Thursday, October 28, 2010

Gabe's Self Portrait

I painted our mudroom door with chalkboard paint, which apparently is a big hit. Gabe took the opportunity to draw a life-size self portrait, which of course makes the artist in me very proud.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Back in the Studio

Ann's studio, that is... We got our annual pictures taken a week or so ago, this time with Kate and T-bear in tow, but no daddies. The kids were quite squirrely, but luckily Ann is a quick shot and she got some really fun images of the three of them. Check it out if you want to see:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

School and other stuff

Gabe took another step toward big-kid-dom with the start of preschool Sept 1. He is adjusting well and seems to really love it. Here's a shot of him on the first day -- doesn't he look old?!?!

Since Gabe gets to do something new and fun, I thought Claire should have something special to look forward to as well, so we signed her up for her first dance class. She loves to put on her special "dancy skirt" and twirl around with her friends Sylvia and Phoenix who are also in her class. In this picture she is showing me "passe" while eating a breadstick.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Trey's birthday!

Little Mister T-Bear turned One this week! The Traynors and Heckers (plus a few other special peeps) got together at Kate and Huck's new house to celebrate the big milestone on Sunday.

I had the honor of making his first cake, which I made as a banana-flavored monkey cake for the littlest monkey in the crew. He got lots of new clothes and a big fun truck that the other kids all wanted to take away from him. I don't think Gabe and Claire or Morgan and Sydney think Trey is big enough to be playing with toys that they themselves like!

It was a lot of fun, even when Trey took a nap in the middle of the party to recharge. You can view more here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Busier than Bees

Boy, has the last month flown by. We've been up to all sorts of stuff, which is best described by the photos Jilly has posted of our adventures:

* July brought us on a road trip (no kids) with Ian and Monika to Toronto and Niagara Falls, Canada. More fun than one would think possible in just 4 short days. Photos Here:

* Then two weekends later Erin and Adam
were home for a couples' shower, 'Sconnie-style. (Think lots of relatives at an outdoor picnic with yard games, followed by the first 4-wheeler ride for the boy from Cali! (In this photo I think Hucky is giving Adam tips on living with a Traynor...)

Two weeks after that was the big event of the summer, our trip to Colorado for Erin & Adam's beautiful mountaintop wedding. It was sooo gorgeous and so much fun to be part of! They are truly blessed to be loved by so many amazing people. I already can't wait till their next major life milestone to hang out with all their loved ones again. Our batch of the photos are here, with lots more found elsewhere (like on my facebook page):

* And just last weekend we had some fun at the County Fair:

Luckily, we plan to spend the remainder of the summer enjoying some much-needed R&R within our own backyard (or the near vicinity at least!)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Wedding Wardrobe Preview

Gabe's tux and Claire's sash came in the mail today for their upcoming roles as flowergirl and ringbearer in Erin's wedding in August. I couldn't resist trying them on to see if everything fit, and then of course posting a picture of their adorableness. I think it is cool (and also a little weird) that this is Gabe's third tux in his 4 years of life.Trey will be sporting Gabe's first tux as the second ringbearer. Watch out, Nini! Your little people might steal the show come wedding day!

Ducky Tub Revival

The ducky tub is making its third go-round as the tub of choice for 6 to 12 month old Traynor cousins. Did you know you can fit 2 kids in it as long as they are not actually in the bathtub with water?

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Another milestone -- Gabe can ride a bike with no training wheels! I was making dinner, and when I came out to check on them, he was tooling around the garage doing big loops without falling down (or slowing down hardly!) When I asked him how he figured it out, he said "I just thought about it and then I did it." However it happened, we couldn't be prouder of his big accomplishment. Check it out:

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Mudcakes (aka Waffles)

A rainy day doesn't keep our spirits down. Gabe and Claire (who was decked out in her cupcake dress in honor of her birthday) pulled on their rain boots and went outside to enjoy the weather. While I was watching, they were running in and out of the garage to get dripped on. When I went inside to make dinner, they started making mudcakes. Yes, in the cupcake princess dress. When I went back to check on them, Claire was a muddy mess. Oops. She offered me one of her creations and said "Here Mama - it's waffles."

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Princess Cupcake Turns 2!

This morning we celebrated Claire's second birthday in the royal treatment fitting of a Princess Cupcake. Most of the family was on hand to shower Claire with love, presents and cake. The Dora-themed decorations and strawberry-themed food were perfectly complimented by a wide range of gifts relating to Dora, princesses, and other things suitably girly. Check out the festivities on both Jesse's and Katherin's picasa web albums.

