Friday, August 28, 2009

I made it!

I walked out of the school at 3:20 pm today! woohoo.
But I had to walk back in twice, I couldn't find my cell phone.
I have been to work before 7 am (an hour and a half early) and until almost 6 pm every night. I deserved the break. But all that time has me ready for next week!
But alas, I was home shortly after 4 pm(traffic was horrible). Mike went out and picked up a couple of pizza's. Mmmm, delish! I had dinner all planned out this week. Sunday, dinner at my mothers. Monday, Leftover pulled pork. Tuesday, grilled chicken. Wednesday, chili. Thursday, leftover chili. Friday, pizza!
This weekend we are spending time with the in-laws! Michael's parents on Saturday and then my parents on Sunday! It is the week of Jayne's, Peggy's and Michael's birthday! So lots of celebrating.....
Although, I feel like sleeping! Phew, it has been a crazy week!

Jay is feeling better. Mike is getting the hang of Mr. Mom, but Jayda is keeping him on his toes...or should I say at his wits end. hahaha She is soooo much like me when I was her age! Jake is doing homework...yes on a Friday night....something's wrong with that!!!!!!

Well, it is 6:02 pm and I want to shut my eyes. But we have to visit with Mike's folks. I am taking tooth picks with me to keep my eyes open!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pros and Cons

I love to teach.
I am mentally challenged every day.
I lost 5 pounds so far!
I love cute skirts and shirts that match...add in my jewelery and I am stoked!
Jay is at play school and with Mike(who may be at his wits end already).
I missed Jacob and Jayda' meet your teacher day.
I missed Jacob and Jayda's first day of school.
Jay was sick this weekend from playschool-fever 103.5-tested for swine flu.
Jay did not have swine flu.
I got paid last Friday and get another paycheck next week.
I have a great class.
I love first grade.
I need some new cute shoes that are COMFORTABLE!
I do not get a chance to sit down all day.
I have worked until 5 pm or later every day for the last three weeks.
I have to get up at 5:45 am.
I get to go shopping for new shoes.
I am good at what I do!
I get to use sharpie markers, I love sharpie markers.
I am not teaching kindergarten.
Straightening my hair takes forever.
20 minute lunches.
Student study meetings on the second day of school with administration.
Time flies.
Time flies!
I am making a difference.
I have a new teacher friend.
I write great lesson plans and execute them. matter how you look at it....the good the bad the ugly...I love it all!

PS: Mike gets an A+ as Mr. Mom!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Look out 1st grade... I come!
This is how I went to meet your teacher day! Jayda said I had to buy this dress or she was going to buy it for me...she loved it!

Yeah, I know, I keep looking at the picture and thinking I look pregnant. I AM NOT! I just haven't lost Jay yet! Work will make it happen!
Look closely at the necklace and bracelet...can you see it?
Well here is the story. I decided to straighten my hair this morning. I think I am going to straighten my hair every day. hahaha we will see!
Anyway, I was 10 minutes late for work today.
You see, I was up at 5:50 am. I got dressed...and as soon as I put the dress on, I was missing something. I have been saving the lava beads and coral beads for the perfect outfit...
Only problem is, it wasn't made I went and made this jewelery using my good sterling silver and beads. Then I hustled and straightened my hair.
I arrived at work 10 minutes late, but not to is a workday with meet your teacher at 10 am. I stiffled my panic attack on the way to work becasue I kept thinking I was an hour see I have been first one to work all week and last one to leave almost. Last night I was up til 12:30 am working on lesson plans(which are still not done!) and figured...I could be a few minutes late!
As I walked in, Diana(my first grade teacher pal) called me because she was worrying something may have happened...just as I was walking down the hall and my phone was still ringing, they met me there!
I have hit it off with Diana...she is an awesome teacher and a great person! We are going to be planning together as we teach 1st for the first time!
So, hair was straight, I felt great and I LOVE my new jewelery!

Now on to the important room!

Yeah...about that shoe in the picture...I couldn't wait to get rid of my shoes. They were killing my feet....hahahah!

Oh, wait...isn't this little guy a smidge young for 1st??? Here he is with his backpack for his school!

Jay is adjusting very well to his "school" also known as daycare 3 days a week!
Now, I must get something to is 742 pm and I have not had dinner. Plus, I need to spend some time with my family!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mr. Mom and other things...

Michael has taken over the parenting role this past week as I have gone in head first at school! I have been home no earlier than 6 pm all week and to tell you the truth, it is catching up to me!

Michael has been getting jay to his school M, W, and soon Friday! He has shuttled children to friends, appointments, girl scouts, school, store, and even grilled chicken and made mashed potatoes for dinner tonight!

Jay was a little whimpery when mike dropped him off at school today. But, when mike went to pick him up Jay kind of walked over and hugged his leg. Then hurried back over to a table upon being called by his teacher. Her son had found a turtle and brought it in to share with the kids!
Mike asked how he did and the teacher said he did fine. She said he is a very happy child!

I have been trying to get in the mind of a first grader and decided it is just like a kindergartners, only a smidge more prepared. It will be easier than I thought...and I always said..."Every year I get them right where I want them, then have to send them off to first!" So, I guess I am in luck!

I got a wonderfully encouraging compliment today from administration on how gracious and professionally I handled my big "change". I guess I pulled off spitting mad with kindness and understanding. I can not tell you how many teachers and administrators alike have said how much they admired me for my attitude. WOOHOO!

No sooner did I hear that but then in our 1st grade meeting, the ASD(autistic spectrum disorder) teacher commented to me that I was highly recommended and highly spoken of in regards to my ability to handle special needs children.

So glad this is the reputation I have established in my professional career. Makes coming back to teaching all that much more rewarding. Although, I can't take full credit. Teaching is my gift.

There is another teacher new in 1st grade too. She is immediately across the hall from me. We have hit it off wonderfully! We are going to plan together. We have very similar teaching techniques and are both equally great teachers. HEY! It's not bragging! Consider it, I know what my gift is!

The first grade team is so wonderful! They never say a mean thing about anyone and are very kind. Sometimes, too kind!

The new principal and assistant principal are out of this world, amazingly awesome, and such compliments to our school that I can't even put it into words. I will say that there is no greater gift for children than for their school to be run by outstanding administration!

The new school is well, NEW! Clean! Smells good!

I have a self contained classroom with more storage space than I can store things great is that??? No it!

This has all the makings of a wonderful year!

WHERE ARE THE PICTURES??? I have yet to take my camera. But I am tomorrow.
Stay tuned. And send some chicken noodle soup or something, I am thinking I might be getting a cold/sick. My glands hurt, head hurts, and my back is killing me.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I could spit fire!

I am so mad.
Three days before school starts...
The principal informs me I am moving from Kindergarten to First Grade.
Ummm...ok, he told me today aft 3 pm.
I was so angry I channeled that energy into creating a 1st grade class from a Kindergarten class.
2 hours and 45 minutes later I had it almost perfect!
What the heck am I going to do??? I never taught first grade.

Here's the deal:
Last week I spent 14 hours in my classroom and more hours than I care to admit on line after hours at home creating a writers workshop for my kindergarten class. Prior to school ever starting. Today I arrived at 710 am in my class. I was the first teacher there. We were not to be there until 745 am. I left at 545pm, the last teacher out of the building.
I have spent the last 2 hours going through every book I own and marking them for the accelerated reading program by levels.
This is just the beginning....I have no idea what I am doing.

Pity parties are accepted!

