Hometown Tourists

For the second time in Chicago, a little bit of Irish has come into town. My wife’s cousins from Ireland and a few from London are in town for the weekend. They were supposed to be in ne xt weekend. We had everything planned and set up for then but they came in this weekend instead. I realized that when my wife texted me Friday afternoon and said Guess who’s already in town! Oh boy.

We met them at the airport and took them out to eat right away. They said they were hungry. Then we took them back to the house. Now my wife and I had planned on taking our family out to eat for a special meal. She made reservations and everything. When we got home with extra people everyone was surprised. We got everyone settled in and decided to just order pizza for everyone else and the kids. I didn’t want to cook because there was too much to plan out.

Friday night was hilarious. We all talked and ate pizza as they told us about all of the great things they had already done and seen in NYC. They were there from Monday until yesterday. Again, they could have told us. They had 3 things they wanted to visit in Chicago. I told them one of the things was a fountain but they said it was one the Top 3 things to do Lol I said okay but we will find more to do than going to look at 1 fountain. My kids loved seeing them. They talk funny and the boys have no idea what they are saying it seems. They cock their heads and then look completely puzzled. That’s how I feel listening to Lindsay when she’s mad. Her australian accent gets super thick and then I have no clue. I’m happy to see my boys take after me a little more than I thought they would.

We all went to bed really late. We got up in the morning and headed downtown. The first thing on their list was the fountain since there would be no line for it.

  1. Buckingham Fountain  This is Chicago’s front door. I just read that on Wiki. Here is the little summary from Wiki also.The fountain is considered Chicago’s front door, since it resides in Grant Park, the city’s front yard near the intersection of Columbus Drive and Congress Parkway. The fountain itself represents Lake Michigan, with four sets of sea horses (two per set) symbolizing the four states—Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana—that border the lake. The fountain was designed by beaux arts architect Edward H. Bennett. The statues were created by the French sculptor Marcel F. Loyau. The design of the fountain was inspired by the Bassin de Latone and modeled after Latona Fountain at Versailles.

    The fountain was donated to the city by Kate Buckingham in memory of her brother, Clarence Buckingham, and was constructed at a cost of $750,000. The fountain’s official name is the Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain. Kate Buckingham also established the Buckingham Fountain Endowment Fund with an initial investment of $300,000 to pay for maintenance.[1] Buckingham Fountain was dedicated on August 26, 1927.

    In August 2016, in a partnership with the City of Chicago, the Chicago Parks District and Everywhere Wireless, the Buckingham Fountain viewing area joined many Chicago beaches and the Museum Campus in providing free Wi-Fi to visitors.

Free Wifi? I had no idea. We have been by this thing a million times. We have all done the photos by it and we have seen the light shows at night. I guess I didn’t realize what a big deal this fountain was. Internationally its well known. Okay. So we took them to see it. They all got harassed by photographers trying to sell them photos we can take with our cellphones. It was fun. It really is an impressive fountain. The more I looked at it the more I realized it kind of is a big deal. Plus it’s just huge.

2. Willis Tower.   Now this is a classic. I have meetings here often, our old building is a few blocks away and our new building is still a little north of here. I have been up to the top several times and I have also done the Sky deck. We decided to leave the babies downstairs to hang out with 2 nannies. They said the boys loved running back and forth in the lobby anyway. That’s good. We did the skydeck. We took photos and had a great view of the city. Chicago really is a beautiful place. The Irish cousins were amazed at how big it is. I think we are 4th in US population? Maybe 3rd but I think Houston might be a little bigger. Not sure on that.

 

After that we went to eat. We found a really great restaurant nearby that had a small room in the back for our large party of people. The folks from London wanted to try a burger Lol They said they had never been to the US and tried a burger in NYC but wanted to try a Chicago burger. I told them we would take them to White Castle tomorrow to try a burger Chicago is famous for.

3.   They all wanted to see Wrigley Field. Now that’s what I’m talking about. We were able to get on one of the tours for it last minute. See what happens when you have a city pass? It’s great! We got to go inside and sit on the benches. We got to see the field and it really is a cool tour. Very great place. We bought everyone a Cubs hat and t-shirt to take home. Very proud to be a Cubs family!

 

 

 

Quick shoutout to all of the aid finally reaching Puerto Rico! Thank God! So happy to read this article this morning.

https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/powerless-puerto-ricos-storm-crisis-105204299.html

Ships are reaching them with a lot of food and water. This means that even more can now make it to them and they can begin to heal, rebuild and most important drink and eat. It’s been so worrisome to know that millions of people are completely helpless. The worst part are the ones in the rural areas that literally have no way of getting any help at all. Hopefully they find their way into a town and can finally receive all the help they need. It’s going to be weeks before the power gets back on. I think they are going to have to rebuild the entire system. God bless all that are helping them. They really need it. Also don’t forget Barbuda also. That entire island is gone. Destroyed and no one lives on it either. This hurricane season is a mess and it’s still ongoing. Please pray and donate to each disaster. I always promote the American Red Cross because you can see where the money goes. You see them show up with clean clothes, water, and food. They set up shelters and the shelters have beds, food, and resources to help people get help. Any disaster I always donate that $10 from your cellphone then I get online and do more. This year our Family Foundation is switching gears and instead of only focusing on Nebraska we are expanding it to other areas. We will of course still make our charity gifts in Nebraska but our money can go to other places as well. We have already voted on that as the board thought that might be a good thing for us to do this year. I approved it and they are working on a list of charities that get money to the people affected.

 

Today we are all going to Church at 10am. They want to go to a big Catholic church downtown. Not a fan of the Roman Catholics at all but we will sit and be respectful. At least we will all be together. My wife told me to stop crabbing about it being the wrong Church Lol I want my kids to be with our Church family, not the other kind. When we have guests in from out-of-town though I guess we need to accommodate for them. They want to see the Church. It is historical I guess. So we are all up and getting ready to drive to Mass in the city. Then we are all going out to lunch. I made a light breakfast because we are taking them to a buffet. My wife said she wants them to taste a bunch of different foods in Chicago. Great idea.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend! We are all going to change clothes at the condo after lunch and go on a River tour! How fun is that!

