Sunday, July 31, 2005
It's a very culturally diverse place. We drove past the Chinese, Greek & Italian sections near downtown. There was actually a Chinese festival that Saturday (but remember we couldn't get a room at the hotel for that extra night).
They had this tribute up at the Chicago Theater.
Here's the fountain at Millenium Park. The park was supposed to open in 2000 (the Millenium) but opened last year (2004). It's a joke in town that the city is always late with stuff they plan.
Here's a sculpture that the locals call "The Bean". It's just south of the fountain in Millenium Park. It's a large piece that is shaped like a lima bean. Can you see the skyline reflection?
Here's a fountain just a short walk from "The Bean". There are actually TWO large rectangular shaped pieces with water cascading down from the top. There's a water retention area that surrounds the two pieces. The kids splash under the cascading water. The parents dip their feet in the retention area.
These are a few art pieces they'v got displayed in Downtown. Can you believe they've placed art amidst all the buildings? It's terrific! That grey piece is a Picasso sculpture.
Here's the skyline as I stood on the jetty. Sears Tower is the tallest building to the left. To the right is Navy Pier.
I was very impressed by everything that I saw. It was a fun place to visit.
We got there and happened to enter the kindergarten class the same time as another Mom with her two kids. Her son "J" was going to be in the kindergarten class.
We met the teacher (Mrs. M). We each took a turn and introduced our children to the teacher.
Mrs. M directed the kids to a couple of the tables that had activities on them. She had us two Moms sit down so she could chat with us about the class.
Mrs. M: "Here's a paper that I need you to read and to sign if you agree to the expectations we have of you."
We both read silently. I sign and hand it to Mrs. M. I then hand her some papers that I take from my purse.
Me: "Here's my daughter's last evaluation from her preschool. I thought it would be something you'd want to take a look at if you have a moment."She takes the papers and reads through them.
Mrs. M: "Oh. Thank you. I appreciate you bringing that for me."
Okay. Some of you might ask WHY I brought the preschool evaluation. The reason? Because it states on there how the Princess is and how she reacts to things. How she retreats into herself when she's overwhelmed by a situation. How she initially does better in small groups. That she is more comfortable with a couple friends instead of a bunch. That she's more comfortable expressing her anxiety to teachers rather than her peers. Things that I don't want to reiterate in front of the Princess but want Mrs. M to be aware of so she understands my daughter.
Mrs. M: "Based upon their birthdays, both your kids will be in the younger kindergarten group. Have either one been in kindergarten before? Or any academic setting?"Once we were finished, Mrs. M told us we were going over to the art/science class. But first she turned to the kids.
J's Mom: "He was at the Learning Academy. They had a phonics program."
Me: "Prin was at X preschool. It was more a socialization type situation versus academic."
J's Mom: "Now what's the difference between the younger and the older kindergarten group?"
Mrs. M: "With the younger kindergarten we start from the very beginning."
J's Mom: "What's the beginning? Alphabet? Numbers? Colors?"
Mrs. M: "Yes. The basic concepts."
J's Mom: "Oh. He knows all that."
Mrs. M: "We start from the beginning. If all the kids know those concepts then we go on. Now if some of the kids need additional help, then they receive individual attention to help them. We don't linger on anything if all the kids already have that knowledge."
J's Mom: "Okay."
Mrs. M: "Now what do you want to be called? By your full name or a nickname?" [she's bent over looking at J]J nods. Mrs. M then turns to my girl.
J's Mom: "J" [she answered for him and gave his full first name]
Mrs. M: "Is that what you want all the kids to call you?" [again she's looking directly at J]
Mrs. M: "Now what do you want to be called?"
Princess: "Prin." [the shortened version of her full name]
Anyway, we finish up with Mrs. M and she takes us over to the art/science teacher (Mrs. F). Mrs. M introduces the Princess and J to Mrs. F.
Mrs. M: "Mrs. F. This is J and Prin. Both of them will be in the younger kindergarten class."
Mrs. F: "Well hello J and Prin. I'm Mrs. F. I'll be teaching you in this classroom. See that board up there with all the apples? Can you find your name on one of the apples?"
The two kids walk over to the board, which is posted about 3 feet off the ground.
Princess: "There's my name!"
Mrs. F: "That's right. There you are."
J is pointing to a name that begins with the letter "j" but it's not his name. His Mom walks over to him and helps him find his name.
J: "There it is!" [pointing to the correct apple]
Mrs. F: "Terrific!"
Me: "There are a LOT of names that begin with the letter j." [there were like EIGHT names]
Mrs. F: "It's the most used letter for first names."
Why did the Mom have to help him find his name? He couldn't find his name? Okay. He could have been nervous in a new setting. But she stated that he knew the alphabet, his numbers, and colors. It was like she wanted him in the older kindergarten class or something. I just found her behavior a bit WEIRD is all.
I'm just glad I did the stand back thing and didn't hover over the Princess. I let her answer any questions directed towards her. I let her soak up the school on her own. Hopefully my hands-off approach allowed my girl to feel comfortable and independent in the new school.
Now, did that Mom seem a little too anxious about pumping up her kid's skills to the teachers? Tell me.
Yes, my favorite pasttime! Ha! We're all going up & have dinner with them.
Here are a couple questions that I've got floating around in my head...
Will it slip that we were in their hometown on a business trip?
Remember how we didn't tell anyone. How we didn't visit ANY relatives?
Will it slip that I went out of town with the Hubs for a week?
We only let them know that my Mom & LilSis would be visiting us.
Will it slip that my folks are now seriously considering buying a house less than 1/4 mile from our house?
But my folks still haven't made a final decision on this.
What is the story with my SIL and the townhouse she's buying?
After that call the other day, we haven't heard a word about what's been going on. Did she get approved for the loan? Did she lose her earnest money? Or did she not qualify?
What's the status on the kitchen remodel at my ILs house?
She's been talking and talking about these for a long time. Has she made any progress to get it started?
Are those wood shutters up yet?
As you recall, she suddenly wanted them for her master bedroom. We haven't heard about her ordering them. Or who she ordered them from.
