Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wildlife Prairie State Park

We've seen signs for this attraction since we first moved here, and finally took advantage of it last Friday. Described as a 2,000 acre zoological park; home to bison, elk, eagles, wolves, cougar, otter, and much more. It was a very fun day! The boys were so excited to explore. We got to see quite a few animals, take a train ride, and even slide down a very long slide. Enjoy the pictures!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Learning to Spell

Yesterday, at lunch, Caleb said to me, "Mom, E-G-G spells egg". Surprised but delighted, I asked him, "where did you learn that?". "From my Star Wars computer", he answered. It was like something clicked. For the rest of the day, he was all about spelling. He'd try a few simple words on his own, and when I'd ask him some, he'd take some time to listen to the sounds, and then spell it out. It was amazing! I love to see him so excited about learning! Today, when the bus came to pick him up for school (hooray, they finally have the busing situation worked out!), he ran up to Miss Angie the driver, and said, "B-U-S, bus!"

Friday, September 26, 2008


Weston was looking for a picture of Aidan to steal from my blog for something at church, and he said he couldn't really find a good recent one, of just him. So of course I have to remedy that!

And to share a little about him lately...

He likes to be right. Even if he isn't, he makes a word compromise so that in his mind he still is. Example:
Looking at a picture, Mommy: Aidan, what's that called?
Aidan: a chair
Mommy: No, that is called a bench.
Aidan: Oh, a bench-chair.
Getting up after his nap, Aidan: Mommy, is it the morning?
Mommy: No, Aidan, it's the afternoon.
Aidan: Oh, the afternoon-morning.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Other "big boy" news...

As of last Saturday, we finally got a twin bed set up for Caleb, and transitioned Aidan to the toddler bed. Poor kid has been in a pack-n-play since we moved in. He's been doing great. I continue to be amazed at how independent he is. Part of it is just who he is, and part of it is watching Caleb, I'm sure, but he's much more focused (and often successfull) on the "I do it myself" mentality. Today I was downstairs preparing dinner when I heard the toilet flush. After a quick moment of panic (Neither Weston nor Caleb were home), I realized it was Aidan. He had woken up from his nap, and headed straight for the bathroom to take care of business, all by himself. By the time I was upstairs he had pulled his underwear and pants up all by himself. Caleb is still lazy about that sometimes!

Here are pictures of their first night in their new beds. (keep in mind these are only temporary because Weston still has a vision of building a castle bunk bed in there!)

Books, books, and more books!

All of my boys love books, for which I am thankful! But right now, the twins are especially book crazed. Seriously, I think they just might be content to sit on my lap (together, which is getting more challenging) and have me read books to them all day long. If I sit down for even just an instant(even say, to tie my shoe), anywhere in the near vicinity of a book, I automatically get at least one, if not both, of them clamoring into my lap with a book, saying, "book?". And, yes, I can't finish a book without hearing, "again?". Its pretty adorable, but a little taxing!

For some reason, all 4 of the boys have wholeheartedly latched onto these cheap dollar tree sports books I found when Caleb was a baby. They have always a favorite for anyone in this house between the ages of 1 and 2. :) They are getting pretty worn though, if anybody happens to stumble across a new copy, I'd gladly reimburse you the dollar!

I was thinking about a few of the differences between K and E right now, at almost 18 months. Kellan pushes the limits a bit more, currently loves climbing up on all chairs and tables, is a bit more of a cuddler. Ethan is a little more of a people pleaser, a little less of a picky eater, and bounces to music more enthusiastically. We'll see. Their personalities really aren't that starkly different... yet anyway.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Three Musketeers

Aidan and the twins get to spend about 30 minutes together after Caleb goes to school and before nap time, and it is fun to watch their relationships develop.

However, it is not fun to watch Aidan encourage their trouble-making tendencies!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


What's cuter than this?


And what's cuter than this?


We got a new camera! (Can you tell?) A Canon DSLR, like I've been coveting forever. Weston found it on clearance for the exact amount we'd had saved. So brace yourself for even more, and even cuter, pictures of the Oxley Boys.

Learning Time

I have been having such a good time doing "learning time" with Caleb and Aidan. It's the teacher in me, I know. But it's so fun watching them grasp new concepts, play with learning, and feel successful. I'm trying to be careful not to push too hard, or expect too much, and I watch them closely for signs of boredom or frustration, as I don't want any negative emotions attached to it. But, they are enjoying it! Maybe it is partially the one-on-one mommy time, which is rare in a house full of brothers. I wouldn't even have started with Aidan yet, except that he begged for it. The twins also, get their own simple version of it once in awhile.

Yesterday I overheard Caleb call out to Aidan. "It's learning time, Aidan, come here." Aidan obliged and went over to Caleb, and I got to observe Caleb playing teacher, and Aidan playing the dutiful student, for about 10 minutes. They were looking at a phonics book, and later went over to the table to use some of our other 'learning supplies'. Adorable.

Monday, September 22, 2008

One more out of diapers! Hooray!!!