Can we stay here?

At 4am the morning we were flying back home to the States, Sarah woke me up to tell me she had lost her passport. Isn’t that fun? She was freaking out. I usually wake up pretty easy but I was passed out and she had to shove on my arm a few times before I got up. I got dressed and walked out into the hallway. She had already been crying a little bit. I wasn’t awake and I told her maybe she could move in with one of the cousins. That joke was way too soon. She stomped off and I went shuffling after her. She said she put it on the dresser when she got home from the mall trip and left it out on purpose to make sure it went back into the purse. She was switching purses because I guess that’s a thing and wanted to put it in there. She had looked everywhere and couldn’t find it. So I went back to my room, grabbed my phone, accidentally woke up my wife, told her to go back to sleep knowing full well she wouldn’t and tried really hard to walk quietly past the babies room to go help her out. I was going to use my flashflight on my phone to look under stuff. Her rental (It’s still an apartment I don’t care what the guy kept telling me) was right next to ours on the top floor so when I left, I just had the door open a little. No one else was up I didn’t think it was a big deal. We went to her bedroom and she started clearing things off of everything. She dumped her purse out already and was looking through the mess that is a women’s contents. I don’t know why you ladies need to lug around all of that shit. Who needs 5 hair ties? That doesn’t make any sense to me. And nail clippers, really? You need to have nail clippers on hand in case of some nail emergency? Lol Come on.

We looked for about oh I’d say 2 minutes before my wife pushed open the door asking WTF was I doing. That’s exactly what she said and not the abbreviated version. I said Sarah lost her passport somewhere in this room, help us please. She calmed down pretty quickly. I was a little annoyed at the slight accusatory tone she entered the room with, however she only said it like that because I was wearing my underwear and not my shorts Lol I thought I had put on my shorts and I honestly did not even know I was just in a t-shirt and underwear. When I saw that I left them in there and walked out. By the time I was heading back in they had found it behind the dresser (Of course) and everything was fine. I told my wife in the hallway that I didn’t know I wasn’t in my shorts. I thought I had pulled them on instead of JUST MY U… you get the picture. She just looked at me and said come to bed. I followed like a little duckling because I already knew this wasn’t over with.

And……..it……….wasn’t Lol

I crawled into bed with a very irate wife. I apologized again just I had apologized to Sarah twice in front of my wife and told them both it was an accident. Sarah really had my back (Not at all) when she piped up that wasn’t the first time she had seen me in my underwear. I’m not even going to get into that one Lol

My wife was laying on her back giving me the silent treatment and huffing a little loudly. I rolled over because that’s how I avoid a fight and she said aren’t we going to talk about this? Sure, why not!

I told her again I thought I grabbed my shorts and pulled them on. It was dark I didn’t turn on the light so I wouldn’t wake you up. When you walked in I was standing there (Yes technically) in my underwear but not at all near Sarah. She was on the other side of the bed. I had a bag in my hand and I was looking inside to see if the passport was in there. I said how much more unincreminating could it have been. She said first of all (Because every guy just LOVES THAT ONE) that’s not even a word, second of all (Yes, please keep counting) I was standing in my underwear in another woman’s bedroom at 4am looking all sexy with my big ol **** swinging around like it was a space shuttle. Now this made me stop because I was trying to figure out what the **** that even meant. I also knew that there was no movement of any kind or even a shadow of a hint of things being uhhhhhh noticeable at all and I know that Sarah really did not care at all. If she did, she would have said go put some pants on. None of my nannies are shy especially when I’ve done something stupid like this.

She muttered on for about a half hour. I rolled over 4 times to say something but was told to be quiet and finally she said are you even listening to me which I wasn’t because I had fallen back asleep. When I did wake up, guess who was already up and still not calmer. My wife. She said good morning, so where are your shorts they aren’t even on the floor next to the bed.  I sat up and put my glasses on to look. I had put my shorts on the back of the chair right near the bed. That’s where they were. I pointed and she said OH. Then stood there looking at me like I was still guilty of something. I got out of bed and told her sorry for everything but it really was an accident. And if she hadn’t made me do something that required me to have my underwear off, this never would have happened. She finally laughed and hugged me. She said she has enough trouble watching women flock to me when we go out somewhere she doesn’t need it from the nannies. I told her no one flocks, they come over because of the babies, not me. She finally let it go.

Finally! Geez.

We all made it back home. Nothing funny or even interesting to talk about for the flight home. We had so much shit to haul through customs Lol It was kind of embarrassing but oh well. The shuttles from the airport took each family to the places they needed to go and we all made it home after a very long and tiring week in Ireland.

We want to make that an annual trip and I promised her parents as long as they were able and wanting to go, we will take them. My wife hugged everybody twice and thanked them all for coming. She really is sweet. One of her best qualities. She said she had been getting texts a few days after the trip from people still talking about it. She said her mom told her she really did like me and saw what she sees in me. She said that I’m a good father and I always blew on the food I was feeding my boys if it was too hot. I don’t even realize I do that but I’m sure I do. My boys want to eat and if it’s too hot they don’t care Lol I do because that’s not good at all.

Ireland. Done. See you next year!

#Dublin #Ireland Day 7

This was our last full day in Dublin. We invited all of the Irish family over for breakfast. We had made a huge spread. I had a lot of help and I was happy about that. I love to cook but for that many people I get a little overwhelmed. After breakfast I told them all to get on the shuttles, we were going shopping (Finally). Shopping in my world is a pretty big deal. It’s a weekly event if not daily only if you add in the online things we all buy. Our closet is full of stuff my wife bought and has never worn. She’s one of those people. Tags still on, sometimes still in the bag thrown on the floor. It drives me nuts but that’s her and I love all of her. 5 shuttles full of family and a half hour later we made it to the giant shopping center.

