Saturday, December 10, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Peppermint Stripes Christmas Card
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Ken and I are southerners born and raised but there is something about living up north that is fun and exciting! For one, where we live we can drive to St. Louis, Chicago, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis all in five hours or less! We love where we are from but let me be honest, I could drive five hours from my hometown and still end up in a boring, been there done that ten times, kind of location. Ken and I love a good road trip and try to take them often so being up here has been fun and exciting to say the least. Now I will say I am not so fond of the snow and cold weather that drags out for months but for the most part we love it up here!! 

Last week (July 7-10) we were able to take Luke to one of my favorite places, Chicago. I LOVE Chicago for its fun city life, diversity, amazing restaurants, and there are lots of fun and free things to do! We have a zoo/science center membership where we are and that pass got us into the Children's Museum of Chicago for free!! It also could have gotten us in to other fun museums but we ran out of time. We will do those next year. :) Ken and I went to Chicago last summer and I fell in love so we knew we had to bring Luke with us this summer. I think it will have to be a yearly thing but ONLY in the summer. Remember we are not fans of cold weather and Chicago is super cold during the winter months.

We stayed in Chicago for three nights at a Weston near the airport and rode the 'L' (Metro) into town everyday (30 min ride). We got the hotel on the cheap on Priceline. We LOVE Priceline's Name Your Own Price!! Ken and I are flexible and love adventures so we really didn't care where our hotel was (well, within a certain area). We also don't mind walking a lot, love rinding the metro, and the busses are a fun change from the car so this worked out great for us. But if you have lots of kiddos, staying in the city would work best because you would be closer to your hotel and everything. With that said, here are some lots of pictures from our trip. I hope you can get a glimpse of how much fun we had!!

 Eating at Giordano's. We knew there would be a long (45 min) wait for the pizza to be made so we bought a lego set specifically for this place before we came to Chicago. He had fun building it and the time went by so quickly! 

The ginormous Chicago style pizza

Next we were off to the Navy Pier and Children's Museum! This was our favorite area. I know...I is super touristy and all but we love it!! 

Yay!! Free admission to the Children's Museum!! 
(Only because we had a membership at our science center.)

Playing in the cool water area

I think this is a water hose?

This was a cool thing that Ken and Luke did for a long time. They built a flying contraption and moved it way into air with an upwards conveigher belt that they cranked. Then they would then see how well it fell flew down. 

The conveigher belt thing

Stud muffin I tell ya

Luke was wearing special goggles to help with his grocery sales. 
They are working at the moment. 

He loved this 'rock wall'

We might have almost spent an hour here. This kid loves to build!!

This rope course thing was so much fun!! The part you see here is on the third floor of the museum but you can start climbing up from the first floor. Luke was not sure about heights at this time so he just climbed up from the third floor and walked across! He loved it!

We were so excited when he jumped! Remember he was just getting over the fear of heights thing so when he finally jumped we threw a party. I think everyone else did too because they were tired of waiting on our reluctant kiddo. Oh well they could have done other things!

Fire man for the day!

After the Children's Museum we were off to the ferris wheel on the Navy Pier

We could see the awesome skyline from up here

The next day we were off to the beach. Luke loves the beach and referred to it as the big sandbox. :) Ken had always told me that the Great Lakes are beautiful but I never believed him because it is a lake. I don't know about you, but where I am from lakes are where everyone goes but they are pretty nasty to look at. I was wrong about this lake. Last year when we came to Chicago I was amazed at how bright blue and clear the water was! Now the water was still cold when we went but other than that we had a great time!

We love great local places that have a fun atmosphere. On our way back from the beach, we stopped at this unique place. I can't remember the name for the life of me but I loved the lights hanging down from the ceiling, how open it was, and the great food. 

This is where we stayed

Chicago has a Ukrainian village that we visited. It was great! We felt like we were back in Ukraine. I looked up an authentic Ukrainian restaurant that had good ratings and off we went. This place was great and the food was amazing! We were so excited to be there but the staff didn't care that we had just been to Ukraine. Oh well, we had fun anyways!

