Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tio Jake & Auntie Scar: Channeling Martha Stewart

The next two days after touring downtown Chicago, we were all feeling a little wiped out! So we decided to stay in and be homebodies for a little while... but not without being productive at the same time!

On Wednesday morning I taught preschool for a couple hours while Jake and Scar got the rest of the house back into working condition.

Then we busted out our craft kits and started decorating for Kevin's Halloween Birthday Bash! We rearranged the furniture and cut out bats from construction paper...

Put together prizes for the costume contest, replaced family pictures with monster pictures, and then Jake helped me to make a "FAMILY" sign out of an old pallet our neighbors were throwing out!

A few days before Jake and Scar arrived I painted our china cabinet white, then Jake filled the windows with black paper and crayoned a skeleton on the inside! We also filled the fruit baskets with assorted gourds but they rotted super fast, so we replaced them with black and orange balloons! Then I hung the candy corn shadow box I'd made a few days before.

We mounted our ladder, spread spider webs on it, hung the shrunken heads, and glued some birds to it. Then Scarlet made a "Happy Halloween" banner to hang from it.

The shrunken heads really added so much to the whole thing. Thanks again go out to the boys for carving them for me!

We decorated the entertainment center with old vases and books, a skull from Walgreen's, and a board and frame we made with Edgar Allen Poe's Raven poem on them.

My friend Diana helped me cut out mice for the stairs a few days earlier and our "downtime" finally allowed me to put them up.

Then Jake hung more spider webs and spiders on the wall and I sewed black and white slip covers to go over my patio furniture cushions.

Jake even drew scary faces on my mirror with a dry erase marker!

And then he cut out some AMAZING silhouettes to put up in my windows.

This is what the front of my house looked like! Jake did such an awesome job!

Soon Kevin came home from work to help Jake build a pumpkin man...

And carve some Jack-o-Lanterns to round out our decorations!

But my work wasn't done quite yet! I still had to turn an old lady night gown and a fur coat that I picked up from Saver's into Halloween costumes for my girls!

 I got right to it and soon I had a miniature Princess Leia and her trusty Ewok companion Wicket!

And  because the costume is so much cuter with the stick, here is one more shot of Lily in her fur coat Ewok costume!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tio Jake & Auntie Scar: Downtown Chicago

On Tuesday, October 23rd, Kevin and I took Jake and Scar into downtown Chicago for a little tour. 

We started the tour at the famous Willis Tower (aka Sears Tower). It was pretty cloudy that day so we couldn't see the top of the building until we were a couple miles away!

We did a lot of walking to avoid driving. I think Kevin said we walked about 5 miles total, but that's OK. We got to see all the different sides of Chicago, starting with the big important buildings...

and the "heartbeat" of the city as tourists passed by and people rushed in and out of work...

We even got to see a little nature while we were walking around town...

and there were ample opportunities to see the rundown portions of the city...

as well as the rich history of Chicago!

Eventually our walk took us to Navy Pier where we stopped to eat at McDonald's and to watch the movie Taken 2 at a nearby AMC theater!

Then we continued our tour and were able to see many more fun and interesting things, such as: a pink taxi, a giant Ferris wheel, one of Nikola Tesla's inventions (not an original), and two dudes dressed in NEON orange for no apparent reason!

But my favorite part of the tour was seeing the city at night, particularly the BEAN!

Jake has a really nice camera and was able to capture some pretty nice shots of the city at night.

But soon we got tired, so be said good bye to the bean...

as well as the rest of Chicago, and we headed back home for two solid days of vegging! More to come on that...LATER!

Tio Jake & Auntie Scar: Hangin' out with the Riggs!

After the half marathon, we all needed a little veg time! Me and Scarlet chose to veg out on the couch watching wedding shows and Nanny 911. The boys vegged in the form of Star Craft, Oreo's, jelly beans, and Ice cream!

It wasn't long though before we had to get up and get back to work. On Sunday night my I mean older sister Becca was coming into town with her family. PERMANENTLY! They got in town in time for dinner, playtime, and some fun catching up before it was time for bed.

The next morning Becca and Taber headed out to spend the day closing on their house, but thanks to Auntie Scarlet, they were able to return home to an AMAZING Dominican Dinner! YUMMMM!

And luckily, having 5 kids under 6 all day wasn't bad at all since they all love playing with each other... and since there were 4 adults in the house to share the load :)

 Anyway, after dinner we rounded up the kidlets for FHE and had everyone paint a pumpkin!

The big kids skipped pumpkin carving for apple carving duties instead... and in Kevin's case, apple carving and EATING duties!

I needed the boys to carve faces into apples so I could use them as shrunken heads in my Halloween decor. Everyone chipped in, but Jake really put a lot of effort into the project, finishing 5 of the 8 apples in the end!

