Family Alive

Brian, Kristine, Analise, and Josiah Toone

Archive for August, 2007

This is Holy Ground

31st August 2007

A man named Moses was tending his sheep in the land of Midian when he comes upon a burning bush.  He moves closer to see more and hears the voice of God, speaking to him about his people and their need to be delivered from the land of Egypt.  God tells Moses to take off his sandals, for the ground he is standing on is holy.  Moses has been tending sheep in this region for forty years.  How many times has he passed by this spot?  How many times has he stood in this exact place?  And now God tells him the ground is holy?

Has the ground been holy and Moses is just becoming aware of it for the first time?

Do you and I walk on holy ground all the time, but we are moving so fast and returning so many calls and writing so many emails and having such long lists to get done that we miss it?

Remember Jacob’s words after his dream?  (Genesis 28:10-17)

"God is in this place, and I wasn’t aware of it."

(from Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell, movement 3 "True")

As mundane/tiring/overwhelming/frustrating my life seems to be at times, this is holy ground. 

Laying with Analise as she lays down for her nap, sucking her thumb, rubbing my arm, drifting off to sleep.

Sweeping the kitchen floor for the 8th time in a day, cleaning off the high chair for the 4th time in a day, picking up puzzle pieces/legos/blocks/train tracks at the end of the day.

Watching Analise’s beginner ballet class with Josiah giggling, hanging on my leg.

Holding Josiah close at 4am when he’s woken for the 3rd time.

Struggling to wake up with early-bird kids at 6:15am after Josiah’s been awake over and over again.

Watching Analise and Josiah romp on the couch, praying they don’t fall off and land on their heads.

Folding laundry, putting towels away, sorting socks for my sweet family.

God is in this place, and I am frequently unaware of it.  It’s up to me to realize He’s here in each moment with me and to see these everyday experiences as holy.  When I do, it lifts my mind from being immersed in the boring of my life to looking up to His holiness. 

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Racing Update / Data Junkies Post

29th August 2007

Well, lots has been happening in the racing scene since I last posted about my racing. It has been a long, long season and I only have 3 races left on my calendar, which I’ve included below:

Date Race Category Results
25-Feb GSMR Training Race A 2nd
4-Mar   GSMR Training Race A   4th
10-Mar South Knoxville RR Pro/1/2 9th
11-Mar   GSMR Training Race A   7th
17-Mar Lascassas Road Race Pro/1/2 2nd
17-Mar   Lascassas Time Trial Pro/1/2   15th
24-Mar Tour de Tuscaloosa Pro/1/2/3 7th
25-Mar   Tour de Tuscaloosa Pro/1/2/3 3rd
15-Apr Raccoon Mountain RR Pro/1/2 22nd
20-Apr   Mississippi Gran Prix Stage Race (Crit) Pro/1/2   7th
21-Apr Mississippi Gran Prix Stage Race (RR) Pro/1/2 6th
21-Apr   Mississippi Gran Prix Stage Race (TT) Pro/1/2   30th
22-Apr Mississippi Gran Prix Stage Race (CR) Pro/1/2 5th
22-Apr   Mississippi Gran Prix Stage Race (GC) Pro/1/2   6th
28-Apr AThens Twilight Pro/1 Crit Pro/1 raced
29-Apr   Roswell Pro/1 Crit Pro/1   29th
5-May Sunny King Pro/1 Crit Pro/1 raced
6-May   Decatur Pro/1 Crit Pro/1   45th
25-May Edgar Soto Stage Race TT Pro/1/2/3 53rd
26-May   Edgar Soto Stage Race Circuit Pro/1/2/3 17th
27-May Edgar Soto Stage Race Crit Pro/1/2/3 18th
28-May   Edgar Soto Stage Race RR Pro/1/2/3 17th
28-May Edgar Soto Over All Pro/1/2/3 17th
2-Jun   Union City TT Pro/1/2   22nd
2-Jun Union City Crit Pro/1/2 14th
3-Jun   Union City Road Race Pro/1/2   33rd
3-Jun Union City Omnium Pro/1/2 19th
23-Jun   Minnesota Iron and Metal Criterium 2/3   8th
24-Jun Kurt Kinetic Criterium 2/3 6th
11-Jul   Masters 30+ National Championship RR 1/2/3   27th
27-Jul Gwinnett Center Criterium Pro/1/2 16th
28-Jul   Competitor Southeast Road Race Pro/1/2   12th
4-Aug Allanti Cycling Classic RR Pro/1/2/3 5th
5-Aug   Allanti Cycling Classic TT Pro/1/2/3 10th
5-Aug Allanti Cycling Classic Omnium Pro/1/2/3 7th
11-Aug   Tour of Elk Grove Pro/Am Crit 1/2   30th
12-Aug Tour of Elk Grove Masters 30+ Crit 1/2/3 16th
25-Aug   River Gorge Mountain Challenge Pro/1/2/3 11th
25-Aug BMW TT Pro/1/2/3 36th
26-Aug   Chattanooga Downtown Crit Pro/1/2/3 7th
26-Aug River Gorge Omnium Pro/1/2/3 9th
8-Sep   Pepper Crit Pro/1/2   TBD
October 13-14 Downtown Greenville Classic Pro/1/2 TBD

