Monthly Archives: November 2010

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chicago for the day

our little family. millenium park, chicago.

Back in September when Zach turned 10, we asked him if he would like to go to Chicago for his birthday to the big Lego store. Of course, he wanted to go. We had to wait a couple months until we had a little extra money, so November 21st was the decided date. I invited my mom to go along with us for the day, too. So, we all got up early and headed out at 7 am for the big city of Chicago. This was the kids’ first time seeing such big buildings. I think they were pretty impressed. We arrived at 10am, only it was 9 am there. Forgot about the difference in time zones. Many stores weren’t even open until 10 or 11. So, the first place we went was “The Bean”. We took some fun pictures of our reflections and some of the kids with the big buildings in the background.

The trees around town and many of the store windows were all decorated up for Christmas because Saturday was the big parade downtown. We were glad we chose to go on Sunday to avoid all the chaos that surely brought to town. It was also nice that we arrived in town so early because the crowds on the streets were pretty light at that hour.

The Chicago Tribune building is so cool with all the stones from different places embedded in its walls. Love that. I took pictures of a bunch of the places I’ve been – Paris, Rome, Pompeii.

We had to stop in the Disney store when we came across it. Chloe got a little stuffed animal (vegetable?) – the 3 peas in the pod from the movie Toy Story 3. They’re so cute. She named them Shavy, Shelly and Shannon. No idea why, she just said she liked those names.

We hit the American Girl store and then went over to the John Hancock building and took some pictures of the Christmas tree there and us in front of the building. These next two pictures crack me up. Jake went down below and we stood on the level above, then he attempted to take a picture of himself with us and the tall building in the background. He cut the building off and half his face, but I thought it turned out hilarious.

After that, we walked back down Michigan avenue and across Ohio to the Rainforest Cafe. The kids were getting crabby at this point. They were hungry and needed a break from all the walking … and so did we. Thought the kids would enjoy it there and I was right. Chloe loved all the animals on the walls, the rainforest atmosphere, and the fish in the huge tanks. Zach just wanted to finish lunch as fast as possible to go to “his” store. The food was yummy and such large portions. I was stuffed for the rest of the day. It was a nice lunch.

Then we went to the store Zach had been waiting for all morning – The Lego Store. He took his time walking through the store (more than once) and finally settled on a very large Castle village set. It’s so cool and will take him and Jake a while to put together. Grandma also bought Zach a cool Harry Potter Quidditch kit. He was one happy boy. Chloe spent the whole time trying to get me to take pictures of her in front of all the different figures around the store. I happily obliged, then I took her down to the Sanrio (Hello Kitty) store. She was happy about that.

We stopped at one of the many Starbucks after that, rested a little more and had a gingerbread latte (me), strawberries and creme frappuccino (mom), water (jake and chloe) and chocolate chip cookie (zach).

The Wrigley building looked so pretty with all the trees. Had to get a picture or two of that.

Chloe was very excited to watch all the ice skaters in Millenium Park before we headed home for the day. She seemed fascinated. It was fun to people watch there at the ice rink – a father skating with his daughter, three teenage girls skating together and holding out their camera for a little self portrait while trying not to fall (one of those girls was wearing a cast on her arm, too, which we thought was pretty funny), a girl who seemed very comfortable on the ice just flying along between the people, and many who didn’t seem steady on the ice at all.

It was such a nice little family day. I’m sure it’s the first of many trips to Chicago we’ll take together.

sundogs and sicky

I’ve seen lots of these little sundogs over the past month. They are always such a pretty little sight that brighten my day. This particular one was taken after an October day at my parents’ old house. I went outside to wait for Jake and the kids. It was kind of chaotic in the house and I’d had it, so I got in the car and leaned my head back against the head rest for a little peace and quiet. I just happened to glance up at the sky through the moon roof and there it was. This little speck of rainbow in the sky. It was like a little blessing from God, a reminder that all is well.

I wish I felt as well as I did on that day. I have been under the weather for almost a week now. It started as a sore throat, then add in a little sinus pressure and fatigue. Now, I have all the sinus drainage, which is causing a runny nose and a lot of coughing and hacking. Too much information, right?

Jake and the kids had a fun weekend while I sat on the couch watching HGTV and feeling sad and blah. Our plans were to go to my parents’ farm for some log cutting (well, the guys were going to cut wood while we girls made lunch), then over to Mom and Dad O’s house to visit them and Heather, Jeff + baby Scarlett. I didn’t get to do any of it. Mom told me to stay home and get well, and I couldn’t go to Mom O’s because she is having surgery this week and any sign of sickness could cause that to be postponed. There was no way I was going to risk that, even though I was dying to get out of this house and spend some time with family (and hold Scarlett!). So I had a quiet sicky weekend.

