Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chicago Weekend

We had a great weekend in Chicago.

A visit to the Museum of Science & Industry...

A stop at the Briar Street Theater to see a certain group of blue men...

A Tigers/White Sox game on a gorgeous day...

We're one lucky family.
(For those that are waiting in anticipation... Parking at the museum was $16. Parking at Briar Street was $12. Parking at US Cellular Field was $23. Combined, that's just $6 more than what we were being charged to park at Soldier Field.)

Friday, September 25, 2009

It's extortion I tell ya!

The Polack and I recently went to a U2 concert. It was a fun date night, although we had quite an adventure trying to park in Chicago. The concert was being held at Soldier Field. As we entered the parking area by the stadium (and several museums) we were in line when we saw a sign that said, PARKING $45. Surely they didn't mean it was $45 for the concert parking, we thought. Yep, that's what it meant. Ridiculous! Even more so when we got to the actual lot and went to pay. Cash only. WHAT?!? You're charging $45 and you only take CASH??!! We only had $40 on us and tried to talk the lady into letting us in. No luck, she said we'd have to back out of the line and go to an ATM. They even hire people to help direct cars so you can back out. There were at least guys helping us. I commented that maybe instead of hiring people to direct cars, they should just fork over the money to install credit card machines. I don't think they appreciated my suggestion.

Once we were out of the line, we went to search for an ATM. The Polack spotted one right between the Field Museum and Soldier Field. Score! He dropped me off (because lord knows, we couldn't actually PARK) and I jogged over to the machine (in heels, no less). I wait in line behind all the other idiots who didn't have enough cash to park. And guess what? The ATM was out of order! HAHAHAHA! That's so funny.

I head back to the car to tell the Polack the bad news. I suggest we make our way across Michigan Avenue to either find a working ATM or another place to park. It was a smart move - there was a garage with plenty of parking and they only charged $15. And guess what? They took credit cards! They didn't even have to pay someone to monitor everything. We were happy to be in the 21st Century again. I was so excited about avoiding the $45 parking fee, I didn't even mind walking 1.4 miles in my heels. (Yes, I mapped it to get that distance!)

The concert was great. I was hoping to see Black Eyed Peas for the opening act but they're only doing the last few U2 shows. Snow Patrol was good though. Here are some not-so-good pictures. They were taken with my iPhone. Not bad considering we were in section 439.

The stage was really cool. It was circular and went around part of the crowd. Bono was running all over the place and did a great job of getting people pumped up.

Here's the view of the pretty Chicago night. It was fun being sorta outdoors and the weather was perfect.

Come to think of it, the last time we were in Chicago, we had trouble on the tollway because they didn't take credit cards either. We'd used up all our cash and didn't have enough to get through our last toll booth. We ended up going through the IPass lane without paying. I'm sure I'll be getting that bill sometime.

We're headed back to Chicago with Mia this weekend. We're going to check out the Harry Potter exhibit at the Museum of Science & Industry, see the Blue Man Group and then we're watching the Tigers play the White Sox. Note to self: don't forget to stop at the ATM.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Random Thoughts on a Thursday

1. We've finally received some much needed rain. It's the perfect day to curl up on the couch in sweat pants and read a book. Or watch a movie. Or take a nap.

2. What's up with everyone's obsession with pumpkin spiced lattes? Admittedly, I'm not a coffee drinker but I just don't get it. Everyone on facebook and bloggy land has been going on and on about special trips to Starbucks for this drink.

3. I wish the US had an autobahn.

4. And universal health care.

5. Tonight's my very first flag football game. E-VER. I missed the teams first game last week because I was out of town. They lost by the mercy rule. Somehow, I don't think my participation will help at all. Lord help us.

6. Ugh, I just realized that I'll be playing flag football on a wet, muddy field.

7. I wish I was quilting right now.

8. I'm in love Zumba. I signed up for a class at my local YMCA and it's so much fun. The nice thing about working out at the Y? I'm usually one of the skinniest and most coordinated. It's a real ego booster.

9. The leaves are starting to change colors. I love autumn.

10. I'm still way behind in tv watching. I don't know how I'll ever catch up. I guess it's kind of a good thing because it must mean I'm doing more important things, right?

Sorry to end with such a boring thought. I'm not feeling that clever today. Hmmm... oh, I know... Did you realize that this post has a word that starts with every letter of alphabet? Except X - X is always that hard one! I suppose I could have talked about the facebook friend I unfriended because she wouldn't stop sending my solicitations for her Xocai chocolate. WBut then this wouldn't be so random, would it?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Knot Hole Park

I meant to include this in yesterday's post. Here are some photo's I took at the last IU home game. The stadium was recently renovated and the north end zone is now enclosed. The photos are the view from Knot Hole Park. Nicklas was excited to run around a bit during the game.