My most recent races were this past weekend in Chattanooga. I have included my heart data for the road race and criterium below:


2007 River Gorge Road Race

A couple of important notes:

  1. The arrow labelled "blow-up point" indicates the spot at which I could no longer sustain the pace I had been setting on the climb. Also, this is the spot where Matt Winstead’s teammate, Nate Brown, attacked with 1km to go before the KOM. Note the sharp decline in my heart rate as my legs screamed "no more!"
  2. Compare my heart rate for the finishing climb where I decided ahead of time to ride at my own pace. Note that there is no sharp increase followed by a decrease indicative of a "blow-up". I was able to finish in 11th place after passing several people towards the end who had blown up.

Race statistics:

Data  Value  Unit 
Duration 2:44:55   
Sampling Rate 5 s 
      
Energy Expenditure 1851 kcal 
Number of Heart Beats 26400 beats 
Recovery -89 beats 
Minimum Heart Rate 95 bpm 
Average Heart Rate 160 bpm 
Maximum Heart Rate 188 bpm 
Standard Deviation 16.9 bpm 
      
Minimum Speed 9.3 mph 
Average Speed 23.2 mph 
Maximum Speed 35.6 mph 
Distance  7.5 miles 
Odometer 5581 miles 
      
Minimum Altitude  835 ft 
Average Altitude  1104 ft 
Maximum Altitude  1910 ft 
Ascent 4615 ft 
Descent 3710 ft 
Slopes 7   
Grade % 2.6 % 
VAM 1679 ft/h       


2007 River Gorge Criterium

This crit was a flat and super-FAST race. Still, I felt great for the race and finished well in 7th place.

Race statistics:

Data  Value  Unit 
Duration 1:01:30   
Sampling Rate 5 s 
      
Energy Expenditure 725 kcal 
Number of Heart Beats 10161 beats 
Recovery -94 beats 
Minimum Heart Rate 96 bpm 
Average Heart Rate 165 bpm 
Maximum Heart Rate 190 bpm 
Standard Deviation 8.8 bpm 
      
Minimum Speed 14.3 mph 
Average Speed 27.1 mph 
Maximum Speed 37.5 mph 
Distance  27.7 miles 
Odometer 5628 miles 
      
Minimum Altitude  905 ft 
Average Altitude  926 ft 
Maximum Altitude  945 ft 
Ascent 40 ft 
Descent 20 ft 
VAM 39 ft/h       

Here is one more race … probably one of the toughest I have done all year. This was the Allanti Classic Road Race where I ended up finishing 5th place after a disappointing sprint in the small breakaway I was in.


2007 Allanti Classic Road Race

This race was extremely hot (in the 90’s) and very humid! Cramping was a factor as only a small percentage of the people who started the race actually finished. I was riding very strong, although I missed the winning solo breakaway by Michael Olheiser (Memphis Motorwerks). I was in a small break with Matt Winstead (Juris) and Dirk Pohlmann (Krystal) and a few other riders. I could only manage 4th in our sprint for second place, giving me 5th place for the race. The actual race was closer to 91 miles even though my speedometer only reports 88.1. Also, we had a time trial later in the day and when you throw in warm-up and cool-down, this was my longest day of riding for the year (about 120 miles).

