All Good Things

All good things must come to an end.  Today two things come to an end, the Slice of Life Challenge, and Spring Break.  I really enjoyed them both this year.  Even though there are days where I don’t feel like writing, I think that is the point of this challenge.  It challenges you to feel just like our students feel sometimes.  You have to push through on those days that you are just not into it.  What is probably my favorite parts about this whole thing is the interaction with the other bloggers.  Some I know, some I have never met.  Each person that takes a second out of their day to read your slice, and then comment on what they thought of it.  That part is what I get the most satisfaction out of.  I also really enjoy reading what others are doing and going through.  It gives me a behind the scenes look into a lot of my friend’s lives that I otherwise may have never known about. I will miss reading these stories and even writing my own.  Until next year!

As far as spring break goes, my wish was to go somewhere warm.  That didn’t happen.  If my wife didn’t have such a brutal work week, I seriously would have packed up and found some last minute place to go.  Since that wasn’t in the cards, we decided that we would make the best of it here.  If feel like we did a great job of that.  I conquered my list, and even got some fun nights out minus the kids.  Last night we went out with my sisters and brother-in-laws to a little dive bar and played some games.  It was a much needed night out to close out break.  Today sucks a little because of it, but it was worth it.  I am bummed to see this break come to an end today.  I will miss hanging with my two amazing kids.  I will miss being able to go and find different places to go and explore.  The nice thing is that summer break is only a blink away.  Then we get to do it all over again.  Only this time, maybe not so many things in a row.  That was a little exhausting.  Hopefully next year we can find a place to get away to.  One last treat for break will be visiting my niece, who works at Graham’s Ice Cream.  If you haven’t been…go!!

It has been real Slicers!  Lets finish strong!

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Good Start

Our 8:15 Saturday morning gymnastics class was cancelled, and we have nothing on the books for today.  I was going to sleep in.  I was going to relax and do things on my own schedule.  So far, most of that has gone well, except the sleeping in part.  We are watching my mom’s dog for the week while they are on vacation, so he decided it was time to wake up at 7:40.  Two seconds later my son came in.  I hesitantly got up and ran the dog downstairs to let him out.  As soon as I let him back in and fed him, back to bed for me.  My son came down, got his own snack, then went back up to his room for a bit.

I grabbed my phone of course and started playing around on it.  Both of the kids are now up and in our bed.  My daughter is especially cuddly which is fine by me.  We toss on some cartoons and relax for another hour or so.  We get a little wrestling in before they get hungry. My wife kindly gets up and goes down to get them breakfast.  I on the other hand, pull the covers back up and flip on golf.  Tiger vs. Rory today. Must watch.  My wife asked me if I was going to just stay in bed all day, not in accusatory way, but solid question seeing that I was pretty comfortable.  I seriously thought about it, but I decided that 10:00 is probably long enough.  I headed downstairs, ate breakfast, flipped golf back on, and her I am.  I did fold laundry on the couch while watching golf so I was productive for a minute.  I do plan on getting some stuff done today, but like I said, it will be on my time.  The best thing about today is my wife and I both said it feels like a Sunday.  That is an amazing feeling knowing that we still have Sunday to look forward to.

Hope you all are having a nice, relaxing Sunday as well.

Three In a Row

Day three in a row of doing something on spring break.  In the last three days we have hit Brookfield Zoo, The Museum of Science and Industry, and today we went to Safari Land.  We won four tickets to Safari Land in our school fundraiser last month.  Today we decided to cash those in and try a new place.  It definitely did not disappoint.  My son is getting to the age where he is really starting to like playing video games.  I dread this, but at the same time it is kind of fun.  I was never much of a video game player, and I am hoping that my kids don’t turn into gamers either.  Going to a place like this though is a lot of fun.

Safari Land has been around forever I feel like.  I used to drive by it going to my grandpa’s house in Elmhurst, but I have never been there before.  When we got in there, we realized quickly that it has a little bit of everything.  The first stop was the tunnels and slides which they both love.  They ran around there for a while before we went and checked out the rest of the fun they had in store for us.  They have Tilt-a-Whirl, Merry-Go-Round, a roller coaster, bumper cars, go carts, and tons of games.  It is great now that my son is tall enough to do a lot of these activities.  The question is whether or not he has the courage.  He has a tendency to be shy and a little nervous when it comes to some of these rides, but today he went all out.  Okay, well he wouldn’t do the Tilt-a-Whirl, but I was okay with that.  I am not sure if I can do that anymore either.

