Spring Break! Woooo!

A Day at Shedd Aquarium

Aidan flew in the evening of March 28. When the last flight comes in, it’s almost always guaranteed there will be a delay, and this time was no exception. Except the delay never actually happened. Things got squared away on the departing side really quickly, so Aidan arrived even before his original scheduled arrival. How often does that happen? :)

We had a fun, low key spring break. We spent most of time hanging around the apartment and relaxing, playing video games (we played Harry Potter using our “dudebro” voices) and just chilling out. It’s always nice to do that. I’d managed to clear most of my week just so Aidan and I could hang. It was challenging to keep my schedule clear, but I did it for the most part.

We went out a few days, but our biggest adventure was hitting the Shedd Aquarium. A few locals advised us against it. “It’s spring break, it’s going to be a mess!” they said. But Aidan and I met up with the woman I babysit for and her two sons, and we headed out anyway. And it turned out to be fine. It was crowded, but not so much that I was super annoyed or anything. We got there early, and because she had a stroller, got to bypass the main ticket line and use the accessible line. I upgraded our tickets because Aidan wanted to see sharks.

He got his wish.

A Day at Shedd Aquarium

We got to touch a sea star; Aidan didn’t like that much. We also saw penguins, pretty fish, whales, a snapping turtle, and other beautiful things.

A Day at Shedd Aquarium

A Day at Shedd Aquarium

A Day at Shedd Aquarium

A Day at Shedd Aquarium

A Day at Shedd Aquarium

The Wild Reef exhibit was my favorite. I’ve always loved coral reef, so seeing it there was amazing. Coral reef fascinates me. It’s teeming with life–thousands, if not millions of organisms make it their home–and it’s so delicate that it can only survive in the most exacting of environments. Once upon a time I fancied having a coral reef tank, but they’re too hard and expensive to maintain. Thank goodness we have the Shedd, right?1

Of course there was souvenir shopping. Aidan wanted plushies. First, he was desperate for a stuffed penguin. I told him to wait until we were done looking at things because I didn’t want to lug the thing around. Then, by the end of the visit, he wanted a stuffed shark. So we headed to the gift shop. I was expecting to spend $25–30 on a single plush for Aidan, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were TWO for $30! Well then. So Aidan got two sharks and he named them Saw Blade and … well, shoot, I know the other one had Hammer in his name somewhere but now I can’t remember what his name is. Anyway, he was happy.

And man, some of the things that come out of that kid’s mouth!!

Aidan: There are so many movies coming out that I don’t care about!

Ronni: Oh hell no.
Aidan: Oh heaven yes!

Aidan: Would you like this Easter egg bubblegum? It’s egg-flavored gum. Just kidding!

Aidan: Mom, you need to buy a new mirror. That’s a funhouse mirror.

He’s right about the mirror. It does a number on my self-esteem when I’m standing in just the right… or maybe wrong place.

Aidan flew back to Ohio tonight. The gate agent sat him next to another UM–an 11 year old girl–so he’d have someone to talk to. The next time I see him, he’ll be arriving for the summer. And two days after that is Disney World!

So, that was my spring break in a nutshell. It was a good one. Hope yours was good, too.

  1. I used to have freshwater tropical tank many years ago. I really miss having an aquarium. It was so calming and beautiful. We just don’t have room for one where we live now. :(


Tis The Season For an Aidan


How was your Thanksgiving? Mine was really good. My favorite part, of course, was that Aidan was here. We had a LOT of fun! We hung out, we watched Christmas programs, we braved the crowds on Black Friday and did some shopping, and I got in a lot of laughing and cuddling and good times. I suck them up now because I know they will end sooner than I’m ready.

I didn’t take photos of the spread, but we had turkey that Adam had brined in a solution from the Spice House (the turkey was good on Thanksgiving, but it was AMAZING Friday night). We had stuffing, cornbread dressing (gotta have my dressing; stuffing just doesn’t do it for me), corn, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, cranberry sauce (homemade by Adam and awesome), and apple pie. Jeff and Deborah brought over a tart and some sweet potato fritters–I didn’t even get a chance to try them. Jen bought over a plate full of yummy rolls. We had sparkling blueberry juice and sparkling cranberry apple cider to drink, as well as the cranberry Sierra Mist. Everything was wonderful. We let our food digest while watching Twilight with RiffTrax before tackling the dessert. Good times.

Friday, Aidan and I went back and forth about whether or not we wanted to go out. He finally said “I want to go shopping.” He said he’d never been Black Friday shopping before and he thinks his dad won’t take him. So, we bundled up and headed on out! (And NOT to Walmart. Hell no.)

Heading out for Black Friday fun!
aidan and me on the way to state street
we’re waiting on the train, which came really quickly for once
so i had to rush and take this photo
that’s why i look crazy. lol.