Here are the race statistics:

Data  Value  Unit 
Duration 3:46:50   
Sampling Rate 5 s 
      
Energy Expenditure 2366 kcal 
Number of Heart Beats 34945 beats 
Recovery -72 beats 
Minimum Heart Rate 102 bpm 
Average Heart Rate 154 bpm 
Maximum Heart Rate 185 bpm 
Standard Deviation 11.9 bpm 
      
Minimum Speed 6.2 mph 
Average Speed 23.3 mph 
Maximum Speed 50.4 mph 
Distance  88.1 miles 
Odometer 4896 miles 
      
Minimum Altitude  805 ft 
Average Altitude  958 ft 
Maximum Altitude  1160 ft 
Ascent 3650 ft 
Descent 3695 ft 
Slopes 10   
VAM 965 ft/h       

Finally, I have included some summary statistics for the past six months of racing. See the images below with detailed captions.


Weekly summary of riding for the past six months. Times are shown in hh:mm format. Heart rate zones are indicated below:
Zone 5 (Red): 171-190+ bpm
Zone 4 (Orange): 152-170 bpm
Zone 3 (Green): 133-151 bpm
Zone 2 (Blue): 115-132 bpm
Zone 1 (Gray): 0-114 bpm

 
Weekly amount of climbing (in feet) for the past six months.
Notice how many times I’ve scaled Mt. Everest on the bike with 289,928 total feet of climbing for the year!


Detailed view of my training for the past five weeks. Note the right-hand summary column
displays the amount of calories burned per week as well as the total number of miles ridden per week.

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What’s been going on around here?

28th August 2007

I’ve been so busy catching up, I’ve not said anything about what my 2 little busy-bodies have been doing lately.  It’s been a busy summer, and they’ve been a lot of fun. 

Josiah… Today was a little traumatic, as we had a minor surgical procedure to clip the skin under his tongue, because he’s been "tongue-tied" since birth.  This means that the under part of his tongue (his frenulum, actually) is connected too far forward.  His pediatrician has said all along that it’s obviously not causing problems with eating so he didn’t think it needed to be done.  But two speech therapist friends of mine said that it was pretty noticeable, and since it’s such a simple procedure, it would be better to do it before he developed speech problems.  So today was the day.  It was really quick… he was gone from us for less than 15 minutes, and the doctor came in less than 5 minutes after they took him back.  He’ was a little tipsy from the anesthesia earlier, but he ate well and didn’t complain at all today, so I think he’s healing quickly.

He’s been full of chatter lately, with one word "da" for dog, duck, down and Dad, and "do" for Dora and door.  I know we said his first word was "waffle" a few weeks ago – and both Brian and I still swear he said it! – but we haven’t heard it again.  Yesterday, though, Brian and I both thought he said "amen" after we prayed for our meal.  We’ll see if he starts making more letter sounds with his new, longer tongue. 

He’s definitely turning into a little busy boy, and he’s into all kinds of trouble.  He’s climbing on stools and using them to climb on the couch.  He wants everything on bookshelves and counters over his head, and he’ll reach his little fingers up there and try to get them around anything that might be up there.  He’d rather pull things off bookshelves, empty our DVD cabinet, un-organize my tupperware shelf and bang on pots and pans than play with any of the toys around here… unless Analise is deeply engaged in something, and then he wants to be in the middle of that, which of course, she’s not happy with.  I’m doing a lot of referring and trying to distract him from her little block/people adventures and puzzles. 

Analise is doing really, really well.  I feel like in the last couple weeks, we’ve entered what I call, the Age of Reason.  She’s very compliant, and much more understanding of our no’s and compromises.  We’ve decreased the crying fits from 3 or more a day to less than 1.  The change is amazing, and I don’t have to hold my breath waiting for her to unravel when she doesn’t get her way.  If she asks for something, and I say no or give another time or option, she’s ok with it.  Her patience has improved tremendously, even with Josiah trying to play with her more.  The two of them have sweet little times of playing at the small table and kitchen area, Josiah sitting on a chair, and Analise serving him play food for dinner.  He LOVES it when she plays with him.  Some of my favorite phrases of Analise right now are: "That would be a PERFECT idea!" when I suggest something she likes, for example playing a game after I put Josiah down for a nap; "That would not be a perfect idea," when she’s not in full agreement of something.  It’s amazing how she sounds like a little adult so often. 

