Category Archives: Family

Pittsburgh

I drove to Pittsburgh last Friday, an almost 500-mile road trip all by myself. I don’t remember ever driving so much alone in one stretch. But it wasn’t too bad. With a GPS and determination, I can get anywhere! I got confused and took the wrong exit a couple times and had to make U turns to get back on track, and I went through about 30 minutes of monsoon weather once I hit PA, but other than that it was pretty smooth sailing all the way. I had an audio book (The Last Anniversary, by Liane Moriarty) I was listening to, which I’m more than half way through, and kept me awake and focused when I started losing interest in the road.


I arrived at Pittsburgh around 7-8 pm, having left home in Chicago, around a quarter past nine am. Liz was here with Nick, so we got to do so fun things together. That night, even though exhausted, we went out to dinner, to an Argentinian restaurant (Gaucho), and had some really good meat.

Saturday, we went to the Carnegie Museum of Art and roamed around looking at art for quite a few hours. It was great!

We went back to Nick’s place to have lunch. Liz brought some delicious meat Margot made, especially for Nick, so we were on that! And then we went to run some errands: get Nick on the cell phone family plan, get him a new phone since his was dead, get a new case and make a pit stop by Gap that was having a 40% off sale. All good! Lastly, we stopped by Target on our way back because: Coke Zero!


On Sunday Liz went back to NYC, so we drove her to the airport and our way back got to see the beautiful Pitt skyline. So very pretty, unfortunately, I was driving, so no pic of that. Nick took this short video.

Nick and I ran some errands and went back home so he could continue studying, this is finals’ week after all. I relaxed and got caught up with social media and my Sims, and then found out there was a mass at St Paul’s Cathedral at 6pm, and that’s just a hop away from Nick’s place, in fact, you can hear the bells chime frequently from his apartment. So I went to mass, it was good, I hadn’t been in a while and hadn’t realized I was missing it. The Cathedral looks a lot like St Vincent’s Church, both inside and out.


Today I stayed in all morning, while Nick went to class and met with his advisor and did his student related activities. Once ready, I headed out to lunch at the Bagel Factory and had my favorite: plain bagel with lox cream cheese. I had been trying to get bagels since Saturday with no luck. Finally, I made it in when it was still open and topped it off with a doughnut, because why not?


I ended my outing today with a visit to a quaint little bookstore on S. Craig St called Caliban Book Shop. I loved it! I need another book like a need a hole in my head, but of course, I had to get something.

So far I’m liking Pitts very much, it’s a charming little city with the vibes of a small town. Everything seems to be happening at a slower pace here as if no one is truly in a hurry or stressed out. I like it, I could get used to this.

Missing

It’s been a month since Tata’s passing. They are holding a mass for her in Miami later tonight. I’m here, in Chicago, so I can’t go. Plus, I teach tonight, so I’ll be in class while the mass is going on. More often that I would care for, these past years, it’s been abruptly brought to my attention the constraints work has on personal lives. Especially when work is located so far away from family.

Living abroad, living away, being separated from those dearest and loved seems to transfer into reorganizing priorities in a way in which the urgent tends to take precedence over the truly important. I’ve had to think about this often these past two years, first when my mom was ill, and I was able to fly to Miami and be there with my parents, but then had to fly back because I had work responsibilities and classes to teach, while she was still hospitalized.

Now with Tata’s passing, this has become once again evident to me. I was too far to just grab a plane be there for the funeral and then back in time to teach my weekly classes.  It simply wasn’t possible, timewise, to be in both places at the same time. It also didn’t seem possible to be both physically present here and fully engrossed in the emotions that would be palpable there. I said before Tata’s death hadn’t hit me yet, and I think more than not haven hit me, I didn’t let it hit me. The timing was not right.

I am a very calm, cool, collected type of personal, some would say rational. I am in touch with my emotions and don’t think I come across as a callous, uncaring, insensitive person, which I know I am not, but I can often be more rational than emotional. Perhaps not more practical or functional than form or aesthetically driven, but I am definitely more of a thinker, an intellectual if you will, than driven uncontrollably by emotions and feelings. I’m not very impulsive. I prefer to think things through and make decisions when I am calm, as to not regret any action. Although, I can feel emotions like sadness, happiness, and angry as fully as the next person, I can probably control them and keep them in check better than your average Joe.

