Our Boys

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Summer Reading List

I am starting to put together my summer reading list and thought that there was no better place for input than here, at That's What We Said. I have high hopes for myself this summer; there are a lot of books that I want to read and a few books that I need to read. Let me clarify. I am constantly writing down names of books that I read about, see on TV, at the bookstore or that someone tells me about. then when I go pick out a new book, I always feel conflicted, like "Where do I start?" Then there are some books that I need to read. I am special education teacher with students on my case load in 9-12th grade. That means that I have kids in a minimum of 4 English classes at a time. They always need help with their work and right now I have not read all of the books that they read in class and sometimes have to resort to Spark Notes myself to help out. In order to make myself a better teacher I need to have firsthand knowledge of these books. So here goes:

Books I Want To Read:
Such a Pretty Fat and Pretty In Plaid by Jennifer Lancaster
sTORI Telling by Tori Spelling (I have never been a reality TV lover but I can't get enough of Tori and Dean...Brett even watches)Multiple Blessings by Kate Gosselin (see comment above...and Brett watches this one too, love him!)
The Kite Runner by Khaled HosseiniSpeak Softly, She Can Hear by Pam LewisAnna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (Not sure I want to read this but Is tarted it over Spring break and then put it down. I now feel obligated to pick it back up and read the last 600 pages)

Target Underwear and a Vera Wang Gown: Notes from a Single Girl's Closet
by Adena Halpern

Born on A Blue Day by Danial TammetThe Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Books I Need to Read

  • The Adventures of Huck Finn
  • The Catcher in The Rye
  • Of Mice and Men
  • A Separate Peace
  • reread Night

In addition to this list I have three classes to finish so I have those books to read as well. It's a long list, but after summer school I think sitting in the sun reading will be just what the doctor ordered.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Weekend of Fun and Relaxation

Brett and I snuck out of town for the weekend. Not for a wedding. Not to visit family. Not for any other reason than to spend some time together - just the two of us! So Friday after work, we headed to Galena, IL! What a fabulous place! Friday night we checked in to The Irish Cottage Hotel and decided to just relax, eat dinner at Frank O'Dowd's Irish Pub in the bottom of the hotel, and enjoy the Irish music by Jeff Ward. He sang some great Irish and contemporary songs and was very entertaining. We woke up Saturday morning and ate breakfast at the same Pub. a free continental breakfast was provided with our room. In addition to the usual goodies found on a continental breakfast, we got choose some made to order hot items. Breakfast was so delicious and I am still dreaming about the fresh cinnamon scones! We drove into Galena to check things out before we checked in for our kayak trip at Fever river Outfitters. We loaded a van that drove us into the middle of nowhere where they put our kayak in the water and said "See Ya!" We thought we would have a guide, but it was so much better that we didn't. We had so much fun paddling and relaxing, and getting the boat all turned around. I even had to get in the water once because we ran into a very shallow part and got stuck! Five miles and about 2 hours later, we arrived back in Galena. When Brett got out on shore, his whole foot suck into the mud and he had the spend the next few hours with very soggy shoes! We had worked up an appetite, but weren't in the mood for food so we went to Miss Kitty's Grape Escape for her Saturday afternoon Bloody Mary Bar! So great!!! After that it was back to the hotel to sit in the hot tub and then get ready for dinner.

We walked around for a little while decided where to eat and the mean time, I had a Tarot reading done by the famous "Two Tarot Ladies" of Galena. WOW!!! Everything she said was so dead on, it was scary! We decided on eating at the Desoto House's Generals' Restaurant, the hotel being one of the oldest hotels in the US. The ambiance was not really our style but the food was amazing! After dinner, we decided to go on our very own bar crawl. We went to Boone's for a local beer, Vinny Vanucchi's for chocolate martinis and dessert (DELICIOUS tiramisu), and then it was Benjamin's, Gobbie's, and then we ended the night back at Miss Kitty's!
Sunday morning, we probably could have slept the day away - in fact we almost missed breakfast. We ate at the hotel again and the went to check out a local historical landmark, a house once owned and occupied by Ulysses S. Grant. The rest of the afternoon we spent leisurely strolling the shops looking for some fun things to take home. We walked to the top of the town and what a beautiful overlook it was.
We found a Catholic Church which happened to be names St. Michael's, the same as our church at home. It was very old and beautiful and had the most amazing crucifix and statue of Mary on the hill behind it. After enjoying a juicy burger at Dirty Gurt's Burger Joynt, we headed back home to be greeted by the puppies who missed us so very much!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Another Fab (but chilly) Day at Wrigley!