I was super excited when he decided that he would do the go carts.  We were in line to go, and my wife noticed that you have to be at least 44 inches, which he is, but you couldn’t be above 60 inches.  That took us both out.  I figured he would decline since we couldn’t go.  Instead, he surprised me and decided he would do it all by himself.  This would be the first time he would ever drive anything without us with him.  The nice thing is they only let two kids go at a time, so he didn’t have to worry about other kids flying all around him.  Besides going the wrong way to start, he did an amazing job.  It was so fun to watch him drive around the track on his own.  He looked so big.  I was so proud of him for stepping out of his comfort zone and doing this.

The next big step was the roller coaster.  My son has loved roller coasters ever since we went to Mall of America in Minnesota.  He again was a little hesitant, but got right on when it was our turn.  He went with my wife, and my two year old went with me.  She has zero hesitation.  She is ready to go to Great America.  The first thing she told me was “put your hands up daddy.”  Done!  We got on, put our hands up, and flew around the track.  For an indoor track, it went pretty fast.  As a 6’2″ guy going into a cart meant for someone a foot smaller, it was a little uncomfortable, but it was well worth it.  The kids got off and raved about how fun it was.

To finish off the day we ran around playing video games together.  My son loves the shooting games, and my daughter plays even though we rarely put money in for her.  She doesn’t know the difference as long as we cheer for her.  We cleared out the money on our card, and now it was time to cash in our tickets.  To me, this is such a waste, as the prizes just aren’t worth it unless you have a ton.  We had only 87 tickets, so we decided to give it to another family that had a bunch of kids so they could all get a prize.  I want my kids to know the value of giving to others.  Neither complained or whined, and the thank you we got from the mom we gave it to made it all worth it.

We have had such a great spring break together.  This week has really made me appreciate how great my kids really are.  We work very hard at teaching them manners and how to behave in any place we are, but they went above and beyond this week.  They really didn’t nap besides quick car naps, and even with that, they behaved so well.  They make me so proud every day, and this week really showed me why.

I think I may need a day of doing nothing tomorrow.  I am a little wiped.

Checking off the List

Before break I made a list of things that I wanted to do over break. I had no intention of getting to all of them, but I wanted some options to keep us entertained. I am not a fan of staying home all day. I feel like the kids get restless and I definitely do. This week started off slow with the family being sick, but the last few days have been busy! We have had a blast going out to different places this week with new people every day. We have actually checked off more things than I though we would, and we still have three days left. Here’s where we’re at:

• Zoo 👍

• Museum(s) 👍

• Park 👍

• Bowling 👎

• Movie Day 👍

• Golf 👍

• Adult Night or three 👍👍

• Downtown 👍

• Swimming 👍

• Practice t-ball 👍

• Movie Theater 👎

• Lunch date 👍

I am pretty happy about that list so far. Today we went with my other sister and her three kids to the Museum of Science and Industry. That is easily my favorite museum downtown. The only time I usually go is on a field trip where we are dashing so quickly to see everything before we have to get back on the bus. Today we got to go at our own pace and let them play with anything they found interesting. It was a little crowded, but they still got to have a chance at almost everything they wanted to see. After the museum we got to meet their grandparents out for lunch. It was a very successful day.

As far as finishing the list goes, we may not get to bowling, but tomorrow we are going to Safari Land. We won some tickets at our school’s Family Fun Night so we will check it out. My wife is in her hell week at work so she unfortunately hasn’t been able to join us for anything this week, but tomorrow she is going to shut it down early and come with us. The only other thing I don’t think we will get to is the movie theater, but I guess you never know. Either way I am really having fun with my kids this break, and even snuck in some adult time. I am trying to pull off one more night out with friends this weekend as well to get a triple thumbs up.

I am not usually a planner when it comes to breaks, but I am glad I did. It gave me motivation to get out and get to these places. We started off slow this week but we are finishing strong. I’m a little tired, so I may need to add multiple naps to my list.

Zoo Days

It’s never really a good sign when you get off the highway, and traffic is stopped dead still over a mile away from the entrance to the zoo. Maybe it’s construction. Or maybe it is the entire state of Illinois all going to the same place on the first nice day of the year. We got stopped around 10:15. We parked at 11:15. We were literally a mile away. Waze jokingly told me we were 3 minutes out. Liar!! I had thought about turning around, but that’s a hike just to turn around. Plus I am stubborn and think waiting it out makes me a winner. Not too sure if I was a winner in this situation.

