Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Casting Call

Friday Harris fell off of Mac's bed and broke his arm. It was one of those moments- I was standing right beside him but he flipped off so quickly I hardly had time to react. He has buckle fractures in the radius and ulna, very common breaks in young children. The bone is still pliant so it doesn't break clean through, it just sort of "buckles" from the impact. The fractures are in his wrist area but they had to cast all the way up his arm because babies tend to "pull Houdinis" -you go in to get them out of bed and the cast is laying there beside them, empty.

Here is Harry with Vince, the wonderful Corpsman that put the cast on with such skill and gentleness. Harris did not make a peep the whole time, and sat perfectly still. There was a 3 year old boy in the next bed who howled and wailed the whole time his foot was being casted. Vince and I laughed and he said, " I think I got the long end of the stick" as his colleague was struggling to work with the boy, and as Harry sat quiet and still. Vince put Harris in his top 5 best patients of all time! The x-ray guy said Harris was his best child patient ever. I think Harris was sort of mesmerized and really interested in what all these people were doing to him. He didn't mind the attention either! (In the picture above he was watching a man with an awful looking broken foot in the bed next to him. It gave me the shivers.)

Harris romps around just like usual. The cast is on his thumb-sucking arm, though, which means he has been crying when we lay him down to sleep and also not sleeping as long in the mornings. It is sad to me because his thumb sucking was just precious, and obviously great for self-soothing. I wonder if this will break him of it, which would be a good thing long term, I just wasn't ready for it. He is still my baby!
Oh, and the boy is dangerous to himself and others with that arm. He gave me a high five with it and just about broke my hand! He has tripped and fallen and hit his head on the cast- a big forehead owie. Poor guy. He'll only have it for 3 weeks, if everything heals well.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Huntsville, AL

On our trip home we stopped to visit Jay's dad and step-mom in Huntsville. It was nice to break up the trip there and take a day to swim a little and also visit the US Space and Rocket Center. It was not quite as interesting as I thought it would be- I think Jay and I just had very high expectations.

Grandpa with the kids

Ruthie wanted ME to get my picture with Darth Vader. Harris looks like he'll take him on. There was a Star Wars exhibit so they had people in costumes walking around taking pictures with people.

Jay and Mac ready to launch

Little Harry- now walking/running. This is how we see him now. A blur!

Chi-town: Silliness in the Big Smelly Onion

This is our whole group, after our tall ship cruise. This picture is great. It reminds me of one of those cast of "The Real World: Chicago"pictures or something.

PDA on the Ferris Wheel.

Brandon is always photo bombing my shots, man!

I loved this guy's pants. I sneakily took a picture and we ended up meeting him and helping him buy a transit card. He is dressed UP for the University of Michigan- they had a solar car at the Museum of Science and Industry, where I snapped the picture.

How do you pronounce Chi-Town? Now I know.

It's Ben and Jay, the Torso Men!

On a ship, "head" has a double meaning.

Two Billy Goats' Duffs


Monday, July 12, 2010

Go Cubs!

Ok, I promise, two more posts and I'm done with Chicago. If you want a play by play of our trip, if my gratuitous blogging is not satisfying you, check out my friend Jen's blog. She was the mastermind and the planner behind our trip, which she did just wonderfully. Here we go.

Ahhh, baseball in the summer, what could be more fun, more American? Baseball at Wrigley Field. I love this stadium- it reminds me of the way baseball used to be. Not an advertisement every square inch of the stadium, just an ivy covered outfield wall. And they actually have an organ player that plays the little tunes throughout the game. And the scoreboard? There is a guy who actually changes the numbers on it from inside. There were 35,000 people there. On a Monday night, playing the Pirates (I was told they are the worst team in the league right now). It was perfect weather too. We were actually freezing. I'll say if I had had a sweatshirt it would have been perfect weather. And this was the end of June!

One of my favorite parts was listening to the guys hawking food and beer. They each had their own distinctive cry:

"Cooooold Beer. Old Style."
"Buuuudweiser. Budlight."
"Get your hot dogs. Get your hot dogs."
"Peanuts! Pistachios. Cotton Candy."
"Ice cold beer! Ice cold beer."
"Hot DOGS! Hot DOGS!"

Sad to say, the Cubs lost. But they lost with a lot of hometown support!

Check out the sign at a tavern across from Wrigley Field. No Pirate booty was kicked, however.

Shay, Me, Jen, and Katie

Oh yeah!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Chi-Town: Big City Sights

Chicago is a pretty big city. As in attractive. There are lots of trees and flowers, and of course parks- not to mention the beautiful Lake Michigan and Chicago River. I enjoyed its big city-ness. Are you a city mouse or a country mouse? I think I must be a hybrid. I love the green and lush countryside in it's various forms, but I really love a city too- the hustle and bustle, the culture and edginess- even the graffiti is somehow aesthetically pleasing to my eye. Here are some other things that pleased my eye.

Funky art at one of the L (the elevated train) stations.

Van Gogh at the Art Institute! (sorry so blurry- need a tripod or a better camera)

Cataract surgery?

One of the drawbridges over the River.

4th Pres- right on the Magnificent Mile.


Stunning view from the Hancock Building.

Lake MI

Some other building. We took an architectural boat tour up the river and I learned some really interesting stuff about the city's architecture. Ohyeah- I think this is the Trump building. He would fire me for forgetting this obvious one.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Letter to Chicago

Dear Chi-town,

I hope you don't mind me calling you by your nickname, but I really felt that we became well acquainted on my recent visit. I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed my visit, along with my husband and the three other couple-friends we came with, namely in the way of gustatory enjoyment.