Has my MIL changed her mind about going on the cruise?
I'm still miffed that she was so negataive about it. Even my Mom was surprised at my MILs reaction to the news. My Mom said she'd go with any decision any of us girls made. I just ADORE my Mommy!
I'm hoping most of these questions will be answered by the end of today...
Friday, July 29, 2005
It's "Meet the Teacher Day!"
The Princess received an invitation to the event. Her main teacher, Mrs. M, addressed it to the Princess so it made her feel special.
I've already gone to the teacher's website. I've printed out the supply list. Now I've got to go shopping!
Now a question for those of you parents who have kids in school:
1. What is most unusual item you've seen on a school supply list?
2. Are the supplies generally for the entire year? or for half?
3. Do you buy the actual brand that is listed? or do you venture to whatever is available?
4. What kind of nutritional snacks do you pack for your child(ren)?
5. For kindergarten, did you buy a regular size backpack or a "small kid" size backpack?
I've already prepped the Princess that we'll be meeting her teacher. She already knows her teacher's name. All she now has to do is meet her teacher and check out the classrooms & playground.
I'm SO excited for the Princess. I know she'll be a little nervous. But I'm sure she's also excited.
We met her main kindergarten teacher ( Mrs. M) and toured the main classroom. We checked out the computer stations. I had to fill out some paperwork, but I was able to give Mrs. M the last evaluation that the Princess received from her preschool. This way Mrs. M would know the Princess' strengths and areas of improvement without me having to SAY stuff in front of my girl. We also met the art/science teacher (Mrs. F) and toured the art/science classroom. Thankfully, we were able to meet another boy and another girl that would be in the Princess' class so she'll have a couple familiar faces for that 1st day of school.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
The Bear was eating his oatmeal at the table when a truck beeped it's horn.
One of those BIG trucks with a loud and low sounding horn.
Bear: "What's at?"
Me: "It's a truck buddy."
I take a gander out the breakfast nook windows in search of the beeping truck.
Me: "I don't see the truck back there."
Bear: "Uh-er sigh house."
Then he stuffs a big spoonful of oatmeal into his mouth and looks at me.
Me: "Oh! You think the truck is on the other side of the house?"
I couldn't believe that he figured out and told me that since we couldn't see the truck on the backside of the house that it would naturally be on the other side. WOW!
It was kind of cool yesterday. Yeah. Right. Cool. The 90s in the shade of the morning, okay?
The kidlings were painting outside. Let me explain. They had paint brushes. They were painting the concrete patio with water. Endless art. Their canvas (the concrete) would refresh itself (the water would evaporate) as soon as they were finished with one slab.
We were out there maybe 45 minutes when I turn to them and see them 'painting' the Red Flyer car.
Me: "What're you two doing?"
Prin: "What does it look like Mom?"
Me: "Well, you both are busy playing together nicely..."
Prin: "Mom! We're working at the CAR WASH!"
You think I should just put a couple sponges and give them a bucket so they can REALLY wash my car?
At the dinner table...
Prin: "Daddy, don't worry about it."
Prin: "It's no problem."
Prin: "Sometimes that's just how things happen."
I don't recall what she was responding to, but I did remember hearing her utter those phrases. The Hubs and I could only look at each other. He then pointed to me (which means she's MY daughter).
20 minutes prior to bedtime.
Me: "Prin, do you want a snack?"
Prin: "No thank you."
I hear the Bear running out from the master bedroom.
Bear: "Nack! Nack! Nack!"
He runs to the nook table and climbs into his chair.
Hmmm...I guess he wants a snack, eh?
We met up with the guys and walked the 1/2 mile to the Aquarium. It was a nice walk. We were able to walk past all the stage equipment that needed to be set up for Lollapalooza. At one point, a couple of the employees at the aquarium put some food (cut up fish) in one tank. It was a feeding frenzy! That was something to see. The highlight for me was the tank that held about 15 jellyfish. The tank had a black surround and was lighted in blue so people could actually SEE all the jellyfish. It was fantastic.
TB got hungry after a bit. We walked about 3/4 of a mile to an Italian cafe. We ate outside and people watched. Of course, the Hubs and TB had to go back for more meetings. TBW and I decided to head out and find the Historical Society Museum.
Getting to the Historical Society was simple enough. But we had no idea of the adventure we'd face. We started up the main street and decided to catch one of the free trolleys instead of walking. We caught the "red triangle" and we got off at the Water Tower, which the northern most point of that trolley's loop.** We checked the signs and had to catch the "purple diamond" to get up to the Historical Society.
TBW: "Hi. When should the purple diamond trolley get here?"
Trolley Stop Guy (TSG): "In about 20 minutes."
Me: "Why don't we head over to that Border's Books across the street and wash up?"
TBW: "Good idea."
We walked into the book store. Found the facilities. Did our business (you know what I mean). And walked out of the book store.
It was dark. So dark that cars had their lights on! We immediately jetted back to the trolley stop.
WHAT THE HELL?
Me: "What happened? It got so dark!"
TSG: "There's a storm a-comin'."
TBW: "But it was just sunny less than 5 minutes ago!"
TSG: "Looks like it's comin' fast."
Me: "Is that normal?"
TSG: "Let me tell ya. When that storm hits, I ain't gonna be standing here. I'm headed over there." [pointing to the covered entry of a hotel across the street]
Not 2 minutes after that conversation....CRACK! BOOM!
There was thunder and lightening. Then the rain came down. And then it came fast.
We all ended up getting wet. TBW and I even tried to flag down a taxi after about 5 minutes. But all the taxis were taken. Most likely by locals. Locals who KNEW that the downpour was going to happen. Thankfully, the purple diamond trolley rounded the corner in another 2 minutes. We ran onto it. Soaking wet. But laughing.
Our laughter didn't last long because the humid conditions plus the rain created a greenhouse effect inside that trolley. They had zipped up all the side openings with those plastic shields. It was STUFFY. Luckily, we happened to sit right at the front of the zipped up section. I unzipped the plastic about 2 feet to let some air in. As the trolley started to move, there was an audible sigh of relief as the cooler air began to circulate through the back of the trolley. After another 5 minutes or so, the rain had stopped. We were able to open up the plastic and all was well.