Jake had a great dr. visit today! He is 5'4" and weighs 121 pounds. He got his shot and took it like a man!
Jayda's girl scouts was fabulous and she is so excited for a camp out next month.
Jay had a great first day of day care, he seemed to do just fine...except he was sent out to mike with a poopy diaper??? How long was he in that???
We are keeping track of his status and will keep you informed.

Friday, August 14, 2009


The simple word bristles the hair on the back of my neck and sends shock waves of fear through my body.
But alas, as awesome as I child needs little people to interact and play with. We were lucky to be encouraged to try out a particular day care. It is very small and nice. The children seem to be very well cared for and it smelled as nice this afternoon when I went back to drop off paperwork as it did first thing this morning. I have met two of the three teachers and feel confident this is going to be a positive experience for him. Michael will be dropping him off about 830 am and picking him up before nap(1pm) the three days he will attend.
When we walked out, I told Jay to stand still I wanted his as I am getting ready he catches a glimpse of the grate and bends over and yells, "HELLO IN DARE"!!! aka, HELLO IN THERE!
One of the questions they asked on the questionnaire and you were to put an X by the options...Is your child easily distracted~well, yes I believe so. However, I believe for a 21 and a half month old, he is probably right at where he needs to be.

Upon reading the requirements as a parent: We realized we would need a lunch box and a small blanket and pillow. A lunchbox??? He is not even two! Oh, but how excited he was to get a lunch box. He walked into Target with us, and touched everything...I mean everything...right down to the three big red cement balls out front! Once we arrived in the lunchbox isle, he ran right to this lunch box and wanted it...because he watches this every day! Actually, he wanted two one for each hand.

Michael absolutely flat out refused...I don't know why.
Mike suggested a camouflaged one and Jay stated ~ matter of factly, NO!
Ok, so off to walmart to look for a better option. Never really happened...Spiderman or Cinderella. WTH???
We opted for a black one that looks just like this one. It will do.

In the process, I realized if I waited a minute later to buy Jake and Jayda's supplies...there would be nothing left! So, we stocked up on all their needs. It is amazing how quickly back packs and supplies add up. The two children still need new lunchboxes as they pack everyday. Theirs had become quite say the least!
So today was a mad scramble, daycare, dr. office, target, walmart, home, dr. office, bank, daycare and home. PHEW!
Tomorrow, I believe my mother and I are going to Daytona to a new restaurant for lunch before I go back to work. I should probably clean the house. Hmmm, let me weigh these in my head...............ok, lunch it is!

Kindergarten Prep

I sent an email to a teacher who is moving from 4th grade to Kindergarten. After I reread it, I nearly peed my pants. Not really peed my pants, but it had me giggling hard!
I went ahead and copied the email into this post...maybe you will gain a little insight into the life of a kindergarten teacher!
Hey Jill...are you feeling overwhelmed yet?
If you are not may be this coming week!
But do not will all come together!
Here are a few tips:
Friday after we go out to lunch together, we come back to school and get our lists together and ready for monday!
I would also encourage them to bring in their school supplies on friday! This will alleviate the massive amounts of supplies on monday and all the confusion!
*Have lots of water stocked in your fridge and take the time to drink it! You will be so parched from talking so much!
Oh, yeah, I will repeat that you will repeat things over and over again! hahaha
*Expect the same behavior you would of your fourth is not okay to roll over on top of your neighbor during circle is not okay to pull your shoe lace untied and chew and suck on is not okay to disrupt by shouting out any of the following: WHEN DO WE PLAY? WHEN DO WE GO HOME? WHEN DO WE EAT? i GOTTA GO PEE!
Which brings me to the next topic,
*When the children need to use the restroom I have them raise their arm and show me the sign language for using the bathroom(check with me I'll show ya). See, if you have them raise their never know for sure if it is a bathroom question or a question about the story I am reading...most times they always raise their hand because they always want to talk and they know they can't shout out. Even if you're reading about the gingerbread man, they may want to raise their hand to tell you about their uncle who ran from the police like the gingerbread ran away.
I have a small beanie baby I use that the child gets and puts at their seat so the children always know if someone is in the bathroom(and they do not barge in on someone) and I can tell who is in the bathroom because the stuffed critter is on their table where they sit. The sign language allows you to understand what they want without a disruption. I give a nod yes, or I will say "in a second so you can get the directions before you go." Know what I mean?
*They LOVE SHOW AND TELL! Most K teachers do it every friday. It can ruin an entire morning if you do it whole group. The children have no desire to listen to what the others talk about and by the 3rd one they are done and being disruptive. Instead, every day during circletime I pick three popsicle sticks out of a can with the child's name on it. I give a hint about the child by their name, something we may all know about them, or a fun fact about that child...and they have to guess who it is! I hand them a show and tell bag(old black Kindergarten bag) and the show and tell must fit in weapons or violent toys are my only no no's. I found if you dont limit it...they bring in that huge stuffed animal their uncle won at the fair and carried around on his shoulders at the fair.
They love the time they get to share...but they also do not become behavior problems.
*As the time draws nearer to beginning, you may feel like everyone is to busy to help you! I do know that Nancy is going to feel a huge burden with having to train a new assistant! Kindergarten is a massive undertaking assistant-wise! Just come ask me or anyone else, we will do whatever we can to help! If you want to look at ANYTHING of mine, or peruse my SUB FOLDER I made before I went on leave of was the total handbook on how to teach K!
In the meantime, check out these sights:
...have a great weekend!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Day 11: Ocala FL ~~ Day 12: Kindergarten Class

We left relatively early from Tallahassee to head to Grammy and Grampy's house. Jay's fever flamed all night and luckily Tylenol brought it down, but only for four hours.
We drove through Gainsville and then on down through Mycanopy and several other small towns along the way. Amazing how trees and buildings can be preserved for so long.
It wasn't long and we were in Ocala.
We spent the afternoon relaxing!!! Jay played and I watched him while mike washed the car. Jay was out of sorts as he didn't feel well.
We had a great meal of my absolutely favorite meal...Hamburger and hotdogs. Maybe it is the smell of the grill, or the familiar meal, or even the onion on my hotdog that is so comforting!
As usual, it was the best bed and breakfast out there!!!

Wednesday morning we were geared and set for home. I had to get into my classroom and get it dusted and cleaned before I bring my stuff in. I started on one end and dusted and cleaned. I worked my way from one end to the next...then the task of figuring out how to arrange my room which is like a piece of pie????
Who makes rooms like this????
I met Mr. Senko again. He is our new principal. He is very laid back and has had such positive remarks from everyone. I look forward to a wonderful year under his administration!
There are only 81 children enrolled and 6 Kindergarten Teachers. That is roughly 13.5 children per teacher. Hmmm, too low. One of our K teachers are being considered for 1st grade. That would make 16.2 children per teacher. However, here is the case. Parents wait until the very last minute to get their children enrolled for reasons beyond me. We always end up with 120-130 students every year. However, with the housing market what it is, I do not doubt numbers will be down.
Anyway, I left class yesterday at 4:45 pm with everything clean and organized. I wanted to get bulletin boards up...but no such luck. What was I thinking? hahahaha
Today's agenda:
Get into school, get bulletin boards done, visit the teacher store to get froggy name tags and bulletin board things.
Michael is making a trip to Ocala today to gather up all my boxes from my in-laws garage and bring it to school. Then he must come back out here and get more school stuff from the house. Jay is riding along with his dad!
Tomorrow we go and visit his daycare. I am also going to look into one other one as he is spending more morning time and mike picks him up in the afternoon. I would want for him to have a chance to hear stories, sing songs and maybe paint or color. Rather than just being in a playroom all morning.
Well, that's on the agenda for tomorrow.
So, I wish I could sit and chat for a while longer but I must get through some boxes in the garage and shed.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Day 10: Tallahassee FL