We hit 4 shopping centers/malls and spent way too much money and time lugging around bags, boxes, and a giant flag. My wife bought the flag. When in Ireland, buy a huge flag? I don’t know. She’s going to put it somewhere. She promised to do something with it. We had a mini-discussion that was NOT an argument as I found out later. During it, I thought it was an argument and I just stood there and took it. I don’t have much to say when my wife’s voice gets a little higher pitched and she’s looking at me like I stole her cat Lol I either nod and say ok or I give her an extra long glance and walk off. Passive aggressive all day, baby! That’s me. By the time we got back from the shopping day everyone was exhausted. The boys passed out on the way so it was very easy to get them down for the night. I tried explaining to them we were flying home tomorrow and they would be stuck on the big plane again but they don’t care or understand much yet so we skipped that topic. What they did understand was the food Lol We got in there and they dropped us off right where the food court was. My Heston took one sniff of something and took off towards it. It was hilarious but a little scary. He has never bolted off that fast. He isn’t the one we chase around. He hangs near us. It’s Alex that bolts so this was unexpected. I went after him and picked him up. He started pointing so I had to take him over to the pretzel stand. That wasn’t what he wanted. I took him by the pizza, not that either. It was the cinnamon rolls. We don’t make those at our house that often so I’m not sure where he acquired the taste for them. I bought one and got him to a table to try a bite. I had to blow on it for longer than he wanted because he was about to bite my fingers off. He finally got a small, non-hot taste and he was finally happy. Heston loves cinnamon rolls, everybody. When he’s older ya’ll can remind him of that.

It took me a while to sort out all of the things my wife and I bought. It was way too much so she sent me out to go get us more luggage. Isn’t that just great Lol She said we have to be able to get it home, so quit crabbing and just go, love you then she slapped my ass and walked out Lol I secretly love it when she does that. I act like I don’t and I always laugh but it really makes me laugh.

We had our big Irish goodbye with my wife’s family. We took a ton of family photos in different groups. They thanked all of us for coming and letting them show everyone around all week. They said they really did have a great time. My wife loved it. She told me later on that it was a trip of a lifetime for her and her sibling. To all be able to go back to where her parents were from and the grandkids to see the farm. She was beaming the rest of the night. Her parents really are great people. Hardworking immigrants who raised kids in America just to give them a different life than the one the both had. Oh boy were they so proud though. They would make the shuttle stop so they could show us things. I knew they might so I had warned the drivers.

I loved all of the baby names the Irish family members suggested for us. Some of the names were pretty funny. We haven’t even started picking them out yet. I still have the 3 baby name books I kept. I knew I wanted to expand my family so they went on my bookshelf.

We all pretty much crashed and went to bed early. We had a long flight home in the morning and 1 stop on the way. They wanted to fly near the Statue of Liberty to take photos on the way back. I wasn’t sure we could but I told everyone I would ask the pilot. That’s not something I usually do so I really had no idea if there was a no fly zone still around it. Last time I knew there was. You can see it from a certain distance but they wanted in closer. I guess if you haven’t ever seen it put close the 2nd best thing is to see it as you fly over. I know drones aren’t allowed to fly around it. I had read that a few months back.

Dublin vacation was coming to an end. We had all gotten along great and were ready to go.

And then…

#Dublin #Ireland Day 6

We made it through a non 4th of July without too many problems. We all did watch the Washington DC and Chicago fireworks on Youtube the next morning to just see how it went this year. Same as always, a big giant beautiful explosion of celebration. My wife and I had our own fireworks the night before. If she wasn’t already pregnant I would have gotten her pregnant is what she told me the next morning Lol

This was the day we decided to do the castle tours. My wife said the Cliffs of Mohr bus/guided tour was great only because you got all of the info from someone who knows every detail. She said otherwise she would have gotten off of the bus and looked at a giant cliff, not knowing any history. She said that would have felt like a ripoff. She said the castles in Ireland are very significant and it’s something all Irish are proud of. She said her dad knew every castle. I said but there’s a lot of castles, she said doesn’t matter. I took that as a warning as to let him lead us on our Castle tours and don’t argue the facts that he might randomly make up. Ok.

We all went out to breakfast to meet up our are spot for the bus. Breakfast was very delicious. I remember this because this was the day I took the video of Heston saying Yum yummmmmmmmmmm. That’s on Facebook now. He was really getting into Irish vegan food. Alex just ate. That’s the one time my high-octane son is chilled out. Until he runs out of food then it’s rev up to 90 in 2 seconds. By this time things were getting much easier with the boys. They knew we would be going places. They were starting to behave a little better and I was doing my best to listen more to Sarah tell me they are crashing. We came up with a plan to have the bus take Sarah and the boys back to the rentals after lunch when they were dropping us off at a castle nearby. She said she thought they would last until then but we all needed to do a better job of watching them.

I have the boys that see something shiny and go right for it. They can’t help themselves they get that from me. I also have the boys that want to fight over pamphlets or whatever paper thing I have in my hand that I give to them. It turns into a baby punch, baby shove match. No one wins because I see one fist fly and they get separated. Well except that time I was just walking out of the men’s bathroom and I saw Heston yank Alex’s shirt and send him to the ground. I didn’t get there in time for that one. I do know that Alex is a scraper and he won’t take much shit off of his 7 minute older brother Lol They are exactly the same size so it’s not like Heston can push him around much. He’s just more passive aggressive (Like his father) and will wait and wait and take as much as he can until it comes out.

Let me sum up all of the castles in one shot and then you can go read my Yelp reviews and see what I really thought. It’s getting a little redundant on here than on Yelp. The castles are all huge. The difference is they are for different purpose depending on their positioning. I didn’t know that. If they are closer to the coastline, which most of them are, they are meant to shield townsfolk from any immediate coastline invasions of whoever. If the castles are out in the country, they are meant for trading posts, news distribution, what else did the guides tell me, I think food, entertainment, and training. I can’t remember I think that was most of it anyway. All of the castles have been around for centuries. They were very well-built and have to be inspected 3 times a year to make sure structurally they are okay. If they haven’t crumbled by now they won’t ever. Inside each castle is very well maintained to be authentic and preserved for that family or crest’s way of living. It was very interesting to see 4 different castles that all look similar but really not. My wife said all of the grandeur was a bit much for her taste. I said you won’t live in a big Paris castle if I find one? She said no. She likes our house we picked out and wants a yard that doesn’t need a moat or a guard tower. That made me laugh a little too loud and it echoed for everyone to hear. Sorry?