TBW and I did make it to the Historical Society Museum. It was a bit disappointing. We were hoping to see more about the history of the city. The riots. The great fire. The architectural build-up after the fire. But there was maybe one blurb on each of these things.
We caught the purple diamond to get back. But we did make one unexpected stop. Navy Pier. It was a festive place. What's great is that it's right along the water so they get a good breeze. The ferris wheel was going. There were food stands everywhere. They even have an IMAX theater in there! We didn't stay long though. We knew our husbands would be finished for the day, so we headed back. Let me say that if I'm heading to Navy Pier the next time I'm in town!
** Each of the various color/shape coded trolleys has its own loop. There are actually 4 trolley loops that intersect each other. This way folks can use the free trolley system to head north/south or east/west.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Did I happen to mention that my SIL was buying a house? Two weeks ago the Hubs got a call.
SIL: "It's me. I'm buying a townhouse."
Hubs: "Oh. Yeah?"
SIL: "Yeah. I wanted to call and let you know before Mom did."
SIL: "She doesn't like where it's located."
Hubs: "Why? Where is it located?"
SIL: "It's near the intersection of A Street and Z Street."
Hubs: "Okay. Congratulations."
So that's the conversation. The Hubs didn't ask for the MLS number or the address of the place. He didn't ask about the number of bedrooms or bathrooms. He didn't even ask how much she was getting it for. But super-sleuth (aka 'nosey') me got on the internet and found townhomes near that particular intersection. Let me just say they were NOT showing well via the web. The ones I found were built prior to 1975. None of them had a garage (only carports). None of them had any additional photos of the interior. Hmmm...suspect, eh?
Last night the Hubs tells me about a phone call he received at work.
SIL: "It's me. Can I ask you something?"
SIL: "I gave $x in earnest money for the townhouse. Now what can I do to make sure I don't lose that money?"
Hubs: "What're you talking about?"
SIL: "Well, I found out the principal is much more than I expected. I can't pay that much."
Hubs: "I still don't understand what you're talking about. How can the principal be more than you expected? You made an offer on the place. You should know how much it is."
SIL: "Well anyway...what can I do make sure I don't lose my earnest money?"
Hubs: "Well, if the lender doesn't qualify you then you get your earnest money back. If the lender qualifies you and you back out then you lose your money."
SIL: "Okay. Thanks."
Now tell me folks, are you confused like we are? She had a realtor bring her around to look at places. You'd think that the realtor would sit down with her to go over the basics of what she can afford. This way the realtor wouldn't be showing her places that are WAY OUT of her price range, right? I guess that basic step did not happen, so she's backtracking and trying to get out of the contract without losing her money.
I guess the situation is like when you buy a car. You think you can handle a certain total amount, but when they give you the interest rate and make that final calculation? The amount you'd have to pay monthly is WAY more than you expect. I guess my SIL didn't go into the house search without figuring this simple bit out.
I'm sorry. That wasn't nice. But after the Hubs told me about the conversation? There were moments all through the rest of the night that we'd see the other one just start shaking our head. Like we couldn't believe (yet again!) that my SIL was in that particular situation.
What's sad about this situation is that if she can't afford the townhomes that she was looking at then she won't be able to afford to buy a place. Unless she wants an hour long commute every day.
She is a tiny lady. 4'11". Tiny, right? She's shaped like a pear. She's got some 'back' on her. Kind of compensates for the tummy front on her. Ha!
She has this habit of wearing leggings and tapered pants with large shirts and sweaters. She thinks it's comfortable, which it is. She has this idea that she's bigger than she really is.
Before I left on vacation, LilSis and I had a fashion intervention on my Mom. Like I mentioned before, we all went to the mall. We hit the Gap. What was different was that we convinced my Mom to buy some basic t-shirts. You know. Those body hugging ones that are made for a woman's curves?
When we got home we made her put one on. I hunted down a pair of boot cut jeans that don't fit me anymore and had my Mom throw those on. To see her in that tiny female-cut t-shirt with some non-tapered pants was amazing. I found a pair of brown loafers and had her slip those on. I took her to my bathroom and had her look at her reflection. She was pretty stunned by what she saw. The t-shirt emphasized her small frame. The boot-cut jeans made her hips look smaller. The loafers gave her an overall conservative and updated look. I hunted down more things. A couple scarves. A blue blazer. A blue turtleneck. I showed her that those simple pieces worked together. Changed her look. I showed her how to layer the pieces. How she looked more modern. Not frumpy.
"The person I see physically in front of me is how I see you in my minds' eye. This is how your aura is to me. Modern. Conservative. Simple."
I think to actually SEE how the clothes looked on her really made her think. Made her check herself out. She saw how much younger and how much fresher she appeared. How snazzy. How peppy. And that she did have a cute little body!
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
YESTERDAY was my 1 year blog anniversary!
I've been doing this for one whole year. Hard to believe. I started because I had hit a rough patch but I'm every SO glad that I began writing. I've 'met' so many nice people out there (HI Philip, Emily, Lissy, Peter, Michele, Summer...).
I'll keep writing if....you keep reading....and keep leaving comments.
LOVE ya guys!
When we checked into the hotel, we received a map of the area. There were lots of places to go. And it was all within a mile or so from the hotel!
At the Field Museum, I saw a fantastic archeological find. They call the dinosaur "Sue". It is the most complete finding of that particular type of dinosaur -- they found 90% of it! The Field Museum also had various Egyptian and Asian artifacts on display.
When I stood on the jetty (where the Field Museum of History, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Adler Planetarium were located), I was able to see such AWESOME views of the Downtown skyline.
Check out the amazing view of Downtown as I walked across one of the bridges. The sky was so blue. There was a slight breeze. The flags along the bridge tossed and turned with each puff of wind.
What's interesting is the variety of buildings in Downtown. The building below is on the right side of the river. Note the bridge with the flags at the bottom of this photo? That's the bridge I was standing on when I took the photo above.
