Wednesday, December 29, 2010

December 25, 26, 27, 28, & 29, 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010: We weren’t in a real rush to get up today. Once we finally did, we ate a little breakfast in the room and then headed out to the beach to take some pictures. The ocean was water was COLD but we still got our feet wet and had fun! We spent maybe 45 minutes out there just walking around, etc. and taking pictures. We then walked down the beach a little ways and spent some time and money in an arcade. We had 1:00 reservations to eat in the Hilton Hotel South Tower Grand Ballroom. The meal was fantastic! We were slightly underdressed compared to everyone else but oh well! It was really yummy – buffet with just about everything – cheeses, carving station, salad, breakfast omelet station, all kinds of breads, and a huge display of desserts. We left there very full! Once we got back to the room, everyone but Mom got dressed in swimming attire and headed to the beach and pool. Although the temp reached 76 today, the water was still too cold to swim (at least that’s what I thought despite the fact that B1 and B2 got in!). We all got in the hot tub, which felt wonderful! We came back to the room and then the guys (Dad, Bruce, and Darren) went for a ride down the strip while we girls watched a movie, got cleaned up, played some euchre, and played on the computer. B2 and I fed some pigeons on our balcony and at one point there were about 30 birds out there! It was fun! We went to a movie (“Little Fockers”) at 7:35 about a block away from our condo. It was OK but not great. Then we came back here and ended up ordering pizza at about 10:30! It is now time for bed.

Sunday, December 26, 2010: Today we got up and moving by a little after 9:00am. We headed to a place called Mt. Dora where my dad had heard of a huge flea market. It is COLD today! I mean like in the 30's.....not much different than back at home! I am thankful it was so warm yesterday for Christmas. Anyway, we got to the flea market and found it to not be quite as big as expected, but big enough anyway. We all found a few little things we "needed" there. We also ate lunch at the snack bar there, which was actually pretty good. When we got back to our condo, we decided to go look in a few souvenir stores around the area. I got a purple sweatshirt and each of the girls got a T-shirt. Dinner was at another restaurant right near our hotel; this one is called the Wing House and is very similar to Hooter’s, except the girls are even more scantily clad! The food was great though so whatever! We came back to the room and I went to bed just after 10:00 in preparation for the next 2 days!

