Sunday, July 25, 2010

Chicago excitement

It's a beautiful day in downtown Chicago today. Too bad I'm all alone.

I just dropped off Zak, Maddie and Brooke at the Chicago O'Hare airport from our mini vacation visiting friends and family. I will stay here for three more days for a work conference. It worked out very well for us to make a vacation of it.

We opted to use my dad's airline passes (he's retired, but still has passes) to fly in the family because the cheapest airfare we could find was around $1500 for the three of them (work paid for my ticket). The flights were fairly full, but we were confident we could make it eventually.

On Wednesday, the four of us flew with no problem from San Antonio to O'Hare airport. Just before take off Maddie lost her FOURTH tooth.

I'm not really sure how she can bite anything anymore!

We rented a car and drove to Tinley Park for a weekend of FUN with Shannon & Allen (their kids: Kit, Finn, Maggie) and Jack & Michelle (their kids: Lily and Jack) and their entire family. (Shannon and Jack are siblings). Also, my dad and Susan moved to Chicago last year, so we got to see their new house and spend some time with them too.

Friday we went to Coal City, IL (just Southwest of Chicago) where Shannon's aunt and uncle have a lake house. The kids literally swam from 11:00 to 5:30. We took a boat ride on their pontoon boat, then another ride on their ski boat. Brooke and I went tubing together behind the ski boat. She's an adventurous girl, and I'm bummed that I didn't get any pictures of that!

(Maddie and Lily)
(Finn, Maddie, Brooke)And, just for funzies Zak jumped off the roof of the boat dock.

And, never to be out done by my husband (or perhaps it's just to keep up) I
wanted to do it too.

After five attempts, I decided I couldn't do it. Shannon attempted to motivate me by jumping with me. Okay, we'll go together. One! Two! Three!

I can't do it! I'm too scared!

Let's try, two, threeeeee!

I did it!
We took the babies for another boat ride. This time in the ski boat.

Shannon and Jack's family never need an excuse to throw a party, and we had a few thrown in our honor. We spent most of our time outside with drinks in hand, friends all around, full bellies, and very happy children getting to know their new "cousins."

On Saturday night we discovered that the flights to San Antonio were filling up quickly, and as stand bys, we can only travel when there is a seat on the plane. The problem was figuring out how Zak and the girls were going to get home. My dad and Susan (Oz 1 and Oz 2 behind the magic curtian) decided it would be better if they stood by for the first flight to AUSTIN, then Zak's mom (Wendy) could pick them up and drive them one hour to San Antonio. Good plan!

I dropped them off at the airport, and could not go through to security with them. My dad met us there (sent from heaven) and help Zak with the girls. At the very last second, the gate agent told Zak that there were only two seats available. In a flash, they decided that Zak would fly with Brooke to Austin, and my dad would fly Maddie (or keep her overnight) until they could get to San Antonio.

My dad and Maddie stood by for a later flight to San Antonio and made it!

So, as I type, Zak is with Brooke on their way to Austin. My Dad is with Maddie flying to San Antonio. Zak and Brooke (with Wendy's help) will pick up Maddie from the San Antonio airport and my dad will try to catch a quick turnaround back to Chicago!


Hey, just for fun, can you figure out what pictures were taken with my crappy blackberry camera and which ones were taken with Michelle's awesome camera? --thanks Michelle for the pics!! And please visit her blog to read her post and see more pictures of our trip!

Post script: Everyone made their flights, and my dad did fly with Maddie to San Antonio, turned around and caught a plane back to Chicago! Thanks DAD! :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Another weekend at the Lake House

Maddie and Brooke come up with a zillion games to play in this little pool. Zak and I are having some cold ones! Who wants to come for a visit?
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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

On fireworks

Fireworks scare the crap out of me. I HATE them simply because they are so dangerous. Of course, I love to watch them from a very safe distance while they're set off by trained professionals, but not by someone I know and love. (This can be included in the "Amanda's Rules" section of life, and added right next to "Motorcycles are Death Machines" and "Don't ever go to an Air Show.")

