Thursday, December 30, 2010


We were right...Grant was up at 5:45 again. We tried hard to get him back to sleep...but he was ready to go. We got ready and walked a few blocks to a corner bakery for breakfast! Very yummy. Back to the hotel to finish packing and we headed out of Chicago to Legoland.

Grant LOVES toothbrushes...he thought this was pretty cool.

Chicago made out of legos...WAY COOL!

Grant played with some legos...they were everywhere!
Andy and Seth rode on a ride

We also saw a 4D movie...went in a simulated lego making factory, went on a dragon ride and battled the crowds. It was a very cool place..but they were not designed to be as busy as they were. There was no way to form organized was so hard to even move around and there was a 3 hour wait for the lego building. We knew it would probably be busy over break...but it took away so much of the fun of it. The line waiting to get in when we left was crazy! But it was fun and Seth and Grant enjoyed it!
We headed home...hoping to find a place to eat. Well...we got into BAD traffic coming back through Chicago...and there was NO option for a family friendly place to eat. We gobbled up the few snacks we had...tried pacifying Grant...and finally made it to a Red Robin in Valparaiso. We did make an earlier stop at Wendy's...but based on the food/garbage on the dining room floor opted to get back on the road and push our luck.
It was a LONG LONG drive home...but we made it...glad to be back in our warm and cozy house!
We had a great time...the boys were SUPER, the weather cooperated (it never rained on us or was bitterly cold).


Due to the fact that Grant was up EARLY...I mean WAY EARLY...we had showered, dressed, eaten breakfast at a deli and walked over a mile to Willis (fka Sear) Tower by 8:30! We soon found out it didn't open till we lucked upon the money museum at the Federal Reserve. It was very cool...gave you lots of souvenirs (shredded money & Pictures) and it was FREE!
We got our "Hands on" a million dollars.... admired over $50,000 in coins in the money pit

saw a million dollars in dollar bills...if you would stack a million one dollar bills on top of each other...they would be 1.5 times as tall as the Willis Tower!

It was a pleasant stop and time killer before heading back to the Willis Tower. It took a while to get through the line, security, tickets, etc. (Grant actually fell asleep in his stroller for 90 minutes). But...we finally made it to the 103rd floor...on a beautiful morning with a great view.

and we stood on the glass ledge. It was a glass box that hung out over the edge! Seth was NOT afraid. It took Andy and me a few minutes to edge our way out. It was a cool perspective...but you soon realized how much trust you put in man!

couldn't find the right setting on the camera with the sun glaring in!

Grant finally woke up...he wasn't scared either!
We stopped for a yummy pizza lunch at Giordano's and took the long walk back. Our hotel was right next to the round condos/parking garage which made it real easy to find our hotel. Back to the hotel for a nap since we had all been up so early! I think everyone caught a few winks except for Grant! We bundled up again and headed down Michigan Ave and the Magnificent Mile. It was so many people...bustling down the avenue! We walked all the way to the Hancock Tower...went inside to see a model train set-up and then walked all the way back looking for the free trolley to Navy Pier. Miles later (and wouldn't you know, Grant caught his nap in the stroller again, amidst the noise and lights). We finally found the trolley and rode it to Navy Pier. It was packed as was hard to even push the stroller. We walked around and then grabbed dinner in the PACKED food court. Lesson learned...STAY AWAY from Navy Pier during Christmas time....except it does give you a cool view of the city...especially at night.
We rode the trolley back to State St. and grabbed some coffee/hot chocolate at Starbucks..cause seriously, there is one on EVERY corner. Seth had wanted to ride the Andy took Grant back to the hotel and Seth and I went for a joy ride on the subway!
We transferred lines and rode the "loop." Actually...we rode it a couple times cause at one point we got on the wrong color train. But with the help of a friendly lady...we got going the right direction and completed our tour. Seth loved it...he thought it was totally cool that we were above ground and below ground too!

Back to the hotel and we all hit the sack...knowing our alarm clock would sound early again!
I would have loved to have a Family Circus drawing of all the walking we did today. I was completely amazed at Seth...we had to walk MILES and he never once complained! He is definitely a big city boy!


We packed up and headed out of town around 11...stopped for a quick lunch and arrived in Chicago very easily (thanks to our new Garmin!) We checked into our fancy dancy hotel in downtown (thanks to Priceline). After moving the $50 bottle of vodka and $3 bag of M&M's off the dresser (YIKES!) we all rested (mainly due to the fact that Grant didn't sleep all the way...he seems to sense when exciting things are going to happen).

We walked to Rainforest Cafe for dinner. We had gone there 2 years ago when we were last in Chicago and (of course) Seth remembered and wanted to go again. It's a very kid friendly place and we enjoyed a great dinner and the cool scenery!

Then...we hit the streets of Chicago! We walked down State Street and checked out Macy's.

including the very cool Christmas tree up on the 8th floor and then rode the escalators all the way down!

and of course the window display. This year it was "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, made completely out of paper!

