Sunday, December 8, 2013

We All "Fall" Down

Another season has come and gone.  The leaves have fallen, the Halloween candy has dwindled down to tootsie rolls and smarties,  baseball is over, and the weather has chased away the outdoor festivals.  All this, and the memories of an unforgettable fall remain.  The Esker family has truly been blessed!

The school year really crept up on us, as it always does.  As a result, the blog has been on a bit of a hiatus. So much has happened in the past three months.  Luckily, the picture we have accumulated speak for themselves.  Brenden and Jackson are beginning to develop some serious personalities.

In August, our most memorable outing was the weekend series at Cellular One Field to see Uncle Ross throw for the Texas Rangers.  We had two vehicles full of Eskers, Wolfs and Beavers and managed to make the trek down I-290 for all three games.  We were quite the site to see at the stadium with the kids matching the number of adults in our row (4 adults + 4 kids = no breaks).  I know Nana and Pa had to be some pretty proud grandparents to see Eli, Emery, Brenden and Jackson all turning heads at the ballpark.

Uncle Ross really hooked it up at the stadium.  We parked in the players lot and went right to our seats behind home plate for every game.  We even went down to the locker rooms to wait for him after the game was over.  Best of all, we watched him finish the win on Friday night.

September was the month of the Fall Festival.  Brenden and Jackson didn't need much help navigating the attractions, but Mom and Dad were sure to keep watchful eyes.  Farm animals, pony rides, train rides and bounce houses provided plenty of entertainment for a couple of curious toddlers.

Speaking of entertainment, Brenden and Jackson have taken their love for the movie Toy Story to the extreme.  You know its bad when we refer to it as "TS" just so they don't get overly exited.  The movie also provided inspiration for this years Halloween costumes.  On October 31st, the town happened to be big enough for a sheriff and a space ranger.

Most importantly, this fall brought the addition of a new aunt to the Esker family.  Brent and Kelly finally made it official and tied the knot.  We are so happy to have Kelly as part of the family.  I'm sure she will be joining forces with all of the other aunt's that love to spoil these boys.

The day of the wedding was a little crazy, but we had plenty of extra help.  Dad stood up with uncle Brent and Mom sang, so that left soon to be Aunt Emily in charge of Brenden and Jackson.  Luckily Grandma Esker had packed a bag full of goodies to help pass the time.  Emily was up to the task, and as a result will now be joining the family next summer.  Congrats Emily!  You passed the test... Haha!  Brenden and Jackson's night ended with two of there favorite things... a nice big meal and a trip to the dance floor.  At the end of the day, the wedding served as a reminder of how fortunate we are to have such a wonderful and loving family!  A big thanks goes out to Brent and Kelly!

In the meantime, Brenden and Jackson are preparing for the next season!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Want to Hear a Story?

"Weego weego weego weego decol goal dego dego dego dada dada dada."  Translation... Brenden and Jackson sure can tell a story.  They must have taken notes from Great Grandpa Esker and Great Grandma Beavers.  I wish I could interpret this new innovative language for you, but for now we will continue to nod our head like we understand every little detail.  The boys have been known to carry on a quite lengthy conversation following a good afternoon nap.  They seem to understand each other.  I can't help but wonder of they're planning the great crib escape.

The story of the summer of 2013 will be one for the Esker family history books.  We officially survived 7 weeks in a studio apartment in a different city and we had a blast.  Our trip ended with a visit from Nana and Pa.  I know I say this all of the time, but Brenden and Jackson are so fortunate to have such awesome grandparents!  We were sure to scratch all of those last minute items off the bucket list... Heinz chapel... check, PNC park... check, chicken and waffles... check.  There was even a vintage car race that took place in Schenley park on our last weekend.  Pa helped me pack every square inch of the suv and we did our best to fill theirs as well.  One of Mom's voice teachers sent us home with a bunk bed and a crate full of toys... as if we needed more.  Pittsburgh was very kind to the Eskers, but we wouldn't have been able to do it without all of the great people who helped us along the way!

Brenden and Jackson did awesome on the way back to Elmhurst.  We only stopped once!  It was good to be home but not for long.  We spent two days in Elmhurst and decided to make the drive down state for a little rest and relaxation.  I guess we just love to be in the car... haha.  This trip seemed easy compared to the long drive we just made.  We started at Nana and Pa's.  We could hear the pool calling our name the entire way down I 57.  We visited with some old friends and saw a whole mess of Beavers.  Brenden and Jackson enjoyed the water and even chewed on a few sticks... I guess thats the part Beaver in em.

During our time at Nana and Pa's house we also discovered a new favorite food... corn on the cob!  Words cannot describe the joy this vegetable brings to Brenden and Jackson.

