Saturday, August 16, 2014


This summer we headed up to Chicago for Doug's cousin's wedding.  I remember a few trips to Chicago when I was a kid and it is such a great city. 
We got in late Tuesday night and realized that our trip was off to a great start.  The little boutique hotel we found was lovely. We will definitely stay at the Hotel Burnham again! The Concierge, Jean-Luc directed us to a great pizza place down the street.  He was so kind and helpful during our stay. We had awesome pizza and pasta and they surprised us with a cookie dessert that was amazing!

Wednesday morning we headed to the Museum of Science & Industry.  This is such a great museum for adults and kids! The kids loved learning and touring the huge U-boat that is housed there.  We also did the coal mine tour which was really educational too. The kids got to learn about farming, the importance the invention of the train had on our country, how tornadoes are formed and even about why we poop.  I know, even Marlie thought it was gross.  Later that day we walked down the Magnificent Mile and had to stop at Nike town of course.  We ended the day at an amazing restaurant called the Purple Pig where we ate fried pig's ears and roasted bone marrow...all way better than they sound and the kid's loved it too! 

Thursday we woke up late and had an early lunch in Little Italy at an amazing little Mom & Pop restaurant.  Afterwards we headed to the top of Willis Tower.  I did this as a kid and thought it was amazing, but I was pretty nervous.  Once we got off the elevator I could feel the sway of the building. I was fine until Doug and the kids made me go out onto the Skydeck! As you can tell the kids weren't scared at all!  But the views of the city from up here are amazing!
A quick trip back to the hotel and then we took the train to Wrigley for the Cubs game!
We went early, of course, to watch BP. Dad bought us seats right behind the Cubs dugout which was great for the kids.  They got 2 autographs and Matt got 4 balls throughout the game from the Cubs players.  He said it was the best game he's ever been to!  It was definitely a treat to see a ball game at Wrigley Field. 
Friday morning we had a late breakfast at a little spot near the museums where Marlie and I shared a red velvet waffle!! Then we walked through the parks on our way to the Shedd Aquarium. It was chilly enough that we had to break out our sweatshirts we bought at the Cubs game.  It was fun strolling through the park.  The kids had the most fun rolling down the hills in front of the museum and picking dandelions! It was such a beautiful morning!

We finally made it into the Shedd Aquarium and the kids went straight towards the stingrays.  The Shedd is amazing but our kids are a little spoiled from our trips to the Exumas. We play with stingrays in ocean, touch starfish, snorkel with bright colored fish and swim with sharks!
On Saturday we drove to the suburbs to meet up with the rest of the family in St. Charles! Courtney and Jason's wedding was absolutely beautiful! It was so nice that we got to see all of Doug's family.  You might remember these guys from some pics several years ago in San Diego.  Doug's cousins Rick and Ed are such great guys! 
All the kids had a wonderful time with each other and spent most of their time on the dance floor!  I think Matt didn't want to be outperformed by his little cousin Tim so he was dancing all night too!  I was so proud of him for getting out of his comfort zone!

It was a wonderful evening for sure.  The next day we went to Doug's Aunt and Uncle's house for more festivities.  Rick and Dawn have a beautiful home with an amazing yard!  It's big enough for a football and soccer field and the kids spent all day playing outside.  The weather was amazing and Matt said this was by far his favorite day. What a fun, relaxing and lovely day!

Monday we headed back into the city before flying home.  We stopped by the Field Museum for a quick visit.  Matt wanted to the see the Tsavo man-eating lions!  We had to take a picture near this wonderful sculpture outside Soldier Field.  I thought this was so beautiful!  What a nice way to end a great vacation!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Carolina Creek Christian Camp

The kids just got home from Carolina Creek Christian Camp and had a wonderful time.  I think I worried so much that I was exhausted when they came home and spent all of yesterday sleeping!

Marlie went to camp for the first time this year!  Although she begged to stay for the week, she stayed 3 nights and I was glad because I got to spend the end of the week snuggling and hanging out with her. I missed her a ton!  I wasn't sure how drop off would go but here she is with her friends Annie and Kate...
She was so excited and not nervous at all!  I was expecting a few tears but...nope! 

We don't get to talk to the kids at all so every day we look through pictures trying to see if they are smiling and look like they're having fun.  Here are the pics that were posted of Marlie...
She was definitely ok.  I like the cute pic of her running on Red Out Day!