Monday, December 27, 2010: We were up and out the door this morning by 5:30am on our way to Orlando and Walt Disney World. We parked at the Transportation and Ticket center and rode the monorail to the Magic Kingdom. The weather was cold! We were all dressed in several layers with our winter coats, hats, scarves, and gloves! We were inside the park by 8:00am and the crowd was thin at that time, which really worked in our favor. We rode Space Mountain right away, then went to the Carousel of Progress, then Tomorrowland Transit Authority, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, and finally Stitch’s Great Escape all in Tomorrowland. We then headed around to Fantasyland and rode Snow White’s Scary Adventures while getting fastpasses for Peter Pan’s Flight and Mickey’s Philharmagic (both which we rode after lunch). We went to Small World and then ate lunch at Pinocchio’s Village Haus. After leaving Fantasyland, we went around to Liberty Square and did Haunted Mansion and the Hall of Presidents (which always tears me up!). Next up was Frontierland and the Country Bear Jamboree. We got fastpasses for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to ride later. Then we went to Adventureland and rode Pirates of the Caribbean and saw the Tiki Bird show. We then headed back to Main Street USA and watched the afternoon Christmas parade. It was now 5:00 and we split from Mom, Dad, and Darren. We decided to go back to Tomorrowland to use some Space Mountain fastpasses that we had gotten in the morning but the ride was down at that time. So we walked to Mickey’s Toontown Fair and got on the train, which we rode around to Frontierland. We then used our Big Thunder Mountain fastpasses. Finally, we headed back to Main Street USA to do some shopping! We met Mom, Dad, and Darren to go to dinner at Tony’s Town Square. Our reservation was for 7:35 but we did not get seated until almost 8:15! This played into our favor later though as we all got free desserts and also something which would help us the following day. The girls and I went to the confectionary and bought some sweet treats (for later) while we were waiting to get seated. We watched the parade (Main Street Electrical Parade) from the restaurant because we had a table right next to a window. We left the park after dinner with very tired feet. The park definitely got more crowded by later in the day! We had our group picture taken several times during the day and the castle looks absolutely beautiful at Christmastime…..almost like it is covered with icicles! Mom, Dad, and Darren then headed back to Daytona Beach while Bruce, the girls, and I went to our motel in Celebration, FL. It was a Ramada Inn and was absolutely terrible! We were only charged $39.95 (thank God!) but they didn’t even have enough rooms clean when we checked in at almost 10:30pm! Wow! Once we go into our room, we pretty much fell into bed and went to sleep!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010: The 4 of us got up this morning at 7:30 and got ready for day #2 at Disney World. We grabbed some breakfast at a Chic-Fil-A. We decided to park at Downtown Disney and rode the bus to Animal Kingdom. We first went to guest relations where we had a set of fastpasses waiting for us (also a reward for the bad service at last night’s dinner). We used these to ride Expedition Everest. The line was relatively short so the girls wanted to ride it again. They went in the single rider line but ended up sitting right in front of / behind each other! I walked back a little ways and grabbed an egg roll for a snack while Bruce waited for them. Once we were all back together, we headed to Camp Minnie Mickey and saw the Festival of the Lion King show. It was really good! We ate lunch at Flame Tree BBQ and then left the park. We took the bus over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios where we again picked up some fastpasses. This time, however, we were given 8 cards which were good for up to 5 people each to use as fastpasses! Cha-ching! This really spoiled us and now when we come back in July and actually have to wait in lines, we won’t be happy! Haha! Anyway, we headed down Sunset Blvd and rode the Tower of Terror and Rockin Roller Coaster first. B2 did not ride Tower and neither of the girls rode RNR. We then went to the Great Movie Ride and after that to Lights Motors Action! We then tried to check-in for our 5:40 dinner reservation (but it was only 5:10) and they told us to come back at our actual time. So we decided to go across the park and ride Tower and RNR again. B2 got up enough courage to ride RNR with us for the first time. She loved it! B1 has still not rode it (maybe in July!). Once we finally go back to the restaurant (Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano), it was 6:10 so we got seated right away! The food was much better than last night’s and the service was 10 times better! After dinner, we walked through the Streets of America and saw the Osborne Spectacle of Lights, which was really cool! We then headed to Toy Story Midway Mania and rode it twice. We all love that ride! By now, it was about 9:30 and we were getting tired and knew we had a long drive ahead of us so we left the park. We took a bus and eventually got back to Downtown Disney. We shopped just a little while in the World of Disney store but actually didn’t buy anything. We left DTD, stopped at a gas station for a soda, and then headed back to Daytona Beach. We got here at about 12:15am and went to bed right away.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010: Today we got up at 8:30, got showered and ready, and headed to Kennedy Space Center. Mom and Dad didn’t come with us; instead they drove to Melbourne, FL and visited Mom’s cousin Sharon and her husband. The 5 of us took the tour at the space center, which was interesting. I am not sure the girls were super impressed with it but I am glad we went there. Hopefully one day when they see something from KSC on TV, they will remember seeing some part of it in person. We got back to the condo around 5:15pm and met back up with Mom and Dad. We had dinner reservations at the Daytona Kennel Club at 6:45. We ate in a dining room right next to windows where we could watch the dog races. Most of us had prime rib for dinner and it was really good. We all put some $$$ in a big pot and took turns picking dogs to bet on for each race. When the night ended, we were down in $$$ but not too much. We had fun. B1 and B2 went outside for just about every race and then came back in to our table to help us pick the dogs. The most we won on one race was $27. We left there at about 10:15pm, came back to the condo and went to bed pretty quickly.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

