March 29, 2008
Since I have to be here, but I don't scrapbook, I'm left with a lot of time to get things done. I've been working on my thesis. Did I mention that I got it back? It was pretty marked up with suggestions and notes, but I got an A- on the rough draft! I still have a lot of work, but the A- was enough encouragement to keep me going.
Another thing I'm working on while the ladies are crafting is organizing my NEW OFFICE! You may remember my description of my former office. My new office is more than twice the size of the old one and the walls have been painted white so it's incredibly bright! I'm still trying to decide what to put on the walls and how to add my personal touches. I'll post pictures when I get it a little more put together. I HAVE SO MUCH ROOM!
I'm off to lock up the lodge and say goodnight to the ladies.
March 27, 2008
Also, I'm pretty sure she's talking with a fake British accent. What do you think?
March 26, 2008
March 25, 2008
March 24, 2008
All day at my parents, he'd cruise around and then take a few steps to anyone who had their hands out. My sister and brother made a game out of dangling Gerber puffs in front of him and making him walk for them. They referred to the puffs as treats and I had to remind them repeatedly that MY SON IS NOT A DOG.
He will stand on his own without any trouble at all and will even bend down to pick things up while he's standing. Today, he started getting more adventurous and he'll now try and walk to things without anyone there to coax him. He inevitably falls after 5 or 6 steps (max) and crawls the rest of the way, but it's amazing to think that he'll have the hang of it in no time.
We didn't get up with enough time to give jack his basket before we left for church so we just brought it to my parents' house for him to look through. He was actually a lot more interested in it than I thought he would be. And after the gifts were out, he tried to take the shreds of paper out of the basket one at a time.
- In the spirit of full disclosure, I feel that I should confess that I have been drinking soda regularly. It seems that it's even harder to break the habit the second time around.
- The camp hosts a Easter egg hunt sponsored by the fire department on the Saturday before Easter every year. It started snowing at around 2 PM on Friday and didn't stop until 8 AM on Saturday. We got 10 inches of snow total . . . on Easter weekend. I assumed Saturday's festivities be called off. I was wrong. Chuck plowed paths in the snow on the rec fields and the eggs were hidden throughout the maze. We only had 300 - 400 people come, but from what I'm told it was the best Easter egg hunt yet.
- I'm weaning Jack. He's already getting 6 - 12 oz of formula a day to supplement my waning milk supply and I'm sick of pumping. I'm just going to pump in the morning and evening and use what I get, along with formula. Don't judge me, but I bought Target brand formula. Even with coupons, the brand name was twice as expensive and the ingredients list is identical. He hasn't seemed to have any problems switching from brand name to generic. Also, the production of formula is so regulated that it can't be that bad. The doctor said to start introducing milk between 11 and 12 months, so we really only have a month left. Plus, he's getting more teeth (which you might understand a little better if I had written about when he drew blood while nursing a few months ago . . . the stories a little too graphic to tell in detail). Now that I've justified myself to you I feel much better.
- The parking lot of Best Buy on Saturday was a lot like parking in the wilderness. You just kind of park wherever you want. I think a lot of people parked in spaces before things were plowed (did I mention we got 10 inches of snow) so when it did finally melt, there was no discernible spot to park.
- The deer (singular) that was bedding down under a tree in our back yard brought deer (plural) with her . . . eight in all.
Oh, and I am fully aware that when I click "publish post" I will have officially made my blog the most boring on the Internet for writing about deer twice in one week.
March 23, 2008
March 22, 2008
In it, we put a train set from IKEA, some snack items that he likes, two shirts, some stuffed animals (also from IKEA), and a stuffed carrot that I bought here. Oh, and there's also a little wind up chick that I fell in love with last weekend at The Land of Nod.
He might not know what's going on, but here are some pictures to commemorate the gift.
Next year, my eggs are going to look like this.
March 21, 2008
In college, my friends would refer to Michigan as a frozen wasteland. I'm forced to agree.
