Friday, July 24, 2015

Mexico reunion fiesta

On July 9th, about three and a half weeks after Terry's crew returned from their two week mission trip to Mexico and L.A., we all got together again to reminisce, eat authentic Mexican food and watch a slideshow of the trip. 

David, Steven and Terry helped people with their drinks.

Terry's co-worker, Paul, lives south of town in an amazing creekside setting. His wife Jana, and daughter, Mia, went on the trip so they hosted the party at their place. Talk about idyllic. Here you can see the sheet over the shed where they projected the slideshow. And beyond that were a couple picnic tables. Oh, and the beautiful sun shining through the tree. Gosh it was so beautiful that night.

Nathan and Ana came and I watched Theo for them while they ate. He wrinkles his nose the exact same way Ana does!!  


Terry's dad sold this old Studebaker truck to Paul last year and it looks amazing at their place. 

Noah loves the babies. Particularly his only boy cousin. 

I wish I had thought to bring swimming trunks for Noah or took the time to get some shorts from Jack, but Noah was in too much of a hurry. So I just let him go for it and swim in the creek with Jack. 


Jazmin and Emma enjoying the hammock next to the creek. 

They offered to take my photo. I think I look weird but everyone else said I look good. 


Terry's said he'd hate to live out here. So disgusting. ;) HA!  

One more jump sequence... 


...and the splash! 

Noah also tried out the inner tube. He had so much fun; you can just see it in his face. 

While Terry and I were watching Noah jump Evie ran up to announce she'd just lost a tooth. It was the top front tooth (the bottom one she lost a few days before).  

She thought it was so great that it came out while she was eating that s'more. 

There's Mia indulging Evie on the tire swing. 

This is Jazmin's youngest nine year old sister Jada.  

Prae, Emma, Rae and Jaz climbed into Jack's tree house. 

Evie on the swing. 

Jaz and Natasha in the tree - super high in the tree. 

They all made a mad dash when it was announced that it was time for the slideshow. I thought it was funny.

Sarah made all the food for this huge crew and then also put together the slideshow. She's quite the woman. 

Most of the students stayed late for one last worship session together. 

Jack and Noah - buds. 

biking and geocaching

The day after Terry and I returned from Chicago we must have felt bad for leaving the kids for five days because we took them on a big bike ride. That or we just all needed to get out of the house. I had recently discovered an easier way to get downhill to the bike path without having to haul our bikes to Canyon Lake - we go through Mary Hall Park. It worked perfectly. We rode down to the Fish, found a geocache and decided to find two more. Here's that first one.

We tried to go further east but were stopped by the massive creek flooding under the interstate bridge. So we turned around and had lunch at McDonalds.

Snap dog even got to come along. What a lucky puppy. 

Ezra mows

 A few weeks ago, after we returned from our Chicago trip, Terry had to get caught up on the fast-growing grass. Typically Ezra is afraid of the mower. But I guess by the time Terry got to the back yard he was accustomed to it and felt that he could help his daddy out.

I thought it was so cute. Also, it reminded me of one of my very first blog posts of Noah doing the exact same thing and then of Evie a few years later. Searching for those posts sure was fun. I forgot what it was like in those early days when Noah was so little and Evie was a baby. My, how times have changed.

"You missed a spot daddy..."

Friday, July 17, 2015

secret vacation: part 2

After the U2 concert, Terry's secrets didn't end. He wouldn't tell me where we were staying the night and left me to my guesses. Since he used to go to school in Chicago and was very involved in a church there called Lakeside. And actually, in 2008, when Evie was a baby, Terry spoke for Chiko camp at their yearly Lakeside family church camp in Lake Geneva, WI. So there were plenty of overnight options for me to consider.

So anyway, after the concert we headed north out of town, so that limited the choices. I immediately considered the Fong's house, which is where we had stayed at least twice in the past. But the farther north and longer the trip took, the more unsure I became. But at last, even in the dark, surroundings became familiar from pictures and videos I had seen Susanna post on facebook. Yep, we were staying at the Fong's new house! 

So after a very late bedtime and sleeping in, we were able to catch up with Susanna and three of her four boys. Then drove back into the city in order to be tourists. We had no idea what we were going to do really. Terry used a new app to get us some decent parking and we started out walking toward Millennium Park, hoping to find somewhere to eat along the way. 

Terry's not the only one familiar with Chicago though. My mom grew up in a suburb and we visited at least once at year and sometimes twice. But we never did anything that touristy besides a zoo so I don't think I'd ever been to Millennium Park; not that I remember anyway. 

Here's us at the fountain when you enter from the north side. My blue eyes can't handle the full sun of day. Squinty pictures!

Beyond the fountain was this huge pavilion where an orchestra was rehearsing for a performance that evening. It was at this point that I was getting pretty hungry and turning into a diva ("You're not you when you're hungry..."). But there really wasn't anything nearby. So we turned around and headed to the Bean.

The bean! I'd never seen it!  

