Monday, April 26, 2010

The joys of Grandmahood!

There's not a lot of good things that I have to say about taxes...but I will say...thank heavens for tax refunds! (why we had to pay it in the first place, just so they can return it is a mystery to me). Any way Lisa and TJ go a Tax refund and they choose to spend part of it on sending Riker out to stay for a couple of weeks...and bonus...Lisa got to come too!Riker in AZ 005

It was two weeks of “how many places can we eat out”,Riker in AZ 031

you would think they have no edible food in Ohio,

“Lets try to tone down the brilliant white of Lisa’s Legs”,riker

thank heavens for tan in a bottle, I don’t think the sun could penetrate the glare,

and “Its my turn to hold Riker”Riker in AZ 037 Riker in AZ 036 Riker in AZ 041   Riker in AZ 142

We also managed to fit in a couple of Diamondback games,Riker in AZ 127 Riker in AZ 146

Some quad riding,Riker in AZ 080 Riker in AZ 101

and yes...dork sister moments!Riker in AZ 077 Riker in AZ 088 Riker in AZ 133 Riker in AZ 086 Riker in AZ 100

But most important of all...Riker got a little face time with the Arizona Sun!Riker in AZ 151 Riker in AZ 102 Riker in AZ 109 Its Great to be a Grandma!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Saving the best for last!

So Our vacation is fast approaching the end…but the best is yet to come, OHIO! Well not really Ohio, but what's in Ohio…The Laudie’s and the Grier’s…well not really the Laudie’s and the Grier’s, but Amy, Matthew and Riker.  Yes its true I only had children so that they would give me grandchildren.   And they have all done exceptionally well!

We left Chicago and traveled down to Dayton, Ohio, where the Laudie’s are now residing.  My ever frugal, amazing deal finder, and luckiest when it comes to contests, daughter, had won a DiGiorno Pizza Party on line to welcome us in style…without spending a penny!  She is the queen of couponing and deal finding!Top-8 (And quite the party planner).  We got to enjoy spending some time with Amy and MatthewTop Top-1 who really have grown. 

Because its my blog I get to whine just a little…so unfair my married children have ALL moved away and taken my grandchildren with them…I’m getting a written contract written up with any new Son-in Laws that come along (and no there is none in the horizon) that will give them extra points if they stay within 30 min of my home! (I know that will have them swarming to my door).

The next day we headed up to Columbus so Arlon and Jessica could meet the newest member of the Grier family.  First Jessica had to remind Lisa of just how much she misses her Top-2 then she moved on to Riker jessica_thumb1 Even Grandpa finally got a turn.papa_thumb1 (He’s not really sure of what to do with a boy child).

We got to visit with TJ’s dad and Deb, and grandpa…So much fun.  Tom took us out to Olive Garden and treated us all to a great dinner.  What more could we ask for, grandkids, food, and then a hotel room all to ourselves…(get your mind out of the gutter) as Jessica stayed at Lisa’s that night. The next morning, trusty Maggie took us to the church where Riker received a name and a blessing.  TJ, did a beautiful job and Riker was of course…Perfect!

  largegroup_thumb1 family_thumb1 

Jessica, Lisa and Lindsey had to check out who had the best legs, I guess that would depend on what you were looking for riker

I’m thinking a couple of them have been trapped in the shade a little too long!  After the blessing…of course THE FOOD.  Lisa has grown into quite the Suzy homemaker since leaving the nest (she was pretty much the least domestic of my girls, or I guess the least interested in cooking, cleaning and sewing, growing up) but she is making it up in spades as she finds she has time to herself in Ohio.Top-9   She cooked up a delicious feast of Cafe Rio…Yum!Top-4 Which was enjoyed by all.Top-3

Then worn most of us out. Top-6

If my arm was long enough I would pat myself on the back…I have done pretty darn good (yes Lisa I know this is bad grammar) with the wonderful spirits that blessed our home for a few years.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

“Chicago, Chicago That toddlin' town”

Just a little trivia, in the song, “toddlin” referred to the fact that Chicago was just a toddler in 1922 (when the song was written) compared to New York, which had had lots of songs written about it.  I know that just fascinates you… and the term Windy city… doesn’t necessarily come from the fact that the wind always blows there (which it does) but instead could come from…and this story is straight form the mouth of our tour guide, Top-3 and I’m sure he knew all…the time when Chicago hosted the world fair, the then mayor boasted about it so much they became known as the windy (which meant full of hot air)city.  Now that the education part of this post is over…on with the trip.  In preparing for this trip, there were more things we wanted to see in Chicago, the thought of locating them all even with the help of Maggie seemed daunting, so I booked seats on the “Hop on, Hop off” trolley.  It would stop at 19 points of interest in the downtown area, you could get off, spend as much time as you wanted then get back on.  Saves time in driving from place to place.  Now in reality the area of interests were probably only 2 miles square at the most, could easily have been walked, but the three different tour guides we had on the trolley were very entertaining and gave lots of information on the buildings and history of Chicago.  This was one of my favorite things from the trip.

