Thursday, July 17, 2008

Summer Busyness

This is Tarren writing. I always feel funny being the one to post since this is technically Pete's blog, so we will soon be changing our blog to include two moderators. We just haven't gotten around to it yet. As I write I have a little girl standing beside my chair yelling at me to replenish her goldfish crackers about every 15 seconds, so if thoughts are random or incomplete please forgive me...that is one reason we don't write very frequently...there is always a child vying for our attention.

With prompting from one of our faithful readers, I decided it was time to give the mid-summer update. T-ball has been going very well and is nearing its end. Lucas has been a model student. He's always the first to run after a batted ball, even if it's on the opposite side of the field from his position. It has gotten to the point where some of the other children cry that Lucas always gets the ball. The coaches have tried to tell him he has to stay at his position. On the one hand I understand that will be important as he gets older, but at this age I don't want to discourage his enthusiasm. The fact of the matter is if the other kids would be paying attention and get in gear as soon as the ball is hit, Lucas wouldn't stand a chance, but most of the time they have no clue where the ball is until the coaches yell at them to go get it. Batting has not proven to be much trouble either, but they bat off a tee so I guess that's not much a testament of skill. He just REALLY enjoys playing.

Lucas' other summer activity has been swimming lessons. There was a two week stretch where he went everyday with his cousin, Sarah. At first he was not thrilled about being in the pool. The instructors were very patient with him, and by the last day he was able to complete almost all of the skills. He can enter and exit the pool alone, kick on the wall, swim assisted, float on front and back while assisted, and blow bubbles. Not bad for a 3-year-old. We took the kids to mom's hotel (or show and tell, as Lucas calls it) the other night, and he swam all around the pool with floaties on his arms. Before swim lessons he wouldn't even leave the steps of the pool, so I'd say the lessons were worth it. There were a couple of days when Lucas had to attend both swim and baseball...we had a very tired boy those evenings. It's been good for him to be busy,though.

Our other busyness has included our "staycation". Many of you may have heard this term. Instead of spending money on gas to go on vacation, some people are choosing to stay home instead. We are those people. We decided to spend our money going to visit some of Chicago's attractions that we wouldn't normally go to. It makes perfect sense to vacation in Chicago...lots of people choose it as their destination. We live here and have never seen many of the sites (plus this way we could still sleep in our own beds, a real benefit with small children).

So, our staycation began on Friday with a trip to Navy Pier. We saw a chinese circus called Cirque Shanghai that was very good. The people were extremely talented, and it held the kids attention for almost the whole 75 minutes. After the show we ate at a restaurant called Riva, rode the ferris wheel, and took a boat tour around the pier. The ferris wheel was quite scary with our children (they weren't scared...we were). The gaps beneath the doors of the cars were big enough for Grace to fall through! We told her that even if she screamed bloody murder she was going to sit on Daddy's lap...she complied. I held on tight to Lucas, and we all made it down in one piece. The boat tour was kind of tough with the kids as well, but once they settled in it was a nice ride. All in all a great day! On Saturday, my mom came to watch the kids so Pete and I could go to the Museum of Science and Industry. It was nice to be able to spend time looking at the exhibits, and we had a great time. That afternoon we attended a Christmas in July party at the home of one of our members...very enjoyable, and then that night once the kids were in bed we headed down to Navy Pier again to see a French group (Transe Express) that performs a musical show while suspended very high in the air. It was an amazing show! They had instruments (big drum sets) up in the air with them and people flipping around trapeze bars. There is a website that shows the show. If you "google" Transe Express I'm sure you could find it if you're interested. It's definitely worth it. Anyway, after the show we got some ice cream and watched the fireworks off the pier. Pete didn't enjoy the loud music that accompanied the fireworks, but I didn't mind. We got home at around 1:00 am. Oh, don't worry we didn't leave the children home alone...Greg and Amy Lyon were here so that Greg could preach for Pete the next day. Greg stayed with the kids, and Amy joined us. Thanks again Greg!

So, that brings us to Sunday of staycation. We got up at our normal time since our children had not gone to bed any later than normal. We were very tired but went to church in Lake Zurich. From there we went on to the Illinois Train Museum. We took a long train ride and watched a few trains go by but then decided we wanted to go home. I wasn't feeling very well and the kids were getting ready for naps. Monday, we went miniature golfing with Duane's family and our neighbors. Lucas thoroughly enjoyed that! Tuesday we went to Milwaukee to babysit cousin Aaron while Kelly took Alex for some doctor's visits. That evening we went to Mom's hotel where Lucas did his swimming. Wednesday I took Lucas and Sarah to our children's museum where they had a great time pretending to be vets, librarians, daycare workers, Potbelly sandwich workers, and grocery shoppers. That concluded staycation!

After not feeling well for several days (both of my ears were hurting, and the pain was radiating over my right eye and down my neck) I decided to go see the doctor. He told me I was having a TMJ episode. He asked if I was under stress. I guess the toddler still screaming at me from beside my chair as I write this would qualify as stress, yes! With that update is complete and I'm going to take some Aleve!