December 24, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010: We got up today at 2:45am in order to be ready to leave the house by 3:45. Mom and Dad picked us up and then we went to pick up Darren. We were on the road to Lambert Airport by 4:00. Following the suggestion of Debbie, we parked at Skypark, right across from the airport. They took our luggage and shuttled us to the airport. While in the shuttle, I discovered that I did not bring the cash along that I had planned to bring! Thank goodness for ATM machines! Gees! So we went through the whole check-in process and of all the people in our group, my mom had to be “patted down.” The pin in her arm from when she broke it a few years back made the detectors go off. LOL! Why does it always seem like your gate is the one at the very end of the concourse? Once we made it to the gate, the airline (Airtran) was asking people to check their carry-on luggage because the flight was full and they didn’t think there would be enough room in the overhead bins. Since it was $20 for each bag we checked originally, we took advantage of this so we wouldn’t have to lug our luggage through the Atlanta airport (for our 1 hour layover). The flights were both pretty uneventful except Bailey’s ears hurting as we landed in Atlanta. We landed in Orlando just before 12:00 local time, got our luggage, and got our rental cars. We were on the road heading towards Daytona by 2:00. We found our condo unit easily and the check-in process was smooth as well. Our room is really nice… has a fully equipped kitchen, 3 beds in 2 bedrooms, 2 large bathrooms (1 with Jacuzzi tub), 3 TVs, and a pull-out couch in the living room. We got acquainted with the building and our room, checked out the building and the beach a little, and then went grocery shopping for snacks and breakfast items. We brought all the things back to the room and then walked down a block to a Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Co. It was good but not as good as I remember it being the last time (at Universal Studios Orlando in 2008). Bruce and I went to Walgreen’s to get a few things and then came back to the room. All of us but Darren played some cards before we went to bed. Brittany and Bailey watched a movie for awhile while lying on the pull-out couch.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Few Recent Pictures

Here is B2 before her Christmas program at school last week. We are lucky that our school still puts one of these programs on because most in our area don't do it anymore. This was the last one for her since she will be in middle school next year.

Our entire family on Thanksgiving. Edna is on the couch in the middle and her 2 sons and daughter are standing behind the couch with their spouses (light blue shirt, red striped shirt, black shirt). Then there are the children-in-laws, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren! We make a pretty good-looking group if I do say so myself!

B1 during a recent game.....

B2 during a recent game.....

We have our first snow day tomorrow! I am not really sure it is necessary but I'll take it either way!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Forever Moment

B1 gave Bruce and me one of the best moments of our lives this week. I'm sure there are many more to come, but this one will remain close in our hearts forever.

