Happy Birthday America

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Happy 4th of July!  Or, as my son likes to put it : Happy Birthday to America!

He picked out the picture.

This has always been my favorite holiday because it takes place in my favorite month, during my favorite season.

Not to mention the day honors my favorite place, my home, where I have grown up and lived pretty much my whole life.

What’s great is that the entire country starts celebrating a week in advance.  

And I love celebrating.

Enjoy the fireworks, everyone!

Road trip 2015 pics, part 2

Day 5 Tuesday – Clearwater Beach

Day 6 Wednesday – Tampa/New Port Richey

Day 7 Thursday – Orlando

Rental town home

Disney

Day 8 Friday – Orlando/Clermont

Picking oranges in Clermont

Downtown Orlando

Day 9 Saturday – Drive home

Road trip 2015 pics, part 1

We’re back!

We arrived in Chicago on Monday night, after a long, long drive from Florida.

For those unfamiliar with it, this is what the route there looked like.

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Our neighbors told us we took our vacation at the perfect time.  Apparently Chicago was a cold hell while we were gone.

What else is new?

Florida was a lot of fun.  And super super hot.  The temperature during the day never got below 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

We split the time between Tampa and Orlando, spending about three days in each city.

The time spent driving felt long, but it wasn’t too bad.  It wasn’t beyond what I expected it to be.  And it felt great to explore different parts of this beautiful country.

I have seen more small towns of America during this trip than I have in my entire life.  That’s what happens when you have two boys with alternating bladder schedules.

I also have people waiting on me for pictures.  Some of them are angry that I didn’t post a few already.

So now I will be showcasing vacation pics ad nauseaum.

For the next couple of blog posts, you will be seeing almost all the photos we took, sorted out by day and location.

I am glad I have a blog to display them on because I hate giving Facebook access to my pictures.  They do this creepy thing where they download my photos without my permission.

Enjoy!

And for the people that hate vacation snaps, look away, because there are lots of them coming at you!

Day 1 Friday – Chicago

We drove to my in laws place in Terre Haute, IN on Friday and spent the night there.  That cut around 5-6 hours out of the drive itself.

On Saturday, we hit the road, with Atlanta, GA in mind as our next stop.

Day 2 Saturday – Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia

With some late night driving by my husband, we managed to get an hour past Atlanta, to a little town called Byron, where we spent the night.

Day 3 Sunday – Byron, GA

The hotel where we stayed had a cute little produce place next to it.  My sister and I wanted to try the famous Georgia peaches, while my kids really wanted to pick some strawberries from the long rows of bushes in the back.

Finally, after what seemed like forever, we arrived at our hotel in Tampa on Sunday night.

Day 4 Monday, Memorial Day – Tampa. 

Lowry Park Zoo

Tampa River Walk

I thought I could cram more pictures in this post without making it five pages long.

Oh, well.

Road trip 2015, Part 2.  Coming soon to a blog post near you.

Hellos and goodbyes

Happy Mother’s Day!

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May has always been a very busy month in the View Through the Window household.

There is my mother in law’s birthday, my brother’s birthday, Mother’s Day, my birthday, and then Memorial Day, when we usually go somewhere for vacation.

The month has gotten even busier since I started school again.  It means the end of the semester.  In fact, all my work for my classes is due before midnight on May 15.

I wasn’t going to let schoolwork get in the way of my enjoying my weekend, though, especially since I had extra reason to celebrate.

Reason number one is that my brother and his wife had their first baby last week.  I am an aunt now for the second time!

And if that wasn’t awesome enough, my sister and her son, my four year old nephew, paid us a surprise visit all the way from Dallas, Texas.

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There he is hiding behind his cousin, Son 1.

Seeing my nephews was the best gift ever.  It made me so happy to be able to celebrate Mother’s Day with them.

We all went out to Chicago’s Chinatown on Sunday.

Chinatown has a little courtyard type of area, where there are statues of the animals of the Chinese zodiac.  They have a little description underneath for who falls under which year and what animal.

Mine would be the Rat.

Here are some of the other ones.

We had a late lunch…

and then toured some more.

Above are pictures of Chinatown’s candy store, where they lay out samples of stuff like dried plums, sesame seed candy, and sweet ginger.  They have the regular stuff like Airheads and Skittles as well.  I even saw some small samples of dried squid and cuttlefish.

I spent half my time in that store hollering at my boys, who had never been through the sampling process before.  They thought it meant they could take a bite of whatever it was they were sampling, spit it out if they didn’t like it, and put it right back in the little dish.

I spent the other half fishing out whatever they had put back and throwing it away.  🙄

It’s a miracle they didn’t kick us out of that store.

