kids couldn’t have been better.  Katie did have her first major bike wreck and road rash, but thankfully she was over it pretty quickly.   We have had a good start to our 2015 camping season and I hope that it continues!!  Stay tuned for more!!!  :-)

Camping 2015 Lawrence and Thoele Familes

Camping 2015 Lawrence and Thoele Familes

I really thought I was getting a good picture of our group with my camera and self timer, the top picture was me testing the timer and making sure that it was pointed in the right direction before Jill and I jumped in….. apparently I didn’t have it right, as I had to use both pictures to get all of us in the group!!

Part of the same group from a  2009 camping trip.... (Lawrences had a neighbor with them that year)  Katie and I were missing from the photo.

Part of the same group from a 2009 camping trip…. (Lawrences had a neighbor with them that year) Katie and I were missing from the photo.

More random pictures of the weekend – apparently Jason is a baby whisperer!  ;-)

The post where I just ramble!

Spring is more than half over and summer is just around the corner, unbelievable!     The kids just keep growing and changing and Jason and I just keep chasing our tails in circles, or so it seems!

I am so very glad for the end of the school year.  Katie and homework make for some LONG evenings on occasion.  85% of the time she does her homework with little to no coaxing, but that 15% of the time that she decides she doesn’t want to do it – YIKES!    Abby is glad to get a later bedtime (first summer ever we have allowed her to stay up late on a regular basis, even during the week, with the agreement she can’t be a grouch in the mornings when it is time to get up!) and to not be forced to read every night.   Jake and Kyle are happy to have their sisters at daycare and to get to have “camp outs” in their room some nights when the girls sleep on their floor.

So far this spring we have already been able to go camping 1 time (with more trips planned!!), have hit the park several times, been to several of Abby’s softball games, and spent lots of time outside in the yard.   Jason and I are getting little tastes of “big kids” here and there when Kyle gets the urge to go and play with his siblings and not beg us to go with him everywhere.  When that happens, it is a moment to be celebrated (like by sitting down in the lawn chair and having a drink!)  :-)

Kyle started speech back in March and is doing well.  He picks up new sounds every day.   He is at the point where he knows exactly what he wants, but doesn’t know how to communicate it to us and so there are lots of tantrums and fits until we figure out what he wants.   It leads to some frustrating moments for him and us.   I will be so glad when he has his speech mastered and can tell us outright what he wants.   He is all boy, every time we see a tractor, car, truck, van, anything with a steering wheel, he wants to be in it “driving.”    He runs everywhere he goes and falls down a lot, his legs are just bruises on top of bruises from all the wipe outs.  He could care less though; he just hops up and keeps going.  He gives me a heart attack each time we go to the park because he goes to the top deck of the playground equipment and runs straight for the openings that are for the big kids to use to climb up them…. I really think one of this days he may just jump, just to see what happens!  :-/may2015

Kyle is still is a picky eater and prefers lots of fresh fruits and very little else, with the exception of breakfast food, that he loves!  We moved him out of his own room and in with Jacob about a month ago.  We moved the crib in, so he is still caged.   It takes him quite a while to settle down and go to sleep, but I think Jake likes having him in there.    I have converted his old room into the office/homework room, and I think I am really going to like that.

Jake still is having trouble sleeping in his own bed all night.  He wants me or Jason either in the room or to be in our bed.   I waffle between feeling like he HAS to stay in his bed and the fact that he is only little once and if he wants to sleep with us once in a while, as long as he isn’t still doing it in high school, what’s it going to hurt?   He talks NON stop, he has an opinion on everything and most of what he says cracks us up on a daily basis.   This weekend we were eating lunch and he always wants his food cooled by me blowing on it.  I said that my food was too hot too and he said “Mom, let dad poo on your food! That will help!”   Of course Daddy and the girls got a HUGE kick out of that and it was repeated at least 50 times during the meal! :-) He and Kyle have been attending Abby’s softball games so far this year.  The games are 1 ½ hours long, but the boys usually don’t stay much more than an hour.   We bring  the ipods along and let them play those, it  keeps Jake occupied and quiet,  but doesn’t work for Kyle.  So to keep Kyle in his seat I pack LOTS of food and just keep feeding him, it usually works for about 25 minutes before he is up and running and on the lookout for trouble.

