Friday, July 31, 2009

Just stuff.

First and foremost, thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you who donated to St. Jude in memory of Olivia! Not only was Zac able to meet his goal, but he exceeded it by raising $1072.11! Woohoo! He takes off from Macomb at 4:00 tomorrow morning for their satellite run.
Zac and I went to pick out Olivia's headstone for the cemetery yesterday. We are really happy with the place - Wyoming Monument Company. The man we met with was so incredibly nice and helped us out a lot. We are also very pleased with the preliminary sketch we came up with. We still have time to make a few changes and we are having her picture etched on it, so we are trying to fine the perfect picture.
The kids and I went school supply shopping today. It's one of my favorite holidays. I can't say the kids were as excited as I was. Oh, well. There's always next year!
I absolutely love the fact that the kids are always out playing around the neighborhood...but, I have this fear that our children have become the neighborhood stalkers. Most of the kids must go elsewhere during the day, because no one is really out until the evenings, however, the second there is a sign of life from one of the neighbors, our kids are out there riding their bikes back and forth in front of their houses. It's really embarrassing. We tried to tell them that we don't want to wear out our welcome and that we have to be considerate of other people and their families. They just don't seem to get it. It's also difficult because they are always in everyone else's yard and we don't have a yard, yet. So, I don't feel like we have been able to take our "turn" with having the entire neighborhood over.
On another neighborhood note...Jack loves baseball. He has found some friends that do to. He played a game of ball last night - big kids (junior high to adult) against little kids (anyone younger than junior high). Apparently someone made mention of playing again tonight. That's all the kid can talk about. He complained all day about getting home in time for "his game."
Me: I'm sorry, I didn't realize you had a schedule...let me guess, your next game is tomorrow night.
Jack: Yep.
Me: And again the next day??
Jack: Nope - we take Sunday's and Tuesday's off to rest.
Seriously? Next thing we know, there will be bleachers set up and a concession stand down the road.
Anyway, we are excited to greet the St. Jude runners tomorrow night at the Civic Center! Be sure to watch on any of the Peoria channels if you live in the area. I don't know any of the times or channels, otherwise I'd let you know!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Disney Recap - Part Two

Let's see...where did we leave off?
Ah, yes...Disney World!Tuesday morning:
We woke up, bright and early, so we could be the first ones in at Animal Kingdom. I must have finally hit exhaustion by this point, because I hardly have any pictures from the rest of the trip. I'll have to try to steal some from everyone else and post them later;)

Grandma T. with all 4 grandkids
The 15 of us took up lots of room wherever we went. Either that, or they just fled when we came near.
The "roller coaster riders" battles Expedition Everest. Jack loved it this time (thought it was a little scary a couple of years ago). I heard that my uncle was a little frightened, and I was afraid that Jack may have come home with a few new choice words from that experience, although we haven't heard them, yet;)
13 of us went on Kali River Rapids. I was the big loser on this ride. I got completely soaked. Afterwards, we planned on meeting back up with my aunt and grandma, but they went missing. So, we searched for a while before some of the crew decided to head back to the hotel and swim. Five of us (the ones who obviously love them the most) searched a little longer. Of course, they didn't even know they were lost, until we found them;)
Dinner that night - to the Polynesian for a Luau! This ended up being another entertaining evening. Fire eaters, hula dancers, massive amounts of food, and a little stroll on the beach after dinner.
My sister and brother-in-law signed the kids up for a pirate cruise. They left in the morning and went sailing around in search of buried treasures. They had an absolute blast. When we met back up with them, we spent the day at Epcot. The kids loved Test Track and Brooklyn was finally tall enough to ride Soarin'. She said it was the best day of her whole life!
Dinner that night...Epcot's German Restaurant. There was nice German entertainment, a big German buffet, and really large German beer. A few of the tipsy adults in our party took the girls out to dance...
Thursday morning, we packed up our belongings and sadly checked out of the Boardwalk Resort. We made one quick stop at MGM (Disney's Hollywood Studios) so the kids could take Zac and I on the Toy Story ride. This was the highlight for me. My favorite ride, by far. (Can you tell I'm not one of the "roller coaster riders"?)
It was just like you were in a huge video game. I'm amazed by how they are able to do that stuff. Anywho...then on to Downtown Disney to do our souvenir shopping. This is where we split... the Newman's went on to Vero Beach, the Trent's and most of the Pardieck's came back to Illinois, one Pardieck went on to Ohio, and the Chatterton's rented a car and drove to Ocala. Zac's brother and wife live in Ocala and are expecting a baby, oh, last week. We were sure we were going to meet our new little niece, but she still hasn't made her appearance, yet. It was sooooo nice to end the vacation with them. It was so relaxing and gave us some good recovery time from the days prior. We left there Saturday and flew back to Chicago!
All in all, a wonderful vacation, but it sure is nice to be home!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Disney Recap - Part One

A great time was had by all last week at the Happiest Place on Earth. We arrived last Saturday (6/18) in Orlando without a hitch. It was a fairly decent flight.

