Thursday, July 30, 2009

Book Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

I am still floating on the high that comes from reading and finishing this book. The Art of Racing in the Rain has instantly become one of my new favorite novels and I look forward to the time that I will return to read it again. This novel is narrated by a very unique character, a dog named Enzo. Enzo is not just any dog, however. He is a dog who understands humans, perhaps better than they understand themselves, because of his exceptional observation skills and his addiction to watching TV when his master is gone. Enzo longs for thumbs, a tongue, a voice with which to speak, and he looks forward to the day he will be reincarnated as a man and can live the life he feels he was truly meant for. Enzo's narration is what makes this book truly special and unique, but it is the heart-wrenching storyline that keeps the reader emotionally invested.

Enzo tells us the story of his master, Denny, a semiprofessional race car driver who goes through an absolutely harrowing ordeal with his family. Enzo learns all about racing through watching Denny drive, listening to him speak, and watching the Speed Channel. He teaches the reader about how life is really a lot like racing. In particular, Denny is very good at racing in the rain, when the track is slick and other drivers might falter. The key, Enzo tells us, is to know what's coming ahead: "The car goes where the eyes go." Ironically, it is being unable to see the events unfolding right in front of his eyes that leads Denny into the horrible drama he must deal with in this novel.

This book is believable, relatable, heart-warming, and gut-wrenching....all at the same time. I found myself yelling at The Evil Twins (oh, you'll love them), laughing out loud at Enzo, and crying my eyes out at the book's conclusion. Love it, love it, love it. 5 Stars!

Read this review and many more at !

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Sticky, Adorable Mess!

How do you spell Fudgesicle? Is that right? The whole reason I didn't put it in the title was because I wasn't sure how to spell it....

Ok, back to the cute stuff. Isaiah was outside playing on Tuesday afternoon and having a grand ole time. Check out the photo of him with his little Lightning McQueen car. That thing plays some pretty annoying sounds, but it sure is cute! He's working on the last little bit of a treat we shared.....story below.
We still had some time before dinner (and I had a craving!!) so I grabbed a Fudgesicle - seriously, is that how it's spelled? - out of the freezer in the garage and Isaiah and I shared it. Well, once he had a taste or two of mine, he decided that he would really like to have one of his own. So, I grabbed out another one and bit it down to about only a quarter length or so. It didn't matter. Once that little boy started going to town on that thing, the Indiana Jones T-shirt was history.

Just look at it running down his arm!!! Oh, that boy was in HEAVEN, let me tell you.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Book Nook Club

I am so excited!! There is a blog I frequently read that reviews books called the Book Nook Club. If you haven't checked it out yet, I highly recommend it not only because they have a wide variety of readers and books being discussed, but also because today I was officially signed on as a reviewer!!! Woohoo!!! As soon as my welcome/intro post has been put up, I'll be jumping on board to review books with a great team of readers and writers. What's really sweet is that this site is contacted when a publisher wants one of their new books to get read and reviewed for some exposure, so they will contact Book Nook and set up a reviewer with an advance copy. So, check us out! I'll be posting under the same name as here: Sarah K.

Book Review: Olive Kitteridge

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

EVAN: "It sounds British. Is she British?"

ME: "No, this book is set in Maine."

EVAN: "Yeah, but I bet she's British."

ME: "No honey....she's not British."

And thus, I had to go through the rest of the time it took me to read this book with my husband pronouncing the title with a terrible British accent: "Owhleeve Keetredge!" But, no....the title character is not British. Unique in its narration, this novel is structured as a collection of 13 short stories, or vignettes, that are all connected somehow to one central character, Olive. Some focus on her former students, others on her husband, neighbors, and occasionally herself. There are stories of love, loss, scandal, marriage (and divorce), happy endings and sad ones. Every new story offered another facet of Olive's character and helped paint a more complete picture of her life and the community in which she lives. The novel moves through a great deal of time and introduces us to a number of characters, but it is the quirky, heavy-set, blunt to a fault, Olive that keeps us turning the pages. Perhaps not one that I will re-read, but I would certainly recommend it highly. It's a fast read and I found it to be eloquently written and very enjoyable. Be prepared to be on a waiting list at the library for this one, however!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Still Bleeding!

