Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Don't Snore, It's a Campus Tour

A two week blogging break. Oh my. My evenings keep slipping away from me somehow. I doubt anyone wants to see photos of laundry mountains, of sinks piled high with dishes, of hubby doing lots of work at home, of two-plus hour bedtime routines, or of my nursing the oft-awaking Sweet P. You have your own sink and laundry mountains, right? Unless the answer is "yes," then don't answer that.
I'm going to cop out by offering a little photo essay of a weekend trip we took with the family.
When hubby and I talked about taking the kids to Notre Dame for a football weekend, I pictured a nice, crisp autumn day. I planned and packed for the perfect fall day. We'd enjoy some tailgating and crunch leaves as we walked around campus with the tots.
What we got was the perfect summer day with fall foliage in the background. I hate to be a complainer because I know what it's like to tailgate when it's freezing cold or pouring down rain, but I'll just say that it was a bit too hot for my taste. When there's an awesome spread of food on a card table, and I'm too hot to enjoy any of it and too hot to drink anything but water (no Diet Coke for me, much less a beer), then you know it's hot.
The heat got me a little cranky for the first half of game day, which means I didn't take any pictures of the tailgating scene. Next year when I'm there on the actual perfect autumn Saturday, I'll document that part of the college football experience because there's plenty to see and talk about.
Despite the heat, we had a lot of fun. The dads and the four year-olds went to the game. My mom and my sister LAP and I walked around campus with the other kids until the four year-olds had enough and needed to be met at the stadium door. Who knew that during the game, there are hundreds of packs of women and grandparents stroller-ing around campus? I should have guessed, but it was one of the first times I'd really been outside the stadium during the game for a long period.
I also learned that a student center convenience store is like heaven on earth for a six year-old (my niece Fancy), that there are now hydration stations where students can fill their water bottles, and that one of my mom's memories of visiting campus fifteen years ago was that the recycling/trash situation was really confusing.
This photo essay is turning out kind of lame as I realize I took zero photos on Saturday. I may have posed for one though (just taken on my sister LAP's phone so less pathetic than it seems).
Someone's name is engraved on a plaque near Subway and the bathrooms. NTB.
I'll just say that game day ended with an Irish victory, cousins playing together, and Papa John's pizza so win, win, win.
Unfortunately, I did not get a photo of the empty Ice Mountain case--the "treasure chest"--that Bub filled with bottle caps, empty water bottles, leaves, grass, and assorted trash and insisted on carrying from one parking lot to another and then taking home to Chicago. Damn.
I did take some good photos on Sunday morning when hubby, the kids, and I walked around campus with my parents.
My dad's been going to ND games for forty years or more.
The Main Building known for its Golden Dome
A view of from beneath the Dome.
Hubby and I got engaged at this site, The Grotto, and were married on campus.
Not the best photo (note my gray roots and muffin top), but very special to be there as a family.
Grammy and Pop with the troops.
Bub meditates on the beauty of the season.
We ended our low-key campus tour in the visitor center, where I decided to sit down on a couch and feed Sweet P before we hit the road to head back to Chicago. I was feeling a little awkward about nursing her there (despite having the hooter hider), but then I realized there were three different statues of Madonna and child within fifteen feet of us, not that I am comparing myself to Mary . . .
This photo left me thinking that someday when we move to a new house, I would like to have my living room ceiling painted in some cool way.
All in all, we had a lovely weekend. Bub was more interested in asking questions about campus and trying to figure out why it was special to us than I expected. I look forward to going back as a family many more times. In the summers, the university has a family dorm where you can stay with your kids. Now, that's probably one of those things that sounds like more fun than it actually is, but give us a few years and we'll check it out.
What about you? What special places from your past have you taken children to visit? How have you spent your autumn weekends this year?


Heather said...

You are WAY too hard on yourself...I LOVE that family picture, and you look great, not to mention very happy.

How awesome to share so much of your history as a couple with your kids!

One of the boys I babysat for years is a Notre Dame student, majoring in music. He is on a trip with their Glee club right now to Washington, D.C. He loves ND!

Our fall so far? Halloween Haunt at Kings Island, a pumpkin patch, lots of fall baseball games for Elijah, and hikes out at the local parks. Getting ready for a big vacay next week...details to follow.

Amy said...

I feel like the worst Alum ever! Here you have shared this special place with all 3 of your kids now and I have yet to take mine. I keep saying it is because she won't quite appreciate it, but really it is because I am selfish and want to watch the football game in peace. : )

CaraBee said...

I agree with Heather, you look GREAT in that photo. No muffin top or gray hair to be seen. For real. And in that photo, your expression, I can see just much Bub looks like you.

I think it is so awesome that your whole family shares such a special tradition. I wish we had something like that. Your children will cherish these memories.

We've hit the pumpkin patch a couple of times, but other than that, nothing special. Sigh.

E... said...

Looks like an awesome weekend, though I would have been bummed by the heat as well. Now I'm wondering why my kids haven't ever been to Oxford. Really. Putting that on the "things to do" list.
We bought our pumpkins and tried to get a photo of all three and me in the pumpkin patch that failed miserably.
Feel you on the inability to write a post not about the laundry piles, etc. And I still have people making my dinners for me, due to my membership in multiple mom's groups.

Lady Jennie said...

What muffin top? It was a great post and a great family photo!

Sue and Randy said...

I had no idea about the strollering kids/women..that is funny! I know that is where I'd end up. Hope I can share this fall tradition with my girls in the coming years. Sadly, feels like fall is slipping by me as I'm not getting around too much lately. I'll make a point to hit a pumpkin patch, even if its the lame one close to my house, this weekend. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

The family photo is wonderful! You all look so relaxed and happy.

Stacia said...

Man, I love that picture of Bub and the leaves. And your muffin top? What muffin top?? That's a gorgeous family photo.

We haven't taken our kids to our alma maters yet, being that we live 1,000 miles away. But I can't wait for the day that we do. There's something special about coming full circle, about bringing your kids to the same places you and your now-husband used to make out after dates ... full circle indeed! =>

dusty earth mother said...

You are so lovely! But I kept imagining you on that campus tour with a beautiful new necklace :-)

The Empress said...

It was so great to see pix of Notre Dame. I dated a Domer for 5 years, so lots of memories.

Yeah, he asked me to marry him at the grotto, but I said NO!

Funny, all these memories.

It was fun to see and remember what a beautiful place it was.

Hope all is well, andyou look wonderful!

Steph said...

I've only been to ND once, for your wedding, and I have fond memories of the beautiful chapel and grounds. I recall a peace tree and my sister and I wrote our wishes there and tied them to the tree.

cake said...

your bub looks like a real character!

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