Friday, June 26, 2009

Just one more

OK so I wasn't going to draw out our trip all week. I lied. Shoot me. But technically this isn't a Wisconsin post. It's a Cleveland post. See, Cleveland.So our last night of vacation we spent in a really neat place. Because of Jason's job we get a deep discount. Otherwise it would be Roach Motel for us. They don't have this view at Roach Motel.
We got to watch the most spectacular sunset. Even the kids stood and watched it. The same kids who spent the last 7 hours strapped to car seats stood still for a little while to watch this scene.
At first it was nothing too special. But still I snapped a picture anyway. I knew it would get better.

It kept getting just a little better.

Then it got a lot better. The whole sky turned fire red.
Then it was over.
Then we went swimming.

It was a wonderful way to end a really fantastic vacation.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Can she really be two already?

Dear Anna,
How can you possibly be two? So short a time ago you were getting up 4 times a night, messing in 15 diapers a day, and screaming you head off All. The. Time. Now you are so big. One to two brought huge changes for you. Last year at this time you could barely toddle around. You were so tentative with your steps.
Now you are so fast.
You never ever walk. It is run run run for you. You enthusiasm exhausts me but I love it. Don't ever lose that.
You light up every room you enter with your beautiful smile. You melt the hearts of each person you encounter with your hugs and kisses. On a recent trip to Wally-World you ran up to an elderly greeter like you had known him all of you life and gave him the biggest hug he has ever had. You made his day. There was a twinkle in his eye that wasn't there before. I love that about you Anna. You know how to make others feel good. It bothers you to see anyone cry. It's like you are hurting along with them. While we were in Wisconsin a couple weeks ago you were bothered to see your seven week old cousin cry. Your hugs didn't really soothe her but it warmed my heart to see you try to help. Hugs make you feel better when you cry so they would probably help the baby too. You are so incredibly sweet and affectionate. You have a hug for every person you path crosses. It get a little tiring in the grocery store, I'll admit, but I don't mind much. The smiles on others faces makes it worth it.
Your still not talking a lot. You say enough to get by but no more. Honestly, Anna, I am not sure I really want to know what is on your mind sometimes. You are very sweet but also extremely opinionated. The world really is not run according your standards. And I am the chief person messing things up right now. So if you don't want to talk for a little longer, I am OK with that.
I can't wait to see what this year brings for you. Happy Birthday my sweet baby!
One year ago yesterday.
Last night

*Chocolate cupcakes*

Mars Cheese Castle

OK, so I have decided to draw out the trip all week. We went to some cool places and I want to share it with you. One of the places we visited wasMars Cheese Castle. This is the sort of place where if you live there you never go. The only time Jason's family goes here is when we insist. The parking lot is an array of licence plates. Few of them, Wisconsin. We never miss it though. They have every single cow thing you can imagine here. Life size cow. Yep. Got one of those. 800 different kinds of plush cows. Yep. Those too.
Cow salt/pepper/creamer/sugar and whiskey flask. Yes to all.
Cow pens. Yes. Kind of reminds me of the one scene from The Godfather.
They had this...thing too. It kind of creeped me out a little. Every where I went the eyes followed me.
Sorry about the awful picture. They could really think about my needs when it comes to lighting in this place. But they don't.
And I just can't leave without showing you this shirt. Click to enlarge. That's all I will say about that.

And of course the cheese. Lots and lots of cheese. I didn't actually take any pictures of the cheese though. I was far too busy making my selections and wiping the drool from my chin.
Oh and the wine. They have wine too. Local wine. Wine from far off and distant places. Love the wine selection.
Do you see why we never miss out on a trip to Mars?
So if ever you find yourself in Wisconsin on Interstate 94, heading to perhaps the home of the great Packers in Green Bay, I encourage you to take a side trip and visit this neat place. Can't miss it. Look for the big sign.
Do I sound like an advertisment?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Our vacation in a nutshell

I thought about drawing this out all week. I certainly have enough pictures. But I decided to just get it over with. So bear with me. It's a long one.
This year's trek across the country was so much fun. We drove a route we have never driven before. We saw things we have never seen before. And best of all we left the dog with my parents. We got to stay in a really fun hotel we haven't been able to stay in before. So here goes. The drive. I love this kind of rest stop. It straddles the interstate. As you stand in it you can feel the trucks driving underneath you. Mark loved this.
We got to drive through a number of bridges like this. When Jason was a kid, he thought you drove over the top of this kind of bridge. I have heard that story each and every time we have gone through one of these for the last ten years. Thought you might be interested.
The second day of driving and the scenery flattens out. We can pretty much set the cruise control and take a nap. I always get a kick out of the contrast from day one to day two. Day one is land that I am used to. I grew up at the edge of the mountains. The rolling hills makes me feel at home. Day two is always flat. This is where Jason grew up. He loves the way you can see for miles and miles.
I won't lie to you. We had some pretty serious crankiness from the back seat.

Then we turned on the DVD player. Silence. I thank my lucky stars that 1) Jason insisted we find a mini van with a DVD installed and 2) we never let them watch television at home. So if we really need to distract them it's there.
We saw the Sears Tower as we always do. It wasn't too bad this time. The running joke around here is we spend more time in Chicago than anywhere else on the trip. But this time wasn't bad at all. We zipped right through with only a relatively minor delay on the north side of the city.
Then we arrived and the real fun started. We saw family we haven't see in over a year and a half. I held a beautiful baby we had only heard about. *And,yes Gina. This is the only picture I have of you. I know your eyes are closed. Sorry.*
The kids got to see Grandparents they don't see often enough.
Jason and Mark got to sit in an old fire truck. Mark found the crank siren. A hit of course.
We rode horses with Jason's sister and her boyfriend.

Mark got his first ride in a gator. At the hands of a seven year old. Grandpa was there though so I wasn't worried. Much.
Jason, his brother and three kids stuffed themselves into the world's smallest train car. The best part was watching them all try to get out.
We saw lions. Bet you didn't know they had those in Wisconsin. Yep, lions just roam the streets up there. Pretty amazing really. *Fine. We were at the zoo.*
We had a wonderful time.
Thanks everyone for a great vacation. Can't wait to do it again real soon.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I swear this time I really mean it

Wait until you hear about all the fun we had with these two marvelous little people. Tomorrow we come back for real this time.
Boy, do I ever love them.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I need a vacation from my vacation

Every day for the last week we have been running. My in-laws are the most fun. I can't believe how fast the trip is flying by. I promise a big update when I get home. But I don't have anything to edit photos here so I can't do it now. I will tide you over with this little gem I took before we left home.
Have a great Monday! If memory serves we are going to the zoo today with Jason's brother and family. Or maybe it's horseback riding then sushi for lunch with Jason's sister and family. I just can't keep up. This is so much fun. I don't want the vacation to end.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Can you say Vacation?

Van packed-Check. (So full it's about to bust.)

House sitter instructed-Check. (Two page list of instructions. And we're only leaving the cat)

Plants watered-Check. (Like I am trying to drown them)

Mark-Check (Bright eyed)

Anna-Check (Bushy tailed)

Jason-Check (In need of more coffee)

Daisy-Check (Sitting at my feet all the way to my parents. Hope she doesn't get sick)

Wisconsin! Ready or not here we come!

Monday, June 8, 2009

I think we're back

And I am not sure just where to begin. So much has happened since I last wrote. We've been doing a lot of living here in our slice of heaven. We are about ready for a trip to see Jason's family. The days have slowed down to a crawl. We just want to leave already.
Mark finally learned to....
CATCH!! It was a big Daddy moment. His Dad has been working with him for a very very long time on that skill. Then he just got it. He even keeps his eyes open sometimes.
My family really came together, out in Arizona, to get my uncle through to very painful ordeal of my aunt's funeral. That is one thing about my family. We rag on one another endlessly. We poke and tease as only a family can. (thick skin is a must around here) But when you really need them they are there. They hop on planes and fly across the country to be with you when you need them. That is what families are for. We are incredibily blessed to have each other.
So why a robin baby today? Well, I go back to family again. His parents came together to give me an unholy talking to from the top of our maple tree while I was taking this little guy's picture. I was really uncomfortable to have the kids hear such foul language. Who knew robins could swear like sailors.
Have a great day! Go hug someone you love.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

An Update

I've been busy doing that living we talked about the other day. I will be back later this week to update you on some of our activities.
Continued prayers would be much appreciated. My uncle will bury his wife this week. Much of my family is flying out there today to be with him.