Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Artic Circle Looks Good

I'm thinking that a vacation sounds good right about now. Not your typical summertime, relax on the beach vacation either, the last thing I want to go is anyplace warm. Denver (and much of Colorado, for that matter)is in the midst of yet another heat wave with the forecast predicting near-record highs in the upper 90's and almost no rain in sight. Normally, this wouldn't be a problem, since we have central air. Or I should edit that to say, we did have central air. Our unit (which is probably 15+ years old)decided to quit working--again--Friday morning. Ben called them around 1pm after failed attempts to get it going again, and they said they might send someone out that evening (didn't happen)or "possibly" Monday. Knowing these sum-lords, we'll be lucky if we're cool before the 4th of July. Ben & I are going to draft up a letter telling them that we will be deducting a day's rent for each & every day that we do not have A/C in the month of July. Maybe that will motivate them?

So, that said, I'm about to pack my bags for Antartica and hang out with the penguins. In reality, we may escape to my parents' place where at least they have a swamp cooler. We are getting together with them on the 4th anyway, for a picnic and such in the mountain town of Ouray. It's kind of a family tradition.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Flickr changes

Hi everyone! I wanted to let you know that I've recently uploaded some new pictures of the girls out in the wading pool. However, due to an obscene number of views, I have decided to change some of them to be viewed only by family & friends. So, if you want to see them and are not a contact, you may have to create an account and then add me as a contact. If you already have a Yahoo account, you can use that. Sorry to have to do this but I worry about someone, somewhere, using my daughters for child pornography. I've seen it done so many times with innocent partially clothed pictures. When an innocent picture of your daughter in her bathing suit gets 223 hits in two days, something's up! Some of the pictures are still public, for now, but that may change too. When it comes to my girls, I just can't be cautious enough.

Thanks for understanding.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Hop Aboard the Whirlwind Express

The low-down of our trip to the Great Lake State.

I'm happy to report that we left the house EARLY on Thursday morning, don't ask how that happened. Honestly, I think it had something to do with the fact that we packed up the car the night before and that I was up at 3:45am. When then drove to the park-n-ride by the airport, parked, unloaded, climbed into the shuttle and arrived at DIA at 6 o'clock on the button. We discovered that Curbside Check-in is SOOOO worth it when you're lugging three suitcases, carry on bags and carseats. What's a measily $6? After that, we were down to two carry ons, a diaper bag and a garment bag, umbrella stroller, and two car seats. Little did we know that we could've checked both car seats and saved hauling them thru security and all that. No one at Northwest offered to do this for us. The line for security moved very quickly and we got thru without any problems, thank goodness. They did ask me what was in Cara's sippy cup--water, no liquid explosives--but otherwise, we were in the clear. We got to our gate in plenty of time to go to McDonald's for breakfast ($14 for 3 breakfast Extra Value Meals?!) and watch planes pull in. Having kids pays off at the gate when we are allowed priority boarding with all of the first class people. It took us that long to get everyone situated, including asking for help with Cailtin's car seat. We then settled in for our just shy of 3 hour plane ride. Cara briefly nursed before falling asleep, Ben was out almost immediately (having worked the night before) and Caitlin dozed off shortly after take off. Cara woke up after about a 45 minute nap, so I entertained here with toys and Cheerios while Ben & Caitlin continued to sleep. Pretty uneventful and routine flight in all regards. The only thing that urks me is how the major airlines are charging for food now. On our flight, they were charging $5 for a snack box! Not even real food, just snacks. Thankfully, I had packed snacks for everyone, we just took the free beverages. Anyway, we got into DTW (Northwest World Gateway...WOW!) right on schedule and after figuring out the Tram, got to the luggage claim and met Ben's mom & sister. The girls were greeted with hugs and gifts...Ben and I with just hugs. Once we got outside of the terminal, the humidity and heat hit us! Holy smokes...I sure haven't missed THAT about Michigan! We just don't get the humidity here in Colorado, thank goodness. The rest of Thursday saw us unwinding and prepping for the journey down to Toledo for the wedding. My sister-in-law (thanks F!) treated me to a manicure & pedicure and Caitlin to having her nails painted. What a rare and appreciated treat! I got a french manicure and looked like sophisticated momma.
That evening, I snuck over to my good friend Robyn's house and we hung out, she showed me how to do my make-up (I'm clueless) and played with my hair. I'm sorry to say that she was the only friend that we had time to see and that's only because she lives right down the street from the in-laws (and yes, it's just because we like them too).