At least someone's enjoying it.
March 20, 2008
So, at our most recent restaurant visit, we decided to let the waitress give him the crayons to see what he would do.
Yep. That's what we thought.
March 19, 2008
- We walked in the door to Karina's apartment and within 20 seconds (no exaggeration) the people below her are banging on their ceiling/her floor. I guess we were disturbing them with our walking. We were trying to be as quiet as possible because Jack was sleeping. The irony lies in the fact that in the last five years, Kyle and I have called the police more than we can count on the people in that apartment because of noise in the middle of the night . . . and that doesn't include all of the times my sister had to call when we weren't there. Plus, based on the "aroma" coming through the vents, we're pretty sure that they smoke more than cigarettes.
Then again, maybe it's someone new living down there. Either way, cut us some slack.
- Nothing brings out the crazies in Chicago like St. Patrick's Day. On the el, there were three 18 year old girls already drinking it up. All of them were in short sleeved t-shirts. It didn't get above 40 degrees on Saturday.
- Three people referred to Jack as "she." My sister then confirmed for me that unless he wears blue, he really could go either way. This was brand new information for me.
- Jack was amazing on the entire trip! He cried a little on the way there (it was past bedtime and he couldn't get comfortable) but didn't cry at all for the 4-hour drive home! We were out and about all day Saturday and Sunday and wasn't fussy at all. He seemed to enjoy the stroller a lot more than he usually does on our trips to Target. He even slept in the stroller for a little while (which never happens). His favorite was the botanical gardens at Navy Pier.
- Jack tried to capture the attention of every person we encountered . He was successful about 98% of the time. This includes one lady who asked if Jack had ever seen a black person before. He was quite methodical about it. First, he'd try to catch someone's eye. Once he had it, he'd duck his head behind something and then pop out in an effort to play peekaboo. He'd do it until they played along. He had never initiated peekaboo before and I was a little surprised by it. Not a single person seemed annoyed. Most people guessed he was about 15 months old.
- The el shut down for about 15 minutes on our way into the city. Not just stopped . . . the power shut down completely. This has never happened to us before and Karina said it had never happened to her either. I took the opportunity to snap a few pictures.
- On Sunday, we went to the suburbs to IKEA and to the mall. At IKEA, we ran into some friend from our small group. We didn't even know they were going to be in Chicago . . . how random is that?
- On Monday, Kyle and I had a chance to grab breakfast in Arlington Heights with my friend Annie (Steve had to work). Jack met Alex for the first time and it was good to catch up with her!
- My sister lives about two blocks from Lake Michigan on the top floor of her building. If her building were two floors higher, she'd be able to see the ake (and would probably pay twice as much for her apartment). Even though she has a waterless view, the sunrise on Monday morning was beautiful.
March 18, 2008
March 17, 2008
Of course, we like the more well-known restaurants, too. We went to our usual breakfast destination, Ann Sather, for breakfast on Saturday morning and managed to hit the el while the parade was going on . . . thus avoiding most of the crowds that came down to see the river dyed green. I had a breakfast wrap (which was fantastic) but Karina got this amazing dish (and I can't remember the name of it). It was basically french toast made out of cinnamon rolls instead of bread slices, with a cream cheese filling.
Shockingly enough, even with the St. Patrick's Day crowds, we only waited an hour for a table at Giordanos. We usually just have it delivered to her apartment so we don't have to wait for a table. Eating there was a nice change.
For breakfast on Sunday morning we tried something new. Well, new for me. It's called Nookie's and it's my new favorite. It's in Lincoln Park and it was amazing. I was hoping they'd have a website, but they do not. You can see their regular menu here but I wish I had taken a picture of their seasonal special menu. I've never seen dishes like this before. Cocoa peanut french toast, plum pudding pancakes, lemon poppyseed pancakes . . . my mouth is watering just typing this. I had a spinach, cheddar and bacon omelette that was anything but ordinary. To top it all off, the service was great and the staff was super friendly!