On Sunday Brett and I attended Cubs game #2 of the season, Natalie and Jason came along so it was an obviously fab time! We got the bar by 11 for some pre-game Bloody's (Jason actually asked for his to be "less bloody and more Mary"). We made it to the 7th inning when it was time to go! Although the sun was out, we were in the shade and the wind was blowing...BRRRR!!! The Cubs ended up losing so we did not miss the singing of Go! Cubs! Go! So back to the Red Ivy we went to spend the rest of the day! The pics tell the story....
"Missy and Nattie" Brett touching Jason's wife.Brett playing air guitar...Jason, Brett and a random guy...
The Billings' and The Clancy's and the same random guy...
Were you guys trying to figure out the train schedule?
Jason making some friends...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thursday Ramblings...

Today is Thursday...which means....tomorrow is Friday. Woo-hoo!!!

Brett flew to Des Moines yesterday morning with the partner from his office for some work stuff. What do you know we end up having terrible storms all night and he got stuck in Des Moines until 6 am this morning. The puppies and I REALLY missed him! But we did like that king size bed all to ourselves :-)

Since Brett was not home this morning, and he is charge of making coffee in the morning, I had to go to Dunkin Donuts. I even decided that since I had a great run yesterday I was treating myself to a donut - a maple frosted donut, my favorite! Well, I decided to be nice and grabbed a double chocolate for Brett for tomorrow morning. When I got to work and went to eat my donut, I found that the lady had put them in the bag with the frosted side of each donut facing each other. HELLO! You work in a donut shop. Do you not realize the crisis this created? I had to very gently pry the donuts apart and hope and pray....NOPE! Chocolate frosting stuck all over y maple frosted donut. Sorry Brett! DD - please inform your workers that donuts should be bagged, frosting facing AWAY from each other!

And here's another complaint I am having:

Dear Apple and Nike:
Your Nike Sport Kit for iPod SUCKS!!! I got it for Christmas. It broke in January. I drove all over creation trying to get it fixed. Finally did. Three months later - stopped working AGAIN! No the battery is not low. I don't run that much! How on earth am I going to train running outside when I have NO IDEA HOW FAR I AM RUNNING? Please send new Sport Kit and upgraded iPod for my trouble. I prefer a Touch, although I heart my Nano 3rd Generation.


*for those of you that thought I stopped running all together because my mini in my side bar has not shown a new run. You were wrong. I am still running, just nothing to upload!

Now that I have all that off my chest, it is time to start a fabulous day! The weather is great. I have Thursday detention after school which means a little extra $$$ in the check. And, I am attending a Do It Herself Workshop at Home Deport tonight about gardening. I have a slight inkling to skip it to see Brett, but I was really excited about going. So, we will see!

Have a fabulous Thursday everyone!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Give this some thought...

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the “good” living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television, and more while watching life.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.”

There would have been more “I love you’s.” More “I’m sorry’s.”

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute… look at it and really see it… live it… and never give it back.

Stop sweating the small stuff.

Don’t worry about who doesn’t like you, who has more, or who’s doing what.

Instead, let’s cherish the relationships we have with those who DO love us.

Let’s think about what God HAS blessed us with.

-Erma Bombeck

Monday, May 11, 2009

"S'more" Weekend, please!

I promise to stop with the cheesy post titles, but this one seemed fitting.

Brett and I had a great weekend filled with a delicious salmon dinner Friday night, me being a little sick and needing a four hour nap on Saturday, dinner at Q'Doba Saturday night, and a day FULL of yard work on Sunday. After getting cleaned up, we ate outside even though we needed jeans and jackets to stand the chilly air. Brett grilled some burgers and veggies that were so good. He also had the GREATEST IDEA EVER!!!! S'mores on the grill!!! So, after dinner, we huddled around the grill for warmth and to make S'mores! Here's the result....

Happy Mother's Day!

I know I should have posted this yesterday, but I consider myself to always be a little behind in the blog world, perhaps the real world too, but that is a different story. Anyway, Mothers Day was kind of exciting because my brother and I arranged a video call between my family in PA and myself. So, early yesterday morning, Scotty sat my Mom in front of the computer and she delighted to see my shining face talking to her and moving in real time. Pretty cool! We used Skype and while sometimes the sound went in and out and it didn't have THE clearest picture, the whole idea is so cool! Scotty also snagged her gift out of the mail so I was able to watch her open it! I sent her an orange cake mix (she can't find them in her grocery store, but we have them here) and a bracelet from the French market in Wheaton. The bracelet is silver and twists sightly to be able to have the entire Lord's Prayer engraved in it. Pretty neat! I didn't say this in the card I sent, but my intention was sort of to remind her that I am always praying for her.

