The Pontow Family Blog

The Pontow Family Blog

Friday, December 10, 2010

Martha Stewart eat your heart out...

So here I sit having just completed recipe 18 of my crazy Christmas baking. I am all about trying new recipes and this year I have done some homemade marshmallows. I guess I really did not think this one thru instead I thought "WOW this will be fun!". Yeah, not so much. So, in order to make this recipe you basically need 3 people or 3 sets of hands. There is no way I could have done this alone. To Chad this recipe was like an experiment because of the way the ingredients changed color and consistency. To me I just wanted it to be done. HA! I love to bake don't get me wrong, but not a fan of recipes that make huge messes and are so involved. :)

Well, I was thinking that these marshmallows would be more like a cookie marshmallow. But, it is not it is pretty much just a marshmallow. So, now I have a big bag containing a lot of marshmallows. HA! But, Meg has given her stamp of approval of them and said they taste great. So, I guess we will be having a lot of hot chocolate this winter.

One thing to note if you try to make marshmallows. If you don't put enough powder sugar in the pan. THEY WILL STICK. I couldn't figure out how to get powdered sugar on the sides of the pan, so that made things not so much fun. And after I cut them with a knife covered in powdered sugar, I had to coat them in more powdered sugar so that they would not stick together. In the future, I will just buy bags of marshmallows. :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

19 years.....

It is hard for me to imagine that it has already been 19 years.... I think about all that has changed in my life in those 19 years. All that my sister has had to miss in those 19 years since her life was cut way to short. She has been dead longer than she has been alive. How is that possible??

I thank god for the people in my life who still talk about her!
I thank god that my kids love seeing pictures of her and sending her balloons in heaven!
I thank god that I have my supportive parents still here who every year go thru those days over and over!
I thank god for her friends who have not forgotten her!

I thank god that I was lucky enough to have a sister at one time and that I cherished the time we had! I love you Meg and miss you each and every day. But, I know that you are watching over all of us and keeping us safe.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fall is here....

WOW! Where did the September go? It is hard to believe that we are already in the month of October. Just around the corner the kids will be trick or treating and then we will be at Thanksgiving and then Christmas. Holy cow!!I just love Fall. It truly is my favorite time of year. Maybe it is because it is when I got married or maybe it is because I love when the trees go from green to such amazing colors of red and orange. And I love the sound of walking thru the leaves. And then there is the fun of decorating for Fall with pumpkins and mums and ornamental kale.


Every fall we take my Dad to a White Sox game. It has always been our thing to do with him for Grandparent's day. Plus we always hope to have cool weather for the game. Most of the time this does not happen. But, this year we truly lucked out with a perfect night for the game. And the fun of it was we go to go with the Trinity Irish Dancers this year. And it was really a family affair. My mom and even Ally got to attend the game. This game was the halfway mark to St. Patrick's Day and so on this day the Chicago White Sox wear green uniforms to celebrate the Irish. How much better can it be???

We got to see some fireworks go right over us because of the White Sox making home runs. That was so exciting to the kids to see. Of course we never make it thru the whole game, but that's ok. We know going in we won't make it and to be honest we get home much faster because there is less traffic from the South side to the Northwest Suburbs.
To me this event is something that I cherish every year. And I know that our kids truly treasure the time they get to spend with Nama and Papa whether it is in person or on the phone. I would be lost without my parents and so am glad we get to do this kind of stuff with them.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Are we having fun yet????

Well we survived the most magical vacation ever! Disney World was amazing, thrilling, magical and exhausting all in one! The kids were very lucky to have their Nama, Papa and Aunt Denny along for the ride and I think they definitely exhausted them, as well as, us. :) I think we could have spent a week just at the different Disney parks and still not seen everything. We hit the Magic Kingdom 2 days, Animal Kingdom, Epcot and 2 days at Blizzard Beach Water Park. We also got to go the Kennedy Space Center which was pretty cool. We had occasional rain that did not put too much of a damper on our activities. We just threw on ponchos when it got bad.