The boys loved the castles. Heston would get out of the bus and look and go Ooooohhhh dada. Or oooohhh mama. It was so funny. I told the kids in our group that someday they could live in one and be Kings and Queens but they all had to go to UNL Lol Otherwise you can’t be a King of a Queen. The older ones rolled their eyes. The younger ones said ok. I have at least 4 going to UNL from this group so that’s good.

We wanted to do Bram Stroker’s Dracula castle but it’s only open at night and only on Saturdays. We should have looked into that one sooner I guess. I heard it was pretty cool. A lot of tourist we ran into said they went. They do a magic show at the end. I was bummed out we missed it. Maybe next year.

We spent the night at the rentals. A few groups went out for the night. I told everyone get a great night’s sleep because tomorrow would be SHOPPING DAY. The day my nannies had been crabbing at me for. I told them we are shopping on the last full day so we can make sure we hit all the stores we want. And I want to add we had to buy 2 brand new suitcases to get everything loaded up on the plane. I was not happy Lol That just meant I had to lug even more luggage upstairs by myself. I can’t wait until my boys are older and can help me with that. Women!

And on a completely random note read this letter from 1988. Big Bush wrote it to Little Bush on why you don’t talk to people outside of the family/friend/employee circle. Great advice!

https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/1946383/bush-letter-to-bush.pdf

 

I know I’m slow posting my Ireland trip blogs but I’ve been very busy out here in Las Vegas all week. We are flying home this morning. I have missed my boys so much and I can’t wait to see them. My wife was crying last night saying how much she missed them and how much she loves them. I said we don’t have to stay all day like we planned. She said take me home. Lindsay and I have almost got all of the things hammered out. Our lawyers are going to have to negotiate the final steps. She won’t budge, I won’t budge. Let them duke it out for a while. I love her but man is she stubborn!

Hope everyone has enjoyed my updates. Things are great. My wife is now 12 weeks pregnant and we get to find out the sex of the baby within the next month. We want a girl but will be very, very happy with either one. 10 fingers, 10 toes.

God loves you and I love ya’ll too!

#Dublin #Ireland Day 5

Happy 4th of July America! We did nothing at all to celebrate the 4th while we were in Dublin. I suggested a cookout but this was the night my wife picked for her and I to escape and have a romantic evening alone.

On Tuesday morning we had all decided to split up and do the tours in our smaller groups. My wife laid out 3 different things to go do. Whoever wanted to go in whatever group for the first thing she put us all together. The shuttles we hired would then pick up or take whoever to the next thing since several people wanted to do other things too.

Have I mentioned yet how many times we had to stop at Starbucks? 10 times the whole trip to Ireland at least while I was with everyone. I’m sure it was double that. By now we were starting to get the hang of the road systems and signs. It was very confusing at first but we all learned from several mistakes. My wife planned things out from a map, not from the actual time with traffic or any road construction issues. She did a great job.

My group went to the Jeanie ship tour. If you want to climb on board a beautiful ship and climb off completely depressed this is the tour for you Lol I didn’t really know what the tour was about. I really thought it was just a tour of the ship. You get in there and you get almost an hour of Famine and how it took them 47 days cramped up in this thing to cross the Atlantic. My wife said she was going to tell her parents to come to this tour. She said she knows several family members made that boat voyage and wanted them to see what it was like. She said her dad would be very interested in it.

Fast forward to his response, which I’m pretty sure went like, “If I wanted to see how they stuffed my countrymen like sardines and made them sit in their own piss for a month I would go” Lol So he wasn’t interested at all and said it would just break his heart to see how it was for them.

I thought the boat was beautiful. Not the forced slavery part of it, the actual ship itself. I also was amazed at how many people they took on one trip. And did you know they also brought folks back that went to America and decided No Way. Kind of how half of America feels under Trump’s Leadership right now.

After that we decided to stay around the waters and go to the National Gallery of Ireland. Now this was my kind of place. My boys weren’t that interested because they value art on how many crayons they can stuff in their mouths right now. We will get them to appreciate art later. We didn’t go to the Exhibited artist section because none of us know who she was (Sorry) and we wanted to see the more famous pieces. We had called ahead weeks ago to set up a guided tour and found out we were a little early. The SS Depression tour went faster than we thought. So we hung out and just looked at stuff before our Guide showed up. The guide was very funny for docent. The other docent I have met on museum tours are very knowledgeable but don’t really like to add their own comments to the tour. This guy was hilarious. We really enjoyed the hour we spent with him. I had to take the boys out twice because they were bored and trying to grab everything. The outside of the building is more fun for 15 month olds anyway. The only problem is all the people wanting to look at them and the 600th time I’ve answered “They are identical”. I have to say that at least 3 times a day. The museum is more for people who really love art and want a cultural experience. I wouldn’t recommend it for families with small kids because you have to wrangle them everywhere and you don’t actually get to see much. It’s a nice museum. It seemed like everyone liked it.

After that we went to lunch back at the rentals because we all had to pack up and get ready for my group’s last place for the day.

We hit Aquazone. Now I know some people would ask why go to a water park when you overseas and could go see something more interesting. The answer is simple. We had 11 kids with us. The kids needed a break from being drug from one place to the next. They had all been great sports and we all did promise to take them at some point. I told them we are going there at 1 and we are staying until the place closes. So do all of the rides, all of the water slides you want. We are camping out. The weather hadn’t been that warm at all so it was tricky at first but once you got used to the cold it was no big deal. It actually felt good. My boys wanted to sit on an inflatable tube the whole time and make me pull them around so that’s pretty much what I did for 5 hours Lol They had a blast. We did play in the rain shower thing for the babies. We did get in the baby pool a few times but they had the most fun on the tube. I obviously need to go get them one. We don’t have any tubes. The mess bottom was strong enough to hold them both at the same time so it made me feel very comfortable. Seeing my boys laugh and smile while I’m pulling them around was priceless. I just put those photos up from this full day of tours on my Facebook.

