Pictures With Santa Claus 2010

It took 4 years, but we finally got pictures of the kids sitting on Santa’s lap, smiling instead of crying.

Sean asking for a Spiderman web shooter

Smiles!

Emma sitting in for a quick shot

Well, almost all of the kids sat with Santa. Nate wasn’t having it!

Nate wasn't so keen on the whole Santa thing

Thanks, Santa! And everyone in the group that organized this event!

Holy Cow!

Little Girl on the Move

For the past couple weeks, Emma’s been doing the “army crawl,” and getting prepped for a full-fledged crawl. She’s also pulling herself up and standing briefly on her own and walking some distance with help.

on the move

We’re not sure she’ll beat Nathan’s walking by 8mos., but she’s giving it a strong effort! Go, Emma!

Christmas Comes Early to Naperville

Last year we conceded that there would be no reasonable way for our family to drive or fly to Buffalo for a December Christmas celebration with the Jaromin side of the family. The solution: host everyone at our house in October for an early family Christmas!

The Shedd Aquarium

On Thursday Mom and Dad, and my sister Julie with her family arrived. Friday morning Sue and her family flew in to Midway — and were immediately taken downtown where everyone met up for a day out at the Shedd Aquarium.

Clockwise starting @left: Patrick, Suzy, Sue, Scott, Julie, Joe, Shea, Jacob, Josh, Morgan, Samantha, Annalise, Sean, Nathan.

We took in the aquatic show and watched the Beluga whales and dolphins perform. We took in the sharks and saw fish in the “Wild Reef” and the kids got a chance to dress up like penguins — a definite highlight.

Penguins Shea and Josh

While Suzy and I drove the kids home, their parents experienced pizza at Gino's East.

American Girls, Cutting Boards, and Christmas Dinner

While the girls headed out to the American Girl store in downtown Chicago, I worked with Scott and Joe on cutting boards in my shop. Later that evening there were Christmas presents and an Italian Christmas dinner courtesy of Mom (and Biaggi’s)!

The American Girls

The American Girls

Making Joe's cutting board

Christmas Dinner

Swimming in October

The weather for the entire weekend was absolutely beautiful, and Sunday was no exception. In fact, we hit 80+ degrees and decided to haul the pool out of storage.

The kids enjoy the unseasonably hot weather

Girlfriends. Annalise and Samantha spent much of the weekend playing together.

Scott wanted his own cutting board, so we headed back into the shop on Sunday to build one — naturally it had to be bigger than Joe’s. I designed a cherry/walnut/purpleheart and a cherry/walnut/purpleheart/ash board.

Scott sands his manly cutting board

Mom runs the Wii Sports obstacle course

Morgan did her “community service” by taking excellent care of baby Emma for the duration. Unfortunately, Chris, Amy and family were unable to make it. Otherwise it was a nearly perfect “Christmas” weekend!

Busy Days (and Nights) at the Jaromin’s…

Emma’s quite a joy! She’s probably the most expressive and “smiley” baby of the four. She was also the fussiest and still requires a bit more attention (and carrying) than the others did at this stage. This is one of the reasons for the long delay between posts! Let me try to catch up a bit…

Emma‘s only sporadically sleeping through the night at this point, but she’s also now able to roll over from back to front. She’s incredibly vocal and greets everyone with a wide smile — and sometimes raspberries!

Nathan is, well…Nathan. At 21 mos. he’s simultaneously incredibly cute and incredibly mischievous. You would think that by the third child, all of the kinks had been worked out of the “baby-proofing” of our house. Not so. Nathan clearly has a future in quality control as he’s managed to sniff out a whole host of overlooked things. For his sake  we’ve been forced to add latches to the refrigerator and stove. And the bottom floor bathroom door remains locked at all times. He’s already managed to give himself fairly substantial gashes on his chin and mouth, and right eye. We moved him to Sean’s bed (after moving Sean into Annalise’s room) when it became clear at around 18mos. that he would be perfectly willing to launch himself from the crib rather than cry for a few minutes (or puke). There was also that month-long period in June where I would need to take him nightly to the basement to sleep after he’d wake up between midnight and 3am.

Nathan’s language skills are really taking off — he’s putting three and four-word sentences together and is actually able to say “Bethie” with a th. He’s a very special kid — though it seems a safe bet that he’ll be either the first in our house to break a bone or at least in some way involved in it!