Thursday night, she had a basketball game and her team played against Carlyle, who supposedly had not lost since they were in 6th grade (and are now in 8th grade). B1's coach expected it to be a blow-out and for her to be able to get all of her players a decent amount of playing time. But at the end of the first quarter, the score was tied 16-16. It was close at halftime as well and as the 2nd half progressed, it became apparant that we might actually be able to beat them. Now, B1 does not start. If you remember, she didn't even make the team in 7th grade, so we were just thrilled when she made it this year. She got a decent amount of playing time in the first and second games of the season and (according to Bruce, who would DEFINITELY say so if he felt she played poorly) played well. But since then (about 4 games) she hadn't seen much court time at all (maybe 5 minutes total). Anyway, the game was very physical and eventually 3 of our players fouled out. When the 3rd player fouled out, the coach went to B1 and pretty much pulled her by the shirt to go into the game (why do basketball coaches do that? :-) There was exactly one minute left in the game and B1 had not been in at all yet. The score was tied 45-45. So, she and the other girls played well, not allowing Carlyle to score. The trouble was that we hadn't gotten much of a chance to score either and the clock was ticking away. But then we got a rebound on their end and B1 was almost all the way down the court, under our basket. One of her friends passed her the ball from just a little closer than half court and at this point, B1 was standing on the block. She got the ball, turned and shot. It was basically a layup type of shot, only she wasn't running into it. The ball bounced one time somewhere up on the rim area (just a little bounce) and then.....fell through. I watched this happen and then immediately looked at the clock. 1.6 seconds left! Oh My GOD! I know my mouth fell open, Bruce stood up and walked down the bleachers to watch the rest of the game standing up, my dad grabbed the railing in front of him and pumped his fist, my mom just looked at me with an expression I can't even describe, and another mom in front of me turned around and went to give me a high 5. I didn't give a high 5; instead, I threw my arms around her and began crying a little. Then I hugged my mom and by this time, I was shaking and crying. I couldn't believe it. The gym went nuts, and all for my little girl and her teammates! It was surreal! The students were screaming for her and other parents we have known for a long time were looking to us with huge smiles. It was amazing. The other coach called a time-out and then it was their turn to inbound the ball under our basket. B1 was the player all the way at the other end of the gym (now under their basket) in order to try to stop any long pass or shot. Bruce was leaning over the railing screaming at her "nobody gets behind you!!!!!" They did get a shot off from farther out than half court, but it didn't come anywhere close to going in. Their girls cried and ours jumped for joy. Our coach had been going crazy all game and was doing so even more now! It was so cool!

We then went down to the gym floor and waited for the players to come out. Witnessing everyone hugging my daughter and saying such nice things to her made me smile and made my heart swell. She too was smiling from ear to ear. One man said to me "and it couldn't have happened to a nicer person." That really made me feel proud, knowing that he knows B1 and thinks that about her. The comments she received were genuine and heartfelt. That one minute on the clock will last forever with me in my mind and in my heart!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Remembering How To Slow Down A Bit!

It's 2:34pm and I am still in my pajamas! How wonderful this feels! This is the first Saturday that I have had to "myself" in a long time! I tried to sleep late but my body wasn't going for that so I got up at 8:00 (which yes, is about an hour earlier than I would like on a Saturday. Oh well!). I was happy with what the scale said this morning so my day started good. I have done a little laundry, cleaned my kitchen (including the floor, which was nasty!), and just done some little odds & ends around here which have been neglected too much lately. Ahhhh..... it feels so good to actually have time to just move slowly!

Last night, Bruce and I went to a concert at Lumiere Place. We saw Tracy Lawrence, who is one of my older country favorites, and Richie McDonald, the former lead singer of Lonestar. They sang many good songs which we knew and a few new ones. They both took the stage together and just fed off of each other, taking turns singing. We wish it would have lasted a bit longer though (only 1 hr and 15 mins). I love the song "Amazed" by Lonestar and loved sitting next to Bruce as we listened to it. I am lucky to have such a great husband! I also discovered that Lumiere now has "Deal or No Deal" penny slot machines, which are my favorite! Apparantly, they are many people's favorite too as it took a while to get on one to play. We didn't win, but we had a great time.

Tonight we are doing a trivia night with friends and tomorrow is kind of busy again (church, softball games, and pitching lessons). This week at school will be a breeze for the girls and for me (I hope at least). They only have to go one day (Monday) and I then have parent/teacher conferences on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday is Veteran's Day so we are all off together and Friday is "fall break." I am scrapbooking next weekend with a few good friends and very much looking forward to that!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy November!

Once again, it's been 2 weeks since I updated my blog. Using the words of a friend, "with my kids' activities, school, and keeping up at home, something has to give." Basketball season is now underway for both girls. We have been pleased with their performances thus far. I think that this past October has been one of the busiest of my life. Little did I know that we would literally have softball games every single weekend! That coupled with the beginning of basketball plus everything else made it a really crazy month!