I have to say it is has been a long time since I went to all of the Disney parks. It was so amazing to watch the kids meet the characters that they have read about and watched on TV for so long. Ally by far showed her emotions the most. She would start jumping up and down when she saw the characters and could not stop. She gave so many hugs, as did Jack and Meg. You did not really see the characters just walking around a lot. That is a memory I have from when I was a kid where they seemed like they were everywhere. But, they had nice buildings you could go into and they had the characters lined up to get autographs. That was really nice! One shot deal!

To me the most magical parts were:
- Snow White - She was by far the most amazing character we met. She talked and talked and talked to the kids for so long. It didn't matter that she had a long line of kids waiting. She was truly amazing
- Electrical Parade - What can I say. We had tossed around not doing this, but finally things just worked out to be able to see it. I am soo glad we did because the kids LOVED it! Ally was screaming to the characters and waving to them. And she thought for sure that everyone was waving to her.
- Watching the kids with Nama/Papa/Aunt Denny and seeing the love they have for them.
- The kids swimming. I couldn't believe how brave they have become. And really makes me sad that we no longer have a pool in our backyard.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Disney bound....

Last August after our annual family vacation we decided that this year would be the year to go to Disney. We think Ally is at a good age to really get something out of the magical experience. And we know that Jack and Meg were surely ready! And so the planning began. Literally we have been planning this trip for a year and the time is finally upon us. People that know me know I am a planner. So, for me planning the trip for this long is kind of who I am. But, in reality we could have waited a little while. But, we did want to include my parents on the trip because they have been so awesome with us and our kids that we wanted them to be able to experience it with the kids just as we are. And so we planned well in advance to not get in the way with any of their many travel plans. :)

And here I sit. 2 kids already in Florida for 1/2 week already with their Nama, Papa and Aunt Denny. They are having a blast from what we are hearing. Then there is poor Ally I think she may be the most excited because for weeks now she has been saying "Today we go to Disney World?". God bless her little heart. And everyday since Jack and Meg have been gone she has said "I have no one to play with." She has had neighbor friends and babysitters galore treating her like a little princess and giving her their undivided attention. But, I understand she misses her brother and sister as does her mom and dad. I think though this 1 on 1 time has been good for Ally (maybe not mom all the time, but for her nonetheless). We have eaten out a lot and done a lot of running around that I dread doing with 3 kids. She has gotten to sleep with Sox every night which she has loved. And will probably be shocked when everyone is back home to have to share him with Jack and Meg. She helped me make the bracelets that the kids will where when we are at the parks that have my cell phone # listed on them. This way if anyone gets lost they can ask someone to call my #. I can't take credit for this idea. I got it out of the Disney Family Fun magazine.

So, what do I hope to get out of this vacation? So much.
I want to experience Disney World thru the eyes of my kids.
I will watch their faces as they meet princesses and so many more characters that they have watched on TV for so long.
I want to be a kid the whole time I am vacation and forget about the worries of home and work!
I want to enjoy time to read...
I look forward to watching my kids be fishes and swim whenever they want
I look forward to just being with my family....

Monday, August 9, 2010

Packer Family Night Check that off the bucket list....

This weekend we took the kids to Packer Family Night. We tailgated with one of our neighbors and had a great time! The kids were so excited to go into Lambeau Field. Of course for me I don't really understand what all the hype is about, but hey I am not a Packer fan, let alone a football fan! I got the tickets as a surprise for the family because I knew it was something they would love to do. And that is what family is all about! You do things that maybe you don't like because of the joy it brings your family!

Anyway they handed up some neat noise makers. What am I saying??? We will see how long those last in our house before I toss them. HA! It was fun hearing all the people using them at the game. By the time the game started at 7:30 the girls had seen enough, so needless to say we did not stay for the whole game and did not get to see the fireworks. Jack was disappointed that we left early, but he got to watch the fireworks on TV at home instead.

All in all, it was a great time! And I am glad I got to do it with the family! Next year Chad can go with just Jack. :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Butterflies are free...



