Wednesday, August 29, 2007

My New Dawn

Morgan and I love this song - and Daniel Kirkley's voice.

Bricks on the Walls? Wow!

The brick laying is coming along okay, although has been slowed down by rain today and yesterday. When they first started laying it, I told Steve "I don't like it." Great. Too late now! Actually, it's getting better. The mortar was so dark when it was wet, making the whole wall look dark.

The mortar is still wet (and dark), but is getting lighter. I think I'll like it. :^D The brick layers are very nice guys and are really doing a super job.

Here's the scaffolding down the right side of the house. I used an automatic depth of field setting on the camera, so it makes the side of the house look even longer.

And by bathroom window is FINALLY installed. I am now paranoid that a brick will hit it. This is the fifth window - the first one was cracked when the carpenters opened the box, second one was the wrong one, third one was broken when they opened the box at the window company before delivering it, the fourth one was also the wrong window. This is the view from my bathroom....

...and here's the view from outside.

This is a very close picture of the glass in the side lights of my front door. I thought it was interesting.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


If you have known me very long, you will know that I'm terribly afraid of frogs and toads. I don't think they should all be squished, a sentiment very strongly expressed at length by my mother-in-law, and I do think they are fascinating, but I don't like for them to jump out when I'm least expecting it and I definitely don't want them in my house.

Working at the new house cleaning up lumber, I've been startled by a great number of little toads and frogs. And some no-so-little ones as well. :^D But I'm getting used to them. After one small, started, "Eeekkk!!!" I'm okay.

This weekend, I was startled by something new....

No, I didn't take this picture. I screamed and he "ran!" I would definitely have not had time to get the camera focused! He was quite small. Then on the other side of the house, I saw his cousin. But they were more afraid of me than I was of them, I think.

Not the case on Monday. The girls were doing school and I was picking up in the area. I picked up a scrapbook tote bag that I did NOT bring with me on Friday. It had some dust on it, so I was brushing it off and out jumped something that looked like this.....

Yipes!!! A gecko! It was a wee bit bigger than this one, but not much. I screamed, jumped into a chair, and was hollering "CATCH IT!!! GET IT OUT OF HERE!!! CALL YOUR FATHER!!!" Brooke was laughing so hard that she chased it under the china cabinet. Then she'd move stuff, it'd skitter out, I'd scream, she'd laugh, it'd run back. Actually, she didn't want to touch it either!

Steve comes in and catches it FINALLY (I'm still on chairs - moving from one to the other around the room to get further away). As he goes to take it out, I admonish him to not simply toss it out the back door, where it can easily came back in the house, but to take it far into the woods. As he reaches the door, I call out, "WAIT!!! Let Brooke take a picture of it!" I was thinking of you, Blog Reader. But Steve simply rolled his eyes and walked out with the gecko, leaving me to rely on a stock photo.

Then today while sweeping the kitchen, I come across ANOTHER GECKO!!! This one was already dead, but it leads me to fear that where there are two, there are more. Anyone up for an overnight guest? I'll only stay until the new house is built and found to be free of attacking geckos.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Love Bugs

No, I have no pictures of my children. I have no pictures of my animals. I have no pictures of my honey. But I do have love bugs.....

These love bugs. If you don't live in the coastal south, you are probably wondering what in the world this thing is. It's a love bug. Wikipedia says this about love bugs....

"Love bug larvae grow up in grassy areas and feed on dead vegetation. The adult love bug does not eat, but subsists solely on the food taken in during its larval stage. Upon reaching maturity the love bug spends the entirety of its life "making new baby love bugs" with its mate, hence its numerous romantic nicknames. The male and female attach themselves at the rear of the abdomen and remain that way at all times, even in flight. In fact, after mating, the male dies and is dragged around by the female until she lays her eggs. Females lay up to 350 eggs in debris, and about 20 days later the eggs hatch into larvae. The larvae may live for months before passing into adulthood."

Lovebugs love white houses. Right now, my house is covered with white Tyvek. Lovebugs are loving my house. So far, the season hasn't hit full swing. I've seen white houses swarmed with so many love bugs, it looks like a black house. I have a friend who used to live in an old house and they would actually crawl in through the old windows and were covering the INTERIOR of her house. Yuck. I really hate love bugs. And they play havoc with the paint job on your vehicle. Their guts will actually pit the paint! Double yuck!