But today, it’s been a month since Tata passed away and the sadness is more palpable, less controllable, a little more real. I miss her. I miss living close to her. I miss visiting her, talking to her, learning from her. She would say “you learn something new every day”,  and she was right. I was always and still am, on the lookout for what I could learn today. I know she is in a better place. I just wish I could visit her now and then, as I used to when I was back home.

Tata

Columba Josefina Coello Adrianza de Gómez

12-19-1927 to 04-16-2017

This is how my grandmother looked when she was younger, probably younger than I am today. This is how I remember her from when I was a kid. Always well groomed, put together and elegant. She always wore the latest haircut and color and had her hair professionally styled once a week  Her makeup was always just enough, very classic, and her skin was always moisturized, plumped and perfect. I remember it felt like silk. And she always smelled as sweet as flowers. I’ll never forget how good she always smelled. There is no question she was a beautiful woman.

More recently, I remember here more like this. When she stopped coloring her hair and went for a more natural look, embracing her years in her looks and style. Because, she always embraced her years with her wisdom, which was shared openly and generously with those who might be in need of it. If anyone was ever in need of advice, she was the one to call, everyone in her family did, frequently.

Tata was the eldest of 13 siblings. Two of them passed away at birth, but 11 remained under her tutelage, and most considered her as their second mother. She got married very young, at the age of 19, to Toti, my sweet grandfather, who passed away some nine years ago. They had seven children, of which my mom is the eldest.  One of her children, the second child, Fanny, died about eight months after birth from a heart condition, which I don’t think Tata ever really got over.

Because she married so young and had a house filled with kids to look after, she didn’t go to college. She loved medicine and was an avid reader, and because what happened to Fanny, I think she made it a mission to learn as much as she could about health and the body. She was the person to call when you were sick. She would always diagnose you correctly and know exactly what you needed to do and take in order to feel better, but she also always sent you to the doctor for a “real” consult. She had a ton of faith in doctors and medicine.

Speaking of faith my grandmother was a very faith-filled and spiritual person. She lived her faith and spirituality religiously and was a practicing Catholic. I think if it had not been for my grandfather, who was more of a religious rebel, and a bit of an agnostic, if not even an atheist, I think she would have been to Church more often. I owe embracing my religious practices to my grandmother, for whom the sacraments were all very important, and even though I was allowed to embrace them at my own pace, when I decided I was ready and wanted to, a part of me always knew I would do it someday, if not only for her.

She guided me in my spiritual search and growth. She listened to my ponderings, she tried to answer my questions, she was always there for me. Mi Tatica linda. And even though I hadn’t seen her in person in the last almost seven seven years, and she was not able to make it to my wedding (in a Catholic Church, as I knew she would have liked it), I remember her and think about her daily. I miss her. I miss visiting her with my mom on some random middle of the week afternoon. I miss stopping by at the bakery to bring the goods for a merienda and a nice long chat.

Tatica, I know you are in a better place now. I know you are with Toti, and Fanny, and some of your siblings and your parents. I know you are ok. But I miss you. I’ve been missing you for quite some time now.  And I’m pretty sure, I will miss you always. I don’t know if you knew how special and significant you were to me. I hope you did. I told how much I loved you, but I don’t think words can really do justice of how in debt I feel myself towards you. I truly hope you knew.

I love you, I miss you, and I will forever hold you in my heart.

Tu muñeca,

Jenny

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I wanted to post this earlier but time has gotten away from me these past couple weeks. 2016 ended with a boom for me, and even though I usually have time over the Winter break in December to blog and catch up here in this space, this year things were a bit different.

I flew to Miami on the 13th, with Max, to spend three weeks with the Pelos and the rest of the fam. The first week was really good, I got to rest, exercise, spend time with my parents, Nick and then Liz and Sophie, who arrived a few days later. But on the 19th, the day Tata turned 89, she fell and was taken to the hospital. The paramedics were called because she had fallen and they thought she might have broken something. What they found had happened was that she had had a stroke, a hemorrhagic cardiovascular accident (un ACV hemorrágico).