When we finally got into the zoo it wasn’t too bad. I typically head left towards the big cats, then work my way around and end at the zebras and camels. It is nice being a teacher that has gone on field trips to the zoo a thousand times so you know the patterns of traffic and where everything is. Today however, I went right. It just felt like the right thing to do…no pun intended. I wanted to get to that side of the zoo first, before the insane crowds swarmed it. I quickly realized that it didn’t matter what route I took when everybody in this state was there.

The giraffes and bears were on my kids short list so we went to that area first. Of course the giraffes were inside today. Let’s just torture us more. We got through that then made our way to the bison and bears. All went well and we were in and out. Then the challenge came. The penguin house and Tropic World. The penguin house was super busy but we skated through pretty quickly. Tropic World was a different story. I strategically put my stroller at the exit, since all who have been there know how much it sucks having to go get that at the end. We then walked around, walked in, and stopped. I mean stopped. I was back at the entrance trying to get in. There was no where to go, and it was hot in there. Luckily my sister and niece were there to help hold my daughter. I got the joy of holding my almost five year old who must have eaten a big lunch. We inched our way forward, only to not even see any monkeys. There were like two in the first room and they were just staring at us. Probably thinking how stupid we all looked crammed into this little tiny area. We creeped along until we finally got to the gorillas, my personal favorite. Today they didn’t disappoint. There was a little tiny baby that was crawling around making everyone ooh and ahh. That little guy made the wait worth it.

We were two hours in now and the littles were starting to lose interest. We flew through the snakes and birds and decided to hit the home stretch. We walked around the petting zoo to avoid that temper tantrum. We hit up the dolphins, the sea lions (my second fav), and finished off with the big cats, my kids favorite. We were there for about two and a half hours, and besides the parking part and the monkey house, turned out to be a great time. I love seeing how these animals make their faces light up. They are still at such a good age that makes all of the waiting and packing in worth it.

Next time I will take an Uber and have him drop me off at the entrance.

Just in Time

I have been trying to make an eye appointment since December. Every time I tried, they were having problems with my insurance. It was becoming so frustrating. I asked our HR department about our insurance, and she guided me through it. I figured I was set so I set up another appointment to finally get my eyes checked. I was literally on my last contacts. If I lost one, or one ripped, I had no contacts to wear. The day before I was to go in I get another call from them saying my insurance again didn’t go through. This is a new place so I am just trying to figure out what the heck is going on.

I decided to just go in there a litter early on the day of my appointment to see if I could get this figured out. As I am talking to the girl, it dawns on me. For some reason my date of birth is wrong on all of my insurance. Whenever I would get a prescription from Walgreens they would tell me my birth year was 1974. Don’t be trying to age me five years!! It actual year is 1979. Even though it was supposed to be fixed, it obviously isn’t yet. I told the girl working that this may be the reason. She tried it and sure enough that was the problem.

Either way, it got fixed and all was good to go. I got my appointment in and finally got my much needed contacts. The best news is that my prescription still has only changed once, and barely, since 2002.

A Trip to the Mall

My kids are growing way too fast, so today since we had nothing else planned we decided to run to the outlet mall. It’s a dangerous game running two kids to the mall by myself. I literally think the words “please don’t touch that” came out of my mouth around 100 times. It isn’t their fault by any means, they are just interested in everything. There are so many cool things to look at, and things to touch. I just don’t want to have to be the one apologizing to the staff after something comes crashing down.

I do get nervous, but at the same time I get so much joy in watching them be kids. I loved that walking to every store I had we wait as they did a balancing act on every curb they could find. They jumped off every bench. They ran and laughed and played. They just get into this other works where they can make everything into a game. Typically I am always in a hurry so I find myself trying to hurry them along, not allowing them to play like they want. Today I tried to take it all in, and I ended up having the best time watching them.

In the stores they really did do a nice job being patient. We got some shoes for both of them which was exciting for them. Benton wanted black and red shoes just like a character in his favorite new movie. Finley just wants anything. She was very helpful in the one store that I actually went for myself. She would tell me which shirts she liked for me. She would pick out some shoes she liked and told me how cute they were. She even would pick out ladies clothes and tell them I would look good in them too. That’s always helpful, but we can work on that. She just always wants to help and she couldn’t be any cuter doing it.

Besides waiting in line while they went under and around the little line things that kids find so intriguing, they were really good. We had a ton of fun today and even got everything we went there for. What could have turned out to be a disaster turned out to be a really enjoyable two hours.