I had so many people look at or ask me about my back tattoos. I’m used to it but my wife isn’t. She kept asking who was that girl talking to you or why did you let those girls touch your back? When I turned around I didn’t know they were going to touch my back, they had just asked to see my tattoos. They loved my Celtic cross (Of course) and my wife now claims I got the celtic cross years ago because God knew she was coming my way Lol It actually just happen to work out that way but maybe God did put that in play and it worked. All I know is that I have always loved the design of the celtic cross so when my tat guy was asking what kind of cross I told him the style and he said it’s celtic. Fine by me if it looks cool.

Everyone had a blast at the water park. I guess the other 2 groups were pissed at the things they went to go see and said they should have just done the water park with us. Yes, you really should have. The kids loved it and wanted to go again some time. I promised to take them all to the Wisconsin Dells sometime soon for a weekend. They have already all been there a bunch of times but they love it. I said which one was better and they said the Dells Lol That’s right. America wins.

We got back to the rentals and I got myself ready for date night with my wife. She had picked out a vegan restaurant for us to eat at then 2 stops for dancing and a special surprise.

The dinner was amazing and I really appreciated her eating vegan with me. I had been craving some tofu and it was getting harder and harder to find. After dinner we went to a club and I have to say this is why I don’t go to clubs much anymore. I’m just too old. I love the music because most of it is EDM and that’s my favorite, however after a few songs I’m tired and sweaty. I just want to sit down Lol She could dance all night and I love that about her.

After we danced for about an hour and a half I thought we were done but she said no. My wife took me to this beautiful part of Dublin that is all lit up with little sparkly lights that look like stars. She had a photographer there and she said she wanted night-time photos of us with Dublin skyline in the background. How cool is that! We won’t get the photos for a few weeks but I thought that was very sweet. She is very proud of her Irish history and thought this would be great for my office or in our bedroom. We already have a huge painting of all 4 of us hanging above the fireplace so why not a few intimate photos of us. The photographer said just look at each other like you both are about to win the lottery. I started laughing and my wife said “He already won it” Lol Yes, she is my lottery win. I got to kiss on her a lot which is also one of my favorites and we had a great time. I really did think it was sweet of her to do that. She said I could thank her when we got back home. And I did Lol Twice!

We had another great fun-filled day in Dublin and I think everyone was almost ready to go home. That’s the thing on these week-long trips, after a while you are tired and just want to be home. So far no one was acting grumpy. I think all of the beer helped.

 

#Dublin #Ireland Day 3

Where am I at? Oh day 3. Okay. The third day we had spent a lot of time with my wife’s Irish family. They were sharing so many funny stories and really explained to us about how and why a lot of them stayed in Ireland. Her parents obviously did not. They left in the 1970s because it was getting too dangerous and they wanted to move far away. I don’t blame them after reading some of the books I had read before we got there.

Me and a few others went and grabbed bagels, donuts, and Starbucks for everyone so we could eat and get going for the day. This was the day we all stayed together, all day. Huge mistake. We are better off in smaller groups. The dymanic of all of my wives’ siblings all grouped up can be overwhelming. My boys aren’t so good in crowds yet anyway so actually being a part of one wasn’t their favorite thing. We struggled with them a lot this day. After lunch I took them home myself and hung out for a few hours.

This was the day we really looked at our Dublin passes for all the great things you can do.

I better add the website for anyone that’s thinking of going to Dublin soon.

https://www.dublinpass.com/dublin-attractions/?aid=171

I think it’s 40 things you can do and it saves you a lot of money. With a big group like this we were going to go to all of the sights we could and this pass gave us a lot of free info on each site. It was a very good deal also. My wife found out about it and made sure we bought some asap.

We decided to do the 2 cathedrals in the morning. I wanted to see if they would bless my boys and our new baby. They did which was very cool. I appreciate both Churches doing that for me. It was selfish but I just thought it would be a good thing to do. And let’s face it, with my luck as much of God’s help as I can get, I need to take it.

We went to St Patrick’s Cathedral first. Wow. It’s huge first of all but all of the great history. You can read about it here:

https://www.dublinpass.com/dublin-attractions/st-patricks-cathedral.html

Built in honor of Ireland’s patron saint, St Patrick’s Cathedral is one of the most important historic landmarks in Dublin. Dating back to 1191 to the site of an ancient well where, legend has it, St Patrick used to baptise new converts into Christianity, St Patrick’s Cathedral has played a vital role throughout Ireland’s social, cultural and spiritual history. Walk through the nave and see the 200 monuments and impressive alter which makes St Patrick’s so breath-taking.

That’s the little info from their website. This is what we thought about going inside.

https://www.facebook.com/stpatrickscathedral/

My wife’s family was very proud to show us this on our trip. It’s the Irish equivalent of the New York Cathedrals, all historic, all beautiful, all very well known. I had been reading articles on this place for a few months not only because my wife kept printing them out, but because she said it’s more than just a Church. It’s a spiritual parcel. You have to walk onto the grounds to feel a shift in your spirit. It really is a holy ground. I loved how detailed all of the rooms are. You go from one to the other and just see all of these great tapestries, banners, and very colorful decorations. They welcome you and they want to show you around. We had called ahead to get a tour time set up so we had our own little group going together. That’s why all of us stayed together for this. My father in law acted like it was his vacation home and we let him. He kept grinning and puffing out his chest as he walked. One of my brother in law’s said Look Dad’s bursting and he really was. We got to sit in for a service which I was very excited about. I wondered what the difference between Irish Catholic Mass and American Catholic Mass was. It’s not that much different except the blessings are much much longer. They really are proud of their Church and we loved learning about it. There’s so much more to see and we tried to fit it all in but we missed the 2 famous graves that are there. We ran out of time but I told my wife, next year we will make sure to come back and see it all. She agreed.