It was a very interesting place to be. What amazes me the most is that people were walking up and down this main street all day long. ALL DAY LONG. From sun up. To sun down. Walk, walk, walk, walk, walk...
But there's a lot of see. The buildings were varied and interesting. There were flags posted all over the place. The flowers and plants were in bloom. It was beautiful. Fun place to explore!
Monday, July 25, 2005
On my vacation, I saw a man "push" a situation.
The Hubs and I were in line to go through the security checkpoint to get to our gate. We weren't in any hurry. But I did maneuver us to the shortest line. I quickly took off my flip-flops and put my purse in one of those grey bins. I walked through the scanning arch when they directed me to do so. As I got to my grey bin I turned around to locate the Hubs. He wasn't at the scanning arch. It was some other guy -- the guy who was behind us in line.
Security agent#1: "Sir, you're going to have to remove your shoes."
SA#1: "Please remove your shoes and place them in the bin."
Guy: "But they're tennis shoes!"
Another security agent (SA#2) on the "safe" side heard the discussion and chimed in.
SA#2: "Just send him on through."
SA#1: "Go ahead sir." [motioning the man through]
The Guy glares at SA#1 as he steps through the scanning arch. No bells. No whistles.
SA#2: "Sir. Please step over there and sit down."
That's right folks. SA#2 directed the guy over to the inspection area. He was going to have to strip! HA! The Guy gave them attitude and that's what he got. Delayed even more. What's funnier is that they had to call for a male security agent to come over and 'inspect' him. I was laughing and giggling as the Hubs and I walked away. I couldn't HELP IT!
Lesson? Don't MESS with the personnel at those airport security checkpoints. Okay?
We found out that Lollapalooza was scheduled for THAT weekend. Saturday and Sunday. At the park across the street from our hotel. YUP! The hotel was booked solid (I'm sure) because of the concert.
So we did see the technical crews putting up all the stages and signage. Too bad we weren't able to get that extra night in. We might have been able to see some of the groups that were scheduled to play!
Sunday, July 24, 2005
My ankles were creaking. The joint for my big toes were throbbing. My arches felt used up. My heels felt delicate. Even my calves and my shins were in need of a major massage!
All that aching from walking? Walking? YES!
The city was humid. Gosh awful humid. Thankfully, we'd catch a breeze from the lake. Walking in the shade wasn't bad. It was when I made a bad decision to walk on the sunny side of the street that made me feel the heat of the day.
But I did do a TON of walking. At least 4 miles a day. And it wasn't breezy walking. Since I didn't have the kiddos, I walked like I was racing. I walked with a mission. There was purpose to my gait. It was fantastic.
In all the walking, I was able to witness the beauty of the city. I was surprised to see it. Flowers were everywhere! Along this major downtown street -- "The Miracle Mile".
Finished up the laundry. Finished putting everything back in its proper place.
LilSis left on Friday night. My Mom will be flying out tonight.
The kids are great. They had a blast with LilSis & my Mom.
So many things to write about. Don't know where to start. I'll try to get things down in some kind of order. I took a bunch of photos. I've got to get those formatted so you can all see where I was.
Be patient. But we're home....safe...
Sunday, July 17, 2005
I'm off on a trip ALONE with my husband. It's not a vacation for him. He'll be at meetings all day long.
I've only got one organized tour to attend. And then I'll be as free as a bird to look at what I want to look at. Can you imagine?
I may be able to sneak off into a library or two and post an entry this week. But don't hold me to it. I'll be sure to have loads of photos and lots to write about upon my return. I'm bringing a journal to jot down notes to keep the memories fresh in my mind. Yes...I'm going to be WRITING my thoughts instead of typing away on the keyboard! Ha!
Catch y'all later!
Saturday, July 16, 2005
LilSis should be a card carrying member...for sure!
This girl can shop. She looks at something. Likes it. Picks it up. She doesn't stand there and hem and haw and contemplate if an item will go with 5 or 6 things in her wardrobe. She'll just throw it over her arm. Yes. She'll try it on to check if it looks "right" on her. She has learned what looks appropriate for her shape. But she's got lots and lots of articles of clothing. And it doesn't look like she's anywhere near stopping.
We (me, LilSis, the Princess, and my Mom) went to the mall today. I had to show them the fastest route to the mall. In the event they want to get out of the house. In the event they wanted to shop.
Oh Lord! I forgot that LilSis likes to shop. Didn't take me long to remember. It was amazing to watch her in action. It was like a hunter on the prowl of its prey. She'd find the cutest stuff in a stuffed and confused looking rack. It takes some skill to find a jewel in the rough. And that's what she did in every single store we went into. And she got at least one thing in every single store we went into. Truly amazing!
If you were in MY situation, would you bring some food with you?
I'm leaving early in the morning. I'll be arriving around lunchtime. I have a feeling that I'll get cranky if I don't eat. If you did bring something and ate it on the plane, did the other passengers look at you? Did you get any weird looks?
What should I bring? Trail mix? Breakfast bars? PB&J sandwich? Chips?
Any suggestions would be great. Especially from those of you who HAVE taken a long flight on Southwest.
Friday, July 15, 2005
My Mom and LilSis!
That's right people! I'm having visitors. Overnighters!
It's going to be awesome. The kidlings are going to have SO much fun. I've already told the Princess that they'll be flying in today. This morning. She's older so she totally understands. The Bear? He's oblivious to it.
I'm picking them up around 9:30am. We're going to head to the grocery store on the way home. I want them to help me pick out food supplies they'll want. Then we'll probably play for a bit in the backyard. Get the Bear down for a nap. Then head out for a driving tour after that. Then it'll be dinner once the Hubs gets home.
I'm just so excited they're coming out. My Dad? He's staying home. They're still getting the process of getting their new floors installed downstairs, so he didn't want to commit to the trip and then back out. We'll see him over Labor Day weekend.
I'm so happy!
Thursday, July 14, 2005
This is about my niece. The 2nd niece (Niece#2). The daughter of my oldest sister (BigSis#1).