We were up this morning at 5 am wanting to get a jump on the traffic and travel.
Jay went out asleep and in his jammies as he went to bed late.
Stopped nearby at a McD's for breakfast and then scooted out of Memphis.
The trip went surprisingly very well!!!
We stopped to use the restroom and kept driving driving driving.
We stopped in Troy, AL for lunch at a place called Sister's. I wanted to try something that was not a chain, and by golly this was the neatest southern restaurant run by Sisters.
Check it out here!
The menu had 4 choices and no prices...
Beef tips and rice, fried pork chop, fried livers, bbq chicken. Then you were able to choose two sides from:
white peas
potato salad
string beans
fried okra
scallop potatoes
and I can not remember if there was anything else.
The meals were served with fritters and a bun.
I had the beef tips with rice and mike had the fried pork chop. He chose white peas and scallop potatoes. I chose white peas and fried okra. Sweet tea was perfection to wash the rib stickin' meal down!
Jay wandered briefly outside, but it was so darn hot he was ready to get back in the car. At this point, we only had 3 hours to go of the 9 hour total trip.
Just outside of Tallahassee we had to stop and get gas. Believe it...we went from Memphis to outskirts of Tallahassee on one tank of gas...LOVE my new Honda!
Once into the hotel, I immediately took Jay swimming. The pool was outdoor and super duper warm. It was a lot of fun til I spied a mosquito on Jay's forehead. By the time I got there and smushed it, blood splattered across his forehead. NICE! So out we went.
It was around 6:30 when we decided we needed somewhere to eat. So, I asked at the front desk where the best place in town was to eat...she mentioned a bunch of places to us. In particular, a sushi restaurant. It was called Mr. Roboto's. It was a definite collegey hangout kind of place! We ordered the "Roboto", spicy tuna and "Yum Yum" um, I ordered it quickly...some kind of tempura something or other roll, seaweed salad and two mini egg rolls. Jay grabbed up his chopsticks and ate some seaweed salad. Had no real interest in anything else. Next stop, McDonalds for some chicken, apple juice, and apple slices.
I think he has a fever. Mike had to run out and get some children's tylenol(I do not know where the one I packed went...but then again, we have only been in like 7 hotels since our trip started.) Oh yeah, and Mike had to buy some new underwear...he ran out of clean. hehehe
Saw the Florida State University and the stadium, long with the historic capital building. I think we are sleeping in tomorrow and then heading to our next stop to relax a bit. Jay needs to start to get back to normal....and frankly, so do I! However, I repeat....I have had a fabulous time and have acquired so many wonderful memories!!!
Jay's just about out of the tub and I need to go and cuddle him, he is not feeling so great!
Til I blog ya later!

Day 9: Memphis TN

Memphis, TN here we come! We left Hilton at the ballpark early after mike stopped into Starbucks for a Caramel Macchiato and then we were off! It was a 4 hour trek from St. Louis to Memphis. I was disappointed when we arrived in Memphis and I had booked the Hilton instead of the Double Tree Downtown. I do not know why I changed it and opted to stay out of town??? Anyway, I suddenly felt better when all the research I did of Memphis had turned up the fact that it is a driving city. We drove on into the Downtown area which is right along the Mississippi River. Our first stop, Gus’s Famous Fried Chicken. Man vs. Food on the Food channel has been to this restaurant several times. It is very spicy and hot out of the fryer. It was some of the best fried chicken I have ever had! The sides are beans and slaw and the slaw was top notch! The beans had salsa mixed in, so I was not so thrilled with that. At the last second, I ordered fried pickles and then regretted not getting fried green tomatoes. Mike and I just kept drinking and drinking the sweet tea, and MAN WAS IT SWEET! Delish! It was a total hole in the wall and we ate on paper plates with plastic silverware. After reading so much about this joint on the chowhound, it totally lived up to its reputation and Michael said it was a good call!
Several blocks away was the Mud Walk park. We caught the monorail across the river and then explored the river on our own. It is a life size model of the Mississippi River from start to finish, right down to the tiniest tributaries. Filled with running water that children and adults alike are encouraged to explore. I walked along with Jay for a while and when I quit, he went right for it…on my warnings to be careful, he still took a spill right in the water. I think it was one of the best things he could have done in his mind. He enjoyed scooting on his bottom up the river. When his shoes came off and floated downstream he became so tickled!
We took the last monorail back across the river to our car. It was so blasted hot this afternoon, Jay was thrilled to cool off and I was thrilled I had a second outfit in my bag for just such an incident as falling in the Mississippi River.
Next stop, Graceland. It was a mere ten minutes out of town in a horrible section of the city. If Elvis was alive, there is no way he would ever still live there! There was a festival of some sorts happening in the parking lot there and I can only imagine it was Elvis reincarnated in some hopeful fan. I managed to get a picture of Graceland Gates and the Heartbreak Hotel as we drove by. I felt completely satisfied in having seen it!
Set the GPS for the Hilton and head on home. It dawned on me that we were very close to Marc’s condo he owns in Tennessee. After seeing the area, I am wondering what possessed him to move to Florida. A few blocks from his condo are these extravagant mansions and he was surrounded by yuppyish homes. A very nice neighborhood indeed.
Then on home where we both happily crashed on the king size bed, with Jay nestled in between us...he has mastered the art of climbing out of the crib while in Chicago. Although Mike shared with me today he is dreading the 525 mile trip we have tomorrow. I don’t blame him, it is going to be difficult with Jay. Heck, it is just going to be difficult!

Day 8: St. Louis

This morning we were up and had the best breakfast while on the road! The French toast was made with actual French bread….such a perfect touch! The food at the Pere Marquette is absolutely out of this world. Highly recommend it!
St. Louis is the next stop!
Packed up and headed out on the road. We were making our way south by way of a town called University city. This is one of the strangest places I have ever visited. It is yuppy with a twist of ghetto. Strangest area and hard to correctly label. Lots of really interesting restaurants and stores. It also had stars on the sidewalk of famous people from the area.
Our destination was a place called Fitz’s Restaurant. Just outside of St. Louis, It was one of the highlights of the trip! It was everything I had hoped for and then some! We walked in and got our beeper to tell us when our table was ready. We walked over to a big glass where we were able to watch them make rootber and other sodas. Our seat was ready in about 5 minutes in the best spot possible! The food comin gout of the kitchen looked to die for! I ordered a coney dog and onion rings washed down with a homemade rootbeer! DELISH! Like holy smokes ….the best ever!
Back in the car and heading for the St Louis zoo. It was free but you could pay for things inside if you chose to do them like ride a train or go see the sting rays. We opted for none of that and didn’t feel cheated. There was so many amazing animals to see.:giraffes, seals, gazelles, camels, lions, penguins, ducks, bears, cheetah, and elephants…and on and on.
But let me assure you, 97* in St. Louis feels the same as 97* in florida! We were so hot and bothered by the time we left there…
We head into the city to check in to the Hilton at the Ballpark. We wre expecting to have a city view, but lucked out with an amazing room over looking the ball park! Very cool!
Unpack a bit and then head down to the Arch. WOW! You just can’t explain it in words unless you see it in person. The walking area overlooks the Mississippi River. Jay walked and walked, and then napped and napped. He missed Lacleade’s Landing, but truthfully it was just really touristy and the restaurants were dead and it was 6:30 pm.
We headed back to the hotel to the pizza shop, Imo’s in the hotel for some st. louis pizza. The type of chese they use is Provel I believe and it is a very thick and creamy cheese. The pizza crust is thin and the toppings were fabulous, but it was kind of hard to get past the strong taste it has. We were not thrilled with it, but decided the pizza was terrific otherwise and decided we had a little taste of St Louis and that was worth it!
We decided to head over to Cabela’s in a mall type place and chased Jay around there. He is so curious and totally on sensory overload with everything to look at and attempt to touch! As we walked through the mall, he wanted to hold both our hands. Just about every 4th step, he would just quit walking and let his legs drag behind him. Yet, he didn’t want to be carried. Then he would walk and the just crumble to the floor for fun. Yeah, Mike had had enough of all that!
Back to the hotel and showered and cleaned up, and now Jay sleeps soundly. We are all tired today. This was a huge busy day! The best thing about todat, Fitz’s Rootbeer without a doubt.
We had some issues with the GPS lately…when there are a lot of streets to choose from, she sometimes tells us the wrong way. Mike wants to divorce her, but I am insisting she can still be part of the family!
So, for now, I am sure I am forgetting things…maybe I will remember them when I add pictures to all the posts!
Tata for now!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Day 7: Peoria, IL