Real quick post here. I brought Evan to the ER this afternoon due to a pretty serious cut he sustained on his left index finger while cutting drywall. Three hours later - don't even ask what I did with Isaiah during that time. Let's just say he needed a bath and was very cranky and tired! - they had him bandaged up and ready to go home with instructions to change the bandange in an hour and that if the wound had still not stopped bleeding, to come back to the hospital. Well, all instructions have been followed and that baby is still bleeding. He's also feeling very nauseous. So, unless something changes, he'll be bringing himself back to the hospital yet tonight.

Keep ya posted.

UPDATE: As of Monday afternoon, it looks like Evan is going to survive this ordeal. :-) The finger still looks pretty nasty, but the bleeding is under control. He stayed home from work today and has taken it pretty easy. Just a few minutes of one-handed weed pulling had his finger throbbing pretty good. It'll heal, but it's going to be pretty tender for quite some time. I wonder if his finger will be goofy shaped once it heals??

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Free Food and Beer!

Yes, that's right folks! I said free food and free beer! That's what we offer when you generously come donate your time to come help us finish our basement before the baby is born! We need help drywalling (including mudding and sanding which I hear is Super-Fun!), laying flooring, painting, and moving stuff in. The baby is due September 17th and while I realize he won't really need a room all his own right way, it sure would be nice to be able to at least be close to being finished when he is born. Can you help us out please? Here are just a few of the dates we'll be working in the basement that we can use all the help we can get. Unless otherwise noted, we like to get started ASAP in the morning. I'll even feed you breakfast if that's what it takes!! :-)

We'll be adding more dates as we figure out people's availability.

  • Saturday, August 1st (after 3:00)

  • Saturday, August 8th

  • Saturday, August 22nd

  • Saturday, August 29th (after 3:00)

  • Any Sunday in August after 3:00

**NOTE: All September dates, of course, are subject to change should a baby make his arrival!

  • Saturday, September 5th (after 3:00)

  • Sunday, September 6th (after 3:00)

  • Every Saturday and Sunday from September 12th until it's done!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Birthday Wishes

I've had a hand-written list sitting on the computer desk for a couple weeks now, but I guess it was time to post some of the items on my wish list up for all to see. I have some very practical items on my birthday wish list this well as a few "yeah right, I know I'll never actually get that" items. But, there's a big variety! If nothing else, I'll set some ideas in your head for Christmas or birthday next year perhaps. I've tried to give you a link to click on whenever possible.

  • Kindle - I blame Evan for this one. Ever since he told me about this gadget, I've really wanted one. You all know what a crazy reader I am and the idea of being able to carry literally hundreds of books around in a little electronic device....well, it gets my nerd alarm going off full blast. Too bad it's crazy expensive.

  • iPod Touch - Get this....I can get a Kindle app on the iPod Touch! Won't hold as many books and much smaller screen, but hey - it'll play music too. :-)

  • 55 mm - 200 mm lens for Nikon D40 - Bigger lens make me zoom better. Ooooo....

Ok, now on to the more realistic and practical options. Just as desired, but much more attainable and, let's face it, NEEDED.
  • Carpet Shampooer - I have a toddler, a dog, and a baby on the way. Need I say more? My carpet calls out for help!!!

  • Vacuum for basement - Once it actually gets finished and we actually get the flooring installed, I would really LOVE not to have to haul my heavy upstairs vacuum down there in order to clean up. A nice, lightweight vacuum with a long cord to keep in the basement utility closet would be wonderful!

  • Hooter Hider - Don't laugh! I really do want one of these!! I found it difficult enough to nurse Isaiah without trying to manipulate a blanket or something to cover my boob. This thing looks sharp and I would love to be able to nurse more discreetly and confidently.
Fire Pit - One of those free-standing numbers that we could use in our backyard if and when we ever get friends that actually want to come over and play.
Patio Furniture - So that said imaginary friends who come over to play and enjoy the fire pit actually have a place to sit and enjoy their brats and baked beans.
And, last but certainly not least: GIFT CERTIFICATES!! I am always A-OK with picking out my own presents. These would all be great choices:
  • Archiver's
  • Old Navy
  • The Shoe Box
  • Belly Bandit - Again, not a joke. I actually do want one of these. Please go with the gift certificate option so I can figure out my own size after I've finished expanding to the size of the Titanic.

