Thursday, June 23, 2011

Happy Father's Day!!

Unfortunately, this year I had to work all weekend for Father's Day...therefore Jason, being awesome as always, didn't whine once about having to spend the entire weekend with the kids, pretty much solo.  I come out of the bedroom around 4pm and leave at 6pm for work, so there wasn't going to be much quality family time.  Now, it is my personal believe that no man should complain about watching his kids or consider it "babysitting" because most mothers do it a lot without complaint....though, I didn't think it was very fair that he wasn't getting any special treatment for Father's Day :(

Lucky for me, it was my call off day Saturday night- YAY! So it worked out that I was home (and awake most of the day) on Sunday.  We spent the morning with the kids, Jason opened his present-

A homemade platter for grilling with Eleanor and Chase's hand prints!  Whether he realizes it or not, he has received a personalized gift from a pottery painting store every Father's Day...why would I stop now!?  I also made him THE BEST chocolate chip cookies (his favorite) that Friday for him to enjoy over the weekend.

We worked on cleaning and organizing the garage that morning while Chase played outside and Ellie watched :)  And before I went to work, my master griller made bratwursts!  I love that we had such a great day and were able to spend some family time together.  Of course, I left for work that night at 6 pm so Jason was back to being a single parent but, he does such a fantastic job as a father so watching two kids is a piece of cake :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

God Bless Eleanor Grace!!

The Larsen Family, Ellie is wearing the baptism gown my little sister Katie wore, as well as Claire and Charlotte for their baptisms 

Little Miss was baptized on May 28th, 2011!  It was Memorial Day weekend and a perfect Saturday evening Mass.  We asked our very good friends Sara and Matthew Easley be the Godparents of Eleanor.  They gladly accepted :)  Jason and I are the Godparents to their son, Hunter.  It is so special sharing such a wonderful bond with Hunter.  I love having a special place in their lives, and I know they will always have a special place in ours!
Matthew, Sara and Eleanor!
We attended the 5:30pm Mass, led by Father John at St Phillip Neri.  Now, this ended up being quite a memorable Mass for us, as Chase thought he should add a little entertainment value.  Of course, being Eleanor's Baptism, the first few rows were reserved for us and our family/friends...awesome.  Who doesn't love sitting in the very front row with a 2 year old?!  Chase and Claire had just woken up from their naps before we strapped them into the car to head to church.  We don't offer Chase snacks during the day because he is a poor eater as is, so he hadn't eaten since noon.  That being said, we usually eat dinner around 6 pm.  After Mass started, you know who was asking for snacks...the one thing I forgot to bring with me.  Luckily, Aunt Carolyn was prepared with a small bag of cheerios (that were suppose to be Charlotte's) and gave them to Chase.  This made him happy for about 0.2 seconds...

Apparently Chase woke up from his nap on the wrong side of the bed because he continued to be quite obstinate throughout the entire service.  Having a large open area right in front of us (and obviously right in front of the alter) Chase thought sprawling himself all over the floor and playing with his toys loudly would be a fun activity.  We tried to keep him contained the best we could, but it was difficult...
Our little Heathen :)
During Father John's homily, which by the way was really moving...he talked about baptism specifically, which really made the service extra special... anyways, Chase, who was talking loudly to his toys, at the perfect moment about 10 minutes into the homily (right as Father John paused) said "BE QUIET!" ...The whole congregation belted out a big laugh as I'm sure my face was turning all sorts of shades of red!  Father John said, "I'm going to just pretend I didn't hear that".

When it came time after the Profession of Faith during Mass to have Eleanor baptized, we had to bring Talky-McTalkerson up with us.  Jason was holding Chase and I was holding Ellie:
holy water time!

