Quick update!

Where have I been for the last month??... Hanging out with this bunch! This is the first time in years that all of my siblings have been together, it was a LOT of fun :)

Pictured above: Vic(husband), Tommy, me, Lisa, Jason(brother), Ben(brother), Becky, Evie, Brennon, Katie(sister), Front Row: Kara, (Dad), Whitney, Lana, Kiersten

I also have been driving myself crazy trying to be as helpful as possible with my little sister's wedding that was last weekend. Then I spent all this week organizing & editing them all in my tiny windows of spare time! Check them out on my phot blog: :)
I'll have to back post later when I get time!!


Chicago Trip Part 1

I never really got the "I heart NY" shirts until I went to Chicago & now I would love to proudly wear a t-shirt that says "I heart Chicago!" We went for a full 2 weeks and it was WONDERFUL! The city is so clean, architecturally interesting, & has tons of free fun stuff to do. I now understand how boring Idaho must seem to all of the Californians that move here! Since we had a full 2 weeks we spent the first couple of days just recouping from life & getting lots of rest in. The first day we were there I was in the bathroom happily plucking away & thinking how great it is to have time to do my nails, etc. when I realized Tommy sounded a little too happy in the other room. I took my time walking in there only to find him happily dunking my phone up & down in a glass of water!... Ya, not a complete vacation as I swear I can never take my eye off that kid, but oh well it forced me to concentrate on my family the entire time instead of texting anyone else!
Vic had already been out there a couple of weeks before us for work & he was really excited to show us the fireflies as they are EVERYWHERE at night. His workmates made fun of him for being so excited to see them. One guy even bought him a fake one in a jar to remember him with. :) They are totally romantic & cute as long as you don't get too close. When we got really close to them I just had this sudden feeling of bugs all over me cuz I realized just how many bugs are always out, but us westerners can't usually see them!

The second day I joined the local LDS playgroup & they are serious about their playgroups... they like to go all day! I totally wish we had enough fun stuff to do around here that we could too! This week we went to dolphin cove smim park. Tommy loved the little kid area.

I was worried he'd just push past the other kids as he's never waited in line before, but it was super cute as I didn't even show him- he just followed the other kids & got right in line with them.. my little baby is growing up too fast!

Also, I kept looking at this big yellow slide wondering if the lifeguard would let me take Tommy down it as I knew he'd love a little bigger slide and I was helping Whitney for a second & next thing I knew Tommy had raced up the ramp to go down this slide all by himself! Really he's too big! I still had to stand at the bottom to coax him down it as it was kinda scarry for him, but none of the other moms & kids minded as they all thought he was the cutest thing ever cuz he was so small & doing it by himself over & over.

Continue on down to Part 2!

Chicago Trip Part 2


I thought the camping exhibit was super cute, especially this tiny little canoe.

They had a really fun digging site with rubber dirt.

Tommy was in love with these big trucks. Every time he goes anywhere with big tonka trucks he LOVES playing with them, but we are mean parents & have yet to buy him one!

It's funny how some things that people say in passing stick in your mind forever. My brother was talking about his kids a year ago & saying how disgusting & animal like they are because they climb, pee, & poo on anything & eat like savages. It is funny because I can hear his words resonating through my head all the time when I see scenes like below. These kids were going nuts crawling & jumping all over this car. Tommy didn't know what to think of all of the "animals" at the zoo! (It was a zoo this night cuz it is their only free night of the week!)

We tried our hardest to see as many exhibits as we could, but the museum was too big & was really busy. Tommy had a ball though & that's what matters :)


Afterwards we walked out to the Navy Pier. It was such a fun place & would probably be one of my favorite date night places to go if we ever lived there. The sunset was beautiful....

....The carnival rides were totally fun and good carnival food is always a treat! (I go crazy over funnel cake w/ strawberries & cool whip!)

I was glad Whitney met the height requirement so we could all go on the ferris wheel together :)

We were glad we bought the package deal cuz Tommy wanted to go on this carousel over & over. It was his first time. Also, since we had extras I went on the swings that fly out and around. It made me feel like a kid again & giggle with excitement. Me & this other guy were laughing cuz he was 30 & I'm 27 & everyone else was probably 10 and under! I really felt old when I got off & couldn't even walk straight. It's funny that age does that to you! I can't even imagine how bad it'll be when I really am old. (Even if I say I feel old I still say if you are in your 20's & 30's then you are in the prime of your life!)

I'm sure I drove Vic crazy with how many pictures I took of the skyline, but it really is beautiful when you are there with all the big tall buildings! It's so hard to capture the beauty on camera.

The next day we went to a game place thinking Tommy would love more little kiddie rides & here is his reaction to the teacups:

...made us decide in a hurry to only do stuff that we thought was fun for the rest of our trip! He was done with the gameplace pretty quick, but Whitney could sit in this car so of course he had to do it if she did. It is crazy how early the sibling rivalry thing begins!

