It’s official!

The patio is done! Check out the pictures of our new patio in the photo gallery under “The House”. Next step…make grass grow without Baxter digging it all up!

Almost Finished!

If you’ve talked to either of us, “almost finished” is the phrase we’ve been using for quite awhile now with the patio. It seems so close…yet so far from being completely finished.

To help understand the process we are (and aren’t making) I’ve taken a few pictures along the way and they are now posted in photos, under the “House” album. The big news from this weekend (so far) is that the stump has finally been removed! I have pictures of what it looks like now…and I know that Dan toke some pictures of what it used to look like, but I can’t find them. When he gets home I’ll have to find out where they are and post them as well so you have a frame of reference for how much different it is!

This past week I got a patio set from JC Penney – at 70% off!!! Can’t beat that deal! Everything else that I liked at other stores was bout $2,300, so when Dan saw this one for $200 he called immediately so I could go pick it up.

We really should get finished with the cap for the retaining wall this weekend. That’s just taking longer than we expected due to the fact that the blades go dull every three cuts.

And, of course, I’ve also been snapping photos of Baxter…so be sure to check out his album so you can see how big he has gotten!

Busy Couple of Weeks

Well it’s been a couple of busy weeks since the Chicago vacation. The next week we put down the patio blocks. Hopefully we’ll get this thing done soon since we’ve been working on it since April. We hope to fill in-between the blocks this weekend, and get the retaining wall in as well. Luckily the retaining wall is only about three feet tall, so I’m hoping it won’t take as long as I think it will. After that I’ll just have to build some steps and we’ll be ready to put some grass around it. There’s also a stump next to it that we need to get rid of. Anyways, there’s still a lot of stuff to do around the yard before winter comes.

One of the guy’s I work with, Ken, traded some drywall work for working on my car. He just bought a house and was looking to re-do two of the bedrooms before he moved in. I’ve spent the last few days over there after work, a couple hours a night. It’s a pretty simple deal, It’s taking longer than I expected though because of softball two nights a week.

Softball has been going well. I play a lot of second base, which is nice because it’s a position I enjoy. Early in the year I played right field, but I was quickly dumped from that position because…well, I suck at playing the outfield. Recently I’ve been playing some third base because of guys being gone for games. It’s definatly a lot tougher to play since most of the batters get more power going to thrid then they do going to second. The grounders have a lot more heat on them. It’ll just take some getting use to, but I’ve done fine so far at it.

Our team started off really hot, we didn’t lose a game the first month, but lately our bats have went quiet and we’re not scoring many runs. We’ve lost games, 5-4, 3-2, 4-3, 6-4 which is outragious in softball since most teams average 12 runs a game. We’re good defensivley which keeps us in games, but until the bats come around we’ll have a hard time winning games.

Anyways, that’s enough about softball, nobody cares about that, hehe. Baxter has really been catching the frisbee lately, he reminds me of the dogs you see on TV sometimes. He’ll jump up in the air and twist his body in some wierd way to catch it, it’s sweet to watch. A few times he’s went up and missed the frisbee with his mouth only to land and run under the frisbee and catch it to hit the ground. That’s fun to watch!

5 Year Anniversary

Well with 5 years of marriage comes a new design for the web site. I hope you like it because it’ll probably be another 5 years before you get to see a new one. 🙂

We spent our anniversary in Chicago over the weekend. We left on Friday afternoon on a flight that left around 6:00cst. We got into Chicago and hopped on the bus to take us to our hotel. We were staying at the Marriott all weekend. We spent about 15 minutes in the hotel before we went back down to go back to the airport so we could get onto the “Orange” train which heads toward downtown.

We successfully found our way about a block from the sears tower at around 9:10. We knew the tower closed at 9:30 so we hustled our way over there, but found ourselves at the wrong door. The guard told us where the correct door was, and this time we ran. We made it to the door at 9:28…they must run on bar time because they were closed.

Although a bit bummed we made our way back toward the train. We found a nice pizza shop called Giordano’s which advertised deep dish pizza. Figuring this was something we better try we went inside. The small pizza we ordered was more than enough for the two of us, and was as good as it looks. I had no regrets on making this stop. Fantastic. It was around 10:30 so we made our way back to the train which took about 30-40 minutes from downtown to the airport. Then another 10 minutes back to the hotel.