She liked the oil

Ellie was a perfect little angel during the entire process...she even cooed when Father John was anointing her with oil.  Before we sat back down he asked us what snack Chase had, we told him Cheerios...he told the congregation he could do a commercial for Cheerios.  Then he asked us how old Chase was, we told him he was two...he said "aaahhh, that makes sense!" and everyone chuckled.  He then asked Chase if he was going to be a good big brother- Chase blatantly turned his head away from Father John suggesting "I will not talk to you!"  Again, everyone laughed...Father John then said to Chase "You are going to be a priest when you grow up...I can tell these things!" Hilarious.   He then told a quick story about a boy who yelled from the back of the congregation "Let's go!" as he was wrapping up Mass one time...this made me feel a little better.  I suppose Chase made for a memorable Baptism- but it made Mommy VERY embarrassed!

We were so thankful to have our few out of town visitors for the occasion.  Of course, the Plaza's were here for the occasion and Marie and Paul came for this sacred event.  We also shared this celebration with a few of our good friends and neighbors.  During these occasions, I really feel blessed to have such an awesome circle of family and friends.  It really meant a lot to Jason and I to have everyone come!  
The Plazas and The Larsens

Grandpa and Grandma and The Larsen Family
After mass, we came back to our place for dinner and cupcakes!  Thanks to Bob Plaza we had a LOT of great food!  He made awesome potato salad as well as the pulled pork (a staple recipe that my Aunt Bun gave me!)  I made homemade strawberry cupcakes as well as frosted sugar cookies and refrigerator cookies (can you tell I like to bake?!) 
The goodies!
The delicious sugar cookies I made (with my mom's help)
Don't worry, there was supervision on standby for this photo :)

Ellie in her beautiful post-Mass Baptism outfit and adorable headband, made by her Godmother...look closely, it has crosses on it! Too cute!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Plaza Family Flies In!

Round #3 of Visitors: May 25th-30th

 With Eleanor's upcoming baptism, my sister Carolyn and her family scheduled a trip to the Larsen Household to kill 2 birds with 1 stone; visit the family/ watch Ellie get baptized!  They flew in on Wednesday afternoon.  To no one's surprise neither Chase or Claire ended up napping when they got here...they were MUCH too excited to sleep!  Bob jumped into the kitchen immediately and started cooking up a storm.  He made a plethora of fabulous meals!  He made chicken on the grill with a homemade peach barbecue sauce to go along with a fresh mozzarella and cucumber salad for dinner Thursday night- YUMMO!! 
the Plazas plus Chase and Ellie

Chase and Charlotte playing so well together

Claire checking out Eleanor

Thursday we decided to take the kids (minus Charlotte) to Discovery Place in Huntersville.  Discovery Place is an interactive childrens museum specifically geared at kids aged 2-8.  It was perfect and SUPER fun!  Obviously Claire and Chase had a ball...and so did Carolyn and I! 

Friday night we opted to go out to eat.  Now, this seemed like a good idea before we went because we had no room in the fridge, because of the baptism food, and I didn't really want to dirty up my clean kitchen before the big baptism day.  Why in our right minds did we ever think going out with 4 kids was going to be easy?!?  First of all, when we got to the restaurant,  there was a torrential downpour...quite possibly, the hardest and fastest rain I have ever seen.  Sweet...we were soaked.  Then, Eleanor thought that would be the perfect time to poop.  Later in the meal, Charlotte thought she should poop too.  And, of course, we picked a more adult friendly restaurant opting for better tasting food.  Therefore, no one wanted to sit by the table with all of the kids! (One group of people clearly elected to move tables so they were no longer by us)  On the plus side, although they were loud and obnoxious, Chase and Claire had a blast.  My favorite part was when Claire was feeding Chase...see picture below. Ahhh the memories!!

The cousins had lots of quality bonding time :)  Saturday, everyone went to the pool party at our neighborhood pool (minus Ellie and I...we were preparing for the party!)  I hear it was a blast!  The kids were very well entertained, and it definitely tired them all out!  They came back home and crashed.  Perfect timing, as we needed them well behaved for the baptism.
the line-up, oldest to youngest!
Charlotte and Eleanor in their matching gymboree outfits!