Blocks and Baskets

Tuesday was the perfect kind of day to just hang out inside and play....or nap. I did both! In the mroning, Isaiah dumped out his entire bucket of blocks, but instead of building with them, he was getting a kick out seeing me pop one in my mouth and then pretend to burp it up. It sounds gross, I know, but his Daddy started this gag with him a long time ago and it just never gets old. What was really funny was watching him try to copy me. After running some errands in Madison and the both of us got good and rained on, Isaiah and I headed home for some down time. I put that kid down for a nap at 2:30 and I put myself down for a nap on the couch at 3:00. It was perfect nap weather: rain coming down, window open, slight breeze.....HEAVEN. Well, I woke up at 5:45 and Isaiah was still sleeping! I got dinner going and went to get him at 6:00. Needless to say, we were both feeling rather refreshed.
On to this morning! New goal around our house: No TV until Sesame Street. Isaiah loves to watch TV, perhaps a bit too much. So, I'm working on it. The TV stays off until Sesame Street comes on at 9:00. We watch Sesame Street until it's time to lay down for a nap, typically right around the time Elmo comes on. He likes his Elmo, but he typically doesn't fight because he's good and tired by that point. Anyway, for our playtime prior to Sesame Street today Isaiah decided to pull out one of his toy baskets and empty it completely. It was so cute because he didn't just dump it.....he picked up every single individual item, considered it a moment, then chucked it over his shoulder to create a pile. He then climbed into the basket, put his head back and (I kid you not) sighed a contented "Ahhhhh...." like he had just set himself up in a lounge chair on the beach with a margarita!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Comma Pillow

My husband needs a little ego-stroking now and again (Is there a man that doesn't??) so I'm going to go ahead and announce this as clearly as possible:


....but just about this! I was using my pregnancy pillow according to the picture, but it just wasn't working for me. My engineer husband made a suggestion that I found ridiculous, but it actually turned out to work. Read all about it on my pregnancy blog - CLICK HERE!!

Book Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

When was the last time you read a book, finished it, and then immediately wanted to turn back to the front and start all over again? Yeah, it's been a while for me too. This book did it for me. I absolutely, positively LOVED it. It's unique, enchanting, witty, entertaining, and an all around delight to read!
Set in the year or so following the end of World War II, this novel is the story of a writer, Juliet Ashton, who is looking for some material for a new book. Entirely by luck, she receives a letter from a resident of the island of Guernsey (located in the English Channel) who ended up in possession of a former book of hers and is writing to inquire about further reading. As it turns out, this islander is a member of a group - The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - an organization created entirely as a ruse for escaping punishment from German soldiers during the occupation of the island, but ends up becoming something far more important to its members. Juliet is intrigued and the novel follows her interest and subsequent infactuation with the island of Guernsey.
What truly makes this novel so wonderful is how it makes the characters come alive. Their quirkiness, wit, fears, hopes, and emotions all leap off the page and you are left feeling like you really know these people. This level of interaction with the novel is achieved mainly, I feel, because is it written entirely as a series of letters and telegrams! At less than 300 pages, it is already a quick read, but the pages turn even more quickly based on that fact.
My only complaint is that the author leaves some nagging questions unanswered at the end of the novel, but you really hardly notice because you're too busy smiling because you enjoyed it so much! Looking for a quick, delightful read? Pick this one up. Oh, and if anyone is looking for a cheap little birthday present for me.....I'll take a copy of this book for my shelf of honor, please.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Two Under Two

No, I'm not referring to the ages of the little boys I will have....although two under two will be entirely accurate come September! Actually, the title of this post is in reference to the two scrapbook layouts I created tonight in under two hours! Woohoo! I still had all my gear packed up from my crop on Saturday night and it was piled on top of our new changing table that is currently residing in the dining room. Our house is a complete disaster right now with everything going on, but at least my scrap supplies were accessible! So, here are two 4th of July layouts for your viewing pleasure, hot off the presses.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

I am not even finished with this book yet, but I just had to immediately recommend it to everyone! I can't put it down (except to blog, of course) and it has got to be one of the quickest, most delightful reads I have ever layed my hands on. Full review to follow upon completion.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Six Hours Well Spent

I officially LOVE Scrap Mania at Archiver's! I packed up as much of my gear as I could after I got home from work last night and lugged it all with me to the store this afternoon. Yup, that's right - Evan and Isaiah had a full boys' day today - from 7:30 am until bedtime! Evan said Isaiah was "perfect," so I'm glad they had a good day. Anyway, my goal was to get through 6 pages by the end of the night and I managed to churn out 7! Woohoo!! So, without further ado, here are the fruits of my labor.