Friday night, Bruce and I are going on a little date to see Tracy Lawrence in concert. Tracy Lawrence used to be one of my favorites and I still like many of his songs. Before the concert (which by the way, happens to be at Lumiere Place!), we are going to go to dinner with his current student teacher and our daughters. Bruce wants us to meet her.

I don't really have anything new for you. I'm sure you all get tired of hearing how busy we are and about the girls' sports. My next post, however, will probably be pictures of the girls playing basketball!

Until then, take care!

Monday, October 18, 2010

B1 got her braces taken off last week. She had the braces 2 days short of exactly 2 years! Here is a picture taken of her the night before her appointment. I posted about this in October, 2008, when she got the braces put on as well.

And here are a couple of pictures I took of her just a little while ago. she has the clear retainers now, which she is wearing in these pictures.

Great smile!

She had an 8-day streak which was very good for her.....her softball team got 2nd in state on 10/7/10. She got her braces taken off on 10/12/10. And on 10/14/10, she found out that she made the middle school basketball team! Whoo-hoo!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

2nd in Illinois! (Lots of pictures!)

We had a very exciting week here! B1's middle school softball team took 2nd in the state on Thursday! They began playoffs 2 weeks ago and won their regional pretty handily. Then last weekend, we played in the state quarter-finals and beat Metropolis, advancing to the semi-finals on Tuesday. We beat West Frankfort that day. Thursday was the state finals and we played (and lost to) Carterville. It was a really fun ride! The baseball team from our same middle school also went to state and WON the title! Yay for them! Here are some pics of the pep ralley and send-off as well as the medal/trophy ceremony.

Signs made by TMS students.....the first one is specifically for B1!

They marched outside, in between all the students, band and cheerleaders, behind a police car.

Here comes the softball team!

B1 with one of her best friends.....

And getting on the bus.....

What a beautiful smile!

The bus heading out for state! There's something about seeing a Triad bus that makes me happy and proud!

A fire truck from each of the 3 towns that feed into our middle school helped escort the kids towards the interstate, along with 2 police cars. This is the fire truck from OUR town.

Custodians and maintenance workers were even on the roof of the school, holding signs and wishing the kids luck!

The marquee at the school.....

You have to look closely here. This is a picture of the scoreboard during the game when B1 was batting. I thought it was neat how it said "at bat 50", which is her number. The score doesn't look so good though! LOL!

Receiving her state medal.

The team receiving their trophy.

The team with their trophy.

B1 with the team trophy.

B1 and 2 friends with the trophy.

The boys baseball team AND the girls softball team together with their trophies.

B1 and my mom with the trophy.

We had a huge celebration later that evening at Pizza Man! The bus came back and all of the kids rode on it (instead of riding home with their parents like they usually do). The bus was also escorted home by 2 police cars, one in front and one in back. They of course got to ignore all red lights, stop signs, etc., which they thought was awesome! Most all of the parents, and many grandparents, siblings, etc., were also at Pizza Man and boy was that place rocking! However, if you walked into the back room where most of the kids were sitting, the smell was not so pleasant! I guess that's when happens when you play in a state final game!

Here is B1 with some friends.....

Here she is with a boy in her class who she has literally been friends with since birth. We all go to the same church and they are currently in confirmation class together. They have been in school together since kindergarten.

And here are the 2 trophies we brought home from state!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Keeping Everything Straight

B1's school softball team won the quarter-finals in the state playoffs yesterday! They are at least the 4th best team in the state in their class! No Triad Middle School softball team has ever gone this far, so she is a part of history and I am very proud of her for that.

I am typing this next part partially for my own sanity and to keep things organized. Here is our week:

Today: church, B1 has confirmation right now, B2 has a select softball game at our local park in 20 minutes, B1 then has 2 select softball games in Collinsville at 2:30 and 4:00. One of us will have to leave there early with B2 to get to pitching lessons at 4:30. B1 will miss pitching lessons today.

Monday: B1 has school softball practice until 4:30, B2 has basketball practice at 6:00.