But they are a sure sign that September is almost here. Either that or May. :^D

Working at the House

That's what we did all weekend. Work, work, work! Steve is working on the wiring and I was the clean-up crew. I hauled wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow full of scrap lumber, bits of shingles, barrels of bent nails, and about a million empty Gatorade bottles. Sub-contractors are messy guys!

The carpenters will be building the deck and installing my whirlpool bathtub this week, so they uncovered the bit of the floor where it will be installed. It's not clean and it's definitely not shiny, but I think I'm gonna like it!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Girls' Night Out

Tonight I went with a bunch of girlfriends to a local scrapbook store for a private crop. We opted for private because (a.) you only have to have 8 for a private crop and we had that, and (b.) the last time 8 of us descended on the crop together, the poor 3 croppers we didn't know thought they had landed in a loony bin! We laughed and talked and cut up, passing around chocolate and Mike & Ike's, and they felt like the odd ones out. Or maybe they were the only normal ones. So we opted for a private crop this time.

We ordered from a very popular local restaurant across the street (that, on a Friday night, can have a 1.5 hour wait for a table). Our take-out was much faster.

Here's a layout I completed after carrying it around, unfinished, for approximately 4 years. Or was it 6? Not a fancy layout, but at least it's done. I made my own "pearl" brads to attach the vellum journaling with - I dipped regular silver brads in a Very Vanilla Craft Ink Pad, then used pearly Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel and embossed them. I did three layers of UTEE and they truly look like little pearl halves.

Here's another project I've been working on for almost a year. I went to a class at a local scrapbook store (that is no longer in business) for this little Christmas Memory book. The book is made from large envelopes for the pages and chipboard for the covers of the book. It has a little ribbon and magnet closure and it's all tied up with a bunch of different ribbons.

I decided to do picture of ME for this memory book. I have very few Christmas pictures from when I was a child. Here are the first two pages. The top picture on the right-hand page opens to reveal more pictures....


And there are pages that slip into the envelopes and can be pulled out by their ribbon tags. On the backs of most of the pages, I have journaling and on the fronts, pictures.

I didn't take pictures of every page. That would have been boring. I just wanted to give you an idea. Anyhow, I started the book at the class last year and did the journaling a couple of weeks later. The journaling really doesn't have anything to do with my pictures, since I really have no recollection of most of these Christmases. So I did one journaling page about holiday food, another about Christmas parties, still another about presents, one about trees, one about decorations, and on the final page I included a few of Mama's special holiday recipes that she would ALWAYS make. I just needed to put everything together with the pictures and finally finished that tonight.

Here's another Christmas layout I finished. I finally put the last pictures on the fourth copy of this layout that was for Morgan's book. I had to print out more pictures. This was from Christmas 2005. (Sorry about the flash glare.)

About this time, we were sagging a little bit and so at quarter 'til eleven, three of us made a CC's Coffeehouse run! Mmmmm....That kept us going until almost 2 a.m.! For the rest of the night, I stamped and embossed and cut out letters for another layout. Actually, for two other layouts that I'm duplicating for my girls' albums. :^D And I'm still not finished cutting out the letters.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Scrapbooking Again!

Here's another version of the same Becky Higgins sketch I used this past weekend. The colors of my patterned paper didn't come out well (and my ugly yellow countertop in the background doesn't help), but it has the two different pinks as well as a little bit of very soft lavender in the patterned paper. The title says: It's a girl...a little angel, and I'm madly in love with her. -Henry Miller. These pictures were taken of Brooke and I when Brooke was 7 weeks old. I love them. I think I'm going to add some buttons over the journaling (a letter I wrote to Brooke) and down the right side.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thoughts of Vegetables

Today I was thinking about vegetables. They can be the target of so many bad feelings. Rarely does chocolate or ice cream elicit the same strong response as Brussels sprouts or collard greens. But I am lucky - we really don't have vegetable haters in our family. Joshua doesn't eat squash or green beans. But the girls are pretty open to anything. Steve is as well. (Don't try to get Steve to eat fruit, however. He likes fruit as much as Cynthia likes fish!)

