Sunday, November 26, 2006

The longest post ever, no really - it's really long. Can you make it through it all?

First off, we’ve had a busy week. This is probably the longest post ever. I do tend to write a lot. I guess it’s a creative outlet for me to write. I never used to write when I was a child. Sure I kept a diary, which I still have, but I never was really good at keeping it up.

I read a lot. I used to read about five 100 page books a week when I was a teenager. I read all the time. Then I got a computer my senior year and I got addicted to that. I was the only kid (besides one other ‘geek’) that had a computer and was on the internet my senior year in 95/96. I never really considered myself a ‘geek’ in school – I just liked the internet. I always liked my computer classes and took some coding classes in high school. By the end of my senior year I even had my own webpage and started to build webpages and the graphics for it as a creative outlet. I taught myself HTML and liked it. That led to my decision to go to Northwood to go into Computer Science Management.

The fact that I knew HTML got me a really good job at college. I used to fix and replace faculty computers and supported them. I really enjoyed the job. I even helped them start their first webpage.

I was never crafty in college. In college, though my webpages I made I actually collected postcards. The deal was if people sent me a postcard, I would send them one back and scan it in to display on my webpage. This was really really labor intensive. I soon had over 2500 postcards scanned in and displayed on my webpage. Sure it was awesome getting postcards from ALL over the world, but it was expensive. Can you imagine me paying for postage for 2500 postcards to send back? I did all this, while in college. Postcard collecting is an actual hobby for many many people. They trade and collect postcards with specific themes and some like them stamped, while others like them in mint condition and will send them with cardboard and plastic so they don’t get ruined.

When I sent back postcards I liked to send a little sticker on the back of the postcard. A lot of my traders did this. Joe one day stopped into this scrapbook store to get me some stickers and brought some home for me. What a sweetie.

So one day he took me to this store and they were scrapbooking. This was in 2000 at Maggie’s Scrapbook Heaven in Midland, Michigan. I went in to get stickers and came out signed up for my first scrapbook class. The rest is history.

So how did we get here? Well I was telling you how I always wanted to be crafty growing up. I never really found what I wanted to do as a life long hobby. My mom always knitted. My mom is awesome at knitting. She’s applying to become a master knitter, which there are only a handful in the world. Myself, I always thought knitting was boring. I tried it and hated it. I couldn’t draw to save my life. So that above is how I found scrapbooking.

That leads me to writing. Through scrapbooking I am able to write it like it was. I don’t need to retain everything in my brain, I can do a brain dump onto paper (or onto my computer in my blog in this case) and then go back later to read it and remember it ‘like it was’. That is why I love blogging so much. My parents can’t remember anything about my childhood. Heck, I can’t even remember 2 years back from when Joey was a baby before I started to blog, though I did record a LOT through my scrapbooking. I want my children to be able to go back and read about our lives when they were young. I want them to see how much we loved them as they were growing up. I want to preserve some of our lives through scrapbooking and writing. That’s why I think journaling is so important on your scrapbook pages. So many times I have photos of myself or Joe when we were babies, and have no clue what the significance of the photo was. Film wasn’t cheap back then so normally most photos have significance. If only my parents could remember…

So anyhow, onto my week. Last Sunday was a busy one. As you saw in the post below, one of the things we wanted to get done on Sunday was our family photos.

The other thing we wanted to do was get the Christmas tree up. Joe put the tree up while the kids were down taking a nap. He told me he’s been putting this same tree up since he was in high school. He does a good job at putting it together every year. I told him that we’ll be able to hand this tree down to our children. He said, ‘Nope, it’s too old and won’t last that long’. This tree was his great grandpa’s and is at least 50 years old. He gave it to Joe’s mom and Joe’s mom gave it to Joe when we bought our first house. It’s a nice tree. Just the perfect size for our house.

Lastly we needed to do was go to my Grandpa’s 80th birthday party in the city. So we put Joey down for a nap early. When he woke up we got all the kids ready for photos. We got all of our photos done we headed over my Grandparents house (not the grandparents we spend most weekends at – this is my father’s parents). It was nice to see everyone. No one had met Justin yet. He was a bit fussy because he was tired. I needed to get Joey out of his outfit for photos as it was small on him. Luckily I had a spare change of clothes in my bag.