I fell asleep last night just after Mike said he was going to go out and take some pictures of Chicago's skyline from the pier. They turned out fabulous! He also stopped at Fox & Obel, a fresh market. He picked me up some rootbeer to bring back to me. Imagine his disappointment when he got back and I was sound asleep! I slept so good. Until I was awakened by a horrible dream. I was teaching again and the children were all the age of Jay! The teachers around me were talking behind my back about how bad a teacher I was and the children were running off and playing in streets and near water. ACK!!!!

We ate a great breakfast in the lobby and arrived early before the mob house let out again for free breakfast! I had a made to order omelet and gave 3/4 of it to mike and opted for the huge cream doughnut. Hmmm, imagine! He says to me after I nearly finished it, I guess that doughnut was good?? hehe

We packed up and went and sat in the lobby...well, I sat and Jay climbed on the couch and then kept walking circles around the planter while Michael packed the car up. It wasn't too much longer and we were out and on the road. A time I do not have as the car is set to Eastern time and we are in Central time, and yes...this many days later I am still having difficulty with time! However, Jay napped and we drove through rain as the weather has turned cold and rainy.
After he awoke from his nap, Jay decided he did not want to be in the car. I held him off awhile with the DVD player and playing games. Then, he started pulling stuff out of the food box and generally becoming cantankerous. I get the good idea to put my heavy diaper bag up on the box to stop it. What was I thinking?? No sooner had I placed it up there and turned around to relax, I hear giggling. There's Jay, grabbing out the sunscreen and squirting it over his shoulder!! All Over my car! ACK! So, I grab it and I was all hollering at him and he is screaming at an equally high level and squeezing it and it's squirting all over and then I get it turned around and sure enough he and I pulling on it squirted it in my eye and all over me! All this driving down the highway...

Crisis over and cleaned up.

Moments later we arrive at the Pere Marquette, Mike's Uncle's Hotel. We were given a suite on the top floor overlooking the Civic Center and gorgeous old church!
Bill met us for lunch in the hotel and Jay took only a few moments to warm up to Bill and then he three two spoons across the table. Don't you worry, I was moving to remove him from the table when the second one went flying. We took a little side trip to the bathroom for a little talk and some discipline. It worked. Back at the table he was much better! We played a little and then we started whispering in each others ears. He liked playing secrets! He garbled, I said, use your good manners! We had an amazing meal! Michael had a buffalo style chicken sandwich and I had a pork loin sandwich. Mmmm so good. They take a pork loin and flatten it and fry it! Delish! Luckily, Bill shared mine with me, because I could never have finished it on my own! Jay shared mine, but nibbled on the fries and chose to suck the ketchup off the fries instead. Yeah, it was not his best moment manner wise.
Bill kept saying Jy should spend the afternoon with him, Mike and I looked at each other and said in unison. It would last one minute before you were calling for us to come get him! hahahaha
He still thought he needed to hang out with him! Wish we had planned to spend two days here! I am not sure if it is the pull I feel to explore the city or to lavish around here in luxury!!!
Dinner is planned for Bill and Susan's house this evening. Jack is looking forward to seeing Jay.

We are dreading the stairs...
It was raining all afternoon, but we took a walk over to the Caterpillar store and Jay got his first CAT earth mover. He called it a "beebage truck". AKA-garbage truck.
Mike got a hat. Imagine...

We left for Bill and Susan’s house at 530 pm and arrived shortly there after. Their home is beautiful and so homey feeling! Susan had prepared some amazing hor dourves. We had brie and blackberries, bacon wrapped water chestnuts, strawberries and cocktails! Let me tell you, I was in desperate need of some lively spirits after the past week with Jay! The wine was flowing, laughter abounding, and family reconnecting!
Jay was having a ball after his token shy period. Susan said, he is fine on his own he can’t hurt anything. In no time, he had pulled down the fire place tools with a loud crash and was walking around with the poker poking the floor. ACK!!! Jack had a hard time sharing with Jay and was near mortified when Jay attacked his toy box and took out two wrestlers. Let me tell you, it is not easy dealing with Jay…right down to the moment he walked over to Jack’s dinner tray and took his glass of juice and drank from it~spilling it down his shirt and on the couch. So yeah, Jack had a right to be fed up! Although, Jay was also very kind to Jack and vice versa.
Dinner was out of this world at Bill and Susan’s~Beef Tenderloin, cooked to complete and utter perfection!
We are still claiming this as the best meal we have had so far or in a long time for that matter!!!
Home late and tipsy with some wine, there was no way I could blog about our day!

Day 6: Chicago, IL

We were up at 6:22 am. Somehow I missed the train and honkers. Oh well.
Up, everything packed, and down for a hotel breakfast. Back to room and grab bags and pack up the car. Set the GPS for Chicago and head North through West Lafayette for a stop at Purdue University! We parked in the lot just outside of Ross Ade field where all tailgating takes place! It was super Quiet on the campus…save for the few tours being given to high school students. Mike said it has changed so much since he was there. We passed the XXX Diner which is highly touted on the chowhound boards and from other foodies. Mike can not understand how some find the food so good there... but did confide in me that he once dined and dashed 20 years ago. Can you believe it? @#$%&* college kids!!!!!!
I snapped some pictures and particularly enjoyed Michael and Jay tossing around the pigskin…errr the nerf.