While I am not going to get all mushy and stuff, I would like to say that I think she is the greatest mom in the world. We have a to in common, maybe even some things I wish we didn't have in common (just teasing), but I consider myself lucky to have had her as my role model. She taught me so many things that I have helped to mold me into who I am. So, on this (day after) Mother's Day I say to my mom - "Thank you and I love you!"

Mom and I posing at "The Bean", August '06

Brett's mom passed away one year ago last week. I haven't mentioned it on here because I have to admit I really don't know what to say. It has affected our lives in a way I can't really describe. Yesterday was somewhat bitter sweet as she was certainly on our minds all day. What Brett and I can both agree on, is that we are lucky to have these women in our life who raised to be the people we are.

Brett opening a golf club from his mom, Christmas '06
To all the other mom's out there, I hope you too had a fabulous day!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Update on the "growings" on in our yard!

Last summer my mom was visiting and gave me tons of help and advice regarding gardening. She helped me to plant a perennial garden and some things to fill the empty space. Lots of the plants are transplanted straight from her yard in PA so that makes it extra special. Here is what is happening in our yard:

The lilacs that border our whole front yard and smell so wonderful!

The hydrangea in the front yard. Planted late in summer of '07 because I bought it off the clearance rack at Lowe's. It always comes back and has beautiful pink blooms. Balloon flowers outside of our bedroom window. These are from mom's garden in PA. This plant is so dainty and pretty As you can see it has small blue flowers all over. I bought this at a yard sale last year and don't know what it is called.
Tansy Sun Ferns from Mom's garden. Wilow bush bought at the end of the last year. It is struggling because the rabbits scratched at it all winter.
And here is the perennial garden. I know it still doesn't look like much but it will take a while to fill in. Almost all of this is from Mom's garden!

This is the BIG pot I did this year. It is not quite done, but I love it already. It took 120 lbs. of dirt to fill that pot!

Our beautiful azalea that blooms every spring. This is what it looked like when we looked at our house and I loved it even then!

And last but not least, the newest addition to our yard...Chuck the squirrel. He stares at Brett and I and taunts the dogs all while emptying my BIRD feeders.

Well there it is! It is not much but we are getting there. We plan on mulching this weekend, weather permitting, and that should improve the looks of the place as well!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Warm and Wonderful Weekend!

Happy Monday! Finally, a weekend of warm weather to brag about!

Friday night Brett and I spent some time at the gym. I am running in the Cosley Zoo Run for the Animals 5K on June 6, and Brett is "training" me, so yes, we spent Friday night at the gym. We are also thinking of a longer race in early fall, but those details have not been made public yet. HAHAHA!!! Anyway, Brett woke up early on Saturday to golf with his friend Taco. They golfed at Pheasant Run and had lunch at "their" place, The Brick House Tavern & Tap in Downers Grove. If you go to the web site, you will see why it is "their" place.

Natalie came over, and after a quick stop at Starbuck's, we headed to the French Market in Wheaton. We had a great time looking at all the local jewelers, fruits and veggies, flowers etc. We were both able to find something very unique for Mother's Day (my mamma is a reader so you will have to wait to hear what I bought) so it was a successful trip. I spent the rest of the day at Home Depot and Lowe's buying flowers and then planting. The yard is starting to look very nice and inviting for all those summer days of relaxing on the patio. Brett and I went to church on Saturday night and got a little laugh that there was no wine due to the swine flu.
Sunday morning we did a little yard work and then headed to Wrigley for our first Cubs game of the season. What a blast we had! We stopped at The Red Ivy for a Bloody Mary before the game - who knew they had a Sunday special and they were only $4!!! We made it into the park for the pre game ceremony to retire Fergie Jenkins' and Greg Maddux's numbers. Brett loved it! Had a few Old Styles and a hot dog and ended up with a Cubs Win!!! Cubs Win!!! Woo Hoo!!!

Brett's rendition of Go, Cubs, Go....

After leaving the park, we decided it was too early to go home so we went back to the Red Ivy for a few more $4 Bloody Marys. While there, we received free entertainment from the gentleman who had had a little too much to drink and made his own solo dance party in the middle of the bar....

We decided at about 7:30 that it was time to be responsible and go home.

What a fantastic weekend! If only I could figure out a way to make them last a little longer!

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