A Few More…

A few more photos I forgot…

The family (minus David) in front of the Great Oaks sign

Mike "in action" playing carpetball

Susan playing

Paul and Susan playing


On Monday we went to Chicago.  We took a “hop on/hop off trolley tour”….it really was the best way to get around, just so you didn’t have to fight traffic and pay for parking if you wanted to go anywhere….they had 16 different stops, so you could hop off whenever you wanted to and then just get back on when the next trolley came, usually every 15 minutes or so…


the trolley

Paul, Susan, Donna, and Mike waiting for the trolley

"The Bean" (Cloud Gate Sculpture) in Millennium Park

looking at ourselves

looking up (inside "The Bean")


on the trolley


Navy Pier

Navy Pier

stuffed pizza-YUMMY!!

Buckingham Fountain

SkyDeck at Willis Tower

Willis Tower

Susan and me

our feet (no one else would step out on the ledge)


We had a great day, and I think they really enjoyed it!

On Tuesday they went to Springfield to the Lincoln Museum and to Darcy’s Pint (to eat), but I stayed back to work, so there were no pictures (from me) of that day….

On Wednesday they went to the Peoria Zoo and then went back to the train station to go back home….

We had a great visit…Thank you so much, Susan, Mike, and Donna, for coming to visit us!!

Their 1st Visit to Illinois

Mike, Donna, and Susan arrived in Bloomington after being on the train for 23 hours!  They were definitely glad to be on “solid ground” not trying to walk while on the train…

After picking them up in Bloomington (and a stop at Culver’s) we went straight to Chicago.

I’m going to do a couple of different posts, so it’s not “Picture Overload”

Sunday night we went to Elk Grove Village Nature Preserve Park to see the Elk, went to play Putt-Putt and then ate at Los Fernandez…

We spent the night at a La Quinta and then spent the day (on Monday) playing tourist…

Here are the pictures from Sunday night


Mike, Paul, Donna, and Susan


Paul and Donna



Our 1st Trailer Guests….

When I was younger and lived at home, I always thought the only reason you really needed to clean is if people were coming over.  Whenever I saw my mom cleaning, I always asked who was coming to visit.  Of course, now that I’m older and have had my own home (8 in the last 5 years, to be exact), I realize that living in a clean house definitely makes you feel better and has its perks.  So….every Sunday is cleaning day at our house…

However, today is THE DAY!

Paul’s parents and sister are arriving tomorrow…they are our first overnight guests in the trailer….

My parents came to see us last July, when we lived in the apartment next to the office, but this is the first time Paul’s parents have come to visit.

In the 4 years we’ve been married and the 5 years we’ve been together, his parents have never spent the night with us.  They’ve come to visit us for the day (when we obviously lived in Texas), but they’ve never spent more than one day with us.  So, I’m excited, I’m nervous.  And I’ve been cleaning like a mad woman!

Whoever invented these is a GENIUS!!

The inside of our car looks new….who knew the dash was actually gray and not brown (as in the color of dust)?!  I am totally endorsing this product…it works great!

But, of course, we washed the outside of our car last night and then it rained for about 4 hours!  Oh, the irony…

The inside of the trailer looks pretty good, too, if I do say so myself.  The floor needs a little work, but we track in dirt everytime we walk in, so it’s inevitable that as soon as I mop by the front door, we will track in something….so, it’ll just get swept right before they get here….

Paul’s off to get dinner at the store (we’re grilling steaks), and I’m relaxing….

Mike, Donna, and Susan are riding the train from Temple (Texas) and should arrive in Bloomington/Normal tomorrow morning at 11:05AM….we’ll pick them up and then head straight to Chicago!  🙂

I’ll post late once they get here….until then, I’m sure I can find something else that needs to be dusted or last minute things that need to be washed…

My Birthday Weekend

A couple of weeks ago Paul asked me if I wanted to go somewhere for my birthday.  Of course, I jumped on the idea.

On Saturday we left and went to Rockford, IL.  It’s about 2 hours away…

Here’s our weekend:

Saturday night, Outback Steakhouse…

at Outback Steakhouse


Outback Steakhouse

 After dinner we went and played Putt-Putt at Volcano Falls Adventure Park. 

me at the entrance

"shadow" picture

I hit my ball into the water.  Paul laughed at me (really hard), so I picked it up and put it back on the green.  (You had to try to hit it in this white tube “in the ground” so it would go through a tunnel to the lower part of the course on the next level down; I just put it on the next lower level and took 3 strokes to try to hit it in).


 Paul hit it into the same water and I laughed really hard at him.  However, his went through a secret “tunnel” in the water, through the rocks and shot right into the hole on the lower level for a “HOLE IN ONE!”  Paul really laughed at me….again….