The 4 kiddos - Brooklyn, Jack, Emmy, and Tyler

We did have two extra kiddos with us, so that made it a bit more interesting, but fun. My niece and nephew flew down with us so they didn't have to do the whole drive with my sister and brother-in-law.
Sunday morning, bright and early, the boys skipped on over to Blizzard Beach to enjoy a day at the waterpark.

(Getting ready for the Snow White ride)

Brooklyn and I spent the day at Magic Kingdom.

Brian and Carrie and Brooklyn (Emmy and Tyler are behind that person's head) on Aladdin's Magic Carpet.

Autographs from Goofy - Tyler, Emmy, and Brooklyn

Autographs from Stitch - Tyler, Brooklyn, and Emmy

That evening, we all met up (all 15 of us - one grandma, one aunt, one uncle, 2 cousins, one mom, one dad, one sister, one brother-in-law, the two of us, and 4 kiddos...and, yes, we are one of "those" families that wear matching t-shirts) at Magic Kingdom for their new dessert buffet.

Sporting the family T-shirt - TCNP - Trent, Chatterton, Newman, and Pardieck family vacation 2009

The buffet was sickening - I've never seen so much sugar in my life - we loved it! It also included a great view of the fireworks show over Cinderella's Castle, except that it was a bit cloudy. No worries...we still enjoyed it all.

Monday morning...another early start to our day at Disney Hollywood Studios (or MGM for all of you that didn't know they changed the name - which I found very annoying, so I still call it MGM). This was actually our only day of rain - and it wasn't even a hard rain. We definitely lucked out with the weather. Besides the obscene heat, it was really pleasant. We all watched the Lights, Motor, Action Stunt Show,

Lights, Motor, Action Stunt Show Set

got some autographs from the High School Musical 3 crew, and went on the Backlot tour.

Oh, look. A truck!

Oh, no. A fire!

Whew. Good thing there was that huge gush of water!

You feel like your right there with us, don't you?

Jack stayed with the "roller coaster riders" and tackled Rockin' Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror, again. We went back with everyone else and hit the pool. Monday evening, we all met up to eat at Boma - the African buffet at Animal Kingdom Lodge. What a neat place.

This is Zac...after dinner.

The food was surprisingly good (I'm a really picky eater) and we were able to take a walk after dinner and see all of the animals that live right there in the middle of the resort. After dinner, we went over to Epcot to try to catch the Illuminations fireworks show. This is where the entertainment begins. Picture this...we are packed in like sardines trying to get the best view of the show. It begins. My mom comes over and says she found the perfect spot where no one is standing. We all trek over to "the perfect spot" and realize no one is there because there is a huge tree blocking the entire sky. Apparently, she missed that factor. So, we head back over to our original spot. Fireworks are booming, lights are flashing. Pure beauty. Then, all of a sudden, Brooklyn starts screaming. Her glow bracelet exploded and she, along with all those standing around her, are glowing. Literally glowing. She's still screaming so Zac takes her back to the hotel, as the rest of us miss the remainder of the show because we are laughing hysterically. Anyway, probably one of those "you had to be there" moments, but entertaining nonetheless.

This picture really doesn't do it justice, but this is my uncle's leg...glowing.

I think it would be fair to say the my cousin Christy was the highlight of the vacation for the kids. Not much of a vacation for her, but the kids loved hanging out with her, hanging on her, etc... We were continually giving the kids "time-outs" from Cousin Christy.

Stay tuned for Part Two!

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Well, so much for blogging while on vacation. We had an awesome time. It was HOT and HUMID, but I'm not complaining. It was a much needed, somewhat relaxing, family surrounding, lots of eating vacation. Stay tuned for details and pictures...

Friday, July 17, 2009


We've been having way too much fun lately. I love living in an area that has so much to offer. I haven't, however, been very good at taking pictures. I got a lot on our first adventure, only a few from our second, and none from the last (because I wasn't there;)
A couple of weeks ago, we went to Fondulac Farm Park in E. Peoria. I hadn't been there since I was a kid. We met one of Olivia's former nurses, turned family friend, and her fam there for the day. The kids had a blast.
On Monday, we road-tripped, with the same company, to Bloomington and hit Miller Park Zoo, the spray park,

and the Children's Museum. Big day. Big fun.
Wednesday night, Zac took the kids bowling. It was an absolutely beautiful day outside, and they wanted to go bowling. It sounded like there were some technical difficulties, which left Brooklyn the winner, and Jack the sore, sore second placer. We're going to take a break from competitive activities for a while.
I've been getting tons of stuff done around the house, which has been nice. It's been hard, too. My main focus has been "Olivia's room," and I've come across some things I hadn't noticed before. I'll save that for another post. We leave for Disney on Saturday. I'm hoping to blog during the trip, but we'll have to see if time allows! Until then...

