Friday, May 20, 2011

"Chicago, Chicago, that toddling town..."

Yessiree bob, I just got back from a long weekend in Chicago to see my sister Sarah graduate college (*sniff, sniff - it's crazy how fast they grow up) ;) Here's the smiling graduate now...

Aww, look at her all studious and stuff, with honors and all :)

Here's the fam. From left to right: Mom, Sarah and me

On Sunday the sis, who was at school in Illinois on a soccer scholarship - I know, smart AND athletic, right?! :) ran a HALF MARATHON downtown. That's 13.1 miles folks - CRAZY! In my eyes anyway :) It was a craptastic day weatherwise, with the temp in the 30s and rain and wind like you wouldn't believe...well, unless you're reading this and you live in Chicago, then I suppose you would believe it.

Here's Sarah all ready to go, so perky and chipper and excited...this is before she got totally drenched :)

Since the start of the race was at the Navy Pier, there was a group of sailors playing upbeat parade-type songs on all kinds of instruments (see that tuba?!) to start things off:

Here's Sarah again, this time looking like she might be second-guessing her decision :)

Here she is at the starting line:

She was in the first quarter of the line (there were thousands of people in this race - I forget exactly how many now). Here's a shot of alllllllll the other peeps lined up behind her:

Here's Sarah at the halfway mark, around mile 7.5. Pretty sure she was totally soaked by then. I was and I was just watching! :)

And here she is just after she crossed the finish!

Since we were all soaked to the bone by the time she finished (which was in 2 hrs, 10min - AWESOME for her first race EVER in such horrible weather!) none of us were in the mood to sight-see. So here are some pictures from our very first trip out there 4 years ago when she was a freshman...and the day was much nicer :)

We had taken the train into the city:

Saw the Navy Pier:

Rode a FUN trolley car!

And took in the view from the top of the Sear's tower:

We had such a fun time and made some GREAT memories. She's staying out there to look for a job, this summer and into next year, so if you'd like to hire THE best physical education teacher/soccer coach in the world and you're in a Chicago-area school district, she's your gal. Feel free to contact me and I'll put you in touch with her ;)

Happy FRIDAY all!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Arborvitae and Salvia and Shrubs, Oh My!

Ding dong, the landscaping's done...well, ALMOST! Still have to put a few more pots in the ground and mulch, but other than that I worked really hard a few weeks ago turning our nothin-but-a-lotta-fence-in-your-face backyard from this...

Into this!

I planted four, 6ft. arborvitae evenly spaced across the back, so that when they grow taller than our 6ft privacy fence, they'll hide some of the park's tennis backboard and fencing that you can see now (I actually bought 6 of the arborvitae and the other two are planted closer to the house, one on each side of the right and left of our fence for a little privacy from our neighbor's raised porches - yeah, they can see and snoop if they wished right down into our patio and backyard :/ But hopefully not so much after these puppies grow!). Also, I planted some boxwood-looking shrubs (can't remember their real name now) and other perennials that'll keep our backyard looking perty all year round :)

In the left corner, I planted a non-fruit bearing pear tree (now I can put a partridge in it at Christmas and really mean it when I sing that song! :) - cue eye roll from husband, haha :)  because it'll only get, maximum, 25 feet tall and the base won't get much bigger in diameter than 1-2 feet...perfect! I needed something that loves sun (which this pear tree does) and would cover up the view of that unsightly 10 or 12 ft. chainlink park fence that shows above our shorter, 6ft. privacy fence (which it will when he grows up) - yay!

Remember this side with the grill and fire pit?

It still looks like that, only now, it's a little more lush:

I have plans to eventually create a patio of pavers there to put the grill, firepit, and chairs on, but for now, it works.

Here's the right corner of our back porch where I transferred some flagstone that used to be in the front. Eventually we'd like to put a patio here too for some lounge chairs, ideal for chillin out and relaxin.

Oh, and apparently, all my hard work made Winston reeeaaaally thirsty :)

Anyone else out there been landscaping or have plans to something similar? I suppose it is the season!

Til next time!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

"I can spray paint my door knob, right?"

Well, I did, even if I shouldn't have. And guess what...

I love it!

 It's the interior of our front door, and now it matches the rest of our living room's hardware finish:

It's been painted like this for about a year now and it's held up surprisingly well.

Sorry to have been MIA's been a busy Spring. I was super busy with yardwork and landscaping our no-longer-bare backyard (pics to come!), then last weekend we traveled to my mom's for Easter, and this past weekend we flew to Oklahoma for a wedding - phew!

Here's a photo of the groom and his blushing bride entering the reception hall - aren't they cute?! And is she not absolutely STUNNING?!

So needless to say, I've been a little tired from all my outdoor work and travel. BUT a resurgence of more blogs posts feels like it's on the horizon - thanks for you patience and I appreciate you flying reading Storm Cloud Nine :)
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