3.25.2015

Things I'm Loving


  • Our groundhog that lives under our house. Actually I don't like him and I think he's pretty gross but Jack loves him! When I found our groundhog hanging out on our front porch, I knew it was finally spring in Iowa, or at least on most days :) 
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Our landlord put the trap back out and Jack spends a lot of time waiting and watching for it to get trapped. 
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The second David is done with breakfast or the second he wakes up from his nap, he begs and cries at the door to go "bye bye." Jack did the same thing at that age and that is when I decided to get a job at Lifetime - I was running out of places to take him! We will see what happens this time around but for now, we are just enjoying playing outside - we couldn't do that in our top story apartment in Alabama!
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  • Airplane tickets to Arizona that cost a grand total of $8.26! When they canceled our flight home after Christmas, Jack and I both got a 100 dollar flight credit even though it felt like we deserved a million dollars in flight credit!!! We are excited that we can afford to visit again in June before heading to Utah, thanks to that horrific day at the airport!
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  • Jack's lawn mower. I can never thank my mom enough for giving it to him, they both love it! 
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  • Using McDonald's ice cream dates as a bribe to get Jack to cut his hair - hair cuts are pretty traumatic for him!
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  • This American Life podcast. I bought the app so I can listen to all of the the past episodes and it is currently my motivation to do the dishes and to keep running on the treadmill. 
  • Jack is signed up for soccer!!! It starts in a month but he wants to wear his uniform and shin guards and cleats every day :) I think he looks way too grown up with all of his soccer gear on! Spencer is going to coach him and I think he is even more excited than Jack is for soccer to start, which is saying something!
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    • Fire Station tour for playgroup! We took a tour of our local fire station and obviously, my boys loved it. Fun facts: our downtown fire station is the oldest fire station west of the Mississippi River - 114 years old! It also has boats for when there are harbor fires and boat fires on the river.
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    • WQPT's Imagination Station. Our local TV station put on THE COOLEST event that was FREE! We got to meet all of the PBS characters and the event was so well organized - each character had a room with their show playing on a big screen with activities and crafts and toys or books for us to take home that were all themed around their show. Jack was in heaven and David liked it a lot too! (If you don't want to see a bajillion pictures of my kids with every single PBS character, you should probably just ex out right now :)

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    Curious George is Jack's favorite! That night, he said, "Mom, I miss monkey George. Please see him again!"
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    Arthur is my favorite!!!!
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    3.20.2015

