Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Marathon Drive... for a Marathon!

On Thursday, March 15th, Kevin and I woke up at 4:30 am, packed the girls in the car, and started to drive... snack... wiggle...repeat!

13 hours later, we finally arrived in Washington DC to spend the weekend with Kevin's cousins, Jennie, Eric, and Kayla, and my sister Becca and her husband Taber! What could cause such a gathering? The Washington DC Rock and Roll Marathon! But a post on that will have to wait. First, the sightseeing!

The first sight to behold: Jennie's massively huge bedroom where she and our entire family slept!

Then of course the backseat of our car where Jennie had to squeeze during all our excursions.

We also got lucky as far as weather is concerned, and were able to see the cherry blossoms coming out a little early.

Next stop was the Washington Monument. The view from the reflection pool was under construction, but I still think we got to see it from a nice angle!

On a side note, Lily had a blast being pushed around town all day. The adults got pretty tired from all the walking, but she stayed happy and relaxed during her free ride!

Brooklyn was a lot more wiggly and enjoyed climbing trees and picking flowers (illegally) whenever we stopped to look at something.

Anyway, as we kept walking along, we eventually ran into the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Wall. Brooklyn was confused by all the letters on the wall. I tried to explain it to her but she quickly got distracted by her reflection.

Soon we reached the Lincoln Memorial, which happens to be the thing I was most excited to see!

We had to wait for Kevin and Eric to arrive (Eric came from work and Kevin was trying to find parking) before climbing up the stairs to take a peek inside.

And it was worth the wait. The memorial was absolutely beautiful!

I thought the girls would get bored, but once again they surprised me by being totally interested in their surroundings and having the best day of their lives!

When we were done looking at the Lincoln Memorial, we headed out to see a few more things before we had to go to packet pickup for the Marathon.

This was the last thing we saw before we left for the Armory to go to the Runner's Expo.

The building it was held in was ginormous and with 24,000 other runners walking around... we didn't think we would ever find Becca and Taber.

But we did! They just happened to walk in the door at the same time as us. We gave them hugs, chatted a bit, and then started checking out all the booths.

We even got to take some cool pre-race photos of the marathoners while we were there.

When we were done at the expo, we dropped Kevin off at Eric and Kayla's house where he could get some good sleep before his race the next day (uninterrupted by hyper children.)  Then Jennie and I headed back to her place with the girls where we enjoyed pigging out on some awesome homemade grub, watching movies, and talking about all that's been going on in our lives!

Now, stay tuned for an update on the race... from KEVIN! And possibly from me as well :)

P.S.When we were at the Lincoln Memorial, a high school band showed up to entertain everyone. This is what resulted: 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Grandma's Last Days... WITH US!... not in life.

The day after we visited the museum, we had a relaxing Sunday filled with church, naps, and chicken and dumplings! The following Monday was also a play-at-home kind of day, and a great resting period before our last adventure with Grandma Uda. 

On Tuesday, the 6th of March, (the day before Grandma had to go back home) we took a trip to Kids Town in nearby Wheaton, IL. Kids Town is basically a kid size town complete with fire station, police department, construction site, dance club, playground, doctors office, and veterinary clinic! Its all about imagination and was the PERFECT place to take the girls!

They got busy on the playground right away. Up and down the stairs and down the slide until grandma finally distracted them with all the fun transportation that was available.

They got to drive fire trucks, sail the seas, and ride on the backs of wild animals!

And when they were done, they got to chart their course on this amazing felt map (that I am determined to make for my own playroom!)

Brooklyn pretended to be a veterinarian whilst carrying around a kitty in a travel box and playing the piano. That's real talent if you ask me!

Then she and grandma got to put on a play...

That unfortunately had to come to and end due to a short stint in prison.

But no worries, they celebrated their release with an amazing dance party in the local dance club!

Then, once the girls started to wind down, they said good bye to the fishies...