I told him that we needed to go to shop for other people, not for him. But he talked me into getting him a stuffed Wreck It Ralph anyway. Hmph. Oh well.

We made our way to Macy’s. He didn’t really want to look at the store windows this year (Although he made sure I was OK with that. I was.). He did write his letter to Santa, though. Macy’s has a table set up every year and they donate money for every letter sent. :)

Thinking of what to Write to Santa
thinking hard.

Letter to Santa Mailed!

We made our way through Holiday Lane, which I like to do every year, but we didn’t go see Santa. I didn’t even try–figured the line would be too long, and besides, Aidan was getting hungry.

Aidan, Nutcracker, Me
aidan and me at holiday lane
he was cranky and hungry
at least, until we made our way to the toy aisle

We also went up to see the Great Tree, which he and I called the “BASST”. Short for Big Ass Tree. But really an excuse for me to cuss. ;)

Aidan and the Big Ass Tree

We actually had a good time shopping. We didn’t head out til around 230pm, so I figured most of the insane deal hunters would be home and sleeping. Most of the stores we went into had really cheerful workers (the ones in Old Navy seemed to be running on pure adrenaline or drugs or something) and also cheerful customers. There was only ONE store with a pissed off cashier–I didn’t take it personally though. Only one of the stores was so crowded I started to freak out, but the others were manageable. One wasn’t crowded at all.

We spent Saturday evening having a Christmas program marathon. We started with Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (where we tried to figure out what was going on with the doll on the Island of Misfit Toys), moved on to Frosty the Snowman and Frosty Returns, then plopped in another DVD and watched Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol. I could have kept going, but Aidan turned the TV off LOL.

I had so much fun with Aidan. This will be his LAST CHRISTMAS in single digit ages; he turns 10 on December 30! Hard to believe that I have a kid who’s about to be 10. Holy cow. But let me tell you why he is so amazing.

Last night, even though he’d had dinner, he decided that he wanted spaghetti. At 10:48pm. (He’s a night owl like me and on vacation time, I let him stay up.) I really didn’t want to cook that late, but I decided I’d show him how to get it started. I told him how to fill up the pot 3/4 of the way with water (he hasn’t learned fractions yet so he was like “WTF Mom”), and then he broke the noodles into the water. I added the butter and salt and oil, and he stirred the noodles. It was a team effort. I made enough for him to have a serving and a half. When I fixed his plate, I asked if he wanted everything in the pot, and he said “No.” And you know why? He told me that he wanted to make sure I got some even though he could have eaten all of it.

He is the kindest, most compassionate kid I’ve ever met, and I’m really truly hoping the teenage years don’t steal that away from him completely.

The next time I see him will be Christmas Day. 29 Days! In the meantime, I get to make Christmas. That will keep me busy and happy until then.


Falling Forward

Aidan is back in Ohio. He left early this afternoon. It was hard. It always is. The summer good-bye is always the hardest, though. Because he’s been with me for so long and I’ve gotten so used to him being here. It’s so quiet in the apartment now.

Yesterday, all three of us went to Naperville just to hang out–our last full day of hanging out in the summer of 2012.

Aidan at the candy store.
He’s like a kid in a…oh.

We had a fun day. I miss that little booger. *sigh* But this year, I did something I’d never gotten the chance to do. I got to buy Aidan all his school supplies and some of his school clothes! Chris and Matt usually do that after Aidan’s in Ohio. Chris did buy most of Aidan’s school clothes, and Matt got him his backpack. But I got to buy all the supplies (I’ll take any excuse to buy office/school supplies) and his lunchbox and socks and stuff like that. Probably kinda silly to get excited over that, but I’m not going to apologize for it.

So, this evening I’ve been sort of relaxing but also trying to sort out all the stuff I need to start focusing on. It’s time for seasonal deep cleaning. The annoying thing about cleaning is that it doesn’t STAY that way after all that hard work. But a dear friend of mine pointed me toward the UFYH tumblr and it has some really great ideas about getting stuff done. Adam wants to reorganize our coat closet area in the front room, which I’m totally in agreement with. I have a LOT of coats and I’d love to see them all contained in a wardrobe that CLOSES. If we can find one big enough. I’d like it to have room to hold shoes and purses as well. I know.