As you can imagine this was all very stressful and emotional for all of us, because we are far away, but especially for my mom because she has been wanting to go home and visit her mother for quite some time now. She has not been able to because of issues with her passport, and the overall difficulties of going back to Venezuela. But quickly after hearing the whole situation, I looked for tickets and booked my parents a flight for the next day.

Los Pelos were in Caracas from the 20th to the 30th and got a chance to not only see Tata and be with her a bit, but also help out and offer support to all the aunts and uncles there. Tata was released from the hospital on the 28th, so los Pelos were able to see her home before they came back.

Currently, Tata is home with a nurse 24/7 by her side, and my uncle Emilio, who lives with her supervising everything. Everyone has pitched in, in one way or another. It really takes a village, and in this case, the village has poured all resources into helping make sure Tata is ok and slowly recovers.

This whole ordeal has been tough. Each of us has dealt with it in her/his own personal way. Some are depressed, some are a bit paralyzed and others like me, are a bit numb. There was one-day sadness really hit me while in Miami, and I felt I just wanted to be in bed all day and do nothing. I was clearly sad. I had been holding it off for too long. Christmas was rough. Not only different because it felt really strange to be at los Pelos’ house without them and celebrating Christmas, doing secret Santa, crackers, pernil, hallacas and pan de jamón, without them. But the whole atmosphere was off.

We had the traditional Christmas dinner, we wanted the kids to have a “normal” Christmas, and I think we accomplished it. I cooked the pernil my mom always makes, following her recipe. Liz made pan de jamón, and brought hallacas she had made in NY. Cas made blinis and Swedish meatballs, traditions from his Swedish family. And we even had the British crackers and Cas’ potatoes al gratin. Sophie set up the Nativity set and we did our secret Santa bit. So it was Christmas as usual, but it was the worst Christmas I have ever had. I was on edge, and didn’t really enjoy it as I usually do.

2016 was a rough year in looking back. My mom got sick and almost died back in February. And then my grandmother gets sick and almost dies in December. Work related issues in the Fall, of which I’m really not going to talk about here, also put a big damper on the final quarter for me. My dad got diagnosed with diabetes, and I with perimenopause. And then to top it all off Trump wins the presidential election. It was one of the worse years I have had in all the 44 I have been alive. So I was not really sad to see it go. I suddenly got it, I now understand what people mean when they say they are eagerly wishing specific years to end.

I’m hoping 2017 will be a better year. In fact, I know it will be, because it already has begun much better than how 2016 ended. Although I still have this bit of lingering sadness, that I think won’t truly go away for some time. Tata is recovering, but let’s face it, she’s 89 and is not getting any younger. So it’s just a matter of time, and I’m here, far away, and it’s hard.

I don’t want to wrap this up on a negative, sad note. If you know me, you know that I always bounce back. I am a warrior, it runs in my family, and I never give up no matter how hard it gets. So there’s always that. There were good things about 2016, and if we want to see the glass half-full, in 2016 my dad got his BioFeedback certification, Mike got two new jobs, which have been great for him, Nick started college at Carnegie Mellon University, and the freaking Cubbies won the World Series!

So here’s hoping that in 2017 we can continue to count our lucky stars and the balance at the end is more positive than negative. I truly hope your Christmas and New Years were good, and if they weren’t, there’s always another year, and hopefully 2017 will be a good one, once again.

Pool Time

Mike is still in Chicago, he won’t be back until the weekend, and then he stays with us for a whole week. But he was here the weekend we arrived, and my dad took these photos of us having some fun in the pool. My “new” family of 4.

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Summer 2016

At the start of July, when I last posted, I said I would be back here to update you and share some of the things that have been going on this summer. Well, we are almost mid-August and I’m just now getting back to the blog. But, let’s get on it because a lot of big events have happened this summer:

Max turned 8 years-old on June 27th. It’s been 5 years since I adopted him, and we have come a long way. Love you Maxy!

Max 2016

Mike and I had our 1st wedding anniversary on July 25th and we had a nice outing. We went to see The Book of Mormon and then had a spectacular dinner at Boka.

1st Anniversary Collage

I was not able to make it to the UK on July 25th for the International Children’s Spirituality Conference, because of visa issues. But fortunately my paper and presentation were ready and Dr. Karen-Marie Yust was kind enough to read it, so even though I was not physically there, my work was shared.

