Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Chicago Getaway Weekend

 For Father's Day, I decided Andrew needed a quick getaway for the weekend.  I found a groupon for a hotel in an awesome location and we booked it for the following weekend.
 One of the reasons that really attracted me to the hotel was the rooftop pool! It was on the 5th floor and the kids loved it. We spent the afternoon there Friday. 

 Tommy practiced jumping in the pool.

 The sun came out occasionally.  It was beautiful.  It wasn't too hot or too cold.  Just perfect!

 Until Tommy swallowed a bunch of pool water and he decided to check out of pool time for the day.  Andrew was sure he was going to throw up.  I kept saying NO HE WON'T! HE'S FINE! I'm sure lots of people at the pool had their eyes on us.  Yikes. 

 Charlotte was jealous and wanted to lay with me too. Really blocked my sun but oh well.  It was pretty sweet. 

It was time to go inside and get ready for some Chicago nightlife.  

 So what did we decide to do? We were a block away from two large movie theaters so we decided to see Finding Dory.  We stopped to see the Ninja Turtle promotional statue first. 

 Then it was time to see the movie.  Andrew got a number one.  NEVER a good idea at the movie theater.  I swear it was a gallon of pop and two gallons of popcorn.  Sheesh. 
The movie was great and people actually clapped at the end.  There were some really funny scenes.  I really enjoyed Stringer Bell and McNulty from The Wire as the Sea Lions.  OFF OFF OFF OFF!!!

 We did not bring the stroller with us so we walked all the way down Michigan Ave to the Disney Store.  We really stretched the kids to their limits. 

 But it was definitely worth it for them.  Charlotte got a baby Dory and Tommy got a Jacquin.  He had never seen it before but it was basically a cheetah with wings so he loved it.  Looks like this:
He's a big fan.  So now we have to watch that show/movie/whatever it is. 

 We watched the boats on the river and took a selfie.  We stayed up way too late but it was vacation!! :)

 The next morning, we were up early of course so we headed to the Ohio St beach.  What a view, huh?? A beautiful beach too. 

 The kids were so excited!

 We took a lot of selfies that day.  :)

 Photo cred for this pic goes to Andrew.  Great shot!

 Hey another selfie! We actually thought to bring a bunch of snacks and sandwiches with us but you can still tell that Charlotte had a popsicle earlier that day.  It stained her mouth for most of the day.  Yikes, what was in that popsicle?

 We had a someone take a family picture for us.  Not too shabby.  I asked someone from the selfie generation so she knew what she was doing.  She and her friends were basically standing on the beach taking selfie after selfie so I knew I asked the right person. 

 Hey there they are in the background right there!

 After our beach day and a nap, we headed over to Navy Pier.  Charlotte HAD to ride the carousel, of course. 

 Tommy wanted to ride the Ferris wheel.  You can tell everyone is so excited to stand in line!

 The Ferris Wheel is pretty awesome.  It's so huge! We could see everything.  We went around 3 times.  We figured it would be a one and done type of thing. 

 We got to know the people in the car with us.  They took our family pic for us.  How nice!

 After Navy Pier rides and dinner, we went on a architecture boat tour.  Yay!! The kids did not know what they were getting into. 
 This is how we were able to enjoy the boat tour.  Some day they'll want to pay attention to something like that.  Today is not that day. 

 It was a great tour.  The views were amazing.  We really got an education!

 The docent was awesome. I kept looking at Andrew and saying, "Um is he making this stuff up? That can't possibly be true."  Very interesting stuff. 

 We had stayed out late enough that everything was closing in Chicago but we knew one place that wouldn't be closed... Whole Foods! There was one right by our hotel so we visited every night for snacks and desserts.  An almond butter and chocolate cup for Tommy and a cake pop for Charlotte.  I got a cannoli.  Oh man, it was amazing. 

