Things I think about...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I have always suffered from allergies and at first I loved 
Puffs tissues when they came out because it was so soft.  And more recently do you ever notice how all Kleenex is all soft nowadays?  Sometimes do you feel like it isn't absorbent?  Doesn't that defeat the purpose And have you ever noticed the backside is scratchy?  Why is that?


Busy Bee

Working on some of the last few posts... I just can't seem to sit down and work at my desk unless the room is clean and well... I keep just finding more projects to do as  try to clean this office up!

Hardy Boys at The Cubs!

Kenneth, Greg and Awsumb at Wrigley Field

Kenneth really hoped to go to one last Cub's game with his father last year when he was diagnosed with cancer.  We checked schedules and talked about plans.  But Duane was anxious to start treatment. By the end of the season Kenneth started saying "maybe next spring" though we both realized that he probably wouldn't make it past Christmas.  After Duane's passing Kenneth's focus changed to going to a Cub's game and creating new father and son memories with his own son, Awsumb.

Soo when we started making plans to go to Omaha to spend time with Shirley and her parents, just like Duane would do whenever possible, Kenneth tacked on plans for us to catch a game.  The whole trip was so last minute.  And Kenneth didn't even finalize any kind of Chicago plans until a week before we were supposed to fly out.  When called to check in with his mother he was surprised to learn she was already in Omaha.  And that she had driven out with Greg and her sister Cindy.  Kenneth then told his mother of his plans to spend a few days in Chicago and invited Greg to come along with us.  Awsumb was very excited about sharing and making memories with Uncle Greg.

The drive through Iowa was uneventful.  And much longer than expected.  We stopped at the Amana Colonies which are nothing more than a tourist stop these days.  After a late dinner we finally checked into our hotel.

Saturday morning we all woke up early and took the L to Wrigley Field.  It was windy and the weather was threatening us with thunderstorms.  We spent an hour or so checking out the shops and vendors and were among the first few people in line when the stadium opened.  Wrigley is such an amazing stadium. Mostly because although the team never wins the stadium is filled for each game.  And without all the jumbotrons and modern screens the fan experience if focused more on the game.  We had OK seats on the left field down the 3rd baseline.  I think Kenneth and I have sat in that same section before. It's hard to buy tickets to a stadium you aren't totally familiar with.  Because the stands are deeper and lower as apposed to steep, if you sit on a front aisle it's often hard to see over all the people walking by.  But it was OK and everyone was just excited to be at the game.

As we were walking over to get Awsumb his "First Time at The Cubs" certificate he was invited to stand in the "kids corral"  right on the field!  Apparently often the Cubs will come over and sign a few balls to kids in that area.  The morning had been raining so their was no on field practice.  But a few of the Braves players came over and Awsumb scored a few autographs and a photo.  By the time the game started it was a beautiful blue sky day!  Although still super hot and muggy!

Greg and Awsumb found the new Cubs Mascot, Clark

Awsumb's first Chicago Dog!  He loved it!

After the game Awsumb scurried over to the dugout in hopes of catching a ball or scoring some autographs.  The security guard passed out official sunflower seeds from the dugout to the kids that were waiting.

Finally we shopped around the outside of the stadium and that night all slept snug in our little beds!

The next day we started even earlier. The boys woke up to find the Cubs Fairy (A.K.A. Wendy) had left them matching Cubs shirts.  Another quick trip on the L. in time to be among the first kids in the stadium to score an Etch-A-Sketch give away.  Awsumb was first in line at the main gate!  We also wanted to be part of the first 1000 kids to get a bracelet reserving a spot to run the bases after the game.  The usher from the day before remembered Awsumb and invited him again into the "kids corral."  Ernie Banks (an old time Cub player) came over to give the kids come instruction.  Just before he left the lady with him took Awsumb's marker so he could sign his ball and then he turned away to move onto the next group of media waiting for him.  So close to an autographed ball!  But fun anyway.

rigley Field is celebrating 100 years so each home stand they celebrate a different decade and wear throw back uniforms.  This weekend was the 60's.  Love those stripes! So fun to make it to Wrigley during the anniversary!  And before the proposed improvements to add a big screen and other such modern expectations of major league fields.

This time we sat on the first base line.  Not too many rows above the Braves dugout. Perfect seats!  And we even had shade for most of the game, which was great because I am pretty much turn into a lobster in any amount of direct sunlight.  After a super exciting game the Braves won (no surprise).

Both games the seat next to us was left empty.  For such a full stadium it was something to take note and everyone commented that Duane was present with us.