Ellie and Claire in their matching polo outfits!
Saturday night, we all headed to the 5:30pm mass for Ellie's baptism.  I will blog in more detail about her baptism later.

Sunday, the boys went to the Coca Cola 600 and Carolyn and I went out for a sister lunch while Marie watched the kids (thank you so much Marie!)  We first went to the tea room where, again, we sat at the exact same table as Mom/I and Grandma/I.  This is funny to me because there are 5 rooms in the tea room, each having approx 4 tables to a room...somehow I always end up in the same room at the same table!  After our stellar lunch, we picked up a couple of cupcakes at cupcrazed (another one of my favorite Fort Mill gems) and headed to Sixpence Pub for a glass of wine on the rooftop!

After our afternoon without children, we came home and decided to take Claire and Chase to the pool one more time.  Good times :)

It was sad to see them go Monday morning... hopefully they will be able to come back soon!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Great Grandma Donna Visits!

Round #2 of visitors: May 19th-23rd

My wonderful Grandma, Donna Pleva, hadn't yet seen our place here in Fort Mill, and with the new arrival of Miss Eleanor Grace she couldn't wait to come and get her hands on her!  We had the pleasure of having her for a very nice long weekend visit. 

When Grandma arrived, she hit the ground soon as she got to the house her and I got back in the car and headed to the spa where we had scheduled a double massage/facial/pedicure session.  Of course, the treatments were just heavenly, but most of all I enjoyed being able to spend time with my Grandma- just Grandma and her Nina!
our matching toes!

Great Grandma, Chase and Ellie! 

On Friday we had a "girls day" and went out to the Savannah Room for a tea lunch!  Ellie was a perfect little angel and slept the whole time.  Grandma and I sat at the same table Mom and I had been at the previous week.  Once again, it was grand and we had a great time, just Grandma and her girls :)
Tea Time!

On Saturday, we wanted to do something fun, yet relatively relaxing, as a family.  So, at Latta Plantation they were having a World War 2 reenactment which we felt was just perfect!  We spent a couple of hours looking at the WW2 gear and checking out the plantation, then we found a picnic table and ate our picnic lunch.  Chase enjoyed ALL of it.  He was even able to see some horseback riders heading through the park. 
checking out the guns...boys.

lunch under the pavilion at a picnic table

Chase and I couldn't resist napping in the car

Saturday night we decided to check out the St Phillip Neri Italian Festival.  We perused the shopping while Chase tried a bounce house for a little while.  Ironically, this was one of the projected dates the world was suppose to end.  So at exactly 6 pm (right when we showed up) the DJ was playing "It's the End of the World As We Know It" by REM...too funny!  After our quick stop there, we went to Sixpense Pub for dinner!
dinner time!

Sunday was reserved for church.  Grandma, Eleanor and I  went to St Phillip Neri while Jason and Chase wanted to check out a "new church" down the road.  Jason enjoys contemporary church services, whereas I much prefer traditional Catholic Mass.  Every once in a while, Jason goes on a scavenger hunt trying to find a contemporary church that he may like.  I think Chase approved.  Chase had so much fun and now refers to St Phillip as "other church" and continues to ask for "new church".

After church we hit the neighborhood pool for a couple of hours for Eleanor's very first trip to the pool!!  It was a beautiful day in the sun...well, the shade with a baby...  Chase and Jason played in the pool the entire time.  Ellie and I took a short dip and then sat with Grandma watching the boys from our lounge chairs.

Mom, I am not too sure about this

the fam!

Grandma, and one very tired Eleanor

Grandma told me Ellie is going to be the next Cherry Queen!
Grandma surprised me with two more handmade creations while she was here.  The first was a quilt for Eleanor.  She has made blankets for all of her great grandbabies, so I was excited to get one for Ellie!  She also surprised me with matching aprons for Ellie and I.  Obviously, Ellie will need to be a little bigger before she gets to enjoy hers :)  They are cupcake material (RIGHT up my alley!) and I just LOVE them!  How creative...and just perfect for the baker that I am becoming.  Surely, Ellie will be a baking machine too!