Spinach is one of those vegetables most people either love or hate. I love it. I love it raw in salads or freshly steamed or added to just about anything. I'm not a fan of it cooked to a slimy, quivering mass, however. Even my kids like spinach. When Joshua was about four years old, he told me his "dream dinner" would be a big bowl of cooked spinach with butter. Joshua did tell me in Chicago that the Navy's spinach is disgusting - he said he has definitely passed it up. Slimy and quivering is actually how he described it! :^D

So today I will pay homage to the lowly spinach leaf. (Cynthia, this one's for you!)

Chicken Spinach Casserole

This is NOT one of those recipes with precise measurements. Just wing it. It'll be great! I promise!

You need either three 10-oz boxes or two large bags of chopped, frozen spinach. Thaw it out (yes, you can put it in the microwave, but let it cool for a while), then SQUEEZE all the liquid out of it. Really. Wring it as dry as you can. Then pull it apart and lay it in the bottom of a casserole dish. I used my Pampered Chef rectangle stoneware pan.

If you can find it in your supermarket, sprinkle your wrung-out spinach with Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning.

If you can't find it, you are doomed because there is just no substitute. Move to Louisiana, quick! JUST KIDDING. I guess you could use any seasoning salt. It wouldn't be nearly as good, but it just might be tolerable. :^D You can also order some from ol' Tony himself. They sell it in the convenient 7 pound gallon size! I kid you not!

I used to work with Tony Chachere's grandson, John, many years ago. He said he was the only one who didn't work for the company. He knew he'd end up there eventually, so he wanted a few years "out in the world." But I digress. Buy some Tony's. Put it on everything. Use it like salt. It's that good.

Sprinkle the spinach with some garlic powder or a few minced cloves of garlic.

Chop a half of an onion really fine. Put that over the top of your seasoned, garlicky, wrung-out spinach. If you don't want to chop half an onion, use a whole one. Or leave it out. It'll be okay. I promise.

Then top with about 3 or 4 cups of deboned chicken. I picked up a rotisserie one from Wal-Mart, but this is a great recipe for leftover chicken - or even turkey from Thanksgiving. But not last Thanksgiving. That'd be gross!

Sprinkle the chicken with more Tony's. Yes, it's that good!

Pour some cream or half and half (whatever's in your fridge) over the casserole. I used about two cups. You want to be able to see the cream around the edges. But you don't want to flood it, either. Just have the cream covering the bottom of the dish. You could probably also use fat-free evaporated milk. I've never tried it like that, though. What fun would fat-free be? And it won't matter in the end - you'll see!

Add some Parmesan cheese over the top while we're adding stuff. I've used the shredded kind, but you can use whatever kind you like.

Now pop it in a 350° oven for 30-45 minutes or until the cream is really bubbling around the edges and the cheese is nice and melty.

Now add some more cheese - my favorite is Colby and Monterrey jack, but you can use cheddar or mozzarella or whatever. This is NOT a precise dish. But it'll be delicious anyway because it's covered in cheese and cream!

Pop it back in the oven for another 10 minutes or so - this is just to melt the cheese. Then eat it. You can see my family tucked into it before I could get a picture! There was BARELY enough for me to save for my lunch tomorrow. And this was a big pan! My family always loves this dish!

And school was MUCH better today! The timer definitely helped! We got EVERYTHING done! Hurray!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Terrific Tuesday

Okay, today wasn't much better in the school department than yesterday was. I ended the day by making up a schedule with times on it for the girls, making three copies (one for each of them and one for me) and told them to read it and be familiar with it - we were doing it on Wednesday. We'll see how Wednesday goes!

On a different note, they are almost completely done with the roof! Boy, these guys are FAST!!!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Marvelous Monday

Stewart loves playing in the dogs' water dish. I always have water on the floor because of him.

I have a friend who teaches public school. Last year she taught in an inner city junior high school. She absolutely hated every single day. But she always answered the question, "How was your day?" in an upbeat manner. Mondays were always marvelous, Tuesdays were terrific, Wednesdays were wonderful, etc. So today was "marvelous."

It was our first day of school. Sleepy, uncooperative daughters. I woke up with a headache. We did math, spelling, some of history, reading, Bible, and some language. No science. No Latin. I have already warned them - tomorrow will be different!

Brooke stepped on a roofing nail yesterday at the new house. I cannot tell you how many times Steve and I have tried to stress to both girls the importance of wearing proper footwear. And yet Brooke was over there BAREFOOT!!! She is unable to walk normally with the injury and has been bearing weight just on the toes of that foot. Her injured foot is sore and the other knee is now hurting. So I'm sure this contributed to her ill humor today.