Chicago Dogs- delicious, and I consider myself a bit of a hot-dog connoisseur. I usually opt for a simple beef dog with a hearty bun and very spicy mustard, but I love the texture and flavors of the Chicago Dog, particularly the one we enjoyed from Portillo's: mustard, dill pickle, onions, tomatoes, relish, celery salt and Sport Peppers- not to mention the strange but interesting poppy seed bun. Moving on the the Deep Dish pizza.

It was definitely deep and worth dishing about. The crust was a perfection of crispy dough, not greasy, but very filling. The tomato sauce was rich and flavorful- perfect with the mozzarella and fresh toppings. Mr. Malnati is certainly a pizza aficionado, and correct in letting us know that a fork is the only way to indulge in a true Chicago Deep Dish Pizza.

As for our other food experiences, I did have a wonderful burger at the Pub where we celebrated our friend Brandon's 30th birthday. It was such a memorable dinner- especially with the drunken Irish men at the bar singing at the top of their lungs. Just like the home country.

I think I experienced the wide array of your excellent cuisine at the Taste of Chicago Festival. I have never seen a festival like it. Guacamole and gyros, pad thai and pizza; the whole city was represented. I will never forget the watermelon Italian Ice- it was delectable, especially on such a hot day.

And we can't forget the legendary popcorn from Garrett's. I have never seen such big popcorn kernels- and so rich and buttery! I was just sad that it leaked in my bag and got some unremovable stains on my new Cubs shirt. (When I was boarding my plane at O'Hare to return home the lady in front of me had a big bag of Garrett's popcorn. When the Gate Lady scanned her boarding pass she said seriously, "You can't take this on board, you're gonna have to leave it with me." The lady complied, and the Gate Lady laughed and said, "Just kidding!" The popcorn lady and I walked down the jetway laughing and saying, "That was just wrong!" She told me her husband had told her not to come home from Chicago without some Garrett's. If it had been a more uptight lady there would have been a throw-down right there at the gate. Hence the power of well-popped pop-corn.)

So thank you, Chicago, for sharing your cuisine and opening your table to us. It was a feast, not only for the stomach, but for the soul as well, as we spent time with our friends. You are awesome.

Merrill Hodges

P.S. Tell Skidmore and Owings I said hi.

Chi-town: the city at night

Thursday, July 08, 2010


Lagniappe is a Cajun word meaning "something extra." It usually has a positive connotation as far as I have heard, and it is pronounced LAN-Yap. Some examples would be when you eat at the Dew Drop Inn in Mobile, Alabama and you order fries, well, they throw in a huge greasy wonderful onion ring. A lagniappe. Or if you are walking on the beach, enjoying the sand and surf, and then you come upon a mother turtle crawling up the beach to lay her eggs- stunning! Unexpected! A lagniappe.

This brings me to the lagniappe I had thrown on my plate that same week of my birthday. My friend from college, Jenny, wrote on my Facebook wall and mentioned that she was in Fort Walton Beach, and was I close enough for a visit! I was so excited and I responded, and then Christine, another friend from la universidad must have been Facebook stalking (busted!) and she piped up and said she was in FWB too! Ay caramba! So we met up the next day and it was so good to see these friends and catch up. They were literally a couple hotels away from each other and had no idea! And they say Facebook is a waste of time. This was a neat-o "extra" for my trip South- something that would've been hard to plan. I am thankful for it!

Here are 6 out of 7 of my and Jenny's kids (is that grammar crazy? not sure how else to say it). Not pictured; Jenny's 6-month old Micah. It was so funny to see all these kids that came out of our bodies. Sometimes that still strikes me as CRAZY! From L to R: Charlie, Mac, Isaac, Ju-Ju (Jordan), Harry, and Ruthie.

Me and Jenny, self portrait.

Jenny, Harry, Me and Christine! A Beta 2 reunion of sorts...Oh the memories.

My 32nd Birthday: Moms Gone Wild or Now I Have More Flavas than a Baskin Robbins

June 23rd was my birthday and my wish was granted- a whole day with my sis-in-law (my bro Alan's wife) Cheryl at the beach! This wouldn't have been possible without a highly professional team of no less than 3 grandparents- muchas gracias abuelos and abuelas! We headed out as soon as we could and drove to Rosemary Beach, a little upscale beach utopia that I will probably never be able to afford! See the post office and town hall below? Yep. Crazy. And everyone drives around, perfectly tanned, on beach cruisers, see below again (note the cobblestone street).

So Cheryl and I waltzed in, carefree and fancy-free and other frees too probably, and ate lunch at the Cowgirl Kitchen- delicious, of course! I inquired about beach access and the perfectly tanned waitress gave us the access code for the gated boardwalk! Thanks PT waitress! We didn't realize the beach was limited to only people staying at Rosemary Beach. We sat on the beach, relaxed, talked-it was just lovely. When we left we laughed about the complete and utter difference between two adults leaving a beach versus two adults and 6 children. I had maybe 17 grains of sand, mainly on my feet. When leaving with kiddos, there is sand EVERYWHERE. I mean crevices you didn't know existed. I mean that we probably could be arrested for removing too much of the protected, highly coveted white sugar sand. Everyone goes home thoroughly exfoliated. But Rosemary Beach had little containers of soapy water for washing your feet, then showers up by the green. The green- where the perfect families were flying kites and buying lemonade. See below. After cleansing our feet we headed back down 30A, one of the coolest roads in FL, and did some shopping. See the fun mermaid store! Bright and eclectic and artsy. We hit the not so fun or eclectic Silver Sands Outlets, found some smokin' deals and headed home for a birthday dinner with the clan. It was such a refreshing day. Birthdays tend to be anti-climactic if not slightly sobering as one ages, so I count this one as a real treat.