The Elenbaas Family
Ma, Da, Tinkerbelle, Wally, JackJack, and Big Wes
I turned a short Chicago work trip into an overnight family vacation. We stayed at the Embassy Suites (highly recommended) in downtown and had an exhausting but excellent 30 hours in Chicago. Our activities in order:
- McDonalds for lunch
- Swimming in the hotel
- Rain Forest Cafe for Dinner
- Cocktails at the hotel (free)
- More swimming
- Big continental breakfast
- American Girl Store and Lego Store
- Cheesecake Factory for Lunch
- Chicago Zoo (free)
The kids loved the view from our 11th floor room.
Evie, William, and Jack shared a double bed. As expected there were some problems. Will was moved to our bed to fall asleep because someone kept pulling covers away from him (he was doing it to himself), Jack & Evie needed several reprimands, and Jack was upside down by the time we went to bed.
The Zoo was far better than I expected. The lions, tiger, gorillas, polar bear, and hippo were active and very interactive.
The kids were impressed by the size of the McDonalds. It was 2 stories with service on both levels.
The subway was a highlight. For boys that love trains it was awesome to ride one. Evie renewed her interest in American Girl Dolls after seeing all of them in one place.
2013 Photo Stats
It is time to start working on my annual family photo book. I organize with Picasa which provides me with some fun statistics. Here are some facts about our pictures.
Total photos taken and saved (I only delete duplicates and poor quality pictures).
- 2004: 3060
- 2005: 2174
- 2006: 2431
- 2007: 3243
- 2008: 2967
- 2009: 3069
- 2010: 5399
- 2011: 4412
- 2012: 4926
- 2013: 4090 - I am a bit surprised that we were down on total photos in 2013. Maybe it is because we carry our cameras less since we have phones with cameras. The biggest reason is probably that we weren't as adventurous in 2013 with 4 little kids. In 2014 we have 2 extra trips planned so I expect our photos will go back up.
- Total: 919
- Include Evie: 386
- Include Will: 384
- Include Jack: 383
- Include Will & Jack: 277 (shows that they are almost always together)
- Include Wesley: 246
- Include Erin: 104
- Include Randy: 135
- Include all 4 kids: 66
- Include all 6 of us: 25
- Include Randy & Erin: 41
- ONLY Randy & Erin: 3 - Only 3 good pictures all year of Erin and I without any kids around. Improving on that number in 2014 is a new goal.
2014 Goals and 2013 Results
My 2013 goals were extremely ambitious.
- DUNK. FAILURE. Sadly, I did not dunk and never was close. It wasn't without trying, however. For the first 4 weeks of the year I did 3x1.5hour jumping specific workouts a week. But a nagging ankle injury prevented me from really jumping, even during he workouts. In November or December 2012 I felt a sharp pain in my left ankle (my primary jumping leg) while playing basketball. I hoped it would go away but it only got worse at the beginning of 2013. I had to quit jumping and let it heal...but it didn't. After 8 months of investigation I found out I had os-trigonum syndrome which is an extra bone in the pinch point of my left ankle. Every time I extended my ankle to jump (or many other activities), the bone would get pinched resulting in a very sharp pain. I had surgery in October to remove it and was off my foot altogether for about a month. So...never even close to dunking. Good excuse but sad result. Knowing how miserable that jumping program was I don't think I'll make dunking a goal for at least a few years.
- Give up baked goods for the entire year. SUCCESS. I made this statement while making the goal: without putting much thought into it I can already see there is a lot of grey area around what constitutes a baked good. I basically eliminated cookies of all kinds, cake, pie, and baked bars. I still ate cookie dough, no-bake bars, and had more than my fair share of ice cream. I do believe this goal was a big success. Prior to 2013 I ate a LOT of baked goods throughout the year and even with my baked-goods-replacements in 2013 I significantly cut down my consumption of clearly unhealthy food.
Here are my 2014 goals. For the first time I don't have any physical fitness goals for the year. Not sue if that is laziness or maturity. I've found that my physical goals don't have the lasting impact I'd hoped for. For example, doing tons of push-ups or sit-ups didn't make me really ripped, they only made my body good at doing that one exercise.
- NO SNACKING: This will be my greatest challenge this year. My goal is to only eat food during meal times, with a maximum of 3 meal times a day. Exceptions and clarifications:
- Clarification - meal time is defined as the time after I sit down to start the meal until the time I stand up to clean up. No snacking while preparing the meal and no snacking while cleaning up from the meal.
- Clarification - meals have to fall in the generally accepted breakfast, lunch, dinner time frame. I can't skip breakfast, and then add a "meal" at 8:00 at night.
- Exception - fruits, veggies, and >80% cocoa dark chocolate are acceptable snacks. I will aim to minimize these but having them as an option will keep me from going nuts.
- Exception - out of state. No snacking goal is temporarily waived if I'm not physically in Michigan.
- Exception - in the rare situation where my body really needs food and fruit/veggies/dark chocolate are not an option or adequate. This should be less than 5 times in 2014 if at all. Only situations I can think of are after an extreme workout or some kind of medical emergency.
- Exception - situations where it would be socially unacceptable to reject food.
- Drink the doctor recommended amount of water EVERY DAY. Pure water. 64oz per day. Doing just a quick search I now see that this isn't really the recommendation any more so my goal is a little dated. That is OK. I think drinking that much water will be good for me and may curb eating and pop consumption. The point of the goal is to really follow what I think was an overkill-of-a-recommendation. The fact that I had a kidney stone last summer also influences this goal.
- Read at least 10 books.
Uh Oh - Pictures from 2013
Classic 2013 Family Pictures