Karen-Marie Yust

Mike turned 50th years-old on July 31st, and we celebrated with family. We had a plentiful meal at The Chicago Chop House and then stopped over at The Redhead Piano Bar for live music and drinks. (photos to come)

The boys (all of them) and I flew to Miami on August 5th and will be spending three weeks with los Pelos. This is where we are now. Mike had to go back to work, but will be back during our last week here as a vacation for him.

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I just realized I have most of my photos and videos in my hard drive at home, in Chicago. Bummer. I’ll update this post once I get back. For now I’ll share what I do have with me on my phone.

How’s you summer coming along? Did you get a break? Did you celebrate something special? Or is work looking mighty up to date for you? Speaking of which, I need to get at it my self, these papers don’t write themselves and classes are not prepped by the prepping Gods, unfortunately! Hope you are all having a wonderful summer!

Valentine’s Day and Updates

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Hope it was kind and sweet to you. Valentine’s is special around our place because it’s the day we celebrate my dad’s birthday and also, old lad Charlie’s birthday. And, we also celebrate the anniversary of our first formal date, back during in the awful blizzard of February 2011.

Mike had made reservations to go out to dinner at Emilio’s, the restaurant in which we had our first date 5 years ago. We try to go back there every year. But we had to cancel and hopefully reschedule for next weekend. Mike started feeling icky Friday afternoon and by Saturday morning, he had a full-on fever of 100.4, which got a little worse to 100.6, until it finally got better Sunday night. So this was the backdrop for our Valentine’s day…

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We still celebrated a bit, with cards, gifts and chocolates. Mike got jeans and I got much needed tech-gloves and an infinity scarf.

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Charlie, the old chap, would have loved to relive this:

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But instead got several short walks in the snow and lots of treats.

Liz flew into Miami Saturday night. The initial plan (before my mom’s health emergency) was to be with my parents for the kids spring break and my parents birthdays (my mom’s birthday is also coming up in a few days). Great timing, because they could all be there to visit Coco and celebrate my dad’s birthday as well.

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Coco is doing better. Still at the hospital (it’s been over a week now) and still not well enough to go home (although she asks every day), but better. After the TIPS procedure, there were going to be side effects both from bypassing the liver and the general anesthesia. The blood that is now not going to be cleaned of toxins by the liver, takes these to the heart and brain, causing elevation of toxins in the brain, also known as Hepatic Encephalopathy, which is an altered mental state. In order to control these toxins and eliminate them, she is given a laxative type of medication, which for a while there she refused to take.

Another complication/side effect from the whole episode was low hemoglobin. She had lost a lot of blood from the initial esophagus bleed, and even though she had some blood transfusions, the hemoglobin was not a stable normal indicator yet. This coupled with the general anesthesia, caused respiratory issues. She developed liquid in the lungs. As of yesterday, she had one lung clear and liquid remaining still in the second one. She’s been taking diuretics and being nebulized every 6 hours now.

So these are the 3 variables they are controlling for currently: eliminating the liquid in the lungs, keeping the hemoglobin up, and lowering the toxin levels to avoid Encephalopathy. The side effects are plenty: bruised arms from all the injections and blood drawing, many bathroom accidents due to excesses diuretics and laxatives, weight loss and thus loss of energy and vigor, and overall being done with the whole thing and wanting desperately to go home already!

She is getting better, the values that need to go up are rising and the ones that need to go down are slowly decreasing. But she’s not yet ready to go home. The Dr. said today that if she went home, she most likely would have to come back soon, and we all definitely want to avoid that. The hospital is the best place for her right now, until she’s stable. Hopefully this week, she’ll be able to go home to her Jack, and all the fun awaiting her there with Liz and the kids. Keep those prayers going, and the positive thoughts coming. They are all helping very much. Thank you!

A family of 4

My mom had another esophagus/varicose vein bleeding episode, Saturday night. I thought about it for a bit and decided, the best I could do was take a plane the next day to be there with my parents. Last time this happened in September, Liz and I talked about coming and we offered, but the Pelos said it wasn’t necessary. Things had evolved quickly and they had her under control. We both felt bad my dad had to go through all that by himself, with no direct or continuous support from us, since we were in Chicago and New York, and all that was happening in Miami. So this time, we decided it would be different. I flew in Sunday afternoon, with the earliest ticket I could get, and will be staying until Thursday. Liz and her kids are coming down this Saturday, and staying for a week. So, this time the Pelos will be on their own less than 48 hours.