The weekend went by too quickly and before we knew it, it was time to drive my sister to O’Hare airport and say goodbye.

Son 2 and Fati joined me in dropping them off.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother’s Day!

Snow is a four letter word

There are days when my brain works at a speed and efficiency that surprises even me.  On those days, I am charming and at my witty best.  I also manage to churn out draft after draft of the most fantastic blog posts, the sheer awesomeness of which would completely boggle your mind.

Then there are those times when I can’t even spell wow and only every so often is there an occasional blip in the flat line that is my brain activity.  All those fantastic blog posts are trashed and I wonder what I was high on that I ever considered them good enough to publish.

This blog post has been stuck somewhere between those two states of mind.

As I sit and type, son 1 and son 2 are jumping off and climbing back on my king size bed.  They’re chasing each other and laughing like maniacs.  There’s a lot of noise and hyper activity.

Occasionally I have to move my laptop out of the way for fear of one of them crashing down on it.

Son 2 just sat on son 1’s face and farted.  I was going to say something, but before I could, son 1 laughed hysterically and shouted Mine will be worse than that!

The joys of being the only female of the house.

My sons think women don’t have gas because they’ve never heard me share it before.

After a week’s worth of monkeying around, picking up of toys, fighting, shoving, crying, refereeing, complaining of utter boredom, and trying to keep from losing my sanity, Son 1 had his first full day of school, post spring break, last Monday.

Back when I was a student, spring break actually started in Spring.  

The icing on the cake was the surprise snowstorm we got on the first day off.  We woke up to five inches of the white stuff on the ground and temperatures low enough to make sure it stayed there.  For the entire week.

The snow meant no chasing the chubby little bunnies in the backyard, no swinging or sliding on the play set, and no digging tunnels in the freshly exposed dirt to see if you could get to China without paying for expensive airfare.

So with the situation as it was, the kids were plenty bored.  PLENTY bored.

Which led to my husband buying them a brand new way to have some fun.

I have a strong feeling it was more for him than the kids.

The game system brought excitement and even more fighting, this time for who would get use of the fancy new controller.

Look, they stuck a little TV in it.

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It’s been almost two weeks since then and I’m still waiting for my turn.  😡

Times sure have changed.  I grew up in a house with four siblings.  If one of us ever complained about something as frivolous as being bored, we didn’t get toys.  We got lectures.  And not even your typical lectures.

Our lectures consisted of stuff like how we were the lucky ones, how kids in the old country would be happy to trade places with us, and that we were bringing shame on our entire family, plus a few generations back of ancestors, by not making the most of our time off and doing math problems.

No one does guilt like Indian mothers do. 😐

I tried the guilt thing with my kids once.  Just once.  I was sick and probably also slightly off my hinges for even thinking any of my parents approaches to discipline would ever work.

I said to my boys Can you please keep it down?  I’m not feeling so well.  I could use some peace and quiet.

They didn’t care.

Frustrated, I said If I had daughters, they would care that their mommy was sick.  They would tell me to rest and make me breakfast in bed!  

My boys looked a little shocked at that and traded nervous looks with each other.

I thought Jackpot!, but no.  

No jackpot.

Maybe you’ll have better luck next time was the apathetic reply.

I was almost desperate enough to start pretend crying next, because every man I know, from my 61 year old father to my 4 year old son, gets nervous and fidgety when the water works start.

But I didn’t.  I just lay down on the sofa, propped my feet up, and let the two of them play a game of who can jump over Mommy without crash landing on top of her.

Not my boys, that’s who.

Anyway, all that came to an end the moment Son 1 got on that giant yellow bus and I waved to him from our doorway.  I told him to be sure and thank his teacher for me as soon as he saw her on the first day back.

What for? he asked.

I replied Don’t worry.  She’ll know.  

I’ll bet he had to wait in line.

 

 

Say hello to my left foot

Spring is officially here!

*Doing a little happy dance*

School and homework are keeping me busy.  The weather is getting better and we find ourselves spending a lot more time outdoors.

I haven’t had the chance to read any of my favorite blogs or devote much time to my own.  😦

Today’s blog post is another click a pic one.  Over the weekend we visited my sister on/near the campus of the University of Illinois in Chicago.  One of the highlights of the trip to Fati aunty’s are the fantastic views you get to see along the way and while there.  Chicago is, after all, famous for its architecture and skyline.

I lived in Queens, New York before moving to Chicago when I was fourteen.  This city has its pros and cons, but New York will always be close to my heart.

