Friday, June 25, 2010

Day three Chicago

Hot. Hot. Hot.

We boarded the express bus to the Museum of Science and Industry. We all loved it, especially the submarine, tornado and seeing the chicks hatch.

Our bus was late arriving due to the horrendous thunderstorms, but after waiting two hours we were on our way. Delightful weekend!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Mowing the lawn - thinking of grandma

Yesterday after a three mile run - I decided to break out the weed whacker and trim the grass along the sidewalk and driveway - I usually do this - so no big deal, but then - something strange happened inside my brain and I decided to begin mowing the lawn - I had no intentions of mowing the entire yard - but with rain six out of seven days the past three weeks and more rain forecasted for the next week - yesterday was sunny and the grass was l o n g gggggg! Chris had taken the kids swimming and I really thought he would return to find me mowing and offer to finish - despite him only having had three hours of sleep the night before and working all day yesterday - wishful thinking on my part - I know.

Mowing the yard is not something I do - it's Chris' job - over the years - I don't think I've mowed the entire yard but maybe once or twice - but yesterday I did and as I mowed - I thought of my grandma.

From the time I was nine or so - I mowed my grandma's lawn religiously week after week - she'd drive to our house and pick me up just so I could mow her lawn.  I think my grandma taught me how to mow a lawn - at least she taught me how to mow her lawn - I could see every step of her yard and every tree of her yard as I mowed my lawn yesterday - and I could remember some of her directions like she was talking right to me: "around the driveway you have to point the mower inside away from the gravel so you don't shoot the rocks into the grass." and "Mow around the trees and then go up to the tree trunk between the roots." and  "Careful not to mow down the flowers."

In the earlier days of mowing grandma's lawn was not just about mowing - it was about moving and mowing as she had a swingset, a huge slide,  a glider, a whirligig, a fancy teeter totter, a bench swing and more.

The best part of mowing my grandma's yard was milk and cookies afterwards and she'd always give me $5. Usually I'd spend the night as it was over summer vacation and we'd play yahtzee, board games and watch TV together, usually CNN :).

It was a nice day of reminiscing about grandma and being productive at the same time.

Chicago - day two - Navy Pier

On day two - Thursday of our Chicago adventure - we woke up - had breakfast in our room - and headed out to visit Navy Pier - we walked - it was a beautiful, hot summer day and it was fun to see all of the sights on the way to the Pier. Sam and Kate loved seeing the tall buildings and the river and all of the cabs and buses.

Chris and the kids were among the first people to board the ferris wheel - $18 and one go around was a bit shocking, but it was enjoyable and I'm told the views were amazing.  We walked down the pier and back - not a bunch of activity going on at 10 a.m. but we saw the pirate sail boat and the water taxi's. Then Chris and Sam headed off to Wrigley Field and Kate and I browsed the stores and went to the Children's Museum.

At the Children's Museum - Kate made lots of new friends - her favorite activities were digging for dinosaur bones, playing in the water exhibits, making and serving pizza and climbing the sail boat tower. After playing for three hours - we visited the museum store, of course, and bought Katie her first secret diary - complete with a lock and key - this is her latest obsession and fascination - she can't write words, but she can draw pictures, she tells me. We returned to the hotel via Michigan Avenue and stopped for a late lunch at Noodles - yummy - where I had my favorite Penne Rosa and Kate of course had Mac and Cheese. For my beverage - I had a bottle of cream soda - a rare treat - and I told Kate she could taste it - her eyes became really big and she said, "really, I can? - it's a grown up drink - mommy." Which brought on the discussion of how many things are put into a bottle and some are for everyone and some are for just grown ups. Criminy sakes - almost six years old and she's never drank out of a bottle :) My children do lead sheltered lives! After we returned the hotel we of course had to write and draw in the diary and then we took a quick little nap.

At Wrigley - I'm told Sam and Chris had a Chicago dog and Sam bought an A's hat - he was cheering for the A's not the Cubs :) Sam was a lucky little boy and caught a foul ball at Wrigley - a rare occurrence - he was very proud!  There's nothing like a Wrigley experience.

The boys arrived back to the hotel around 4:30 and then since Sam wanted to visit the Children's Museum - Chris took Sam and Kate back for free family night - I think the kids must have walked about five miles total.

I enjoyed a nice quiet evening in the hotel - picked up a sandwich and chips for dinner and read - very relaxing. The kids returned dirty and tired - quick baths and they went quickly to sleep!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Chicago - day one - Wednesday

We packed and drove to Iowa City to catch the bus to Chicago. Chris dropped us off at the downtown IC mall - and went off to find a parking spot for the van in the Hancher parking lot 1.5 miles away. This gave Sam and Kate time to eat lunch (Taco Bell) and I ordered gyros and fries for Chris and I at a nice little restaurant - the best gyro I've had in a long time - probably since we ate with Drew and Chris at a favorite St. Louis Greek restaurant - the name escapes me, of course.

Bundled up the kids and luggage and went to the bus stop - typically travel by bus has a negative connotation - for the $2 per person round trip fare I was not expecting much - but I was pleasantly surprised. We rode comfortably on the upper deck of the Megabus all the way to downtown Chicago - wifi was in and out but I was able to browse and surf enough to make the trip pass by quickly.  We were dropped off at Union Station after four hours, on time - we gathered our bags and barely turned around before a very nice gentleman had our bags in the trunk of a cab and we were taking off for the Hyatt Regency - downtown. Later I found out the nice gentleman was a cab hustler and it cost us $3 for him to secure the cab - worth it in my book, but not Chris' I think. Cab fare was $11 - not too horrible.