Of course, they are not completely on their own. There is a lot of support from extended family and friends, and for that, we are all immensely grateful. But, I think it’s important for us to be here. The nuclear family. The family of four, as my dad used to call us when we were growing up. He used to say “No matter where life takes us, we will be fine because we will always be together. Us four, always together. We are a family or four.”

Our family of four got extended to five (Cas), then six (Nick) and then seven (Sophie). Liz added in, what I jokingly refer to as her “combo”. And more recently, with Mike, Max and Charlie, it grew to a family of 10. Now, we have Hazel and Jack too, so we are 12! Six adults, one teenager, one wanna-be teenager, and 4 dogs. The family of four surely has grown. But, sometimes, when we are together, just the four of us, it feels just as it did when we were growing up, just us, a family of four, and I truly appreciate that.

Yesterday, before my mom was going into surgery, we got to speak to the radiologist. I, unfortunately, had to run to the bathroom. My bladder had been waiting for over 30 minutes and I really had to go, so I ended missing the talk with the radiologist (!!!). When I came back, my dad told me he had gone through every possible negative outcome, as if covering his back, in case anything went wrong. Instead of building my dad up and telling him to keep it positive, like every other doctor had done so far, he completely deflated him and put all these negatives images in his mind. My poor dad. He was worried, nervous, and now frightful for what could happen. There was a possibility that the doctor could not do the procedure, because of the difficulty of finding the veins. He was doing a TIPS procedure, to bypass the malfunctioning liver (my mom has an autoimmune liver disease, that has caused hepatic cirrhosis, and bleeding varicose veins due to high artery pressure, is a side effect of the cirrhosis), and of course, anything can happen when a person is fully under anesthetics. But, for Pete’s sake, anything can happen to anyone, anywhere. Why did he have to bring up the possibility of death, right before she was going under, and make the two-hour wait an unnecessary nightmare?

I tell you, I was so mad at myself and my bladder for not being there, because you know I would have put that dickhead in his place. I’m usually a kind, calm, sweet person, but if you mess with my family, are rude, unnecessarily disrespectful or a complete jerk, I will go ape-shit on you. I wanted to punch that asshole in the gut! In retrospect, I guess it was for the best that I was not there for the talk. It wouldn’t have helped one bit to punch the doctor just before he was to operate on my mom.

Thankfully, what doctor-no-bedside-manners lacked in tact, he made up for in expertise. He came back ecstatic saying “we did it!”. Apparently, it had been difficult to get the bypass in (it’s all tiny instruments operating in an already compromised organ) and for a moment there he had thought it would not be possible to do, and they would have to try again next week (!!!!). Fortunately, there was divine intervention, and at the last minute, the procedure worked and immediately the arterial pressure dropped. He said “she’s not bleeding anymore, and will not be bleeding again”.

Coquito is recuperating now. They have her under observation and she’s making progress. Hopefully, she will be back home soon. I know Jack truly misses her, and she misses him. Soon our family of four (or twelve) will be back to normal, as it has been since 1972, that’s when I joined the clan. If you have been praying and sending positive (get-well) thoughts to Coco, thank you! I truly believe they all worked their magic during the surgery yesterday. And helped us continue to be the family of four, we have successfully been for all these years. Thank you! And may Coquito continue to get better.

I’m still here – The Update

I left off July 13th, two weeks before the wedding. Things got a bit busy after that, sorry. But let me recap and bring you up to speed to today.

(07-17-15) My family starting arriving for the Wedding. We had a full house for about a week before the wedding; it was crazy and it was great all at the same time. I loved that I had Venezuelan representation in the house. Thank you all, for coming!

(07-24-15) The rehearsal at the church, followed by a yummy rehearsal dinner happened quite smoothly.

(07-25-15) The wedding occurred the day after.  It was not without hiccups here and there, but fortunately no one really noticed and all seemed to enjoy themselves and have a good time. It was memorable, and after all the stress (there was a lot of stress build-up in the preparation), I was glad it was over. It was a beautiful, traditional, Catholic city wedding. Elegant, classic, timeless. Our church was St Vincent DePaul’s Parish and the reception was held at The Murphy. Both unforgettably beautiful spaces filled with history and stunning architecture. We danced the night away. It was fun.