For Sean, Spiderman still rules. I’m not sure how much video we have of him singing the (original) cartoon theme song, but I’m sure we could fill a few SD cards if we caught it all! He’s very excited about starting (pre-)school in a few weeks (Racoon) and just came home with his Spiderman backpack and Buzz Lightyear lunch bag. To accommodate Emma and Nathan, we moved Sean into Annalise’s room on a new Lightning McQueen bed. They love it — though a bit too much as most nights they’re up rather late talking and playing. He’s enjoying gymnastics and puts his head underwater at the pool, though I think if he had his choice, he would probably spend most of each day snuggling with Aunt Bethie on the couch watching movies.

Annalise is a little mommy, showman, and occasional drama queen. She directs most of the happenings at our house. Her latest thing is the “Tinkerbell Show” that she’s putting together with her brothers. We’ve yet to see it and are a bit concerned with her plans for decorating the house with wrapping paper, but it’s certain to be a theatrical tour de force.

Her biggest change this summer took place at the pool. In early June it took a great deal of coaxing to get her to get her head wet — now she’s jumping in on her own and swimming underwater back to the edge! Annalise would spend all day outside if she could.

Suzy’s still hanging on as we try to make it through this challenging year (and beyond), and I’ve got a year left of school to complete my BSIT/ISS.

Coming in November: The Jaromin’s plus Aunt Bethie Take Disney!

Family Picture

From a dozen or so shots, these were the best we could get. Here’s Emma at home with her family.

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Emma in her fuzzy hat from Grandma

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Annalise strikes a pose

(well, OK, so Emma’s a bit hard to see through all the bundling)

Welcome to the family, Emma Elizabeth Jaromin!

It’s been a long day and frankly I’m wiped — so I can only imagine how Suzy must feel! We had an appointment for induction at 6:00am and by 1:30pm, we were finally able to see and hold the latest member of the family, Emma Elizabeth Jaromin. She’s 8lbs 10oz, 21in. long and perfect in every way. I took Annalise, Sean and Nathan down to the hospital to visit Mommy and meet their new baby sister tonight. I had forgotten how hard it was for Annalise to leave Mommy at the hospital when Nathan was born — and it’s not any easier for her a bit over a year later.

Meet Emma Elizabeth…

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We couldn’t be happier!

UPDATE: Gallery added.

Look who’s one!

Birthday cake, yum!

Birthday cake, yum!

I know this post is a little late, but Nate had a great 1st birthday November 9th. To match his bedroom, Mommy made him a “big top” themed cupcake cake. Here he is enjoying his first taste of birthday cake. We celebrated on his birthday with the Harvey’s and the Krick’s. Everybody had a lot of fun watching Annalise and Sean “help” Nathan open his birthday presents. They would exclaim “Oh my Gawd!” with every gift. Nate seemed content with the boxes the gifts came in. We celebrated with Aunt Bethie, the Harvey’s and both Laubenstein families on the 22nd. Again, everyone was very generous and fun was had by all. Nate is a whopping 27 lbs at his one year appointment, and keeps up pretty well with chasing Annalise and Sean around the house. He is “talking” up a storm, and we can even understand some of it! 😉 We can’t wait to see what the next year brings.

Even Steven…or should that be Stephanie?

Baby Girl #2 20Wk Ultrasound - Profile

With the latest ultrasound results in, we are all evened up here in the Jaromin house. It’s a girl!!! Annalise joined Mommy and Daddy for today’s appointment. Baby Girl Jaromin was very cooperative and gave us some very nice pictures. Now it’s time to pick baby names. So far, Annalise’s votes are “baby Annalise”  and “Coco”. We might have to work on that. 😉 We’re just very happy that she’s growing well and healthy. We can’t wait to meet her!

A Look Back at the Summer of 2009

It’s been a busy summer full of  “Fun Fridays” and “family adventures”. There were dance classes, swimming and swim lessons, multiple trips to the Brookfield Zoo and Airtastic, a visit to Pirate’s Cove, the Shedd Aquarium, All Aboard Diner, “Thomas Days” at the Illinois Railroad Museum, and even a trip to see Grandma and “papa” in Buffalo. And let’s not forget riding the rollercoaster at Kiddieland!