We woke up on Saturday and skipped breakfast to try to make sure we would get to Wrigley Field on time. We had tickets to the Cubs v. the Milwaukee Brewers starting at 12:05. We had to switch from the “Orange” train to the “Red” one, which was a subway train. The trip went by pretty fast, and only lasted about an hour. We got off the train and made our way to the first Cub merchandise shop we saw. I was on a mission to find a Cub’s hat before the game.

After finding a hat, we made our way across the street to Wrigley. It was about 15 minutes to game time and the gates were all still closed up. After shuffling around for 10 minutes Rachelle went up to a “not-so-nice” guard and asked why no-one was heading inside. She informed us the game was pushed back to 3:00.

Wrigleyville, which is the area surrounding Wrigley Field has it’s fair share of bars and grills. Rachelle and I made our way to one of the bars to have a lunch. It wasn’t any different than any other bar food, nothing special on this occasion. We still had plenty of time to walk around Wrigleyville before the gates opened at 1:30. Another Cubs shop was our first stop where Rachelle got a cubs shirt so that she’d fit in with the crowd.

It wasn’t too long after the gates opened when we went into Wrigley Field. There was plenty of time to take pictures, watch the Brewers warm up, and work our way around the stadium. When the game started we found ourselves about 17 rows back from the Cubs dugout. We must carry bad luck with us because the Brewers managed to start off scoring and never seemed to stop. They won by a score of 13-4 giving the Cubs their only loss in their last nine games. What luck, we go to the one game they lose. Oh well, it was still a fun time anyways.

It was about 5:30 when we headed back toward downtown. We got of the subway near Michigan Ave. which is known for it’s great shopping I hear. Making our way down Michigan Ave. there were plenty of shops for any size pocket book, from Sax’s Fifth Avenue to Walgreens. I just thought of it as a 10 block long mall. The stores were just lined up both sides of the street.

Navy Pier was our next destination at around 7:00. We walked from Michigan Ave. toward the pier when we saw a boat taxi. The taxi happened to take you from Navy Pier to about a block away from the Sears Tower. The boat taxi ride took about 20 or 25 minutes down the Chicago River where we were able to see even more of the fantastic Chicago architecture. If you want to see architecture, this really is a great place to go. We definitely took our fair share of architecture pictures.

After the boat taxi we went to a chop house and ordered a New York Strip for me, and a Fillet Mignon for Rachelle. The steaks were great, I know Rachelle said this was her favorite meal of the trip, but I still liked the Pizza better. We sat out on the patio and did some “people watching” which is always fun.

Around 9:00 we made our way over to the Sears Tower, this time we made it before it closed. The view was as nice as expected, and makes you wonder if Chicago ever stops. The lights went on for miles. I’ve heard rumors of the Chicago traffic nightmare, but without having rented a car we couldn’t really tell how bad it was, until you saw the log-jams from the top of the tower. Every road had cars packed on it for miles. After the tower trip we took the train home to end the day.

On Sunday we checked out of the hotel, but left our bags in the hotel storage room. It was a little inconvenient, but better than hauling them around with us all day. Onto the Orange train toward downtown we went again. Our first stop was a Target that I spotted from the Sears Tower the night before. If there’s a Target in a town with an MLB team you can get jerseys anywhere from $25 to $40, which is a fantastic deal compared to the $70-$200 they usually cost. My mom bought me an Atlanta Braves jersey when she was in Atlanta, so I figured I should find a Cubs jersey in a Chicago Target. Luckily I was right, and was able to find a jersey there.

After Target, we made our way to Millennium Park near the Lake Michigan shoreline. The Taste of Chicago was going on. They had music, some rides, and games set up, but mainly they had a large selections from different Chicago restaurants. We were surprised at how many different things you could try for the price. It was a pretty good time.

Once we walked through the Taste we walked up the Lake Michigan shoreline, past all the yachts toward Navy Pier. Since we were unable to see much of the pier the night before because of the boat taxi we decided to make our way back out there. The pier is lined with all sorts of shops on one side, and with boats set up for boat tours along the other side. We walked all the way down the pier, then on the way back we were able to catch one of the shoreline boat tours. It was a pretty neat boat ride, and gave quite a bit of information about Chicago’s history.

When the boat ride ended we walked back toward Michigan Avenue, then south across the Chicago river heading back toward the Taste of Chicago. There are some pretty neat fountains to look at around the park and that’s how we pretty much ended our time in downtown Chicago. Before we left Chicago, we decided to end the trip the way it started, which was to get another deep dish pizza from the same restaurant we got our first one from.

Don’t forget to check out the pictures from Chicago in the Photo Gallery.