(insert Awsumb running bases video)

Awsumb and Greg went over to line up for the kids run the bases event.  Awsumb was among the last of the kids in line so we waited quite a while for him to come out.  Always the considerate boy he is, he got a slow start making sure not to knock over any of the little kids.  But he picked it up for the end!  Awsumb is so anxious to be grown up.  He has always been 3 going on 30.  But sometimes it's good to still be considered a little kid. How fun to get to participate in the kids run the bases event!

After another long day we went back to the hotel for dinner and the Kenneth taught Greg and Awsumb a new card game.  I surprised the boys with some ice cream sundaes while they were playing and took some time to myself.

Magnificent Mile 

Monday morning the boys decided they were too exhausted to do much of anything.  Going to a movie sounded like a fun idea so after breakfast the boys headed to the theater while I packed us up.  Our flights didn't leave until later that evening so we drove through Chicago and ended up at the Field Museum and Alder Planetarium.  Kenneth and I had scoped it out before as an idea to spend the day there before the boys decided on a movie.  We decided not to do a run through since it was so late in the day at this point and had lunch at the cafeteria and took pictures of the Chicago Cityscape.  Awsumb and I always bring his little pocket kite alone with us on these sorts of adventures and had fun trying to get it in the air. The windy city wasn't so windy that day!

(Kite and Chicago pictures)

We had such an enjoyable trip to visit Kenneth's Grandparents and are thankful to Shirley for making this happen.  Spending time with Greg was an added bonus.  Awsumb has a special connection with Greg and we were happy to include him as part of our little family for the weekend.

At the airport we said our goodbyes and after delays with both flights we all made it home safe and sound.  Us to Seattle, Greg to SLC.


Wallace Family of Omaha

Last week we had the pleasure of visiting Kenneth's Wallace Grandparents in Omaha.  Years ago we used to catch up with them whenever we were in Utah at the same time. In recent years they have not been well enough for travel.  Shirley has been visiting them often and asked us to plan a trip soon as she would be going out again to accompany her mother to the doctor. My suggestion was October as summers are so short here in Seattle and traveling during the summer is shame when it's finally warm and sunny and great weather for being outdoors.  Instead we made last minute plans to fly out to Omaha within just a few short weeks.

Omaha, Nebraska is so much more green than I thought.  Sprawling suburbs much like Utah with wide roads and large parking lots and landscaping around businesses (no shortage of land here) and tons of trees!  I guess I always imagined all of Nebraska to be the color of golden wheat.  We arrived in Omaha earlier than we thought and stopped by to say hello to everyone at the Wallace Family home before we checked into our hotel.  Shirley had driven from Utah along with Greg and her sister Cindy.   Grandpa and Grandma have a sweet little home in a quiet neighborhood. Grandpa has cultivated the entire back, sides and even some of the front lawn in to a garden, which he cares for all day long every day.  Very impressive! 

Wednesday we all went out for a nice lunch.  The boys got to work on some heavy lifting projects Shirley had been saving for them.

Thursday morning Shirley took Grandma to her doctor appointment.  Afterwards she and Greg joined us on a visit to LDS Winter Quarters where the pioneers fleeing from Nauvoo stopped for two winters.  For 15 years Grandpa and Grandma Wallace were caretakers of the property around the cemetery where a modern LDS temple has since been built.

That afternoon Shirley's brother Sam joined us for dinner.  Grandpa Wallace and Shirley prepared Grandma's famous steak and gravy for the occasion.

The day before Kenneth and Greg realized there was a Triple-A stadium in town, home of the Storm Chases (Kansas City Royals) and that the Ohio Cubs (Chicago Cubs) were in town.  We dismissed the idea of catching a game.  But on our way back to the hotel Kenneth decided the game was probably only and inning or two in and we should just go for it.

The stadium is truly one of those 'field of dreams"' in the middle of cornfields outside of town.  While walking up to the gate it was obvious we had picked a busy night as it was $2 beer night.  The stadium was packed.  Someone must have heard us talking about where we needed to go to get tickets and a young man at the gate gave us 3 free tickets just a couple rows over the dugout.  A pretty fun little field. Kenneth caught a flip up from one of the Cubs players as they ran into the dugout after the inning. Triple-A baseball is always a lot of fun.  From the "second inning snack boy" who served cheese-it's and sunflower seeds to the players on the field to the mascot races... very cute, family fun entertainment.  Throughout the game the announcer played music and the crowd got excited waving their hats to "stir up the storm." 

Friday we said goodbye to Shirley, Cindy and Grandma and Grandpa Wallace and we Greg and his belongings in our rental car for the next leg of our journey....