I can't believe that we are already in July and I have not posted anything in over a month. Sorry about that peeps. Seems like time is flying by or it has at least gotten away from me. I have been working with the kids on our annual butterfly project. Those of you that know me or my family well know the meaning behind butterflies for us. For those of you that don't here is a little insight. My sister, Meggan, always said she would be a butterfly. So, when she died we have all looked at butterflies as a symbol of Meggan. I find butterflies to be one of the most amazing creatures alive. The way they come alive is just incredible. And to watch this process thru the eyes of the kids makes it even more precious and dear to my heart.


Normally we get painted lady caterpillars, but this year Jack asked if we could do monarchs. I did some research and found that Monarchs are close to being an endangered species. How sad I thought. Something so incredible looking and fragile! So, monarchs it was. We received 9 or 10 caterpillars. Was hard to tell when they arrived because you are told not to touch them. That was one very specific thing. And oh they only eat Milkweed plants. The plant that I absolutely despised at our old house is what they feast on. It now makes sense why we had sooo many monarchs at our old house. So, we have spent the past few weeks yanking milkweed plants from ravines and forests in order to feed our caterpillars and watch them grow to over 2 inches long. And quite chubby at that!

 Finally the end of June they went in their Jade green Chrysalis. It was so beautiful looking! What was really neat is we got to actually see 2 of them go into the Chrysalis. Never have we gotten to see that before!!


And today 14 days to the day we have butterflies. We are nursing a couple of them that seem to have some issues, but we have had 1 beautiful one (named Flyer by Jack) that we got to set free today. We hope that it will do well and not get eaten by anything!

Fun fact: Did you know that you can tell the sex of a Monarch? The girl monarchs have white spots on the bottom of their wings, whereas the boys don't have any spots. Flyer was a girl. So, we hope she does well reproducing and bringing back the monarch population. :)


Another fun fact: Did you know that monarchs are actually poisonous? Yep, that is why they only eat Milkweed plants. There is something in those plants that they get their poisonous stuff (yeah real technical I know) from. :) How can such a beautiful thing be poisonous!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Flag Football comes to an end....


Saturday Jack had his last Flag Football game of the Spring Season. He walked away with a better understanding of the sport and no desire to play it again. HA! No seriously he told that night in bed that he thought Football was boring. I asked him why he felt it was boring and he said because all you do is run back and forth. Plus, you keep having to stop and start. Pretty funny I have to say so myself. I said to him well you like soccer and that is running back and forth. But, he said at least with Soccer you are kicking a ball as you run back and forth. From the mouths of babes. :)


So, I don't know that we will be taking up football again anytime soon. Chad would like him to try it again, but I am not pushing that one. His passion is with soccer and baseball. Which is fine by me. :) Check out pictures from his last football game by looking at the Sports Season slide show at the right. He even got to play his cousin Hayden for his last game which probably made it the most fun for him. They had fun chasing each other. And they were giving each other signs like that they were going to take each other down. Pretty funny we thought.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Soccer Heaven...



We have a lot of soccer on our minds in the Pontow house. That is when we are not thinking about Irish Dance or Baseball. Jack and Meg are busy busy busy with their outdoor leagues. I really like the league we are doing this thru this year. They both have been playing soccer since they were 3 years old. Jack has been kicking a soccer ball since he started walking. Amazing to me how a year old could do that. But, then I thought of the fact that he has the genes from Chad, as well as, my grandpa Jim who came from Scotland to play soccer in Chicago. I see a real future for Jack in this sport and he absolutely loves playing it!
We were not sure if Meg really was into Soccer or if she was doing it because her big brother was doing it. But, I have to say Meg is becoming quite the soccer player. I think she may even play a little rougher than Jack does. She has such a determined look on her face when she is chasing down an opponent or dribbling the ball it is a blast to watch.

I guess one could say I have officially become a Soccer mom....

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Get your newpaper....

Well, the past few months have been a blur I have to say. But, what is great is we have the newspaper pictures to remind us of the fun we have been having. Jack's picture was in the paper for his piano recital and then Meggan's picture showed up for the parade she was in around St. Patrick's Day. And now a story has been written and published about Meggan and I related to Irish Dancing. I am quite the proud mom of my children and all they continue to accomplish and overcome in life! Happy Reading!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What's next...


