Monday, July 30, 2007

The Donald

"Mom! Mom! I just saw Donald Trump! He was in the truck with a white shirt on!"

I'm sure you can imagine the surprise I felt hearing those words from Alli who is only three and a half.

No, we do not let Alli watch Access Hollywood or Entertainment Tonight. So how does she know about The Donald? Maybe she has an incredible memory. Long ago we used to watch The Apprentice. She would have been pretty small. We don't watch a ton of TV, but I guess it doesn't take much to be exposed to a lot of stuff. Trump does commercials for real estate classes or something.

Andy works across the street from the site of the new Trump Tower in Chicago. Whenever I take the girls downtown to pick Andy up , we watch the construction and note the rapid progress on the building.

Alli has had many questions about the building and its namesake, but other than our conversations, I didn't think the Trumpster has had any impact on her world.

On Friday we picked Andy up after work, and as we pulled up to his building, Alli exclaimed, "Mom! Mom! I just saw Donald Trump! He was in the truck with a white shirt on!" She was so excited, if she wouldn't have been strapped in, she would have fallen off of her seat.

It is a little scary to me that the idea of celebrity seems to have found its way to my daughter. She doesn't need the influence of Hollywood in her life right now. I would much rather have her recognize letters and numbers rather than celebrities.

Alli is a smart girl. She has an incredible mind eager to learn about everything. The responsibility of filling that mind with the best is on our shoulders. What a reminder!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Look what I can do!

Ruby has a new trick. She climbs up onto a chair and then onto the table faster than you can say, "Sweet strawberries!"
The top of the kitchen table is her new hangout. She has also mastered climbing up onto the computer desk. I found her this morning standing on the keyboard. Very fun.
We went to Stanley's this morning for some produce, and I got a flat of strawberries ($ .49 per pound for organic strawberries). I set them on the table and went to the car to get another load of groceries. When I returned (no more than one minute later) Ruby was on the table helping herself to some berries.
You can see from the scrape on her nose, she isn't 100% safe about climbing. The scrape was from trying to climb up the planter on our patio on Saturday. Sunday she fell off of a chair before church and bit her tongue. After church she fell off of another chair and bit her lip.
Ruby is very adventurous. She has scrapes and bruises all over to prove it. Ruby is also pretty tough, because the bumps and falls don't seem to slow her down at all. I am glad she is so independent and brave, but it is a lot of work keeping up with her.

Marissa and Carly came to town

My sister Marissa and her friend Carly came to Chicago to visit, play, babysit, eat, and enjoy the last few weeks before they go to college. Alli was so excited to have the girls come. A few days before they came, Alli said, "They are going to be my best friends because we will live together."

Carly told Alli that protein in chicken helps hair grow long and shiny (she was trying to get Alli to eat her dinner). Alli pointed out that Grandma Ohio must eat a lot of chicken because her hair is really long.

We went to the Navy Pier to see the sites, buy some souvenirs, and ride the Ferris wheel.
Our neighbor Elijah came with us. He and Alli sang "Do Ra Mi Fa So La Ti Do" and "Moonshadow" and "Leaving on a Jet Plane" over and over again on the bus to Navy Pier. Everyone on the bus had a good chuckle.
Other fun things we did with Marissa and Carly:
We went to Heaven on Seven for lunch and a slice of Mississippi Mud Pie (the BEST chocolate dessert I have ever had).
We went to the Hancock Observatory at night to watch the sun set and the lights come on downtown. The city was dazzling as always.
We had a picnic at a local park. We ordered pizza and played frisbee, paddleball, and catch. One dog almost ate our leftovers. Another dog almost peed on our stroller. Not cool. (The dog's owners came running when he lifted his leg.)
We strolled up and down Michigan Avenue. Good people watching.
We went to Millennium Park to take pictures by the Cloud Gate sculpture (the shiny bean).
We went to the Lincoln Park Zoo.
Andy and I got out a few times while the girls were here. It was wonderful having babysitters! Ruby and Alli really bonded with Marissa and Carly, and we are missing them.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Mini Van Art

Last week Alli was working on an art project with me. She cut and glued and colored, and when she was done she held it up and announced,

"It's a Kia Sedona."

No, we do not have a Kia Sedona. My props to Kia for their catchy commercials. Way to go.

Our Trip to Nauvoo

Last week, Andy and I went to Nauvoo, Illinois with a group of youth from our church. My parents and Ben, Marissa, and her friend Carly came to watch Allison and Ruby. This was the first time we have left Ruby overnight. We all survived.

The trip was mostly fun. We had four adult leaders and nine youth (ages 12-16). We went to Nauvoo to see the historical sites of our church. We attended the beautiful Nauvoo Temple and watched a pagaent retelling the story of the Mormons who founded the city of Nauvoo. We spent some time at the park and in the pool having lots of fun.

