Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Don't Be Hatin' Now...

If you know me well, you know that I come from a long line of die-hard Chicago White Sox fans! We bleed black and white in our family!  We watch the games at home, attend them when we can and root, root, root for the Good Guys!

However, when the opportunity arose to support Lily's Brownie troop and buy discounted tickets to see the Cubs, Jack thought it would be a good idea to show our children a historic ball park.  Who knows how long it will be standing or what it will be called in the future...history is history.

The kids were a little worried about the event.  "Who should we root for?", "Do we have to cheer?", "What should we wear? We don't own any Cubs shirts."  Questions like these were asked during the days prior to the event.

But, we spoke to the kids and told them that although they aren't "our" team, we don't want to be disrespectful.  They can cheer for whomever they choose or not cheer at all.

When we got there, we had to wait in a really long line for the Girl Scout parade on the field.  Apparently there were more people in attendance than expected (for the parade) and the Girl Scout families weren't moving along as quickly as the security staff would have liked.  For awhile we thought that we might not even get on the field.  People with walkie talkies were running past us in every direction, shouting, "We've only got 7 minutes to get all of these people on and off the field and the line is not moving. Major League Baseball will not wait for Girl Scouts."  But, in the end...we made it onto the field.


These pics were from before the game the started. We went up to the rooftop for some hot dogs.


Matt was not really very impressed by the field. 

Lily was disappointed that she didn't see any of her troop-mates and got very cranky on the field.  She did eventually find a friend, when we got to our seats.


Lily was so afraid that the ivy was "poison ivy," and would not go near the wall!! LOL


I love that you can see the Sears/Willis tower in the background of this pic below!


We only stayed until about the 5th inning because it was a school night and the Cubs lost miserably, so the kids didn't really have to worry about cheering! LOL

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I spoke too soon

Just when I thought my kid looked super silly with two missing front teeth she went and lost a third front tooth in a 2 week period! She is having a really difficult time biting into an apple these days. That one front tooth just isn't doing it for her! LOL 

Don't worry, Lil. We've all been there! Patience is a virtue!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Chicago Air and Water Show

One of Chicago's most popular summer events is the Air and Water Show. Over 2 million peeps make the trek down to the beaches to watch the show each year. It's usually a two day show, but this year it was a one day show because of some pretty bad storms on the first day.

Our very good friends have an awesome sail boat and invited us to watch the show out on the lake. It was a perfectly clear day with gorgeous, blue skies and we were able to see the air show quite vividly.

The waters were really choppy and rough because there were so many boats on the lake, and many of them were power boats. We braved the rough waters and had a blast!



Monday, August 22, 2011

What's missing?


The tooth fairy has been really busy around here lately...TWO missing teeth in ONE week! One on the top and one on the bottom! Now that's a great way to start a new school year! (Her speech teacher is going to LOVE this! Hahaha)

The weather has been perfect around here lately.  It's not as scorching hot as it was earlier in the summer, so we've really enjoyed cranking the pool heater and jumping in at dusk!  I captured a few cutie patootie pics last week...


 Yes, this one above is TOTALLY rare!! They are usually punching, kicking and biting each other, so I almost fell off my chair when I saw this appear in my camera's viewfinder. LOL






Poor Jack! He's always got some sort of monkey hanging on his back in the pool! :) They love hanging on their daddy!

I hope we have a few more nice days like this one so the kids can relax after those long, hot school days!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The First Day of School

Wow! Is summer over already? That was fast!

The kids and I made it a great summer! We filled it with trips and outings and projects and living room forts and family vacations!! It was stressful and full, but we really did enjoy it!

The gang gathered at the bus stop this morning (minus a few who hitched a ride from mom and dad because their backpacks were bursting with school supplies)!

Look how much Matt has grown this summer and how he now TOWERS over the other kids! Geesh! That boy is going to be a tall one!  Jack almost had a heart-attack when I told him how much I paid for a pair of shoes for Matt the other day!! You could buy a small car for that price! Luckily, the girls' shoes weren't nearly that much!
Lily was so excited to be going into 2nd grade. She was a little nervous about meeting a new teacher, but hopeful that she'd have some familiar faces in her class. With only 4 classes of each grade, she's bound to have a few friends in class.
Matt, on the other hand, was dreading going back to school. He'd rather sit on his rear and play video games all day! But, just wait...in a few days, he's going to be so glad to be back with friends again! I just know it! He's also pumped that he will be with his first male teacher! I think it'll be good for him!
My sweet girl pondering life's greatest mysteries. LOL
Matt's cheesiest grin...
And my sweet pea...Zoey, did not want to be photographed today! That's okay! We have the rest of the school year to be together all day and take all the pics we want! :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Chicago's Beautiful Skyline

Even if you are not from Chicago, I bet you think the Chicago skyline is one of the most beautiful backdrops in the world. I was born in Chicago, spent some years living in the city, at various points in my life, and I consider it home (even though I currently live in the burbs). And I think this city is THE most beautiful city in the world.