Firday, we all got up, showered and packed for our journey to Toledo. Ben & I had the grand idea to try to stop off in Birmingham on our (out of the) way down. Unfortunately, we ran into construction traffic (construction has it's own season in MI) and ended up scratching that idea. Turns out that the people we wanted to see were out of town anyway, though I would've loved to have seen the library. Ben decided to take Evergreen to 7 Mile, don't ask me why, and then 7 Mile to 75. Needless to say, it was THE SLOWEST way to get to 75--lots of stoplights, detours, etc--and took us through some rough neighbors like something right out of Eminem's 8 Mile. After about 1 1/2 hours, we finally got on I-75. Problem was, our directions were from US 23, so we got totally turned around ending up all over the Metro Toledo area including down on the waterfront (very pretty area). By some miracle, we arrived at the rehearsal at 5:02pm, only two minutes late. I think Caitlin was hot & tired because she really did not want to cooperate with the wedding coordinator and had to be sternly talked to ("Catilin, I'm sure there's a wall for you to stand with your nose against around here somewhere...") before she conceeded and cooperated with everyone. The santuary was beautiful, built in 1905, but lacked one essential during midwestern summers, air conditioning. To say it was warm in there would be a gross understatment. Thankfully, we were able to run through the ceremony quickly and then head off to the restaraunt for dinner. We had dinner at the Navy Pier Bistro down on the waterfront. Beautiful location, great food, lots of fun. I had this piece of caramel pecan pie to die for!

We awoke to a beautiful, yet probably the warmest day of the summer thus far, on Saturday morning. Caitlin was up and out with the bridal party to have her hair done around 10am and Ben followed at noon. Cara, my mother in law and I headed to a local Target to pick up some last minute dress essentials before going back to the hotel to change. I am proud to say that I negoiated Toledo's freeways all by myself and got us to the wedding with time to spare. Unfortunately, that was the last piece of good news. Just as we feared, the santuary was very warm again, with only fans to circulate the air. At first, Cara & I were doing well. We sat towards the outer aisle in the back in case we had to make an emergency exit and Cara was as happy as a clam. However, as soon as the actual ceremony started, Cara began to fuss. I noticed that she was drenched in sweat despite my attempts to cool her with a paper fan & a sippy cup with water (word of advice, make sure baby's clothes are made of cotton). We ended up having to vacate the santuary and watch the ceremony from the doors leading to. I couldn't hear what was being said, but the ceremony was beautiful nonetheless. Ben looked handsome standing up as his brother's best man and Caitlin did a wonderful job as flower girl, she looked so grown up. I think that Ben & I shed a tear. My brother in law and his new wife were so blistfully happy and in love, such of a wonderful sight. Susan looked so beautiful and glowing in her gown. It was just a picture-perfect ceremony. Afterwards, we all assembled outside to see the new couple off. Mind you, it was a perfectly clear, sunny day so the sun was just beating down on us. Cara was not happy about being outside and soon started to wail. I brought her back inside and attempted to pacify her with no luck. At one point, I was seriously considering foregoing the reception due to Cara's temperment. I decided to give her one last chance and escaped to the bellows of the church to feed her. Momentary peace came over us while she nursed only to be follwed by convulsions. I am fairly certain that she had heat stroke. Never have I felt so guilty or scared. I rushed her to the sink in the lounge area, strpped her down to her diaper and splashed cool water all over her. After a few minutes, she stopped shaking and promptly fell asleep. After making sure she was indeed sleeping (checking for a pulse and signs of breathing), I moved her upstairs again, by the fans, while the wedding party had more photographs taken.
Afterward, we all headed over to the reception. Again, the food was wonderful and the entertainment was great. It was so cute to see Ben dancing with Caitlin and then his mom. Ben & I got to dance too, which was a rare treat. We both thoroughly enjoyed it. The rest of the night, Ben & Caitlin got their groove on while I stayed with Cara. Caitlin had a blast dancing with her Uncle Kofi, Aunt Effie and brand-new Aunt Susan. That little girl danced from the time the music started until Ben carried her off the dance floor around midnight! Cara & I headed out awhile before then as Cara was sleepy. We ended up driving around town and to a Meijer parking lot where Cara had her nightcap and promptly fell asleep. Ben and I, both high on life after the reception, went out in search of food and found a Kroger. Armed with yogurt, salad and chips, we came back to the hotel, sat in the dining room and chatted for awhile. without kids, even if it was 1:30 in the morning!