They’ve started romping around more, bouncing on my bed and testing out the couch as a jumping/bouncing apparatus.  We’re curbing that, but it is fun to see them playing together on the bed, rolling around laughing and giggling.  I’m definitely getting less done around the house because Josiah’s into more trouble!  And between the two of them, they can make a huge mess.  Analise, though, is really great about helping get things cleaned up. She’s amazingly good at puzzles, so we’ll spend lots of time on the floor putting together complicated puzzles, up to 48 pieces.  She also really likes to help me do things around the house, like putting the silverware away, putting things on the table for dinner, taking her clean clothes to her room and sorting socks.  It’s nice to have a little helper! 

Analise’s preschool orientation was today.  She’ll start school again next Tuesday, 2 days a week.  She’s still taking ballet, and she loves it.  She’s getting quite good at her ballet moves, too.  The other evening, Brian came in to find Analise putting on a dance show, with his parents watching from the couch.  Josiah was walking around the "stage" clapping for Analise.  Her personal cheering section:)  The other evening as I was cleaning up the kitchen, I came into the living room to find Brian playing the piano, Analise singing loudly, and Josiah standing on a chair clapping for everyone.  The Little Looney Toones in concert. 

Ok, I’d better call it a night.  We’re reading Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell in our church Life Group, and I’ve got a little catching up to do before tomorrow night.  Good read!  I highly recommend it!  I hope to share more eventually, when I get my thoughts all sorted out about it. 

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A powerful simple truth

27th August 2007

Today’s message at church was so very simple, yet it struck a chord deep within me. In a nutshell: Apart from Christ, we can do nothing of value for the Kingdom of God.

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. –John 15: 4-5

I’ll be honest. I’m not doing a very good job of "remaining" in Him. I’ve got the "pray without ceasing" part down, but mostly it’s frantic prayers for grace and patience in the midst of day-to-day struggles. Maybe if I was "remaining" a little better, there wouldn’t be the need for the desperate prayers.

Before kids, I was a bit better about taking some time in my day to soak up some of God’s word and spend some quiet time in prayer. But lately, my life is go-go-go, and I’m lucky to get 36 seconds on my own to go to the bathroom! Brian and I have both realized recently how much we need to bring the Word back to a place of priority in our lives. He’s setting a great example for us by starting his day out with the Bible during breakfast. I’m trying to do the same, but I’m not doing as well as he is. On the days that I do make God’s word a part of my early day, it definitely makes a difference in my spirit.

Here’s another excellent translation of these verses:

Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me. I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing.

At this point in my life, my children are my biggest mission field. This is all the more reason that I need to be "making my home in Him", so that He’s living in me, through me, so my children see Him everyday. Apart from Christ, I can do nothing of value for the kingdom of God. I can be a good parent. And there are days that I feel like I’m doing ok. Doing ok on my own doesn’t make an eternal impact, though. But when I’m remaining in Christ, abiding in Him, making my home in Him, the promise is endless, and I can know that every moment of mothering and loving I do is making a difference for God’s kingdom in my children.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. This parenting thing is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But God’s grace is enough, and with Christ, my harvest is sure to be amazing.

Lord, today, I just want to pray for all my parent-friends. May they find themselves in You today. Draw them to a place of abiding so that their home can be filled with You. Amen.

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Chicago Weekend – Photo wrap-up

20th August 2007

Just one last post! Here are all the random photos from this weekend… We spent the first and last evenings of our trip at my Grandma Vivian’s house. She and Charlie seem to love having my lively kids romp all over their house! They’ve just gotten a puppy, named Susie, and Josiah loved playing with the dog.


You can’t see it because of the pacifier (which he really only has for nap and bedtime),
but he was giggling and laughing like crazy every time Susie ran towards him.


Josiah *LOVED* running up and down the halls in the hotel. He would run from one end to another, giggling with glee.


Uncle Hal bounced Josiah on the bed, and Josiah -though you can’t tell in the photo- was having so much fun.
He was making an "uhhhh-uh (bounce) uhhhhh-uh" drone the whole time, mesmerized by the sound and the bouncing.

For these photos, appreciate the food, not the faces, as none of us look good, except, of course, Anna. For Brian’s birthday, Friday night, my plans to go to the Cheesecake Factory and up the Hancock Building or Sears Tower didn’t come together, as we didn’t know that dining out in Chicago on a Friday evening involved a lot of time waiting for a table. Anna, Hal, my mom, Brian and I ventured out on the L-train… $10 for an entire 6 blocks, only to find we were still a few blocks from our destination (we looked like total tourists, not knowing how to work the turnstile and then ending up on the wrong train platform!). We enjoyed the walk, but found a long wait at the Cheesecake Factory. We headed to the Grand Lux Cafe. After a long wait, while my dad wandered around downtown Chicago for about an hour and finally found us, the 6 of us finally got seated around 9:15 or so. The menu is amazing, and the food was even more amazing when it arrived!