Each and every year there are multitudes of stories about how some one lost an arm while setting off illegal fireworks (usually while drunk) or that a child was blinded by a "harmless" sparkler. Oh, yeah, sparklers are fireworks too, and are equally hated by me.

I'm gonna have to poop on your party for this one because people always argue with me and "you can't be serious" usually ends up in the conversation. People who hear my tirade on fireworks also ask if my fear stemmed from a childhood incident. None that I know of.

So, if we're ever at a party together, and you or your drunk uncle decide to set off some fireworks, you can be sure I'll be leaving after I tell you how you're all gonna lose a finger.

Also, don't ask my kids if they want to hold a sparkler or ask me to hold a sparkler after your wedding reception as you leave for your honeymoon. (I'll be happy to throw birdseed, flower petals, ring bells, or blow some bubbles).

From our deck at the lake house, you can see fireworks for miles and miles. There are some off in the distance, typically, and a few just across the lake (at a local bar/restaurant, we think). Because of all the rain this year, there wasn't a fireworks ban. Also, our lake house isn't considered "city limits" so I am pretty sure it's legal to shoot them off out there. So, our new neighbors did just that.

At first, when the neighbor came over to say hello and tell us he was going to put on a "display" on Saturday night, I was excited because I do like to WATCH them from a DISTANCE. Our neighbor lives about four lots away, so I thought I'd be in my safe zone. At dusk, I went over (alone) to the neighbors house to meet the rest of his family, and while i was right there, they started to set off the fireworks. We're not talkin' baby fireworks, I mean the kind the CITY that you live in sets off. BIG Fireworks. I tried to not make a scene, but said my goodbyes, mumbled something about my kids, and left. When I get back to our house, Zak said that the girls heard the fireworks and they scared the crap out of them because they were so loud and unexpected. I looked inside to find my girls huddled together on the couch covering their ears. CRYING.

I cajoled the girls back outside so we could watch the fireworks, and they were pretty freaked out with their eyes closed and hands on their ears the whole time begging to go back in the house.

Funny how their correct natural instinct to be scared kicked in.

So, Zak and I sat on the deck alone to watch the fireworks. We were downwind from the neighbors house, so the fireworks were exploding right over us. I bet you can guess where I'm going here.....?

Yep, firework ashes and debris falling on our deck WHERE WE WERE SITTING. All of a sudden, I felt something fly into my eye. I assumed it was a bug of some sort because it felt so big. Except it began to burn. I ran into the house to trying to figure out what "it" was, still assuming it was some sort of bug or leaf or something. That's when I realized that it was probably some chemical from the fireworks. IN MY EYE.

Zak said: "Dude, that would only happen to you."

Saturday, July 03, 2010

These three are my world...all I need.

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4th of July weekend at the Lake House

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Thursday, July 01, 2010

Trip to the Rock

And, no I don't mean Rockefeller Center. G-Town, baby. Galveston, Texas.

We both have lots of memories of this little island....Zak went to middle and high school in Galveston. In the winter of 1993, I fell in love with Zak while we were in Galveston on Christmas break. (Perhaps I was just drunk?). We've been to many a scary looking, but delicious, restaurants on that island. We have friends who lost and rebuilt their home after Hurricane Ike.
We went to the first annual Beachapoolooza hosted by David and Francie (who aren't pictured here, but from left to right it's Rebbecca, Jason, Allyn, Me, Will, Chris)

Remember my camera pooped out a few weeks ago? I ordered a new one, but it just arrived the day AFTER our beach trip. So the pictures are sparse, but someone got a good shot of Elle (D&F's baby) with Brooke picking her nose in the background (classy!):

It was HOT at the beach. When we were in San Diego, we were actually wearing sweatshirts, and at this beach, we were roasting. I think I thanked our friends for providing tents one gazillion times. They're such a pain to carry and set up, but I'm so glad that the guys took good care of us.