Sunday found us out in the country around Slyvania, OH at Susan's parents' home. We all had a BBQ followed by a refreshing swim in the pond in front of their house. Ben, Caitlin & I attempted to paddle boat but, Caitlin got scared when the tether for the boat got caught up in the paddles and we coulnd't paddle. Brave Uncle Kofi and Navyman, Jason came to the rescue. Once we were freed, we made one more loop around the pond before heading inside to leave. I almost forgot, we all watched Kofi & Susan open their wedding presens and boy did they get some beautiful things, especially some crystal serving pieces. Kofi was saying that they got so much stuff that they needed a bigger house to put them in!
We headed back to MI and over to Kofi & Susan's place to say goodbye to them and have some wonderful Jet's pizza. They were heading out to Hawaii for two weeks in the morning as we were leaving to come back to Denver.

We arrived at the airport, checked in at Frontier where they promptly asked if we wanted to check our car seats (yes, please!) and then headed to security. Again, we got lucky and went right through, no problems while the family in front of us got searched. After some Starbuck's for breakfast we boarded the plane. I have to say that I love Frontier airlines (not only because they started in Denver either). The employees are very friendly and helpful, the planes are comfortable, they offer free drinks & snacks and the best part---for $5 you can watch TV or movies on these little screens built into the seats. We paid for Caitlin to watch NickJr in-flight and it kept her quiet and happy. Cara slept most of the flight while Ben and I rested up. We got into Denver right on time, and after struggling with getting luggage to the shuttle pick up point, got back to our car and on our way home.

It's good to be home but, we are missing Detroit and our friends and family there. Caitlin really grew attached to her Uncle Kofi, Aunts Susan & Effie as well as her Nana and Grandpa (who she met for the first time at the wedding). She still talks about how she misses them and the fun that she had (especially the limo rides). I wish that we had more time to make the rounds to see family and friends. Hopefully, we'll be able to make a trip out next summer to see everyone.
Well, that's all folks. Everything considered, it was a pretty seamless trip there & back with just enough "adventure" thrown in to make things interesting and memorable!

To Kof & Susan--we can't wait to see the pictures of both the wedding and honeymoon! We hope that you guys had a wonderful time in Hawaii! Thank you for letting us be a part of your special day.

To Aunt F & Nana--thanks for providing the means for us to come to MI and for the hospitality (oh yeah, and for spoiling the girls).

Monday, June 11, 2007

Going on a jet plane

In case you have been wondering why I've been so quiet lately, here is the reason. I have been running ragged trying to prepare 4 people for a trans-continental flight to Detroit for my brother-in-laws wedding. We've had to patiently (or not patiently) await the arrival of Caitlin's flower girl dress, drive way across town to have it altered, take suits to the dry cleaners, find suitable clothes for the mother of the flower girl and then attempt to pack our family of 4. Let me give you some of the highlights.