    Chicago

    Spencer had a conference in Chicago last Sunday through Tuesday and so we all tagged along since it's so close. We got to Chicago on Saturday around 11 am, just before the Saint Patrick's Day Parade started and it was so much fun! Our hotel was close to the start of the parade which was nice because there weren't very many drunk people around us and the paraders were very generous with the candy :) The parade was three hours long, and we were shocked that Jack and David lasted for over an hour and a half! They loved it.
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    David fell asleep in the backpack - a miracle! The hiking backpacks were a last minute decision but it ended up being perfect because the kids could see everything and we didn't have to navigate the crowds with a bulky stroller.
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    After the parade, we headed over to Michigan Ave for some deep dish Pizza at Unos. In Spencer's opinion, Gino's East pizza < Giordano's < Unos. I think they are all delish and that they all taste the same :) We ordered a thin crust cheese pizza for the boys but neither of them ate it - David ate a whole plate of Caesar Salad (!!!!) and Jack ate the deep dish sausage pizza because the lights were dim and he couldn't see the layer of sausage hiding underneath the cheese! That is the first meat Jack has ever eaten besides french fry balls aka chicken nuggets. We got lucky with Jack and David's eating on St. Patrick's Day at Unos!
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    After dinner, we stopped by the river to see the dyed green water for Saint Patrick's day.
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    We also stopped at The Bean
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    This drunk parader photobomb that I posted on instagram ended up being my very favorite picture of the trip! When people pointed out the girl in the background that was holding her pants in her hand instead of wearing them, the photobomb got even better :)
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    Turns out, pantless girl photobombed every single one of our pictures and thanks to The Bean's reflection, we've got multiple angles in each picture! (I'll spare you the others)
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    We went to check in at our hotel and we were wiped! Spencer logged over 10 miles on his fitbit that day. David was ready for bed around 6 pm (and every other night - Chicago wore him out!) so we spent a lot of our evenings hanging out in our hotel bathroom - epic.
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    The rest of the days in Chicago I was on my own because Spencer was at his conference. (Chicago with Spencer > Chicago without Spencer > Iowa without Spencer) Our membership at our local science museum gets us into the science museums in Chicago for free so we hit up the Field Museum first. Our hotel was a little less than a mile away from Museum Campus so we walked and Jack and David did surprisingly well.
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    My view on our walk. Chicago is such a beautiful city!
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    Jack loved Sue, the T. Rex! Fun fact for the day - she is the largest, best preserved, and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex ever found.
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    Also, fun selfie facts for the day - one, selfie sticks are not a joke. They were everywhere! Two, I want a selfie stick. Three, a girl was taking a selfie with Sue the T. Rex when her mom offered to take the picture for her. The daughter sassily replied, "But then it wouldn't be a selfie, mom." Apparently selfies are better than regular pictures!
    There were SO MANY dinosaur fossils.
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    I have to say though, I think that Jack liked the MASSIVE stuffed animal collection (is that what you call real stuffed animals?!) better than the dinosaurs. He called it the zoo and when I told him that the animals weren't alive and he told me to stop teasing him :)
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    We finished up at the Field Museum around lunch time and ate our sack lunches outside. I had every intention of walking back to the hotel to put David down for a nap but then something crazy came over me and I decided to walk the 2 1/2 miles to Navy Pier instead! Luckily, both David and Jack took power naps on our walk. It was such a beautiful day!
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    I was going to take them on the Ferris Wheel but last minute Jack chickened out. They wanted food court pizza instead - a 2 1/2 walk for food court pizza :)
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    Spencer was going to pick us up a little after five when his conference was over for the day because I was nervous to attempt the three mile walk all the way back to our hotel. I ended up killing time by walking to the Magnificent Mile, hanging out at the Under Armor store, and then by 4 pm I started to panic because there was NO WAY Jack and David were going to last another hour hanging out at fancy stores for Spencer to come and get us! Some major adrenaline kicked in and I ended up walking to Shake Shack, ordered it to go, and walked it all the way back to our hotel. (I've been dying to see what all the hype was all about and it didn't disappoint!) We made it to the hotel right as Spencer got out of his conference - Jack and David were soooo good! I'm certain we walked over a half marathon and now I know that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to with babies in tow as long as I have a never ending supply of dum dums :) I had so much fun this day - I think I was born to live in a big city!
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    On Monday we went to the Lincoln Park Zoo and of course, we loved it.
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    David squealed and pointed at every single animal he saw and his reactions made everyone around us laugh. (Video on my instagram account here) He seriously sounded like he belonged at the zoo :) When Jack was David's age, I'm pretty sure we went to the zoo 3 times a week on average (desperate times) so Jack has always been pretty used to the excitement at the zoo so I wasn't expecting David's cute excitement.
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    I think the most entertaining for us was this crazy active Aardvark - so nasty! Arthur doesn't look like an aardvark at all!
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    Chicago got a piece of David at the zoo :( This poor kid has been injured WAY more than Jack and I'm thinking the reasoning is part personality and part me not doing so great at handling two kids :/
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    We went back to the hotel after lunch, took naps, and swam at the hotel pool until Spencer was done. We walked to Portillo's for dinner to try their Chicago-style hot dogs, italian beef sandwich, and chocolate cake shake. We loved it!
    (I'm so talented at taking pictures that make my food look appetizing ;)
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    On Tuesday morning, we walked to the Alder Planetarium. I wasn't thinking it was going to be that cool but I think they liked it even better than the Field Museum! The kids area was darling - rocket ships and astronaut themed - what kid doesn't like that?!
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    We spent most of our time walking in the space room that looked like outer space, playing on the rocket ship simulators, and "exploring earth" in the fake wood chips.
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    We ate our lunches at their cafeteria and this was our view!
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    I had Spencer come pick us up during his lunch break because it was so windy and cold - it was miserable on the walk that morning (Jack and David were both screaming - I guess after the trillionth dum dum, dum dums lose their magic) and I didn't want to put ourselves through that again.
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    Spencer dropped me off at Magnolia Bakery on the way home to pick up some of their famous banana pudding - another New York City thing in Chicago that I have been wanting to try. It was reeeeeally good and Spencer said that it was his favorite dessert of all time!
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    That afternoon, we napped, swam, and picked up some sandwiches from Potbelly's for dinner. I left Jack and David with Spencer so I could go to Trader Joes and stalk up because it was just around the corner from our hotel.
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    We got back from Chicago on Wednesday morning and we're back to real life.
    I LOVE CHICAGO!