From there we headed on into the city by way of the south side of Chicago. We rode up Lake Shore Drive clear way up into Lincoln Park to where Mike lived, past Wrigley~where we nearly stopped for a Chicago hotdog but parking was an issue, then on down past the Westin where he worked ending up at our hotel, the Embassy Suites Downtown. Downtown is crazy mad with taxi drivers and drivers trying to dodge them and pedestrians. It is like a cozy neighborhood with mad busy streets. A lot of “green” area where people let their pooches poop. Everyone has dogs! There are some beautiful people in this city and you can tell they are not tourists!
We arrived in our room at 2:00 pm CENTRAL time(for those of you confused…we are currently in central time! (o: ). I was starving and so was Jay. We walked 4 blocks down to Navy Pier and then headed back three blocks to Subway for lunch. The pier was packed food wise and Jay needed some nutrients immediately! We carried it a block to our hotel and feasted on some subs. I do not know what it is about them, but it was just absolutely out of this world.
I wish we were able to dine at some fancy wonderful place, but it is just not possible with Jay. I certainly do not feel like driving anywhere as parking is absurd in the surrounding area and traffic even crazier! Frankly, and embarrassingly, I could not have asked for a better sandwich today!
Shortly there after, we headed back to the pier where I snapped some pictures and we saw people of all sorts! Half naked hairy men running(everyone is running and exercising in the city!) but really did he have to take his shirt off and show us his portly belly and hairy neck, back, arms, legs only covered by a flimsy pair of running shorts???? I mean seriously???
Jay found some steps to climb…imagine?!? Moments later a 2 and a half year old French speaking child came over and was babbling away to Jay. His mother said. Did you tell the little boy your name? I said he babbled something at Jay but we could not understand it. She said, his first language is French. I said oh that explains it. I swear, Mike then says…Oui, Oui. I am crying writing about it now it has me laughing!
We were on a mission to find Garrett Popcorn, only to find it inside the food court. The food court was pretty cool but full of people. I felt like we were at Disney, there were so many people. Not as friendly a city as Chattanooga and Danville, but I suppose that is better for safety purposes. I finally laid eyes on the popcorn shop and headed straight in. There were two families ahead of me and I quickly jumped in line. The one gallon container of garrett popcorn was 29.00. I almost bought it. Then decided on the large bag they were selling and got cheese and caramel mixed. I know it sounds disgusting but if you ever mixed the two together, you’d understand!!! My dad sure understands. We had received a quart in a Christmas gift basket and he ate almost the whole container, and I let him because I had no idea!!! It has been three years since I have last had my Garrett’s popcorn and I officially fell off the wagon! We walked out only to have a line 20 people deep behind me. Got there at the perfect time and walked out only having spent 13 including a drink and popcorn for jay!
We headed back to the hotel for the happy hour MOB HOUSE and I had two glasses of really cheap really bad wine…but it was still fun. Jay and Michael toured the lobby and then we headed up to the room so I could drink cheap wine, eat Garrett popcorn, and lay in bed watching cartoons with Jay. Life is good. 7:18 pm and in Chicago, laying in bed, watching cartoons with our baby and blogging.
Does life get any better?
Um, yeah…I think it does…but this is where we are right now and I am choosing to love every minute of it.
But dang it, that sushi place out the hotel and literally around the corner taunts me and calls to me and heckles me about being a “mom” and a practical mom at that as I walk on by…head held high…looking forward to cheap wine and relaxing 17 stories over Chicago!
Tomorrow, Peoria IL.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Day 5: Danville, IL

6:06 am large train traveling through blowing its whistle, honkers immediately after. It is all part of the wonderful life I have come to know here in Danville/Covington. It has been a superb experience exploring Michael's childhood home.
This morning we had breakfast in the hotel and then I took Jay for an hour walk around the hotel to give Mike a chance to check his email and do our laundry. Um, I am thinking I would have rather done the laundry. hhahahahaha
We actually had a very good time exploring.
It was Wednesday, so I wanted to check and see if there were any local farmer's markets going on. Lucky day Danville had one downtown. No lie, 5 booths. Two with baked goods, two with veggies, and one selling goat poop for garden manure. I ended up grabbing two baked good, a blurberry coffee cake and pecan bars. Then at one of the farmers tables I picked up three stems of gladiolas as Mike wanted to stop by the cemetary and put some flowers down. We got a fabulous photo op there of jay putting the flowers on the grave. I spoke to him about what the cemetery was and why we were there and how to put the flowers down...he went right over and did it perfect, it was a little eerie, but precious.
Grandpa was expecting us for a quick visit and Jay was thrilled to see those front steps again. However, he was completely devastated that he only got to walk up them and was forced inside. He screamed, cried, sobbed, and I removed him to the kitchen. We had to go to the kitchen three times. Each time I got him calmed down and walked back into the front room he began sobbing and wanted to go out. It wasn't long and he calmed and fell asleep in my arms.
Grandpa had a chance to visit with us and it was our best visit so far! I heard how grandpa at the age of 6 lost his father in 20's and his mother was due to delivery his brother Stan in three months. They moved into the city and he and his older brother went to his uncle's farm to work to earn his keep. He also had a paper route and on special occasions there were inserts to be sold for a nickle a piece. In 1927, he remembers selling a paper insert that was announcing Charles Lindbergh had just crossed the Atlantic ocean for the very first time! At 16, he went to work at the bakery from 3 am to 7 pm every day. Fridays he worked from 2 am to 7 pm. He didn't leave the bakery and only saw about 3-5 people a day. Packed a big lunch and worked hard all day! A couple years later the bread slicing machine was invented. 8 years in the bakery before he took the postal test. He studied hours with a book he checked out from the library. It was the coldest day in history that he ever recalls, below zero for three days, when he went to take the test in the huge study hall that ran over into another classrom too. He placed 6th place in scoring out of the whole bunch, and didn't hear a thing from the post office. He was talking to a friend of his that hung out with him. The postal job came up and Gpa told him what had happened. His friend said, well I can take care of that for you. Grandpa replied, "what the hell are you talking about!?" The boy explained that he picked up his father at the courthouse at 5 pm everyday. They then went over to post office and gave the head postmaster a ride home every day. It was a day or so later when Gpa got the call he had gotten the job at the post office. Two years later, he got his draft letter for World War 2. He joined and became 3rd class sergeant so he could live off base with his wife and one year old daughter, Peggy. It wasn't long and the first bomb was dropped in Japan and 5 days later the second. War was soon over and Gpa wa sback at the post office. He came to love this job so much, because it was "intersting ya know". But more importantly, he expressed how he loved working the window and seeing so many people. I have heard this story more times than probably anyone else in Michael's family. You know what....I LOVE THIS FACT!!! I can tell you anything you want to know about what he has chosen to share about his life. I have heard it so many times, I have begun to try and ask other questions to press deeper into that time period of his life or spin him out of the conversation. But it only confuses him or he answers my questions-which I love because I learn more-but he gets right back on track to finish the story. I love love love that he cares so much for me that he wants to share his life with me to make me part of his life too! It has been a trip well worth making for Michael, for Jay, and for me! Got some wonderful pictures at the house.
Then we headed over to the Covered Brigde Restaurant again. It was open and very busy. It is an adorable building and the inside is the typical small town restaurant. There was a table of sweet ladies behind Michael and another large party of old ladies beside us. They basically ignored us and were knee deep in town gossip which TOTALLY shed a light on Covington! Funny.
Jay had to sit on a booster seat because his legs and feet are so big, they do not fit in the chair. Panic immediately rushed over Mike and I. But it ended up working very well!!! Jay was being a little unruly and then we played a game where I hid sugar packets under my hand and he had to try and guess which one it was. He liked it. Somehow in between that game and the food coming, he grabbed the silver ware and threw it past Michael and onto the floor at the sweet ladies feet. Mike immediately turned around and said to the ladies, I am soo sorry, he is not even two yet. He just looks like he is older. In the meantime, I reprimanded the child in a way that No ONE would say, "could you believe she did not correct that child's poor behavior?"
Onto the food. We had Manhattan's for lunch. WHAT!?! I know I was all like what in the world is a manhattan??? It is an open face roast beef with tons of gravy and mashed potatoes. Mike had the turkey and i had the roast beef. It was a flashback to 4th grade and a delicious meal in the school cafeteria. They don't make cafeteria food like that any more. Then, we saw the pie menu!
strawberry rhubarb
sweet cream
peanut butter(sorry mother...I didn't think it would hold up for 7 days...)
lemon meringue

Mike had rhubarb which was very good and I had peach which was delicious and he and I scarfed them down in less than 30 seconds. Jay was DONE.
So out we went to explore the beautiful grounds and take some pictures and break a two year olds spirit! haha Is "NO" a spirit or a cheer or a mantra????