Should I write restaurant reviews, or what?
We had a good time in Chicago and though Karina wasn't able to get to the library in time to check out free museum passes, we did find plenty to do. I'll write more later this week!
March 14, 2008
And honestly, in Michigan it's not really that pretty outside. It's warmer than it has been but I don't think you can quite call the temperature "warm." But you can sense that new life is right around the corner. There's just something in the air.
If I were forced to complain about spring (which I would never do) I would whine about all of the mud at camp. Here's the view from the steps of my office:
Here's what everything else looks like:
In other news, the rough draft of my thesis has been turned in. So I have at least two days until I get the inevitable e-mail telling me how incomplete my research is and how much more I need to expound upon. I'll be tempted to reply and ask, "How much more do I need to get a "C?" I have A's in all of my classes. I'm not planning on getting my Ph.D. (anymore). I just want to graduate.
Kyle made baseball cuts this week and that always stresses him out. We both had to call people to let them know that they did or did not have a job at camp for the summer. Rejecting people isn't all that great either.
In an effort to loosen all of the knots that have formed in my stomach over the last few weeks, we just decided that we're going to get away this weekend to see my sister in Chicago. Did you know that Chicago residents can check out passes to the museums from city libraries for free with their library card? What a fantastic perk of having a sister who lives in Chicago! Plus, the Lincoln Park zoo is great and is also free. It's only supposed to be in the 40s, but I'm praying that we'll end up surprised by slightly warmer weather.
March 12, 2008
Later, when he was over looking out the window, he walked from the window sill to the chair and then from the chair he took about four steps in a row to Kyle. Our world is about to change . . . again.
March 11, 2008
Anyway, it got me thinking . . .
What if I couldn't use a computer? What if I had no access to the Internet or e-mail? My life would be completely different if I could never use any sort of word processing or design software. I wonder how long I could go? My job at camp would not only be twice as hard . . . I couldn't do any of the marketing functions of my job. No brochures, no schedules, no web site. Nothing.
Did any of you have AOL back in the early days of the Internet? I am responsible for introducing my family to the World Wide Web back in junior high. I had to explain to my mom why the phone line would be tied up when I was using the computer. She didn't get the connection (pardon the pun). When they agreed to let me install the free AOL disk that came in the mail, I had to promise to keep very careful track of how long I had been online so I wouldn't go over the 10 free hours that came as a part of the trial. I honestly loved hearing the guy say, "you've got mail" when I signed on. It didn't happen that often, because I knew maybe two other people who had e-mail at that time. Shoot, I remember the first time I had ever heard of e-mail in Social studies class in elementary school. Have I made myself sound sufficiently old yet?
With the exception of job or school related functions, how long could you go without the Internet? How about e-mail? I'm not sure I'd make it.
March 10, 2008
Can you see her?
How about now?
Any suggestions for what I can name her?
And, sometimes people find me.
I was blog-hopping this morning and found one of my posts. On someone else's site. I could write all about how annoyed I am, but I won't. It's not that big of a deal. I'm all about borrowing and sharing in Blogland . . . post ideas, topics to write on, ideas for photos, etc. I have certainly been inspired by reading other people's posts. But in my opinion, this was a little too "word for word" to be honest borrowing. I just can't imagine wanting to put someone else's words on my blog and claiming them as my own. It's just silly.
On a more positive note, a friend of mine from college (Erin) and I reconnected via facebook before Christmas and she started blogging last week and I have not been disappointed. Side note: I credit Erin and Maria as being my main encouragement in selling my card designs on etsy. I think this has been my favorite thing she's posted so far.
Anyway, I decided that I'd let myself drink it for the rest of the week (and that was good because it was a stressful week) and I'll start again Tuesday with the no soda thing.
After a stressful week, a fun weekend was exactly what we needed . . . and it's exactly what we had. On Friday night, we took dinner to Chad and Cristi and sat around talking with them and Maria for a while. It was so good to get out of the house!
