Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween Eve

Halloween got bumped this year for Friday night high school football games. So around here tonight was Halloween. After the cold and ever so slightly snowy weekend we just had, we were all very happy with our 62 degree weather.
This picture was taken by my friend Kristen last weekend when we got our first snow here in Michigan. Thankfully it didn't last long. I just love this picture though so I had to steal it from her blog.
This was Anthony's first Halloween, and although he can't walk up to the doors, or say trick or treat, or even eat the candy, that didn't stop me from dressing him up and traipsing him around the block with all the other kids. He even managed to snag me a few pieces of candy. They kept trying to give me candy they thought he could eat, like marshmallows and gummies, I was kinda bummed cause I wanted the chocolate. He can't eat any of it, so it's all for me, and I don't want marshmallows I want chocolate!
Anyway here is my little penguin.

Of course Todd and I both had to have a picture with our little penguin.
Every year on Halloween, since I've lived here in Michigan, I go over to my sister Rachael's house, along with several others, eat pizza and go trick or treating. She has all the kids, so it's easiest if we come to her. Plus she lives in a good neighborhood for trick or treating. The block is long enough that the kids get plenty of candy, and short enough that it doesn't take all night to get around it. Tonight my sister had a special treat for all of us. She made homemade hot apple cider with Cinnamon sticks, whip cream and carmel sauce (just like they make it at Starbucks) and it was sooo good. She even bought some disposable to-go cups so we could sip it while we walked around the block with the kids.
Here are some more pre-trick or treating photos.
My niece Kristen (cuz-cuz) with Anthony. Kristen was Shawn Johnson the Olympic gymnast. My niece Katya was Nastia Lukins, the Russian born USA Olympic gymnast.
My nephew Ben was Brian Urlacher from the Chicago Bears.As for my nephew Jack, I'm not really sure who he was, but his costume was really cool. I'm not a Star Wars fan myself, but I'm guessing he was some character from the movie. Here is the whole gang. Obviously we aren't the only one's who prefer to spend Halloween at Rach's house.
Anthony actually enjoyed his stroll around the block. I can't wait till next year, it will be even more fun for him (and me).

I'm sure Rachael and Francie will be posting about the night too with pictures of their own, it's always fun to read each others interpretation of the same event and see who gets the best pictures. Usually it's Francie, but every once in a while Rachael and I get a few good ones too.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pretty is for girls

Lately I've had several strangers mistake Tony for a girl, despite his all boy, primarily blue wardrobe. They will say "she's so cute" and when I correct them, they always say it's the hair that threw them off. This past weekend at church a lady said to me, "Your little boy is so pretty, he looks like a girl." I'm sure she meant this is the most innocent and complimentary way possible, but I couldn't help but be a bit annoyed. My boy does not look like a girl.
I will admit he probably does need a haircut though. Or shall I say, did need a haircut. Today he got his first one. He was such a good little boy too, for the first 75% of the time, then he'd had enough, he was done being messed with. The hairstylist still managed to finish the job with both his ears still intact despite the near misses with the scissors.

Just getting started.
This mirror was what kept him entertained during the haircut.
Here he's telling her he's had enough.
But my hairstylist, Rachel is a pro, and pressed on despite his protest.
He really was a good boy.
Of course daddy had to come along for this momentous occasion.
Here is a before pictureAnd here is the after. Isn't he handsome. Of course we saved a locket of his hair and put it in a little ceramic box that says "the first haircut of the prince"

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Too big for baby toys and baby food

Anthony is into everything these days. He loves all things not intended for children to play with. Remote control, camera, keys, cell phone, shoes, cardboard boxes, magazines, the dog dishes, toilet water, you name it, if you would rather he not play with it, that is exactly what he wants to do. Never mind that he has lots of toys scattered about my living room intended just for his entertainment. Oh no, they just aren't nearly as much fun.

I still haven't completely unpacked from our weekend away and he has figured out how to climb into the suitcase and go through it looking for new and interesting things to play with. He loves it, every time I bring him downstairs he climbs into it. Maybe I will just leave it out a little while longer. We got a package in the mail today and the empty cardboard box entertained him for 45 minutes. Climbing in and out of it and playing with the air bags used for packing.