That's's a two-pager!

Well, there you have 'em. I know this is supposed to be the "family album," but I am finding that I really only seem to scrap photos of Isaiah. Weird, huh? I fully intend on doing at least one layout for Evan's trip to China, but I didn't have those photos with me tonight. In any case, I hope I can make it to one of these again very soon because it was a wonderful evening for me.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Social Butterfly!

In a zippy turn of events, I am finding my social calendar somewhat packed toward the end of this week! I love it! I stayed out WAY past my bedtime last night, blundering back into the house at a little past 1:30 am after attending the Taylor Swift concert at Country Thunder. The show was was down in Twin Lakes, WI which is literally on the Illinois border, so it was a bit of a haul. I went with a mom friend that I was previously acquainted with, but never really hung out with at all, so it was a good chance to get to know her better. Plus, she ended up driving so after winning the tickets (free!!), chipping in for gas, and buying my dinner at Subway - the whole night only cost me $16! Not too shabby. It made for a very enjoyable evening.

Today I met up with Jenny, a very good friend of mine from high school, for lunch in Madison. Isaiah actually behaved himself very well considering he has been a total BRAT this week and we had a great lunch together at TGI Fridays. It's hard to have enough time to get caught up with good friends though. I feel like we could have continued to talk for a good long time, so I will definitely need to make a point of finding more time to hang out with her before school starts up again.

As for the rest of the weekend, I get to go to Scrap Mania at Archivers tomorrow -a 6 hour scrapbooking session!!! Woohoo!!! I am just giddy with excitement at the very idea of having that chunk of time to just work on my scrapbook, in a scrapbook store no less!! I'm hopeful that I will get a lot done. And then on Sunday, Evan and I are going to catch an afternoon show of the latest Harry Potter flick. So, lots to do! I'll need a serious nap on Monday to recover from all this, I think.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hey, it works.

Isaiah was tired, but he was not in the mood for Mommy to tell him to take a nap. I put him in his bed, told him it was time to sleep, and left the room. He raged and screamed for two minutes or so and then started to calm down. When things were finally quiet, I waited a little longer to peek. About fifteen minutes after I had put him in bed, I cracked the door open to find him sleeping in the chair.

Hey, it works.

The Hour I First Believed

The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb

You may have heard of Wally Lamb before, even if you didn't realize it. He is the author of She's come Undone and I Know This Much is True (otherwise known as "the book with the babies on the cover"). This is the first of his novels I have read and I did so upon the recommendation of one of my English colleagues at the high school. It tells the story of Caelum and Maureen Quirk, a married couple who move out to Littleton, Colorado after an affair nearly destroys their marriage. Caelum takes a job as an English teacher at Columbine High School and Maureen is fortunate enough to score a position as a school nurse there as well. The year is can see where this is going.

On April 20, 1999, Caleum is back east dealing with the stroke and subsequent death of his aunt, but Maureen finds herself in the library of Columbine High School when the shooting begins. She hides and survives, but a good deal of the rest of the novel focuses on how her life as she (and Caleum) knew it ended on that day. I was very impressed by how Lamb handles the Columbine events. We all remember it and it can easily become sensationalized, but he does a good job of interweaving the character's (Maureen) experience with the factual evidence that we have of that day. It's a strange marriage of fact and fiction, but it works and it provides the launch pad for the rest of the novel.

The aftermath of Columbine for this couple is nothing short of devastating and there were times while reading this book that it almost got too painful for me to continue. Being somewhat unfamiliar with PTSD, I never realized how it can completely ravage one's ability to function in society, but Caelum and Maureen find themselves dealing with it on a daily basis. The amount of tragedy they both deal with is somewhat overwhelming. After fleeing Colorado and returning to the "sanctity" of his Caelum's family farm on the east coast, the story takes a turn and begins to investigate Caelum's past and the skeletons that may be buried in his family's closet. Although this section of the novel doesn't have as much of the page-turning fire as the earlier portion of the novel, it is still well crafted and skillfully written.