Why am I mentioning her? Because she's engaged. I know I've mentioned this SOMEWHERE but I don't feel like scrolling back to figure it out. We STILL have not received an official announcement regarding this engagement.
BigSis#1 has not mentioned it to either my Mom or BigSis#2 the couple of times she's spoken to them. We aren't bringing up the fact that we ALL know about the engagement. We feel that my oldest sister should let US know what's happening with her children. Don't you think? Don't you think it's her responsibility? Anyway, BigSis#1 just spoke with my Mom last Friday to let her know of their "Hurricane" plans. And not a word was mentioned about the engagement.
We're all wondering when she's going to say something. Are we just supposed to find out through the grapevine? Are we just supposed to bring it up to her that we know?
Not one of us is going to. The last time we saw her she said that she doesn't feel a part of us. But we feel that to be a part of us you have to give yourself to us. Open up. Let us in. So that's what we're waiting for. For her to let us in. She has to open up to us on what's going on. It might be a difficult time in her life. But that's the best time to let others (your family!) help you. Support you. All you have to do is be strong enough (or humble enough) to reach out.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
What is there to do in Chicago? More specifically...in the area around Soldier Field and Grant Park? Here's stuff that I've heard about....
Places to see & visit:
1. Shedd Aquarium
2. The Art Institute
3. Navy Pier
4. Millenium Park
5. The Outdoor Film Festival
6. The Chinatown Summer Fair
Places to eat:
1. Joy Yee's Noodle Shop
2. Heaven on Seven
4. Russian Tea Time
5. Bice Ristorante
7. The Palm
Okay. That's all I know about of the area. We won't have a car, so everything has got to be in that area.
Help? Bueller? Bueller?
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
"Honey, did you move the couch?"
The last ceiling fan is being installed this morning. It's the one that's going in our family room. The room that has the 20 foot ceilings. We were asked to move the couch (we have a sectional) so that they could put in a large ladder.
At dinner last night, the Hubs told me we'd move the one section before we went to bed.
That's all well and good, right? No.
The Hubs went to bed right after the kids. And I was on the computer and forgot to remind him.
Hence, my question to him at 5am this morning as he passed by my sleeping body.
Me: "Honey, did you move the couch?"
Hubs: "Oh no. Not yet."
Me: "Do you need my help?"
Hubs: "No. I should be fine. Go back to sleep."
I hear sounds. You see, our master bedroom is right next to the family room. I continue to hear sounds.
Hubs: "Hon. I'm going to need your help."
I drag myself out of bed and stumble into the family room.
Hubs: "Okay. I'm going to need you on that side. We're going to lift this thing straight up."
Hubs: "Go to that side."
Me: "I don't think..."
Hubs: "We need to lift the fucking thing up to get it free!"
I go to my side still half delirious with sleep. We tug. NOTHING moved. I stand up and look at him. I'm awake.
I shake my head. I walk over to where he's standing. I lift the corner section (the piece next to the piece we need to move). The piece we need is free.
The Hubs notes that the piece is now no longer attached. He takes me by the shoulders and steers me back to the bedroom.
Hubs: "Okay. Thanks. Go back to sleep. I've got it from here."
I guess he realized that he was wrong. He realized he was wrong for cursing at me. He realized I took 10 seconds to look at the situation and accomplished the task. Sometimes you just have to listen to the Mom in the house!
Monday, July 11, 2005
"Thump-thump-thump-thump [pause] thump [pause] thump..."
"Thump-thump-thump-thump [pause] thump [pause] thump..."
Think circus peanut vendor kind of backbeat. That's what I heard. The sound of thumping. Close by. I only heard it a couple times. But enough to wake me from my slumber. I tried to get back to sleep.
Why am I hearing the sound of a hand air drier (the kind in public restrooms)?
[Engine idling in the background]
Off and on I hear it.
[Engine idling in the background]
After at least 15 minutes. I give up. I get up. I'm on the computer. I'm still hearing it. Even though I'm on the farside of the house.
I HATE living in a housing development that's still being built.
You know what I heard? The sound of a crew getting one of those pouring crane things ready to pour concrete for someone's slab. I guess they have to clear the air out of the system or something before the concrete truck gets to the site.
The worst part of this situation? It's 3am. THREE in the fricking morning! I've been up for at least 45 minutes. So that means they started just a little after 2am.
I know I live in Arizona. I know the city I'm living in has had temps of 100+ since June 13th. Every day. Today will be the 28th straight day of temps over 100 degrees. And the 10-day forecast doesn't show it cooling down any time soon. But do they HAVE to start this noise so gosh darn early in the morning?
There's the back-up rap going now. How annoying! What's bad is that there are 3 more homes located across the street behind our house that still need their slabs poured.
Sunday, July 10, 2005
FOUR weeks from today we'll be on the Eve of the first day at kindergarten.
I can't believe it! I've got to start getting ready!
- Get the kids to bed at a regular time. Say 8pm?
- Get the kids to wake up at a regular time. 7am? Since school starts at 8am (I think).
- Get ME to wake up at a regular time. 5:30? So I have to get ready AND get breakfast and lunch prepared.
- Buy school clothes. Not fancy ones. Just t-shirts (long & short sleeved), turtlenecks, jeans, sweatpants, tennies, sweaters & jackets. I don't buy outfits either. I buy a bunch of separates in basic colors so it's easier to mix & match. Same thing I do with my own clothes.
Now when does school start for your kids? In September? In August?
I'm excited that the Princess will soon be enjoying the fun of kindergarten. The school will be holding a "get-to-know us" day towards the end of this month. The new kindergarten kids can see their classroom and meet their teachers (they move between 2 teachers each day and have a 3rd when they have music). This way they'll be able to feel comfortable with the situation before the regular term begins.
I'm sure the Bear will be SO ecstatic when his sister is at school. He won't have to "share" me with anyone. Now that she'll be in school I can also sign HIM up for activities and not feel a time pressure.
The start of the school year will be a good change for all of us!
