Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Kids' First MLB Game!

Madeline, Charlie and John saw their very first Major League Baseball game last weekend! Not only did the Brewers beat the Twins with 20 runs, but our little family was on the Jumbotron! When we came on the big screen, I waved like a maniac (I'm surprised my arm wasn't sore the next day), and Rob bounced John around so he was dancing to the music that was blasting. Madeline and Charlie had no idea that 28,000 people were watching and contently continued eating their frozen lemonade.

Madeline and Charlie loved watching the game; it was cute listening to Rob teach them about baseball. It reminded me of my first game when my dad took me to watch the Red Socks at Fenway in fourth grade. The kids loved watching the sausage race at the bottom of the sixth inning (where a brat, polish sausage, hot dog, Italian sausage and sombrero-wearing chorizo run around the field), and thought the fireworks after Lucroy's home runs were pretty cool.

A Wonderful Mother's Day

Mother's Day this year was amazing! Charlie and Madeline kept popping up to my room with darling little wake up visits that were intended to help me sleep in. Charlie came upstairs several times with different arrangements of dripping, man-handled flowers that he pulled out of a vase. And at one point, Madeline said, "Mommy, I brought you some bread and water!" like I'd been wandering in the desert...

Waiting for the show to start!
My dad and Ning came over and Sandie, Tom and Nicki drove up from Geneva, so we all got to celebrate together with a beautiful brunch that Rob and the kids prepared from scratch (amazing! I know!). Later that afternoon, the ladies went to see our local elementary school's production of Beauty and the Beast. Afterwards, we went to the beach; the water was in the 40's, but Madeline and Charlie happily waded in up to their waists while John reveled in the sand. As a Mother's Day gift, Rob gave me a lovely necklace with each kids' first initial on it, which I wear every day; Madeline and Charlie love to find the M or the C around my neck.

Madeline worked for weeks leading up to the Mother's Tea at school. Everything was a secret -- she was bursting with excitement. We were asked to dress up, so she and I spent an hour playing in my closet the day before -- Madeline chose my entire outfit head to toe with total confidence. Ning watched the boys that morning so that Mimi and I could have a mother-daughter morning.

The event was adorable, watching 23 kids sing and sign to lyrics about being a flower. There were two distinct highlights: The first was during a slide show, when the teacher asked each child why his or her mother was beautiful. Madeline answered because God made me that way. And later, when asked what my favorite thing to do is, Madeline answered that it's to play with Madeline, Charlie and John -- I was so happy that Madeline knows I love being with her. 

Madeline, Charlie, John and Rob -- you all are a gift! Thank you for making me feel so special and appreciated every day!
Ning had a blast with the boys!
Singing that's she's a flower. Twirling her dress!
Proudly wearing the crown Mimi made me.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Vlach-son Five!

Introducing The Vlach-son Five! (Just in case you don't know, our last name is pronounced "Vlack.")

When John was born and we became a family of five, I always intended to change our blog name from The Vlach-tastic Four, but I never quite got around to it. (Rob's still bummed that we didn't use Who Four-ted? when Charlie was born.) Back in Vlach was fun too but it would be cooler if I actually listened to AC/DC.

So The Vlach-son Five it is!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Brown County 2012

The group of 17! (Minus John John, who was napping)..
Another year, another fabulous Brown County vacation. This has become one of our very favorite and cherished traditions, to get together with my college roommates and each of our families in Brown County, IN. Every year, we have so much fun that we end up adding a day to the following year's trip. And every year, it seems like we have another little tiny person to find sleeping quarters for. This time, Baby John officially brought the kid headcount up to nine, but that's only if you don't count the new baby that will be joining the Browns this October.