I also need to go through all my clothes and get rid of stuff. Like for real. I have too many clothes and nowhere to put them. It’s time to go HAM on that stuff. The last time I did that was 2008. Basically, here is a rundown of all the work I want to do:

– Declutter my closets. All three of them. Getting rid of clothes, shoes, coats, anything I simply cannot fit or don’t/won’t wear anymore.
– Thorough cleaning of Aidan’s room. Boys are truly disgusting sometimes. I’m not sure WHAT Aidan did in there but man. Adam and I have our work cut out for us.
– Clean up the foyer. The motor oil stain on the carpet out there–we can’t do anything about (don’t even ask but it wasn’t our fault), but there are random boots and shovels and paint cans out there. I’d like to clean it up at least a little bit.
– Organize all my CDs. I have a buttload of CDs and I have to figure out how to get them somewhere easily accessible yet they need to be nicely organized.
-Redo the DVD shelves. They WERE organized, but Aidan and Adam have since ransacked the things looking for certain DVDs and/or video games.
– Unclutter my lotions, soaps, hair products, fragrances, makeup, etc. I have SO MUCH of that stuff and most of it just needs to GTFO.
– Clean out the refrigerator. It’s back to being a hot mess.
– Clean out carb city. Cause there are things there that have been there since 2008 or 2009 (unopened, of course), and y’all, that ain’t kosher.
– Get rid of old magazines and catalogs. I don’t know WHY I am holding on to some of my magazines… I get so many free subscriptions and honestly, the ONLY ONES I ever really read are Reader’s Digest and Yoga Journal (which are not free, go figure), so I need to let all the other subscriptions run out and just keep those two, right? I mean, I LIKE having my bathroom filled with Popular Science (come on, it’s SCIENCE!) and W and the Rachael Ray magazine (they were all free!), but Newsweek is usually outdated by the time I get around to reading it. I don’t even know what else I subscribe to. Oh wait, Fitness or Self or Shape something like that. I don’t need to renew those subscriptions. And catalogs. I keep Free People around for writing inspiration, but I need to just cut out the pictures I like and trash the rest. I don’t want to get rid of my American Girl catalogs but seeing as I have them come to two different addresses, I don’t need to have doubles of all of them, now do I?
– Do something about the HUGE number of books I have. Which will be painful, but is so necessary. We’re completely out of shelf space.
– Clean up my doll display. I still haven’t unboxed my Designer Jasmine and Tiana, and one of my Ellowyne Wilde dolls is hidden behind a baby Tiana doll. Poor Katniss is sitting here like “WTF. You bought me as soon as you could and now I’m just sitting here in the box.” I need to change my Julie out of her summer clothes and into an autumn outfit and maybe I should think about displaying another American Girl doll because I have 12 of them and most of them are in a bin in Aidan’s room.

Me & Julie
Me and Julie, when I first got her in 2009.
She was an early birthday present. :)

Katniss Barbie
The Katniss Barbie I just got last week.

Some of these need to be done immediately, others (like the CDs and DVDs) are pipe dream projects that will happen when I’m inspired, have time, and really just want to get it DONE. I also feel like some trips to Garden Ridge and/or The Container Store and/or Ikea need to happen for everything to take place like I want it. AND I need to have a plan when I go into those stores. We went to Ikea last week and my mind just goes like this about EVERYTHING whenever I’m there:

And then I get all overwhelmed and I’m just like:

So I really need to have some sort of plan before I hit those stores. It’s cute that Ikea sent me a huge catalog the other day, isn’t it, tho?

Basically, though, for my sanity and just because it’s better, I need to seriously tackle some projects around the house. Get some music on, bust it out, room by room, and be like:

Maybe I can post before/after pictures? Make it kind of a series here? What do you think? I wonder if I could even stick to it, but it would be great accountability….

In other words, I got my yoga teacher training midterm today. Twelve pages, 225 questions, 4.5 credit hours. I have until September 20 to get it done. Trying to coordinate meetings with my other classmates so we can work on it together. I’ve already filled out a few answers that I knew off the top of my head. We’ll see how it goes.

My 2013 Life Planner arrived on Saturday. I think it’s super pretty! :)

My 2013 @erincondren Life Planner! ?

My 2012 Life Planner has been amazing. I take the thing just about everywhere and I love showing it off to people. It’s worth every dime I paid for it, and I’ve already started filling in my 2013 Life Planner. Lots of yoga teacher training things to populate.

And this guy finally got to come home with me:

My New Friend

Love Beast! :)

One thing I really want to do is cut back on my Internet time. I waste away many, many hours on tumblr and Facebook games when I have toys to be played with, books to read, hell, books to WRITE, yoga poses to practice, journals to write in, pictures to take, an exercise bike to use, and of course, there is that list^^ of all the cleaning I need to tackle. But it’s hard because as a freelancer, I am essentially ON CALL and need to be available, at least from 9am-5pm M-F. (Who am I kidding? Like I actually get up at 9am!) And I’m actually really happy with the amount of work I’ve been getting. It’s just the right balance. Enough to keep me quite busy, but it’s not taking over my entire life and stressing me out to the point of tears and wishing I would get sick so I could call off work.

But in the evenings? I really need to unplug. One thing I loved about the movie Juno was that the parents were never on their computers. They were always doing crafts or projects–engaging in hobbies that were not computer/tablet/smartphone related. And even though I suspect that Juno was set in a time when life wasn’t so computer-centered, it’s still nice to see.

OK, this entry is really long. Sorry about that. I guess I had a lot to say.

‘Til next time!

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