Saturday, July 9, 2005
Here in Arizona it gets mighty hot in the summer. Sweltering really. Not that humid hot. That oven hot. Where you feel like your skin is baking when any bit of direct sunlight finds it. This is when people don't care about how FAR a parking spot is from their destination. Their main concern is finding a spot with shade.
Anyway, it gets to be too hot to play outside by about 10am. There's only so much you can do during the summer. We generally try to find activities that are indoors. There's the mall with the small area for the kids to climb and jump around. There's any fast food joint with a play area (but that equates to buying the food).
The one activity that I really enjoy is storytime at the library. It's actually a library that's about 8 miles away from our house, so it's a drive. But the guy who reads really gets into it. Very animated. Very fun. The only hitch? Only 100 people are allowed in the room at one time. So he hands out 'tickets' to those who want to attend.
Yesterday? The library opened at 10am. We got into the parking lot at 10:03am. We walked in. A sign was in front of the door that read "STORYTIME IS FULL".
"What the heck?"
Not 5 minutes after the library had opened and the guy had already handed out 100 tickets. ONE HUNDRED! So there was a line of parents with their kids outside the library just waiting for 30 minutes of amusement. Does that sound like desperation for all the Moms & Dads watching their kids this summer? I mean, the guy has storytime every Thursday and Friday for 3 and older kids. Once a week for 2 and younger.
I couldn't believe it. The Princess got her 'reading' progress card looked at and got her 'prizes'. Then the kidlings and I got a couple books. And then we went down the road to a Mickey D's. They didn't eat anything. They played in the play area. I'm the one who loaded up on a chicken sandwich, fries & soda.
I just can't WAIT for the library to be built down the block in our neighborhood. It's slated to be finished in two years. Here's a recent blurb about the new library:
Mr. A has given the Town an amazing gift. Mr. A will donate $1 million to fund the new book collection in the library to be built at the regional park.
This library is being constructed in partnership, but the Town is responsible for purchasing books to fill the shelves once the doors open. With his donation, Mr. A has almost single-handedly fulfilled the Town’s $1.5 million book obligation. Calling his gift a “challenge grant,” Mr. A has challenged the citizens to come up with the remaining half million dollars for the collection.
The architectural firm with years of experience in library design, is working to design the 15,000 square foot new library facility with an optional 5,000 square foot shell. The library will house an eventual 100,000-volume book collection with state-of-the-art technology, computer lab, large and small meeting rooms. The design should be complete by next spring. Following the completion of the design, the construction phase will take approximately 12 months, hopefully opening by June of 2007.
So until that library is finished? I'm stuck driving to this other library. And trying to get into storytime. ARGH!
Friday, July 8, 2005
Sis#1 must think she's made the worst decision (okay...one of the worst) in her life.
Last year...she moved to Florida. Right before all those hurricanes. Thankfully, her family and her home was unharmed by all the devastation that happened due to the hurricanes.
This year? Hurricane D is on its way to Florida. We're all hoping that Sis#1 and the family come away unscathed once again this hurricane season.
Of all the places in the United States, why'd she pick Florida? The rest of us think its the farthest point away from us that's still in a warm region. They've already lived through snow storms. Too many. So that's why she and Rambo decided to "retire" in Florida.
Before they made their final decision of their destination, the rest of us were giving them information for affordable areas near us. Last year, she could have purchased a 4 bedroom 2.5 bath for less than $200k in my neck of the woods. This year? She'd be lucky to get a 2 bedroom 2 bath for that amount. My parents were saying they should move up to an area about 50 miles north of them. The homes are still affordable. It's a more open area (not as built up). So they could be close to my parents AND Rambo's Mom.
Anyway, I wonder if they are now rethinking their relocation decision. I know I would be researching like a maniac!
Wednesday, July 6, 2005
Who was in attendance? MIL. FIL. SIL. BIL. BIL's fiancee (BILF). Hubs cousin. Hubs cousin's wife (HCW). Cousin's two girls.
The Hubs was on BBQ duty. That's the reason we invited everyone over. To have food cooked on our new built-in BBQ. He basically did a rocking good job.
What was the biggest mistake he made? To let my BIL take a shift at the BBQ. The Hubs had finished up cooking the burgers. Those of us inside were waiting for the Brats & hot dogs. But it was taking SO LONG!
I found out later on when we were cleaning up WHY it was taking ages to get the rest of the food cooked. My BIL decided to help out. He was taking care of things when...
"Dude. The grill is cold."
The Hubs goes over. Indeed. The grill is cool. The flames were out. My BIL had been working a grill that wasn't even on. AND he didn't notice until it had cooled down.
What was even funnier is right at that moment when my BIL was grilling, we (BILF, HCW, and I) were talking about my BILs greatest grilling bloopers of the past. Yes. He has two famous (or should I say INFAMOUS) moments.
The first was when my BIL was living in an apartment. He had the grill on the balcony. He opened the grill to check on what was being cooked and BAM! Smoke came out in a huge billow. Flames shot up. Almost lit the bamboo blind at the top of the balcony cover on fire. The second incident was at the first house he bought. It was another family gathering. My BIL was cooking. He checked on the food. Yes! A bunch of smoke came out. Then there were the flames.
What's funny about both incidents? The same two family members (a couple) who came in from out of town were in attendance. They were the reason we were all gathered. So we figured this time around? Since that couple wasn't there? That's why we didn't have HUGE flames coming out of the BBQ. He-he-he!
I'm in a conversation with BILF & HCW at the bar area of the kitchen.
"Oh yeah! It was the other day."
Who said that? The Hubs. He was sitting on the couch about 15 feet away. Chiming in on a conversation he wasn't even a part of.
"Sweetie. What're you doing? Doing that yelling across the room thing that I hate?"
He smiled at me. I smiled at him. He knew what I was talking about. This is something his Mom & his sister do ALL THE TIME. I don't know about the rest of you, but I was taught that it's rude to yell across a room. Especially when you're in a social gathering. A dance party where you can barely hear each other is one thing. But a quiet Sunday afternoon? Quite another.