(07-26-15) We spent the night, well only a few hours really, at The James, and flew out to Punta Cana very early the next morning. We spent a week in the Dominican Republic, in an all inclusive resort, with the most delicious all-you-can-eat food. There was a beach at walking distance from our room, several golf courses, a mall, several different restaurants, a few pools, and yoga and tennis classes. It was perfect.  We celebrated Mike’s birthday there at a Michelin star restaurant after a day of golf for him, and yoga and beach for me. It was awesome.

(August) My family was still in town when we got back, so we got to spend some time with them. The first month back was a blur of getting back into normal life mode. Life after the wedding, as I liked to call it. Or getting my life back, which I still refer to daily. If I could go back to before the wedding, I would have taken some things off my plate  during the wedding planning months (like the presidency of my home association, for example), or would have hired a wedding coordinator to deal with some of the idiots we hired before and during the wedding. But anyhow, I’m not doing this ever again, so there’s not much “live and learn” here to remember for next time, thankfully.

(Sometime in September) We sent out Thank You notes to all our guest, for coming to celebrate with us and helping us get ourself going with wonderful gifts and words of wisdom. Thank you!

(Also in September) School started again, and during the Fall term I taught two courses, one I had taught before (now with some modifications) and a brand new (to me) internship. I had to hit the ground running once Labor day had passed. The term went well. I think it’s the term I have enjoyed the most teaching-wise thus far. My students were great and I truly enjoyed teaching and learning from them.

(October) We went to NYC for my birthday. I got to see my very good friend Eleni, who was spending part of her sabbatical in NY, and my wonderful sister surprised all of us, with live entertainment in a party she so graciously hosted in my honor. I love that woman. And a wonderful, beautiful, intelligent, accomplished woman she is. I’m sure you would love her too, if you ever met her. My cousin Marco was there too, and that was such a special and heartfelt event.

(November) Was all about wrapping up the term, flying to Orlando for an invited presentation at NAEYC and then Thanksgiving with Mike’s family, up in Wisconsin. It’s always a good time up at Nancy and John’s place. They are such sweet and attentive people, I truly enjoy visiting them. Also, in November there was a situation with my car, which led me to turn it in for a new one. The positive is that I finally got myself the car I had been wanting and saving for for a few years. All my savings had gone into the wedding, so I thought it would take a few more years of saving to purchase it. But as good fortune and hard work would have it, I’ve been doing some consulting work on the side, which allowed me to purchase it sooner than I thought. And just in time too, because my old car really had to go immediately (I’ll tell you the story another time).

(December) Saw us working to get all things done in time to take some time off. We drove to NYC with the boys in-tow. It took us 13 hours, but we made it in one piece, all in one day. We spent about 5 days in Manhattan and then drove up to Hudson, were we spent two glorious weeks in the wilderness. Well, in a beautiful house, with central heating, wifi, and plenty of supplies. We spent Christmas and New Years there, and on the 2nd promptly drove back home.

(January) So far January has been good. I’ve resume my meditating, which I truly believe had much to do with last term being so positive for me. And I’m in the throws of several research and writing projects that I am very excited and motivated about. There is a ton of service on my plate these days too, but it’s ok, I’m not doing anything I don’t believe in, so that’s always a good thing.

This new year 2016 promises to be very busy, it has been so thus far. I have high hopes for it being filled with finished projects and accomplishments work-wise. At a personal level, I’m seeking peace of mind and embracing happiness. I think daily meditation is a good start, but I also think I need to get myself to yoga and exercising again, in order to achieve the happy state. I want to embrace being grateful and stressing less about the small stuff. I want to let things go more, and not strive for perfection as much.

I also need to lose 20 lbs and go on a no-buy phase in order to start saving again, this time for a house. But if I’m being fair to myself, I have started tackling all of those goals already. I have lost about 3-4 lbs (depending on the day), and have stopped buying things I want but don’t need (I was on a makeup buying spree that seemed more like an uncontrolable addition than anything else). The daily meditation really helps me be more present, grateful, and loving. It’s working. I’m on my way to making 2016 all I need it to be. How about you? What have you been up to since we last talked?