Gotta love our sweet Clairey Berry! Can't believe our baby is now 2, though it is so fun to have two "little big kids" that I don't miss their babyhood much. Plus I can get my baby fix through snuggles with Trey and Ruby. :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Luck O' the Irish

Happy St Patrick's Day from the Gilles Wee Ones!

We got an early start to celebrating our Irishness at dinner last night with Nani & Baa before they head to Milwaukee today to celebrate the next step in the Hecker's future (Kate's residency match is announced tomorrow.) I made potato & leek soup and homemade Soda Bread, with the adults enjoying a Guinness or Smithwicks and the kiddos some frosted shamrock sugar cookies.
Glad that we had leftovers to enjoy again today!

The kids still fit in the shirts we got them last year, though they were a bit big last year and a bit small this year. Look how much they've changed since then!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What's for Dinner: something DELICIOUS!

Good Catholics and Global Citizens that we are, Team Gilles has given up meat (in varying increments - Jesse for dinner only; me for the duration) of Lent. This has challenged us to branch out our menu options a bit and look for some new dishes to add to my cooking repertoire. This one that I made tonight was sooo good I just had to share it, great for veggies and meat-eaters alike. Try it and let me know what you think!

Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad
recipe courtesy Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

2 1/2 c cooked quinoa or other small-kernel grain (or 1 c raw)
1 lg or 2 med (about 1#) sweet potatoes
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, & diced
1/4 c minced red onion or shallot
1 avocado, peeled & diced
1/4 c cilantro
1/4 t cayenne, chili powder, or hot pepper flakes
1/4 c EVOO
1 lime

If your quinoa isn't already cooked, cook it. Drain and rinse. Peel the sweet potato and dice into 1/2 inch or smaller pieces. Cook in boiling salted water to cover until tender, about 15 minutes; drain well.

Toss together the potato, quinoa, bell pepper, avocado, cilantro, and onion; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the cayenne/chili powder and toss with the EVOO. Squeeze lime over salad and toss again to coat well. Serve at room temperature.
Serves 4-6, depending on how hungry your eaters are and what sides you eat it with.

We completed the meal with a side of pepper-jack and whole-wheat quesadillas, but it would be equally delicious next to grilled chicken or completely on its own.

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The firefighter/Mario fiend turns FOUR!

This weekend we celebrated Gabe's 4th birthday in a big way. Big as in two parties, 4 cakes, over 20 kids and their parents at Party 1 and 13 loving family members at Party 2. Sledding. New Bikes. And did I mention the cakes were all made from scratch? Yeah. I'm crazy. I make no claims to the contrary. But with a kid this cool, how could I not?
The little firefighters and their folks enjoyed 45 carrot (cup)cakes with brown sugar-cream cheese frosting and orange raw sugar, recipe ala the Whimsical Bakehouse.

And later, for the Super-Mario-themed family party, we
had a yellow cake, covered in yellow chocolate ganache, flanked by gluten-and-dairy-free cupcakes that should have been decorated to be mushrooms had we enough time to add the mushroom spots. Oops. Jesse and I collaborated on this one - Jesse finding Mario and Luigi clip art that he printed and we embedded in the cakes. The cakes and ice cream gave Super-Gabe super-energy to tear through his great new gifts.

Thanks to everyone who was able to attend Gabe's big day and make him feel so loved. He is one lucky guy! To view more of the day's fun, view this Picasa Album.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Long December

The lag in blogging during the month of December happened for many reasons. Mostly, I blame it on the baby -- baby Trey that is! Kate and Trey (and sometimes Huck) lived with us from Thanksgiving through New Year's while Kate did a guest rotation at the U of M, and our days were just too fun-filled (and the nights too short) to get any blogging done. However, I did take a lot of pictures of how much fun the kids had with their cousin - who knew that a 3-month-old could contribute so much to our daily activities? You can view the fun in this picasa web album.

during December we were fortunate to be visited by many of our nearest and dearest - family and friends by the dozen were in the area and stopped by to visit for a few hours to a few days. I have a feeling we'll be doing a lot of driving this spring to reciprocate. Thanks to the out-of-towners (the Enwalds, Rozas's, Atkinsons, Richie, Genzs, Traynor-Herrons, and of course, the Heckers), for braving the drive to see us and for making our Christmas season so Merry and Bright. Also thanks to Nani and Baa and Grandpa and Grandma Gilles for spoiling us with gifts and great eating -- We love you!! Here's some images of the fun we had, including the Christmas Festivities and a few glimpses of the New Year's debauchery. (The picture at the right was taken during a peaceful moment Christmas Eve, before the gift-unwrapping frenzy. Can you believe they could both sit still and look that angelic simultaneously? It was a Christmas miracle.)