Tuesday: B1 has a school softball game (state semi-final) at 3:00. I will have to leave work early, pick up B2, and head to Centralia (about an hour's drive) for the game. Then both girls have pitching lessons in Caseyville at 7:00pm so we will need to rush back from Centralia to get there. Of course, Centralia and Caseyville are in opposite directions from our house.

Wednesday: B1 will have school softball practice after school until 4:30, B2 has gymnastics at 4:30 and basketball practice at 6:00. B1 has select softball practice at 7:00.

Thursday: B1 will play a school softball game (either at 2:00 if they lose on Tuesday or 3:30 if they win on Tuesday). I think that's it for that day.

Friday: football (duh!)

Also, B1 is once again trying out for middle school basketball. Tryouts are now being pushed back (they were supposed to start on Monday) because of the softball team playing at state. I am guessing maybe tryouts will begin on Friday??? Softball will definitely be over by then.

Next Saturday, B1 has select softball practice from 12-2. We also have Blues tickets for opening night. Last night, the Blues had a practice game and Bruce and the girls tried to go there afterwards to get autographs. Well, fans are not allowed this year to stand in the spot where they stood last year to get autographs after the game when the players drive out. Bummer for my family! The girls LOVED doing that! Not sure what we are gonna do now.

I am currently listening to the "Footloose" soundtrack, which I got in the mail yesterday, purchased on ebay. LOVE IT! I am so glad I was in junior high, high school, and college from 1980 - 1990! GREAT DECADE!!!!

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Short post just to bring attention to the fact the the Christmas trip countdown is way under 100 now and the summer, 2011 trip is now under 300 days away!!!!!!!!! Disney World, here we come!

B1's 8th grade softball team won the regional yesterday (defeating Highland 15-0 in 4 innings!) and is now on to STATE! The next game isn't until next Saturday though. I am not sure yet who we will play.

Our football team blew a 31-10 lead to Highland last night and lost 37-31. There isn't much that jabs at the heart more than a loss like that to archrival Highland. UGH!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Guess Where I'm Going!!!!!!!!!!

Yep! My parents decided that for Christmas this year, they are going to take our family, my brother, and themselves to Florida! We will spend most of the week at Daytona but we will also get to spend 2 days at my favorite place on this earth.....Walt Disney World!

The Tower of Terror is my favorite ride......Anywhere! Ever!

Toy Story Midway Mania is pretty cool too!

We will get to see the Osborne Spectacle of Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios!

The girls are really looking forward to riding this at Animal Kingdom! Expedition Everest!

And I will get to check 2 more restaurants off of my Disney "list".....
Mama Melrose's Ristorante at the Studios

and Tony's Town Square at the Magic Kingdom!

And then.....I get to go back in July, 2011! Disney World twice in 7 months time with my awesome family! WOW! LIFE IS GOOD!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I Caught A Big One!

We went fishing last Monday, Labor Day. It was a beautiful day weather-wise and we have a little pond about 6 blocks from our house right in town! B2 caught 18 blue gill, which was the record for the day! B1 caught about 7 fish and Bruce caught 5. I only caught 1 but it was the BIGGEST one of the day! I caught a catfish which was about 12 inches long from head to tail. It was kind of exciting!

There are 4 ducks who live at this pond too. You can see one of them in the picture behind me!

Today we are attending a wedding. The groom is my 3rd cousin and there will be lots of family members there who we only see maybe once a year. I am looking forward to spending the evening with them.

Our lives are about to get even busier. Pitching lessons for both girls start back up in October and we go twice each week. B2's basketball practices begin Monday night and will also be twice each week. Since Bruce is her coach, that involves him too. B1's new softball team is beginning its practices this week on Thursday and for the remainder of September, she will practice 3 days/week. She also has 2 middle school softball games this week and we have Cardinal tickets for Thursday night. Gymnastics is still on Wednesday for B2 but I am going to try to get that changed to Tuesdays to couple with Tuesday pitching lessons. And, hopefully within a month, we will know if B1 made the middle school basketball team this year and so we will hopefully have to add those practices and games to the schedule too. Dang these kids keep us busy! How do people with more than 2 do it? I guess their kids are just not in as much stuff as ours, huh?