Loved this experience and followed it up by setting the GPS to home and totally going back a country road. You are riding through cornfields...and getting passed by impatient Indianians wondering how did two floridians get so lost?????????

Once back at the hotel, we changed clothes and headed down to the pool, it has been one of my favorite things about this hotel...although there are many pleasant things here! Jay is getting really confident and capapble in the water. He will jump off the second step with his head held high and float with his wings. We swam for over an hour and then came back up to get ready for dinner. We were heading over to Charlie and Kim's house and having dinner with Sarah and Chris too! Grandpa was there and he has improved since we even saw him two days ago. He is perky and with great coloring! Although, he didn't say to much during the dinner. Then again, we were all having such a wonderful time together that he probably couldn't get a word in if he tried!
I totally love Mike's people! They are all wonderful!
Kim and Charlie's home is incredible. Their home is so welcoming and stunning all at the same time. I love the back patio and yard. You would have thought Jay would have been a madman out there in the yard...exploring and playing. NOOOOO!!!! Jay wanted to go back in the house and climb the stairs. Yeah, I know.
The landscaping is so charming and the added flowers and pots are so well put together. Sarah has a great eye for landscape! I dream of a home and yard like this one day!
I have felt bad about interrupting Kim and Charlie's schedule this week. Especially since Kim has started back to teaching last week. She has to be so tired! You wouldn't know it from her warm and welcoming style. She seemed so rested and relaxed! We had some delicious pizza from Monacle's, a fresh salad, some wine, and fresh strawberries with ice cream and brownies! I forgot to tell her how sweet and delicious the strawberries were from a nearby garden. It was just so nice to have a chance to visit with them and I left feeling like we have been family for years and years. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful family.

Oh, your thinking that this evening couldn't get any better. Oh, but wait it does! On the way home, we stopped at Custard Cup for a dessert after dessert. Hahaha. Mike had me run up and he sat in the car with Jay. There were people all around enjoying this icon. Unfortunately, the special was blue raspberry today. I opted to try a kiddie lemon cone for mike and chocolate for me. It was so yummy. We gave jay three tiny tastes and he whacked out and was itchy, his face got red, and he was hyper. It is getting interesting watching how he reacts after eating certain foods. I will keep a better eye on this and even start a journal to share with the pediatrician at our two year visit in 3 months. I don't know that I would call it hyperactive, as much as I would say irritated. A benedryl and sleep was just what was ordered. Michael is also asleep and at 10:11 pm CENTRAL time, I am also exhausted.
6:06 am comes quickly around here.
Next up, Chicago by way of Purdue University, and then off to get some Garrett popcorn, check out Navy Pier, and I do not know what we will have for dinner....
Til then.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Day 4: Danville IL

Who set the alarm? I mean really...we are on vacation! At 6:06 am, the alarm went off. For those of you not familiar...we are in Central Time Zone, making it actually 5:06 am for my body's clock! I woke up and reached over in the dark banging on every button and it kept going off and going off....
Finally, I found the button.
Mike thinks we need to go ahead and set the clock for a 4 am alarm for the next folks staying here...I guess he thought it was funny and would make a nice practical joke.
It was three minutes later and honkers were flying over. Who needs roosters when you have geese???
Hmmm, this is panning out to be a very interesting day already!!!
Up and ready to go down for our continental breakfast, unsure of what this meal will be like. It was actually very pleasantly nice.
I had a cup of green tea and nothing else. Nothing looked too appealing. I decided on a granola bar in the room. But the tea was great!
We then got ready and headed over to Grandpa's house for a short visit this morning.
While we were there, storms began to blow in. I saw some hail on the porch and thought we should move up under the big oak tree to protect the car a bit. It rained some but never got worse. As we were leaving we were going to tour Danville a bit. Only to run smack dab into a torrential downpour with gusting winds in excess of 65 mph.
I am from Florida, we have Hurricanes. But this...this....this scared the pants off me! Limbs were falling, garbage cans were spewed across the streets and there were even garbage bags being blown(must be garbage day in Danville)out into the streets. I kept my panicky thoughts to myself...but I sure was glad to be back in the hotel!
Later, after the worst of it had passed we decided to ride down to Eugene, IN to have lunch at the Covered Bridge Restaurant. We followed the GPS on a back road that gave me that "off the beaten path" feel for sure. As a matter of fact, it made me wonder if perhaps we should have stayed ON the path! hahaha
Unfortunately, we arrived to see the cutest covered bridge and an adorable little restaurant with a sign that said...Sorry, closed no power.
Hmmm, bummer. Michael and I took a little tour of some back roads around the area looking for farms of his relatives now deceased. We found acres and acres and miles and miles of cornfields! But never the elusive farm.
Heading into Covington, IN, Michael's hometown. I could not have ever been any other place that reminded me of my hometown. Loved every bit of it. Felt so sorry for Mike as he looked down his street, which once boasted majestic trees up one end and down the other, with horror. The state has come in and cut them all down as part of a widening project on a road that does not need widened. The town is in an uproar over this!!!
Come to find out, Aunt Kim works at a school with a teacher who now lives in Michael's childhood home! Neat! I loved the tour of the town!
We debated having lunch in Covington at the Maple Street Diner or The BeefHouse. The beefhouse won out. Jay was a very good boy and ate sunflower seeds, raisins, red jello, and a famed beefhouse roll with some strawberry jam on it. He was not interested in the meal. Michael and I both got the special. Ribs, two sides, and a trip to the salad bar. It was some of the very best ribs I have ever had! Delicious!!!
It was raining the entire outing, and has since cleared up a bit to show the sun. However, as I type this at 5:49 Central Time, wink wink, it appears to be ready to rain again.
Jay fell asleep about a half hour ago after an afternoon of swimming with Michael. His body tells him it is almost 630 so that worked out fine and he should sleep through the night!
This works out fabulously as Michael is heading over to Gpa's to watch the cardinals play tonight. I opted out to stay back with the baby so Mike can have some good visit time with charlie and grandpa.
Watching the news a bit ago, I see where all the rain caused a flash flood in Louisville! Cars were floating away and people were maneuvering around in boats. They even shut down the Highway I-65. We were right there yesterday!!!!!!
I knew waking up this morning it was going to be an odd day and it has been interesting to say the least!
Tomorrow looks like another pass at the Covered Bridge as I want to get some pictures without the rain, taking a picture of Jay standing by the corn along the roadside that has to be at least 7-8 feet tall, then perhaps to play at the playground in Covington where Mike grew up.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Day 3: Danville IL

We awoke at 730 am and hurried to breakfast and finish packing up for our travels today! Breakfast was a carbon copy of yesterday with the exception today our table was a little wobbly. Jay liked that...our glasses of orange juice...not so much!

I had a small bowl of grits(pastey and not as good as Lake Helen's, Mother) washed down with a vanilla latte I made myself with a very fancy machine! I have to say, the cranberry white chocolate macadamia nut scone pretty much pushed me right over into hog heaven!

Michael packed up the car and Jay took the flight of steps in the lobby 15 times...up and down...up and down...up and down....up and get the idea.
He did master taking the steps one foot at a time like a normal human. I suppose he has been born, socialized, fed well, and cared for ~ which under Obama's new czar, John Holdren, constitutes him now being a human. Unfortunately, when the next temper tantrum takes place and I feel like killing him...I can't because he is officially now, at almost two...human.

