Sunday, May 30, 2010
The afternoon Josh and the older three spent at the Cubs/Cardinals game. They enjoyed spending their day in Cardinals attire and getting reaction from a few Cubs fans and high fives from other Cardinals fans. Jackson managed to get a foul ball which he has in his pocket right now (and also put on his Cardinals shirt from yesterday). So I'm thinking it's fair to say the day was a hit with him. I hung out at the hotel with the littlest boys where Emmett and I played "cars" and Owen had a napping/nursing fest.
Today we are heading to American Girl and going to finally eat out (can you believe we made it until today!?). I think we're seeking out a Giordano's for some deep dish pizza. If there's time we might stop by a nature center on the way out of town, but we're hoping to hit the road in the early afternoon and be home sometime later tonight.
One of the funniest things about this trip has been Jackson's need to have a clean hotel room. He wanted everything off the floor at all times. I would make a dirty laundry pile and turn around and discover it thrown up on the couch. Or he would push things up against the wall to make sure the main area was clear of stuff. He LOVES hotel rooms and hotel pools (he's scared of Grandpa and Grandma's). Truly we could have just stayed in the room all day, ate the free breakfast, and swam in the pool and ALL the kids would have been more than thrilled. Slap the name ~*vacation*~ anything and they are on cloud nine. ;o)
I'll be back sometime in the next few days with pictures! Until then~
Friday, May 28, 2010
Things that went right today:
Room darkening curtains keeping all kids asleep until 7:00 a.m. (a record I'm sure!)
Awesome full out breakfast that I didn't have to prepare
A sweet and simple 1/2 hour drive to our destination
$16 for the parking garage--$16 WELL SPENT!
Free admission to The Museum of Science and Industry (this place is AWESOME, I very, very highly recommend it!)
A picnic lunch out front and discovering seagulls really like Pringles
A quick little jaunt over to The Field Museum, another free admission and $16 for parking
A little stroll along Lake Michigan
And 45 minutes to get back to the hotel
*sigh* THIS was how yesterday SHOULD have gone. ;o) The kids are getting in their swim time with Daddy and then it's off to bed, and I'm enjoying a few moments of quiet and a cup of tea. Yay vacation!! ;o)
Thursday, May 27, 2010
We left around 1 a.m. The kids were beyond giddy with excitement, but they did go back to sleep, and even I caught a few winks in the van. Josh did well driving through the wee morning hours, and the cool thing about leaving at this time--no traffic. ;o) We stopped around 8 a.m. in Rock Falls, IL and made use of the picnic tables in front of a Dairy Queen for our breakfast. (There was a detour so we weren't traveling on a road with rest stops . . . which would have been preferred over the Dairy Queen, but oh well). I drove for about an hour afterwards, Josh napped a bit. We got into our hotel just after 10 a.m. And YAY! our room was ready for us (check-in is technically 3 p.m.) so we got our stuff unloaded, had our lunch and mapped out our day.
The Museum of Science and Industry
What Actually Went Down:
Getting INTIMATELY acquainted with Chicago's rail system
Rather than drive to the heart of Chicago and pay lots of money to park our vehicle we thought it would be a great experience to "take the 'L." Well, we did get an experience.
1) Every employee will give you a different set of directions
2) Families of seven with strollers don't typically ride the rails
3) The elevators between floors smell like urine REALLY bad (like worse than the building at the Children's Zoo that has the naked mole rats bad)
4) Our hotel was a LONG ways away from the museum--2 hours each way
5) After an afternoon of trying to keep my kids away from the edge--and what I envisioned to be a certain plummet onto the tracks of an oncoming train--I am a nervous wreck
6) I can nurse a baby just about anywhere now
7) Josh and I have great senses of humor--because if we didn't I think we both might have been in tears to discover ourselves *somewhere* in the midst of Chicago after getting off the train with what Josh claimed was "6 blocks" of walking . . . let's just say that after a mile and a half we were not even close to our destination.
New Family Phrases:
"We should have Garmin'd ourselves," said by me in reference to the GPS we left back at the hotel when we found ourselves *somewhere* in the midst of Chicago.
"Everybody huddle 'round," said by Josh as we gathered around Emmett to give him some privacy because he had to "go" BAD and we were again *somewhere* in the midst of Chicago. At least there's a lot of us--we formed a complete circle, which I'm sure didn't look the least bit suspicious. ;o)
Nope, we didn't quite make it to the museum today. After about three hours of trying to get there we decided to admit defeat.(Which was a hard thing to admit after devoting the good part of a day to trying to get there). It took us two hours to get back. But the good news we DID make it back--which counts for something, right? ;o) And we're resilient--we'll be trying again tomorrow, with van and GPS in tow--and I vow, we will prevail!!!
(and as a sidenote, I have the best little baby in the world--just one 10 minute melt-down through all of that!)
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
I'm taking a bit of a "procrastination pause" in my preparations for our quickly approaching trip that the posse and I are about to be departing for. (and I just spent way too much time trying to fit a whole bunch of "p" words in there because I have a "thing" for alliterations) ;o)
The majority of the grocery shopping is done. I have great plans for "hotel assembled meals" (like shredded bbq chicken we heat up and eat on buns and soft shell tacos--the meat also just in need of a heat-up). That'll save us from eating out too often. It probably sounds like a lot of extra work for a vacation, but this is actually FUN for me. I love mapping everything out and planning what we will need. Strange but true.
