iowa

summer 2013 wrap up

So…. it’s the time of year again. Adam is burning the Leaves candle from Bath & Body Works, and there is a definite bite in the air. Fall is coming and will officially be here in just over a week.

I do love autumn, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to mourn the end of summer. I will miss the hot temperatures, the sun, wearing all the cute shorts and tank tops and sandals. Now it’s time for boots, sweaters, jeans, browns, golds, and reds.

Here’s a quick(ish) wrap up of our summer. Just that little last hurrah before I have to dig out the heavy stuff.

We Are Family

I spent the first part of my summer working way too much. I was working so many hours that everyone was commenting on it. Adam told me that I didn’t have to work so much, and Aidan kept saying, “Mom, all you do is work. You said you’d play with me.” That did it. I made some changes so I could spend more time with Aidan.

You all know we kicked off summer break with Disney World, but did you know we also made a few day trips? We went to zoo, we went to Six Flags Great America, and we went to the Iowa State Fair!

Lincoln Park Zoo

The Lincoln Park zoo was fun. We don’t go there often enough which is a shame, because it’s free! And giraffes live there! We saw really cool animals and exhibits. I didn’t get to hold any snakes or anything, but I still had fun.

Six Flags Collage

We went to Six Flags Great America, where I FINALLY got to meet my friends S.Abdul and his wife Brenda! I’ve known them for years online (seems to be a recurring story with me, huh?) and he’s such a huge coaster buff. I knew he’d lead me well at Six Flags. Because I am more familiar with Cedar Point, he explained all the rides to me in Cedar Point terms. “There’s a Troika over there!”

We went on a Saturday in July, so I knew I’d have to be picky about which coasters I rode, because otherwise I’d be standing in line all day. I really wanted to ride X-Flight and Superman, and I got to ride them both, and with Batman as a bonus!

The best part was Aidan’s growing bravery. He was interested in most of the thrill rides–at least, the spinny rides–and I had a blast riding them with him. I was so excited to finally have a spinny ride partner again!

That is… until we went to the Iowa State Fair.

Iowa State Fair

I was ready, with Aidan, to RIDE ALL THE THINGS. Unfortunately, I got sick when I got off of ride #3, which has never happened to me before. I mean, OK, the ride that did me in was the Tornado, and it nearly did me in a few years ago at the Ohio State Fair. This time, it won, to my great embarrassment. So I was “off” for the rest of the day, but I didn’t let that stop me. I’d paid $25 for the wristband so I was determined to get my money’s worth! I even rode the Gravitron, a ride I’d been wanting to try for years and no one would ever ride it with me or wait for me to ride it.

IT WAS AWESOME.

I rode it by myself at first, then I came off and told Adam and Aidan that it was the COOLEST THING EVER, so they rode it with me. So that was twice for me, then I was done. Adam and Aidan rode again, and then we were done with rides.

We had fun anyway. I didn’t eat much. We saw some animals, saw some art, some some miniatures and dollhouses that were awesome. Adam ate all the fried things. We saw some of Adam’s friends. It was a good time. Unfortunately, I was still dizzy and a bit queasy for a few days. But do I regret it? NOPE. Well, maybe riding the Tornado. NEVER RIDING THAT ONE AGAIN.

…more iowa state fair

Summer

My cousin Falandos came to visit for a weekend, and that was so much fun! Sadly, I hadn’t realized I wasn’t fully recovered from Iowa, so I ate something bad for me and got sick again. BOOO. So Falandos has to come back so we can hang out without me feeling icky.

We got to see s00j sing and have her and Ryan stay a night–that is always THE VERY BEST. So much love for those two. Truly.

I went on my third ever camping trip–but this was my first time actually staying in a tent. I went to the Sukhava Bodhe Yoga & Music Festival. My friend Reshma and I, both of us having no clue what we were doing, managed to survive a night in a tent. I had to have help pitching the tent (a loaner from my friends Missy and Rory), but now that I’ve seen it done, I’m confident I could pitch it again easily. Reshma brought an air mattress. We had bug spray, flashlights, all the stuff one needs when camping at a festival.

