Friday, August 30, 2013

Quick visit to Chicago

Nancy and Rick have a time-share condo in Chicago and they invited us to go with them and Michael & Tiffany.  We happily accepted but then I had major doubts after trying to get 5 people to go 3 different ways and arranging times and transportation details and pet care... once we were on the way, driving down the toll road, it was worth it!  Chicago is such a fun place to visit.  We got there early afternoon on Friday and walked all over the place.  We went to Millennium Park first and saw The Bean.

See us?

Then we walked around the park for a while and saw the outdoor concert area and a cool outdoor restaurant.  We continued walking down Michigan and went into a few shops that we normally wouldn't even think about if the kids were with us because of the amount of complaining that would be heard.  We made our way over to Willis Tower to go up and see the glass deck they recently put in but there was a 2-hour wait and that would have run into the time that we were supposed to meet everybody else.  So we took our time walking back, stopped for some chocolate and people-watched for a while. 

Once we met up with everyone else we relaxed for a bit, had a beverage and then walked to Miller's Pub for dinner. They have good food and a great atmosphere!

It was a long noisy night with a holey air mattress, but I got to see the sunrise and it was beautiful!  (Of course pictures never do it justice)

After brunch at Houlihan's, we got a tip-off from a stranger in the elevator that the Transformers cars were at a nearby location so we headed over there to check them out.  We were rounding a corner and three of them drove right in front of us...

They are filming the 4th Transformers movie in Chicago . 

We had to leave shortly after that and as soon as we got back into town it was back to the usual craziness.  We picked up Meredith from the parish picnic, made arrangements for Lyndsay and Grace to stay where they were while we worked the parish picnic.  We ran home to drop our things and pick up Sarah before heading back to the parish picnic to work our scheduled shift in the really hot kitchen serving chicken dinners :)  After our shift we ran home just for a bit and then I ran Sarah to a theatre to watch her friends in a Shakespeare performance.  Pajamas and a comfy place to sit never sounded so good! 

It was a lot of fun and I am thankful we got to enjoy different scenery even for a short time.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Backyard camping

I am not a camper.  Let's just get that straight.  I think we went camping once or twice when I was growing up but I was too young to remember it.  I love nature and all, but I will take a bed to sleep on, thank you. 

The kids wanted to do backyard camping for a while so this summer we decided it was time to fulfill that wish.  Thanks to Pinterest, I found some cool ideas like tacos in a bag, a nature scavenger hunt, and a jug filled with water with a headlamp that makes a great light.  We had a fire for s'mores and to keep us warm.  It got down to about 51 that night - brrr.  (It's funny, if we hit 51 degrees in March we are all wearing shorts and tank tops!)

Anyway, there were bubbles and a short volleyball game.  We played Uno at bedtime and then read some stories from Encyclopedia Brown - remember those?!  It was cozy...7 people (and a dog) in a 6 person tent...

We lasted until somewhere around 1:30 a.m.  I woke up and could not go back to sleep.  As much as I love listening to the bugs, I just couldn't fall asleep and it was pretty chilly with only one blanket.  Then I heard someone else sit up and then someone else rustled.  Most of us went inside for more comfortable accommodations.  I assumed Meredith would come in if not then, soon after.  When we got up in the morning, we realized both Lyndsay and Meredith made it all night!  Wow - they are true campers in my book.  But like they said, once everybody left, they had all kinds of blankets and plenty of room. :)

I'm glad we tried it and maybe next year this could become a tradition with Dad!!


Thursday, August 15, 2013


We celebrated our 17th anniversary Saturday, the 10th.  We enjoyed the whole day - Farmer's Market, lunch and walking at Notre Dame with Sarah.  The girls were at a friend's house and Josh had a friend at our house.  Then we went shopping and had Chinese for dinner, and finished the evening sitting outside at the South Bend Chocolate Cafe sipping a Lake Effect Mocha.  Aren't we big partiers?!  

These next photos are not from Notre Dame - I don't remember where the flower is from and the fence is from Reins of Life.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Ready or not...

Today was the first day of school for the high schoolers and the home schoolers.  We got pictures done today - I guess I was more than ready for that since I didn't get any last year. 

The experienced sophomore...

The fresh freshman...

The middle schooler...

The fourth grader...

The second grader...

The high schoolers...

The home schoolers...

It was a good first day for all. 

I found an apple at my place this morning left by a sweet fourth grader :) 

The girls seemed happy about their new daily schedules and, they are all happy (what?!) about the new chore chart.  They are all much busier with this new chart than with the old one.  We'll see how long the excitement lasts. 

On a side note, I'm so happy to have found Heather - she makes me laugh maybe even harder than Eric :)  Or maybe I'm just feeling so loopy by the time I read her blog (usually in the evening).  She is the best storyteller!

Friday, August 9, 2013

We love the beach!

We try to hit the beaches a handful of times every summer and our new favorite is Weko Beach in Bridgman, MI.  It's just so much more peaceful than Silver Beach, cleaner than New Buffalo and less distance to walk than Tower Hill which is a factor I take seriously since I'm usually carrying most everything.  We went two days apart last week and the difference was amazing.  The first day we went it was in the evening and the water was so calm.  There wasn't much of a breeze and it was actually somewhat chilly, but still comfortable.  There was constant cloud cover except for the time when we only got to see the sun's rays.  We stayed for 5 hours. 

When we went two days later, in the morning, there was a constant brisk breeze and the waves were the biggest I had seen in a long time.  The kids couldn't really go out past their waist because they were getting knocked over pretty easily.  I think there was enough sand in the van to refill the sand box!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Last minute bucket list

I thought I was being so relaxed by having only 2 things on my mental summer bucket list.  I accomplished those 2 things quickly and was feeling good about that.  Now that school starts in less than 2 weeks, I'm thinking of some other things I'd really like to get done.  I had a goal at the beginning of the year to print pictures for each month on the 1st day of the next month (or whatever Saturday came first).  Here we are in July, and I just uploaded and ordered prints today for March. 

I used to scrapbook Creative Memories-style but I simply don't have that kind of time anymore.  I don't know how I ever had time for that really.  Now there is something called Project Life which is awesome.  You can still put together cute scrapbooks in much less time.  So that's what I'm trying to work on now.  I'll feel good if I can get 2012 in the book before school starts - sheesh!

Maybe I'll just go kick that bucket...list.