Friday, June 20, 2008

The Shedd

Jordan has been so excited about fish lately.  Every time he sees a fish he gets all excited and signs and says, "fish".  It's completely adorable and Chad thought we should take him to the Shedd to really see some fish!  We went on Wednesday.  Traffic wasn't too bad getting down there and were were inside by 10:30.  It was pretty busy, lots of camps and kids running around.  Jordan was in awe of all the big fish.  He really liked the beluga whales.  How are you supposed to tell a kid that a big thing swimming in the water isn't a fish?  For now I think they'll all be fish.  The sea otters were cool.  I love how they effortlessly glide through the water.  It's so fun.  We had lunch down in their food court and they had a pretty nice kids' meal that was great for Jordan.  Then we looked at the big tank upstairs in the middle where Jordan could stand right next to the fish tank and point to all the fish.  After that, it was nap time, so we headed home.  It was a fun, fish day!

Monday, June 16, 2008

My First Sock

I have fallen in love with Prairie Crossing.  It is a fun, earth-friendly community near our house.  It's probably about 5 minutes from us.  They have a cute little area with little locally owned shops.  We went for the second time to story time on Friday with Jordan.  It was a pirates theme and he got a pirate bandana, got to listen to pirate stories, made a pirate necklace, and even got a pirate frosted cupcake!  How cute is that?  Afterwards we went over to the cafe for a smoothie and Jordan played on the train table they have.  Jacquie and I went to the fiber store for the first time.  It is a cute yarn store with space for hanging out and working on projects.  The other store I have been in is 10,000 Villages, which is a fair trade store.

Saturday morning, Jacquie and I went to Sock Boot Camp at the yarn store.  We took three mini-classes about how to make socks.  I was really scared of making socks.  It looks very confusing, but actually it's not that hard.  I decided to make Jordan a pair of green socks.  I love this color green!  I got through the ribbing and now I'm working on the part that will be around his ankle.  I'm getting close to the heel...which is the hard part...but I'm doing good so far.  Here is my WIP, work in progress!  

Happy Father's Day 2008

We kind of did a Father's Day weekend this year.  We went out to dinner at Big Bowl on Saturday night.  Jordan got to run around the kids' area near the restaurant.  He was having lots of fun.

  Then Sunday Jordan gave Chad matching cups: big cups for Chad, and little cups for himself.  Chad also got a frame with a collage of Jordan golfing in it.

Sunday morning I went out to breakfast with my parents and then in the afternoon we hung out at my parents.  It was a nice relaxing weekend.  

Brad Maynard

Saturday we went to get Brad Maynard's autograph.  He is the punter for the Chicago Bears.  He was a really nice guy.  He looked to me like he was ready to hit the links...or had just gotten off the links.  What a life. 


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Jen's Birthday Amazing Race 2008!

Tuesday was my birthday and I had asked Chad for an amazing race for my birthday.  The Amazing Race is a reality show where couples get clues and challenges and race other couples around the world trying to get to the checkpoints first while avoiding elimination.  

Chad had to work on my birthday so my parents and Jacquie picked up Jordan and I to go on my amazing race journey with me!  First we had to go to Baby Jam at the library with Jordan.  This was his first ever Baby Jam.  The kids all sit with the moms in a circle and sing and dance...Jordan was the only kid who wanted nothing to do with it!  He wanted to squirm out of my arms and then out of the circle to see what the big kids were doing.  Oh well, we'll try again next week.

After Baby Jam, we were in the car when I got my first clue!!!!  Jacquie did a great job of making awesome clue envelopes.  First I got my clue...then after I figured out where we needed to go I was able to open another flap to get my mission!  Our first destination...Cheesecake Factory!!!!  Yum!  And there, we had to take a picture with my favorite piece of cheesecake!  We had to have lunch of course, which never disappoints.  Then, I picked the Godiva chocolate cheesecake.  You can't go wrong with a classic!  They decorated my plate and sang for me!  

Next, clue and mission: choose a book at Barnes and Noble!  Luckily, we were able to walk right over to Barnes and Noble.  I chose book two in the Fablehaven series and Twilight! 

Okay, so at this point in the trip my camera ran out of batteries!  My mom took pictures but I don't have any to post right now!  I'll still tell you about the rest of my amazing race!

Clue #3: Go to Bannockburn Park and take a picture of Jordan swinging in a swing...and visit Chad at school!

Clue #4: Take a picture at Elawa...where I grew up!

Clue #5: Take a picture with a Love It size Coldstone Creamery Creation!  I went simple, coffee with peanut butter mixed in.  Sounds weird...maybe it is.  Jacquie didn't really like it.  I did though!