By the end of this 700 plus page novel ('s a big one!), Caelum has travelled through so much pain, suffering, and discovery. As our narrator, he has taken us along on an excruciating journey of self-discovery. This is not a "Columbine book." Lamb is truly interested in telling the story of Caelum, his family, and his experiences, however painful and sometimes severly tragic they may be. The ending is tied up perhaps a little too neatly, but it is appropriate since, at its core, this novel is about the human condition and what is means to truly "believe" in something. Overall, it was a book that I enjoyed. Not a re-reader for me, perhaps just due to its length, but the intersection of national history, family history, modern history, and straight-up fiction made for a fascinating novel.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Practically Perfect Day....except for that one thing.

It's going to sound very cliche and overly sappy, but we had a very normal, yet wonderful day here today. I actually almost overslept for work because I counted on Isaiah to be my alarm clock, but when Evan woke me up at 7:15, the Nugget was still asleep!! As it turns out, Evan went it to wake him up just before 8:00 am, only to find Isaiah wide awake in bed and tucked in under his covers, looking at a book. He turned when Evan entered the room and said, with a big smile, "Daddy!!" Evan said he can't remember ever starting off a day laughing so hard.

Meanwhile, we were actually pretty busy at work so the day went quickly and we made decent money. When I got home, both my boys were in a good mood and we got to relax for a little while before we went to play outside. Isaiah ran around by the flower bed and played with his Lightning McQueen car for a bit while Daddy worked on sorting out a few things in the garage. We really had fun when Mommy (me) decided to water the flower bed and our maple tree so the hose got busted out. Not only did Isaiah "help" me with the watering, but I made a game of spraying him with it if he got close and he just LOVED it!! After our playtime, we went to Rookies for dinner and the activity worked up an appetite in that kid because he ate a ton.

Back at home, things took a bit of a sour turn when Isaiah started messing with the utensil drawer. He pulled out a spatula or two and messed around with them for a while, but then grabbed out the meat thermometer. Pointy ends and toddlers = TROUBLE. He was told to put it away, but he didn't right away so Evan went in to put it away for him. Unfortunately, Isaiah turned to run away and ran face first (full speed) into the open drawer!! He cried for a couple minutes, but really didn't have any noticiable bumps or anything, so it must have looked (and sounded!) worse than it actually was.

After Isaiah was in bed, Evan enjoyed reading his book and I headed to the kitchen table to pound out two more scrapbook layouts! As you can probably guess, this first one is missing two photos: 33 week and 39 week belly photos. But, I've got the rest done, so all I'll have to do is glue in the photos once they're done and voila!

As for this next one, you'll have to visit my gallery to get a better look. Blogger kept uploading it rotated all goofy again, so this was the best I could do. It's a really simple layout, nothing fancy. Just wanted to highlight a couple super-cute pics of Isaiah munching on a Gummy Worm at Easter! Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

"Awwww.....I just got peed on!!"

Ah, the life of a Mommy. Isaiah was wonderful all day today, which was a much-needed treat after him acting like a total pill all week. He took two...count 'em...TWO naps of two hours each! I napped during his first one and scrapbooked during the second one (see the previous post). I got him all fed, got dinner started for Evan and myself, and then Isaiah and I went outside to play.

From the second Evan pulled in the driveway, that kid made a switch. Suddenly, he was whiney, clingy, and all around annoying! He was climbing all over me and wouldn't let me out of his sight or contact for a moment. I struggled to eat my dinner because he was insisting on trying to sit in my lap and between trying to keep the dog from eating off my plate and Isaiah from reaching for my glass of milk, I am just grateful I didn't have a mess to clean up. I tried to get Isaiah to go with Daddy to his room to get his PJs on, but he refused to leave my side without a fight. So, I gobbled up the last couple bites of my food and relieved Evan of a very angry little boy. Of course, wouldn't it just be my luck that I volunteer at the time that Isaiah has prepared a special treat - a diaper consisting almost entirely of blueberries. Oh yes....blueberries. He eats them like crazy and had a LOT of them today and I had the unfortunate luck to step in on a diaper that was 99.9% blueberries. Well, it didn't take me long to decide to just pop that kid in the bathtub rather then try to scrub the blueberry stain off his butt with diaper wipes, so I ushered the little naked one into the bathroom.

While I was running the tub, that little bugger peed on me. I looked down and there he is, just standing there shooting a stream all over the bathroom floor and on my feet. I thought Evan was going to die when he heard me yell from the bathroom, "Awww.....I just got peed on!!!" His laughter probably echoed all the way to Iowa. So, after getting peed on and scrubbing down Captain Blueberry Butt, it was finally time to put the boy to bed. I gratefully passed him over to Evan and settled in on the couch with my REAL SIMPLE magazine. But, it was not to be. His love for Mommy was insatiable and I set aside my magazine and took bedtime duty as well. After Isaiah was finally down for the night, I returned to my magazine and realized how freaking funny the whole thing really was.