 The next morning we got up and went across the street to the egg cafe.  Such a bad idea to go to an egg breakfast place with a kid with a milk and egg allergy.  But our waiter was an amazing professional and he found some granola cereal that didn't have any of his allergies in it and we brought our own milk so we were all set.  Plus they had their phones because they were NOT in a good mood after two late nights being dragged all over the city. 

Charlotte fell asleep shortly before we got home.  How is that comfortable to sleep like that?? Kids are amazing. 
But what a great spontaneous mini vacation we had.  It was so nice to get away and just hang together as a family. 

Summertime = Popsicles!

 I have a Popsicle Policy. 
 Take off your shirt and go outside. :)

 Saves a little of the mess but not much.

Popsicle eaten, VICTORIOUS!

Summer Time in the Kiddie Pool

 The temperatures were high so it was time to get out the kiddie pool!
 They love their pool! Hours of entertainment.

We put it in the front yard when we want to be in the sun. But most of the time, we put it in the side yard in the shade. 

 They have a ball! 

What is it about pool water that tastes so good?

Here's a video to show you what a typical afternoon at their pool is like.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Our TEN Year Anniversary and Indy 500 2016

 TEN YEARS??? How old are we? Sheesh.  We've been married for 10 years.  Absolutely crazy.
 Andrew got a babysitter for us and we went to Mountain Jacks for dinner.  We had chocolate mousse for dinner which was amazing (so was dinner). 
 After dinner, we got crazy at Meijer. 

 Seriously, 10 years? I still can't believe it went so fast.  What a wonderful 10 years and here's to many many more.

 As is often the case, we do a mini celebration of our anniversary and then we head to Indy for the 500.  It's a celebration every year and we get to celebrate with all our friends too!
For the pre-party the night before, I made bacon straws or whatever they are called. They are basically bacon in a blanket with some sprinkled in cheese.  SOOO good.  They were GONE within the first hour.  Yum-o!
 We drew names as we always do.  It's obvious by this picture that I drew better names than Andrew.  I also participated in the second drawing where you draw a name and have to say where they finish.  I drew Conor Daly so I picked him to finish 29th.  He did! I won $70!!! Awesome!!

 I discovered Claire had snapchat so we spent some time doing that with our twizzler beer and wine straws. 

 Chris Pine (Captain Kirk from Star Trek) waved the flag at the race.  I love watching the celebs come to Indy and watch their first 500.  They are always so amazed to see the cars flying by so fast.  Chris Pine especially loved it. You could see the professionals telling him all sorts of fun stuff, how to watch, what to look at, etc.  Plus he got really into it when he was waving the flag.  The shoulders and arms were all getting crazy while he was waving it.  So awesome to see new people get excited about the race. 

Had to get a selfie on our way back from the race.  We all had matching shirts.  "Safety Third!"

 Tommy and Charlotte had a great time at Grandma and Grandpa's house while we were in Indy.

 Tommy got tatted up!

And poor grandma got no sleep.  I don't think she was too bothered by it.  ;-)

In case you wanted to review past years, you can find them here:

A Super Special Zoo Visit

Uncle Adam had a special treat planned for the kids.  He was going to give them a backstage pass style visit at the zoo.  He had a friend that worked there that offered to take us to meet a few animals personally. 
We started at the polar bear exhibit. 

Tundra, our nice polar bear friend, performed a few tricks for some tenderloin. 

Here's her best trick, the wave! It ended up being pretty much her only trick that day.  She refused to get in the water or do anything else.  I got an email shortly after our visit that said that Tundra was moving to a new zoo.  I think as a 'senior bear', she has just had enough.  Good for her.  I hope she likes her new home in Detroit. 
The Zoo has made a very difficult decision to permanently close its polar bear exhibit. For Tundra, our 29-year-old polar bear, that means a relocation. The Zoo's veterinary staff carefully reviewed all of the options and agree that the Detroit Zoo is the perfect facility for Tundra's needs as a senior bear. Considered one of the leading polar bear facilities in the world, the Detroit Zoo offers large spaces and pools with easy slopes for Tundra to enter and exit the water, especially as she gets older. Tundra arrived at the Indianapolis Zoo in 1988 and has been a significant part of our community. She has helped educate millions of guests over the years as an ambassador for her endangered species and her counterparts in the wild. Please join us on Facebook and Twitter to share your memories of Tundra and wish her well on the journey to her new home in Michigan. She will be greatly missed.