I got strawberry shortcake – wonderful. Anna had lettuce wraps – they were an amazing work of art with towering rice noodles on top. My dad’s fish and chips was even piled into a tower rivaling the lettuce wraps. My mom’s apple pie was voted the absolute best by everyone (‘cept me… I’m partial to strawberries and my homemade apple pie). Brian and Hal both had good meals, too, though not as photo worthy as ours:). It was a really nice dinner with my family, made particularly enjoyable to be without kids for a relaxing evening of adult interaction.

The Hancock building all lit up on Friday evening.

Josiah enjoying a cupcake (a treat my dad brought all the way from my favorite St. Paul coffe shop)
during our picnic before the aquarium on Sunday.
He loves his cupcakes…

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Chicago Weekend – The Natalie and Bob’s wedding!

20th August 2007

The whole point of our wonderful Chicago trip was to share in my cousin, Natalie’s wedding.  They live in Chicago, and Bob’s family is Polish, so this wedding kind of took on a life of its own as it was being planned.  Weddings are even more of a big deal in the Polish community than they are elsewhere, so Bob’s mom stepped in and "upgraded" lots of areas of the reception.  This made for a VERY fancy, elegant affair, and we had a wonderful time celebrating their special day with all my family.  My Mom and Dad were both there, my Grandma Vivian and Charlie, my sister, Anna and her husband, Hal. 

The wedding took place in a beautiful garden.  Even though the wedding was at 5pm, it was still hot… probably 80 degrees.  The bridesmaids were in chocolate brown dresses, and the groomsmen and groom were in beige tuxedos.  The flowers were blue and white.  Very pretty. 

After the wedding, hord’erves and drinks were served until dinner started at 7pm.  The reception was held under a semi-permanent tent next to the garden.  It had fans and air conditioning machines, so it was actually a little cooler than outside, even as the evening cooled off.  There were pretty chandeliers, and beautiful hydrangea arrangements on all the tables. 

I don’t normally drink much, but we sampled a little of the "top-shelf" open bar, and the waiters kept everyone’s wine and champagne glasses filled.  My Dad and Grandma toasting…this picture’s one of my favorites:)

Dinner included a fancy salad and bread, tortellini carbonara (a cream sauce with peas and bacon – DELICOUS!), filet mingon with mushrooms AND chicken limone with green beans and carrots, and a lemon sorbet with assorted cookies.  There was also a huge delicious dessert buffet of chocolate dipped strawberries, mini cheese cakes, cream puffs, fruit tarts, biscotti and other delights. 

One table was set up with pretty containers of blue, white and brown candy so you could make your own little chinese-takeout box to take home as a favor from the evening.  A 7-piece band played throughout the evening, and they were really great.  Natalie was a stunning bride, and I hope she and Bob enjoyed the evening as much as we did!


Anna and my cousin, Nikki’s daughter, Mia, who was a beautiful little flower girl.

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Visiting our cousins in Nashville

20th August 2007

The weekend before we went to Chicago, we followed Brian up to Nashville for a bike race.  We got to visit our cousins, Richard and Christy and their 3 little ones, Lily, Luke and Levi.


Three-month old Levi just watched his crazy cousins dancing and playing. 


Luke, Analise, Lily and squirmy Josiah.  He never wants to sit still for a group photo!


Sweet little Levi.

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Chicago Weekend – The Shedd Aquarium

20th August 2007

I know these posts are in random order about the weekend, but I’m doing the pictures I’ve got handy:)  On Sunday afternoon, we headed to the Shedd Aquarium.  We sort of missed turning into the museum/aquarium area down by the Lake, so I was checking out a map, and I’d been giving updates on what we should pass on our way there.  As we were turning around, Analise said, "I need to see the map, Mommy!"  I handed her the map, and she said, "Ok, we’ll go through a tunnel, and then we pass Soldier Field and then we turn."  She was right on with her directions, having put together everything I’d just said over the course of 15 minutes.  Then she said, "Ok mom, here you go" and handed me the map. :)  She’s a smart cookie.


