Thursday, August 21, 2008

The most dreaded night of summer

So it's here... the night before school starts. Yes, I've been back at school every day this week, but it was of my own choosing and I wasn't on any one else's schedule but my own. Tomorrow that all changes. It's Institute Day.

For the first time in nine years, District 214 is having two institute days before the start of school. Why they choose to start on a Friday, I don't know. It will be interesting to see how it goes.

So, here are the new "initiatives" that I am imposing this year.

1. FlyLady routines at home and at school. The control journals are in place; keep your fingers crossed!

2. Sharing a room with my best bud and publications partner, Sandra.

3. Writing on my Spokesman blog once a week.

I think three initiatives are plenty to keep me busy. I will also be continuing my SCRUM sprinting that I started last spring. My bulletin board is up and ready for post-its.

Not only am I starting something new, but so are Jack and Steve. Jack started daycare on Monday and has done quite well. His teachers told me today that he's a smiley guy and very laid back. That made me happy since that is what he is like at home too. The big downside to daycare is that I am now boring to him. Apparently seven other children his age are way more exciting than mom singing Hurry, Hurry, Drive the Fire truck for the 8 bazillionth time.

Steve will be starting his second grad school class. Okay, so this is technically new since he's taken one class already. However, I am counting it as new since this summer the only thing we really had to work around was his class. I think it's going to be a little different with all of us on busy schedules.

Okay, I think that's all that I have for now. Blogging is part of my weekly routine, so hopefully this blog won't suffer as I start back to work!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Beer Update

The Beer has been opened! And the best part is, it's really good, and I'm not just saying that because I helped make it!

My cousin Kelly came over this past Wednesday to help me out by watching Jack and then stayed to play with us for the day. I promised her dinner, and we (Steve and I) decided to open the beer with her for dinner since it was time to try one out to see if it was done. I took some pictures to mark the occasion. Kelly liked it, so I feel justified in saying that it turned out well. I liked it so much that I am kind of excited about brewing again (look out Sam Adams!)

Cracking open the first beer

The pour 1

The first taste

Kelly, the first taster

The final, beautiful product

Yea for extended birthday celebrations!

For my birthday, Steve took our family to Chicago for the night. We had so much fun on our first overnight vacation (meaning getting away was not for some other reason).

We drove down yesterday after a fun-filled afternoon with Shane and Dick. Steve had been promising to take Shane ice skating and he was finally able to fulfill that promise. We got to the city around 6:30 or so, checked into the hotel, and then took off for dinner. Originally we were going to go some place nice, but we decided we would rather go somewhere family friendly. For those of you with infants, let me just warn you that city restaurants, no matter how informal, are not exactly family friendly. We thought pizza would be a good choice. Steve even indulged my love of deep dish. However, both Gino's and Giordanos would not allow strollers, even with sleeping babies that are cuter than any other baby in a 10-block radius. After waiting for a table and learning about the anti-stroller bias, we took our pizza back to the hotel.

Jack is a real party guy by the way. We kind of figured this out at Abby's wedding last weekend when he wouldn't sleep in the stroller. We confirmed it last night when he wouldn't go to sleep in the hotel room until we turned off the television, turned out all of the lights, stopped talking, and cuddled with him a bit to assure him we were going to sleep too. Then he woke up bright and early, 6 a.m., this morning.

Today, we met our friends Phil and Nikki for breakfast at Lou Mitchell's. Phil and I had never been. It was as good as its reputation. Jack even got to try some (see the pics below). After that, we walked around the city for a while. This is when we stopped at the camera store my photography professor recommended earlier this summer, Central Camera. What a great place. We ended up buying a zoom lens for the Nikon and you can see why the rest of the day was so much fun in the pictures below. After some good advice from the Central Camera guys, we bought the 70-300 Nikkor lens with vibration reduction. I could tell the difference between this very good lens and the kit lens right away! I think the best part about shopping at Central Camera, besides the good deal, was talking with all of the photographers. Every in the store had good things to say about this lens.

Anyway, after the camera store, we headed for the lakefront and the air show. We tired Jack out pretty well, so now that we are home, he's napping.

Overall, this was a wonderful trip to end the birthday celebration and summer vacation. Jack starts his new "school" on Monday and I head back as well to get the classroom ready for the following week. What a great summer!

Our newest Family Portrait (Thanks Kelly!)
Family Portrait 3

Lou Mitchell's Orange
Another taste of orange

Street Photography with the new lens
Street Photog 2

Air Show - The power of a 300 mm zoom
4 Planes

More Air Show

Me and Jack as taken by Steve (with the new lens of course!)Check out Jack's teeth!
Jack and Mom

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Too close for comfort

I realize that I haven't updated in a while. With school starting so soon (the first institute day is a week from Friday), I've been very busy getting my Flylady routines in place. It's working pretty well too as my house is still clean!

We've also been busy with weddings. Steve's cousin Joey married Jen August 2 and my friend Abby married Tony this past Saturday.

Oh, and Jack's got teeth now too! He cut those the night of my birthday. He's now still teething and trying to crawl like a madman.

I've been taking tons of photos. There is no way I could post even half of them here, so check out the Flickr site to see them.

I will post a few photos though. Jack is now 7 months old. Can you believe it? I know, where does the time go! He's eating baby food now (green beans and sweet potatoes are the favorite so far). He'll even drink from a real glass if you hold it and tip it for him. Yesterday, I took his 7-month photos out in our backyard. Enjoy!

7-month Jack and Breyer2

7-month Jack 2

7-month Jack 7

P.S. Flickr is irritating me tonight. I just spent an hour trying to upload all of my recent photos and it seems to not have worked. I think some photos made it, just not all of them. Hopefully I'll find a few minutes in the next few days to try to figure it out. Right now, I'm tired and I have a basket of laundry to fold. I'm done!