Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Field Museum-Visiting Sue

Cort and I have really been enjoying our break. Being a teacher has its perks!  The first week of break was mainly prepping for Christmas, celebrating, and taking it easy (I still have Christmas pics to share!!).  This week we have tried to get the kids out and go some places we haven't been.

Today we hit up the Field Museum.  Another great perk about being a teacher is that it is free for us-yay!!  I had not been to that museum in several years (I don't think we had been there since before we had kids), so I was curious how the kids would be, and if there would be stuff Mia and Cole were interested in.  Let me tell you, it was a big hit!!  They had a special area for kids, The Crown Family Play Lab, so we started out there first.  There was a storytime of Where the Wild Things Are and a bunch of arts and crafts, and hands-on exhibits-very cool! We then headed to see Sue the T-Rex and several other cool exhibits (the stuffed, preserved animals is where we spent a good portion of our time!).  The kids passed out almost immediately in the car, which is always the measurement of if it was a good day!  :)  Here are some pics...

Mia's new best friend

Cole's not so sure....

Cole communicating with the pandas

His new buddy

Mia looks like she thinks the tiger is about to get her


Cort, Cole, and Sue

Mia, Cort, and Sue

I need to buy a LOT of fake corn.  This kept our children occupied for an amazing amount of time!

Cole doing what he does best :)

Mia and Cole in the art lab

And I was there too-blurry with uncooperative children :) Ha, ha!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas from The Graskes!!!!!  Hope everyone is having a wonderful day!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree!

After reading another blog, I was inspired to write this post.  Every Christmas one of my favorite things to do is decorate the tree.  Actually, I should probably rephrase that and say one of my favorite things is putting the ornaments on the tree.  Christmas lights have become our nemesis and each year we put up the tree I swear our next one will be prelit.  Poor Cort had to restring the lights like 3 times this year.  I digress.....

Putting the ornaments on the tree has always been a fun tradition since the days when I decorated the tree with my family.  You would oohhh and ahhh over certain ornaments, and tell stories of where they came from and what they reminded you of.  It is fun to now be able to do that with my own family's tree.  While putting up the tree this year was not the world's most relaxing experience (meaning that I believe both Cole and Zip were on a mission to destroy at least a couple of ornaments-thankfully they didn't!), I love to just look at the tree at night when it is all lit up and check out all the ornaments (as do the kids).  They represent so many different periods of my life, Cort's life, and now our kids' lives.

Here are a couple of pictures I took tonight.

The tree

Same pic, but see the streak around the tree??  That's our Polar Express train going around, so cool!!

One of Cort's childhood ornaments given to him by his grandma

One of my childhood ornaments, given to me by my best friend growing up, Cheryl (who I am still in touch with).  It has my name and the year engraved on it-1986!!!!!

One of the many ornaments Cort and I received at Christmas the year we got married (from Pam's mom I believe)

One of Mia's ornaments on the tree (from Rebecca).  She also has her own tree in her room now that has a lot of her ornaments on it (1st Christmas, etc.)  When I was growing up I got to have my own tree too, so it is fun to pass that tradition onto her and she LOVES her tree.  :)

One of Cole's ornaments-from Pam I think (he will get his own tree too, probably next year)

Even Zip has ornaments-this is from before we had children obviously, when you take your pet to see Santa.  This did not go well.  This was a favorite story of my dad's to tell, seeing that Zip bit Santa through his gloves. 

We have so many other ornaments too, given through exchanges with my high school friends and ISU friends.  This one was from Julie last year.