If my husband were awake, he’d read this over my shoulder and say So you enjoyed the smell of sewer water and being mugged twice a week? and I would tell him to take his country ass back to Kentucky.

We’re soul mates. ❤

Seeing the Chicago skyline while cruising down one of the city’s many highways is awesome.  Being in the city always gives me a thrill.  Must be the New Yorker in me.

The visit to Fati’s turned into a sleepover for me and my kids because of how late it had gotten.

It was so lovely to see this when I happened to wake up around dawn.  It felt like the whole world was waking up with me.

At night from the balcony.

After seeing all these beautiful photos I have come to one major conclusion : I need a better camera.

I can’t wait for my classes to be over.  School is a pain in the ass.  I wanted to elaborate on the name of my blog and explain why I am so in love with views, but that will have to wait for another post.  I have a mountain of backlog of homework to do. 😥

Now if only Shawn Wayans was there, too

For my husband’s belated birthday celebration, we had a small party at our house and then he and I went to see a late night comedy show at the Improv Comedy Club.

We had two cakes at our little party because my mom’s birthday is the day after my husband’s and we usually celebrate them together.

How I wish we could’ve spent more time at home with the family.  Instead we ran out of the house in a hurry and left the cleaning up and the kids for my in laws and my mom, i.e. the birthday girl, to take care of.

Whoops. 😳

But they didn’t mind because what else do grandparents want other than to spend time with their grandchildren?

Their words, not mine.

We were headed to the club for a “meet and greet” session with one of my husband’s favorite comedians, Marlon Wayans.

Here are some pics of the night.

All the VIP badge meant was that we paid extra to be first in line.

Seriously.  That’s all it meant. 😐

But being first in line got us a super nice table in the front row, so it worked out.

They didn’t allow any photography during the show, which was fine with me because we were laughing too hard to even eat anything.

Then came time to meet the man.

And here we are with him.  He was a nice guy.  Friendly, polite, and hyper.

That’s us with those fat white circles covering our faces.  Just in case you couldn’t tell.

The night was a lot of fun.  The only thing that would’ve made it better was if Shawn Wayans had shown up as well.  Sumi and I always thought he was the cuter one of the two.

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They gave each group a maximum of 2-5 mins with Marlon, which was a real bummer.  Given the chance, I would’ve loved to have had a conversation with him in which I would mention that I have a sister who is single and finds him quite attractive.

My husband had a great time and so the night was a big success.  He said the fun we had made him forget that he was now closer to 40 than 30.

Now I’ve gotta figure out what I’m going to do for my birthday in order to forget that I’m turning 26 again for the fifth time.

Slow and fat

A few weeks ago, we went to see the Circus Spectacular at the Sears Center arena.

Here we have photos of elephants, elephant butts, overpriced snacks, face paintings, and cute little circus souvenirs.  That’s Kid 1 in the yellow shirt, perched on top of the camel in picture number 8.

There were no lions or bears, oh my.  In addition to the elephants and camels, there were a few tigers, including a black and white one, and some horses/ponies.

The biggest issue/concern with the circus has always been the welfare of the animals involved.  I used to be quite passionate about animal rights when I was younger.  I still am, although these days I can’t devote any time to the cause.

The company’s website claimed to be cruelty free and accommodating all the needs of their animals.

Because it was the tenth consecutive freeze your ass off Saturday and we were all suffering from various degrees of cabin fever, that was enough to convince me it was okay to go.

So we went.

I can’t say whether the company’s claim was legitimate or not.  The animals certainly didn’t look starved.  The tigers actually looked a little overweight.

As evidenced in the video, they also seemed super bored and a little whateverish.

Overall, though, all the animals were well trained and better behaved than my children.

A special mention must be made of the man who sat directly in front of me.  My four year old was not impressed with the show and sat in my lap during most of the four hours we were there.  He cried when the lights went out and when the loud noises went off.

He also kicked the seat in front of me at the rate of around one kick every two seconds.

The guy sitting there must’ve been a saint in a past life.  He didn’t turn around or complain once, not even when Kid 2, perhaps in an effort to rustle up some major drama for his mama, took his index finger and tapped the man’s shiny, closely shaved, nearly bald head three times.

I sucked in my breath at that point and braced myself for the confrontation, but miraculously there wasn’t any.

You have my respect, Mr. Guy That Was Sitting In the Seat In Front Of Me.  He had to have been the world’s most patient and understanding man.  Maybe he overheard me telling my kids don’t make me come over there or you’ll be in time out until you start college and one more word out of you, I’m calling those tigers back and telling them to have a little Indian for dinner.

I’m thinking he decided I’m not messing with that bitch.  She cray.