We had a blast! One day, all the moms sneaked out for shopping and lunch in the charming downtown. We found ourselves in a tiny boutique for an hour trying on every scarf on the shop floor. Then, of course, we all wore them around town and had our waitress take pictures of us. Crazy to think we've been posing for pictures together since we were 18. But when we were 18, we were wearing "going-out tops" or our sorority letters and holding up our Red Solo cups. The guys had a great time sitting outside by the campfire in the evenings; they even set up s'mores for the kids after dinner one night. We divvy up meals and each family takes turns cooking, though since Rob and I had just moved into our house less than two weeks before the trip and were still upside down, our contributions were far from gourmet. Next year we'll trade the frozen pizzas for something that has goat cheese or pine nuts. I actually had to unpack in order to pack for the trip. But a vacation with amazing friends was exactly what we needed after a pretty hectic couple of months. We were so grateful to the Haru family who drove with two kids all the way from Charlotte.

It was another wonderful BroCo!
Rockin' the scarves!
Making S'mores!

Go Brewers!

This week Rob and I had a really fun date night at the Brewers game! We ate burgers and swilled beer with all the Marquette University kids a stone's throw from the stadium, then found our seats at the game against the Reds and pretended to be life-long fans. Go Brewers go!! 

Friday, May 4, 2012

We're Home!

We've been in our house here in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin for almost a month -- the time has flown by. We love it! Here's a little catch up:

Back in March, I flew with the kids (yep, by myself) up to Chicago. Rob and I swapped families -- he lived with my dad and Ning in Milwaukee while he worked, and I lived with his parents for a month while our new house was painted and carpeted. Madeline, Charlie, John and I had a blast!

Tom and Sandie could not have been more welcoming, gracious or generous. They were incredibly patient too, as John whittled their furniture with his sharp beaver teeth and we took over their home with toys, strewn socks and crumbs. Several dear college friends live right in Geneva too, so the four weeks flew by, filled with playdates, petting zoo outings, and ice cream in the park. A highlight was a fabulous fifth birthday party we had for Madeline -- she felt so special! And my friend Erica had her daughter, Finley Marie, during our stay, so we got to meet her in the hospital and witness her first weeks of life. We also had a lovely Easter celebration, a beautiful brunch at Nicki's house, and a three-generation playdate with the babes, moms and grandmas at Sandie's house.

And then came move in day! The truck pulled up to the curb and the next 12 hours were fast and furious. In the following couple of days came the unpackers, the uncraters, the guys who fix all the stuff that broke, the guys who hang the tvs, the cable dudes... Sandie watched Madeline and Charlie in Geneva, and my dad took care of John while we sorted through some of the less glamorous parts of moving.

Madeline and Charlie flipped out when they saw their pink and blue bedrooms! Charlie's jaw dropped and he said something like, "Wow. I can't believe this is happening!" We updated the wall-to-wall hunter green carpet throughout the house, and painted every square inch of wall and wood trim on all three levels (even the parkay floors!). We are a 10-minute walk from a gorgeous swimming beach -- the kids and I call our new home The Beach House! We're far from organized, but definitely into our routines and our house feels like home. I asked Rob why it's been so hard for me to blog with this move, and he reminded me that we have three kids this time around. Oh yeah.

Living near family again is a gift -- so wonderful I know God had a hand in this serendipitous arrangement. Madeline goes to school every day now as a junior kindergartner. It's a big change and as another mom put it to me this morning, "kind of hard-core"....but she's transitioning amazingly well with her new teachers and 23 classmates. On her first day of school, we had a parade! Papa and Ning came over early in the morning with flowers and donuts, and we all walked her there together.

Speaking of which, we walk everywhere in our "walkable village." I didn't even notice I have a flat tire in the driveway until Rob pointed it out to me. We walk for haircuts, Starbuck's dates, shopping at the mall, out for lunch, to drop off Maple at the vet, grocery shop, stop at the bakery, visit the pediatrician, catch Hunger Games, and go to-and-from school. All on foot. It's fabulous.

Now that the weather is warming up a bit, we're starting to meet our neighbors. Our door is open. We're officially accepting guests!

Bobbing for breakfast hanging from a tree on Mimi's birthday
The first Easter Egg hunt. Later the bunny came to the Vlachs
Riding the train after the big Easter egg hunt
Fishing at Milwaukee's Children's Museum
The kid table at Madeline's party
We call this Hilarious Time. The kids beg for it after bath.