Spring Break Sunday

Today we did…nothing. We ended up going to my sister’s house last night which was a ton of fun. We ordered Portillos, the kids played, and the adults played. It was exactly what I needed, and what the kids needed too. This morning we woke up and the kids picked up right where they left off. They played and played and left us tired adults alone. We were able to make breakfast and then just sit on the couch and watch March Madness. We didn’t move and it was perfect. Finally around 12:15 we decided it was probably time to get our kids fed and home for a nap.

We reluctantly got off the couch, packed up, and headed home. The kids napped for over three hours. I guess it is safe to say they were exhausted from a great night/day of playing. This left my wife and I a perfectly quiet house to get anything done that we wanted. Obviously we napped too. It was incredible. When I finally peeled myself out of bed, we went downstairs and continued to watch March Madness for a bit. Big Duke win!

To finish off the busy day that we had, we ordered pizza, and the kids made the house a movie theater. Aka they turned off the lights. We ordered the new Spider-Man which we already saw in the theater, but my son loved it. The two sickies curled up under a blanket on one side, and my daughter and I curled up in the other. We ate pizza on the couch in our movie theater and watched the movie.

Now it is time for them to head back to bed, and for us to watch the remainder of the March Madness. Love having a wife that will watch this with me, and not cause I ask her to. It was not what most consider a productive day, but to me it literally couldn’t have been more perfect. I needed a day. A day to just do absolutely nothing and that day was today. Tomorrow is play day with the kids. Tomorrow is clean up and get some stuff done. Tomorrow is get into the gym. Today, that was just for the family. It was a day we all needed and we all loved. Spring break is going well so far.

Today Started Off Well

We had a nice little Saturday planned. My daughter had gymnastics in the morning. I love watching her run around and try new things. If it were up to her she would just jump in the foam pit the whole time, which I can’t disagree with. When we got done with that, I was going to meet some buddies up at Top Golf, then we were going to my sisters for some games and drinks.

We get home from gymnastics and my wife goes right to bed. Not good. She has a nasty sinus thing or cold or something going on. I’m getting nervous because our sitter had the flu crash the party at her house the last couple days. Kids were dropping like flies. I am just praying that it doesn’t hit us over break. Anyway, I got the kids settled and cleaned up a little while she rested. I told both of my kids to leave her alone and just play or watch tv. They agreed and I was on my way.

Two minutes into being there, I get a text from my wife that says “So much for leaving me alone.” The two year old wasn’t having it. Now I was feeling bad for leaving her, but they were all going to nap anyway. About an hour later, she sends me another text with a picture of my son curled up on the couch. He doesn’t have an appetite and says he’s freezing. Great!! There goes our night of fun.

Luckily he napped and woke up feeling great. We played some golf in the backyard and he was ready to see his cousins. One down, one to go. I gently walked inside to see how she was feeling. She had a Kleenex hanging from one side of her nose. Not a good sign. The trooper that she is though, she got up and showered and we were in our way. I know she wants nothing to do with hanging out and having drinks tonight but she came anyway. Nothing a few shots of whiskey can’t handle right?

Hopefully they can both hang on and start feeling better so we can have a fun night. I really hope this is a quick in and out thing and doesn’t turn into the flu!! That is not how I want to spend my break!!

It is here!

I love any word that follows with the word “break.”  This break couldn’t have come at a better time!  This week was a whirlwind between my students having a rough go, me being in a fog, and everyone around me seemingly getting sick.  I want to get away from all of that.  This is a week that I don’t have to think about school, or plans, or students.  I get a much needed break from waking up early.  I just need to get my kids that memo too.  Overall, it is exactly what it says, a break.

I do get some break envy when I hear about people going away.  I was truly thinking about it this year but my wife has her hell week this week so there will be none of that.  That leaves me and my two kiddos to fend for ourselves.  I am hoping to get in one or some of the following:

  • Zoo
  • Museum(s)
  • Park
  • Bowling
  • Movie Day
  • Golf
  • Adult Night or three
  • Downtown
  • Swimming
  • Practice t-ball
  • Movie Theater
  • Lunch date

I know that I won’t get to all of those, but lets see how many I can check off my list.  If you have any other good ideas I should add, let me know!!

I am so ready for this break.  I need it to go slow though.  The beautiful thing is that when we come back, we have two months until the best break of all!!  I hope all the teachers out there in blog land have a great break as well!!