Justin smiling for everyone!

Cousin Mitchell, Uncle Jim and Grandma (Dad's mom)

Uncle Gary (youngest of 7) and Justin. They are expecting in May and have three girls. Maybe this one will be a boy? We'll see!

It’s very unfortunate but my grandfather, who just turned 80, has Alzheimer’s. It’s pretty advanced because he’s forgotten who I am before. Joe talked to Grandpa a little bit and I gave him hugs. He looked blankly around for a little while. It’s so sad to see someone get so old and can’t remember things anymore. It’s weird how their long term memory stays intact and can remember things from a long time ago like it was yesterday but he can’t remember things that happened 5 minutes ago. I remember my grandfather as one of those men who would always make dirty jokes. At my bridal shower he took two of my bridesmaids aside and started talking about sex. They looked at me like, what the heck?!! I just laughed. That was grandpa for you. He always talked about that. That’s probably why my dad is so open about joking about it and I can talk about it so freely. Grandpa always told me he wasn’t getting any from Grandma and he was going out with another girl and would joke about stuff and Grandma would tell him to ‘be quiet and quit your fibbing’.

My brother did not go to the party. He told me it’s really painful to see Grandpa like that and he wanted to remember him the way he was, telling dirty jokes. Funny – all of our memories of Grandpa revolve around dirty jokes – haha!

The other thing I wanted to show you was Grandma’s photo room. She has a little room right inside her back door that she always displayed the photos of her 7 kids and all their children. I loved to go into that room when I was growing up to see who had new photos in the frames in that room. That past two times I’ve been in there no one has had new photos, even though we send new photos to grandma. I think it’s just getting to be too much for her to update it with new photos. I was bummed. I was hoping there was a photo of our family up and there wasn’t. She has a few updated photos on her tv, but that was about it.

One of the only family photos my family has ever taken. That's me in the red. 1982,

This weekend was really jam packed with doing stuff! We didn’t really even get to relax as we were constantly going and doing stuff! As I mentioned in a previous post, on Saturday we went out and got a new washer and dryer! Boy oh Boy!

Monday we both had to work. I worked from home. I got a call at 7am that they wanted to deliver my washer and dryer. Seriously – 7am! Good thing I was already awake and working. They came, delivered my new washer and dryer and hooked them up and took the old ones away!

When they left I remembered that my hot and cold are backwards on the faucets downstairs and swore he had to have hooked them up incorrectly. Because it’s a front loading washer and it seals after you start it, I couldn’t run it and figure out if the hot was really hooked up right. So I unhooked the hoses with a wrench, flooded the floor, pulled out the washer, to find out HE HOOKED THEM UP RIGHT. AUGH!

Note to self – when unhooking the houses again, use a towel over the hose I’m unhooking so it doesn’t spray down the wall, and all over the floor. This worked much better. I hooked them back up and tightened the hoses. Then I read the directions to see what all the different cycles and settings meant. Then I ran the washing machine. Can you believe most loads take an hour? All cycles take about that long except for the quick cycle! Unbelievable. It’s a really cool washer and dryer. They are huge. I feel like I just put a laundry mat in my laundry room (which is small to begin with). These washer and dryers are HUGE! I had to buy the raisers for them because they sit close to the ground without them and I wanted them up higher. It’s a beautiful thing. I’ll take a photo and upload it soon.

Monday evening Joe and I stayed up late to help put lights on the tree. I always put the lights up and I do most of the ornament hanging. We purged a few ornaments that had no meaning to make room for the new ones. I love Hallmark ornaments so I had a few new ones to add to the tree. I had one for Justin’s first Christmas. I need to get one that holds a photo as I only got a dated first Christmas one. I got Joey his third Christmas ornament and got Justin one in the same series that says First Christmas. It’s a little boy doggie that plays with airplanes, etc. Then I got our mischievous kitten ornament. I believe it’s on the 8th in the series and I have all 8. So our tree is mainly cats, and sports and kids stuff like trains, but most of the ornaments are Hallmark – yay!