Now where were the two when this went down? My MIL was sitting on the couch & my SIL was sitting on the barstool closest to the couch. They were right in between the Hubs and myself. The two are notorious for YELLING across the room to add their 2 cents on conversations. Conversations they are not a part of. Ha-ha-ha! Too funny.
When your spouse or significant other gives up something, do you give it up too? Like giving up soda because it's empty calories.
After the Princess was born, my ILs gave up smoking. Cold turkey. Together. The Princess was born in September. As of January of that next year, my ILs had a New Year's Resolution to stop smoking. I guess they'd heard enough from us that they couldn't smoke when we came to visit with the Princess. It was a good thing to do. They did it for her. They did it for their health.
My MIL and FIL normally drink coffee after dinner. They always brew a small pot after they finish their meal. Once everyone had finished their meal, I started a pot. I wanted one. I knew that HCW wanted one.
Me: "MIL. There's coffee if you want some."
MIL: "No thank you. I'm having my teeth bleached in a couple weeks."
Me looking confused.
MIL: "I'm using a special toothpaste to get my teeth prepped for the bleaching. I can't drink coffee after so I'm starting to cut down now."
Me: "Oh. Okay."
I went and made my own cup of coffee. I corraled HCW and she prepared her cup.
Me: "FIL. Do you want some coffee?"
FIL: "No thanks."
Me: "Hmm...okay. Fine."
I walk off and take a drink out of my cup. I guess he noticed what I was doing.
FIL: "Oh. You have some brewed already?"
Me: "Yeah. That's why I asked if you wanted any."
MIL: "Well, if you've already got some brewed I'll take some."
He went over and made himself a huge cup of coffee.
Was he not going to have a cup of coffee because my MIL was not having some? I wouldn't be surprised if that's the case. He does things just so that my MIL doesn't constantly bitch at him. That's how she gets what she wants. She bitches until he concedes to her point of view.
Hugs a plenty!
So this time around, it wasn't a bad gathering. I guess us "married in" girls just have to stick together. I'm glad my kids and my HC kids (2nd cousins) were able to play together. Even though they only see each other about 4 times a year? They ADORE each other. FANTASTIC!
Tuesday, July 5, 2005
It seems that as we grow older, we become more apt to bow out. I know of you do continue to take life by the horns, but most of us seem to pass on anything that's too difficult.
Seriously. Where is it that we just decide to take the easy way out? If a challenge seems too much, then decide not to do it? Take our divorce rate in this country. ASTRONOMICAL. Whatever happened to working it out. Both parties? Take the drop out rate for high schools? High school is NOT hard people! Just study a couple hours at night and you'll pass. What kind of career do you think you'll have if you don't have even a high school diploma?
Now kids? Kids are so resilient. They just GO FOR IT. Take life on 100%. Do everything with gusto.
As you can see, the Bear likes to jump. Make me think that he can jump or climb over any obstacle in his path. It's true. I try to block him. He goes under. He goes around. He goes OVER! He's tenacious.
But how do I make sure that he continues to accomplish things? To take on new avenues in his life? To keep JUMPING through life?
Monday, July 4, 2005
It's so funny listening to him sometimes. There are moments when he's just practicing making noise versus trying to say something.
The Hubs and I look at each other & smile when he's doing this. We don't make a sound. We don't want to discourage his experimentation. We don't want to interrupt the discovery of his own voice. It's hard not to giggle though when he's walking around making that sound.
Here are the latest additions to his growing vocabulary:
"Jump" = jump --> as in jump OFF the bed
"FI" = fly
"Caw" = car
"Ew-fant" = elephant
"Tie-GER" = tiger --> he puts the emphasis on the second syllable
"Maw-KEY" = monkey --> he makes a chimpanzee sound right after
"Daw-FIN" = dolphin
"Way-ew" = whale
"Daw" = draw --> when he wants to use crayons
"Oh-MEA" = oatmeal --> requesting his favorite breakfast...he'll go right to the pantry & point to the oatmeal
"Dir-TEE" = dirty --> When he comes into the house after playing outside
"Mess" = mess --> He's acknowledging that he's got food all over him as we're carrying him over to the sink to get washed up AND when he comes inside from playing AND when we're changing a poopy diaper
"Aw keen" = All clean --> He says this after we've washed him up
"Pit-EE" = pretty
"Wa-ER" = water
"Faw DOOW-n" = I fell down
"Hur" = hurt --> This is said after he's fallen down or bumped himself
"Hur me" = hurt me --> He says this when he thinks we've hurt him or when we're holding him and he wants to get away
"Wet go" = let go --> This usually follows the phrase above
"Stow-ER" = stroller --> He says this when we're outside and he wants us to go for a walk and put him in the stroller
"Tri" = tricycle
"Baw DER" = Bob the Builder
"Buzz" = Buzz Lightyear
"Bouy" = Woody (from Toy Story)
Then there's the counting! He knows the words from one to ten. But he doesn't necessarily put them in the correct order. He'll skip some. He'll repeat the words over and over to himself as he's playing. Oh yeah! And the alphabet. He'll say the letters but not all in order. He does know W-X-Y-Z and A-B-C-D-E-F. He knows the letters "O" and "S" and "G" and "M" individually.
What's nice is that he's learning to string words together. Actual SENTENCES! He'll string up to three words together. It's truly amazing to hear him speak. And he gets this look of satisfaction when we understand him. What I find funny is that the Princess is sometimes his 'translator' when we don't quite understand him.
Now do your older kids translate for your younger ones?
Sunday, July 3, 2005
MIL: "I'm thinking about getting liposuction."I found my MILs comment very interesting. A couple years ago, she had to get some surgery. She "had" to get the extra skin from her eyelids removed because they were effecting her peripheral vision. Post-op I remember her anxiety about the pain she was in. I also remember a comment she made.
MIL: "Around here." [circling her hands around the tummy and hip area]
MIL: "I can't believe people do this voluntarily. I would never do it if I didn't need to."
Then there she was today. Saying that she was contemplating getting liposuction. I can just imagine how much more painful a liposuction recovery actually is. Have you SEEN how rough those plastic surgeons are when they perform a lipo?