LOTS MORE TO COME later this week!!!!

Part 3 Chicago: Aquarium & Zoo

We went to the Shedd Aquarium & Field Museum downtown in the same day. The aquarium had a pretty impressive dolphin tank, but overall not worth the $70 to get in!
I was sad Tommy fell asleep for the dolphin show. Also, right after this picture Whitney blew out all over her back & totally ruined this outfit so Vic missed the last part where the dolphins danced & then had to go buy her a $20 tie dye onsie that she'll never where again! At least we were in happy go lucky vacation mode so it wasn't as frustrating as it probably would have been otherwise :)

They also had some REALLY CUTE penguins at the aquarium, check them out!

Here's my little penguin playing inside the penguin cave. They had a lot of really cool exhibits for the kids to play on... just WAY too many kids! I read online that it is much less packed on the weekdays, but we went on a Saturday.

Tommy was pretty timid by this penguin like he thought it was real... it was pretty cute :)

I always love the bright colored backgrounds for the smaller bright fish & jelly fish. It looks face it is so pretty!

Lately Tommy has been sticking his fingers in his mouth when he is nervous & he wasn't too happy to be seeing these giant whale sharks.

The aquarium also had a 4D Dora the explorer movie we went to. I went to one is Disneyworld that was pretty cool, but this one was even fancier. The chairs vibrated & leaned back & had fans & water for the person behind you to get sprayed & air blown on so everyone in the theatre got the full experience. Plus they had bubbles & snow fall from the ceiling. Tommy LOVED it & wasn't ready to leave when the movie was over!

By the time we got done with the aquarium & lunch we only had 3 hours in the Field Museum & saw maybe an 1/8 of the exhibits! This is by far the biggest museum that I've been to; it was really nice.

I usually think most museums are kind of boring, but this one really brought history to life & was really interesting.

I was a bit dissappointed not to see a wooly mammoth, but this guy was pretty cool.

Read on to PART 4! (I know the pictures are never ending... I took 500 total!)

Chicago Part 4: Millenium Park

Here is "the bean" as the locals call it... I laugh because Vic & I were walking through Grant Park which is HUGE & long and Vic was tired from walking & the humid heat so he just wanted to turn around, but I was determined to find "the bean"! I never explained to him what it was & that there was a whole nice park there so he was a little frustrated that I'd want to keep walking to find a bean. After we finally found it he thanked me over & over that we didn't turn around as we had a lot of fun there. :) Here he is in front of the big metal bean sculpture:
When you stand underneath it you can't tell what you are looking at, it is a crazy optical illusion.

They had these giant screens that would randomly make a smily face & shoot water all over the kids. The kids would go crazy when it shot out & we loved cooling off in the water.

Everywhere we looked there was pretty sculptures or art. Here is a pretty monument.

Tommy was crawling around & happened to twist around & look at me & it looked like he posed for a picture!

This was in grant park on the way to the bean, but I love seeing the same picture & skyline during the day...

and then at night! This park was totally romantic. I bet a lot of people get engaged here.

I felt like I was in a movie when we were out in this beautiful park and Chicago's symphony was playing such relaxing nice music.

They have a giant pavillion with chairs & then lawn with speakers over top the whole park. It is crazy how many people can come enjoy free music... SOO fun!

Okay.... just 2 more parts to go so please check back again in a couple of days to share in the fun!!! :)

Chicago Part 5: Toddler Paradise!

It's funny how much fun cheesy rides are when you have a 1 year old that LOVES them! We did 4 days dedicated to places Tommy would love.... not exactly what we normally would have picked, but I guess this is our life for the next 20 years: doing what makes our kids happy! :) Tommy went on his first ride. Just like the carousel he had a dead serious face & then didn't want to get off when it was over!

He really wanted to climb where the big kids went, but couldn't by himself so here I am trying to squeeze in there!

Tommy is in love with slides so we thought he'd think these were pretty great...

...but he much preferred these tiny ones like we have in our own backyard!

Him liking baby slides & scooting across bridges because he's too afraid to walk is what makes me smile at night. I often feel like he is progressing so fast & growing up, but when he does these babylike things I love it!

This is what made Vic & I decide to stop trying to spoil Tommy with kiddy outings & just go do the things that we had fun doing!!! (He's riding his first slow spinning tea cup ride)... still not sure why he didn't like it!

I am in love with the splash pads they have over there. They are everywhere & free. Tommy loved them & it was nice to not have to keep a constant eye on him like when we go swimming.

I hated to waist a day on vacation going miniature golfing, but the only mini golfing we have here is SUPER ghetto so it was fun to go to a nice place.

Tommy just hacks at his balls. It is pretty cute :)

Here is Tommy on his first big water slide...

...if you zoom in on the picture you'll see that he wasn't too happy about it!!!

We still had lots of fun doing the "toddler" stuff though!

Read on to my last & final Part 6 :)