Saturday, November 22, 2014

Blogger Brightness

I've been wanting to write about happy stuff that has happened this month, like my son turning 2 earlier this month!  I got sidetracked though, and then about a week ago I got slammed by a terrible sickness that ended up being a darn kidney stone.  That stone put up quite the fight, and I also ended up with critically low potassium.  Two separate trips to the ER involving overnight stays and one surgery later, I've been recovering at home.  I'm doing a lot better, but I'm tired and sore and still have a stent that needs to be removed.

On a positive note, I had two pieces of fun mail from bloggers that really cheered me up during all of this.

The Girl Who Ate Everything, my favorite flood blogger, held a giveaway for 26 free Old El Paso items.  Yep, a free old El Paso item every other week for a year.  Awesome!  We love tacos around here.  Along with the coupons, she also sent me a copy of her cookbook!  That is something I've had on my Amazon wishlist for awhile, so I was extremely excited.  She autographed it too!



Another blog I love is CakeSpy.  One day on her blog, she was giving away 20 mini CakeSpy paintings.  The first twenty people to email their address would receive one.  I never move fast enough for that kind of stuff, but I gave it a shot.  I was one of the first twenty!  I got an adorable little painting, along with a cute card.  Heck, even the envelope was pretty.  It had a Jimi Hendrix stamp too.  It was pretty perfect!



Having my own little blog has obviously helped me interact with bloggers more.  There are a lot of friendly folks out there!  Thanks to these two bloggers in particular for making me smile during a really rotten time.

Just because it also makes me smile, and since I never did a post about the party, here's a picture of Matthew's birthday cake!



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Ten Memories of Buddy

I started dating Ernie in December 2004. In February 2005, he called and told me that he got a chocolate lab puppy and named him Buddy. I moved in with Ernie a couple months later, and Buddy became my puppy too. We celebrated all of his birthdays together, 1 through 9. 

If Buddy were still with us, we would be celebrating his 10th birthday today.  It is amazing how many things remind me of him on a daily basis. I still think of him several times a day, sometimes to the point of tears. He was unforgettable.

In honor of his 10th birthday, I decided to reminisce and write down ten of my favorite Buddy memories.  He was such a character that it was hard to narrow down the list to just ten.



1. Mirror, Mirror

There is a small mirror on the headboard of our bed.  Buddy was playing on our bed one day when he suddenly turned to the mirror and saw his reflection for the first time.  He seemed completely captivated by the handsome dog staring back at him.  It was as if the world had stopped for a moment.

2. Runaway Dog

Ernie and Buddy were in the driveway seeing me off to work one morning.  As I drove down our road, I glanced in the rear view mirror and was shocked to see Buddy bounding down the road behind my car and Ernie way back in the distance, waving his arms frantically while running and yelling. 




3. Sticky Paws

I had a feeling that Buddy kept jumping up on the counter to, as we call it, "counter cruise" for food or whatever else he could get into.  I set up my digital camera to start recording video, placed it on the counter, and went outside.  I came back in a couple minutes later and watched the video, which confirmed that Buddy was counter cruising.  Hoping to bust him, I laid long strips of tape, sticky side up, along the edges of the kitchen counters.  I went outside for a couple minutes and came back in to discover Buddy sheepishly walking around with lots of tape stuck to his front feet.  That did help to deter him, but it didn't stop him completely (see #4...and #5).

4. Muffin Tops

I baked some corn muffins to go with dinner and had them cooling in the pan on top of the stove.  Chewie wanted to go outside, so I pushed the muffin pan all the way to the back of the stove.  I figured they would be safe from any counter cruising that way.  When Chewie and I returned, I was pleased to see the muffins were still there.  Upon further inspection though, I discovered that the tops of all of the muffins had been nibbled off.




5. Country Crock

Ernie's family was staying with us, so we bought a 3 pound tub of Country Crock to ensure we'd have plenty.  While his family was having toast one morning, Buddy took advantage of them not being familiar  with his sneaky ways and managed to get the tub off the counter.  By the time he was discovered, half of the tub had been eaten, and his whiskers were slick with the spread.  

6. Furniture Tipping

I was standing in the kitchen with my back to the living room when I suddenly heard a disturbingly loud thump.  I turned around and was shocked to see Buddy on top of a now tipped over loveseat.   He seemed pretty shocked too.  He had jumped the loveseat several times in the past with no problem, but he obviously didn't clear it this time.


7. Bread Thief

I made myself a sandwich one afternoon and decided to eat in the living room.  I sat down in the loveseat with my plate and my drink.  I twisted to the side to set my drink down on the end table and turned back around to see Buddy standing next to me, a corner of the top piece of bread in his mouth.  He was slowly pulling it towards himself when our eyes suddenly locked.  He stood frozen for a moment, like he didn't know what to do.  He then chose to suck the piece of bread into his mouth like a vacuum cleaner, chew it furiously, and run away.

8. Pizza Pickup

Ernie and I ordered a pizza, and I offered to pick it up.  I brought Buddy along, since he always loved a car ride.  When we got to the pizza place, I reminded him that he was supposed to stay in the backseat. He sat obediently as I walked across the parking lot.  As soon as I entered the pizza place, I turned around to look out the window and saw Buddy instantly hop into the front seat.  I was then informed that my pizza wasn't ready because they had burned it and were making a new one, so it would be a few minutes.  I sat to wait, watching Buddy out the window the entire time.  He was gloriously going back and forth from back seat to front seat, over and over, constant motion.  Once I got the pizza and stepped out of the building, Buddy saw me and dove into the backseat, where he sat as obediently as I'd had left him.  Even if he had been slick enough for me to not see him, the brown fur all over my seat and the drool on my steering wheel was a dead giveaway.