I love too that the majority of my and Cort's childhood ornaments are on the tree in Mia's room and she loves to check them all out.  Once Cole is a little older, we will divide them and they will be passed along to them.  It is crazy to think they may one day be decorating a tree with their family with some of the same ornaments that are on our tree today.  Merry early Christmas-1 more week to go!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Ride on the Polar Express

One of my all-time favorite Christmas books is The Polar Express. It is so beautifully illustrated and I love the message in the book (all about believing in Santa). A couple years ago Kristy had told me they do Polar Express trains around Christmas time and I had been keeping that in the back of my head. Along with that, my mom had mentioned last year how fun it would be to take the kids on one. I had marked it on my calendar to look into tickets this year, but before I had a chance, my mom told me they had stopped doing it. However, I did some googling and was able to still find one going out of Lisle. :)

So today, Jen and I surprised my mom and took her on a trip on the Polar Express. :) We left the littlest ones at home (Cole and Claire) since you don't actually get off the train. We knew it would probably be too long for them to be contained, plus after Cole's experience with Santa, I don't think being confined in a small space with him would be such a great idea. :)

The ride was a ton of fun. The whole train was filled and they kept things going the whole time with caroling, elves, clowns who made reindeer balloons, other costumed characters, and of course-Santa! The kids (and adults too) really seemed like they had a great time. Of course at the end they got bells too (a big part of the story). Here are some pics...

The kids and us with Grammy

Mia and Noah right as the train started

Cort, Mia and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

And Elf making Noah a reindeer balloon

Mia snuggling up to Santa

Noah and Santa
Mia with her bell

Grammy, Noah and Mia

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


The day before Thanksgiving Cort and I decided to take the kids to the Picture People.  While I am well-aware of the fact that I can take pics of the kids in the comfort of my own home, A) it has become increasingly difficult to try and wrangle and shoot pictures of Cole B) I don't have cute winter props :) and C) Santa was going to be at the Picture People.  The main intention was to get a cute pic of the kids with Santa like last year

Mission Accomplished???  Not quite!  See below:

Poor Cole was not a fan of Santa.  We tried a couple of times, but he was not having it, not even with Mia showing him that Santa is nice.  By the way, she chose her time sitting on his lap to share with him what Zip (our cat) wants for Christmas. :) 

Here's Mia's cheesy Christmas grin

It was not all a waste though.  Luckily before Santa arrived I had them take some pics of the kids individually and together.  Here are a couple of those...

My favorite of Cole

Sassy Mia

Cole's serious look (this look is so him!)


Overall I was pleased.  Normally going to the Picture People makes me want to scream, but it was a rather pleasant experience this time.  We were actually in and out very quickly (of course they were ready for us right when we got there and we had to still change the kids-they never run on time, figures!!) and got 2 free 8x10s for bringing a toy for Toys for Tots-yay!  I will say that I probably will not venture back until next Christmas though!

We have a breakfast with Santa coming up for Mia's school.  Wish us luck that we make it out of there without and tears!!! :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from our 2 little turkeys! 

I am so thankful to have Mia, Cole, and Cort in my life.  I am a lucky lady!! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bear Down!

This past Sunday, Cort and I went to the Bears game. I hadn't been to a game since we have had kids, so at least 3 years!  When tickets went on sale, Pam shared Kelly's super-secret ticketmaster number (maybe I'll share it with you if you're lucky, ha, ha!) and we actually got through to get tickets.  Cort wanted to try for the night game against the Eagles and that is what we got, but we could only get 2 tickets. 

My mom was gracious enough to babysit for us, so we dropped the kids off on our way to Soldier Field and headed down to tailgate.  We met up with Kelly and Luke, as well as Kelly's sister and fiance.  That was an adventure itself, as the 31st st. lot is now only open if you have a pass, which we didn't.  Cort and I hiked over there after parking underground, and were finally able to relax.  After a couple hours tailgating, we headed to the game.  Even though we were in the cheap seats, we were at the 50-yard line and the view was great.  The Bears weren't able to pull it off, which was disappointing, but we were just happy to have a night out! 

Here is one pic of us taken off my flip.  I didn't want to deal with having to worry about my big camera, so I left it behind. :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Raking Leaves

Who needs to hire a lawn service when you have toddlers to rake your yard??

Actually I think they had more fun destroying the piles we raked and knocking over the yard waste bags, but hey, they had a good time! :)

Cole getting to work
Playing in the leaves
Love this because you can see a certain someone's hand dumping leaves on Cole :)
Cole attempting to knock over the bag of leaves

He did help gather some leaves though too

Someone was having a great time throwing the leaves :)