Have a great weekend!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Softball Pictures with B1

Well, the school year has gotten off to a great start. We have all adjusted nicely to the new routine and I am happy to say that the girls and I have made it out the door each day by 7:05am, which is a big improvement over last year! Bruce and I have been getting up about 3 mornings a week and walking for about 45 minutes together, which is very nice. It gives us some time to talk when we aren't falling asleep or being interrupted by the girls.

I am very much looking forward to this long weekend. We don't have any major plans except that we went to football games tonight (Bruce's school won and mine lost), maybe a movie tomorrow night (I am craving movie theater popcorn again!), possibly close our pool, and possibly get together with some friends.

Here are some pictures I took this week at a couple of B1's softball games. Their team is off to a good start. I think they have lost 4 games and won about 10. She has gotten to play quite a bit, which of course makes us happy!

Getting ready to bunt

Playing 3rd base

Batting.....she got a double at this at-bat

One 2nd base after her double

And then on 3rd base a little later


Happy Labor Day!

Sunday, August 22, 2010


It's the time of the year for us when we spend a lot of money! Seriously, why does everything have to be paid for NOW? Let's see.....there's B2's gymnastics beginning back up, both B1 and B2 take some extra softball lessons/classes, and Bruce's car just needed a new battery, windshield, and alternator (about $800 total). Not to mention that if we want to go in on Cardinals post-season tickets (an option available to us since we share season tickets with a group), we can pay for those now too and Blues tickets are going on sale here soon. Oh, and the insurance on our vehicles is due by the beginning of September. Yes, I do ralize that all of these but the car repairs and insurance should be considered "luxuries" and are totally not necessary. We declined the Cardinal tickets and instead of getting any kind of a major Blues package, are going to purchase a small pack of games, which are mostly on weeknights. They are the cheapeast seats out there. Ugh. Money. We are NEVER moving! I will suck it up and live in this house for the rest of my life. It's just fine for us and so what if we are a little crowded?.....I don't want to be house-poor and not be able to do this other stuff! Plus, our girls won't live here forever and we will have a little more space once they move out someday. If we get too old and can't make it up and down the stairs for laundry purposes, we can have some plumbing work done and somehow move it upstairs! Just the thought of packing up all our stuff, moving, and unpacking it all again makes my stomach hurt much work!

The beginning of the school year has gone well. B1's softball team is off to a good start and my classes seem good so far. I swear, this year is going to really be a breeze as compared to last year. I have done NO school work this weekend at all! It's awesome!

We went to the Illinois State Fair yesterday. We love the fair. We all have our favorite parts about it. For me, it's getting an order of cheese curds to share with B1, the butter cow, and seeing the decorated cakes that won ribbons. For Bruce, it's walking around to all of the tents and getting freebies. For B2, it's the rides and milking a cow, and for B1 I think it's the cheese curds and Ethnic Village. We saw Selena Gomez in concert last night too in the Grandstand. I think this was the first concert we attended specifically for B2. Mitchel Musso opened for her. All in all, it was a good show. The line at the souvenir stand was crazy long all night. B2 got a T-shirt which she plans to wear to school tomorrow.

That's about it for now. I'll probably post some pics of B1 playing ball for TMS here soon. Have a great week!

Thursday, August 12, 2010


When Bruce and I were driving home from our concert weekend in Louisville last month, I began to realize that I have been lucky enough to have seen many concerts in my life. Then I began to make a list of artists I've seen. I am sure I am missing some, but here are the ones I know I have seen. The star* means I've seen that artist at least twice.