And today they started to roof our new house! Hurray!

I also got some shots of the "poodle" shower (that will be in the utility room)

and the girls' bathtub. Brand new and it already needs to be scrubbed!

Those were installed this weekend. The carpenters will be building the deck for my whirlpool tub later this week. We'll also need stairs to put the tub for the scrapbook bathroom upstairs. Right now it is residing in the kitchen. :^D

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Beating the Heat

It has been so hot here lately. Going outside just saps your strength. It's no use to try to do anything but stay in the air conditioning and scrapbook. :^D

Oh, okay. Honestly I didn't just stay home in the air conditioning today and scrapbook. Brooke had a horse show in the heat more than an hour away. Thankfully, it didn't last all day. Brooke got second place in pole bending. Hurray, Brooke! Great job!

I started this layout last night and finished it when we returned from the horse show. More pictures from last November's Birthday Club. The journaling reads: "Quick and Easy Directions. 1) Gather friends on or around date of birth for fun and festivities. 2) Mix in great food, loads of laughter, scrapbooking, and, of course, CHOCOLATE! 3) Simmer for at least 12 hours or until partied out. 4) Repeat as often as birthdays arise. Yield: 1 Birthday Club." The journaling was inspired by my SIL's invitation to this event.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Keeping Me Company

This evening I needed to drive to the New Orleans airport to pick up my sister-in-law. My friend was going to go with me, but she was too tired. So to keep me from falling asleep on the drive, Delilah opted to come along. She really loves car rides and is a great traveler. She prefers riding in the front seat, but willingly allowed my SIL to sit there on the way home.

Before we started our trip, we went to Starbucks for a raspberry mocha frappucino (no, it's not South Beach friendly and shame on you for even bringing that up). The barrista just had a fit over Delilah sitting up in the front seat like a lady. Delilah is so proper. That's why my stepmom ALWAYS calls her "Miss Delilah."

Delilah is such a love. I really adore her. She was my first Standard Poodle and won my heart in an instant. There's never been a better buddy than my 'Lila. I always tell her she's my heart.

August Hostess Club

Last night was August's Scrapbooking Hostess Club. Before heading off to Joshua's PIR, I picked up some scrapbooking magazines for reading material. Scrapbooks, Etc. had a one page layout with this paper pieced bird and embellishments and I thought, "That's very neat!" I bought the magazine with the idea of doing it with my class. I used Stampin' Up!'s retired Enchante' patterned paper and a new stamp set, Baroque Motifs, for the little vanilla swirls on the chocolate chip background paper.
These pictures are from one of my Birthday Club get-togethers. The journaling reads: "A good friend is the purest of God's gifts, for it is a love that has no exchange of payment." - Francis Farmer. The Birthday Club celebrated E.'s and C.'s birthdays. We started with a tea party luncheon at C.'s, and then moved the party to S.M. Scrapbook Store for a private crop. Thirteen hours of pure girly fun! November 18, 2006.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Fur and Feathers

This morning my "curly girls" went to the hair dressers'. Abrial rides up front because she gets carsick in the backseat. Yes, I know that's weird. What can I say. I'd rather stick her in the front than clean up doggy yuck in the back.

That meant Brooke was delegated to the back. She wasn't quite happy about it, but made the best of a bad situation.

I was going to spend the day cleaning my house and finalizing my layout for my scrapbooking class tomorrow night. Then my MIL called to tell me about this fantastic close-out place about 45 minutes away. I dropped everything, got the girls in the car, and away we went.

They had a huge shipment of Macy's close-outs that arrived. Our tally: two full size European goose down comforters for the girls' rooms (we have duvet covers for their new rooms, but no duvets), three goose down pillows, two Calvin Klein fiber fill pillows that are firm for shams, two contour pillows, a 7-piece bed set for our guest bedroom, and a throw pillow. Total price: $200.82. Full price on all the items would have come to over $1500! WOW!!! And we definitely needed pillows! I actually still need more and will definitely go back to this place. One of the goose down pillows was marked original price $200. For a pillow?!?!?! We got it for $8! I just love bargains!

Then it was off to the grocery store for essentials like bread, milk, and eggs. Next to the barn to clean stalls.