Every year I put the colored lights on the tree because I like them better (though the photos turn out nicer with the white lights). I put two blinker strings on the tree too and it looks very cool. Joey loves the tree and will not stop touching it. I’m just waiting for the day that he starts to touch it and it falls on him. I’ve thought about tying it to the ceiling like I used to do and I’m not going to this year. Joey gets quite angry when he can’t play with the Thomas the train ornaments on the tree. We’ve told him multiple times that they do not move, they just hang on the tree and he doesn’t care. He still wants to play with them.

Here are some photos of Justin in his early Christmas Bumbo seat. His huge smiles are contageous!

Justin and Joey.

Love this look!!

There he is - smiling/laughing!

Here's another smile! He's sitting really good in his seat!

The new Hallmark ornaments are really nice looking. Our parents gave Joe and I our ornaments from when we were babies and they look so old and dated. Sometimes I wonder if these new looking ornaments we have today are going to look dated in 25 years.

Tuesday I worked from home again. My mother came out during the day to get a computer from our house to take over hers for my friend Jenny. She also helped out with Justin while I was on a conference call. It was nice to see her.

Wednesday Joe and I had the day off. Once both kids were awake we took them into daycare and went out to breakfast. Last Christmas Joe got a gift certificate to Cracker Barrel so we went out to breakfast. I had a very very yummy omlet with veggies and turkey sausage. Joe had French toast with peaches. It was a nice breakfast and we needed a little date.

After that our goal was to get our Christmas shopping done. We got about 75% of it done. We have Joey and Justin completed. My brother, his girlfriend Audry and a bunch of other family members are complete. I was able to do a lot of online gift certificates and shopping this year. Shopping online is so much nicer than going into the stores!

When we bought our new washer and dryer at Best Buy we got a $75 gift certificate. We took that and bought a new leather chair for our computer desk. Our existing one isn’t bad, it’s just loud. When you bend over in it, it makes this clicking noise that you can hear downstairs. Normally, I wouldn’t give a crap about it. But when the kids are sleeping at night, you don’t want a noisy chair. The leather chair we got is really nice.

That evening we got everything ready and packed in the car to make the trip up north for Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving.


Thanksgiving morning Grandma started the bird. She stuffed with with fruits and veggies, like carrots, celery, a lemon cut in half, etc.

Come 11:30 I lost track of time and had to hurry like heck to make my dishes for Thanksgiving. I already made a pumpkin pie (crustless). I was making mashed potatoes, stuffing and a sweet potato dish that were all on my CORE Weight watcher plan so I had healthy alternatives for dinner.

The sweet potato dish was made with pineapple and cooked in the oven. It was really good.

The stuffing was made with couscous and barley and vegetable. It was DA BOMB. It was soo good. MIL and I agreed it was going to be put into the permanent Thanksgiving rotation. It was so good I managed to eat the rest of it by the next morning! LOL

The potatoes were good but not as good as Grandma’s (it didn’t have cream it in like her’s did or whatever she puts in it). It used butter buds butter flavoring and milk flakes and pepper. There was a little too much pepper in it for me. It wasn’t bad, just not as good as Grandma’s.

The turkey was SOOOOOOOO good. It was the best, moistest chicken I’ve ever eaten. It was awesome. Now I’m craving turkey and stuffing! LOL….

Grandma also made a pumpkin roll with cream cheese and it’s also on the permanent rotation every year. It’s sooo good, she made two because we all inhaled it by the second day!!

This got me into trouble. I LOVE this and can not resist it! AUGH!

Uncle Fred made a cherry pie that was very very good too. Boy did we eat well!

So anyhow, Joe’s been out hunting in the mornings and evenings. I’ve been taking care of the kids (as has Joe) and enjoying the weather. It’s been in the 60’s and we’ve taken the kids out on a walk to enjoy the weather. Justin seemed to enjoy his walk yesterday. Joey took grandma’s walking cane and played around with that for awhile. Grandma came on a walk with us and we had a great time enjoying the weather and just getting outside.

Justin, smiling as always! :)

Grandma, relaxing after Thanksgiving dinner.

This is Justin's pouty look. First it's super cute. Second, he can do the pouty on second and smile the next. It's a riot!

Everyone, eating Thanksgiving dinner. Joey was napping and didn't want to eat anyhow. I was taking the photo. There's Grandma, Joe's mom Char, Joe's Uncle Fred, Joe and Justin.