Then, it was off to Grandma and Grandpa Esker's house.  All of the aunts and uncles made a special trip home just to see Brenden and Jackson.  They couldn't believe how much they had changed.  It was really cool to see them interact with the family.  Since a number of us were out of town for the fourth of July croquet tourney this year, Grandma and Grandpa decided to host the first official annual Esker croquet tournament.  Aunt Michelle pulled off the upset if you couldn't tell from this perfectly timed photo of the winning shot (side note: Michelle will be very angry that I used the word "upset" when describing her victory).

Its crazy to see how much the family continues to grow.  We had to push two tables together on the deck just to fit everyone for dinner.  We were still able to fit everyone in two rounds of the tournament, but something tells me this won't be much longer.  Brenden and Jackson both have a sweet stroke that could contend in years to come.

Since our return to Elmhurst, we've done our best to take advantage of the beautiful weather.  We made a trip up to Cary, IL for a cookout with the Flachs.  They have a daughter thats only a month older than Brenden and Jackson.  The boys had fun sharing their new language with someone more their size.  Plus, she had all kinds of toys that they hadn't seen before.  It also didn't hurt that Papa Flach fixed corn on the cob.

This week, we made a trip over to the Chicago Children's Museum at Navy Pier.  It was a little crazy since the tall ships were docked but we managed to navigate the city in style.  The train, boat, and taxi provided plenty of entertainment for Brenden and Jackson.  It was a fun trip, but the boys were exhausting.  It felt good to put them to bed that night.

Today is the dreaded final day of summer vacation for Dad.  Tomorrow starts a new chapter of our story.  I would like to extend a big THANK YOU to all of our family and friends that made this summer possible!  Much love!

Brenden and Jackson having a little fun before bed

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Mid Summer Classics

Pittsburgh continues to entertain the whole family!  Trips to the library, parks, and pool parties never get old when there are a couple of 14 month olds with you.  Mom and Dad even got a little relief this week thanks to Grandma and Grandpa Esker and a few supportive opera friends.  We went out to celebrate 6 years of marriage with a nice dinner on our anniversary and Dad was able to watch Brenden and Jackson's amazing Mom perform as Giulietta in "Tale of Hoffmann!"

The boys ran up to Mommy while she was doing a little singing at the  cabaret.  The 3 of them stole the show!

Although Mom's rehearsal schedule has been pretty crazy as of late, we have still managed to enjoy quality family time.   Last week, we took a trip to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh to get a library card.  Brenden and Jackson spent most of the time pulling books off the shelf so we didn't leave empty handed.  We also tried out family story time one evening.  We were able to get Brenden and Jackson to sit through about one song and one story, but again, the boys spent most of the time pulling books off the shelf.  It was nice to get them some interaction with kids their age.

The Carnegie Museum has a really cool playground right in front, but it didn't take long to grow bored. Most of the time, we are totally content if we find a good stick to play with or some wood chips to sample.

The Fourth of July was a really cool experience.  All of the young artist were invited over to a home on the hill that overlooked the city and festivities for the day.  The house was literally right above one of the observation decks.  The pool provided most of our entertainment for the evening, but Brenden and Jackson also enjoyed weaving their way through all of the people at the party.  Towards the end of the night, Dad took it to the streets for a little stroller ride in an attempt to shut down some sleepy eyes.  The attempt fell short so the remainder of the night ended up a bit restless.  The balcony provided an awesome view for the fireworks.  Jackson was even pointing at them, which made the restless night completely worth it.

The weekend brought some familier faces to Pittsburgh!  Grandma and Grandpa Esker couldn't have come at a better time with the busy rehearsal week.  We were sure to enjoy all of the same amenities, but it made it that much more enjoyable to see Brenden and Jackson interact with their Grandma and Grandpa.  It was an extra warm welcome since we hadn't seen them in a month.  The boys must have remember their grandparents because we played and played and played without a single meltdown.  It also helped that Grandma had made a trip to the toy store and arrived with a bag full of goodies... NEW TOYS!  Grandma and Grandpa's hotel had an indoor pool in which Brenden and Jackson floated every square inch.  They even dipped their feet in the hot tub for a bit.

We capped off the weekend with pizza and drinks at Church Brew Works for Dad's birthday.  Brenden and Jackson might have eaten just as much as each adult.  They sure were in a good mood on our walk to the car.  The night ended with some surprise cupcakes that grandma picked up at the bakery.

The next day we spent some time at the park and picked up some lunchmeat and cheese from the local deli.  There was no need for bread because Grandma had brought some of her infamous sourdough!  We were definitely sad to see them go and look forward to seeing Nana and Pa in a few weeks!  Brenden and Jackson have the best Grandparents ever!