 Sunday we went to Magic Waters Waterpark.  Here’s the website:  http://www.magicwaterswaterpark.com/

We didn’t take the camera to the park, but here we are ready to go….

my silly husband

 Sunday night we went out to eat with Paul’s friend, Paul.  Yes, Paul has a friend named Paul.  His friend, Paul, just moved to De Kalb, IL to teach at Northern Illinois University (he’s a math professor).  So, Paul’s friend, Paul, drove over to Rockford and had dinner with us.  He is getting married in October and then Stephanie will live close by, too.

On Monday we went over to Moline, IL, to visit Camp Youth Hope.  And, the best part of the day, of course besides being my birthday, was eating at Chick-Fil-A!

We got home around 5:30 on Monday afternoon….to a mailbox full of birthday cards and three packages sitting on my couch!!

Overall, a very good weekend!!

Another Decade…

Do I look a year older?

August 16, 2009; my 29th Birthday

August 16, 2010; my 30th Birthday

I was ECSTATIC we went to Chick-Fil-A for my birthday (we were in Moline, IL)… 

I am entering my 4th decade….


Am I getting old?

Camping…In Style

Paul went to Cedar Rapids, IA for vacation….

Here he is…packing up and ready to go!

He started out his venture camping….

But then spent the rest of the week….


What can I say?!  He and I are alike….

My idea of camping is in a hotel with an indoor pool/hot tub and complimentary breakfast!

Anyway, he’s home now….asleep…his 2nd nap today!


I’m excited to be able to wear real t-shirts and nice shorts again…

I’m excited to be able to wear flip-flops everyday…

Taking a 17 year old girl (who thinks she KNOWS EVERYTHING and DOES NOT LISTEN TO INSTRUCTION VERY WELL without interrupting) went surprisingly well.  But, of course, we drove where there were no cars, so it was OK that she swung too far to the left to turn or swerved to miss a puddle b/c she didn’t want to get the car dirty.

I’m glad that I have the kitchen to myself again….except that I will have to do dishes again…I’ve really enjoyed not doing them all summer…

I’m glad that I will be in charge of cleaning the bathrooms in Pine Tree from now on (until next summer)…at least I won’t waste washclothes and cleaner (or I’ll use cleaner, unlike a particular 17 year old girl who I just found out just used a wet paper towel to “clean” the sinks)…

I am lovin’ that I don’t have to cook everyday (at least for 9 more months)…

Rebecca (our neighbor who is 5) swears that she lived in Colorado and that’s where Jacob (her brother who is 4) was born.  I kept trying to tell her that she lived in Minnesota, not Colorado, but she doesn’t believe me.  So, for now, she, apparently, is from Colorado…

When I left the house at 8:30 this morning I almost turned around and got a jacket b/c it was so cool…what a pleasant surprise…the high today is only 81 degrees….

The leaders of the guest group that was here this past week thought it would be funny to rearrange all the food in the back storage room (behind the Pine Tree kitchen)…I was not amused and did not think it was funny….

The leaders of the guest group also thought it would be funny to play a “fart machine” as I was bending down to pick up trash…numerous times…I was not amused and did not think it was funny….

The leaders of the guest group also helped themselves to cereal and milk this morning, without asking…I was not amused and did not think it was appropriate…

Go, Diego, Go is really kind of a stupid show…(Rebecca and Jacob are at my house, so we’re having a snack and watching Go, Diego, Go)…I would not voluntarily watch it on my own.

Apparently it’s a bad idea to give Capri Sun to a 4 year old….it is WAY TOO HIGH in sugar content…

I am a bachelorette for the next week….my husband is “livin’ it up” in Cedar Rapids, Iowa…

My 30th birthday is in 10 days.  We’re going to celebrate by going to Rockford, IL….

I leave for New York in 22 days.  I’m excited!

My favorite quote of the day:

(I took Rebecca and Jacob down to the pond to swim and play in the gravel/rocks)….

Me:  “Jacob, you do not need to take the gravel home.  You can only put your “cool” rocks in the cup, not the gravel.”

Jacob:  “But, they need the gravel for cover.  They need to be comfortable.”

Me:  “Jacob, they’re rocks.  I’m pretty sure they don’t need to be comfortable.”


Camp is over….our last set of campers left today at 2:00pm….

We still have a guest group of 43 here until Friday at 10:00Am, but we don’t have any more campers….

No more late night calls….

“Paul, this is _______.  I have a camper who won’t ________ (insert anything imaginable in here:  go to sleep, take a shower, stop talking, take their medicine)….

or….peeed in the bed, got in a fight, is calling people names, punched out a window, stole something, yelling, etc….

I told Paul I was going to have someone call him tonight about 10:00, just so he won’t miss the routine….


Until next year….