Towards the end of the afternoon, the sand was too hot to walk or play in unless you were at the water's edge. Or, it's possible, that Maddie is just smart enough to stay out of the sun (and it has nothing to do with her mama insisting that she get under the damn tent!).

Even with the massive amounts of sunscreen, and the reapplication of SPF 70 on the hour, my vampire white 'n pasty girl STILL got too much sun and was a tad too red for my liking that night. Interestingly, she's never really been burnt (unless you count her scalp from a day at Disneyland, oops!), and she doesn't seem to know that a sunburn actually hurts.

Brooke and Maddie loved the beach. We were there for about 4 hours, and they were mad when we told them we had to leave before Mama melted. All the kids (about ten of them) were busy splashing in the waves, covered in sand, and digging up a storm. (This is a far contrast to my girls aversion to sand and waves last year!).

Not only did they love the beach, but they also grew to love Lupe and Bruce, the two dogs that belong to D&F. The girls screamed like monkeys who were in striking distance of a lion when the girls first saw the dogs. They climbed up my body like I was a fence to get away (not very smart on this 5'2'' tall person). They refused to even be in the same room with the dogs, but towards the end of the first day, Maddie decided that she "now likes dogs and isn't scared anymore." Brooke still wasn't so sure, but at least she didn't scream when she saw them.

Also, there was a snake, a real life RATTLE SNAKE, in D&F's back yard! Will was the first to discover it (rattling at him!), and did his Vietnam signal to Zak to stay quite and get alert. You know, the balled up fist signal that's in all the war movies? (Okay, that part is from my imagination, but can you picture that?!)
Zak came running into the house, supposedly to find a shovel (?), but instead told us in a very dramatic tone to "not go outside whatever you do for the rest of YOUR LIFE and keep the kids INSIDE for god sake or we're all gonna die. And also, where's the shovel? I need to dig something." Well, it's sure as hell not in the KITCHEN and why can't we go out side? I know that you never use a shovel for anything around our house, so WTF is going on?
"There's a rattlesnake! Run for your liiiivvvesss!" (Okay, more embellishment, but you get the idea...very dramatic!)

So, Francie and I, of course, run to the back door to see what's going on. We see our friend Will in a defensive Crouching Tiger position wielding a shovel at the ground. We couldn't see the snake due to our obstructed view. However, we could see the giant beads of sweat rolling off his face.

Zak runs out there after finding several shovels (in the garage!) to also assume the Couching Tiger position next to Will. They circle the snake for a minute or two, then began ramming their shovels into the ground. It's a wonder that neither of them lost a toe. After the carnage, Will proudly holds up half a dead snake dripping in blood for Francie and I to see from our safe and air conditioned position in the kitchen.

I'd like to take this time to add that David was in his bed taking a nap during this whole ordeal. After the snake was killed, Francie woke him up to tell him the news. David's eyes were as big as saucers. D&F tried to figure out just how in the world this wild animal got into their back yard. Turns out that D&F just cancelled their pest control service last month, and I sweetly suggested that it was probably the pissed off pest control dude who came by and threw the snake in their yard for retribution. Francie agreed that this is likely the origin of the snake (and has nothing to do with the fact that, I dunno, they live on an ISLAND in TEXAS where RATTLE SNAKES roam), and Francie has since decided to rehire the dude who sprays for roaches and ants in case he may throw another snake in the yard again.

After all the hullabaloo, Maddie and Brooke wanted to see the dead snake. So, Will dug it out of the garbage can (bloody part is now covered in kitty litter from the trash) and proudly showed off his kill while drinking a cold one.

The only thing that could make this a better picture is if Will was wearing a cowboy hat and a button down snap shirt with a chew in his mouth (and not drinking a Michelob Ultra).