Disney or bust...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mixed feelings.

We've been talking a lot about our feelings around here lately. That's a good thing, obviously, but we all seem to be having a lot of mixed emotions lately.
We are so excited to go to Florida this weekend, but we are so sad to be going without Olivia. We are flying down. We had originally planned to drive because of Olivia's medical equipment, so we are feeling a sense of guilt that we are flying. It sounds silly, but a feeling nonetheless.
We've been doing so many fun things lately - going to the zoo, museums, bowling, etc..., and I feel bad that things seem so "easy" now. I never once felt burdened because of Olivia, but yet another feeling. I think we've just had a lot more time to miss Olivia lately.
I had a talk with her at the cemetery tonight. I told her how much we are missing her and how we feel her presence every day in everything that we do. Jack and Brooklyn still pray for her every night and say how sorry they are that she is in Heaven. We have to remind them that Olivia is the lucky one. That's hard to explain to kids, and it's something that we have to constantly remind ourselves of, too.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Don't worry...if you made a greatly appreciated donation to St. Jude online, we did get it! I was apparently having some issues when setting it all up and put the wrong paypal account. Oops. Luckily, with a little help from a friend, I think we figured it out this morning. At least I found some money! So a huge thank you to those of you that have donated so far! I had to set up a new Paypal account and I haven't gotten it "verified" yet. As soon as I do, it will hopefully start showing up in the right places!

Update: Yeah! It's working! Thanks to all those who have donated online and via mail! We so appreciate it!

Friday, July 10, 2009

St. Jude Runs!

Zac is, once again, running the St. Jude Macomb to Peoria run on Saturday, August 1st. This year is obviously a bit more meaningful for us. We became very close to all of the doctors and nurses here at the St. Jude Midwest Affiliate in Peoria. We had even prepared ourselves at one point to head down to Memphis for treatments. Although Olivia was never healthy enough to receive her chemotherapy treatments, we felt very fortunate to become a part of the St. Jude family.

We thank you in advance for any donation you wish to make to help support all of the children of St. Jude. To make things easier, we've added a button to the side of the blog. It's through a site called "ChipIn" and allows you to pay through PayPal. I think you have to have a PayPal account to do so. If you would rather donate by mail, leave a comment or pop us an email and I'll send you an envelope! Also, your donation may not appear right away on the "ChipIn" button, but should show up within 24 hours. If there are any problems at all, please let me know!

I'm going to try to get letters out this year, but I don't know if I will get around to it in a timely manner, so I thought the blog would reach just as many, if not more people!

Thanks so much!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Sale.

Tomorrow is the big garage sale.
The biggest garage sale ever.
(for us, at least)
My mom is selling some things and using it as a fundraiser for the St. Jude Dunlap to Peoria run that she is doing next month. (Isn't she good?)
The kids are selling water and lemonade and giving the proceeds to Zac for his Macomb to Peoria St. Jude run (Aren't they good?)
My sister and I are selling things so we are able to feed our families when we go to Florida next week (That's sort of good, too. Right? I mean, we have to eat.)
It's going to be an interesting sale, however. We are selling almost all of Olivia's things. Toys, clothes, more toys, crib, dresser, etc... I obviously pulled out things that have sentimental value, but as I've said before, I don't get too attached to "things." Besides, it's good to know that her things are going to many different people and they will, unknowingly, be a little part of Olivia's life, too! So, I'm not anticipating any emotional breakdowns while I'm checking people out tomorrow. Anyone who needs any little girl things, or even just some lemonade, feel free to come on out...we'll be at my parent's house in Dunlap.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Vegas Vacation...revisited.

Now that we've been back for a whole week and a half, I figured it was finally time to blog about the Vegas trip. As most of you know, we won a whopping $140...on the plane. We should have just gotten a return flight right then and called it a win, but we ended up taking the gamble of staying for a few more days. That was the end of our lucky streak, but not the end of the fun, by far!

Zac and I finally went to see Jersey Boys on Sunday night. It was awesome.

On Monday, my best friend Nicole and her hubby, Ben flew in. This was their 10-year anniversary trip, and they kindly invited us along, never thinking

we would take them up on it! We spent lots of time by the pool,

of time by "our" machines,

lots of time walking, and lots and lots of time eating.

I did win a little bit of money (something like 279 nickels), but I got greedy and then lost it all.

It was a much needed trip and came at the perfect time.
Next up...11 days until Disney World. Imagine this...fifteen family members in matching t-shirts, 2 adjoining rooms, 5 days, 4 kids age 7 and under, hot weather, lack of sleep, etc... Tell me that's not going to make for some good blogging material?!?