Here's a bird's eye view. I got to watch a field goal from here. It was actually kicked into Knot Hole Park so it was fun for the kids to try and catch it. ~
Video footage for the big screen. Nicklas is in the #1 shirt. He was on the scoreboard briefly.

The rest of the family was somewhere in the crowd.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dear Santa

Seeger is already thinking about Christmas. He used to ask for toys everytime we went to the store but soon learned my common answer was always, "you should ask for that for your birthday" or "you should tell Santa Claus that's what you want for Christmas." Eventually he gave up and now he's thinking ahead. Here are his most recent letters to Santa Claus:

Senior Night

Mia is playing soccer this fall and last weekend's game was Senior Night. Senior Night is one game each season where the senior students are honored for their participation in the sport. Between the JV and Varisty games, the seniors and their parents are introduced and have to walk on the field for recognition. Does everyone do this or is it just an Indiana thing?

It was so nice of the school to recognize the exchange students too. The girls made t-shrits for each other and posters were hung to recognize the seniors. Everyone got flowers.

I had to ask Mia if it was okay to post this picture. We've been teasing her because we post photos of her on facebook and she ends up untagging herself in half of them because she doesn't like the way she looks. If she doesn't have her mascara on, she likely won't let us tag her. So since this photo was taken after her game, I asked if it was okay to post. She thought about it for a few seconds and then decided it was okay because it's a picture her Norwegian friend will enjoy seeing.

Scenes from IU

Our second tailgate of the season included the entire Polish family, plus my mom. I tried to get a picture with everyone. I gathered up the troops and took a couple practice shots which turned out good. Then I handed the camera over to a very nice gentleman who somehow took two very blurry pictures. Truly bummed. Anyway, here are some photos from our day in Bloomington. (By the way, a day in Bloomington means leaving Lafayette at 6am, tailgating starting at 8am, a campus tour, the game, more tailgating, and finally packing things up to arrive back home around 9pm. It's exhausting, I tell ya!)
The band is up almost as early as us
As always, the Kubatski kids enjoy hanging out and playing with each other.

Getting ready to start cooking breakfast on the grill. Omelette's and pancakes - yummo!

"We didn't start the fire."

Mia's campus tour - at the arboretum.

The fountain in front of the Auditorium

Sample gates, the start of Kirkwood Ave.

Tailgating after the game - chicken and steak burritos with a little cornhole thrown in.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Random Thought Thursday

I've been mean to post all week. I have photos to upload, stories to share, and of course my general humor to bestow upon you. (Just kidding on that last one. Sort of.) Anyway, I just haven't had the TIME to do it all. To much to do! Things will be better after Monday so I promise to catch up then. But in the meantime, I thought I'd leave you with a little randomness...

1. I missed Glee last night. So. Bummed. Have you seen the show? It's incredibly funny and very well written. I love how it pokes fun of the characters yet you still love them.

2. I also missed Melrose Place on Monday and tonight I'll be missing Project Runway and the season premier of Survivor. And I haven't started watching the latest cycle of America's Next Top Model. I'm going to have some catching up to do. After Monday.

3. I don't watch that much tv. Honestly. The above mentioned shows are the only ones. I promise. Until The Office and Grey's Anatomy returns. And then that's it. I swear!

4. I have to give a 60 minute presentation to faculty this afternoon to convince them why they should implement my program into their curriculum. Sixty minutes in front of faculty! Ick. I HATE presenting and I don't particularly enjoy faculty meetings. Oh and after I do the presentation today, I get to do ANOTHER one tomorrow. yippee.

5. I'm traveling around the state for said presentations which means I get to spend some time with my college roommate and her family tonight. YIPPEE!

6. She lives by a casino boat.

7. But who am I kidding? I'll be too exhausted and traumatized by the faculty meeting to gamble. Plus she doesn't gamble so she wouldn't go and I'd feel like a loser going gambling on my own. (But I'd still do it though. Under the right circumstance.)

8. Yesterday I ate a perfectly made junior bacon cheeseburger from Wendy's. Grilled well, cheese slightly melted, it had the right combination of mayo, tomato, and lettuce.

9. I worked at Wendy's in high school and I'm very picky about my food from there. In fact, I rarely eat at Wendy's because I'm always disappointed. I wish they'd let me behind the counter to make my own sandwiches. Oh, and I'd love to cook my own french fries!

