September 2, 2014

It's a Zoo!

After living in Peoria for over two years, we finally made it to the Peoria Zoo!

The boys and I at least.  We met some friends at the park and there was picnicking involved.

Then some playing on the playground.

Then we headed over to the zoo.

First everyone compared their size of bird's wing spans.

And continued on.

We saw black swans.

One of the Moms bought all the kids a stick of bird feed.

So they fed the birds for a while.

Miles got scolded by a zookeeper for trying to walk off the path to get aquatinted with this kangaroo.

So Emily and Emma helped keep tabs (hands) on him after that.

We saw the giraffes.

A lion.

And in this cage....   a tarantula!
(Miles has still been talking about this!)

Next they brought out a snake.

After the presentation, the kids all lined up and got to touch it.


Next we saw the sea lion.

Then we all got on a scale to find out we weigh more than a gorilla.

Miles tried to pick on a porcupine.

And hit his head on the Gila Monster's glass because he was so excited to see it!

He likes creepy crawly lizards.

The meerkats were too fast to be in this photo, but the boys loved watching them.

Then climbed around like monkeys on the climbing wall.

They also slid down a whale.

Miles reached through the fence to pet a goat before we left.

Cooper enjoyed it mostly because we were with friends, but Miles, my little animal lover, really loved the zoo.

We all had fun!

September 1, 2014

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Happy Birthday to my wonderful Mom!

I cherish her even more as I learn how tough, challenging and rewarding this parenting gig is.  She is one of my best friends and my main roll model.  I love you, Mom!

So do these kiddos!

August 31, 2014

Oh Baby!

 In a brief 'interruption' from catching up on posts...  I'm an Aunt again! 
Derek's brother and wife had a beautiful baby boy on August 24th.  
Mason Timothy Mleynek
(6lbs 10oz, 21in)

Hey look, an actual current photo on my blog!  We hit the road on Aug 27th to spend Labor Day weekend in Kansas, so we stopped in Kansas City and got to meet this new little guy.  It makes us happy.  :)

Very happy.

Actually the boys were way more entertained by Uncle Ty's fish pond than they were by their new cousin.  That's okay, more baby snuggles for me!

It was great to see Tyler and Lauren, and meet Mason!

We're in Wichita now and I got to kiss sweet Alexa's cheeks too!  

More to come later on this trip! (of course.)

August 28, 2014

Fishing for Snails

Our one year anniversary of moving into our house came on July 27th.
(Yep, another month has passed since then!)
So, in celebration, we took a photo in front of the house after church.

Then Miles had a nap... but when he woke up, he immediately got 'dressed' to go fishing.

It was a beautiful evening for fishing.

But it did require more clothes than Miles originally tried to leave with...
He was dressed properly and fishing in no time though.

The fish evaded us on this night though.  The only thing caught...
 (Miles actually reeled in this leaf and saw the snail on it)

Besides Cooper's stick...

Were snails.

He had a pile of them going on the dock but then accidentally stepped on and crushed them. 

Daddy helped him collect a few more hard to reach snails. 

And by the time we left, three snails went with us.
(But only one made it out of the car.  We don't know where they are!) 

A bad night fishing (snail collecting) is better than good night doing most other things.

August 27, 2014


Some of you may already know the story, but a family at our church have a three year old, Jude, that was involved in a lawn mower accident in June.  Jude is Miles' age and in his Sunday School class.  Jude lost his left leg just below his knee and his right foot in the accident.

So many of you that don't even know them have reached out and encouraged them and prayed for them.  Thank you!  I got to deliver a package of sweet notes from the kids at my parent's church.

Because her kids were asking what they could do to help, another friend at church organized a bake sale fund raiser for the kids to take part in.  A handful of families showed up to help out.

 The kids manned the tables.

And sold lemonade.

And cookies.

All on a donation basis.
They spent a couple hours pushing lemonade.

Or sometimes playing in the backyard. 

Or entertaining babies.

But they all took shifts at the selling table.

When we decided to shut it down, there was much celebration when the kids were told the tally came to just over $1000!!! 

So proud of these kids and their hearts to help out.
(And thanks to Erin for organizing!)

There were some unsold items left, so next the kids had a treat. :) Grandma sent a donation in the mail too.

Again, thanks to our friends and family that have reached out to and prayed for our friends, Team Hill!  You can read more about them and Jude's story on their caring bridge site:
Jude is healing well and they're trying to adjust into a life of new normals. (They homeschool and started that again this week.) Jude has also started the process of getting his "special feet".  I know they would appreciate you continued prayers.