We all ate off the buffet and ordered a bowl of Borsch (a traditional Ukrainian beet soup)

One day we went to the Lincoln Park zoo. It is a fun and free zoo in our favorite area of town!

Luke had so much fun on his first family vacation! 

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mother's and Father's Day

These two days were so special to us in many ways. We had been home 18 days when these next few pictures were taken and just in time to celebrate Mother's Day (May 8). We went to church in the morning and Luke sat with us during church. He was so good and so quiet! I think he was just fascinated by everything. That changed after a few weeks of sitting in the sanctuary. Anyways, after church we headed to Claudia Sander's Dinner House for an amazing lunch. I think it will have to be a new tradition! Claudia Sanders was the wife of Colonial Sanders who started KFC. You can read more about the restaurant's story here. Anyways the food was amazing! Ken and I love good southern food and this place made us feel like we were back in the south again. Luke ate most things on his place. Yay!! We were kind of unsure what he might eat but he surprised us! He ate a lot of mashed potatoes and fried chicken legs. He was still getting used to a lot of people being around in a restaurant so we were not sure how he would act there but he did amazing! 

Happy First Mother's Day!

Acting silly with Daisy and Lucy on the prowl for squirrels. 

Luke loved water guns at the time so we had a huge water gun fight after lunch. Vey ladylike I'm sure. 

Father's Day was very special to us as well!! He had been home with us for sixty days so we had hit the two month mark!! He was already picking up on so many things. We were still using a lot of hand signals, Google Voice, what Russian we knew and English mixed all in there. So we pretty much used whatever version of communication worked. I probably should have had someone come over who knew Russian to help with anything he was trying to tell us but couldn't figure out how to say it. Looking back and typing this out I think I will do that next time. He was so patient with us trying to figure out what he was trying to say! Bless his heart. 

For Father's Day we went to church and went to eat at Claudia Sanders again. We love some Claudia's!! I'm telling you! I am craving some good fried chicken just thinking about it right now. 

This picture was taken on Ken's first Father's Day, June 19, 2011. A big thank you to Christy, our sweet and amazing across the street neighbor, to come and take these for us!!

We love you Luke!! 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Two Months Today!

Wow! Has it been two months already since we came home with Luke!? The time has flown by fast and I just realized I have not been doing a very good job updating everyone out there about his progress! Lets see where do I start? Well let me just tell you what we have done in two months:
  • Went to Alabama, Florida and Georgia to visit grandparents and family for the first time (which we did in a week)
Aunt Mary 
Ken taught Luke how to be a southern gentleman and give ladies flowers. He also knows how to open mommas door first! Such a gentleman! 
The cousins, Annabelle and Greyson

Karen and I 

Pop Pop

Pop Pop and Mema (Ken's grandparents)


Dot Mom (my grandmother)

Four generations

Us and Dot Mom

Grandma and her grandkiddos

The whole fam on Ken's side



My dad 

Granny and Luke

Luke learned how to drive...a tractor that is!

Getting dirty at Paw Paw's and Granny's

Luke learning how to hammer

Aunt Jill, Aunt June and Uncle John

My grandparents "Paw Paw and Granny"
  • Went to the beach for the first time when we went to Florida to visit my grandparents (he loved the endless supply of sand and water. It was the sweetest thing I have seen!) 

Uncle Matthew and Aunt Emily

Luke's first beach trip 

  • He went to his first VBS and LOVED it! He keeps asking when we are going to Jesus ( he calls our church Jesus. Isn't that sweet?!)
  • We have been on picnics
  • Planted a garden 
  • Been to the zoo plenty of times

  • Gone to the science center a few times

  • Went to Cincinnati for the day and ate at a great burger place

  • He has been able to meet new and such sweet friends that he loves to play with
  • We have gone to the water front park water/playground area plenty of times. Luke LOVES to play in the water and he adores playgrounds. It is so cute! 

So needless to say, we have had plenty of things to do! We do all of our outings during the day so he can come home and take a nap after lunch. No nap equals no fun the rest of the day. I tried for a few days to let him just play in his room instead of taking a nap. I was thinking "Maybe he doesn't need a nap anymore because he is getting older."  Boy was that a mistake! I needed him to take a nap so I could have a break and he needed a nap so that he could handle his emotions the rest of the day. So we do naps here in the Lovett household. 