Punkin is doing much better. Right before we left, she also had a corneal ulcer, necessitating another vet visit, shots, eye staining, multiple eye ointments. And while we were GONE, my horse, Lady, was stung by a wasp and her neck swelled up! Ka-ching! Another vet visit, steroids, anti-inflammatory medicines. I'm going to have to put up one of those jars with the sad picture on it at local stores to pay for our horsie medical bills. Gee whiz!

Then to the groomer's to pick up the "girls." They looked so nice, all with bright pink bows that match their summery collars. :^D No pictures, though. When I got home, I hurried to mow at least a little bit before the sun went down. When I came in, it was too dark to get good inside shots of dark poodles. Perhaps tomorrow. But I'm sure bows will get lost before then.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

4-H Wednesday

Today was our homeschool 4-H meeting. I am definitely NOT back in the swing of things since coming back from Chicago. I'm still exhausted from the 16 hour drive (and that doesn't include stopping time for gas, potty breaks, food, etc). I did something I almost never do - dropped the girls off. I have always stayed for the 4-H meeting, but today our tubs and showers were being delivered, so I went back to the new house for that.

No pictures - everything is still boxed up. We did find out that we're going to have to take down a wall to get the shower unit in the "poodle bathroom." There's no way it'll fit through the door. Standard poodle sized showers are pretty big, you know. :^D

The animals must have missed us while we were gone. Stewart was especially glad to snuggle between Steve and I again. He even lay still for me to give him kitty kisses.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Bricks, Bricks, Bricks

NOT our house - one of the million we looked at - all the brick styles are looking the same now!

We arrived home a 3:30 a.m. this morning, slept about 5 hours, and had a million and one things to do. First was laundry. Second was actually more pressing - WE NEED TO PICK OUT BRICK FOR OUR HOUSE!!! We thought we had decided on one until we saw it actually on a house. Deciding on a brick is a difficult thing. You can look at the samples in the showroom, but it looks completely different on a whole house. And the same brick can look different from one house to the next, depending on the mortar color or brick lot or even the way the bricklayer lays the brick. This is confusing.

Once you decide you like one brick from one company, you go to another company that has totally different brick. You see different samples on the wall, go to different subdivisions to see it on different houses, think you like one, but then you can't remember if you like it better than the first brick in the first subdivision from the first company.

Finally I just said THAT ONE!!! JUST GET THAT ONE!!! So much for decisions. Now to decide on the mortar color.....

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Last Day

This morning was clear and beautiful and our drive into Chicago was relatively traffic-free. Joshua decided he wanted to go to Shedd Aquarium today. I was surprised, as he's been a number of times to the Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans. But I'm always game, so off we went.

I got quite a few shots of the city skyline. This was just one photo, but I got a close up series to do along the bottom of a 2-page scrapbook spread. Am I the only one who takes pictures to fit the layout in her brain? :^D

After parking (and paying $20 just to park - I think I've discovered the key to Chicago's city funding - Friday's parking cost $25 for 3 hours!!!), we walked down to the water. Morgan was a bit nervous, as there was no rail. She didn't want to fall into that cold water!

Here's a great shot of Steve looking like a tourist with the camera bag (but he's being a good sport and holding it for ME) and Joshua looking quite "kewl" in his new Oakleys.

The Grand Cayman Blue Iguana - it's the most endangered iguana in the world. They are really quite interesting looking.

We ate at the restaurant in the aquarium, Soundings. The view was lovely. The food...not so much. Everyone's order was wrong. Or either tasted bad. But Joshua received applause and thanks for serving our country by the wait staff. It was a very humbling moment for him. We were very proud.

After our bad lunch, we watched the dolphin show. I love dolphins! They are such intelligent creatures! And so cute, too!

Morgan took this shot of a puffer fish. I find puffers amusing. They look like they are holding their breath - which is even funnier to me. A fish holding its breath! LOL!

This was a picture Steve was attempting to take outside the aquarium. Only Joshua seems to be cooperating.

I know Joshua was probably getting tired of pictures. But that was just too bad. :^D

I loved how Morgan was always looking up at her brother with adoring eyes. Or touching him. All weekend long. So sweet.

After this, we left the city to bring Joshua back to the base. He had to be back earlier today. Everyone was saying goodbye to their sailors and it was kind of sad. I teared up (of course), but tried not to cry. At least until we drove off.