Now, let me tell you something about me. I love nature, but I really love my luxuries. That means running water, a bed, a hot shower, and lights to read by. So imagine my surprise that I ENJOYED CAMPING. Even when we were hit with massive thunderstorms, I felt awesome because I’d fixed the rain cover so we didn’t flood! And we had the great idea to hang the lantern from the hook at the top of the tent using my doo-rag, so we had decent light. And Reshma, our friend Amy (whose tent flooded so we had her come in with us) and I had the best night, listening to the music on the main stage, and talking. At about one in the morning, I had to pee, and I was irritated by that. I had just gotten comfy and my bladder HAD to talk.

But when I finally got my flashlight and stepped outside, I WAS SO GLAD. The stars had come out and the night sky was BREATHTAKING. I actually woke Reshma and Amy up so they could see it. Reshma kinda grumbled and rolled back over, but Amy peeked out and gasped like I did. I was so glad… because I thought I’d miss the stars because of the storms.

Anyway, we did well, considering it was our first time. And because it was a festival at a retreat center, there were hot showers (that smelled like pennies), and there were vendors selling hot food. I had the most yummy grilled cheese.

…more sukhava bodhe

Some of the new things I did this summer:

– got sick on a ride (boo)
– got henna (twice)
– slept in a tent
– rode the gravitron
– attended a lunasaugh ritual
– been a background actor in not only one, but two movies (one a major motion picture)
– costume fitting for major motion picture
– met some amazing authors
– jury duty

…Just to name a few! So, all in all, it was a great summer. The only bad thing about it was that it was too short. And flies. Flies suck.

Here’s hoping for a mild autumn!

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I Can Has Corn? (Lots of Pictures, Long)

Yes, indeed, we had corn. Got a lot of it from one of those roadside stands in Iowa. Nothing like sweet, Iowa corn. Well, except the corn we had at a potluck. 18 cups of bi-color corn, baked in a pound of butter and a pint of half-and-half, frozen, and then slow cooked for hours. Yeah, probably enough cholesterol to last me until Christmas, but DANG was it good.

Corn Pretty Landscaping

Iowa was busy, overwhelming, and fun. Aidan had a blast, and meeting little Lola was amazing (and did nothing to alleviate this ever growing ticking of my biological clock that has restarted for some reason). Lola is a total adorable squishy little sweetheart. I love her.

It's Baby Lola
Precious little Lola

Us with Baby Lola
Here we are, with little Lola

Aidan was so good with Lola. He loved holding her, and every time she’d cry, he’d hold her cheek and rub her ear and calm her down. I forgot how magical babies are to kids, and I don’t know HOW I forgot, because babies are magical to me, too.

Aidan and His Cousin Lola

One of my favorite parts of the trip was visiting a century farm. That means it’s been around at least 100 years, original farm house and everything. Interesting that I was able to get a decent cell phone signal at a century farm, but there you go. While we were there, we got up close with some turkeys, saw some peacocks and chickens, and Aidan gathered some eggs that we had for breakfast the next morning. Just so you know? I will never eat a “regular” egg again if I can help it. Organic, cage-free, grain fed eggs from now on. They are SO much better for you and they taste way better. And I always buy brown ones because they’re cool.

The ones we ate from the farm came from Easter Egg Hens (Araucanas), and the eggs were different colors, like light blue or light green or yellow. Very neat and pretty, too.

Anyway, here are some photos from the farm, including one of the eggs from the Easter Egg Hens:

Turkeys Are Funny Aidan + Tractor

Gathering Eggs

Farm Details Pretty Eggs

We visited with lots of family and took lots of pictures. I’ll try to refrain from posting too many here, but I must post some, of course!! :)

Dinner! Selzer Girls Girls! It's the Family!

Super Parents! IMG_0812

Aidan and Little Lola Grandma Bel Sharon and her Grandkids

…and the obligatory Selzer silly photo:

Silly!!

* * *

When we got back from Iowa we immediately jumped into finishing our summer with Aidan.

City Kid
Aidan is definitely a city kid!

We tried to make the most of Aidan’s last week here. Monday, we went out to dinner with Adam’s agent and some other cool writing folks at the Atwood Cafe. It was very yummy. I had the pork duo which included pork belly. It was my first time having pork belly. IT WILL NOT BE MY LAST, FOLKS. Wow, it was good. I had pineapple upside down cake for dessert, also good.

Pork Duo Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Crookshanks got really, really sick. Adam was afraid that it was the end for Crookshanks. Fortunately, we put two and two together and realized that the poor cat was just constipated. The vet prescribed him some Metamucil, and Crookshanks has been MORE than fine. He’s jumping and wailing in the morning for attention and chasing Helena and climbing to the high shelf like normal. (Oh wait, he puked today, but that’s because he ate some carrot leaves. Silly cat.)