We spotted Flotsam and Jetsam in the tank!

Next stop was the walrus exhibit. 

We got to go in the back and feed the walruses.  This was Aurora! Charlotte was so excited! She was also terrified because these guys are HUGE.  I believe she said Aurora was 2000 pounds and her mate was going to be 3000+. 

Aurora gave us kisses on our hands which felt like a wet clammy vacuum.  It freaked us all out (in a good way).

She let us feel her whiskers which felt like a bunch of pointy glow sticks. I never imagined they would feel like that. We fed her so many fish.  They told us she ate 5 coolers full of fish a day.  Hungry princess! ;-)

We were able to walk around to the backside of the aquariums.  It really is just like they show in Finding Dory, by the way! Concrete block rooms filled with tanks of fish ready to be moved to other zoos if needed.  I'm sure there was a Hank trying to escape to Cleveland, just like in the movie.
 It was really cool to see the tanks from the backside and looking down at the people looking in.

Next we met the ever so adorable senior rockhopper penguin couple, 157 and 198.  They were by far my favorite. 
Group picture with the little feller. ;-)

An up close and personal shot with the little lady. 

They were so sweet. They just wanted to cuddle in your hands and lean up against you.  They were so soft too.  I didn't realize that penguins actually had feathers! They look like they would feel like seals but they definitely have feathers and even molt! Whaaaaa?

It was a little rainy the day we visited but we are pros when it comes to traveling in the rain!

The next stop was the seal exhibit!  Charlotte is not a fan of loud noises and most large animals are loud.  Not a good combo but she made it through.  You can see in the video at the bottom of this post, we saw another seal who was being trained.  This poor seal had been shot once, rehabilitated and released but then was shot again and became blind.  He only had one eye so they were trying to rehabilitate him to be able to get around (seriously, there were so many similarities to Finding Dory).  It was very interesting. I had no idea that these animals were rescues.

Seals are just like puppies.  Tail wagging, always looking to please you, fast moving, and hyper.  So much fun! Our seal's name was Holly.  She was laser focused on Jenny most of the time. But Tommy started to say something at one point and Holly lost focus and lasered in on Tommy and started moving toward him.  Talk about a freak out.  He just repeated NO NO NO NO NO until Jenny got Holly's attention again.  For a moment it was questionable but Holly was more than happy to get back to her fish. 

We each got a picture being kissed by Holly.  Adam's kiss ended up in his eye the first time.  Ha!

We got a group selfie in the seal backroom! Thanks Emily! It's a keeper!

After our meet n greets with the animals, we spent some time visiting other exhibits.  The orangutan exhibit is just crazy.  They just come up to the windows and stare at you.  For a moment, you're not sure who is studying who! This orangutan ate his greens and then spit them out and smooshed them against the window.  He also picked his nose and ate it several times.  Orangutans, they're just like us! ;-)

We rode Charlotte's favorite ride, the carousel. 

Tommy and Andrew were just waiting for the ride to be over so they could get on the roller coaster.

We checked out the giraffes...

and the cheetahs.
Then we headed home.
Charlotte and Tommy both fell asleep so we decided to keep driving and we went all the way to Grandma and Grandpa's new house.

Charlotte was excited about the playhouse!!

Tommy was excited about the floor space for playing.

What a day we had a the zoo.

Here's a recap of some quick videos that I took that day.  Charlotte did not like the loud noises but she certainly liked the carousel.  What a cool day!

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