 

We were shuttled off to the next Church and I have to say it was equally beautiful. A little less decorative and a little more stoic. You walk in and are blown away by all of the grandness of it.

https://www.dublinpass.com/dublin-attractions/christ-church-cathedral.html

Christ’s Church Cathedral is also huge. It’s the oldest building in all of Dublin. They have a crypt built there from the 11th Century I think they said. We were there in time for another service and we got to see their choir. Now that was amazing! So beautiful and very harmonious. My wife teared up just in time for my boys to start fussing so I had to take them both outside to walk around a little. Sarah came with me and she said it really is an amazing trip and thanked me. She said she had called her mom a few times to tell her everything and she said her mom said to tell me thank you for taking her. I told them both when I hired her I would show her the world and take care of her the rest o her life. I hope she believes me. She must have she’s still here after I told her it’s twins! Lol I realized how thankful I was too. God is showing me a little piece of his heart with all of these great sights and I know I need to do more to praise him. I try everyday to share his word with people and offer my prayers several times a day. I am very humbled by all of these things we keep experiencing and I am also proud to be able to afford to take all of these people with me. My boys did calm down enough for us to go back in. My wife said we missed 4 songs but that’s okay. There is always next year. As we were leaving we were in time to hear the bells tolling. Wow. Such a huge bell and it sounded great. They said it had been replaced a few years ago because the old one had hung there for 70 something years? Amazing sound.

After that we decide to go eat. I thought they said they just wanted to go back home to eat but one of the Irish cousins said we weren’t too far from The Bull and Castle.

Bull and Castle is a pub that serves really interesting food. We tried 10 different things on the menu. Most everyone got steak or burgers. I went for the salad with my boys but we got to also try some nachos. The place is so huge we went upstairs to eat. My wife got the buttermilk chicken and said it was the best she’d ever had. I tried a bite and it was okay. A little too greasy for me. Not a big fan of the animal heads all over but the photos on the walls were nice. It was loud in there. It was pretty packed for a lunch. Great place to eat!

700 years ago the Vikings took over Dublin for a time period that is well documented. We were all full and wanting a nap but this was the one place I was really pumped up to visit.

Dublinia is an entire medieval experience. You walk in and they immediately start harassing you Lol It was hilarious. My boys were in awe. They both had big eyes looking at all the cool stuff. We learned so much on our tour. The best part was getting to see everything up close. We got to try on some clothing and we shackled up my brother in law who’s the cop. They were going to lash him a few times but his wife said “Maybe tonight” and we all just laughed. Some of the kids didn’t get it but he really laughed at his wife’s comment. They have some really cool souvenirs here too. We got to see one of the battle performances and it was really fun for everyone. They come right up to your group and try to mess with you a little. One of the shirtless Viking guys tried to take my wife and she just laughed and went with them. We found her a few minutes later in a new outfit. She said they converted her and she’s going to live there now Lol Okay babe. It really was a fun experience. I think everyone really liked it.

After that we hit the last stop for the day, Dublin Castle.

I have more photos to put up of it but I did add some to my Facebook the day we went there. It’s this huge sprawling place filled with more Viking stuff but also a great amount of Irish history. I really liked learning how the city went through so many changes. It even shared some of the lesser known tragedies that I hadn’t read about. Some of the Irish cousins even said they hadn’t ever remember learning that. We got to walk around and this place let me use the stroller. Usually we have had to take the boys out and wrangle them. I was very happy I could just push them along. At this point they were getting pretty tired and I think we all were.

We went back to the house and decided to go out for dinner. I fed the boys and left them with Sarah and Brandi for the night. A few of our older relatives wanted to stay in too so I made sure they had plenty to eat and snack on before we left. Heather was finally ready to go out with us at night since it was a much smaller group. We decided to try some Irish cuisine.

The Irish cousins told us to go to Gallagher’s. Boxty is an Irish potato pancake and they leave a bag of the mix you can buy right on your table. I tried a bite and it was very light and good. Great taste. It’s a great location with this huge bar. The bottles go all the way up to the ceiling. Very classy place and it was a great meal. Huge portions of food. You get what you pay for there. It was a nice quiet dinner because everyone was so tired from walking around all day. My wife grabbed my arm and told me she was having the best time. I thought that was sweet. I was really trying hard to make sure everyone was okay. I felt bad for my boys. I knew 3 tourist things in a row would be too much but they held in there as long as they could. My wife said her feet were a little sore but she would make me rub them later before bed Lol Anything my pregnant wife wants, she can have!

We made it home and some folks went out to a Pub nearby. They just wanted a nightcap. I think no one stayed out too late that night. I don’t know I was sawing logs around midnight again. My boys slept in from all the fresh air and traveling around so I was happy about that. The next day we were going to the zoo so they really needed their rest.

#notbatmanyet #SamuelJacobCooper

 

#Dublin #Ireland Day 2

We all got a decent night sleep except the drunk family members and 1 nanny that tried to out drink Irishmen Lol Good luck on that one Brandi. We got up, had a great breakfast that was quick and easy than we packed up some backpacks for haul around for the day.

In the morning our entire group toured my wife’s family farm. It’s right outside of Dublin and has been in her family for 6 generations. That’s a very long time. Her great x 5 bought it because it has a small creek running through it and he thought it would be a great place to live. He got married soon after and had 9 kids. I see now where that tradition started. It’s a very beautiful family farm and nothing at all like the farms in Nebraska. They have all of the modern-day equipment but they don’t irrigate like we do. I found that very interesting. I asked how they do it and they use a system of man-made or non man-made aqueducts that feed into each other. How cool is that? We just pipe water in from the nearest, whatever there is really. This system has worked for the farms around the area for over a hundred and something years. I thought it was very cool and had a lot of questions about it but no one else seemed so excited. Everyone else just wanted to pet or feed the animals. The 3 houses on the land aren’t close together. They are spread out but we took the trucks out to visit each one. We spent about 5 hours out there and came back into the city for lunch.

We ate at a place called Paulie’s Pizza. They have very good food there. My wife loved the pizza and pasta. Some of her sisters got sandwiches. I guess it’s a pretty good place to eat at. A little small for our group but fast service. It was a nice place to relax plus my wife’s cousins kept bragging about how good the pizza was. They were right.

After lunch my nannies took the boys back to the house for a few hours so they could rest up for the night’s activities. We were going to be hosting family for a cookout. We split up into 2 groups. The men went to the Guinness Storehouse and any woman who wanted to join us did. We had a few. The women went to a full tour of the Cliffs of Mohr. I had no desire to go look at cliffs. I’ve seen photos, they look cool, I’ve seen cliffs before.