Joey took stickers and stuck them on daddy's head! LOL.

Justin getting in some tummy time. He hates it by the way.

Another great day. The weather was perfect - in the 60's. Grandma, Joe, Justin and I took a walk while Joe was out hunting.

Joey's Geotrax. Joe thinks this is the most elaborate track he's made yet. Joey loves to play with these!

Happy baby, out on a walk! :)

Another smile, in his bouncer. He loves his fishy bouncer!

Grins and giggles again!

Love this photo of Joey, outside at Grandma's house.

Saturday we met Paige’s family (Joey’s friend) at their house to go to Holly, Michigan for a model train exhibit. It was a PERFECT weekend to go. Both Grandma’s watched Justin while Joe, Joey and I drove down to see them.

Holly was having their Dicken’s festival. They had vendors in the streets, the smells of the food smelled delicious. We walked through town to a train shop to find out that you had to pay to get in to see his setup. Jo Anna (Paige’s mom) and I decided to stay behind as the dads, Paige and Joey went into see the exhibit. I walked, while 9 month pregnant Jo Anna (who was delivering on Tuesday) waddled through town. We talked and had a nice time. Finally the boys came out and Joe was carrying Joey, who was throwing a FIT because he didn’t want to leave. This wasn’t even the exhibit we came to see.

We crossed the street and entered the place that had the model train setup. It was quite amazing. The building used to be an opera house. In the rafters upstairs was the control center for the model trains. The main floor was the train layout. The trains wrapped around and went under the floor (which we weren’t allowed to go). There were about 5 men and a 8 year old boy who communicated on walkie talkies to help control which trains were on which tracks, so they didn’t collide. It was almost like they were controlling a real train. Joey and Paige loved it. John, Paige’s dad, loved it too as he LOVES and collects model trains. The engineers stopped the candy train for the kids to pick up a piece of candy. That was nice for the kids. We stayed for awhile and then Paige wanted to go ride the ponies so we all left and John stayed behind with the trains.

9 month preggo Jo Anna and Paige.

The kids getting candy from the candy train.

Isn't this adorable? They are two peas in a pod.

Paige and Joey smiling for a photo.

The train exhibit!

Joey, Jo Anna and Paige watching the train go by.

Jo Anna paid for both kids to ride the ponies. Joey liked it but not as much as Paige, who rode about three more times before we left to see Santa.

Paige riding on the pony with her dad John standing by.

Joe holding Paige's and Joey's hands.

Joey riding on the pony named Buddy!

Me with Joey and Paige with her mom Jo Anna.

I was expecting to pay to see Santa, but did not need to. I think he was a volunteer from the train association as he was talking to us about owning trains himself. Joey told Santa he wanted new toys. Santa asked him if he wanted trucks, cars, etc and I think he said, ‘Yeah’. He was really good about sitting on his lap.

Joey thinking of what to tell Santa what he wants for Christmas.

Santa asking Joey if he wanted cars, and trucks.

Paige sat on Santa’s lap and proceeded to tell Santa, ‘Santa, I want a pony’. He said, ‘What do you want?’. We repeated to Santa what she said. He stopped, thought a moment, laughed and said, ‘Sorry but I have to clear it with your mom and dad before bringing live animals to the house. Santa doesn’t want your parents shooting him down from the sky’. It was quite comical.

Paige and Santa.

Joey with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

After this we went out to eat. Joey did not want to go out to eat, he wanted to see the trains again so he gave us a hard time. We finally coaxed him into the restaurant with Dora fruit snacks, complements of Jo Anna, who has the best stocked diaper bag I’ve ever seen.

During lunch the kids were coloring and Paige decided she wanted Joey’s blue crayon. Joey, who is normally great at sharing, was tired and did NOT want to share with Paige. We tried everything and he would not let go of this crayon. Finally we ended up with two tired screaming children, in which we had to carry them screaming and kicking out of the restaurant.

Finally the kids settled down, we went back into the restaurant, the pizza came and we ate. Towards the end of the meal, they had another break down so we decided to box up the two pieces of pizza that was left and called it a day. We had a great time but the kids were in need of a much needed nap!