On Saturday morning I went shopping . . . BY MYSELF! No baby in the cart, no stroller to push or carseat to buckle. It was just me. Saturday afternoon, I worked on my paper and in the evening, Kyle and I caught up on American Idol and Lost. On Sunday, after Jack's baptism, our families came over and we shared a meal. The dinner was a lot different than things I normally do, but it all turned out really good. My mom and Kyle's mom brought several dishes and Kyle's grandma brought a chocolate cake. I made barbecue pulled pork and asian pulled chicken sandwiches (recipe below), oven fries (recipe below), and fruit pizza.
Kyle and I have this week "off." I put "off" in quotation marks because I'm heading to camp when I'm done here to get some things done before I come home and work on my paper. The rough draft is due on Friday.
Asian pulled chicken
2 - 2 1/2 lbs chicken boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup stir fry sauce
1 packet stir fry seasoning.
Put the chicken in a crock pot. Mix the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the chicken. Cook on low for 6 - 8 hours. Shred chicken with a fork and serve on buns with coleslaw mix and pineapple on top.
Potatoes (1 to 1 1/2 per person), sliced into 8 - 10 wedges each
Preheat oven to 550 degrees. In a bowl, drizzle the potatoes with olive oil and add the oregano, grill seasoning and thyme to taste. Oh, salt and pepper too. Spread them on a cookie sheet in an even layer. Every fry should be touching the pan. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes. These are so, so good. But I don't recommend making them for 15 people at one time . . . way too much hassle.
*I prefer the dried herbs rather than the fresh ones for this dish.
March 9, 2008
Jack was baptized today. I love infant dedications and baptisms at any church, but especially our church (I'm probably a little biased). I don't know if they do it anymore, but one thing that I loved when I attended the Greenville FMC was that they talked about what the child's name meant and how that might relate to their faith. "Jack" means "the Lord is gracious" or "God's gracious gift." His middle name, William, means "determined" or "resolute." We know that Jack is a gift to us, but our hope is that he will be a gift to everyone who encounters him. We pray that he will have a love for God that surpasses anything else in his life, that his faith will be steadfast and that he will be share that love freely.
As Pastor Mark was praying, my thoughts kept coming back to the idea of stewardship and how it relates to parenting. We have been given the tremendous responsibility of raising this sweet boy. He ultimately belongs to God and we have been entrusted with him for a relatively short period of time. What an honor! We went through so much to have this kid and we feel incredibly blessed.
Unfortunately, I don't have a single decent picture of it and the video was a little blocked. Jack fell asleep on our way home from church, so we didn't get a chance to take a family picture until after I had been finished getting dinner ready for 15 people (hence the greasy, disheveled hair). It was a great day and it was good to have our family all together!
March 8, 2008
Moments before I grabbed my camera to snap this picture, Jack was standing at the window . . . with his hands folded. He wasn't holding on to anything. I was stunned for a moment and when I grabbed my camera, I startled him and he fell.
Someone once asked me how we got Jack to start crawling and standing. I told her that we do what the parents of every 9-month old do: Protein shake for breakfast, Power Bar for lunch, calisthenics every night before bed . . . . No? Really? Is that just us? I think the walking/crawling/motor development thing kind of ends up being like your ACT score was when you were in high school. It seemed like a big deal at the time, but no one really cares once you hit two or three years old. Though, I'm sure somewhere there's a 29-year-old out there telling all of his friends (who are simultaneously rolling their eyes) about getting a 34 on his ACT.
Jack had his 9-month check up on Thursday. I assumed that he would be 25 lbs by now because he was 24 lbs, 2 oz at a sick visit in January. And Jack does things like gain several pounds over the course of 1 1/2 months. But, he actually lost 2 ounces. No one seemed that concerned . . . because he's still a whopping 24 pounds! He did grow two inches over the last three months though. She also said that he should stop eating baby food and start eating off of our plates (with the exception of milk, eggs and peanut butter, of course). He can have whatever we're having for a meal. That's a lot of pressure to eat healthy. When the doctor felt around in his mouth she said that his one-year molars were about to come through. He only has TWO TEETH on the bottom and now he's getting molars? That can't be right . . .