Aidan is pretty much completely potty trained!!! Woot woot! With his strong will, I was anticipating either a pretty easy journey, or an impossible one. Fortunately for me, he chose the former. We'd been thinking of trying it for awhile now, but knew that our schedule needed to be normal again, so that there would be consistency enough in the little guy's life to conquer this new task. September finally brought back "normalcy" and "routines". We're still busy, but at least its predicatable busy.
Anyway, two weeks ago we began on Monday (since Daddy was home), and began by setting the time to 'check for dry and clean' every 5 minutes and making a trip to the potty about every 15. I felt like my life was dictated by that timer for the week. The process also took quite a toll on my body, leaving me sore and achy, from having to bend down, sit on the bathroom floor to read book after book, etc.

Day one wasn't too bad, but not too encouraging either. A few accidents, a first success. But day two was a bit better, and day three showed tons more self control. By week two he was having no accidents all day, except for a minor setback on his first playdate, but hey, its hard to learn to keep track of bodily functions while playing hard with a friend. And now, 2 weeks later, I'm pretty confident he's fully there. He's even staying dry during naps and at night!!!! And, this may be too much information, but he's had a bit of 'tummy trouble' this evening, and still managed to stay on top of that! I think we'll try him in the 'big boy' class for Sunday School next week. You have to be potty-trained to move out of the nursery area and downstairs to the real classrooms.

We are so proud of him! Aidan, you are amazing! (and yeah, the Thomas underwear, and especially the Thomas Train Table and Trains that a generous friend at church passed down to us, helped motivate him immensely!)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Stearman Fly In Days

Way cool. I think the first week in September is going to be one of our family's favorite weeks of the year. Last year, we missed it by a week. (yeah, can you believe we've been here almost a year????) This year, there was no way we could've missed it. Our little airport hosts the National Stearman Fly-In, and has for the past 37 years. What it basically entails is pilots flying their vintage planes (mainly biplanes) from all over the U.S. They meet up for the camaraderie and they also participate in many different competions, and basically just have fun showing off their airplanes. What this means for the town is that you get to see awesome planes flying overhead all week, and the Airport puts on a nice little 'festival' of sorts with a narrated tram ride, etc. We took the boys on Saturday, but the best part of the week for us, was getting a personal invite out to our friends' property (they are into aviation and have an airstrip in their cornfield) the day they host a cookout lunch for any pilots who fly in. We got to see tons of planes up close, and watch them land and take off as we stood 15-20 feet away. And they did some awesome fly bys, including some in formation, and some doing stunts. And to top it all off, Caleb got to sit in one!!! (Aidan chickened out) It was amazing!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

First Day of School

Preschool started today for Caleb, finally. I only say that because it was supposed to start last Wednesday, and after gearing him up for it, we got a call late Tue. afternoon saying that they are postponing it for a week due to bus driver shortages. That was rough on the poor kid!

Anyway, he is attending a different location of Headstart this year, due to our move, and has to have a different teacher (sniff). But, we did get to meet her as she did a home visit already, and that helped Caleb a lot. While she was here she shocked him by admitting she had never watched any Star Wars movies, but redeemed herself when she put on his Optimus Prime Helmet to 'play' with him a bit.

He got a bit overemotional at times today, I could tell it was affecting him a bit. Even had one "I don't want to go to school" meltdown, but I think it was a little more aimed at the thought of Aidan having access to all the toys while he was gone. We took him out for a special Pizza Hut lunch (had to use their library reward coupons before they expired), and then took him to school (busing situation still not worked out). By that time he was excited to see his new classroom and classmates. I walked him in, and he did great. His classroom was cute, and a bit larger than his old one. We recognized one little boy from his baseball team. Caleb had not a care in the world about me leaving, but I'll admit I teared up a little. Can't wait to hear all about it.

I found the neatest picture spot in the backyard, problem is, the lighting would be best there at about 8AM. Ha.

For those of you who know Caleb well, this about sums him up. He can sure be a silly boy. After making him take so many serious pictures today, I let him 'let loose'. Hope he doesn't do that on school picture day.

This one is in the hallway by the front office.
And this one is inside his new classroom! Pray for him as he comes to mind!

Loving Small Town America

Rumor has it, we might have one of the biggest Labor Day parades in the US. (Although there is probably not much competition, I know). But how fun is it that we have several fun small town parades a year? Think Glendora's Christmas Parade (for those of you who grew up in Glendora, or a town like it, with me). Tons of friendly people lining the sidewalks of Galesburg's cute downtown area. Firetrucks, neat old vehicles, makeshift 'floats', marching bands, boy scout troops, gymnastics schools, etc. The boys had a blast, especially because they throw so much candy out for the kids to scramble after. Seriously, tons of candy. And the coolest thing this time, was the vintage planes flying overhead. More on that later.
I only have one picture really, but it gives you a sense of things, and its extra cool because the guy driving it, doing his "parade wave", is our friend Brad. He's on our high school volunteer staff.