#RoadTrip2014 Recap

Happy September! And Happy Labor Day! We have it off here and are enjoying a day of staying in, doing some work (work-work and housework) since the weather is crappy and the forecast is rain all day. We did manage to get a walk/jog in by the lake, before the rain, so there’s that.

We are back from our #RoadTrip2014. I thought I would post and share some of the adventures from our vacation time, while on the road, but it never happened. I did take my computer because I had some work to finish, mostly class prepping. But towards the end, my computer started acting up and I couldn’t use it for the last couple weeks. Anyhow, blogging wasn’t on my mind, I guess, because I bypassed it completely.

I’ve been thinking about blogging this week, but have been playing catch-up at work,  running errands, getting the condo in order, and getting all doctor appointments in before the trimester starts. So, I thought I’d share a recap of our summer trip first, and then in future posts, share what’s been circulating within my mind lately. Game? Good!

We left on July 31st, Mike’s birthday, and headed toward Louisville, Kentucky. There, we stayed with Mike’s dad and step-mom for a couple days. We had been to visit them before, a couple times actually, but this time we did some of the touristy stuff there is to do in Louisville, aside for the Derby, which we went to a few years ago.

This time we ate out a couple times and visited the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. There, we saw The Babe and the Jeter! Take a look:

At Bonefish Grill

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At Momma’s Mustard Pickles and BBQ

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At the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory

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After a few days in Louisville, we loaded the boys back into the car and on the road we went again, this time to Atlanta, Georgia. There, we stayed at Mike’s friends’ place.  We spent time with them, walking the boys and exploring their very high-end dog parks. We also went out for dinner to Buca di Beppo, but unfortunately I forgot to take photos of that.

Here’s Charlie having fun with the water at The Heavenly Dog Park.

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Then it was back in the car and off to Miami! The boys were really good in the car, except for some bouts of panic from Charlie when it rained. They were especially happy in Miami at my parents’ place. I think it was because both families we stayed with on the road had dogs, and now in Miami they were the kings of the backyard, with no one to put them in their place. They loved it!

In Miami we did what all people do when they go to a warm place for vacation, we relaxed. We lounged by the pool, went to the beach, went on a boat ride in Bayside Bay, went to Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens, went shopping to the awesome Miami malls (well, that was mostly me) and played golf to our hearts content (that was mostly Mike). Oh, and how could I forget, the main activity of the trip, reason why I gained 6 lbs, we ate, oh how well and how much we ate! We went to El Arepazo, Bahamas Breeze, El Parador, il Forno Ristorante, and The Fish House. We also did some home cooking and ordered takeout a couple times, because pizza and Chinese food are always well received by all.

Us at Hollywood Beach, we went there twice. Once we rented jet skies.

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Sophie practiced putting with us once, and once my dad and I went with Mike on one of his multiple golf runs.

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This is us at Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens, a really lovely place, but if you go take water, the heat is something else!

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This is us at Bayside Bay, where my dad rented a boat for the day. He misses his Konsentida from Venezuela, so this was a real treat!

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The day was a success, the whole stay in Miami was wonderful. When at home we lounged by my parents’ beautiful pool and Sophie swam as much as she could, in the hopes that her dream of being a mermaid would come true. I think, in her mind, it did. Even Maxy misses the pool now.

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But our days in Miami came to an end, and on the road we went again. The boys were really good on the way back, even though I could tell they missed Miami and all its wonderful people. On our way back we stopped in Tallahassee for the night, and the next day we went through Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and drove around the University of Alabama’s campus, Mike’s alma mater. Unfortunately, I don’t have photos of the beautiful campus since I was told we would go back after lunch and roam around, and we never did (I’m looking at you, Mike!). After Alabama we drove through Memphis and stayed the night in a little town in northern Tennessee.

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We arrived last Wednesday night in Chicago and it received us with great cool, summery weather. This is Lake Michigan, in Loyola Beach, where I went for a jog Thursday morning. Pretty, right?

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So we are back home, back in the grind, getting ready for the beginning of the term which starts on the 10th. But the memories of the great #RoadTrip2014 are still lingering, and we still miss tons the people we left behind. Thank you all for such a great vacation!