Monday, January 16, 2012

Monday, December 12, 2011

Finland Update

In just a few short weeks, our family of five will take a plane to Helsinki, Finland where we will live for seven months.  Rob received a scholarship to the University of Helsinki to take a closer look at the Finnish education system (one of the most successful in the world) in hopes of bringing some of their knowledge back to Chicago. 

My boys will attend a Finnish public school where classes are taught in English, gym class includes learning to skate and kids call teachers by their first names.

And Lily and I?  Well, since Finnish children don't start school until they are 7, Lily and I will become the family explorers--finding things during the week to share with the rest of the family on the weekend.  (Of course, we'll have to do it all between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. while the sun is up!)

I am sure we are in for many, MANY new and interesting experiences! 

Please share in our journey over at Five in Finland

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Happy Birthday Lily!

Our Lily is 5!

Lily bday girl web size

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Soccer Season

We have THREE soccer players this year!

While the boys are excited to be back on the field, Lily is not so sure. Mostly she just runs next to the child who has the ball. But at least she's right there in the mix and not off twirling or something.

soccer fall 2011 web

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Kids Triathalon

We are so proud of Joey for completing his first triathalon. He started training in April and trained all summer long. Sadly, he had a fever and was really sick the whole week before the triathalon. We called the doctor and asked her what we should do...he had trained so long and the fever seemed to be really random. Some days barely there and other days as high as 104 degrees. She told us to ask him how he felt that morning and to make sure that he got plenty of water the night before, during and after the race. He did a great job and we are so proud!

We got up at 5:00 to get on the bus heading toward the lake by 6:30 a.m.

web sun in bus

After getting body marked,

web body marking

we headed to the lake. The first event is swimming and Joey was in the first wave.

web swim boys

web wave 25

Next up: biking. I can really tell in some of these photos that he was not his usual energetic self. This is one of those photos.

web Joey R finish bike

web Joey R bike 2

The final leg is the run.

web Joey start run

Here he is crossing the finish line. Many kids got there and threw up or collapsed. (The first ones across the line.)

web Joey crosses finish

I'm pretty sure he was glad to be done with it, but he also said he wants to try again next year!

web Joey medal

Monday, September 12, 2011


Do you ever wonder who wins those ENORMOUS stuffed toy prizes at carnivals, theme parks and county fairs?

Sam and Joe go bananas

Well wonder no more. That's Joey on the right (and his good friend Sam on the left). Three baseballs, 3 throws 3 clowns knocked down. Ding, ding, ding! Winner! And lest you think this is a fluke, he did the same thing last year. Now, he is the proud owner of a Scooby Doo doll that is bigger than he is and this lovely banana. Do I need to explain why I am a little bit excited that we will be in Finland next summer and will probably not have the time to go to Great America?

In many ways, this was a huge summer for Joey. He attended day camp and at the end got to help as a "junior counselor." He loved every minute of camp this year. They even took the kids to a YMCA sleep-away camp for a couple of nights.

sleep camp

These look like pretty posh accomodations compared to what I had at sleep-away camp, by the way. But again, he had a great time.

Joey also completed his first kids' triathalon this summer. I plan to document that in a seperate post.

As I write these blogs post about our summer, it seems as if we managed to cram a lot into our summer eventhough our mission was to save money for our upcoming trip to Finland. We did try to spend more time in our yard, at local parks and playgrounds, at the beach and at other places that don't have an entrance fee.

Millenium Park is always a hit with adults and kids. Honestly, the Bean (Cloudgate) has to be one of the best sculptures in the world...

The Bean web

Rob Dad Bean web

At least it's one of my favorites!

Sam under bean web

And the Crown Fountain? Genius...

Crown Fountain web

Crown Ftn web

Bowling is almost free in the city during the summer....

Lily bowls web

water playgrounds are always free...

Sam Michigan waterpark 2

and bubbles are cheap if you make them from dishsoap you have on hand (but maybe not so cheap if your child uses the Costco gallon of dish soap you had in the basement for filling up the soap bottle on the sink every month or two...) Honestly, Joey spent hours making bubbles with his friends and siblings, but we seriously did go through 1 gallon of soap.

Joey bubble

Sammy blow bubble

Sam with chalk

sidewalk art

We had a great, end-of-year, last minute trip to the Michigan Dunes. Joey had had a fever for 6 days straight (including the day of the triathalon). He woke up the Monday before school started and said "I feel great!" We literally threw bathing suits and one towel into a bag and ran out the door to the dunes. Usually, I pack extra clothes, snacks, water bottles, toys, camera, books, ugh! No wonder why summer outing exhaust me. This time, we ran out the door with our suits and one towel and we had THE BEST TIME! it was a perfect day!

Sam on Dunes 2