The end result turned out pretty great if I do say so myself. Thanks guys for your hard work and creativity!

That night we bathed all the kiddos and then the daddies read them books and put them to bed. The next morning the Riggs headed out to Geneva (about 40 minutes away) to set up shop in their new home!

The rest of us, on the other hand, got to squeeze past this nasty guy in the garage so we could get in the car and take a trip downtown.

Because we only have 5 seat belts in our car, and there were 6 bums that needed transportation, my wonderful friend Diana took the girls for the WHOLE day so we could make it downtown and hang out in Chicago without any stress. I am so blessed with such great friends and family! This picture was taken when we dropped off the girls. There was a train passing Diana's house and both the girls were enthralled!

More to come on our Downtown tour... Later!

Tio Jake & Auntie Scar: Moraine Hills Half Marathon

On Thursday, October 18th, my little brother Jake and his wife Scarlet flew into town! Their arrival was a little chaotic as Kevin accidentally drove to O'Hare Airport instead of Midway in the middle of rush hour traffic to get them. But after waiting 2 hours in the pick up zone for his arrival, Jake and Scar finally got in the car and made it to our house to begin the fun!

That night Tio Jake read the girls stories and put them to bed...

and then we nerded out with each other till midnight before heading to bed for some much needed rest! 

The next day we spent our time relaxing, eating, and prepping for our half marathon on Saturday morning. In the evening we dropped the girls off at our AWESOME friend, Arielle's house so she could watch them overnight and during our race, allowing us to actually get some sleep the night before and then leave early in the morning! During their stay at Arielle's house, the girls were able to attend Megan's birthday party! I'm surprised I ever got them to come home!

On Saturday morning we woke up at 5:30 am and started the long drive to McHenry, Illinois to participate in the Run for the Hills, Moraine Hills State Park, Half Marathon! The park where the race was held was absolutely beautiful and we couldn't have asked for better weather. Good vibes were definitely in the air!

Once we arrived, parked, and pottied, we grabbed our packets and got in the car to stay warm until the race started.

Well, at least me and Scarlet did. Jake and Kevin found other ways to stay warm!

Soon it was time to run! We snapped a before picture and then lined up in out corrals for our different wave starts.

Kevin started first since he was expected to be the fastest. I started 4 waves after him (I think I was accidentally placed in a faster wave) and then Jake and Scar started I think 2 waves after me.

About 5 minutes into the run, Jake passed me and I knew he was going to have a good race! As for me? Well, I came into the race with an injured shin and IT band, but I still wanted to reach my goal of holding a 12 minute pace and finishing in 2:40:00. So, I kept the faith and just kept plodding along!

Scarlet caught up to me around mile 7 and ran with me the rest of the race. It was so nice to have someone by me to keep me company and keep me motivated. The course was WAY more hilly than I had expected and I was struggling, but every time I saw little Scarlet hit a hill and start attacking it head on, I couldn't help but be motivated and inspired! She was awesome!

We kept ourselves entertained and distracted by cheering all the other runners on who were passing us...which was MANY since we finished like 8th to last or something. But anyway, it was a lot of fun and I don't think I've ever laughed that hard while running before!

Just as we were approaching mile 10, we saw Jake coming out of mile 12. Once we saw him we knew he was going to reach his goal or running a 9 minute pace cause he wasn't even tired yet! We, on the other had were pretty jealous that we still had 4 miles to go!

Around mile 12 both Scarlet and I started to hit the wall a little, but then we came up on this water stop that, because of the way the course was made, we had already passed 3 times before. The teenage boys at the water stop were particularly fond of us by now since we had cheered for them every time we passed, and as we inched closer we could see them lining up to greet us! They had makeshift drums and were pounding and cheering for us! Then a couple boys started running with us and yelling, "GO! GO! GO! You got this!!!" It was an awesome surge of energy and fun and it totally helped carry me through the last...longest mile of my life!

That last mile felt longer than the rest of the race to me. But eventually we approached the finish and busted through the finish line at 2:39:55! Oh yeah baby! Totally nailed my goal! Jake and Scar also nailed their goals. Jake wanted to run a 9 minute pace and he did, and Scarlet wanted to finish without ever walking, and she DID!

Oh yeah, and KEVIN (who was too fast for any of us to get pictures of) beat his goal of running the half marathon in 90 minutes... and incidentally won 4th place overall and 1st place in his age division!!! He is such a stud :)

After we had all celebrated our victories, refueled our bodies, and collected our medals, we drove home and picked up the girls. The rest of the day was spent limping around, begging Brooklyn to get things for us, and eating takeout! But no matter how sore we felt afterward, it was totally worth it!