Dance Class – We enrolled Sean and Annalise in a beginning “Creative Movement” class this summer. Each Saturday, Annalise would dress up in her ballerina outfit, complete with ballet shoes and we’d head out to the “Naperville Dance Academy” for “Miss Lisa’s” class. The highlight of the class — especially for Sean — was the last 5 or so minutes of class where they would do the “animal dance.” He’d frequently spend the preceding 20 minutes requesting it!

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Airtastic – A favorite after-dance family activity was visiting the “bouncy place” just down the street. A few times after dance we’d have a lunch at Culver’s and head off to “Airtastic.” For an hour-and-a-half the kids would jump and fall, climb and slide and generally have a blast. The “boxing ring” was a favorite because it allowed all of us, Mom and Dad included, to play tag. Great fun, but exhausting!
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Shedd Aquarium – It was a dreary, rainy day and Mom and Dad were feeling a bit ambitious. So we packed up the kids and trekked into the city to the Shedd Aquarium. The 360° Caribbean Reef exhibit is beautiful and amazing. The kids had a great time and we were all wiped out by the end of this adventure!

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Pirate’s CovePirate’s Cove is described as a “Children’s Theme Park” and I suppose it is, though I must say I was rather disappointed at the rather limited number of rides. There simply isn’t enough there to fill an afternoon. The kids did have a good time, though, riding the train over and over again.

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All Aboard Diner – Suzy found an ad for this unique little diner in our local newsletter. The kids are big fans of “Thomas the Tank Engine” (aren’t pretty much ALL kids?) so what could be better than a diner where your food is brought out by train and where Thomas episodes run continuously? We’ve been back at least 3 or 4 times since and will certainly visit again!

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“Day Out With Thomas” at the Illinois Railway Museum – What could be better than a train ride on a full-size Thomas the Tank Engine? The museum features a number of barns organized into categories. There were old “L” trains, horse-drawn street cars and modern diesel passenger trains. On the day we were there, we were able to walk through an old passenger train, complete with numerous styles of sleeping compartment with very interesting and ingenious fold-away beds and cots. With the kids running short on patience we weren’t able to fully investigate every barn or read many of the historical notes accompanying most of the exhibits…something I’m sure we’ll do the next time we visit when the kids are a bit older. This is a fascinating walk through the history of rail transportation and a great place to spend a summer afternoon!

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Buffalo, NY, July 23rd – 27th – In late July we took a trip back to Buffalo to visit grandma and grandpa Jaromin, other family members, and friends. We apparently “lucked out” by picking one of the only (near) rain-free weekends in WNY this summer. Suzy and I took in a couple shows: “Buddy” at Musicalfare and “Julius Caesar” at Shakespeare in Delaware Park. We also managed a visit to the Buffalo Zoo.

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Kiddieland! – With Kiddieland closing at the end of this season, we had to fit in at least one trip. Thankfully, Aunt Bethie was ready and willing to help us out — without her we’d have never been able to take the kids on their favorite rides – the rollercoaster and log flume!

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“Animal Houses” at the Morton Arboretum – One day at the pool, a parent had mentioned to me that the Morton Arboretum’s Children’s Garden was a great place to bring the kids. We’d also heard of a limited time attraction — “Animal Houses” — that sounded interesting. So, we decided to spend a Sunday afternoon at the arboretum. The kids certainly had a great time pretending to be frogs or just running around the rope bridges, but I was a bit disappointed in both the “Childrens Garden” and the special “Animal Houses” exhibits. The former was a bit sparse — there simply wasn’t enough there to fill even a couple hours, and the later was inconsistent. I was expecting a more realistic learning type experience. Instead there was a  “Wile E. Coyote”-inspired coyote “house” with little to do and no educational value. Ditto the “Ant Colony.” The “Beaver Lodge” and “Heron Rookery” were seemingly modeled after the real thing, while the “Skunk Den” was more cartoon-ish, though certainly also more fun than the rest due to the slide (do Skunks really have slides built into their dens?). The day was capped with dinner at “Cheeseburger in Paradise” where Nathan, due to Daddy’s poor feeding method, puked all over the place. Even so, it really was another fun family “babenture!”

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All-in-all it was a great Summer. I look forward to having even more fun next year!