Sunday we went to Joe’s father’s house in which Papa (Joe’s dad) let Joey ride on bulldozer. Joey loved that. I didn’t get photos because Joe told me I didn’t need my camera. Augh!

We had a busy, great week. If you actually made it through this longest post ever, leave me a comment and kudos!! There were over 3400 words in this post!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Here's our family photos!

Last Sunday we went to Kiddie Kandids to get our photos done. The photographer must have been new. The photos turned out nice but what I told her before we started.

1. I want TWO family photos.
2. I want a photo of both kids
3. I want one of just Justin

So Joey was restless. Their appointments were running behind so that made him even more restless. Justin was getting more tired. Joey wanted to play with the train. His new outfit was too small and it was brand new - go figure! I thought I bought it big enough!

The family photo shoots went ok. Joey kept moving around. He could not sit still. That's a 2 1/2 year old for you.

The photo of them together never happened. Justin started to fuss (he must have been really tired by then). It was supposed to be a photo of the kids in a sled, but Justin was not happy with Joey holding him and Joey didn't want to hold him.

So she did a Joey shot which took forever because he wouldn't leave his legs the way she wanted them and then kept moving the train prop and wouldn't look at the camera. Hence we still got this great shot. Funny thing is, we have another shot just like this from last year. Go figure.

I told the YOUNG (very young) woman, Justin is just 2 months old. He can't hold his head up that long yet and HATES sitting on his stomach. I knew a photo like that wouldn't work. So guess what she does. Sets up props with him sitting on his stomach! I was soooooo mad. I tried it and thought, well we'll see. I figured, well she's the photographer. Nope, he got pissed right away. Should have said something at the beginning (kicking myself). She told me before we started when I brought up the point he's so small that they had a board to help prop babies and she didn't get it out! I was so mad. Then she told me that they went over on time and we could come back in 20 minutes. Ok, like my children were going to last that long, again. I told her no way. We were done and was not happy. I'm sure she could tell.

So we got 4 nice photos. I never got my photo of Justin :(. Overall, the photos turned out great, but I'm bummed we never got one of Justin by himself :( Thank GOD that Melissa came to my house when Justin was born and got those great photos of him or I'd feel awful!!

The good thing is I had a coupon for a free 8x10 so we only paid $50 for 3 8x10's. That is the cheapest we've ever gotten out of there. We usually buy the copyright cd which was $75, and I see they have it as $100 now! So we just got the 8x10's and left. The kids were exhausted, as were we, but we got our family photos.

Which one do you like best?

Melissa, want to do our family photo shoot next year? I'll pay you? It was a disaster this year! Augh! I'd even come to your house if you have a nice setup (ie tree) we could pose in front of! I just think the kids would be better when they could relax and do the photos when they are well rested and not waiting in a store!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Is it just me?

Short post -

I'm starting to do Christmas cards (yes, already) and I noticed that a LOT of people I sent a card to last year did not send one back to me. They had in years past, but not last year. Weird.

Question I'm pondering - do you think it's rude if you send a card to someone and they do not send one back?

I understand some of our elders don't do Christmas cards anymore. I understand that. But what about our beloved Aunts and Uncles, friends, etc? The ones you KNOW send Christmas cards but you don't get one. I even send out a nice little photo of the family. I want them to know I'm thinking of them this holiday season.

I actually started to keep track a few years ago of who I send to and who sends back to me. If they don't send a card back to me two years in a row, I stop sending to them. I just can't see wasting a card and a stamp when I never get a thank you, a card back, no email, nothing, zilda, zilch....

I know not everyone gets excited about doing Christmas cards. Some hate it. I'm one of those who look forward to it every year. I can't wait to draw up my family newsletter, print our family portrait and sign and address all those Christmas card wishes to my family. I love the holiday season!

Ok, vent over. What do you think? Is it just me? Am I expecting too much?

BTW - don't miss the post below. I went a little photo crazy. I actually have a LOT more photos to upload this week!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

What a fun week it's been...birthday parties, new appliances, yay!