Here he is again in the box, notice the ripped up magazine in the background. He destroyed a perfectly good toy catalog. I guess I don't need it anyway. He seems content with the box.

Here he is showing off his new hat. I've been meaning to buy him one now that it's getting cold outside. The last thing he needs is to get sick. He was at Grandma's today and came home with this on. I guess grandma got tired of waiting for me to buy him a hat. Doesn't it look so cute on him? Thanks grandma. He has also started showing a little bit of interest in non-baby foods. Bananas has always been his favorite, if you give him anything with banana in it he will eat it. Well now he is eating a real banana not just the puree from a jar. Whenever Todd eats one he spits out his pacifier (a sure sign that he wants to put something else in his mouth) and gets a few bites for himself.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

This one's for Nat

One of my sister Natalie's first jobs when she lived here in Michigan was as a waitress at a local restaurant. I don't think she'd ever been a waitress before and she had a hard time at the beginning. One of the main reasons she had trouble working there was because she was a vegetarian and wasn't familiar with what certain things were on the menu and had a hard time describing them or recommending what was good. When a guest complained about her because he ordered Mahi Mahi and she asked how he wanted that cooked she got put on probation (I think) and she came home with the menu and had to memorize it and pass a quiz by her manager in order to keep her job.

Anyway, tonight Todd and I went out to eat and I ordered the black bean burger and the waitress asked me how I wanted the burger cooked? I guess I was kind of surprised, I said, "it's a bean burger, not a real burger." She said, "oh, sorry, I'm new here."

I couldn't help but think of Natalie when that happened, and I thought she'd get a kick out of knowing that she isn't the only one who isn't cut out for waitressing. Of course I didn't find it offensive like the man Natalie served, I just thought it was funny.

Friday, October 17, 2008

More basement drauma

Don't you just hate it when you try to make the right decision and in the end it turns out to be the wrong one? Well it seems to have happened to me again. This time in regards to the basement. Back when it flooded a few weeks ago I had a hard time finding a company to come out to the house in a timely manner to suck up all the water. I finally found 2 companies, one charged by the hour ($110) and one charged a flat fee ($0.43 per sq. ft). It was a tough decision, but in the end I decided that the flat fee would be the smarter move, we have about 550 square feet so the most it would cost would be around $240 if we went with the flat fee company. The carpet cleaning company that charged by the sq. foot also agreed with me that the hourly rate seemed high, so I went with that company. Well guess what, it only took them an hour to suck all the water up because we had done so much of it ourselves before they got here. That was wrong choice #1.

Then we looked around at all the stains left on the carpet from the furniture and I asked the lady if she thought she could get them out because I wasn't going to waste my money trying to dry out, re lay and clean carpet that wasn't going to look like it did before the flood. She said she couldn't give me a 100% guarantee, but felt confident that it would clean up nicely. So we pressed onward. After paying $240 for the water extraction, renting 2 fans for 5 days at $50 per day, having them come out and re stretch and re lay the carpet and clean it (who knows what that costs) we still have very unsightly stains on the carpet. Not just where the furniture was either, it seems that there are stains everywhere scattered about and it's bad enough that I am not willing to just let it go. Either the stains must come out, or the carpet will. It just makes me so mad that I didn't just rip it out from the start, instead, I will have to pay all that expense of trying to fix it, and then pay someone else to fix it right. What a pain.
And just so you don't think I am over reacting, here are a few pictures of some of the stains.
This one here is a large area where the TV was that sat on the floor. The TV is ruined so it wont be returning to the same spot, and when we replace it, I'm pretty sure it wont be with one that sits on the floor. (you know, just in case)

In the spare bedroom there are 8 stains just like this one where the dresser legs and the bed posts sat on the floor. I guess if we always keep the furniture in the exact same spot it would be okay, but who wants to have to do that?And this is what the edge looks like along the wall in the TV room. See how dark and stained it is? That's gross. Oh and in case your wondering, we still have to replace the baseboards and re paint the walls. Don't worry when it's all said and done, it will look as good as new, it's just a matter of when, how and how much it will cost.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pictures from NY

Here are a few pictures from our weekend in NY. Tony loves taking a bath, and he was fascinated by this tubs handles, he kept wanting to hold onto them and stand up. I was worried he'd slip, so we had to cut the bath short because he wouldn't settle for being distracted.

