Saturday, May 30, 2009

Water Fun!

This past Christmas, my sister-in-law gave V a rigid kiddie pool. I decided that, since we already had two inflatable baby pools, we might as well pull out the new pool, too, and have a baby pool party in our backyard. Earlier this week, I was sweeping out the garage, and I realized that V really needed something to keep him entertained. I love the fact that we have a water faucet and a hose right in our garage. I inflated one of the baby pools, drug out some pool toys and V's Elmo sprinkler, and let him have at it. He loved it, and I realized that our driveway would be a much better spot for the pool party than our backyard, especially after all the rain we've had lately. For the pool party, I filled up the big, rigid pool and the two baby pools, and the Elmo sprinkler was turned on full-force. I also provided a bucket of water and some paintbrushes, so the kids could water paint on the driveway. There was sidewalk chalk for them to use, as well, but I think it just ended up getting all wet (and eaten, by some of the smaller babies). I provided the standard, long, skinny ice pops for the kids and some gourmet, raspberry-mint ice pops for the moms (here's a link to Giada's Italian Ice Pops). Some of the moms even packed a picnic lunch, and we sat out in the front yard or in the driveway to eat. It was so much fun, and I plan on doing more water fun days, this summer. (Below are some photos of V enjoying his pools. For privacy purposes, I'm not going to post pictures from the pool party.)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

And All That Jazz....

We're back from our vacations to Chicago and Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg. B and I had such a lovely time in the Windy City. I kept myself very busy while he attended his conference lectures. I discovered on my own that Millennium Park was only two blocks away from our hotel and a very short walk from there directly to the lake! We had a great time walking the Magnificent Mile on Michigan Ave. and window shopping along the way. I took the time to get a facial at our hotel spa. It lasted TWO HOURS and consisted of two different masques, a hand massage complete with paraffin gloves, a foot massage, a scalp massage, and eyebrow waxing. The girl who did my facial was simply amazing. If you're ever in Chicago, I highly recommend Spa Chakra! And, The Palmer House Hilton, where it's located, is such a lovely hotel. After my facial, I enjoyed a high English tea in the gorgeous lobby of the Palmer House. The tea included an exquisite Earl Grey loose tea (with milk, of course!) and a selection of mini cucumber sandwiches, scones, and delicious petit fours. I took the bus one morning to the Museum of Science and Industry to witness firsthand "Harry Potter: The Exhibition". It's a definite must see if you're in Chicago, especially for any Harry Potter fan. The props, costumes, and set decorations on display were beautiful, and I couldn't believe how much detail was put into each movie. Though the exhibit wasn't huge by any means, I stayed in it for about an hour and a half, taking notes and sketching details from some of the costumes. I spent the rest of my day walking around the other exhibits in the museum, which were also pretty amazing. That evening, B and I were able to meet up with some of the doctors he worked with in Ohio, one of his old attendings and two of the girls who were in his residency year. We had a wonderful dinner, and it was so nice to catch up with people we hadn't seen in a while. On B's final day of his conference, he decided to spend the day with me at the Art Institute of Chicago, since it was also only two blocks away from our hotel. I got to see my favorite painting, "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" by Georges Seurat (think: the painting Cameron stood in front of in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"), as well as many other great works of art from a wide range of time periods. Afterward, we decided to see Chicago from the SkyDeck of the Sears Tower. It's such a lovely view, and you can see for miles in all directions! That night, we had the best meal of the trip at Moto Restaurant. It was an amazing experience, and I wished I'd taken pictures, but I'm not sure if it would have been allowed. The chef specializes in molecular gastronomy and "playing with food". To understand that, you'll have to watch this clip on YouTube. It was the perfect way to end our trip in Chicago. V had fun staying with my parents, and B and I had fun enjoying some time alone together. We ended our week in Pigeon Forge with my in-laws at their cabin in the mountains. We helped them do their annual massive cleaning, and then, we did some great shopping at one of the local outlet malls and my favorite pottery shop, Alewine Pottery. Mr. Alewine is a true artist, and he makes beautiful, functional pieces from clay. I brought home a kitchen utensil holder, a sugar bowl, a creamer, an oil lamp (a gift from my in-laws for my birthday), a batter bowl complete with a whisk, and two mugs. I've used just about every piece so far! I didn't get any pics while in Pigeon Forge, but we had a good time. I also ended up meeting a Twitter friend who happens to live in the area and her husband. He's a doctor as well, so we had a lot to talk about. He and B talked about their occupations, while she and I gabbed about our family lives. All in all, we had a great week. I'm glad to be back home, but I'm also happy that we were able to make so many lovely memories.

The front and back pictures of me in the brown top and skirt were taken after our dinner at Moto. I made the top over the course of several sewing lessons, and I made the skirt at home on my own. I was so happy to be able to wear something I've made in public, and the ensemble worked very well for our outing! I'm looking forward to my next sewing lessons, during which I'll be making a black cloak for myself and a blue one with sleeves for my husband. I've also got an idea (and fabric) for a costume I'll be making for GenCon. Should be fun!