This past weekend, my kids and I took a boat cruise along the city's shoreline on Lake Michigan. I took lots of fun pics and I've been playing with different exposures and settings to get some fun shots. I'd love to blow some of these up as artwork in my home. Which are your faves and would you like to see them in color? Any feedback is appreciated.

I added a glow feature to this pic above. I love how it turned out. Should I try this app on another pic?





This last one screamed sepia to me! Should I turn others into sepia too?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Playing with my new lens

I ordered a new 50mm lens for my Canon Rebel Xti digital SLR camera. I lovvvvvvvve it!!! For those of you who were wondering why I would want a 50mm lens, when the lens that comes with the camera covers that -- take a look at a couple websites/blogs that explain why a prime lens is better than a zoom lens...
The Forgotten Lens

and

Introducing the Wonderful World of 50mm Prime Lenses

I have been playing around with different settings and light options, changing ISO and f/stops and here are a few of my favorite shots from the weekend with my new lens...







They are so crisp and clear...much better than I could have imagined.  I will keep playing and update when I take more!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Could life get any busier?

Sorry I've been MIA on the blog-front lately. Life has just gotten away from me.  The countdown to Back to School has begun (actually, I began counting down on the last day of school in June...LOL), but the kids are going back in about 10 days.  Soooo...I've been trying to squeeze in as many fun (and cheap) activities as I can before they have to go back!  I haven't been doing too well on the cheap end, but I have been providing them with lots of fun!

Last week we met up with some friends who live on the north shore.  We headed out for a picnic and some fun at Jarvis Beach.  The kids had a blast. Zoey did not want to come out of the lake! Matt and Jay made a hot tub in the sand.  Lily and Jaena made a hole and some sand castles.  Zoey collected rocks. It was such a lovely day for the beach. I hope we can squeeze in another one.

Then we took a trip down to the Art Institute on free day! We met up with our good friend, Heather and explored the museum.  The kids came up with a scavenger hunt before we left.  We printed it out and used it to explore! That was a lot of fun! I put the camera in Lily's hands and here are some of her favorite snaps from the day. (She went back and deleted some of the pics because she thought the sculptures were too scary! LOL)  I didn't get to see all of my favorites on that day, so I will have to go back again!


I supervised the children catching up on their chores! They enjoyed this a lot!! Shhhh! Don't tell the village that we were using outside water during the day.


 We took our annual trip to Six Flags. I really despise this place. I can't go on the rides like I used to...I get motion sickness now. Old age is not my friend.  The kids had a good time despite the 100 degree temps.  I did not take very many photos. It was too hot!



The other night, we headed over to our local Water Park with a few of the kids' friends for Family Night. It was empty and the perfect time to go.  The kids had so much fun on the water slides, the lazy river and splashing in the pools! What a great relaxing time!  The kids had some ice cream and exhausted themselves! They slept so well that night!

Finally, Jack needed some time to work on his latest project, so I volunteered to take the kids to Navy Pier by myself.  We went to the Chicago Children's Museum first. It was free for children.  They like this museum. I think DuPage is their second favorite children's museum and KidsWork is third.  Actually, the children's museum in Miami, Florida is really, really nice. One of the best ones I've been to.









Then we ate lunch, rode some of the rides and headed over to the lake for a cruise. They enjoyed this a lot.  It was such a hot day and the ride helped cool us down.  It was pretty educational too. There was a recorded documentary about what we were seeing along the shore.  I've been on the cruise before, but the kids had not.
 Zoey was getting a little fussy, because it was nap time, so I had to pull out the big guns to entertain her. LOL

It has been such a full summer and I honestly have enjoyed spending it with my children.   I know that there are mothers out there who wish they could stay at home with their children, but they cannot make that sacrifice.  I am blessed to have this opportunity.  It isn't always easy and it isn't always fun (especially having a child with some pretty severe special needs), but we have learned to make the best of it! I am grateful for the blessings in my life!

I will be back tomorrow with some more pics! (Like you haven't seen enough in this post...LOL)
BTW...click on any of the collages to enlarge them.

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