Clue #6: Take a picture with my new Fossil watch!  I got to go to the Fossil store to pick out a new watch!  

Clue #7: Take a picture in my new bathing suit!  We headed to Old Navy to pick out a new bathing, I didn't take a picture...but I did buy the suit!

After Jordan was getting pretty tired of being in the car so we headed back to my parents' house for pizza and ice cream cake.  Can you tell I like sweets?  Chad obviously knows me will.  Chad did a great job of planning my amazing race, and Jacquie and my parents did a great job too helping out and keeping everything a secret from me.  

But's not over!  I had one last clue!  When Chad met us at my parents' house I got to open my last clue:

Clue #8: Go to Key Lime Cove!  Chad had to go to work on Wednesday, but after work he came and picked up me, Jordan, and Jacquie and we were off to Key Lime Cove.  Key Lime Cove is a new indoor water park resort in Gurnee.  It was nice that it was so close.  This place was really cool.  We were able to go in the wave pool, the lazy river, slides, play basketball and go in the kids' pool for Jordan.  They had a cool arcade and lots of fun food places.  Even though we only went for one night it felt like it was longer and like we were way far away from home.  It was so fun to see Jordan get all excited.  He loved running up and down the hall in the hotel.  Here he is going down one of the slides!

Woo hoo!!!!  It was a great amazing race and a great birthday!  I couldn't have asked for anything better!

Loving Frank

Most Recently Read Book

Loving Frank

By Nancy Horan

I just finished Loving Frank this morning and I had no idea it was going to end how it ended!  It was definitely a good book and very interesting.  This book is historical fiction.  The author did a lot of research into understanding the affair between Frank Lloyd Wright, famous architect, and Mamah Borthwick in the early 1900's.  She used real facts and then filled in the story about their lives.  The writing was great.  It was interesting to me to read about a woman who dealt with a lot and was part of the beginning of the women's rights movement.  It's easy to take for granted all the rights women have today in the world.  Now I have to go look up more about Frank Lloyd Wright and see if I can see some of the buildings they talk about in the book!  

Saturday, June 7, 2008

S.E. Hinton

Today, my friend, Veronica, and I met downtown to go to the Book Printer's Row Book Fair.  I had never heard of this before...but when I saw S.E. Hinton was presenting I just had to be there.  S.E. Hinton is a famous author...she wrote The Outsiders!  For anyone who has never heard of or has not read The Outsiders you must go buy it or get it from your library.  It is an awesome book.  I remember reading this in junior high and it is a book I will never forget.  S.E. Hinton was presented with the Young Adult Book Prize from the Chicago Tribune.  This is awarded to authors "whose book or body of work has special resonance with adolescents and speaks to their role and significance in society."  S.E. Hinton answered audience questions and talked about writing.  Afterwards we were able to get our special 40th anniversary edition of our books signed.  

I've had fun collecting sports autographs with Chad ever since I have known him...but now I'm having fun collecting author's signatures.  I think it's cool to meet athletes, but I think the excitement that I get in meeting authors is like what Chad feels when he meet athletes.  It's just cool to me to meet these people who have created such amazing characters and stories and made us fall in love with their books.  I'm proud to be a lifelong reader and fan of books.  

Mark Spitz

The boys went to meet 9-time Gold-medal-winning Olympian Mark Spitz today at the mall.  Chad said it was a crazy time trying to wait in line with Jordan, but they managed to get the autograph and get a picture taken with him.  I see a trend developing with Jordan...he can't seem to look at the camera because he just becomes so intrigued by the person he's taking a picture with.  Oh well, he's still cute.   

Runner's World

I haven't woken up early to go out for a run in a long time.  I've been running in the afternoon or early evening right when Jordan goes to sleep.  This morning somehow I dragged myself out of bed at 5:45 and hit the bike path.  I forgot how peaceful it is to run in the morning.  I felt like I was the only person awake.  It was cool, quiet and the birds were singing me love songs as I ran.  I took my time and made it three miles.  

When I run I like to make up little chants for myself.  It's really not that crazy...lots of people do it to motivate themselves as they run.  I had one when I did the marathon, but since I'm not doing another marathon I created a new one.  Here it is:


It's pretty simple, but I say the letters in the first line, pause and then say the next line, pause, and then say the last line.  It's my main secret to keeping myself going while I am running.  