Uno Mas

I left all my scrapbooking stuff strewn about all over the kitchen table last night in the hopes that I would be able to get back at it again today during naptime. Lo and behold, it worked! I managed to squeak out another layout! Yay!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

This is all I have to show for it?

Isaiah goes to daycare every Wednesday, just so he can stay kind of in the groove and not forget about Renee over the summer so that when it is time for me to go back to work, it won't be such a shocker to him. I really look forward to Wednesdays because I use them to attempt to get a lot done that I might not otherwise be able to do with Isaiah around. The key word: ATTEMPT. I do still have to work at the restaurant at 4:00, so that gives me from about 8:30 to 3:30 to get stuff done. On tap for today? Grocery shopping and scrapbooking. That's it! My big plan was to get in and out of Walmart and then head home for a marathon scrapbooking session. Five, six, maybe even seven pages were going to be masterfully created and archived neatly and I was going to get myself caught up, by golly!

Well, without further are the TWO pages I managed to get finished during my scrapbooking day. And I'm not even overly thrilled with either of them!!! I blame it on the dreary weather. It put a damper on my creativity.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

4th of July

This holiday is always a whirlwind of activity where we shuffle about from one family to the next and just try not to blow any fingers off. Well, we have one more successful year under our belts! Isaiah didn't really get much of a nap in the morning, but he was more than ready to run around and play once we reached Grandma's house. He was less enthusiastic about eating anything besides bread and ice cream for lunch, but that's life! He got to see the farm's cows, blew bubbles, and spent a good deal of time throwing pebbles from the driveway into a bucket of water. Good times. Thankfully, we did manage to get him to lay down for a solid two hour nap in the afternoon over at the Kooiman's. Thank God for that! After he woke up, we were off to the Glewen Weenie Roast where there are something like 85 boys running around, all within a year or so of Isaiah's age. Ok, so that's exaggerating a bit, but there are a LOT of kids and a LOT of stuff to explore. He loved climbing the rock wall, going down the slide (upside down and backwards I might add), exploring the kiddie playhouse, running around the yard, and attempting to carjack Winton out of the Little Tikes car. Yup, not making this up. He literally pushed Winton out onto the grass, opened the door and then tried to yank him out by his shirt. Good thing that kid has four older brothers and is used to that kind of abuse or my kid may have scarred him for life! It was really nice for me, as a mom, to be able to see Isaiah among so many other little guys his age. It reminded me that he really is a "normal" kid and that meltdowns and tantrums are pretty standard fare for this age. Plus, that side of the family is really a lot of fun!

Our marathon day still had one more destination: The Hoinacki Fireworks! The venue was different this year as we moved our festivities to Diane's new residence, a.k.a. Jared's former residence. I was immediately jealous of the property there: the backyard, the garden, and the PLAYSET!!! This thing was amazing! Evan, can you make me one of these someday?? We took our one attempt at a family photo, but Isaiah was far too interested in running around with the kids to want to stop and pose, so it's not exactly archive quality, but it says a lot about what kind of day it was! Apart from the scary moment where one of the fireworks misfired into the crowd (nobody was hurt, thank goodness), the fireworks were incredible, as usual. Isaiah really didn't get freaked out by the booms at all. He enjoyed watching them, but was also super-tired. He eventually fell asleep in his Aunt Erica's arms and was more than ready to head home once the festivities were over. Recovery from Saturday has been a challenge, as he's been a crabby, whiny little buggar, but it's worth it. I love the 4th of July!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Five Years

It's our fifth anniversary today! Hard to believe it has been five years already since Evan and I got married. I peeked at our wedding photo this morning and wow.....I was so skinny!!! But, like I told Evan the other day, once I'm done having kids it is "skinny time." Anyway, we've already taken care of gifts and done our day out to celebrate, so today itself doesn't really hold anything too out of the ordinary in store. In fact, I'm planning to leave shortly here to bring our recalled crib back to Target and return with a new one and Evan plans on mowing the lawn and working on the basement. Then I have to work tonight. Romantic, huh?