Grandma let him bang on her piano which he found quite fun.
Shannon and Madeline playing on the computer. Madeline is eating dumplings. Dumplings is a favorite of us kids from when we were little. We pour v-8 juice over them. Friday after shopping we stopped to get gas and I went into buy a drink and came out with a v-8. I told my mom it reminded me of dumplings, so we had them for dinner, and then again on Sunday before I left.
Here we are all playing Bananagrams. It's a bunch of letter tiles and you each grab 21 tiles and then turn them over at the same time and see who can spell words that all connect (like scrabble) the fastest. You can dump a letter and take 3 more if you just can't use one. Whoever finished first says "banana". It's a really fun game.
My mom made 8 loaves of bread for me to take back to my Great Aunt Kate. We had to cut into one of the loaves and try it so when I left I was down to 7.

Here is Tony playing with his book.
His favorite toy is his hairbrush.
My niece Grace. Isn't she adorable?
My niece Hannah. Also adorable.
And my other niece Madeline. Again, adorable.

Here is Kristen and Tony in the playhouse. We went to an Amish store and they make these really cool playhouses. This one had a loft in it. How fun would that be for Tony when he is a little bit bigger. I took pictures and maybe Todd can build him one, or have someone build it for him. They actually weren't that expensive, I think this one was $3000.
I like the swing on the porch, makes it seem like a real house.

Here is Kristen playing with Tony in the hotel.
Oh by the way, we chickened out and didn't go to the comfort inn as planned. We just stayed at the same hotel we'd stayed at on the way out. At least we knew it was clean and safe.
On the way home we stopped by to see Aunt Kate and drop off her bread. I have to confess I only gave her 4 loaves. I kept 2 for myself and gave one to Rachael. She will never know the difference. Don't anyone tell her.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A weekend in NY

Well it's been a fun weekend in NY, I ran out of clothes to wear because I only packed warm stuff thinking it would be cold, but it was warm all weekend. I may have to go buy a t-shirt to wear home, it's in the high 70's and all I have left to wear is a hoodie sweatshirt. I can't believe how nice it is out here, the leaves are all turning colors right now as if it's fall, but it feels like summer.
Tony was a good baby the whole time, except when we went to church twice in one day (Bob had to preach at 2 different churches) and he missed his nap, apparently he isn't one of those babies to just sleep on the go. He needs his naps in his bed. That made for a long day. Also he has been sleeping with me this trip when the pack and play just wont suffice. I don't know how people let their kids sleep with them all the time. He flops and flips all over in the bed and I can't hardly sleep. At one point Kristen, who also slept with me, woke me up to tell me that Tony was kicking her in the head. I can't wait till we get back home and he can sleep in his own bed.
We have had lots of good homemade food, I think I gained a few pounds this weekend. My mom keeps saying how cute my belly is and I get annoyed because it isn't baby it's food. I haven't been hungry once, because before I get a chance to get hungry we eat again. She is currently making me 8 loaves of bread (not for me) and some cookies (not all for me) to take home.
We have played bananagrams about a hundred times. It's a very fun game, kind of like scrabble but much faster and funner (is that a word?). I had beginners luck and won the first 5 games I played, after that it wasn't so easy, but still really fun. Now I'm hooked so I will have to be on the lookout for the game.
Today we will leave for the 10 hour drive home and will go halfway tonight, stay in a hotel and then finish tomorrow morning. I know it seems silly to not just do it in one day, but there is no way I can drive 10 hours by myself, and even if I could, I doubt Tony would tolerate being in his car seat for that long. I prebooked a hotel room this time, but I am still not sure about it. It's a comfort inn and suites and 3 stars so should be safe right? I'm still worried, the area I want to stop doesn't offer many hotel options and the reviews were mixed. I'll let you know how it all turns out.
When I get back home tomorrow I will post some cute pictures from this weekend.
The bread just came out of the oven, hot and steamy and smelling so good, so I am signing off to try a piece with some homemade grape jelly.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Guess What?

I had an ultrasound yesterday, being just 2 days shy of 16 weeks and guess what? We are having a girl! The Ultrasound tech told me that she has a 100% accuracy record at 17 weeks and since I am only 16 she cannot give me her 100% guarantee, but she is pretty sure it's a girl. Rachael also confirmed that in her expert medical opinion it is a girl. So for now, we are planning on a girl. I'm sure I will go back next week to get that 100% guarantee though, just in case.