I was so excited to see her when we picked her up.  Marlie received the "Friendly" award for always making new friends.  Her counselors were all awesome and I'm so blessed so was in the Giraffe cabin with them!  Here's Marlie with Ms. Megan and Ms. Angel.  I wish I could bring these girls home with me!  They were amazing!
Since Marlie was only there 3 nights they didn't mail any letters home.  But she did write this letter to us that we got once we started unpacking her trunk.  It's probably the thing I'll cherish most about this camp experience.  Such a sweet letter from a little girl that just turned 7.  Marlie we love you a ton!
Matt, Caden and Evan went to camp together last year but this year they got to go for a full week!  They were all very excited. Matt had a few new friends join them for the first half of the week.  His good friend Cole and Dylan and John from his baseball team, the Hooks, joined.  The boys were all excited that they got to be upstairs in the Tiger cabin!
Here are the Hooks with their counselor Nate.  These boys LOVED Nate and I'm sure they kept Nate going nonstop!
Here are a few pics that got posted during the first session of camp on Red Out day.  I love these pics!
Although Matt was staying the week, we had to pick him up after the first session (when we got Marlie) and then take him back that same day.  When we saw Matt he looked exhausted. Matt got the "Good Listener" award for always listening and being respectful.  That makes me proud because we ALWAYS talk to our kids about being respectful! 

We headed off to lunch with our friends and come to find out Matt caught a stomach bug and wasn't doing so great.  We gave him some medicine and he slept in the car for a solid hour.  We weren't sure if he should go back but he begged us so we left some medicine with the nurse and off he went.  I didn't sleep much the next few nights because I was so worried.  Marlie ended up with the bug too.  I checked pictures constantly to try to see how he was.  This was from the first night.  Matt is in the white shirt and seemed to be doing fine.  Whew!
Then it was camo day...looking much more tired. 
Then it was red out day and Matt is wearing his clothes from the day before??? At this point I'm nervous again, assuming he had some sort of "accident" in his red clothes!
 Here is Super Hero night and he seems to be ok again.  Cannot wait to pick him up!
I'm sure we were the first family to arrive at camp that day.  I just needed to hug Matt and know he was ok.  He was better but I could tell from the bags under his eyes that he was beat.  Matt got the "Good-Natured" award and his counselor Nate talked about how much some of these kids bonded over the whole week.  Pretty cool. 
The closing ceremonies came with mixed emotions...exhaustion, happiness and sadness too.  At one point I thought Caden might cry having to say goodbye to Nate.  The boys were so lucky to have him as a counselor.  He was such a great kid and had an enormous amount of energy that allowed him to more than keep up with these boys.  Thanks a million Nate for showing these young boys how to be Godly men!  
Thank you to all of our friends who joined us at camp this year. I hope everyone can join us again next year. Thank you to everyone at Carolina Creek for teaching our kids that even they can Change the World!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

20 Year Reunion

So Doug and I had our 20th high school reunion a few weekends ago.  That sounds like we're old but I don't really feel that old...well at least that's what I initially thought. 

As the date got closer I questioned going.  Seemed like a lot of effort to drive to San Antonio, get someone to watch the kids, find something to wear...ok yes I'm old and lazy. And then to actually get myself together!  Whew! It takes a lot more effort these days to try to NOT look old. 

We spent the weekend with the Hatters (which is always way too fun!) and the Zunkers also joined us.  It is always a treat to be around these families that we have known for years! I've known Daniel since Kinder, Shawn since junior high and Nicole and Doug since high school.  Daniel's wife Amy is the only one we didn't go to school with but we feel like we've known her for forever too.  She is such a trooper to laugh with us as we reminisce about all the nonsense we did growing up. 
On our way both Daniel and I were wondering why we didn't just all go have a nice dinner together. Then we remembered that Nicole helped plan this whole thing and she might kill us if we bailed.  And I'm glad because once we got there it was SO much fun! It was awesome to see so many old friends.  And since I'm not on Facebook it literally was all new to me! 

I was super excited to see my dear friend Cyndi! Cyndi, Daniel and I  have been friends since Kinder. Cyndi's Mom was the PE Coach at our elementary school and Daniel's Mom was the nurse.  You know we don't keep in touch enough but I do love these people a ton and it's almost as if we picked up where we left off years ago. 
Nicole, Ann and I cheered together in high school and I hadn't seen Ann in forever.  I loved that I got to give her a big hug and chat with her hubby Doug for awhile. 
It was a really great night and I'm so glad I got to catch up with everyone.  Thank you to Nicole, Ann and everyone else who worked so hard to put this fun night together! 

On Sunday the kids got to swim for a bit. Marlie, Hayden and Livi were too cute so I actually managed to get out of my seat, get my real camera and snap a few photos.  Yes I am getting old but I am loving watching my kiddos grow up and all the running around makes me still feel a bit young!