What is romantic is the letter I got to open this morning. It was behind our wedding photo in the silver frame we keep in our bedroom. It is a letter that Evan wrote to me only a few months after we got engaged (i.e. SEVEN years ago) with strict instructions not to open it until our 5th wedding anniversary. I'm not going to embarass him by writing much of it here, but I will tell you that it was a very sweet and personal letter that reminded us both how much we love each other.

In it, Evan asks a few questions:
Do we have children? You betcha! And he's awesome!
Have you graduated? Are you kidding? Did he really expect me to STILL be in school? Wait....don't answer that.
Do I still make bad jokes and then have to apologize? Not nearly as much as you used to, but yes.
Have you gotten me to think before I talk? No and I never will.
Have I gotten you to believe you actually are beautiful? Not fair to him here. I'm reading this at 7 months pregnant!

Far and away, this was my favorite part of the letter:
My one wish is for us to be as in love in 5, 10, or 15 years as we are now.
I was very happy to report to my husband that we are way more in love after 5 years of marriage then we ever thought we were seven years ago. I certainly join him in that wish for our next five years.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

We need a new crib!

In an unfortunate and unexpected turn of events, I just found out today that our crib has been recalled. The brand itself, Simplicity, has gone out of business due to the several recalls of cribs that have taken place over the last couple years due to infants dying. Up to this point, our model number hadn't been included in the recall, but the most recent incident ended up with an 8 month old suffocated to death due to a defective drop down side. I checked into it, and sure enough, our crib is one of the models to fall into this recall. Here is the link to the article on MSN that brought this to my attention:

According to this Consumer Reports website, I am supposed to return the crib to where it was purchased, but I know for a fact that I no longer have the reciept. We got it 2 years ago! Not to mention, I am certainly hesistant about trying this since all the comments on this website are from parents who are experiencing absolute hell in trying to return their recalled cribs to the retailer. I'm going to call the Target Guest Relations phone number and see what I can find out. Here is a website with horrifying photos of how my crib could malfunction:

Crap! Looks like we need a new crib!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Pancakes, Transformers, and a Diamond Ring

What a great day! We took full advantage of Isaiah being at the sitter's today and spent a wonderful day together to celebrate five years of marriage. We had an incredible breakfast at the Pancake Cafe in Fitchburg to start things off. I had crepes that were filled with a mixed berry & sour cream filling and I cannot even begin to describe how delicious they were. I am already thinking about what I'm going to order the next time I go there. It was seriously good. Then it was off to catch an early movie, which is nice because there are small crowds and it only costs $5 a ticket! We saw "Transformers" and it was certainly entertaining. Not the greatest writing and certainly not Oscar-worthy, but enjoyable! After that, Evan took me to Kessler's Diamonds so I could pick out my anniversary gift. Of course, we hardly had the budget for a lot of bling, but I was able to find a very sweet ring in white gold with a diamond in the middle that I will wear on my right hand. I told Evan that my wedding rings said, "Today, I marry you" and that my anniversary ring will say, "I'd marry you all over again." I won't get to have it on my finger until next week though since I had to have it sized, but I really love it. We went to lunch and wasted some time at the library before going to pick up the boy and then I had to work this evening. Evan will get his anniversary gift on Friday (our actual anniversary) and I will get to open the letter that he wrote for me before we were married - with strict instructions NOT to open it until our fifth anniversary. He can't even remember what it says, so that should be interesting!

Big Boy Bed

Well, we did it! After Isaiah's afternoon nap yesterday, he "helped" me take it apart and move it into baby brother's room. We got it reassembled and even put on Baby's new crib bedding. Isaiah kept pointing to the crib and asking, "Ni night?" I said, "Yes, this is where the baby goes Ni Night" and he would say, "Baby?" It was so cute. So, his room was now sans crib and the first night in the big boy bed went about as well as we could have hoped! He went down smoothly around 8:15 and we didn't hear a peep from him until 2:00 am. I went in and comforted him, rocked him a bit, and put him back in his bed. He fussed for maybe 5 minutes and then all was quiet again. It's now 6:15, past when he's been waking up lately, and he's still asleep! Yay!!! Let's hope the following nights continue to go as well.

We're off to drop Isaiah off at the sitter's for the day while we go celebrate our anniversary! I'm looking forward to breakfast at the Pancake Cafe and then we'll grab an early movie. Not sure what else is on tap for after that, but Evan and I are looking forward to an enjoyable day together with no toddler in tow!

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