A visit to the farm

A visit to the farm

On Saturday morning, we headed down to visit my husband’s family in southern Illinois. His aunt and uncle live on the family farm in a rural area about 30 miles from the town where we both grew up. We were joined by an uncle from California, Kent’s parents and his brother’s family, who live near Cincinnati. It was scorching hot all five days we were there! We spent a LOT of time in the pool!

The toddler’s favorite activity was running back and forth down the lane to visit the dog pen.

We got to see our new cousin for the first time! He’s already seven months old!

We also had a family reunion that evening. This was our part of the family. It was great to get to be together for this!



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Take your kids to work day

Take your kids to work day

For the past few weeks, we have been looking forward to Friday. It was Take Your Kids to Work Day at my husband’s company. When we got the agenda for the day, the excitement started brewing. I guess I should mention that my husband works at a company that makes toys!

They had set up five different workshops for the kids, focusing on different aspect of product marketing, development and testing. We got to start with CapableDad’s presentation on toy safety. He took us to his toy torturing lab to show us what he does. Each toy has to survive being stomped on, pulled, thrown, having its hair pulled, and even placed in the heating and cooling chamber!

This is your eye! If a toy can make a hole in the aluminum foil, it fails the test.

Can you twist the toy in two?

Will Pikachu survive?

Are this superhero’s hands strong enough to withstand the test? (Poor Barbie already lost hers.)

Poor, Barbie. This takes hair pulling to a hole new level!

She made it! Her hair didn’t come out!

How hard can you pull? This gauge will test if you are as strong as the pulling machine.

One of the other favorite activities of the day was getting to play a live version of Angry Birds. The kids got to launch a wet ball at this poor guy who had to stand still and get hit!

Finally, the kids got to design their own Happy Meal boxes.

Finally, they got to learn about how developers use science to create toys. It was an awesome day!


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Our Big Day in the City

Our Big Day in the City

Of all the big adventures we take around this area, it’s kind of funny that we rarely go into the city. I love the idea of showing the kids all of the sights and sounds of the city. But then the reality of what it would look like to drag four children downtown for a day always scares me.


The kids are old enough this summer that I finally decided it was time. We woke up Tuesday morning, and I announced we were going downtown! Here’s a look at our Big Day in the City.


8:36 a.m.


We rushed to the train station to try to make the 8:38 train. I knew in my heart that we didn’t have enough time, but I insisted on running around like a crazy woman to try to make it! We pulled into the parking lot a few minutes BEFORE the train. But alas, we couldn’t find anywhere to park. We had to wait an entire HOUR for the next train!



The kids actually had a good time and didn’t complain at all while we waited. This is their “bored” pose for the camera.



9:33 a.m.


We finally saw our inbound train coming down the track. The kids excitedly got on board, and switched seats a few times before finding the perfect spot on the upper level of the train.



10:47 a.m.


Since we missed the first train, we had to take the slow train that stopped at every station. By the time we got to the city, we were starving!



11:15 a.m.


Our first stop was for deep dish pizza at Giordano’s. The kids wanted me to take photos to show that I ordered soft drinks, as well. Yes, even Jayda had Orange Crush.





12:30 p.m.


It took a while to get the pizza, but we were finally done with lunch and walked a block over to Willis Tower. This involved even more waiting to get our tickets and get to the top, but everyone was full of excitement. The kids were convinced that the St. Louis Arch had to be taller than Willis Tower. I agreed that it did seem taller standing outside. I think it’s because the Willis Tower is surrounded by other tall buildings, while the Arch is the tallest structure for miles around.


We learned that Willis Tower is actually twice the height of the Arch! In fact, it’s the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere! After riding in that tiny car to the top of the Arch, we loved getting in a big elevator to go to the top of the Willis Tower. We were also very happy to find how large it was at the top and the nice cool air conditioning!




1:15 p.m.


You might be able to tell from this photo that one person in our group wasn’t crazy about heights! The girls, on the other hand, couldn’t get enough! The 7-year-old was giddy from being so high in the air. The toddler started crying because we had to wait in line to go out on the clear glass platform. Once out there, she began jumping up and down!






After that, we couldn’t get her out of the window. You can see in this photo that she refused to turn around! She loved being up high.






Ahh, yes! I did it!! I conquered my fear of heights and stood on the clear glass platform!




2 p.m.

Our next adventure was to walk over to Millennium Park. The kids weren’t nearly as thrilled with playing in the fountains as I thought they would be. After some coaxing, I finally got the big kids to at least take off their shoes and get their feet wet!





2:30 p.m.


We were hot, so we bought ice cream treats from a street vendor. That was $24 of yummy goodness to get us back on our feet!


2:40 p.m.


Our next stop was The Bean sculpture.



Hey look! There’s actually a photo of ME!




The day wouldn’t be complete without making ourselves look like little people in The Bean.



And then making ourselves look like stretchy rubber people!




3 p.m.


Ahhh… A look at city life.



3:15 p.m.


Next, we walked about four blocks north the water taxi. The kids had been looking forward to this all day. They all agreed that the boat ride was the highlight of their day.







4 p.m.


We ran across the street from the water taxi to Union Station, only to realize we had missed the express train by a couple of minutes. The next outbound train would leave at 4:28 p.m. This gave us plenty of time to find our train, get our seats and chill out.


5:10 p.m.


We made it back to the minivan and headed home.


6 p.m.


It was a long day, but we were finally home! We had a great time and a wonderful adventure in the city. We were exhausted, but excited about our big day!




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Fun with grandparents

Fun with grandparents

My parents came for a visit today and we took them to one of our favorite places, Cantigny. It was a beautiful day and a perfect afternoon walking through the gardens and climbing on tanks. We can never get enough of that place!

I haven’t moved these photos over yet! You can view them on my old photo page.


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All dressed up

All dressed up

Alayna had a friend some over for a playdate this afternoon. The girls were up in their room, laughing and having fun when Alayna came to get me. I just HAD to come see Jayda.

This is how they had dressed her! And let me tell you, she was hooked. All we heard for the next few days was, “Skirt? Hair? Glubs? Shoes?” She put that outfit on and took it off a dozen times! She even wanted to wear it when we had to leave the house to run errands.

She is a true fashionista!

I haven’t moved these photos over yet! You can view them on my old photo page.

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