We took a trip to this huge shopping center Oak Brook, where the sales tax was only 7% or so, and I got 15% off of my American Eagle purchase (a pretty yellow shirt and some earrings) just for checking in on Foursquare. Aidan loved all the fountains out there.

Aidan Loves Fountains

I loved that it was like Easton, but WAY bigger. I was overwhelmed! (I am looking forward to Christmas shopping out there!) Aidan was pretty patient, considering, so he earned himself a Build-A-Bear that he named David.

David at Molly's Cupcakes
David, hanging out at Molly’s Cupcakes

We ate dinner at Home Run Inn Pizzeria, and that pizza really was delicious. Something about the sauce… and the cheese. It reminded me of this pizza place I used to go to when I was little called Scotto’s Pizza. Anyone who shopped at Randall Park Mall in Cleveland in the early 80s would know what I’m talking about. Mmm. We definitely want to go back. After dinner, we all shopped some more. I *finally* used my Michael’s giftcard that I’d gotten for my 30th birthday back in 2004! It was still good! I was tickled pink. I wasn’t sure if I’d gotten that card before or after they passed all those laws preventing stores from screwing over gift card holders. At any rate, I picked up some scrapbooking stuff because guess what? I plan to do some serious scrapbooking this fall and winter. I am very, very, very behind on my scrapbooking. I want to make an Aidan book, a Ronni + Adam wedding book/honeymoon book, a Disney World 2009 book, and a family book. Seeing as I am not all that ambitious with the fancy embellishments and stuff, it’s gonna be a lot of paper and stickers. :) I am going to post some of my old layouts on Facebook. If we’re not friends there yet, why not?

Oh, and I went to Whole Foods for the first time. But not any Whole Foods. Folks, this was the most epic Whole Foods ever. Oh my God. This place is HUGE. It has all these food bars, free WiFi, a cheese counter, a fish counter, fruit forever, breads, tarts, cupcakes, cookies, salad bars, soup bars. Holy cow. I can’t even. And samples everywhere. Oh yes. I even tried an anchovy (and it wasn’t bad). Aidan was pretty bored (he wanted to get home to play with a toy or something), but I was fascinated. I hope I didn’t act like an idiot. We prefer going to Trader Joe’s (it’s way cheaper) but Whole Foods is fun, too! Nice people work at both. Nice people behind counters can be a rare thing to find in Chicago.

Summer is now winding down. :( I didn’t care much for the steamy nearly 100 degree days, but I’d rather have that than dead of winter any day! Now, it’s cooling down and I like where the weather’s been lately–low 80s or high 70s. Aidan went back to Ohio yesterday. He got to walk onto the plane with the Captain again, which thrills him to pieces. In the meantime, I was trying to hold back tears. I wasn’t fooling anyone, though, and a sympathetic mom hugged me. Adam and I went and drowned our sorrows in a trip to Burlington Coat Factory, which really didn’t help much. I got a cheap yoga tank and a cute short-sleeved hoodie (orange!), but there were some people in there who I wanted to shake!

Now it’s quiet in the apartment. So very quiet. At dinner, Adam said “Focus on eating,” because it didn’t feel like a meal without him needing to say it at least once. But there was no Aidan to say “I am.” :( It’s weird without him here.

But there is a lot to keep me busy in the meantime. I’m picking up more proofreading gigs (most of them are from home, which is great), I’ve been listening to kirtan like crazy, we’re gearing up for a trip to visit my family (especially AIDAN) and friends in Ohio, we’re going out on the lake in a boat next week, MOCKINGJAY comes out Tuesday, I’m going to meet Suzanne Collins in October (I’m #221 in line!), OVFF and Windy Con will be happening in a few months, a new America’s Next Top Model starts soon, Doctor Who Series 5 will be out on DVD, Beauty and the Beast will be out on Blu-ray™, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 will be in theatres, and I’m trying to talk Adam into a Disney World trip in January, when it’s cheap enough with the free dining that we’d get to stay in a moderate resort rather than Pop Century (although I LOVE me some Pop Century).

For now, I’ll continue my yoga, enjoy listening to kirtan, work on my writing, reading, and just enjoying life as much as I can. ‘Til next time.

David Watches the Planes

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