--Finding a "formal" dress when you've not been blessed with a model's body has been nearly impossible. I have been to store upon store and resorted to ordering from JCPenney (thanks for the gifts cards Mom & Dad). What a mistake that was. First, did you know that you really can't pay with gift cards on JCP's website? Well, you can't. Especially if you have more than one. You have to pre-pay in the store, wait for them to receive the payment to "release" the order to be shipped, then wait for the order to arrive in the store. To make a very long story short, let's just say that JCP's right hand doesn't know what it's left hand is doing, or saying. They told me the order was shipped one day via the 1-800 number and when I arrive in store to pick it up, I'm told another date, four days later. Umm, hello...I'm on a deadline here! Grr! Thankfully, in my running about today, I found a cute outfit from Catherine's. Granted, it cost me about twice what JCPenney was charging but hey, it's in my hands and it looks good. No guessing if JCP's periwinkle will be more purple than blue.

--Having a dress altered is a royal pain in the arse. Caitlin's dress for the wedding is beautiful. It is kind of an antique ivory almost a sheer with lots of layers, a petticoat, the works. Well, turns out, that in order to take up a hem off the length, one has to take it up from the bodice due to the delicate ruffle on the bottom. The seamstress made it look simple enough even if there were pins every 1/2 inch along the bottom. The dress was promised to be ready to go today. Well, we get in there, Caitlin tries on the dress for the final fitting and what do I immediately notice, despite my naive eyes? That the ruffle along the bottom is not the same length all the way around. OMG, are you serious?! I momentarily panic because in exactly three days, we are to be mid-air. I politely (don't ask me how) point out the problem to the head seamstress who promptly comes over with her pin cushion and begins to make the adjustments. She asks me, again, when I need the dress back by and when I tell her, you can just see the color drain from her face (that makes two of us). "Umm, our plane leave bright & early Thursday morning, so I'll need it by Wednesday". So, we are due back in Lakewood, about 40 minutes away again at 4pm on Wednesday--lovely, with the price of gas being what it is.

--Coordinating and packing for 4 people is a gigantic undertaking. You'd think, enough said, right? Not quite. It's not just doing the laundry, folding clothes and packing them into a suitcase...oh no, it's more complicated than that. Here's a sampling of my internal monologue: "What is (insert family members name here) going to where to the family portrait? To the rehearsal?...Do we have tights and shoes to go with it? What about if there's a pool at the hotel? Better pack a bathing suit. Oh wait, since we're not going to be at the wedding/rehearsal all day, I've got to pack casual clothes for everyone too. And, let's not forget that every one's beauty care products must fit comfortably into a quart size Ziplock are we going to pack Caitlin's pink hair lotion? Shoot, gotta remember to pack diapers, wipes and Pull-ups". Once that is accomplished (sometime Wednesday). I still have to put together carry-on bags for the girls and Ben & I, figure out how best to carry-on Caitlin's flower girl dress, arrange for off-site airport parking and pick up Ben's suits.

That said, I will be so glad when we finally board the plane on Thursday morning. It will feel good to sit back and try to convince two kids to behave somewhat like humans for three hours. That seems like a piece of cake compared to the past couple of days and the days yet to come. Just writing this post has made me tired. Traveling as a family of four is bound to be an adventure, I'll let you know how it goes. I'll tell you all about the journey and the wedding when we get back.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Caitlin's Quips

Out of the mouth of a not-so-little babe---

(after waking up for a nap and being asked to pick up her toys)
Me: Caitlin, please pick up these train tracks and put them in the box.
Caitlin: Mom, I can't, not yet.
Me: Why not?
Caitlin: My brain isn't awake yet.

(after picking out a movie to watch)
Me: What movie are we going to watch?
Caitlin: Muppet Christmas Carol
Me: But it's not Christmastime
Caitlin: I'm a kid, it's always time to watch this movie.
Me: Okay then
Caitlin: This movie is brought to you in part by Pedigree!

Kids do say the darnest things.


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