This weekend was the end of the kids indoor soccer league. So, now they take a break for a few weeks and rest up for the outdoor league that they will start later in the month. We are looking forward to getting to be outside to play soccer. Meg made a couple goals thru the indoor league which was very exciting for her. This picture is after she made one of her goals. If only you could see how excited she is in person. It is so neat to watch!
Jack continued to shine in soccer. He has a couple trademark moves with soccer. First, he always has his tongue sticking out when he is kicking or running. It is the funniest thing. And then he has a killer kick. He has taken some kids down with it. He doesn't know his own power that is for sure. I love watching him play because it makes me think about the fact that my grandpa Jim, came to the USA to play soccer from Scotland. And you just wonder if he is watching down on Jack and running along side him give him that extra power to kick hard. :) Makes us feel good that it is something that he is very passionate about.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The joys of Irish Dancing....


It has been quite a week in our house. Little Meggan has been dancing her toes off for all sorts of people!! It has been a truly amazing experience for her. She can sometimes be a little shy, but to see her get up on high school theatre stage and dance for all of those people. She has the biggest smile on her face when she is dancing and makes me so happy for her. And she is really getting the 1st step down pat. She also got to perform for her class at school.

The down side of the dancing is the wig really itches her little head. And then there is the hustle and bustle of running around from show to show. But, it is coming to an end next week. This weekend she and I will be in the New "Dublin" London parade and then next week she has 1 last performance. The older girls of Trinity truly have taken these young river dancers under their wings and shown them the way. It makes you feel good to watch.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Busy bees are we....

What a weekend! It was filled with a Jack/Meg's soccer game, Ally's 3rd birthday party with family and Jack's 1st piano recital. At times I think we have the kids in too much, but it is days like today when we got to watch Jack play the piano for his class, his grandparents and his siblings that it is all worth it. The smile on his face after playing his solo was so great to see. Even though we fight when we have to practice. :)

Soccer was great too. Meggan scored her very 1st goal. And it was such a riot to see. The smile that she had on her face after doing it was incredible. I don't think you could have done anything to get it off of her face.

And of course Ally had such a great birthday. She was so excited to celebrate with her cousins and the rest of the family. She was quite the princess. We had a nice dress for her to wear for the party but within minutes of cousins arriving she was in dress up clothes. I think she would live in them if she could. We are thankful for our family and there generosity and all the laughter they brought us at the party!

And things are not slowing down in our house. Meg will be real busy with Irish Dance performances this week. She will perform at: 1) Couple of schools, 2) Auxiliary Club in Beaver Creek, 3) New London (Dublin) High School and 4) finish off the week with the New London parade on Saturday afternoon. Be on the look out for pics from these fun events!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Tornado Ally is 3!!!!



Today marks Ally's 3rd birthday in this amazing world we live. And what a year it has been with our tornado Ally. I am trying to remember when we started calling her Tornado Ally. I think it was around when she started walking. She really has taken this name seriously.

What are some of her favorite things to do?? Hmmm let's see taking marker and drawing on her arms and legs, taking ink stamps and stamping her entire body, jumping off of anything she can, glitter glue on anything she can get it on and the scream. Ugh the scream that gives me migraines. I always find it interesting when people tell me how cute and sweet she is. My response is usually something along the lines of trying living with her for a week and then let's see if you still think that of her.

Don't get me wrong we love Ally! She brings excitement (if you want to call it that) to our house. But, seriously when is it going to end. Maybe when she starts school in the fall things will change. It will be a welcomed change to send her off to school. I don't think there will be any tears on that day. HA! We look forward (I think) to everything little Miss Ally throws our way in this next year!! :)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Mini-Me....