I've printed off lots of Toy.Story coloring pages for the boys and "note reading" worksheets for the girls (I'm sure they'll be pumped!). ;o) I'm hoping to teach them piano this summer and thought they could get a bit of a jump on that.
I'm anxiously awaiting an Amazon order for myself with some vacation reading. I have been stalking the "track your packages" page daily for these two books:
They're coming in separate packages, and I dearly hope they arrive tomorrow. Otherwise I'll be so sad. I think I have a hold on something still at the library though (I believe it is something Mar.tha Stewart-ish on home organization . . . not something I really want to think about on vacation, but might have to if Amazon doesn't come through for me). ;o)
Oh, and we have a baby birdie! I'll get all my nest pictures posted sometime--there ended up being two eggs, so we're still awaiting the other hatching. We have had so much fun getting front row seats to this whole process.
Well, that's all for now . . . so much more to do. And a vehicle to license. Yippee. Off I go!
Saturday, May 22, 2010
~ Sitting--it's not "official" yet, but he can "tripod" quite nicely ;o)
~ Sippy cup exploration (it's just water)--he loves to chew on that spout
~Honing his drooling skills
~Earning a few new nicknames like "Sharky," "Piranha," and "Chomper"
(seriously I'm thankful he doesn't have teeth yet--although perhaps he's working on it--but he's got quite the jaws, take my word for it!)
~He's well insulated ;o)
~While sleeping (in a swing or wherever) he likes to find something to smash his face up against and pretend he's nursing (melts my heart)
~He also likes to pull on his ears while he nurses--it looks painful--but apparently he finds it comforting (reminds me of Isabella's hair twirling)
~He's a big "patty cake" fan, especially when we "throooooow it in the oven"
~He also likes a little ditty the girls chant at him "You think I'm funny-funny, You think I'm fine, You think I'm funny-funny-funny-funny-funny-funny-funny-funny, YEAHHHHH!" (perhaps it's all those "f" sounds, but it never fails to elicit a smile)
And THAT sums up life as he knows it! ;o)
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
(and all three are available at the local library)
I'm trying to make a more concentrated effort in reading aloud to my boys, sometimes I'm on a roll, and sometimes . . . yeah. When the girls were little I was so good about this, and now I'm hit or miss. Right now I just have two simple goals, 1) To read a chapter a day from WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS (my country school teacher read this aloud to our class when I was a girl and it remains today one of my most vivid memories of that classroom) 2) Spend 15 minutes (minimum) reading to the boys books at their level.
And as far as encouraging my girls to read for pleasure we have lots of options:
1) They are getting paid in the form of their own personal Barnes & Noble gift card--Marissa gets $1 for every 100 pages read, Isabella gets $1 for every 50 pages read from May 15-August 15. And then we get to go shop for new books. ;o)
2) Barnes & Noble also has their own book club, read 8 books and get a book free (have to be going into 1st grade though) . . . go here and click on "download passport"
3) Local library summer reading program . . . go here
I asked Josh if I could have a summer reading program too, you know, in the form of some Amazon credit. ;o) He said he would pay me $10 every week I DIDN'T read. So much for that idea . . . :oP
Monday, May 17, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
On Mother's Day I was pondering my past Mother's Days, trying to think--did I have a picture to document each one? And my mind drifted back four years to a Mother's Day that is lacking a picture, the one of me in a hospital gown, tubing running from various places, my head in bandages, my hair I'm assuming "askew". The Mother's Day where I was in Los Angeles and my kids were in Nebraska. On that day our friends Erik and Alicia, (who live out in LA) stopped by with their little girls, bringing me an ice cream sundae from Mc.Donald's. It was the first day food had sounded good again and I REALLY liked that ice cream.
I wish I had a picture though . . . at the time it was the furthest thought from my mind (and I most likely would have run from a camera had the opportunity presented itself). But now I look back and my mind fogs a bit--I wish there was a picture of me all "gross" because whether I looked pretty or not, it's part of my story. It's a good lesson for me--and maybe all women in general--that we shouldn't hide from cameras because we think we're too fat, we're wearing our "scruffies", or we have no make-up on. Life is good and bad, and I dare not leave a legacy to my kids of a mom who was always "put together." I hope they know I was a real person. I'm sure some day when I'm gone they'd like to find a few pictures with me in them. ;o)
~~~ This picture was around a week and a half past surgery. We went to Santa Monica Pier because I was craving a cheese steak like you wouldn't believe. We researched it online and discovered where we could find a tasty one. It was cold that day and as we pulled up to park the car a big ol' clump of hair fell out of my head. It REALLY was a bad hair YEAR . . . first thyroid hair loss, then the spot they shaved for surgery, then stress-induced alopecia that I had to have steroid shots for in my scalp. When I look at this picture, I remember all those things. But especially the awesome cheese steak. ;o) ~~~
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Friday, May 7, 2010
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Monday, May 3, 2010
What nine months of toys being thrown down the stairs looks like while being repaired:
Reading time with Rissy: