Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Rest of Our Summer

So after we got home from Utah we got to hang out with dad for a few weeks. He initially tried to go back to work a few days after we got home but they sent him home and told him he couldn't come back... and who is going to argue with that??
So we took advantage of our extra dad time and played a little. We made a trip to the zoo (which is pretty much a weekly thing for us but with dad its better)

If you ever get the chance to get passes to a zoo that isn't very far from you, I highly suggest it. We have explored so many nooks and crannies of our zoo that we never would have if we didn't have passes. Having passes really allows you to slow down and see all the little things... and the little things have turned in to our favorite things. It also allows you to just play while you're there.

 and to make friends with the local peacocks...
 He was literally eating out of our hands..

We spent a day at the Indiana dunes and it was THE COOLEST!

 For those of you who (like me prior to moving here) don't know what "The Dunes" are, its basically just a bunch of giant sand dunes on the beach of Lake Michigan. I dare say this beach rivals most beaches Ive been to in California.

We also took a day and went in to the city. We stopped at this ridiculous giant McDonalds for lunch and then spent a few hours on the Magnificent Mile where we saw the American Girl Doll store (crazy. just crazy) and the Lego store!! 

Then we headed to the other side of town where we went to the Maggie Daley park....

I honestly have never seen anything like this park. It was hands down the COOLEST park I have ever had the pleasure to observe. The best part about it was that we were there on a school day and it had stopped raining just a few minutes before we got there so the park was essentially empty. My kids had free rain of the entire gigantic place! They had wet bums from the rain on the slides but it was totally worth it.

After the park we walked across the street and spent a few minutes at The Art Institute (yes... wet bums and all... we are very classy) We didn't spend an overwhelming amount of time there because... well because three kids but it was very cool and Id love to go back one day without the kids so I can spend more time.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

So.... heres some news... Andrew had his surgery! Crazy right?! It finally happened in August and Andrew is doing fantastic! It has already done so much for him. Im SO excited for him and to see the changes as he recovers.

The whole family got to go out with him to Utah for the surgery (thanks to Papa who wouldn't  even hear about us staying behind)  Sadly (or as usual??) I didn't get many pictures but as always, my kids were in cousin heaven and thought the entire thing was a big party.

The kids missed their dad like crazy for the couple of days he was in the hospital and were really worried about him. Pep couldn't have been more happy about getting to snuggle with him during his visits.  Luckily he only had to stay a few days and then he got to come back to Nana's house with us.
 We got to spend some good quality time with the cousins before their school year started and of course we had to take a trip up to the crystal pits.

  Thats its... those are all the pics I got from our two week trip to Utah. And this one of Pep getting snuggled up on the plane for the ride home. My kids are amazing on airplanes. I love them for it.

 And this is what the girl looked like for days after we got home. She missed her puppy a lot.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Lets Take it Back to July

Before I begin this post I need to preface. I need to preface and apologize. I have to be in a certain mood to blog. I HATE blogging when Im not in that mood. I struggle with words and the post ends up boring and kind of depressing with absolutely no creativity. I, currently am not in the mood to blog. I haven't been in the mood to blog for a very long time though and my posts are piling up (like they always do) and I missing so many moments I want to remember. So here is my apology: Im sorry. Im sorry if you are reading this cause Its going to be boring and less than entertaining.
Here goes...
One time, Andrew spoiled me. Ok... not one time... lots of times. But this particular time was in July and guess what he did? He bought us tickets to a Barcelona vs. Chelsea game. They were both touring the U.S. and so he splurged and got us ticket to the game as well as train tickets and a hotel in Washington D.C.  Thats right, we rode the train (through the Appalachians) to D.C. to see my absolute favorite soccer team play against one of the teams I simply hate.
The train ride was magnificent. I tried over and over again to take a picture that would do the Appalachians some kind of justice... it was in vain. Those mountains were absolutely gorgeous and SO different than the mountains I am used to in the west. Ive never seen trees and vines like that.
We shared our train car with lots and lots of Amish people and we got to meet people and see so many things that we never have before.
At dinner one night we shared our table with a man... Hold up I have to explain this man to you. You know that show Armageddon? And the HUGE black guy on it? ... This guy was like his clone. He was one of the biggest human beings I have ever seen. His shoulders were so wide and large that when he sat down his shoulders bumped the other man that was sharing his side of the table but there was ample space between them on the actual bench. He was exceptionally quite and was staring at the ceiling though most of the meal. While the rest of us shared in casual conversation, he never said a word. The meal was almost over and I couldn't bare to let him leave without saying anything to him. Some how I opened up a conversation with him. I can't even remember how, I just know I asked him a question and when he responded I was surprised to find that he had a New York accent so thick I struggled to understand him. He told us his story. He grew up in the Bronx and got in with the wrong crowd. He decided he had to make a huge change or end up in a life he didn't really want. So, he joined the Marines. He spent the next 12 years of his life in and out of deployment serving in the middle east  5 times for a total of over 2 and a half years in Afghanistan and Iraq. When he retired from the military he got in to the oil industry and began working on big oil rigs "swinging a hammer and cussing (his fellow workers) each other out" (See he really is the Armageddon dudes clone) He explained to us that just a few days before boarding the train we were on (heading to Pennsylvania where he will spend the winter on a rig)  He had sent a letter to the White House. He has spent years fighting for his military compensation and wasn't receiving any.
It was completely fascinating to listen to his story. I love that. I love when complete strangers share little pieces of their lives with me. And Im angry. Im angry and embarrassed that someone who devoted so many years to our country has been tossed aside. How often does this happen?

It was a party spending a week in D.C. Just me and Andrew (Andrews parents were So awesome and stayed with our kids) This was our first real trip away from our kids and Im not going to lie, I was a nervous wreck about leaving them but it was SO good to be able to just hang out with my best pal (AKA Andrew)
We decided that instead of renting a car, we would just take our bikes and see the sights  and city that way. It. Was. So. Fun! Although it did require that we pack extremely light because we had to carry everything we had on our backs from the train station to our hotel. It was worth it though. It was so convenient and cheap and it really was just fun. I forgot how much I like biking.
D.C. was gorgeous. We saw Arlington (which was probably my favorite sight. There is SO much I didn't know about that place) We saw Lincoln, Washington, Kennedy and Einstein memorials. We went to The Smithsonian (which is actually like 15 different museums all under the same name) We went to the zoo ... which was way fun but what was even cooler was the bike ride there. I couldn't decide if I was in the Amazon or if I was in D.C. I have never seen so much green, leafy, viney stuff in my life. It was awesome! Plus the zoo had elephants so....

Barcelona had an open training session the day before the game so I made Andrew take me, of course. I think I might have enjoyed the training session even more than the game itself. It was much more personal. There were probably a couple hundred fans there (vs. 80,000 at the game.) and it was fun to see the players just hang out and show their personalities. Pique (a defender) spent a great deal of his time trying to peg people in the stands with balls. By the end of the training session about 3/4 of their balls had been lost to the crowd as a result.
The game was awesome. It was held in the Redskins stadium and was sold out. It was pretty incredible and even though the game wasn't overly serious (doesn't have anything to do with their actual record) it was fun to watch the players just enjoy playing and not stressing over a win.
Last but not least we found the best hamburgers known to man. If you ever go to D.C. and want to know how to find them, let me know ;)


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

My Boys

My AnDee is adorable. She says the cutest and most sweet things you will ever hear. I love chatting with her. She is mature and articulate and I can hold adult conversations with her... and it freaks me out a little.
My boys however are still in that stage where they say funny/awkward/strange things all day every day. From Pep laughing, pointing and yelling "Mom! look at that girl! She looks so funny! All fat in that BIG flower swimming suit!" (the girl was standing literally 10 feet from him) to Isaac  whispering "ooo! Alligators in there!" every time we pass a pond... which is often because we live in Illinois and there are ponds approximate every half mile.
I used to blog about all the little cute things AnDee would say and I don't do that with my boys. It makes me sad really. When I go back and read the things that AnDee would say, it brings back the whole memory. I remember where we were and who we were with and what she looked like. I don't want to miss that with my boys. I need to do better... as always.
So here are a few for the books.
Ike loves to eat dirt. Ever since  my mom gave him his alter ego name (Larry) he thinks its hilarious to tell us "Im Larry! I eat dirt!!!" 
This is the conversation I over heard him having with his dad
Andrew: "Ike, don't eat dirt. Its yucky."
Ike: "No it's not, its yummy!"
Andrew: "No. Its yucky"
Ike: No its not Dad. Its yummy. Im serious."
He is serious about a lot these days.