His English is coming along pretty well! He is such a smarty pants! When he doesn't understand something, or we need to tell him something that he might not understand, we use Google translate. Let me just say that Google translate has been amazing!! It is such a life saver! We just type in what we want to say and this lady translates it back to him in Russian. We have had to use it less and less over the past two months. Luke understands English way more than he can speak it right now. I know this because we will ask him do to something or carry on a conversation with him and he will reply with the few English words he can say followed by motions and sometimes a little Russian thrown in there. Think of his speech more like a blender. He combines what he knows in English with charades and Russian thrown in there as the seasoning.  It has been fun and interesting to be his personal interpreter. But he is coming along really well. Here are some phrases and words he knows and says a lot (this is great so I can remember what he has said!):
  • "Luke is sleepy", "Luke's not sleepy", "Mommy's/papa's sleepy/not sleepy", insert name sleepy/not sleepy :) This is his favorite sentence to say I think! Like he will be almost asleep with eyes closed and everything and he will wake himself up and say "Luke's not sleepy!" Haha! 
  • "Coming" such as: "Luke's coming" or "insert name's coming"
  • Hot, Cold- He will say "Luke's cold" or "Luke's hot." He will also say our names and say we are hot or cold. Most of the time if he is hot, he will say, "Whew, Luke's hot!" 
  • You start to notice the things you say all of the time when Luke says them pretty often. Examples of this are:
    • "Whew"
    • "Kabooie" (for when he falls over or runs into something)
    •  "Aw man" 
    • "Uh oh"
  • Daisy and Lucy (our doggies) have been a great help in expanding his vocabulary as well because they are always getting into something. 
    • "No, no, no daisy/Lucy!" this is always after they have chewed up or were in the process of chewing up a helpless toy left on the floor. 
    • "Daisy, Lucy come here!"
    • "Be sweet Daisy/Lucy"
    • "Daisy/Lucy sleeping"
  • "I love you" I will always say to Luke, "guess what?" and he will say "I love you!" I did always say, "guess what? I love you!" and now he just says it half way through. It is super cute!
  • "Be sweet" he has learned to use this in different contexts. Like be sweet to friends, momma/papa, daisy/lucy. Ok, so one day we were outside and he was trying to squish a rolly polly. I said "Luke, be sweet to the bug." You know, cause the little rolly polly was just minding its own business! Well, when we came inside, I found a roach. I screamed and squished it with the closest thing I could find. I then flushed him down the toilet so he wouldn't be in my house. While the roach was going down the toilet with Luke observing the whole process, he says to me with a concerned and sad voice, "Momma, be sweet to the bug. " Bah ha ha ha! I then tried to tell him the difference between a roach and a rolly polly but I'm not sure he got it. To him they are all just bugs! :) Oh well! 
  • Animals/insects:
    • bugs, bird, gorilla, monkey, giraffe, squirrel  
  • He knows food words:
    • Milk, juice, water, ice cream, cookies, cheese stick (the stringy kind), orange, banana, apple, soup, ketchup, chicken, ranch (dressing, he loves salads), cheese, peanut butter 
  • He says, "hi" and "bye"
  • We have taught him to say "Please" and "Thank you"
  • "Stinky"- "Daisy/Lucy stinky" etc...
  • Random words:
    • "pictures," "book," "big," "shoes," "little," "baby," "hammer," "screw," "saw,"  He loves to be a carpenter! 
He unscrewed his toy all by himself! I was doing something and went to the porch and found his toy in pieces! He tried to put it back together by himself but needed some help at the end. He is too smart! He would unscrew everything in sight if I would let him!! :) 

He LOVES to hammer!

  • Social cues he has picked up:
    • high-fives
    • hand shakes
    • waving to say bye or hi
    • being sweet to friends and not getting all up in their face when he is trying to talk to them. 
I know there are a few more but I can't think of them right now. I need to keep updating all of the words he says so I can remember. I hope you have enjoyed our process. I will try to be more regular in the updating department!