I'm a runner.  When I think of myself I still have to tell myself I am a runner.  If you were one of the few people who passed my this morning on the bike path, you probably would have considered me a runner.  I had my head-to-toe snazzy Adidas gear and  I think I look coordinated enough to seem like I run a lot (I really hope, so at least).  But, in my head, I'm telling myself, "I'm a runner", because I haven't always been a runner.  Yes, I'm a runner, but I'm also the high-schooler who couldn't finish the mile run without walking...a lot.  I'm the girl who always needed her inhaler in gym class.  I'm the nerd who would run one lap at the NIU rec center...and then walk three...and then run one....and then walk three.  Even though now I have a handful of 5ks under my belt and the Chicago marathon (woo hoo!), I still have to remind myself that I am a runner.  I just wanted to say to anyone who wants to run or even exercise more, it can be done.  I started little by little and I'm proud to say I'm now a runner today!  

I had this reflective moment with myself this morning on my wonderful run and it reminded me of a short story by Sandra Cisneros called "Eleven".  I haven't really read anything by Sandra Cisneros but she wrote The House on Mango Street.  "Eleven" is a really sweet story of a little girl.  I found it posted on this semi-weird site, but you can at least read the story.  It's a favorite of mine.  

Thursday, June 5, 2008

School's Out, Jump and Shout!!!!

My last day of school was Tuesday!  Woo hoo!!!  Yesterday, I spent the day with my sister, Jacquie, and Jordan.  We went to breakfast at a cute little cafe in Mundelein right on the train tracks.  Jordan got to see the train go by three times out the window, up close and personal.  It was fun.  Then we went home so Jordan could take his nap.  Jacquie and I were reading until we fell asleep, too!  Naps are completely lovable on so many levels!  When he woke up, we packed up and headed to the mall.  We did some shopping, ate in the food court, and played in the play area.  There were way to many kids in the play area though.  After the mall we went home again so Jordan could take his nap...and, again, took naps ourselves.  I think this is normal...but maybe not.  Then Jacquie left and Chad came home and we played and had dinner at home.  I made a trip to Maggie Moo's for my free birthday ice cream and then to Target with my red shopping bags.  I love my red Target shopping bags.  I just love how nicely they fit on my shoulder.  I'm a dork, but these little things make me happy.  Overall, it was a great day.

Today, we stayed home for the morning and then left after lunch to go to field day at Chad's school.  Jordan was a doll and had fun wandering around amidst all the big kids.  He was totally pooped and has taken a marathon of a nap this afternoon.  Yes, I did take my own nap again.  It's completely irresistible.  Now we are trying to decide where to eat dinner on the way to get Marty Booker's autograph (he's a Bears player).  Life is great!


On a sad note...the CD player in my car is out of commission so I haven't been listening to any books on CD in the car.  On a happy note...Chad has let me drive his car because he thinks it's safe if I'm going to be taking Jordan all over the place so I can listen to CDs in there...even though I'm barely ever in the car any more because it's summer!!!!!  Woo hoo!!!!!

Ahem...just a small announcement: my birthday is four days away!!!!  I love my birthday.  I'm super-excited for this birthday because Chad (with some help from Jacquie and my parents) has prepared an amazing race for me.  I get clues and get to go to fun places on my birthday.  I can't wait!!!!!  


Most Recently Read Book


By Brandon Mull

This is so not the type of book I would read...but I saw that the author was signing at a cute, little bookstore near our house and it made me curious to read it.  This is the first book in the series...I'm not sure how many books there are in the series...but if they are as good as this one, then bring them on.  Fablehaven is a magical preserve where all things fantasy and fairy tale are housed safely away and from mortals.  There are various preserves around the world that we mortals are not even aware of.  Kendra and Seth go to stay with their grandfather while their parents are away and are introduced to Fablehaven.  There are fairies all over the place...but also lots of scary magical creatures as well.  They end up on an exciting adventure.  I loved that there were some scary parts and action.  Two thumbs up!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My Summer 2008 Reading List

This summer I'm reading my heart out.  I have a box full of young adult books to read for my students but I'm also planning on getting some more adult reading in!  Here are books that I have on my list to read this summer:

1. Loving Frank, by Nancy Horan

2. The Undomestic Goddess By Sohpie Kinsella 
*One of my favorite authors!!!  She's like Meg Cabot for adults! 
3. Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse By Stephenie Meyer
*Okay, these aren't exactly adult books...but they are soooooo good.  Don't be afraid of vampires.  If you haven't read them, read them!!!!!

4. The Friday Night Knitting Club By Kate Jacobs
*I love knitting!!!  I'm going to try and get mittens done for fall/winter.

5. Three Cups of Tea by Mortensen and Relin
6. Water for Elephants By Sara Gruen
7. The Road By Cormac McCarthy

Have you read any of these?  Do you recommend them, or not?  Let me know.  I'll post when I read any of these.  :)