Grandma and I and her works of art

Chase was dying to put the apron on

Monday came and it was time to say goodbye.  It is always hard to say goodbye, so of course, I cried.  I can't wait to see Grandma again when I come home in August for my high school reunion!

I have the EXACT same picture of Grandma with Chase when he was this age.

Saying goodbye!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

May Maddness Begins... Grandma and Grandpa Visit May 7-14th

I know I haven't blogged since Easter, but I swear it feels like I was blogging just yesterday...this month has FLOWN by!  It was beyond a great month here in the Larsen household.  Not only did Ellie turn 2 months:
little miss!

  We also had a plethora of visitors travel through the Larsen residence.  After running a mere 13.1 miles (come on, that's practically a walk in the park!) at the Indianapolis Mini Marathon, my parents (Ann and Bruce) got on afternoon flight out of Indianapolis and flew down to meet their newest grandchild- Little Miss Eleanor.  I know waiting 2 months to meet her seemed like an eternity, but in the end it was worth the wait!  She is just SO alert now- smiling all the time, longer wake periods, and "talking" up a storm! 

Granny Annie and Grandpa Bruce with the grandkids
While in town, Granny Annie and Grandpa Bruce were able to enjoy some seriously warm early May weather...I think it was in the 80's all week!  A big plus for them, considering they were lizards in a previous life.  I haven't been able to spend a Mother's Day with my mom in a few years, so it was nice having her around on such a special day.  We went to church in the morning with Eleanor (a girls trip!) and then went out for a brunch at my new favorite Fort Mill gem- The Savannah Room.  (It's a little tea room...very quaint and GREAT food!  If you're ever in town, I promise to take you- it's my favorite place to go with out of town guests!)  After the tea room, the Anderson Family came over for a little mingling, game playing, and of course dinner.  Nothing too fancy, just potato salad (that Bruce made...thanks Bruce!) and hamburgers and hotdogs- YUM! 
Mom and I at the tea room!
Alicia and Chase during our game of Apples to Apples
 During the week, Mom and Bruce were able to take Chase on a special Gma/Gpa/Chase outting to Discovery Place kids.  I don't have any pictures of this, but I am told they had LOADS of fun!  It is an interactive childrens museum (like BellaBoo's) but quite large.  Geared for children 2-8 years old.  They were gone with Chase until about 2:30pm which gave me plenty of time to sleep, as I had to work the night before.  Ellie was at our neighbors for the morning! 

Mom and I were able to do lots of baking during the week.  We made flower cookies for Ellie's baptism as well as caramel bars for Jason's work...yum!!  Being savvy cooks these days, Mom and Bruce made us dinner one night and it was fabulous!
Peeling caramels.

At the end of the week, Chase, Grandma and Grandpa were participating in the Twighlight 5K one mile kids fun run.  Now, Chase loves to run around the house (literally, in circles around the center of our house) but, this was Chase's first official race.  I wasn't sure how he would do for such a "long" distance, but he did AWESOME!  He ran the whole thing (minus a stop to high five a police officer, and once to stop and yell "the moon!").  For this 0.72 mile course he ran a 12:45...not bad for being 2 years old (we are pretty sure the youngest competitor) and he didn't come in last! woohoo! 
pre race dinner at wild wing cafe

Almost a blur due to their speed!

My little Prefontaine with his grandparents!

the group!
It was a great week.  No matter how long, it is tough to say goodbye.  Jason and I have said time and time again, no matter how much we love living here in South Carolina, saying goodbye to our families is too hard.  It breaks my heart each and every time I have to see them go :(  Luckily, I bought my ticket to go home in August for my 10 year high school reunion!  Watch out Chesterton- back in town August 11th with Ellie!
Bruce and Eleanor

Grandma, Chase and Ellie