Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chicago! Day One

We took a four day vacation to Chicago over the MEA weekend last week. It was terrific! We left Wednesday from Andrew's LAST football game in South St. Paul (a searing loss to be sure) and arrived in the windy city about 12:30 am! As usual, I got the graveyard shift, and thus found myself driving the streets of Chicago, an experience I'd clearly stated I never wanted to have! But it was a good thing that I did, because I got the lay of the land around our hotel (Embassy Suites), which served me in good stead the next day since I ended up driving (in crazy lunchhour traffic) then too. Never say never! We enjoyed a fabulous breakfast just the kids and I, while Tim went to his CLE classes on Thursday. The kids really enjoyed the abundant breakfast buffet and cook to order options and ate so much and so well...it was fun to watch. It was great just to be together in a pretty setting and on vacation!

After breakfast, we hopped in the car and drove about 15 minutes to the Museum of Science and Industry in Hyde Park. I thought it was a cheaper deal than some of the other museums, but the truth is it was the same because we had to pay extra for the imax shows and to tour the

submarine, so by the time that was all done, it was all about the same. But we enjoyed it nonetheless, especially the German WWII submarine and the mirror maze. There was also fun with the dry ice vapors as you can see. Ya gotta love dry ice. Since I had forgotten to pack a stroller and had been too cheap to rent one, we also had a very exciting time keeping track of Lily. The older kids were tremendously helpful; it's not easy moving as a group through a museum like that because everybody wants to spend time at different spots.

Having got there when it opened, by noon we were ready for some r and r. We went back to the hotel (a harrowing lunch hour trip), snacked for lunch, and then while the boys hung out and waited for Tim to get back, Katie, Lily and I took off on foot to meet Joy,a roommate of mine from college whom I haven't seen for 15 years, and her four girls at...you guessed it..
The American Girl Store!!

It was so much fun to get to watch all the girls enjoy putting their "wish lists" together. Katie had brought her savings along, so she opted to buy the Samantha doll since that doll will soon be "sent to the archives" which I think is a perfectly horrible sounding way to say that they are going to stop making her. It sounds like they are locking her in the attic or something.

Joy and I visited as best we could while keeping the six kids in one place more or less...the worst was Lily, of course, especially in the Bitty Baby section. She brought her Bitty Baby, which she calls "Baby Baby" with her

in a carrying pack, and I didn't think we were going to get her out of the store! The stroller with the twins in it which you see her pushing here is now number one on her Christmas list. She was pushing it around like it was her own. They certainly know what they are doing in that store...it's a marketing extravaganza to be sure. We ended up leaving with only a Felicity movie because I think the first doll I will buy Lily (not at this age, though) is Felicity. For now, though, I think I'll get her some of her own Bitty Baby clothes since all the ones we have are Katie's and she keeps them all organized and nice.

Then we all took off for Navy Pier where we met up with the boys who'd spent the latter part of the afternoon putt putting. We walked around, rode rides, and enjoyed the fresh air with Joy and her family. A beautiful day!

Ed Debevicks for dinner, where Timmy was nicknamed "Little Nerd" by the waiter. Zach took the name "Big Nerd" so that Timmy wouldn't feel singled out. The food was awful, the bill was high, but the memories are great!

My favorite 15 year old.

No explanation needed.
And that was the first day.

Move'm Up Move'm Out!

Ta Da!!! The boys have officially moved down to the basement!!!...we aren't done with everything yet, by any means, but there's carpet and light fixtures and plumbing, so there they go, leaving a trail of debris behind them! I spent the week in Kohls, and a lot of money as well, setting up their beds and getting everything looking nice. We still need to find desks and artwork, but we've made significant progress. Zach now has a queen size bed instead of the small twin he's been cramming himself into for the last few years.. It fit him fine when we got it, but if you've seen Zach lately...we bought a full size for him, but took it back still wrapped up when he laid down on it and hung over from his shins on! Anyway, he's pretty happy about the queen and says it's the most comfortable bed he's ever slept on!

They've slept down there for two nights, and I will say that Tim and I don't like it at all. They seem so far away; it makes me nervous, but I'm sure I'll get used to it.

As soon as they were moved down, Katie was ready to boot Lily out, but I don't want to move Lily until I get her room (Andrew's old room) painted. Katie isn't happy, but she'll just have to be patient. I don't think Lily will want to sleep alone anyway.

Anyway that's the big (and boring) news around here, but I thought you'd like to know that a project that has been in the works for a year and a half has finally reached such a major milestone! Wahoo!

I'll upload pictures once it's all done.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Still Painting

If you are wondering why I'm not blogging much (not that anyone out there is), we are still working on the room redo for Katie, and we are about 3 weeks or so from moving two teenage boys out of rooms they've occupied since 2000, and down to new rooms in the basement. Lily will move into Andrew's old room. Everyone is getting a total cleanout and a new coat of paint. THIS IS NOT AN EASY THING. Katie wants, desperately, to keep EVERYTHING. You can't GET her to throw a thing away...not a note, not a sticker...nothing. Andrew WANTS to throw EVERYTHING away...yearbooks, artwork, photos... His idea of cleaning his closet out is to put it all in the trash. Zachary, so far, has just "taken to the hills" and won't deal with it. So I am prying things out of Katie's clutches, sifting through Andrew's trash for things I paid a lot of money for, and I can't find Zach anywhere. This has been my week. Plus laundry. Plus Bible Study. Plus Football and basketball and another broken dishwasher and light fixtures and rugs. So maybe someday, I'll get back to blogging, but for now...not so much.