After a quick stop for a treat on the way back...we were back in the hotel, bathed and snuggled in our cushy beds.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas with Grandma

After a few hours of playing with our new Christmas toys...Seth was loving his new DS from Santa...we headed down to Portland to spent Christmas with Grandma & Ted....we always stop and "see" Kate....gee I miss that little girl.and then of course there were more presents....Grandma outfitted both boys with complete Colts attire! Grant got a new basketball goal...which he LOVES!

We ate dinner....and had a birthday cake for Jesus...

opened Grandma's stockings...which is another Christmas in itself for all of usate some more food...cause that's what you do at Christmas...and Grandma cooks for 100and tried or best to get a picture under the tree...Grant was NOT cooperating
We spent the night and then had one more Christmas with Ted's family on Sunday afternoon. We got home just in time for the 2nd half of the Colts game... a little bit of playing and we all hit the sack! Christmas was over...but it was GOOD!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Eve & Morning

Things are pretty calm right now...Grant and Andy are napping and Seth is relaxing with a video. It's been a crazy 24 hours.

Yesterday we spent Christmas Eve with my family. It's always guaranteed fun with the cousins. Seth got several Mario Wii games and Grant got maracas and a drum. We ate our traditional spare rib dinner. Nana and Oompa kept the little ones while the rest of us went to church. Then...home for reindeer food, the Bible Story, Twas the Night Before Christmas and of course putting cookies out for Santa.

I worked on Christmas brunch and filled stockings while Andy assembled a couple toys.

Seth was up at 6:30 for the day on Christmas morning...Grant was soon up at 6:45. Seth was thrilled to find a DS & 3 games from Santa. Grant, not quite sure what was going one, found a whistle seat to climb on a Little People Garage. We tackled stockings and more presents before Nana & Oompa came for brunch. After casserole, fruit salad and those yummy cinnamon rolls, we exchanged gifts with my parents.

And now... a few hours to relax before heading to Portland to spend time with Andy's family.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Laymans

In the 12 months of 2010 our True Lord gave to us...
12 months of blessings
each and every month brought us joy...especially from our 2 sweet boys and the amazing legacy of Kate
11 people beaching
We spent a week on the beach in Cape May, NJ with Krista's family
10 months of teaching
Andy survived severe budget cuts and continues to teach 7th grade social studies
9 members voting
The Kate's Kart board of directors applied for grants, voted and Krista is now a paid employee of Kate's Kart.
8 years of loving
We celebrated our 8th anniversary (kid less) with a 3 day escape in a cabin in the woods in Hocking Hills, Ohio
7 months of cleaning
Andy continues his spring, summer and fall work taking care of an association swimming pool
6 candles burning
Seth celebrated his 6th birthday with a friend party at Chuck E. Cheese
5 days of Kindergarten
Seth started Kindergarten...he goes in the morning and is excelling in all areas
4 decades living
Krista turned 40 and celebrated with 4 high school friends with a weekend getaway to Holland, Michigan
3 rolling Karts
Kate's Kart added 3 new hospitals bringing the total to 13 Karts and has passed out over 23,000 new books
2 ice cream socials
We celebrated the success of Kate's Kart and Kate's birthday with our 2nd annual community-wide ice cream social
and a baby in a birthday cake
Grant turned 1 and celebrated in style while digging full force into his birthday cake

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of lights!

I think we're all (finally) for the most part better. I'm still a little weary to give Grant milk...just gave him 2oz at dinner. He kept that down so will try more tomorrow. We finished our shopping yesterday...presents are all wrapped (minus 1 that better come in the mail)...goodies are baked and being given away. Barring a quick trip to the grocery to get a few things for Christmas Eve and Christmas day brunch...we are ready for Christmas. With all the presents under the tree...Seth can hardly wait. I really want to work hard the next 2 days in keeping the focus on the birth of Christ and away from the presents...but that's a chore with a 6 year old.

Tonight after dinner...we drove around and looked at lights. I had heard about a house on Electric Avenue...googled it... and it was well worth the drive into town! I say...either go classy...or go over the top tacky...and this guy went TACKY! I've never seen anything like this...he had it all divided into themes...nutcrackers, Santas, carolers, nativity...he even had all the lights choreographed to music on his own radio station...Seth and I loved it! I can't even imagine storing, setting up or tearing down! Grateful for others who make the effort to bring us joy. If you live in town...make the trip to Electric Avenue (near Broadway & Taylor).

Since we were downtown...we bundled up...saw Santa and walked down to the wreath. Grant loved it and kept pointing...Seth is always up for an adventure.

I love the expression on his face...he was so excited to see the lights

Tomorrow...I'm spending the morning at the Kate's Kart storage shed (it's a mess) then Andy and I are taking Seth to a movie! Should be a fun (and hopefully productive) day!

All Grown Up

We were WAY overdue for a haircut for our little man. His hair is SO fine...but it's slowly gaining body. When the curls come out it's so cute...but most of the time it's a little crazy. Today...our great friend Gayle took the challenge. We armed him with a dum dum and bribed him with Whoppers...and we got it done. It turned out so cute...and now he looks like a little man! Besides 2 quick around the ear trims...this was really his first major haircut!