The GPS got us back on the highway. And we were off. By this time, Michael and I had been spending a lot of time together in the car. We have little time to talk to one another though because I am so busy keeping Jay busy. Today was much more difficult. He realized he can reach into the food box and start helping himself to whatever takes his fancy. The big problem arrived when he grabbed the box of powdered baby oatmeal, opened it, and nearly dumped it. I grabbed it so fast but....UGH! My shoulders and neck were so sore from turning around. We play a simpler version of I spy and he does surprisingly well! I spy a cloud. I spy a truck. I spy a tree. He loves it! Me, not so much...but whatever it takes. During a particularly difficult bout with him he was miserable...and I gave up and started to sing Hush little baby.....and then he quieted... a few minutes later I heard ssshs baby ssshs baby in this tiny sweet voice. Makes him so very sweet and the miles and tears bearable.

Stopped somewhere for gas and Subway for lunch. Nothing spectacular...nothing fancy....nothing to write home about on the blog!

When Mike and I do have a moment to talk to one another, I somehow manage to say something stupid! But it cracks us both up!
Here was conversation one, we are listening to Rush Limbaugh on the radio...and this is what he was talking about...He has recently lost a lot of weight and has been working closely with a weight loss clinic in S. Florida. The view and good morning america have been critiquing and criticizing his weight loss. He is eating 1500 calories a day and the naysayers were saying how this diet is so harmful. Well, unfortunately, as many know non rush listeners don't really get him and are negative about him. This negativity has carried over into his weight loss choice and the weight loss clinic is taking the hit in the media's attempt to criticize Rush.
Make Mike Laugh #1: Gees Mike, that's wrong. The clinic is suffering because of this and I suppose that is why he is talking about the diet and putting the facts out there. Can't the diet center sue them for what's that called??? defecation? He just busted out laughing. He says defamation. That's what I meant! Oh, don't laugh at me. He then says...your actually right....Sue them for defecation for talking shit about their diet clinic!!! Made him laugh even harder. Me too!
Oops I said SH*T!
Make mike laugh #2
Later in the evening before bed I was writing an email to my mother in law and I asked Michael are we on mountain time here??? He started laughing...I said, awe don't laugh at me again! He said I am not really laughing at's more like I think about looking around, do you see any mountains???? Oh yeah, well oops again. It has been a long day!

Started at 9:15 and arrived in Danville at 4:15 pm CENTRAL time...not mountain...if you are wondering....hehehehe.

We got into the hotel and immediately took jay to the pool to swim. I was frazzled, Mike was frazzled, Jay was all over the place and happy as a clam!!!! We were in the room 5 minutes and he had gone into the bathroom-he is most interested and fascinated with all of these bathrooms- and pulled the toilet paper all over the floor and flicked the lights on and off on and off.
The pool was awesome and Jay loved it! Back and forth from the hot tub to the pool. It is secluded and away from other parts of the hotel so it was fabulous. The stress of the day just melted away. This next leg of our trip is a bit more laid back and peaceful. We are staying put for a few days!
We quickly cleaned up and headed out to visit Grandpa!
It is in a small town that reminds me of my home town, only all of the houses are small and kind of cottagey looking. It is a reminder of the past when we did not live in such excess with large houses.
I loved the house and Grandpa looked pretty good all things taken into account! His shoulder is still a bit painful and has some trouble sleeping.
Charlie and Kim are taking very good care of him!
It was so much fun meeting them today! I have not had the chance to meet them yet, and they had yet to see Jay in the flesh! Jay was extremely shy when we arrived and hung on my skirt and peeked around from behind my leg...smiling at them the whole time. He totally had them wrapped around his finger with his cute little smile he kept plastered on his face. He climbed behind the chair I was sitting on and I heard some familiar grunting. Then the smell wafted up around my legs and into my nostrils. Lordy Days...we brought a skunk with us and left our sweet child in Chattanooga! That explains the car ride today!

After that, Jay was Jay and he was off and exploring! Even found the bathroom and was just all staring at the toilet...I wanted to tell him, yeah, we all would have benefited had you chosen to use that seat as your pot instead of my seat!
Jay lasted a bout a half hour or more in the house and then I said we had to get him to the hotel and ready for bed.
Out we headed, and Jay discovered the steps. Please refer to yesterdays post should you have questions about stairs!
Up an down and up and down and up and get the idea.
Grandpa came out and watched him a bit longer and at one point he was belly laughing out loud at Jay. I know they have a ROTFL, a LOL, but do the have BLOL??? Did I invent some cool new text message lingo? Am I now "cool"? No, I think not. Maybe even more un cool now...just my luck!
Regardless, watching Grandpa watch his great grandson was worth every last 1,000 and 52 miles it took to get here!
Jay found a clover flower picked it and went running ~YELLING~ "granpa, granpa, granpa, granpa" up the steps and gave it to him. Grandpa said, "such a gentleman!"

Back into the car.....BUT WAIT! I opened the car door and this awful smell wafted out of the car! I mean like horrid! Like something crawled in there and died....maybe a skunk???? We took everything out of the car when we arrived back at the hotel, the only thing we ate in the car was Mike and Jay had wendy's on the way to Grandpa' dirty diapers...WTH????? More to come tomorrow on that mystery!

Sleep came easy this evening for Jay...Tomorrow is another day...
Tentative schedule. Early at Grandpas for a little short visit, and Mike watching the game with Charlie and Grandpa at Gpa's house in the evening. I am bowing out as I am not up for manhandling a little skunk...errr...human being!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Day 2: Chattanooga, TN

Day two of our marathon roadtrip!
Can you believe it?

UN,UM...Jacob has a building named for his favorite saying...7th graders!

Well, let's just say I loved my vacation and enjoyed rising up every morning! The first morning I took the opportunity to use the silence in the room to give myself a pedicure and fix my hair...and shocker even put on make...that I forgot... but bought in the Walgreen's the night before. I know...I bought makeup at walgreens. I will be reporting back how Covergirl compares to Lancome. I even got this wet n' wild lip gloss! I haven't had wet n' wild lip gloss since 7th grade!!!
PS: The makeup was perfect....hmmm, time to rethink purchases.

Mike gets up and then Jay, all are happy!

We get dressed and head down to the restaurant for Breakfast. They have an amazing hot bar, cold fresh fruit and yogurt, bakeries, make your own belgium waffles, and cappuccinos like they serve in a Starbucks! FABULOUS! The best part was, you could order whatever you like fresh.
I had orange juice, half of one of Jay's scrambled egg and a little of the waffle mike made for him. Oh, yeah, I did have a caramel cappuccino..MMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!
Back to the room. Oh did I mention it was pouring down rain all night and morning?
We had to rush through breakfast as Jay ate fruit, waffle, egg, bagel and was done...ready to go. Mike decides it is best to get out for a ride and explore the town while it is raining. Chattanooga is QUIET on Sundays! Very nice! We rode up to Lookout Mountain and saw nothing because it was shrouded in a cloud! But you could at least see the area and it is stunning! All the beautiful dark greens from grass to leaves to trees covered in rain. The homes are huge mansions with yards that all deserve to be on the cover of Southern Living. The road treacherous and curvy but so different than anything we have back home! We could have parked at lookout mountain, but there was nothing to see so we came back down and went to the Chattanooga Visitors center and got the address for the Farmers Market

that is held every day in Chattanooga.

WOW!!! Mother, the fruit and veggies we get...sick sick sick! The veggies and fruit here...OH MY GOSH!

Amazing! We bought Blackberry's the size of huge black olives and ate them in the room! Jay loves them!

I put one in my mouth and bit down. It was an immediate flashback to my childhood, as I would pick wild berries and pop them in my mouth. I do not think I ever collected any...I only ate them! Amazing! That's all I can say.
There were various artisans and interesting things to look at...nothing like what I see back home. Only thing missing were the booths of vintage doodads and garage saley things like back home.
They had a play area for the children with a train table, plastic figurines, a castle with characters, and magnets.

