Thursday, July 31, 2008

Life: Just another excuse to put off blogging

Events: Class reunion in Las Vegas, seeing family in Chicago, visiting Grandma in Dallas, celebrating my birthday with Rafael relatives over the weekend (and fitting 13 people in our house)

New Happenings: the baby started crawling and sitting up, I got a new bike and I want to ride it instead of sit inside the house, I'm finally old enough to rent a car

Surprises: dishwasher dilemma, laptop still not working

Other than that, I'm still the one in charge of laundry and cleaning and dishes and children and bill-paying. And I still worry about using the right toothbrush. Starting next week, Chris works 4 10-hour shifts and has Fridays off, which will be great until he starts a full-time grad program three weeks later, at which point I'll actually have to have dinner ready at precisely 6:00 daily so that Chris can eat and then abandon me in favor of a solitary life of study, study, learn. Okay, I know he's not abandoning me, but it will be hard, anyway...

Other things besides blogging that I've neglected lately: personal hygiene, weight-loss, meal planning, keeping my house in order, my calling, all of my friends--you get the basic idea. All I'd really like to do right now is get a good chocolate fix and go back to bed.

I know I have a lot of catching up to do, and for some reason, I think I need to do it chronologically. We'll see if that happens. In the meantime, here's a picture to hold you over:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Why I love Naperville

Welcome to Naperville, Illinois!

Why did we sarcastically say "Welcome to Naper-thrill" when we were teenagers? What were we thinking, wanting to get out of here all along, when now I can't wait to come back?

Here is a non-comprehensive list of what I love about my good old hometown:

10. Band concerts in the park

We were here for the 4th of July bash, with cannons!

9. Community Activities-Ribfest, The Last Fling, Haunted House, etc

8. Beatiful parks and playgrounds, plentiful biking and hiking trails, outdoor art

7. The Naperville Riverwalk
Here we are feeding the ducks.

6. Herrick Lake- hiking, biking, boating, picnicing

Yes we did get caught in the rain, but we loved it! Yeah, the humidity is....sticky....but to actually have rain was really refreshing!

5. The DuPage Children's Museum

For grown-ups as much as it is for kids. Chris and I came here on a date when we were engaged!

4. The Morton Arboretum-hike, bike, drive tour.

Open virtually every day of the year. It has something like 17,000 acres. What a beatiful place!

3. Good Eats--Chicago-style pizza and of course, hot dogs at Portillo's!!! (Enough calories in one meal that it is probably a good thing we only visit twice a year...)

2. Visiting Chicago (Watch for an entire post dedicated to the city, coming soon to a blog near you!)


1. Visiting my family!

My parents and my brother's family, which includes 2 out of my kids' 3 cousins. They sure have a blast together! Plus, mom and dad have an Endless Pool!!! Talk about endless fun!

Naperville was recently rated the 3rd best place to live, and has repeatedly been rated highly for walkable community, raising kids, public libraries, etc. If only I could afford to live there!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

In Las Vegas

Here's our little traveler. She didn't sleep a wink. Here she is plugging her ears while Chris sings along to the music; then, enjoying the only movie we have for the PSP (Surf's Up--I haven't actually gotten to watch the whole thing with sound...)

After 5 hours on the road, we arrived in Las Vegas, NV. We had a great time visiting with Chris's high school friends, and I got to experience first hand how goofy this guy I married really is. How could I have forgotten?

We got to watch the sunset from the 27th floor, while reminiscing with old friends (okay, Chris reminisced, I was kind of a wall flower...) It was a great view!

Things we were told before we went:

Don't look at the billboards, don't take any handbills, and don't look at the ground (where said handbills undoubtedly end up)
Wear good walking shoes.

Things we learned:

Wear good walking shoes.
Just drive from point A to point B-parking is free everywhere (unlike in Chicago). It's way faster than taking the monorail (which I admit is a nice but expensive feature), and way cheaper than taking a cab, and don't even think about trying to walk the strip.
Get a good referral for a place to eat.
Bring breakfast food instead of paying $3.25 for a 6 oz carton of yogurt in the hotel "bistro," and bring your own water bottle to the fitness room (there is no drinking fountain, but you can buy a bottle for $2.50!)
Don't stay in the hotel we stayed in-it was a total rip-off!
Buffet at the Sahara: Sad. Buffet at the Excalibur: Excellent.

Also, Las Vegas isn't exactly a family scene. I know, you're probably thinking "Duh! I could have told you that, and I've never been there!" But I still would have had to learn for myself. I thought it would be nice to take Leah to the pool after we checked in to our hotel. I didn't expect to find barely-clad walking tattoos lounging in the pool drinking and smoking. Fortunately, I don't think she noticed. I had no idea that all towns weren't like Provo, where there are plentiful spots to park and nurse a baby for 20 minutes at a time. I had no idea that when they say "Sin City" they really mean it; I think prostitution is actually legal in Las Vegas. And how can every Casino be so packed when there are so many all in one place? You think the market would be completely saturated, but not so. Bottom line: I like living in a sheltered mostly-Mormon bubble, and I don't ever need to go back to Las Vegas.

We ventured with some friends to a Piano Bar at Harrah's. It was really neat to see two pianists "dueling" and taking requests and getting the crowd singing along. But it was a bar. At one point in time, one of the pianists said, "Sit back, get a drink, and enjoy the music! If you don't like to drink, are in a bar. On a Friday night. In Las Vegas. You must be lost!" Yeah, that was us. Trust me, we were there for the company, but in all other respects we were lost.

So in my opinion, we stuck out like sore thumbs. I figured, if we're not gambling or drinking or smoking, we might as well be well dressed! Here we are in our party garb. It was so much fun to get dressed up!

Reuiting with good old friends: