Saturday, October 30, 2010

Chicago Trip: Day Three

Saturday, we woke up to a cooler, overcast day. It was our last full day in Chicago and we still had so much to see.

We started our day with the buffet lunch at the John Hancock building's Signature Room.

This is one of the few pictures I took of the whole Imus family. Look at Madison's sweet smile!

This was our view of Chicago from the 94th floor windows. Beautiful, even on a rainy morning.

Taylor took this picture to show just how far up we were!

And this is her self portrait of the two of us.

As we were leaving the restaurant, I snapped this picture of the view from the other side. Lake Michigan. Y'all, this just blows my mind. The only time I have ever seen this much water in one place it was AN OCEAN! (or at least the Gulf!)

After our early lunch, we did a little shopping and then decided to part ways for the afternoon. While Shelly and Troy took Madison back to the hotel for a much deserved nap OUTSIDE the stroller, Taylor and I headed to the Field Museum.
(All but the last picture at the bottom of this post were taken by Taylor. The Museum through her eyes.)

As soon as you walk in the door, you are greeted by Sue (the T-Rex).

As you can see by the banners, this is Sue's tenth anniversary at the Field Museum.

And its a BIG deal!

Sue is the most intact T-Rex found to date. Her skeletal remains are 90% complete.

We also visited with RoboSue and friends. These mechanical dinosaurs are a little overwhelming at first. Not only do they move, but they have sensors that help them track your movements and large flat screens that show you what each dinosaur is looking at. So, not only do they turn their heads when you walk by and roar at you...but you see yourself 'through their eyes' as they do so.


We also watched the 3-D movie which tells Sue's story. Not only about the discovery of her remains, but also what her life may have been like. We found out that she had suffered an injury to her left leg at some point as well as having a few broken ribs. As we were leaving the museum we took another look at Sue and sure enough...we could spot all those injuries!

During our ride back to the hotel, Taylor snapped a few more pictures, mostly self portraits of funny faces she was making...but this one that I took was my favorite.

After meeting up with the rest of the family, we set off for dinner at Ed Debevic's. A 50's style diner with attitude!
The following morning it was time to pack up and head home. Me heading south and them heading north. It was a wonderful trip. We had a great time. Saw some interesting things. Ate some good food. But mostly, just enjoyed visiting with family!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Chicago Trip: Day Two

After dinner on Thursday night, we stopped by the hotel and Taylor introduced me to someone very special to her. Meet Natalie.

Natalie is Taylor's American Girl and she is part of the reason that we decided to stay in Chicago for the weekend.
I was first introduced to American Girls when my own daughters were in elementary school. Back then it was the historical books that were all the rage. We read books on Felicity who lived in the American colonies and Kit from the Great Depression.
Now, you can pick out an American Girl that looks like your girl...hence, Natalie. Since Taylor's birthday was just a week away, we decided to make Friday morning all about her and Natalie.

We got up early and dressed for brunch at American Girl.
Here are Taylor and Natalie leaving the hotel with their hair styled the same.

They had the place of honor at the American Girl Cafe.

I have to say, brunch was delicious. One of the best meals we had while we were in Chicago.

Dessert! Something as simple as pudding and a sugar cookie made to look very elegant. (And the pudding was delicious to boot!)

After breakfast, Natalie enjoyed some time at the salon and spa. She had her ears pierced and her hair styled.

There was also an American Girl hospital, a bakery, a t-shirt design center...and lots of opportunities to SHOP! You will see evidence of that in a few days!

After spending three and a half hours at American Girl for Taylor's birthday...we headed out to the Navy Pier.

The Navy Pier is home to all things fun. While there, we watched a juggler perform, had lunch (Chicago Hot Dogs for me), bought souvenirs, watched Pirates perform, took a boat cruise to view the Chicago architecture...

where we saw old and new buildings...sometimes even side by side like these...

...rode some carnival rides (which Madison loved and which made me very nervous)...

the 15 stories tall Ferris wheel FREAKED me OUT! I took this picture from the ground just so you could see how tall it felt to me!!!!
After Navy Pier, we took a taxi back to the hotel. (Taylor had been wanting to take one since we arrived and I was glad not to be walking for a little while!) After a little bit of a rest, we headed out to Bandera's for dinner.
It was a long day...and I was happy to get back to the hotel for a little shut eye!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chicago Trip: Day One

Has anyone noticed my lack of posts this week?

Well, there is a reason for it. I am playing catch-up at work and at home since returning from a long weekend in Chicago.

You know how it is...extra work on your shopping...extra laundry. Those things that make you want a vacation after your vacation!

Anyway, I left last Thursday morning to meet some special people whom I love dearly in Chicago.
My cousin, Shelly...

and her daughter, Taylor (plus Troy and Madison, who you will see later on.)
Upon arriving at the hotel, I was starving. What's up with Southwest flying at noon with only crackers and nuts to eat? I guess that is why the flight was cheaper than Continental.
I wanted to try the Chicago style pizza while we were in town, so we headed to Gino's East for dinner. The pie was pretty good...but I still prefer the Brooklyn style pizza.
The thing at Gino's is that any surface not labeled as off limits is open for 'tagging'. Yes, all that writing behind Shelly and Taylor is graffiti! Taylor even tagged the wall at our booth.
As we were preparing to leave, Shelly noticed the wall behind me...
"Woo Pig, Sooie"...all the way up in Chicago! Made me feel right at home! (We will not discuss the "Roll Tide" that was just below it!)
After stuffing our faces with the pizza...half Meaty and half Cheeseburger...we headed out for a little stroll along the Magnificent Mile.

We made a stop at the Hershey Store, where they have a cool machine that let's you "work" to "make your own" candy.
Here is Taylor, hard at work, spinning wheels as fast as she can to fill a tub.

She was so proud of her efforts. She talked about it for the rest of the evening...saying, "Aunt Fonda, do you remember when I worked and got the candy?" ;-) I miss those days with my kids who are now too grown to pretend anymore.
To give her credit, she shared with all of us: as much candy as we wanted even though we didn't do any of the work!
Our hotel was just down the street from the Chicago Water Tower.

I just love the architecture of this building! It is used as an art gallery now.

We continued to stroll back up Michigan Avenue...passing several Lego statues along the way.

Here is Troy and Taylor with "Indiana Jones'.
We also saw a shark with his octopus friend and an Egyptian mummy.

And here is a picture of the Water Tower at night.

Gorgeous! It makes me want to get lost in a fairy tale!

I will be back tomorrow with pictures from last Friday. It was a BIG day!

Friday, October 22, 2010

More Peeps With My Peeps

We assembled six more S'mores In A Jar on Sunday evening.
Will crushed the graham crackers. (Little brothers always have some frustration to vent!)
Brian poured the graham crackers in the jar and placed the ghosts inside.

Bri added the M&M's and the brown sugar.

While I just took pictures and tied on the bows when they were finished.

Who says you can't have craft time with your kids once they grow up?

Have you done anything with your grown kids lately? I need ideas!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Little Bit Spooky Out There

I went out for a walk the other morning and wanted to share a few of the sights with you. (Bear with the picture quality. These were all taken with my iPhone.)
Sunrise! What a glorious sight as it peeks over the top of the trees at the end of the street.
This is what my walking companion looks like before sunrise. Don't anyone try to mess with me. I might look like I am all alone...but I have a body guard. Hoss is camoflagued by the night!

As the sun rose, the spooky vultures were revealed in the top of this dead tree down the street. If you look really close, you can see one at the top of the tree to the left and three at the top of the tree on the right.
But, I wasn't scared. I had my faithful body guard still keeping watch over me!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bulldogs Vs Raiders

Is it just me or do we play A LOT of maroon teams? Maybe I notice because of maroon being Texas A&M and WHS colors...but it seems to me that about half the teams we play wear maroon just like us.

In this case, the Bulldogs are in the white jerseys.

This past Thursday, we took a little drive into Houston. Since there was no 'JV white' game, the game started promptly at 5:00. Too bad they gave us the wrong location and we spent forty minutes trying to find the stadium and then another 15 figuring out where to park!

We missed Will's fumble recovery!

But we did get to see him do a lot of blocking. (And since it was such an early game, the pictures are pretty darned clear!)

See that determined look on his face? I would be scared if I was that other guy.

Head to head showdown!

Looks like he is having a pretty good time at this football thing.

His jersey number was their score for the night.

It was such a blowout for the Bulldogs...and the other team had so few fans...that I couldn't even make myself cheer loudly.

A Homecoming victory for JV Maroon!

Since the game was so early, and his Aunt Sharon had come in from Arkansas to watch him play...he knew that dinner out was in his future.

We didn't have to ask him twice if he wanted to go with us instead of riding the bus!

Here is his #2 fan...his sister, Bri.

She not only painted up my truck (as seen in yesterday's post)...

but hers too!

And after dinner at Alicia's, she took him over to Wal Mart to pick up paint for the next day's pep rally so he could do this...

Waller won that game too!

Go Bulldogs! Congratulations on your Homecoming victories!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Bulldog Brag Book

That's me!
And this is my #1 Bulldog! Ain't he handsome?
Last week was Homecoming week. So, Brianne did my truck up right for the game!
I will post pictures from the game later this week.

I acutally had these loaded for last Thursday's post...but I was running late to pick up my Sister-in-law at the airport and never got them posted. Hope you are all having a wonderful week filled with all things Fall!

Southwest Classic 2010

Saturday, October 9 started REALLY early for us. We had plans to LEAVE the house at 7. (Hey, it was a Saturday! 7 AM is early for a Saturday!)

From left to right: Me, Brianne, Derrick, Meagan, Brian and Will.
The crew that were headed to Dallas for the:
We had to share the highway and the stops with A LOT of maroon and white. But it was worth it.
We arrived at our prepaid parking lot at about 11:25. I was a little miffed because they wouldn't let us in where THEIR map told us to go...but we got in around the corner. And just in time, because as we were walking toward Cowboys Stadium, they closed our lot...with prepaid guests still wanting in! (I would not have been a happy camper since I had to buy TWO parking passes!)
We got to the stadium before the doors opened. And at Cowboys Stadium...that is a VERY literal statement.
The doors open all the way to the top of the building! It was slow, but cool to watch happen.
Here is a picture of the field from where Derrick, Meagan, Bri and I sat. Brian and Will were much closer. They were in a preferred section that we couldn't even get into!
While our seats were at the top of Cowboys Stadium.
As you can see there are only about five rows above us. THAT IS HIGH!
I love this picture! The only way it could be any better is if Kelli were there too.
These guys may not have been raised in Arkansas (and actually the last two were born in Texas) but they are Razorback fans through and through.
And speaking of Razorback fans:
We are slowly but surely converting him. He may have arrived in a Southwest Classic t-shirt that did not identify which side you were rooting for..but look! He went and bought a Hog shirt! With his own money! Not a gift!
At the end of the day...the score was 24-17...and the Hogs went home with the trophy! A GOODE day, indeed!