When will I learn?

Doesn't it seem logical that if you are going on a road trip that you would be able to drive until your tired and then just find a hotel along the way to sleep for the night? Assuming it's not a holiday weekend or some big event in the area you are. Well time and time again, I have made that assumption and been wrong. Last night was one of those times.
Todd and I were planning on bringing Tony out to New York to see his grandma and grandpa and last minute Todd decided that he was still too busy on the farm to get away for 5 days. Since I had the time off work, I decided to go anyway without him. I talked my sister Rachael into letting me bring her daughter Kristen with me, to help with Tony. The three of us left last night at 7pm for the 10+ hour drive. The plan was to drive until tired, hopefully till midnight, and then get a hotel and finish the trip in the morning. Sounds pretty logical right?
At midnight we stopped at a Hampton Inn and they were fully booked, but there was a hotel across the street that he recommended, so I asked him to call for me and see if they had a room and what the rate was so I didn't have to drive over there and haul in the baby unnecessarily. He was very kind and called, yes they had a room, but it was $189. No way was I paying that for 6 hours of sleep. The front desk guy said that I was in an expensive town, so I asked if there was a cheaper town down the way in the direction we were headed. He said yes, he knew of one, called and checked for us, it was the Ramada Inn and they had a room for $90. Sounded good to us, so off we were. When we arrived I decided to get gas since Tony was asleep and to save time in the morning, so here it was 12:30 and I was pumping gas, no one in sight. A police officer drove by, rolled down his window and asked if everything was okay. I thought that was a bit odd, but didn't read too much into it. (my first clue that I missed that I might not be in a good safe town)
When we pulled into the Ramada, it looked "okay" nothing fancy that's for sure, but not terrible. The lobby was much the same, just okay. The front desk man was a very nice black man who checked us in and gave us our keys. Oh and while we were checking in, 4 drunk people stumbled onto the elevators making a loud scene (another clue I overlooked). Key in hand we went to the elevator, the carpet was nasty, and the walls were all banged up, but we pressed on, neither Kristen or I saying a word about what we were thinking to each other. When we got off the elevator things went down down down hill even more, the halls smelled of stale smoke and the carpet and walls were really really bad. When we got to our room, it was clean, but had a nasty bed cover that looked a hundred years old, polyester sheets that were pilled and rough. Cigarette burns on the bathroom counter (in our nonsmoking room) and more nasty carpet that you'd be crazy to walk bare foot on. Neither Kristen nor I brushed our teeth, we put our pj's on and climbed into bed, I really wanted to just sleep in my clothes, including my shoes. It was that nasty. Even though I had been so tired I could hardly keep my eyes open, I was now wide awake and could not fall asleep. I kept thinking what would Todd say if he knew where we were staying, and what would Rachael and Derrick think of the place their daughter was sleeping in? I'm pretty sure it was the type of hotel you could rent by the hour, and I'd hate to see a black light in that room. I started to worry about my car, and what if it got broken into? What a mess that would be in the morning. We layed in bed both of us apparently thinking the same thing but not telling each other. Finally I asked her if she was awake still and she said yes, and I said, I'm scared let's get out of this place. She was like "oh, I'm so glad you said that, I am so scared too" We jumped out of bed, got dressed as fast as we could and ran downstairs and told them we were not staying. He asked why and we said, the room is nasty and we don't feel safe here. The manager came out, another very nice black man, who offered another room to us. No thanks, just a refund to my visa and we will be out of here.
So at 1:30 in the morning we were back in the car wondering what now? We were still 4 hours from NY so driving all night was not an option, everyone I knew was likely in bed, then I remembered I have a friend on the west coast and it would only be 10:30 her time. So I gave her a call, told her where we were and could she please find us a hotel. She got online and found us one about 20 miles down the road. It was a Hampton Inn which I have started to trust as a reliable place to stay. It was the same price as the seedy hotel that we were previously at and very nice, comfortable and clean. We finally got to bed around 3 am, but at least we were able to sleep.
So I think I have finally learned my lesson and will no longer assume I can just find a hotel along the way. Reservations will be made for our trip home.