The storehouse is in St. James’s Gate which isn’t so bad. The place is huge and crowded. I think it was 6 or 7 stories tall. The history of the place was amazing. I really like learning how the brand started and has kept a long, great legacy for so many years. My gosh I think it’s probably the #1 tourist spot Lol After the tour and the smells of aromatic beers of all kinds you get to go up and get a free pint. You can also sit and enjoy the view except there’s not much to look at from up there. I liked that we got a free Guinness Dublin glass with our pass. We bought Dublin passes for everyone. It offers 30 attractions and that way we can plan out which days to go do what things and people could decide. I really thought everyone wanted to go to the Guinness thing but women just aren’t into that kind of thing. And my wife said she’s been around Guinness her whole life she doesn’t need to see how it’s stored Lol I just laughed at that one. She really is funny. I love her.

My wife said they had a girl tourist guide named Sara who was very nice and knowledgable. She said she loved getting there and looking around. She did take some amazing photos. All of them did however she said it was way too long and she learned her lesson. I told her doing anything that involved a bus and a guide, don’t do it Lol I learned from my Greece trip last year. Never again! She said it was something that was easy for all ages and she really thought it would be more than just looking at the cliffs. I said it’s just like the Grand Canyon with no edge on one side. She said it’s beautiful and she’s really happy she went. They all prayed for our family at the cliffs and offered a pray for all of American because they heard our President is nuts Lol Agreed, Ireland, I agree!

We all met up back at the house and got ready for dinner.

We grilled out a bunch of fish and veggies that night. Everyone was pretty tired from the long day and we had some Irish family come hang out at the rentals. We stayed up until 2am talking. I think we all crashed and slept in. My babies woke me up at 6am. I do remember that but I was able to get them back down for another hour.

Great place to vacation with kids!

The photos from this day are now on my Facebook page if anyone wants to go see them.

#notbatmanyet #SamuelJacobCooper

#Dublin Ireland Day 1

  Taking several people on a family vaca is a daunting task to say the least. My wife planned our trip. She coordinated it with her sisters who helped her siblings figure out where to go, what to show us, and how to make it a comfortable trip for all. She dropped the ball on ordering extra transportation. A rookie mistake Lol Since that was the only bad thing that happened the entire week she still gets an A+ and we were all very impressed with her vacation planning skills.

On Thursday night we packed up everything that hadn’t been packed. I told the girls 3 bags each, NO MORE! I took 2 bags for myself and 2 bags each for my boys. We still didn’t wear all the things I had packed for them. Keep in mind we were shopping like crazy and kept laundering, then wearing our new clothes so that helped. We had our flight info from our chartered flight. That was the best part and probably my smartest move. I knew getting all of us on time for a commercial flight would be bad. Or having my boys stuck on a commercial flight for 8 hours would be bad for everyone else. I ordered a 50 passenger plane for the week and told everyone the back 2 rows are for us, ya’ll can have any other seats. I needed room so that we could do things with the boys because I knew they would not sleep the whole way. We even had that conversation of flying in at night on purpose so that they might sleep but I changed my mind a month prior to the trip. They need to learn these things because we are a traveling family. I also need to learn since 99% I’m the pilot and I don’t get the experience of what my boys are doing while I’m in the cockpit.

On Friday morning the flight was supposed to leave at 10am. My wife made that non-negotiable. She even sent out a Group text saying if you are NOT AT THE AIRPORT AT 9am for check in YOU ARE NOT GETTING ON THAT (Bad word) Flight, No excuses!!! <— She added the 3 !, not me. I love her hard-ass side when it’s not unleashed on me Lol Now keep in mind the departure time she picked changed 3 times. I was expecting people to show up late. It didn’t happen and thank goodness. Everyone was there and waiting for us. We arrived at 8:30 at the meeting spot before we were shuttled off to the airport. Shuttles, she should have ordered us some shuttles for when we arrived. She didn’t.

The flight was smooth. The pilot had me come up so we could talk a little. I was a little freaked out because I don’t like being a passenger on any plane. I like to be in control of the flight. He was a very, very experienced ex-commercial pilot who had retired young and has his own business now flying families, bands, groups anywhere for a hefty price. His plane was awesome. I want one Lol Of course I do. My wife just looked at me. We are trying to “downsize” my lifestyle. She thinks that would humble me a little more and that I need that. I say Go Big or Go Home! I was raised in Texas so the bigger the better!

8 and a half hours later we are walking off the plane and into Dublin Airport. Dublin Airport is not bad. I had a few friends warn me about customs and how they usher you all over to the self check-in stuff to make it easier but we had no issues. We got going and immediately everyone wanted to go buy something. I asked and Terminal 1 has better shops so we all flanked that way to get some souvenirs. I didn’t want to, but the shopping half of our group made us go that way. I forgot to mention the security part of flying into Dublin is a breeze. We didn’t have any problems which surprised me. Everyone bought a few little things to start off. My father in law was itching to get to a Pub and I wasn’t excited at all to hear that. We got out front and I asked my wife where the shuttles were. Uh oh! She said she thought the place I rented for all of us would have sent some. Noooooooooooo, they send some if I request that. I didn’t request it because YOU WERE supposed to get us shuttles from the airport. She just looked at me like I was dumb and this was about to be all of my fault so I went and got us shuttles. We had to stand there for 30 minutes but that’s fine. It wasn’t that big of a deal. On the way to our seaside house rental (It turned out to really just be apartments) we saw all kinds of really cool places. I’m always amazed at how each country is set up so differently. Of course there’s about 20 Starbucks in Dublin, Ireland (Sure, why not) so my nannies asked if we could stop. I didn’t even have to say it, my mother-in-law said No Lol She’s my new favorite.

We finally arrived just in time because Heston had a meltdown in the driveway. He was all done. My poor little guys had been cooped up for the last hour and just wanted to get out and walk around. The house manager greeted us and then presented me with a basket of stuff. I still haven’t opened it yet. I’m pretty sure by the time I get back home the nosey nannies will have ransacked it anyway to see what was in it. He showed us inside and told us how the setup was. In each of the “rentals” (They were apartments) you can sleep 6 people. I took the top floor for my wife and kids. The rental right next to us we put the nannies and only one complained about that. Then my wife started telling everyone to go pick which one they wanted. We knew each one would sleep 6 people so we pretty much just put families all together and the ones that had more than 6 people (Which would be almost all of them Lol) we had requested extra beds. I told them we would figure it out even if I had to go buy stuff. I wanted everyone in a bed because we were going to be out most of the days and we all needed a good night’s rest. How naive I was at the beginning of this trip. I just laugh thinking about that now.