And their new best friends, and then we headed for home. It was quite sad actually. Brooklyn had made friends with this little girl and they went everywhere together, holding hands and laughing. When it was time to go, she burst into tears at the thought of never seeing her new friend again. I felt bad for her because I wanted to cry too at the thought of saying goodbye to my mom :(

My mom and I stayed up late that night, watching movies and talking about life. The next day, she packed up her bags and said goodbye. It was really hard for me to watch her go. It often gets lonely out here in Chicago and it was such a blessing to have my mom around to cheer us up and give us some good old fashioned motherly love. She will be greatly missed, but we look forward to seeing her at least one more time this year. Thanks mom for EVERYTHING! We love you!

And to help lighten the mood... here is a video of Lily dancing at Kids Town. She actually spent the majority of her time on this dance floor, dancing by herself, with Brooklyn, a rolling zebra, stuffed puppy, and later, a giant dolphin. Enjoy!

The Mitchell Museum of the American Indian

On Saturday, the 3rd of March, we took a special road trip up to Evanston, Illinois to visit the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian.

It wasn't a very big museum, but it had tons of fun things in it, and covered several different tribes.

Needless to say, there were PLENTY of things to look at! But what surprised me the most was how interested the girls were in everything. I thought they would be bored for sure, but they never had a dull moment.

In fact, they even got to play in a Native American dwelling together!

It was set up so you could touch EVERYTHING you saw. That made for two happy little girls who got to run around, petting furs, playing on drums, and swinging from the inside of the little house!

And while the kiddos were playing, the adults had some wonderful relaxation time to look around...

... ponder... and read!

Then the museum had a little craft in the library where Grandma got to enjoy some time reading about her own Native American culture (in between helping the girls with their bead project).

When all was said and done, we got to leave the museum with a little more knowledge and some pretty cute beaded key chains!

Belated Birthdays at the Build-a-Bear

After our big zoo trip, my mom and I decided it would be best to take rest days between each activity for sanity's sake. So on the 29th we relaxed at home and did arts and crafts, watched some good movies, and ate lots of yummy food while we awaited the next day's adventure.

Which just so happened to be a trip to the local Build-a-Bear to get the girls belated birthday gifts from grandma!

Lily IMMEDIATELY decided she was in love with a Hello Kitty doll and quickly found an attendant to start putting it together.

She got to help stuff it with fluff...

And then put a heart inside before it was all sewn up. I actually think her doll ended up with two hearts since she kept stealing more and sneaking them over during the sewing process.

Then it was Brooklyn's turn to stuff her purple peace bear full of fluff...

And give it a heart! She only put one heart in her bear, but not before she smothered it with hugs and kisses!

After assembly, the stuffed animals enjoyed a nice warm (waterless) bath and brushing.

And then the dressing began. By this time, Lily had occupied herself with the swivel chairs, so Grandma had to do all the dressing for Hello Kitty.

But Brooklyn was still totally focused and she picked out a great ballerina outfit and dressed her bear all by herself.

Then Grandma helped the girls type up birth certificates for their animals...

and the attendant boxed them up in little houses to go home!

The girls had so much fun and absolutely LOVE their special stuffed animals, however, Lily was a tired stinker by the end of the adventure and refused to touch or look at Kitty...Until we got in the car a while later. Then she suddenly pulled it out of the box and started smothering it with loves and kisses while repeating, "Cuuute Kitty! You so cute! I love you!" Hahaha I guess she wanted to love it on her own terms, the little punk!

Anyway, after we were done at Build-a-Bear, we treated grandma to a real Chicago hotdog, Portillo's style! And then we all split a yummy chocolate shake before heading home for naps.

The next day was supposed to be another rest day, but mom and I got "the itch" so instead of resting, we decided to redo my office!

A couple hours, a bucket of paint, and a little sewing later, we ended up with this! There are still a few more things to do, but the bulk of it got finished that day. Not very restful, but it was still a fun and rewarding project!

Stay tuned for more on our visit with Grandma Uda...