My BILF, THCW, and I discussed this very topic. We (THCW and I) talked about how after being pregnant that our breasts are different. THCW said that she would definitely like to get hers done. To make them perky again. I said that after being pregnant, I might still be the same size but things have shifted. I now have to 'get them into place.'
If I were to rank procedures, what would I like to get performed?
(1) Get my eyesight corrected. I've got REALLY severe myopia. And I've got astigmastism. My cornea is too thin to get any kind of significant correction with Lasik. I had that avenue checked out about 5 years ago. I'd have to get Phakil Intraocular lens implants. If I only had enough money to correct anything, I would definitely have my eyesight corrected.
(2) Get a tummy tuck. Post baby? I've got some extra skin that I certainly don't need.
(3) Get a breastlift. The Hubs would LOVE it if I would get an augmentation. To the size I was when I was pregnant. But that size would be too cumbersome.
That's it. Seriously!
If money was not an obstacle, would YOU have plastic surgery?
If yes, then what would you have done?
Saturday, July 2, 2005
Definitely like my side of the family. She'll snort (yes...SNORT) when she finds something especially funny.
When we were on the plane, I was reminded of what a vivid imagination she has. We were on the final approach into the city where my family lives and we flew over a couple areas of water. "That first one there looks like the head of a horse. There's its ear. And there's its mane." And then.... "See Mommy! That's the one leg there. And there's the other one!"
She is very easy to travel with. Especially on the airplane. She hadn't been on a plane in at least a year. When the plane was backing up from the gate, I told her "If you get nervous, I want you to squeeze my hand. You don't need to tell me anything. Just squeeze my hand. Okay?" And squeeze my hand she did when we hit just a couple bumps of turbulence. As we took off and landed both times, she gazed out the window at the scenery. I was able to point out landmarks. We checked out the clouds. We counted how many boats there were in the water.
Here's one of her creations. She got some dried leaves and a stick...and made a TREE!
The graduation ceremony was pretty dry for a 4 year old. The cure? A trip out to the lobby for a cookie! That's all she needed. But what made me most happy was that she happily walked to and fro to the various locations we were going. The car to brunch to one graduation site to another graduation site to the car (finally!).
I didn't want to stay at my folks house all the time, so I made sure to get out and about. That's why I got that rental car? Since we were on the go most of the time, she did not complain. She was happy as a clam being shuttled around. She REALLY liked that PT Cruiser. I think she really liked being alone in the backseat (no little brother to contend with). When she did get tired. She slept in the car. When we got to our destinations she was all over the place. Not at all reserved and clingy...like she can be sometimes.
She has a very mature vocabulary. Just yesterday afternoon she said "Oh no Mommy. It's a possibility that he's just hungry." We were trying to figure out why the Bear was being fussy. I have to remind myself that she's going to be five in a couple more months.
She really understands WHAT her brother is saying. Sometimes I'll have to really look at the Bear and concentrate. The Princess will look at me and say "Oh, he said...." and she'll be right about 95% of the time.
Oh how she likes BBQ. She's my girl! She especially likes marinated steak (Mr. Yoshida's Teriyaki Sauce) and marinated chicken breasts (any Italian dressing).
A flirt? My daughter? Uh....yes! Especially if the boys are older. Like teenagers! Last week our new neighborhood teenager was skateboarding with a buddy of his up and down the street. You know what the Princess did? She had been riding her scooter and had her knee & elbow pads on. She began to "practice" falling down as they rode by. "Oh help me. Help me. I've fallen and I can't get up." That's what kept going through my mind. Now WHERE in the world did she get the idea to fake fall to get attention?
That's what she's been doing lately. I can't recall all the things she's been up to. Those are the things that have stuck out in my mind.
Friday, July 1, 2005
A few of our neighbors are going out of town. Starting today. This morning. The neighbor with the bad air units is driving out to visit family. The anti-social neighbors next door to this guy just took off for goodness knows where.
I do believe we've got a couple people moving into their homes this weekend. The two-story across the street appears to have a car in the garage. This is the house that's had 3 offers on it -- the first two deals fell through. The house next door to us on the corner closed yesterday. It was purchased by an investor. I heard that they've alredy got renters lined up for it.
The rest of us in the neighborhood? No plans together. WE are having the Hubs family down on Sunday for a BBQ. Our other neighbors are having family come down for the entire weekend. The one family in the cul-de-sac is eagerly waiting the return of their Dad/husband who has been in the Middle East for 6 weeks.
Normally, we would drive to visit my side of the family. To watch the annual parade. To escape the heat. But since me and the Princess were just there last weekend, we modified our plans this year. It'll be a quiet 4th of July for us. Just us four together. It'll be nice though.
Today, someone is supposed to come by and fix our master bath exhaust fan. I'm not sure WHEN the repair person is going to show up. But I made sure to turn on the fan so that it does make the weird sound. This way the repair person can HEAR what we're talking about. The last time the guys came buy they didn't bother to listen to the fan. They just opened it up and changed out what they thought was wrong.
Then there are the ongoing problems that our neighbor is having with his air conditioning. The day before yesterday, the Princess went over to the neighbor's house to play. She only stayed about an hour. I asked her why she came back so early and she said that she got hot and her back was sweaty. Turns out that their house IS warmer than ours. I was talking to my neighbor on the phone yesterday afternoon and he said that his house felt warm even after the guys came by in the morning to make some adjustments. I mentioned to him what the Princess had said. He told me that when he dropped her back at our house that he FELT the cool air escaping out of my front door. He said he felt cool just standing there. So he asked if I could come by his house to give my opinion on the temp. We keep our thermostat at 77 during the day. He said his was set at 76. I walked into their house and it did feel MUCH warmer than our house. It's weird! He's got a one-story so I'd assume that his house would be easier to cool. We then came over to my house. He walked into the door and said "AH...." My air was on and he went to the vents to check how much air was blowing. It was a LOT more than at his house. So what is he going to do? Talk to the builder again. It's just CRAZY!
The guys came & switched out the motor in the fan. It's now SUPPOSED to be fine. We'll see!