10. The school fundraising season is upon us. We're getting hit up right and left from the kids in the area. And Nicklas brought home his popcorn info from Boy Scouts. Here we go again.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Random Thought Thursday

1. I'm wearing some really cute shoes right now. Seriously cute. I wish y'all could see them.

2. I'm already thinking about Halloween. Usually I don't think about it until October. But this year, I've been getting excited about the decorations and party store advertisements.

3. I was invited to participate on a fairly high profile committee at work. I should be thrilled but really I'm annoyed with the amount of work involved. And I was given three books to read as background for the process portion of the committee work. THREE BOOKS! Not happening.

4. My love of Mexican food is being replaced by Thai food. Although I get the same thing when I eat Thai so maybe I should say my love of Mexican food is being replaced by pad thai?

Mmmmmm.... pad thai....

5. Seeger informed the family that he never, ever wants to cut his hair again. And he wants to start wearing dresses. The Polack and I certainly don't want to squash his creativity so we're playing this out to see what happens. (I still feel guilty about steering him away from the pink Hello Kitty backpack he wanted for school last year.)

6. Apparently Jon Gosselin is in discussions to participate in the next Celebrity Apprentice. I can't stand that man but sadly, I'd watch while rooting for him to fail miserably. I can't imagine he'll last long. The man is an idiot.

7. Tonight is my first practice for the flag football team I signed up for. What was I thinking?

8. I've been having some really great conversations with Nicklas lately. We've been talking about his future and college and school and his friends and even more importantly, he's sharing his FEELINGS with me. He's such a private person. I think he usually doesn't even know what his feelings are so its hard for him to verbalize when I start probing. I want to change that. I want him to be expressive.

9. We're taking Mia to Chicago in two weeks. We're going to see the Blue Man Group and a Tigers/White Sox game.

10. Do you type with one or two spaces between sentences? Do you put the toilet paper roll flipped over or flipped under? Why do men's and women's shirts place their buttons differently?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Holiday Weekend

We spent Labor Day Weekend at the Lake this year. It was the first time Mia got to meet my dad's side of the family. It was a fun weekend! We took a couple of boat rides and did some tubing. Mia went shopping at the outlet mall. And of course, we ate. A lot.

I love this picture of Mia and the boys!

Sunday night, many houses did luminaries along the lake in honor of the holiday - a tradition I remember as a child.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


We took Mia tailgating for the first time.

Friday, September 4, 2009


This random shot of the kids just melts my heart. One of the few times in the past few weeks where we are all chillin' at home.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Some Thursday Randomness

It's RTT, everyone!! Let's get this party started right. Let's get this party started quickly. (Like my use of old school 80's lyrics??) Anyway...

1. As much as I love RTT posts, I never know what to put for the title and I hate coming up with an intro and ending. Take the above intro for example. LAME-O!

2. Tonight we're taking Mia to her first tailgate. I don't think she has a clue what this means. Her opinion of us could drastically change.

3. I'm having my first mammogram today. Can you believe it? It makes me feel so old!! But given my family history, my doctor suggested it. My first mammogram. Whoa. I'm old.

4. Is talking about a mammogram on my blog appropriate? I sorta feel like I should be censoring myself.

Hey, this is my blog and I can write whatever I want, right? RIGHT?

5. Why do people talk on their cell phones when they're using a public restroom? I mean really, who wants to be the person on the other end, hearing all the flushing and other bathroom business. Gross.

6. I haven't talked to my mom since this weekend. I've been too busy to call her and she knows I'm busy so she hasn't called me. I'm a bad a daughter. Sorry, mom! I call soon!

7. Speaking of family, my brother had his car towed to a mechanic back in April. They called me the other day and asked for his phone number because his car is still sitting there and they want him to come get it. He doesn't have the $1300 needed to fix it.

8. Labor Day Weekend = the Lake. Woo woo! Mia asked me what Labor Day was and I DIDN'T KNOW!! What sort of American am I? I had to wikipedia it!

9. Speaking of Mia, she gets excited every time she sees a squirrel. Apparently they aren't common in Norway and she's always surprised to see them running around. I want to take her to Auburn (my home town) to see the black squirrels.

10. And since I bring up Auburn, I need to give tribute to the towns biggest weekend of the year - the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival. The ACD Festival includes the biggest classic car auction in the world and people from all around come to check it out. I wish we were going but since none of us have an interest in classic cars and none of my family live in Auburn anymore, it doesn't really make sense. (Actually, I only want to go so I can hang out at Cricket's with people I know.)