Andy really enjoyed being with the youth. He must have been trying to prove how young and cool he is, because he challenged one young man to a race. The race was very close, but Andy tripped and rolled in the grass. After losing the foot race by such a slim margin, Andy had to challenge the boys in many other competitions. They threw footballs and frisbees. Andy won the sack race. He can walk on stilts. They all pulled together for the tug o' war. Andy is planning a race rematch where he plans on winning the sprint.

I was in charge of meals for our trip. I planned well with the help of my mother (who has much experience feeding crowds), but we found out when we got there that our hotel does not provide breakfast, as we had planned. I felt stressed out temporarily. Miraculously, we were able to provide two additional breakfasts using what we had plus $5 worth of eggs and orange juice.
We missed Alli and Ruby, but they had a great time with Grandma and Grandpa and Ben, Marissa, and Carly. My Dad did a few repairs around our house while we were away. Our dryer is so fast and quiet now! I love it! The outlets in our kitchen all match now and they look great. Thanks Dad.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Piggy Tails and a Goose Egg

On Sunday I had Ruby with me during the women's meeting. She does not like to sit still (especially during the third hour of church) and she had escaped my arms to run up the aisle to the front of the classroom.

I was trying to decide which would be a bigger distraction: me chasing after her, or Ruby just walking around. Well, as I was hesitating, she tripped on the leg of a chair and hit her forehead on another chair. There was a collective gasp from all the women in the room.

Then the silent wait for a scream.

But the scream didn't come. Ruby got up and whined a little, but she didn't cry. She wanted to keep going. I could see immediately that she had a purple bump right in the middle of her forehead.

Ruby had her first pig tails hair style on Sunday. It was so darling that I did her hair in pig tails again today. Each little wispy "tail" is only two inches long, and they stick out like tiny fireworks exploding from her head. This style fits her personality: firey, spunky, no-nonsense, adventurous... too stinkin' cute.

The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades

It is tough to focus on a bouncing girl. Alli found my sunglasses and tried them on. She had so much fun running around on our patio with the glasses slipping down her little nose.

Independence Day... the natural way

We celebrated Independence Day by taking the girls to the Notebart Nature Museum. We had the museum to ourselves; there were only a few other families there.

Ruby and Alli love the butterfly room on the roof of the museum. The room is a huge greenhouse filled with lush gardens and thousands of dazzling butterflies. It is fun to walk through and be surrounded by dozens of different beautiful butterfly species, plus a few birds.

Andy enjoyed taking pictures... lots of pictures. Alli spent some time identifying different varieties of butterfly. Ruby toddled around pointing at the colorful fluttering butterflies.

We had a little scare, Andy almost stepped on a butterfly. Alli screamed, stopping him mid-step. Alli saved the little creature. She is not so compassionate with ants.

After watching the butterflies flutter around, we went to the play area in the museum. Alli dressed up like a beaver. Ruby climbed the stairs to the slide. They climbed up to the tree house, pretended to sail a boat, played with animal puppets, crawled through the tunnel... busy, busy girls.

This is a goofy picture of me, I was talking to Alli and playing with a puppet. Ruby was intrigued with the puppet.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Pedometer Update

Grandma Utah sent Alli a pedometer. She got the package, ripped it open, and put it on right away.
She is in constant motion, so her step count grew quickly. Unfortunately, the only button is the reset button, and she pushes it all the time. She has made it to 100 probably 100 times today.
Thanks Grandma!

A Perfect Day for a Wedding

Saturday afternoon, Andy and I went to the wedding of our friends Mike and Amanda. It was a perfect day for a wedding. The weather was glorious.
The wedding was in a chapel on the campus of the University of Chicago, where they met each other in law school. The wedding ceremony was lovely. The music was heavenly. The flowers were beautiful. Amanda looked gorgeous. Mike looked a little bit nervous, but very happy.
Later Saturday evening, we went to Mike and Amanda's reception at the Swissotel in downtown Chicago. Many of Andy's colleagues were there. It was fun to visit with them. The dinner was great. And then there was dancing. Many of our Jenner and Block friends hit the dance floor. Dan Murray was working the dance floor; he can really move!
Congratulations Mike and Amanda! Have a fun honeymoon in Make-Out City! I hear it is fabulous this time of year. :)

Ruby's Birthday Party

Saturday morning we had a party to celebrate the birthdays of Sam and Ruby.
We combined our efforts, food and friends to have a wonderful little party. We rented a bounce castle. All of the kids bounced around, stopping only for cake. They wore themselves out. Alli was laying on our couch by 6pm (that NEVER happens).

Ruby didn't seem to care too much about the party. She did like playing in the Cozy Coupe car. And she did enjoy the cake.

I made the cake and decorated it. The night before we were at the Williams-Sonoma store and I was tempted to get the cake decorating kit. I didn't get it. I decorated the cake with a zip-lock bag cut in the corner. It worked. (I will get the fancy kit next time.)