As my son walked off, never looking back, I was reminded of the moment when he was dedicated to the Lord at 10 weeks old. The elderly gentleman who did the dedication, Brother D. Stroud, Royal Ranger District Commander whom Steve had known almost all his life, held him high above his head and prayed, "Oh, God. This baby is all You have to make a man out of." It seems only yesterday he was that baby. And today, my baby is a man.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

My Sailor

Today Joshua wanted to go to the Gurnee Mills Mall. I think he just enjoyed being out without someone yelling at him. :^D
His big purchase was a pair of Oakley sunglasses. He looked quite dapper in them. Hmm....maybe I should say he looked "kewl."
Around lunch time, he and Steve went to the mall theater to see The Bourne Ultimatum. I thought that might be a little much for Morgan :::snort::: so we went to see Ratatouille. It was quite good. Steve and Josh enjoyed their movie as well.
After we had shopped from one end of the mall to the other (and tried out most of the large boats for size at Bass Pro Shop), it was time for supper. Joshua wanted to eat at Joe's Crab Shack. Steve and I both ordered the Crab Daddy Feast with BBQ seasoning. Morgan shared with me and, boy, can she put away the crabs! Next time I'm getting my own! Joshua had shrimp alfredo, which tickled Steve and me to no end! We thought he'd want crab! But I guess the thought of cleaning crab in working whites was a scary one and he decided to play it safe!
We reluctantly brought The Boy back to the Navy base for 8 p.m. in time for him to walk back to his "ship." Tomorrow is our last day with him. :^(

Joshua's Pass-In-Review

Our day started very early - at 5 a.m. We got up and got ready for Joshua's Navy Boot Camp graduation - called Pass-in-Review. We took the hotel shuttle to the base at 6:45 a.m. to avoid the problems with parking and vehicle searches. The graduation didn't start until 9 a.m., but we did get a good seat. And, no, we were definitely NOT the first people there!

This is a picture of Joshua's division. He is in the second row from the left, sixth person in line not counting the very tall guy standing a little apart out front. He is looking toward the "aisle." He was being handed his rain gear because he had liberty after the ceremony was over.

The ceremony was very nice and I did get teary a couple of times. I always tear up at the National Anthem and just about anything military gets me. I'm so humbled by the men and women in our armed forces and by their sacrifice. When the graduates recited the Navy code, I thought, "Both my dads (adopted and biological) made that same pledge." And now, my son. I was very proud.

Morgan was SO glad to see her brother again. She held Joshua's hand most of the day. Here they are in the back seat of the Suburban on our way into the city.

Joshua wanted something he had never had for lunch - authentic, Chicago-style pizza. We went to D'Agostino's Pizza in Wrigleyville. It was delicious. We had a Gorgonzola Walnut Salad, an appetizer sampler platter, and Josh and I split a Chicago-style spinach and cheese pizza. It was like no pizza I've ever had, but it was definitely yummy.

Here's Wrigley Field, right around the corner from the restaurant.

Then we went to Navy Pier. Steve, Joshua, and I rode the huge ferris wheel. I love ferris wheels. Steve - not so much. He doesn't like heights. But he was a trooper. He even smiled. :^D

The view from the top of the ferris wheel was AMAZING! Here's what the ferris wheel looked like from the ground....

Morgan and Aunt Susie rode the swings. *I* don't like "'round and 'round" rides. They mess with my equilibrium. Can you find Morgan waving for the camera?

How about if I zoom in?

The day had started a little overcast, but cleared up. The skyline still was a little foggy and hazy, though.

Here we are inside the Crystal Gardens. It was lovely in here.

My sailor.....

Morgan just couldn't let her brother go. It was so sweet. I kind of felt the same way. I kept touching him like he was going to disappear any minute - or like it was a dream.

After we had seen all we wanted at Navy Pier, we went over to Millennium Park to walk around a bit. Because we hadn't walked enough at Navy Pier. :^D My legs were still stiff from Starved Rock.

Here's the Cloud Gate sculpture at Millennium Park, commonly known as "The Bean." Very interesting! I loved that you could see the whole skyline in it!

Here's a picture of us being reflected in The Bean. Kind of neat!

And here's the Crown Fountain. It was neat to watch! As well as all the kids (of all sizes and ages) playing in the water!

Joshua, however, wasn't about to get in that water!

We had a very long day. But it was loads of fun and great to be with Josh again. He requested McDonald's for supper before we dropped him back off at the base.