Everyone got situated and it was time to go hunt for food. I had packed my boys enough food for 3 days just in case we had an issue. I had been lugging it all around in my backpack and we only had to dip into it once on the way to the rentals. Everyone had sandwiches for a snack until we could call the restaurant and make sure our reservation was still on hold. It was so my wife told everyone to go get ready we were going out. I told my nannies to crash my boys so they picked Heather to stay behind and get them ready for bed. At this point the time change was really screwing with them and I just wanted them to get settled in. Heather was not wanting to go out with all of us anyway. She wanted to chill she said. She has a slight anxiety disorder that flairs up when she’s overwhelmed and she told me later on that’s why she volunteered. She said she really enjoyed getting the boys down then walking around the place. She said the view was amazing and couldn’t wait to see it in the morning with the sunlight.

My mother-in-law made contact with the first round of Irish relatives to let them know we had made it. She gave them our address so they could meet up with us in the morning. She told them what restaurant we were going to and also asked what Pub we could go to afterwards. I told my wife I wanted to go check on the boys after supper and she agreed. She said her brothers would babysit everyone anyway so we could be off duty for the night.

Guess what restaurant doesn’t take American Express credit cards Lol The one we went to! I had to pay cash which was fine and thank goodness I had it on me. I wasn’t going to take it out of my bag because I really didn’t think I would need it. At the last-minute my wife said take some cash please, you never know. I listen to my wife so I did as I was told and thank goodness because she was right.

Guess what DID TAKE Amex Lol The Pub my father-in-law wanted to go to. You know how I know that? Because I was called a wee little man (Yes he really used an Irish phrase on me) to get me to go to the Pub and have a pint. After dinner we found ourselves at The Porterhouse Pub. It’s centrally located and near the restaurant we ate at. It also became the place we could find my father-in-law any night he went missing. How he continued to get himself over there is still a mystery.

Irish food, hmmmmm. It’s very meaty which doesn’t work out for me however the way they cook the vegetables, alright. That was tasty. I learned a lot about Irish food and learned it’s not all just meat and potatoes. They have some very delicious local things and I did go off vegan to take a few bites of things because I honestly wanted to know what it was, how it tasted, and to experience it.

Oh yeah, and guess who showed up at the Pub with most of us? Lol The Irish relatives. A few of them at least. It was a holy reunion and there were real genuine tears. It has been a few years since they have all seen each other and my wife made sure to introduce me to all of them. Great, great guys. Honestly, her relatives couldn’t have been nicer. And so funny. They had us all cracking up. They served as our guides the entire week and I did try to give them some money for all of their help which they laughed at and said “We don’t do that kind of thing here” and “Happy to help”.

We got home at Midnight Dublin time which meant I had been up for too many hours and we all just crashed when we got home.

Day 1 recap over with. I am going to go grab something to eat.

Right now my wife and I are in Las Vegas at Lindsay’s house. We will be here all week. It’s a vacation but during the days Lindsay and I will be at the office having meetings because I’m starting to turn things over to her. She will be taking over most things on January 1st and we really need to get started on this process. Everyone is sleeping but my body wakes me up at 5:30am no matter what I do.

Lindsay’s house is awesome. She has bought more new cars. This place belongs in a music video. She has bought more guns now too. That part I could live without. We were supposed to come this morning instead but I felt great and my wife said lets go, so we left yesterday. It’s only a 4 hour flight and I knew I could handle it. Sitting for 8 hours coming back from overseas just made me antsy to get in the pilot seat and go somewhere.

My boys are in Chicago and will be at the lake house all week. Their birth mom and birth grandma are in town for their visit. We had this planned out for a while. I do like to give them privacy with the boys because my little cousin told me it just feels awkward with me around. All 3 of my nannies are at the lake house with them for the week and I hired a chef. I want everyone to have a good time. My buddy Cam is also stopping in to make sure all of the ladies are doing okay and he promised to invite them to his restaurant a few times to feed them. I know my boys will be fine and I pray they both have a great time. They are growing up so much in between her visits and it’s really important to me to always keep that door open to her. I constantly ask her to move to Chicago to be closer and she says it’s just too hard. Plus she’s still in college and wants to finish up there. Having an open adoption has worked out great. We have had a few hurt feelings along the way but I’m always happy to compromise the best that I’m capable. My wife is okay with the open adoption part but always has a lot of questions about why I leave and let them come stay. She is confused by it. It’s because there is a bond that I will never have with the boys like their birth mom has. They need to know who she is just as she is without me telling them things. They need to understand she gave them me. She picked me and she really didn’t have to. They need to know their whole lives that adoption is a great gift of love and they should be very proud to be able to know their birth parents. Their birth dad didn’t want to come this trip but he is asking for more photos which is great. He also can come see them but ONLY if I’m there. I know that’s backwards but my agreement is with her, not him. I barely know the kid and will be happy to host him and his parents anytime. Just not when I’m out-of-town. I explained my feelings on that and he didn’t have a problem with it. I also told him only up to 3 days because after that, it’s an interruption to our schedule. He has certain moral rights to see the boys but he also can’t use his time to get it in his head he can take them from me. My adoption attorney cautioned me on some of the cases she has come through and some birth dads regret signing over rights and try to sue. I would crush him if that ever came out of his mouth and he would be thrown out on the street in 2 seconds Lol No way can anyone take my boys away. We all agreed and it has worked out perfectly (For me). I guess the boys too. At this point they don’t know any better. All they know is that everyone that sees them loves them a lot and are very happy to get time with them. My boys! Mine!

Enough of that. I’m hungry. I hope she has some fresh fruit, I’m really wanting an apple or an orange right now.

I will be posting Day 2 later on. Hope everyone had a great 4th. We did. I will get to that soon! Love ya’ll!

I’m back!