Everyone is taking selfies and not paying attention to anyone else, so I shouldn't have felt embarrassed, but I always do. I just don't like selfies. But look, there we are! See our reflection? I'm wearing a magenta top and gray skirt and Terry's green and gray...

There we are. 

This one is like advanced Where's Waldo. We're pretty much in the middle, though a little lower from the center. 

Look he can touch! 

And he made me touch. I was hungry so I didn't want to play. Token smile. 

One more bean shot. We're really small in this photo - last third of the picture... 

Hearing a concert here would've been pretty cool. We couldn't stayed and listened to the Grateful Dead at Soldier Field. Ha! We saw lots of dead heads walking around downtown... 

We ended up taking a pathway over the street to the top of the Art Institute. There was a restaurant up there but it looked too swanky. So we walked down to the street and out to the lake.  

I had really wanted to ride along the bike trail on Lakeshore Drive but the machine was messed up and the line was so long that we just decided to walk up to the Pier. It was a gorgeous day in the upper 70s. No clouds, gentle breeze, warm sun. Couldn't have asked for better. 

We had to cross the river by walking over that bridge.

On the bridge. Gosh, it was just so pretty. 

Here's the one photo I took. I like Chicago. 

Once we got to Navy Pier, I was about to faint of drama hungriness. It was an expensive place for everything but we found a gyro place in the food court that was quite reasonable and very yummy. Plus, gyros remind me of Chicago because my folks took us to one several times when we were little. I felt so much better after that. 

We thought it would be fun to take a boat ride on the lake or the river (and actually, I think I went on one of these when I was little), but we opted for the ferris wheel on Navy Pier. It was a lot cheaper. This is looking south as we went up the ferris wheel.

We are about on top. I was a little freaked out - forced smile. Must be getting old because I realize how thin the thread is that holds my life - I have four kids who need me! It was very pretty up there though.

Yep, at the top, looking west. 

 East across Lake Michigan.

Headed back down and looking north. 

After our ride we walked to the end of the pier and just sat on a bench looking at the water, birds, boats, people and beauty. I don't know what it was, but it was so peaceful and lovely right there. I wanted to stay there forever. And we did stay for a long time. 

Me with the 8 ton anchor at the end of the pier. Terry used to run down here all the time when he was training for marathons at Moody. I don't think I'd ever been here.

While we were walking back down the pier (which is a mile long), I saw people eating waffle cones of ice cream and it looked so dang good. So when I finally saw people coming out of an Hagen Dazs, we went in to get our own. $14 later, we came out with some fantastic ice cream cones. Terry was shocked at the price but I didn't care. That was so amazing ice cream! 

After the pier, we walked across the street to a a bike rental place called Divvy. There was a line but we waited patiently. Just as we were paying the machine broke. They were so busy that the system kept getting overwhelmed or something. It was just crazy downtown this day. It was Friday, July 3rd and I think a lot of people had the day off before Independence Day. Plus the Grateful Dead were in town and it was their farewell concert. Massive amounts of people. Actually, when we first started out walking downtown that day I was rather overwhelmed by it.

Anyway, Divvy bikes. Very touristy. You could rent a bike for the day for $7 only if you checked it back in at the next station and took another bike. So this particular station was probably the busiest one - all those people coming off Navy Pier and all. But we got our bikes and rode the Lake Shore trail north. It was perfect.

Our three speed bikes :) 

We missed the next station and went too far north. We rode several miles one way. So we had to turn around and find the station we missed and switch bikes. Pretty sure this was after that... 

How touristy are we? Taking photos while riding a rented bike? Ha! 

The trail was jam packed. It was actually a little treacherous because you had to swerve around people all the time. It was kind of fun that way though! 

I felt so alive this day. It was a wonderful day.

The runner in orange would pass us and then we'd pass him. He was intense. 
Such a pretty place. I didn't want to leave. I wanted to stay for a week and do it all over again. 

We left town around 5 to get back to the Fong's for dinner. Susanna had invited some old friends from Lakeside to get together with us there. The Hiyamas, Depaz's, and the two Daves - Uch and Wail. It had been 7 years since we'd seen any of them (or longer) so it was great to catch up. Such fun.

Perfect night for a fire.

It was all just lovely!

After everyone left we helped the Fongs shuck corn for their church picnic the next day, which was the 4th of July and then headed to bed.

We weren't sure what our plan was for the next day. Either we could stay all day and drive the entire 14 hours on Sunday or we would split up the drive between Saturday and Sunday. We decided to go to the church picnic and see some old friends and then leave afterward. I got to visit with Arlene, Dave's wife I clicked with at camp 7 years ago, but Terry talked to nearly everyone. Everywhere he goes everyone loves him. He's so lovable like that. I feel blessed that he picked me because I'm totally not like that. Too shy and blunt.

After the picnic we started the trek home. We listened to lots of U2 and several Stand to Reason podcasts. We stayed the night in LaCrosse, WI at a little motel. It was Independence Day but since it wasn't our town or anything, we went to the theater and watched Jurassic World. It was awesome. The next day we drove all the way back home and rescued my mom from the kids. What a great vacation we had, thanks to Terry! Love him!