That's it and since I hate writing the conclusion, I'm not going to. So there. :-)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Aspect family get together

One of the requirements for being a host family through the Aspect Foundation is a monthly get together with other Aspect families in the area. The Polack and I hosted the first one. During the get together we had a formal meeting with our International Coordinators - the parents met with one coordinator and the students met with another one. After the meetings, we had dinner and hung out for awhile.
The four Aspect students in our area are girls - Mia from Norway, two are from Germany, and one is from Thailand. Two of the girls live with the same family and between the four, they go to three different high schools. I think the girls enjoyed getting know each other and talking about their different experiences. One student came from a city of 28M and is now living out in the country. Another is from Berlin and now lives on a farm. Some have experienced culture shock, for sure.
I think Mia has had the easiest transition. Her home town is about the same size as Lafayette. And her Norwegian high school is about the same size as the high school she's attending. She's visited the US several times so there hasn't been anything that's really surprised her.
During the get together, we all had to introduce ourselves and talk about something we learned as a result of being part of the exchange program. I said that I learned that the cheese slicer was invented in Norway. The Polack said he learned that sparkling water is much more prevalent in Norway. (Poor Mia - it's been hard for her find sparkling water anywhere. We bought some to keep at our house but she's out of luck at most restaurants we go to.) Mia said she learned how to make macaroni and cheese. (I think the powdered cheese made her a bit nervous at first but she must have liked the dish since she made it for herself for lunch one day.)
It seems like everyone is well matched for their families and there haven't been any major issues to be concerned about. A few people had questions on how to handle money. According to Aspect, families are responsible for providing their students with a bed, a place to study, and all meals eaten at home. Everything else is supposed to be up to the student, including buying lunch as school, travel expenses for vacations, restaurant meals, toiletries, etc. Personally, I would feel a little strange asking Mia to pay for her own meal when we go out to eat. So we cover this for her as well as her cell phone since it's an extra one we happen to have. But she does pay for her own school lunch.
After the get together, Mia and I were talking about the questions we were asked and how we answered them. We both feel fortunate for our placement. Mia fits right into our family and we treat her like a family member. She really appreciates that and commented that she feels really lucky to be with us. We haven't had any problems communicating or sharing our concerns with the arrangement. In fact, we really haven't had any concerns. Everything up to this point has been really easy and comfortable. We both wonder what sort of conflicts could arise in the next 9 months. We're trying to be practical in understanding that this wonderful honeymoon won't last. But regardless of what happens, I think we've established a good basis for working through anything that might arise. Hopefully I won't look back at this post someday and snicker at my naivete!
Mia seems to be doing really well in school. The school has an online grading program that allows parents to access their students real time grades. So essentially we can check up on them to see how they're doing and whether they're missing assignments or struggling in a class. This all seems a little Big Brotherish to me but I'm sure there will be a time when I appreciate this tool. The Polack has checked Mia's grades once and so far she's getting A's in all her classes. She did drop her French class because she found out the high school offers Fashion. She's excited about being able to make her own clothes although she's a bit bummed that she won't be making a dress until next semester.
I've been trying to update Mia's mom on everything that's happening. Mia has talked to her once since arriving (she called Vibeke on her birthday). I think she likes to hear from us and see the photos I've posted on Facebook. She commented that Mia seems so happy. So far Mia hasn't been homesick - she's been too busy! - but I do think she recognizes how much her family misses her. She's off on this grand adventure while they are all in Norway, experiencing their regular day-to-day activities. Mia is very special and I certainly appreciate that they're sharing her with us for the year. (Thank you, Vibeke!)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Let the games begin

With the start of school and autumn approaching, our days have been filled with fall sports. Mia is on the high school "football" (aka soccer) team. She has practice or games six days a week. Here's a shot of the boys at the play ground while we were waiting for practice to end.
She had to practice 10 times with the team before she was allowed to play. This weekend, she finally played in her first game. She plays defense and was on the field for most of the time. Although her team lost, she did a great job.
This weekend we also went to Indianapolis to watch a high school football game that was being played in Lucas Oil Stadium. I hadn't been to the new stadium so it was really cool to check it out and watch the game under the retractable roof. My cousin is a coach for the team, the Brebeuf Braves.
Several family members were there to cheer on the team.
Nicklas is all about football right now.
Seeger is all about snacks at the football games.
This is only the beginning. Mia has soccer games tonight and tomorrow, Thursday we're headed to Bloomington for the first IU tailgate, Friday evening we'll be attending the local high school football game, and Saturday Mia has another game.