We actually woke up to a rare sunny day in Chicago, it didn’t feel too bad when we left the hotel, we didn’t want to carry a coat around so we didn’t wear one.  BIG mistake!  Because are so many tall buildings, and the wind (you remember that wind that ALWAYS blows) blew really cold, and it blew the whole time, did I already say that…you know the part about the wind always blowing…anyway because of all that, we didn’t see much of the sun during our sightseeing trip.Jessica and I FROZE!!! So sweet Arlon took us to a Walgreens to buy us a souvenir….Sweatshirts, what a sweet man.  As you can see Jessica's hoodie brought out the ever changing beast in Jessica.

Top-4 Top-5 Top-6

Our first “Hop off” was the “Magnificent Mile”.  A Mile of Mall stores, Jessica had been waiting for this the whole trip.  She was disappointed to learn however that the store on this stretch of road, paid the highest cost per square foot for retail space to be there, therefore passed that cost on the the customer.  So sad, not in Jessica's budget.  So we drowned our sorrows in Chocolate, because you can always afford chocolate!Top-14 and we got a free candy bar for visiting the Hersey store, and right across the street…a Ghirardelli store, more free samples, chocolate almost takes the pain of poverty away.

  While waiting for the trolley…Bernerd checked out the map of down town,Top-15 Jessica still was not over the pain of over priced clothes.

  Next stop Navy Pier. Top-8 Really a cool place to visit. We were running out of time so we just hopped off, did a quick perusal of it and added it to the list of places to go back to sometime when we have more time.  We did get our free sample of popcorn however, Garrett popcorn, famous for combining Caramelcrisp and Cheesecorn popcorn.  Next stop Top-1 Millennium Park (in case you couldn’t read it on the picture).  Jessica had some left over popcorn and thought the ducks looked hungry…they knew the routine and waddled over to visit,Top-11 just about the time she was brave enough to stand still she looked up to see thisTop swooping in to steal the goods, now we have all seen “The Birds”, scariest movie ever…so all she could do was scream and run.

The park had a really cool band stand Top-7 lots of steel for Arlon to admire and say… I could have made that. But what the park is known for, (and in cool things for Arlon to see) ranking second to the Arch, not a close second, but still in second place, was “Cloud Gate” Top-9

Cloud Gate -- referred to by locals as "The Bean", for obvious reasons -- is a public sculpture by talented British artist Anish Kapoor. Cloud Gate weighs in at over 110-tons, and is 66 feet long and 33 feet high. "The Bean" was created using a huge number of individual stainless steel plates -- Cloud Gate's seamless surface is the result of thousands of hours of polishing.

The sculpture has the appearance of a giant drop of liquid mercury, and the mirrored surface offers an amazing reflection of the city skyline, Top-10 even more breathtaking on a bright, clear day. Visitors can walk underneath the Cloud Gate, which is surprisingly concave. Kids especially enjoy the fun house mirror effect that this creates.  (Can you tell I copied that straight from the tour guide?)

Top-2 Arlon of course walked around it looking for the welds, which he couldn’t find.  This is like looking at a “Where's Waldo” picture, or a where’s Arlon and Jessica, or is it a picture of me, taking a picture of me, or a picture of me taking a picture of me, taking a picture…of me…mind blowing

lame but still it was really cool.

So as the day came to a close, we had seen little bits of everything, The glass balcony at the Willis Building (formerly the Sears Tower) where you could walk out on and be 1,353 feet over Chicago…NOT!  Hard Rock Cafe, didn’t eat there, went to Top-16 Portillo’s at the suggestion of our tour guide, we were hoping for deep dish pizza, got really thin crust instead, but a really good braut.  Saw “Shedd Aquarium” (just did a drive by), ate chocolate at the Hershey store at the Water Tower, dreamed about Diamonds at Tiffanies on the Magnificent Mile that we would never own, saw Forrest Gump’s “Bubba Gump Shrimp” shop at Navy Pier, and were entertained with stories of Chicago, by well versed tour guides.  I could totally go back to Chicago for a couple more weeks, as there was so much more to see, but what we did see… wore Jessica out Top-13