1. Alan Jackson *
2. Bon Jovi
3. Brad Paisley
4. Carrie Underwood
5. Charley Pride
6. Cheetah Girls
7. Chicago
8. Darius Rucker
9. Dierks Bentley (several times)
10. Faith Hill
11. George Strait
12. Glorianna
13. Gretchen Wilson
14. Jason Aldean
15. Jonas Brothers
16. Journey
17. Keith Urban
18. Kellie Pickler
19. Kenny Chesney (many times)
20. Kenny Rogers
21. Lady Antebellum
22. LeAnne Rimes
23. Little Big Town
24. Martina McBride *
25. Miley Cyrus
26. Miranda Lambert
27. Montgomery Gentry
28. Phil Vasser
29. Prince *
30. Randy Travis (many times)
31. Rascal Flatts
32. REO Speedwagon *
33. Sammy Kershaw *
34. Sarah Evans
35. Steve Wariner
36. Styx
37. Sugarland *
38. Taylor Swift
39. 38 Special
40. Tim McGraw
41. Trace Adkins
42. Tracy Byrd *
43. Tracy Lawrence *
44. Willie Nelson
45. Zac Brown Band

Monday, August 9, 2010

Finally, Just a Regular Old Post!

Today is a little sad for me. Bruce started school today. I hated hearing his alarm go off this morning. Although I do enjoy my time once in awhile by myself or just with our girls, I like having him around. I like the fact that we are both teachers and get to spend our summers together. I like it that he is here to help get the girls where they need to be, he understands rushed dinners, and we are just simply on the "same page" for the most part. But anyway, he's at school today and I miss him not being here.

B1 and I watched her first "scary movie" on Saturday night. It was the updated version of "When A Stranger Calls" which is rated PG-13. There wasn't any bad language in it and only a couple of dead bodies so it wasn't too bad. I found myself doing the same thing I have always done during scary movies.....watching through my fingers when there's obviously a scary part coming! I don't think she was much phased by it and when it was over, I asked her if she wanted to sleep in the living room (instead of her own room in the basement) and she asked me, "Why?"

Last night, we watched a movie called "Hachi" which was about an Akita that finds a home with a family. The Akita in the movie reminded us so much of our own dog, a Shiba Inu, which is basically a miniature version of an Akita. We saw previews of this movie on Friday night while watching a movie in our local park and knew we had to rent it ASAP. It turned out to be a kind of sad movie which left my heart heavy. Sigh. After B2 went to bed, I heard her in there crying. So I went in and asked what was wrong and she said she didn't know. Finally, I pulled from her that she was sad about the movie. She said she didn't want any of us to die. Oh boy. So I had to talk to her a bit about death and the fact that everyone dies except God and even so, we would all be together again one day, and we would also be with our beloved pets who have gone on before us. A little while later, she was crying again and as it turned out, she had a stomach ache. Finally, she fell asleep.

That's about it for now. I have a Girls Night Out tonight with friends and we are going to a tapas restaurant called Modesto. I've never been to any tapas restaurant before so this will be a new experience!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Pictures From Vacation Day 9

This was the last full day of our vacation, DAY 9. We started in Albert Lea, MN and headed south into Iowa.

We first stopped in Clear Lake, Iowa. Here, on 2/3/59, a plane crashed in a corn field around 1:00am which was carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper as well as the pilot Roger Petersen. My parents were seniors in high school when this tragedy took place and I am interested in this type of pop culture, which is why we stopped here. You can read more about it here.

These glasses depict the beginning of a half-mile long trail back into the corn field to the crash site. Buddy Holly wore glasses similar to these.

Pictures from the crash site

The Field of Dreams from the road

And the sign next to the road

The farmhouse

On the field

Playing ball

"If you build it, they will come."

Carved into the bleachers from the movie. It says "Ray loves Annie."

We played in a little "pick up" game which was taking place. Here's B2 on first.

And B1 on first

On the bleachers

The wave