An unexpected trip

So, as most of you who read this blog already know, my Grandma Jean (mom’s mom) passed away on St. Patrick’s Day. This, of course, prompted a flurry of activity on our part in order to get up here for the memorial service on Friday.

Since trying to find airfare last minute is a financial nightmare, I decided to go with a “last minute” deal that you can find on certain websites. Unfortunately, this last minute fare had us leaving from Austin at 6 AM Friday.


That wasn’t the bad part, though. The weather had a little winter in store for us, and flying into Chicago turned out to be a bit more tricky than planned.

The reason we left Illinois

Luckily, we did make it, just 30 minutes late, which gave us plenty of time to get our car and drive to Geneseo. The memorial service was wonderful, and Mom made it through her speech about Grandma without too much trouble. Afterward, we had cookies and lemonade in the church basement, then went over to Grandma’s house to say goodbye.

(Thanks to Aunt Linda for the pictures from Grandma’s house)

Friday night, we hung out with the rest of the Laleman clan at Grandma Betty and Grandpa Al’s house. Since they’re in Florida, we had a house party and Rachel got totally trashed.


We’ll be in Illinois until Monday…enjoying this lovely weather.

Twenty One Months

Dear Rachel,

This past weekend, you turned 21 months old. I can’t even begin to tell you how quickly it’s all going by.

Your Grandparents were here for most of the month. Actually, your Grandpa Rick was here for the entire month. Grandma Connie was here for a couple of weeks, but had to go back to snowy, cold, Illinois in the middle of the month to take care of the book store.

Pretty girl, sneaky dog.

I think that trip back to Illinois sealed the deal in convincing Grandma that Texas is a wonderful place to be in the winter.

Having your grandparents here helped us out a bunch as far as taking care of you, but it also helped you to learn a lot of new things. Having two extra adults talking around you for a month helped open up your world to us as you started saying a whole bunch of new words.

Hollywood wannabe

First and foremost, you now have names for your grandparents – Nana and Dodd. Nana is pretty easy to figure out. Your Grandma wanted something easy for you to say since “Grandma” is pretty hard for your mouth to figure out, but you got Nana right away. Dodd came from what you heard me saying all month. Whenever I’d talk to your Grandpa, I’d call him “Dad,” so you started saying it too. Now, I’m Dada, and Grandpa is Dodd.


You recognize buses now, and every time we go past one, you exclaim, “BUthhhhh!” and then when it’s past, you say “bye bye buth.” You even recognize the city busses as a bus. Your Grandma spent a lot of time with you singing “The Wheels on the Bus” song this past month, so buses are something you’ve taken a liking to.

cutie pie

In addition to recognizing buses, you also recognize our vehicles. Every time you see a black SUV, you say “Mama’s!” and every time you see my car you say “Dada’s!” The fun part is when you think you see your Grandpa’s truck. There’s no shortage of white ford pickups in San Antonio and every time you see one you say “it’s Dodd!”

pig tails

Your grandparents also taught you how to say “star,” kind of. In the Eye Book, on one of the pages, your eyes see “Stars up in the sky!” so every time you see a star, whether it’s on a cup, in a book, anywhere, you’ll shout “SKY!” and we know that in your world, that means “star.”


Your favorite thing to do this month has been to ask us what everything is. Of course you picked that up from all of us constantly asking you “what is this?” and now every time you want one of us to ask you what something is, you’ll point to it and say “is this?”

Pony tail

The other really cool thing you started saying out of the blue was “have a good day” even though it comes out “good day.” You just said it one day when I was dropping you off.


You also now have a favorite TV show, Bob the Builder. Every time we turn on the TV, you ask “Bob?” You even have a Bob the Builder hat, and, well, I ‘ll let the picture speak for itself.

Bob and Bobette

I forgot to mention last month that you’ve started sitting on your potty. Miss Judy started with you last month, and you’ll sit on it for us before you take a bath, but you’re still not quite there yet.


I’m sure I’ve left a bunch of things out, as this past month was just jam packed full of fun things for you. It’s amazing to us how quickly you learn new things, and as always we can’t wait to see what next month will bring. We love you very much.


My turn

We took the final fishing trip of the month on Saturday. There were a lot of things that Dad didn’t get to do on this trip, like go fishing with a guide, but I think that overall, he’s just happy that he got to go fishing in February.

After not catching much at all during our previous trips, I finally landed a big one on my first cast.

A good day of fishin'

Even Monica got in on the action, hooking this little guy…

Big Fish

Mom and Dad are leaving Tuesday morning (weather permitting), and we’ll all be sad to see them go. I think Rachel is going to miss them most of all. She’s gotten very used to having “Nana” and “Dodd” around.

More to come in a few days…