Fun fish fountain outside the aquarium.


They’ve got a Komodo dragon on display.  It wasn’t actually as fun as the one we saw at the Birmingham Zoo earlier this year.  But there was a huge inflated komodo dragon outside that you could walk under. 

There were so many people!  I suppose that’s to be expected of a Sunday afternoon in the height of summer.  The Aquarium is pretty expensive, too, $25/person (thanks, Mom!).  But Brian scored a free admission as an educator with his Samford ID.  Anyway, it was really hard to completely enjoy everything, as there were people everywhere.  The highlight was in the Oceanarium, a tank that goes right up to a big window overlooking Lake Michigan.  This is the ampitheater for the marine mammal shows in the Oceanarium.  Brian’s Dad saved us spots for more than half an hour, and it was standing room only when it got started.  The show featured the dolphins, and it was really cool to see how they’ve been trained to swim together, jump, and so other various things. 


The Chicago lakeshore and marina from the Oceanairum window.


The view of Downtown from the Aquarium.

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Chicago Weekend – Fun with Friends!

20th August 2007

Ok, I’m starting a couple different posts with pictures about our trip to Chicago last weekend. We had a great time. It was close quarters in Brian’s Dad’s car – Analise in the far back seat, Brian, Josiah and I (lucky me in the middle) in the center, and his parents in the front. We did watch Ice Age and the sequel several times, as I expected. But Brian and I enjoyed riding together doing logic puzzles. Josiah loved having me next to him. Here’s the first fun picture from the trip…


And we wondered why we couldn’t get him to sleep…

For over a year now, I’ve chatted with a group of moms online, and we’ve gotten to be good friends. Michele and I have a lot in common… both Analise and Josiah are the same ages as her kids, Emma and Michael. She lives outside of Chicago, and ever since we knew we were going up for the wedding, we’ve been looking forward to getting together.

Saturday morning, we met at a park so the kids could play. They had a great time! Analise and Emma are both big sisters, and we were a little worried that they might be a little too bossy for each other. But they hit it off immediately. Josiah and Michael are only 3 days apart in age, they started walking within a day of each other, and they’ve got similar personalities. They were so cute together, playing with the balls and "sharing" pretzels and lunch. (I say "sharing" because at this age, when one offers food to another, I’m not sure they really mean for the other to take it. But they did well together!)

After playing for a bit, we headed to the Choo Choo Diner. This place is seriously fun! There is a bar area, with 2 booths on either end, and a train track runs around the rectangle and a little electric train brings baskets of your food out on the back of the train. So cute! Brian’s dad told them it was Brian’s birthday (well, the day before), so the train brought us a little sprinkled cupcake with a train whistle and a candle, and they played a Choo-Choo birthday song. It’s tiny, and we got there in the nick of time, just before the lunch rush. If you’re ever in the Chicago area, it’s worth the drive out to Des Plaines (beyond O’Hare airport) to have lunch there. You can also see the very first McDonalds just down the street. Oh, and the food was GREAT!


Looking from our booth, across the track to the counter area.  Looks like the train has already dropped off its cargo!


The girls enjoying their sprinkled cupcakes.


The two cuties… Michael would hand Josiah french fries.  Josiah loved that… I don’t give him many:)


Not a bad photo, considering how squirmy our cuties are! And this is the entire diner!

We had such a fun time! I sure wish Michele and her family lived down the street from us! We’re already looking forward to visiting them again, maybe next year. Here’s the pictures that Michele took…


The girls loved the old-style merry-go-round.  Josiah, on the other hand, got caught in the centripetal force and fell on his face.

My three favorite photos… "sharing" pretzels.

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He’s a real father of 2, now!

16th August 2007

Wow, wow, wow… new sense of freedom! Brian just left with both kids for ballet. I’m almost ashamed to say this but this is the *FIRST* time he’s gone out with both kids on his own!?!?!  Yes, I have let him lead a sheltered life for 14 months… but he’s moving into real parenting now, baby!

We’re having his family over to celebrate Brian’s birthday (belated) for dinner tonight, so he’s taken the kids to ballet class (Josiah can play on the gym stuff during class) so I can get dinner ready.  I’m so excited to be in the house ALONE that I don’t know what to do with myself.  ‘Cept I have 4 loads of laundry to fold and dinner to make and cupcakes to decorate.  Gotta go!

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