All of my kids are obsessed with the movie  Pete's Dragon. My boys however, are convinced its called "Pete the dragon" and that Pete is the dragons name and not the boys. We have had many arguments about this... the boys always win.

Another one of there favorites (which confuses the heck outta me cause I find it very unappealing) Is Puss N Boots. Around here though it is called "Cat in boots" which, lets be honest, its a way better name.

Ike has a strange reaction to the word "no" Whenever it is said, he compulsively responds with a very excited and slightly whiney sounding "PLEASE?!" 
Andrew was having a conversation with Pep a few days ago and Pep asked a question to which Andrew's response was "no" Suddenly, Ike, who had had no part in the conversation up to this point chimes in with a very loud "PLEASE?!" 
It's a little annoying but mostly its funny.

On the way home from church last week Andrew and I were talking when Pep interrupted me with a question (like he usually does. He is in that phase where he needs to know everything about everything) 
This is what I heard: "Mama? How do you tease girls?"
So I repeated the question back to him thinking it was an odd question. "No" he said, and then he repeated the question again.
This is what Andrew heard: "How do teeth grow?"
So he repeated the question and again we were wrong. Pep tried again
This is what I heard: "How does cheese grow"
Wrong again.
Finally after Pep tried very hard to slow down and annunciate so that the old deaf people could actually understand, I got it. The real question was "How do trees grow?" Which was followed up by "How do flowers grow?" and "How does grass grow?"
Once we understood the theme, it was much easier to understand him.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The 4th

Oh Independence Day, how I love you!
The 4th is my absolute favorite holiday. I am a summer girl through and through. I love heat and sunshine and being outdoors. One of my favorite things about summer is that you can be outside at night and it is still warm enough to wear shorts or splash in a pool. There is something seriously magical and electric about summer evenings. And while most of my 4th's have been spent at my absolute favorite place in the word (Flaming Gorge of course) and it makes me a little sad that we had to miss out on that this year (ok, a lot sad) our Independence Day weekend ROCKED this year. It was seriously SO STINKING FUN!

We kicked things off with a White Sox game on Friday evening.. Im not a baseball fan. Notice how I didn't say "Im not MUCH of a baseball fan"?.... that is because I am NOT a baseball fan. It bores me. Im sorry if this offends you but my mind has been tuned in to soccer for a lot of years and baseball just doesn't give me the high that soccer does. However, this game was a blast! The game didn't have much to do with the fun we had. It was being out on a summer night wearing festive 4th of July tattoos, watching thousands of crazy people, buying traditional baseball game foods and wondering around the stadium. The highlight of the night was definitely the fireworks after. Honestly probably the single coolest firework show I have ever seen. My kids eyes lit up with that magical look that only fireworks bring out in kids and it was just a really unforgettable awesome experience. It made for a REALLY late night but my kids were angels the entire time and went to bed as happy as could be.

The next day we spent in a neighboring town watching a hot air baloon launch and eating carnival foods. We ditched the place a little early because the crowds were starting to wear on us but on our way out, as the sun was setting, the lightening bugs came out so we stopped to catch us some of those awesome little bugs. I honestly think my favorite part about Illinois might be the lightening bugs. They are magical (apparently this was a "magical" weekend? Sorry Im not better with descriptive words?) It is THE coolest thing to walk through the woods and see them twinkling everywhere! Oh my... I love those little bugs.
 AnDee and I were SUPER festive and dyed our hair red with kool-aid.... That was suppose to wash out within two weeks... Its not washing out.

Sometimes when he says "cheese" it looks more like he is snarling..
After the bug catching we made it home in time to sit on our deck and watch all of our neighbors set of their fireworks.

We ended the weekend with a trip to the Kankakee river. We played in the water, caught toads, saw turtles and a beaver, took a nap in the woods.... and got eaten alive by mosquitos despite our bugspray covered bodies. The bites were worth it though. It was one of the best weekends we have had in a really long time. It makes me happy just thinking about it.