March 7, 2008
Did you know that googling "pregnancy cyberchondria" brings me up on the first search results page? It's true. Try it. I dare you.
I find it so amusing to look at my website tracking tools and see the things that people googled to end up on my site. For instance, back in December, googling the phrase "sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters" landed my blog on the first search page. For a while, searching for "biggest frog ever" brought a lot of people to this post. I've had three people search for my friend Kristi Kratzer and land on my page (and she's curious to know who it was). I think the most popular google search phrase that bring people to my blog are "how to mince garlic."
If you have a tracker, I'd love to hear some of the interesting (and even not-so-interesting) things people have googled that have brought them to your blog.
March 6, 2008
Me: It's a store in NYC that has a huge bridal sale today. People line up way early because they can get designer dresses for really cheap.
Kyle: Oh, like that episode of Friends where Phoebe and Rachel help Monica find her dress?
Me: You know . . . at times like these, I really feel like I'm getting through to you.
March 5, 2008
And now I can't sleep because I'm so stressed about it.
I actually have some really good things to say about the conference I was at today, but they're all being overshadowed by this really expensive phone that I lost. I'm still holding out a smidgen of hope that it's tucked away somewhere in the van, but I looked EVERYWHERE and it goes to voicemail immediately when I call it.
It doesn't look good.
March 3, 2008
Anyway, here's yet another video of Jack. It's pretty much 1 minute and 30 seconds of me putting sunglasses on him and him yanking them off and giggling. Oh, and I apologize in advance for my high-pitched baby talk voice.
Untitled from Sara on Vimeo.
Here are some excerpts that he used that made me interested. But really, read the whole article. You'll be glad you did.
An excerpt from Renouncing Satan by Carol Zaleski.
". . . my family attended a first communion service. With the little girls in bridal veils and the little boys in miniature suits, the service had the look of a Munchkin wedding feast. Like weddings, first communion recapitulates baptism, and like baptism it is steeped in the ancient Christian rites of initiation. Traditionally, the baptismal rite begins with the renunciation of Satan. Do you renounce Satan? And all his works? (in various versions the list may include: And all his angels? And all his pomps? And all his worship? And all his empty promises?) . . .
"But at the first communion service we attended, the renunciation of Satan was left out of the renewal of baptismal vows. No doubt this was done with the best of intentions: we do not wish to scare our children nor instill in them a precocious sensitivity to the devil. We do not wish to tempt them to hold witch trials on the playground. And yet by this omission we miss an opportunity to appeal to their moral imagination, their sense that the battle is in earnest . . .
"John has not forgotten that at his own first communion he had to sing "Jesus love is bubblin' over." He would have gladly traded a few of those bubbles for the chance to renounce Satan. Must all the good battles be fought in fictional worlds?"
March 2, 2008
The rocking horse in the photos was given to my brother when he was born by my Grandma and Grandpa Wietholter.
You turn nine months old today. You’ve now been living in our house for as long as you were living in my belly. The trial period is over. We’ve decided to keep you.
You’re finally catching on to the whole sleeping thing. You’ve figured out how to fall asleep on your own (though there is still some crying). This past Tuesday and Wednesday you took a THREE HOUR NAP each afternoon. Your dad and I were stunned. To be honest, it worried me a little. I checked on you at least once an hour to make sure you were ok. I found myself wishing that you would just wake up so I could hug you! I never realized that I would miss you if you slept more than 45 minutes. On Thursday, when we heard you waking up from what I was beginning to think was turning into some sort of seasonal hibernation, your dad and I (literally) raced down the hall to be the first one into your bedroom. Dad won, of course. I’ve always been so jealous of parents with babies that take lengthy naps, but your dad and I could barely keep ourselves from waking you up when you were sleeping so long. I think we’ve been spoiled by your sleeping habits.