Jay loved the train table and mingled with the other children without even looking for us. I am going to go ahead and say Jay has no problem with his self esteem or courage. He was mixing it up with 5 year olds.
A wonderful banjo duo was playing and kettle korn was being popped. Everytime a batch finished, a huge sound like a back fire would sound. It always made everyone jump! Good advertising I bet! hahahaha
We passed on the kettle korn and settled for some Mayfield Ice Cream!
They were selling it 5 scoops for 5.00 for a charity. You received a ticket and when you got your scoops you got a box crossed off. Jay can not have ice cream so we passed! Then a family came up to us and said, we only got one scoop would you like this to get some ice cream? I wanted to try it so I said sure, and that we would pass it along to someone else to get a scoop. Pay it forward if you will! I sampled the black cherry chocolate chunk, half the fat. Hmmm, I think it was absolutely delicious and recommend it! Just right on every taste! I then passed it along to a grandpa who was playing with his granddaughter at the kids playing area. Told him I was passing on the fun to his sweet girl! We headed out to the car, set the GPS to our hotel and 2 miles later back in our room! Did I thank you yet for the GPS Mother and Dad???? Wow, that things is awesome!
I promptly cleaned the blackberries in the sink and Jay and I feasted while Mike was parking the car! He came up and had some too! Jay then went down for his nap.
After he woke up, we decided to walk down to the river about 5 short blocks.

Jay prefers to attach the clasps on his stroller rather than ride in it!

We pass a highly rated and chatted about restaurant on called the Blue Plate.

It was about 3 pm and we had not eaten since 8 am. It was too hot to play at the nearby playground,

so we decided to stop and eat outside.

What is this foot statue outside the restaurant??? The plaque was broken...
Trying to figure out why they thought putting this next to where you eat was....appetizing?

It was an absolutely perfect spot for lunch. It overlooks an open grass area where children were running and playing.
Just beyond is the Tennessee River followed with gorgeous tree covered mountains.

Lunch was mediocre at best. I had a meatloaf sandwich and some homemade chips,

Mike opted for a Sloppy Joe with chips,

Jay had a chicken tender with a side of fruit.

Over priced and not very tasty! (Add insult to injury, walking back to the hotel we see a cute restaurant with an outdoor eating area with Locally grown blackberry margaritas.) That would have been so nice to sip on this particularly warm afternoon!
We walked across the street from the Blue Plate to the Tennessee Aquarium and into the visitors center so Jay could ride the escalator up and then back down again. I felt a little guilty when I got to the down escalator and a sign was placed strategically right on the escalator: Do Not Play on the Escalator! Oooops! We were not playing, it was a teachable moment!

We thought twice about the Aquarium, but decided that Jay would not enjoy it to it's full potential due to the fact that his attention span is not quite there yet. So we walked on back towards the hotel. As we were walking, we saw that same carriage and horse I talked about yesterday!
Jay waved at the horse and said "Hi Jay" after I said to him, say hi Jay. Why would I tell him to say hi to a horse? What exactly was I teaching him? Actually, he had it right...As the horse pulled up to the curb he was YELLING "NAAAY, NAAY."
Yeah, he has learned in the last week that there are different volumes to his voice. He prefers the most high setting on voice volume.

Your token street person capitalizing on his...err...talents?

On the way back to the hotel at nearly 5:30, we decided to head back up to Lookout Mountain.

So we set that GPS for Lookout Mountain and off we went...back up the curvy, treacherous mountain!

But it was even more stunning than I could have imagined. I took alot of pictures!
Once we arrived at the top, we parked and set off to see the view. We decided to forgo parking on the street and paying at the meter and resorted to parking free at the fort and paying 3 dollars a piece for Mike and I to go in and look out from there!

What an awesome choice when it comes to view.
But unfortunately, I can not tell you one interesting story about the place. Nope not even one!

I took a few pics of the monuments around that told some stories...but that's all I got.

Seriously, I now understand why children are free. They could care less about the lookout or the fact that it drops off 2000 feet without a fence or guardrail around!
No, not a care at all. Now the steps.

That's a different story.

We paid 6 dollars

to help Jay walk up and down the same sets of stairs over and over and over again!

Seriously, every step was not left unstepped!!!!!
And I am serious. Can you tell?
We headed down a path down the mountain to a museum,

which was converted from the fort lookout.
We couldn't enjoy it because we had to have a constant hand on him or he was wandering.

Jay sat down on this bench and proceeded to call his dad over to him. This will be a resounding theme at every sop...stay tuned!

Mike kept trying to take pictures of us and kept trying to get Jay to look.

But every time you try and "make" Jay pose for a photo he turns green, flexes ever muscle, bends his head back and ~SCREAMS~! (The Hulk has nothing on him!) I said just snap it when I look good, and however Jay looks he looks...just don't take a picture of my butt when I turn around. You know, as I scanned through, sure enough...there it was my big butt! Ok, on my behalf, I swear I must have lost some weight already...I am hardly eating anything. What's that about??? I love eating on vacation!
I'll tell you what it is about, there is nothing more painful than trying to have a meal with a two year old.
It works out a little like this:
1. Find a seat and hopefully the waitress brings a high chair FAST! If it is not fast, the child gets the idea he might be able to sit in a both or chair like us and heads straight for it. If this happens, getting him into a high chair is a screaming nightmare!
2. Try and look over the menu and find something for yourself and for child before he can reach out and grab the menu out of your hands.
3. Entertain said child while waiting for the food to arrive. Sneak small toys in his shirt pockets when you distract him to look other direction and then act surprised when he finds it. Said child will put in and take out toy for several minutes. Play, I spy and see how smart said child is. Every correct answer gets a high five.
4. Once food arrives move everything as far out of his reach as possible, he will immediately put his hands in anyone's plate regardless of food temperature.
5. Make his food edible, attach bib he has taken off and thrown on the floor three times prior, hand him fork and let him at it!
6. Check out my own dish and then eat my cold food as quick as possible.
7. Pay bill, tip nice waitress extra and get out asap.
Now, after hearing all of these things you may be wondering what the H-E-double hockey stick is going on with Jay. Well, I will tell you what it is...the terrible twos. Left undisciplined, these kind of children turn into kindergarten nightmares. So, a good part of our days are spent reminding Jay we are the parents and he is the child.
All of that chit chat to simply tell you little children make it hard to enjoy eating!
Which brings me to the next thing I wanted to talk about...CHATTANOOGA!
Love this town, it is as close to a perfect town to visit as I have ever seen. Something for everyone, food is pretty good, people are very very nice, atmosphere is quaint and enjoyable, August is hot but with an incredible breeze off the river, kid friendly but also a very romantic vacation spot.
Romantic??????????? I've been reading your blog!!!!! You may be screaming this at the computer screen this very instant.
But it is, we could be having such an amazing time if Jay had a nanny and they were back home. That is not to say that we have not been having an amazing time with Jay. It is such fun watching him enjoy all of the new things! Besides, it is such fun to detail the moments he is belligerent and pushing his own agenda.
It makes me smile:
-When he hollered out to the horse nay nay!
-When he says mmmm delitshus(delicious) when he eats something new
-When he takes his daddy's hand and then looks over his shoulder with his hand out to me saying momma, momma, momma!
-When he hunkers down next to me and checks out the walnut that fell from a tree and helped me pick up a rock from lookout mountain for jayda.
-When he closes his eyes at the end of the day and he is so so quiet
Which tonight happened so easily! We walked him forever today! Wore him out!
Well, enough for now.
Next up Danville!

Scrapbooking 500 Pages in 2008