We checked in and found a fabulous room on the 20th floor overlooking Navy Pier, the river and lakefront - very pretty view - which is always nice - much better than say a parking lot or busy street.

We were hungry - and after perusing the magazines decided on Chicago style pizza and headed out to find Giordano's - which appeared to be close to our hotel - we set off and walked the two blocks to Michigan Avenue only to realize we had gone to far and the restaurant was actually kitty korner from our hotel - very convenient :) Our pizza was bigger than our tummies, but yummy. The consensus was Tomaso's in Cedar Rapids is still better. We decided it would be wise to walk off some of the calories from the ten pounds of cheese we consumed and headed to Millenium Park - after a bit of a walk - we found a playground - which is the only one we saw our entire time there - and the kids played and we watched. More walking - back to the hotel - baths and bed!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Love to dance recital - updated

After nine months of weekly dance lessons - today we experienced the Love to Dance recital - Kate looked beautiful and she did a spectacular job! Dress rehearsal was yesterday so she had a run through as to what to expect up on stage - she's a natural born performer! No nerves, no butterflies - just a huge smile and excitement. All of the dancers performed well and it was such an enjoyable performance - I'll try to post the video of the dance rehearsal performance later - no taping allowed in the final performance :) Chris presented her with a bouquet of flowers and she was quite pleased - then we all headed out to Biaggi's - Kate's choice to celebrate with dinner.

After a two plus mile walk/run - I beat Sam in another game of basketball "rooster" which resulted in him standing in middle of the cul de sac cock a doodle dooing like a rooster - this kid needs to learn the great basketball players of the century need to score the baskets in the lane and not worry about throwing up (and missing) threes  - I'll beat him every time and continue to embarass him in front of all the neighbors until he becomes wiser and heeds my advice!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Walking and swim season

We bought our swim pass last weekend - $182 for the summer's entertainment - I knew if I was spending enough time at the pool to justify the pass - I'd have to buy a swimsuit - which I did, today, and hopefully it won't be too painful for the fellow pool patrons.

This morning, I completed three miles and hit the 50 mile mark which was my goal to purchase new shoes - my current avias have been around since I regularly attended Gold's Gym, pre arthritis diagnosis. Fellow facebook friend and high school friend Betsy raved in a post about her Sketcher shapeups - I researched and read about the somewhat unheard of technology incorporated into these types of shoes and found these shoes are actually kinder and gentler on joints - something I take seriously as I've yet to shed the additional five pounds in my goal. As I'm doing more power walking and some running, I picked up the Avia brand today - the Avi- Motion - they are still somewhat "large" but they are superbly comfortable and still pretty! I'm very excited to walk tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Trial run for single mommy mode

It's election night for the primaries, in case you didn't know - Chris is working 2-who knows when...he's in Des Moines covering the Branstad campaign - Branstad is running for governor of the state of Iowa, in case you wanted to know.

It's 9 p.m.. I successfully picked up Kate from child care and Sam from school - we came home for dinner, playtime and off to Sam's 7:15 p.m. baseball game - which included a six minute rain delay - Sam hit a pop fly to center and two line drives to center - two were caught - he had a single off one of the line drives. Last inning - he played first and caught three consecutive throws resulting in three straight outs - way to go SAM! We came home drenched at 8:35 - no need to shower - just throw some soap and water on a wash cloth, clean the face, hands, feet, privates and under arms ( not in that order) - clean jammies, snack and into bed by 8:50 - By 9 p.m. I'm on the couch with the puter and HGTV is on - not too shabby - after two years - I still "got it."

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Things to do this summer

Reconnect with old and new friends.
Walk/run three times per week.

Clean the grill and use it.

Travel to Madison.

Spend a few days in Chicago.

Run through the sprinkler.

Play outside in the rain.

Install a new roof on the house.

Visit Bria in Colorado.

Travel to Duluth.

Swim at area pools 15 times - to justify the swim pass.

Play tennis with the kids.

Visit mom and dad in the creek.

Send the kids away for a few nights - any takers?

Have ice cream at Parlor City.

Take a bike ride on the trail.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Week three - heading into summer

Week three is over - 8 miles and four runs/walks. I can now run .8 of a mile straight without keeling over or stopping to walk. My knee joints ache though and I'm not dropping weight, but hopefully I'm gaining some muscle, right? Muscle burns calories faster than fat - this is what I tell myself to keep motivated. I'll try to eat healthier this week :) Goal is to run one mile and do a three mile jaunt - having trouble moving past the 2.2 mile mark - ugh. Big thanks to Pandora radio 80's dance mix for churning out the free music to keep me moving.

Sam and Kate finished up spring gymnastics this week - they would like to continue on through the summer, the next session begins next week, but we will take a few week hiatus and reevaluate - thankfully - Cartwheels prorates the fee accordingly.

Sam played in a baseball tournament today - he did so well. He is such a fabulous player a team mate. They won their first game, but lost the second and finished in third place.

Kate is entering her final two weeks of dance - two dress rehearsals on stage at Washington High and then the performance on June 13-14. It's been a long dance year...must find a shorter season and a closer location for next year.

On today's walk - as I chased after Sam - he decided to leave me in his dust and continue on our route by himself - all the way home. Not a happy mommy.

I'm back to single mommy mode five nights a week as Chris is moving to the weekend evening anchor / reporter at KCRG. It's been surprisingly nice to have him around in the evening over the past two years and I'm going to miss our informal family time. :(