It is hard to believe that just 6 months ago Meg started taking Irish dance and here we are just 17 days until the "BIG" holiday and she is gearing up for 8 different performances over the next 2 1/2 weeks. She will perform at some nursing homes, grade schools and the VFW halls. She will even get to march in a parade in New London (or at this time of year they call themselves New Dublin). :)

I am ever so proud of my sweet, Meggan. She has taken to the Trinity family quite well. She has such a big smile on her face when she is doing her jig step and it reminds me so much of when I was taking Irish Dance as a young girl. Below is a picture of me competing at feis in June 1981. Good times. And now I will get to do the same things with Meg that my mom did with me.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Amazing...


Once again our amazing photographer pulls thru with incredible shots of Jack and Ally. Yes, I am anal with getting the kids pictures done, but you know what my kids are worth it! :)

Jenny really knows how to capture them too. These pictures were just done today and she sent me a few to get a feeling for how they look. INCREDIBLE!!! I know they are my kids, so of course I think they are great, but seriously tell me they are not cute. HA! And she even took some pics of Meg in this adorable hat! Hats off to you Jenny Tabbert. You are an amazing artist.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Always good times in Madison...


This weekend we went to visit Aunt Kathleen and Uncle Stan in Madison, WI. It is alway an adventure when we take our trips there. We are very open to doing whatever festival, show, etc. that Kathleen has found. Over the years we have gone to see the Circus, Alpaca show, Kites on Ice Festival, Snow Festival, Dog shows and the list goes on.

This year we decided to check out the Winter Festival that was being talked about. We were going to do the circus too, but unfortunately we couldn't because Meg had Irish Dance lessons today that we had to be home for. At the winter festival we (Stan, Chad and Ally excluded) tried out snowshoes. That was definitely something different. And then while in the snowshoes we used Hula Hoops. There are 2 things that you would never expect to do together. HA! The kids and I also got to go tubing down a man made snow hill. What was cool about the day was that it was snowing throughout the day. It was a nice pretty snow that did not bug us one bit. We also go to make some snowballs and throw them at Uncle Stan. :)

Our weekends with Aunt Kathleen and Uncle Stan are always so much fun and relaxing. And of course it wouldn't be a weekend there without the girls trying on Aunt Kathleen's wedding dress. And then Uncle Stan's Russian hat. Too funny.

To see more pictures from our weekend click here.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Oh Ally...



WOW! What can I say. This is what Ally picked out to wear today. Really? Not sure where she is getting her dressing sense from, but she sure had her Dad and I laughing this morning. Of course she agreed that she would not wear this out in public since A) IT IS COLD OUTSIDE!! and B) People would probably think I am crazy letting my kid dress like this. But, I am thankful she wants to dress herself and be independent like this. :)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

All about Jack


It is hard for us to believe that sweet Jack, our first born, our only boy, the big brother and by far the best snuggler is 6 today. Where has the time gone? It truly feels like just yesterday when my water broke and I called my mom at 4am to say "Uh I think I am in labor." We are so proud of who he is growing up to be and how much he takes care of his sisters. Especially Ally whether she likes it or not. Here are just a few of my favorite memories with him:

- The way he uses his long lashes to give you butterfly kisses.
- How he says he will always take care of his mom even when she is old.
- How protective he is of his sister and making sure they don't get hurt, yet then turning around and wrestling them to the ground.
- How from day 1 he has always been a snuggle bug.
- How much he loves being Sox's "owner"
- Last Christmas when he snuck downstairs and opened up quite a few christmas gifts that were not his. But they were the biggest presents he saw.
- The excitement in his face when he has mastered something new from school.
- The thrill of making goals and hitting a baseball over and over again.
- When he is laying in bed and he says in the sweetest sadest voice "I miss Nama!"
- All the balloons from his own birthdays that he has wanted to send to Auntie Meggan and GG in heaven.
- The freckles, oh the freckles I love them to death! And how he laughs when I say I am going to scrub the freckles off of his face.
- His excitement in seeing Obama's house this past summer
- His anticipation and questions of what it will be like to go to Disney World this summer
- His excitement at making his sister a valentine's card this year made out of hearts he made all on his own.

We look forward to the many more years of birthday seasons and we are so glad you were born. You are a shining star in our eyes and will always be! Love ya bud!