Friday I felt so bad that I haven't taken that many photos of Justin lately that I shot a few of these. He's getting so big! He doesn't want us to rock him anymore in our arms when he goes to sleep, he likes to be put in his swing and swung to sleep. Today we found out that the bottle we have been using isn't one he likes at all. We switched from the ventaire> regular to the domed ventaire. I guess the regular nipple on the bottle was so long it was choking him! Poor kid. Even Joe agreed that this new one is a lot easier for him to feed with. I'm still nursing but we still give him a bottle sometimes in the evenings because he prefers it for some reason. We still have him sleeping in is car seat. In about a month or less we are going to transition him to his crib. He sleeps 8-10 hours this way so I hate to mess with something that works!!

I'm smiling a LOT now - for everyone, even in the grocery store.

I liked this photo because it shows his new ability to grasp objects, and his new found love for sucking on his hand and drooling. That is why you see bibs in most of the photos!

Another cute smiling photo! :)

Justin (see photo below now)

Keep in mind this is JOEY, not JUSTIN. Tell me they don't resemble each other! My gosh, they look the same! BTW - Caroline - remember this outfit? You got it for Joey!

Justin with mommy...

Friday evening Greg (my brother) came over to visit. I got a photo of him with Justin because I don't think I have one yet.

Justin with his Uncle Greg (my brother).

Joey went to his first birthday party on Saturday. His friend Jackson (from his daycare and his mom is in the mommy's group I'm in) was turning 3! They were having their party at Rainbow recreation. I found out this place is a huge warehouse made into a playroom to help sell their swingsets/climbing structures. Their biggest one cost $14,000 but I'm assuming it's for a school or business, or someone rich!

They even had fooseball tables to play with. You can see all the fun play equipment they could play with in the background.

Joey had a blast. He was running around like mad. I had my camera in tow and was running around trying to take photos! I haven't used my camera too much since I got it back from Canon and found out, after most of my photos were dark, that I wanted to up the ISO on my camera. I found out, because it was in for service, it defaulted back to 100 ISO. No wonder my photos looked so dark!!!

This was a no presents party and Sharon said it was because Jackson does not share well yet and she didn't want it to become a problem (that and the kid has mountains of toys!). There also weren't a lot of people there because only 12 people were allowed in the party room so it was very very small. It was quite cute. Jackson wanted his cake so badly. They got it from a store and it had diggers on it and he wanted to play with those diggers! After they ate pizza (Jackson didn't care for the pizza, he wanted his cake) we finally did cake and Jackson got his diggers! LOL

Jackson's cake. Isn't that cool?

We had a great time. My friend Jen was there from my mommy's group. She brought her son Thomas and her husband Tom. I met Sharon's husband (Jackson's dad) Trey and he was really nice. The parents, and the children had a great time. We even took Justin and he had a wonderful time and didn't get upset once and we were there from 11 - 1pm.

My bud Jen with Justin.

Here are the photos below:

Joey coming down the slide!

I took a picture of Jackson when he was lying down on the ground. He has gorgeous eyes!

Jackson and his mom Sharon

Jackson and Joey taking a ride in the wagon.

Joe helping Joey make a basket!

Joey pulling his friend Jackson around in the wagon.

Saturday evening we decided to go to my parents house. I recently found out my dryer was burning holes in my bra! What the heck!!! I mean it singed the heck out of it. Not good. I told Joe and he was like, 'Yeah, I know. It's about time for a new dryer.' I also mentioned that every now and then we have little holes in our shirts! I mentioned replacing the washer too and he agreed, it was time for a new one. The dryer was given to us by our friends Leilani and Vic. It's a coin operated dryer but doesn't need coins anymore. We've had it since we lived in Royal Oak in 2000.

The washer we got was from my parents. I believe she told me it was like 15 years old when she gave it to us and we've had it about 2 years now. The drum on the washer is tipped to the side and it sounds like it's going to fly when it goes into the spin cycle.

I told Joe that I really really wanted a front loading washer and a big one so I can get our king size comforters in them. My mom washes our blankets now when they are dirty because she has a front loading washer that will handle the large size of the blanket.

So here are our new washer and dryer we bought. We priced them at Lowe's and Best Buy and got a better deal at Best Buy. They are being delivered tomorrow and I'm sooo excited about it. Yes, you know you are getting OLD when you get excited about a new washer and dryer. I hope I like it as much as my mom likes hers. The front loaders use less water and detergent and this washer seems bigger than mine now so I should be able to wash more! Yay!!