You’ve changed so much this month, but it’s really hard to pinpoint exactly what it is that is so different about you. You’re taller and heavier (you’re now wearing 18 – 24 month clothing). You have a look in your eyes that has let us know that you’re beginning to think about walking (you actually stood on your own for a few seconds this week). You’ll say “bye-bye” and wave (when you feel like it) and you can say “mama” and “dada,” though you usually refer to both of us as “dada.” Actually, you call Murphy & Emma “dada” too. Perhaps you don’t yet know what that word means. .0.3030..00eQu y thgnv hn
You love they keyboard on our computer (as evidenced by the end of the previous paragraph). You love Cheerios. You love cupboard doors and drawers. You love (taking all of your) books (off the shelf and spreading them out all over the floor). Also, the tables have turned a little this month in that you love to make us laugh. If we start laughing at something you do, you get this proud smile on your face and you’ll continue doing it until we stop laughing or until you get bored.
You love to chase Murphy. When we get you out of your crib, you give us a quick hug and kiss and then immediately scan the room for Murphy. Your favorite thing to do is to pin her down and try to put her entire head in your mouth. Don’t be fooled, though. Murphy loves it. When she hears you stirring from a nap, she usually beats us to your bedroom door and sits there waiting for her friend to come out and play. At least once a day she drops her ball in front of you and looks at you as if she is thinking, “Haven’t you learned to throw yet?”
You also threw your first tantrums this month, all three of which were a result of being told that you may not climb into the dishwasher. They were complete with falling onto the floor and kicking. They didn’t last long because during the first one I grabbed my camera and started snapping pictures. For the second two, your dad and I just kind of watched and giggled about how silly you looked. You can get your frustration out with tantrums, but they won’t get you very far with us. And, I promise you that the bathtub is a much more efficient way of getting clean.
Your dad starts baseball practices in a few weeks and you and I will be spending a lot more alone time together in the evenings. He made a comment last summer that if he were teaching, or working somewhere that wouldn't allow him to spend a lot of time with you during the days he would give up coaching. That surprised me because he loves coaching baseball . . . but I think we both know that he loves you more. Dad left for a conference on the other side of the state earlier tonight and you won’t see him until Wednesday! I’ve been teasing him about whether or not you’ll remember him when he gets back. Based on your reaction every time he walks into the room, I don’t think he needs to worry too much about that. We both need him a lot. I hope you grow up to be as good of a husband and father as he is someday . . . but we’ll leave that for a future letter.
I love you all the time!
March 1, 2008
Anyway, I clipped coupons this week for things that I normally use. I don't usually do this, but I thought I'd give it a try and save a few bucks. I tried to match the coupons with items that were already on sale for maximum savings. I could write paragraphs on how much work it was and how difficult it was to manage a small child and coupons and a grocery list.
There two things that you might interest you:
1. I LOVE Sharpie markers. We all know that they're not cheap. This coupon allows you to buy a 12 pack of retractable Sharpies for $2 from Office Max. TWO! DOLLARS! The only catch is that it ends TODAY. Sorry I didn't let you know about it sooner. These packs of markers are regularly $22.99! There is a limit of two per coupon. There were only three packs at the Jackson Office Max, so I bought two and Kyle bought one. That's a savings of $66! So run out before the end of the day to get yours!
2. I don't know if you've tried Flat Earth chips, but I really like them. You can get a free bag here. Actually, you can print two coupons per computer. I used both of mine today and the bags are up in my pantry waiting for me to snack on them. That's a savings of $5.98.
When you total these savings, plus my savings with other coupons today, I saved $91. Not bad.
Tumbles from Sara on Vimeo.
*Please disregard the large pile of unfolded laundry sitting on the coach . . . it's just there to cover the wax.