Here are a few pictures that family took this weekend (without me. boo.):
jake + zach heading out to cut wood w/grandpa. zach running the log splitter.

zach holding his cousin Scarlett. my mom visited for a bit, too, so she could finally meet scarlett.

Yes, Chloe was there with them, too, but she was too busy running around and playing outside that nobody got a picture of her. She was too quick I guess. :)

Hoping and praying that this sickness is gone in the next few days. I am determined to have some fun this weekend and get out of this house!

Happy week, everyone!


At first, I was mad at the Army. It was something that took people away from the ones they loved for long periods of time with the chance of being sent somewhere dangerous. For me, it meant being separated from Jake for the first year of our marriage. That was not in my plans. I was supposed to join him in Germany a few months after we were married and live there with him for the remainder of his tour. But you adapt to the military way of life. You get used to those separations because they make coming back together so very sweet. And you realize that, although there are things about the military that you may hate (the uncertainty, the “hurry up and wait”, the risks), our soldiers do the most important job to protect us and our freedoms. So while I was a newlywed, living with my parents, whiling my time away in a retail job, going to the movie theater just about every night of the week to make the days go by faster, my husband was thousands of miles away on a peace keeping mission in Bosnia for a year. It was the first of two missions he would serve before his tour in the army was through. I am so proud of him for taking the initiative to join the Army in the first place because he wanted to do something with his life and be a better man. It helped to shape him into the man he is today. I’m not mad at the Army anymore.

Baumholder, Germany. This is where we lived together in ’97, when I finally did get to join him in Germany.

Us at the Christmas ball Dec. ’96. Paris (this is Versailles) for Jake’s birthday April ’97. Luxembourg for the day March ’97.

thankful november

Lots of things swirling around in my brain lately. Lots of projects I want to work on: Year in Review album, Christmas card design, decorate the house. I’m really excited for the holidays this year. It’s a whole different thing approaching Christmas with steady employment and no fear of losing your home. We are so thankful for all we’ve been through, the ways God provided for us, and where we are now. I remember being in the middle of it all, feeling so hopeless and helpless, creditors calling daily demanding payments that we just could not make, the real possibility that we could lose our home as well as our one good vehicle and anything else that held some monetary value. I kept praying that we would see the light at the end of the tunnel and I told myself over and over again that we would look back on it all someday and be in a better place. Now, as we’re entering this wonderful time of year, I really can look back and see all that we went through and the ways it shaped us and our attitude toward money and possessions. It’s made us so much more thankful for the blessings that we have in each other and family and a roof over our heads, be it ever so small. We are thankful.

This post would have been a good one for Thanksgiving, but I guess there’s never a wrong time to give thanks. And since no post is complete without a picture, here’s one from the evening we took our family pictures at my parents’ farm last month. Such a pretty sunset that evening. Everything just glowed.

Have a blessed day. And feel free to leave a comment and share what you’re thankful for. :)

daddy’s little girl

Came across this picture this morning taken on Chloe’s 7th birthday last February. It’s one of those pictures that I took without much thought. I saw them hug and wanted to capture it and then I sort of forgot about it. When I saw it today, I just had to share. It’s so precious.

I’m so thankful for little moments like this. If it weren’t for my camera, I would forget.

trick or treat 2010

Halloween 2010. It came and went so fast. We only just picked out costumes for the kids early last week. Nothing like waiting until the last minute. Friday, I spent the afternoon with Chloe at school for their class Halloween party. I so wish I could’ve been in two places at one time, because Zach’s party was at the same time. I was sad to miss out on that this year. Had a great time with Chloe’s class, though. They played a couple fun games, had yummy treats, and paraded through the school to show off their costumes.

Saturday and Sunday were family work days for us. Our lawn was covered in leaves and hadn’t been mowed in forever. We attacked it and it’s much better now. Although, those two very large trees in our back yard that haven’t dropped all their leaves yet are making me kind of mad. What are they thinking dropping leaves on our newly cleaned up lawn. I think I see more leaf blowing in the very near future.

Trick or treating was a lot of fun last night. It was a beautiful night and there were tons of people out, as usual. Lots of great costumes out there. We went up and down Green Street, which is the hot spot for all the little ghosts and goblins (and Harry Potters and half angel/half devils). There was even a “trunk or treat” put on by one of the local churches at the end of the street with free hot dogs and lots of people giving candy out of the backs of their vehicles. That was a lot of fun.

Jake even dressed up. He threw on some bunny ears the kids got for Easter a few years ago. I carried my camera and went as a photographer, as usual. ;)

Goodness, I love my little Harry Potter and my little angel, who sometimes does have a devilish side, too. :)

AJAXed with AWP