Back in April we celebrated the 1 year anniversary of Dad’s death.  The day was harder than I thought it would be, but I made it through.  I got several texts and emails from good friends and even had beautiful flowers delivered to me at work by a very thoughtful friend.   I miss dad like crazy,  I think about him daily and sometimes out of the blue the missing him hits me like a ton of bricks, but I know he is pain free and in a better place now, so that gives me comfort.   The girls and I planted some trees and shrubs this past week, I told them the story of how I would try to help Dad plant things when I was younger, always wanting to use the shovel (like they were begging too) and he would let me try, but I was never strong enough to dig a very deep hole.  I explained that whatever dad planted grew, he had a wonderful green thumb, so we sent a little request up to him while I was planting, that he helped my plants to grow and not die…… we will see if it helps!  :-)

We have a busy weekend coming up with 3 different places to be over the course of the weekend and then a week of work and then family vacation!  First time we are taking all 6 of us off on vacation and staying in a hotel room!!   I am curious to see how this all goes down!

Haircuts

I took the boys for what feels like their annual hair cuts, although in reality, it is more like their quarterly haircut.  I don’t take them often because Kyle HATES having his hair cut.  He literally screams and wiggles through the entire process.  It is exhausting for me and my niece Megan who is doing the cutting.    I am hopeful that a year from now Kyle will sit as well as Jake does now, time will tell.  I am amazed at how different the boys always look post hair cut.   Tonight I took before and after pictures:

Hair Cuts

(I have no idea what happened to Kyle’s nose between the before and after picture.  And as you can tell, they are both still working on a “real” smile for picture purposes.)

Jason and I were sitting here this evening looking at this picture and talking about how different they look with their short hair and discussing why so many people question if they are twins.  To us, they look nothing alike.  But it seems like every time we have them out together we get asked at least 1 time, are they twins?  Maybe it is because they are pretty close in height or maybe because I have a slight obsession with dressing them alike…… :-)

In other brother news…. Jake has requested that Kyle’s bed be moved into his room, so he doesn’t have to sleep alone (with the gorillas… which he says only show up in the middle of the night) anymore.   I told him we could possibly try it and see how it goes, but if Kyle has a hard time sleeping in his room, we were going to move him back to his bedroom.  So cross your fingers for us, that it works out!!!

No Fooling.

If you ever want to pull a practical joke on April’s Fool’s day that you KNOW will be taken seriously…. make a three year old your victim!  :-)

Yesterday the girls were in the back room getting ready for school and putting on their shoes and checking back packs and started singing “Happy Birthday to you… you live in a zoo, you smell like a monkey and you look like one too…”   They were singing it to no one in particular, but just because it is a funny song.   I was walking through the room with Jake to get to the back door to leave.  So I shouted “Happy Birthday!!”   Jake looked up at me and then at his sisters singing and said “Is it my birthday??  It’s my birthday!  Yea!! My Birthday!!!”  with a HUGE smile on his face.

I immediately started laughing because it was not my intentions, at all, to trick him!  I quickly explained that it was NOT his birthday and sent him out to the garage, while the girls roared with laughter and giggles because they had tricked their brother (unintentionally).

Jason helped Jake get in the van and said, “You know Jake, it is not your birthday today.”   Jake looked at him and replied “I know, I know, I know!”  (in his disgusted, annoyed voice that he has perfected already at the ripe age of 3.)   :-)

3 year old Preschool – JT

I registered Jake for preschool this week….. I don’t even understand how he got this old without me realizing it.   I took him to the preschool screening last week and he did fine in everything, but was a little low in fine motor skills.   He also flunked his hearing test, so we have to have that followed up with his pediatrician sometime.

I was on the fence for sending him to preschool this coming year, because he will not be able to go to kindergarten for 2 more years.   But after much internal debate and discussions with Jason, we decided to send him.    Jacob is constantly asking us when he can go to school, so I think he is ready.   He is VERY excited about the idea of school.   I told him that he gets to go to school next fall and shortly after he asked me if there would be toys at preschool.   I told him that there would be, which seemed to make him happy.  So now every night before he falls asleep, he declares the same statement: “There will be 4 playgrounds, and a bounce house and a Chucky Cheese at my school!”  (It all stems from his birthday trip to Chuck E Cheese last year; he has spoken about Chuck E Cheese EVERYDAY since then….)   Jake is also pumped that one of his friends from daycare and his cousin will be in his class.  And of course, Abby and Katie are excited about the idea of Jake in their school a couple days a week!

Tonight at bedtime

Jake: “Mommy, can I go to school now?”

Me: “Oh buddy, you have to wait a few more months?”

Jake: “Why?”

Me: “Because that is just how it works.”

Jake: “Okay, we will count to 10!  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11!!  Now we go to school!!”

It may be a long 5 months until preschool starts! :-)

IMG_2628

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:

Kyle_marker

(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!

SpringField_Weber

(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!)