9. Camp Fire

Things that used to have no effect on Buddy started to bother him as he got older.  He developed a fear of smoke later in his life.  While camping, we were sitting around a fire with a group of friends while Ernie held onto Buddy's leash.  Everything was fine until the fire started getting really smoky.  Panicked, Buddy took off for the camper door, which was behind Ernie.  Still holding onto the leash, Ernie went flying backwards out of his camp chair.

10. Rock Star

I was outside with Buddy, and it was time to go back in.  I called him several times, but he was intently exploring and was ignoring me.  To get his attention, I picked up a pretty good sized rock and threw it so it would land near him.  The rock thumping on the ground caused Buddy to look up, so I called him again and turned around to head for the door.  I waited on the porch for Buddy, who was running towards me.  When he got to the porch, the huge rock fell out of his mouth, and he eagerly waited for me to throw it again.

I put this list together this morning with the idea that I'd finish it up this evening.  During dinner, I told Ernie that I'd put together a list of 10 Buddy memories and asked him to guess them.  The first one he guessed was on the list, but then he said about five or six that hadn't made the cut.  We were laughing so hard and continued remembering many Buddy moments.  I think this list could have easily been three times as long, but I'm sticking with these ten.

Happy Birthday, Buddy.  I miss you.



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

My First Packer Game

I don't have one of those oh-so-popular bucket lists, but if I did, I know one item that would definitely be on it: go to a Green Bay Packer game.  Seeing a game at Lambeau Field would obviously be the best, but I'd be happy with getting to see them anywhere.

Last week, one of my friends said that she and her husband would be unable to use their Lions season tickets for Sunday.  Their opponent?  The Green Bay Packers!  She said they were hoping to pass the tickets on to someone who could use them.  I texted my husband to ask if he'd like to go.  He told me to take the tickets but to ask my dad (also a lifelong fan) if he'd like to go.

I really thought my dad would say no.  My parents live three hours away and have made countless trips back and forth since Matthew has been born.  Matthew recently started daycare full-time, which will reduce their number of trips here.  They had actually just come to visit the previous weekend, so  I expected my dad to be all sensible and reasonable and say that he really shouldn't make the drive again.  Our conversation went something like this when I called him:

Me: "Do you want to see the Packers play the Lions in Detroit on Sunday?"

Dad: "Huh??"

Me: "I got offered two free tickets to the Lions game on Sunday, and they are playing the Packers.  Want to go with me?"

Dad:  "Um, yeah!!!!!!!"

Cue major excitement!  It was crazy that such a huge event was going to be happening in less than a week.  I'm used to having at least several months of waiting for an event once I get tickets.  I've already held concert tickets for over a year before a show (due to a postponement).  To be able to get tickets on a Tuesday for a game on a Sunday was crazy.

The game was incredible.  Well, actually, the game was a bit disappointing, since the Packers lost.  I think a more accurate statement was that the entire adventure was incredible.  Being surrounded by fun and crazy fans, even for an opposing team, is an absolute thrill.  Wearing our Packers gear made us easy targets for teasing, but that was part of the experience, and we rolled with it and had fun.  We will also never forget the two extremely vocal Lions fans who sat behind us.  Thanks to them, we have a lot of new phrases to use as inside jokes!

If I could change the outcome of the game, I'd have the Packers win.  However, there was something really great about being surrounded by ecstatic Lions fans and seeing their excitement over the home team's win.  I was even amused by the exuberance of the girl who ran up to me and knocked my cheesehead off. 

I will always remember this day.





Saturday, August 9, 2014

Our Big Road Trip

Last weekend I was able to do one of my favorite things: drive back to my hometown and stay with my sister. The last time I was able to do that was almost 2 years ago, when I was pregnant with Matthew.   Matthew was once again with me, but of course he is a toddler now.  I was slightly nervous about the two of us making such a huge trip.



Our drive there on Thursday went super smooth, and he napped for a nice chunk of it.  After crossing the Mackinac Bridge, we stopped in St. Ignace to fill up the car and grab some lunch.  I specifically chose where to eat based on the view.


Once we arrived at my sister's, Matthew was immediately smitten with her dog and cats.  Matthew had never spent time with cats before, but it was clear that it was love at first sight.  I'm also pretty sure that my sister's dog, Rusty, gained about 10 pounds that weekend.  He and Matthew were pretty much BFFs, especially when Matthew had food.  "Rusty" is Matthew's new favorite word.


The three of us enjoyed some time together.  We ate pizza, visited my sister's co-workers on their lunch break so they could meet Matthew, ate some more pizza, and basically just enjoyed being together and playing with Matthew.  Our parents joined the fun on Friday, along with their dog.  My sister was also dog-sitting for her friend, so we had a really full house.  It's very clear that Matthew is an animal lover!  I am getting such a twinge to adopt a second dog.  I know that wouldn't be a wise move right now though.

Saturday took us to Green Bay for a family reunion for my dad's side of the family.  It was Matthew's first time meeting just about everybody.  He was a little shy at first but definitely warmed up.  The reunion was at my cousin's house, and she has a beautiful home and yard.  Matthew had a blast, and it was great to have fun with everyone.


We were able to spend time with some relatives from my mom's side of the family.  One of my aunts had us over to our house and cooked dinner.  She had a couple desserts, and we opted to give Matthew the least messy choice: angel food cake with Cool Whip.  He loved it!  My aunt commented when I was a kid, I just called it Cool and would eat it with my hand.  I'm not surprised.  Matthew also got awfully close to my aunt's TV, but it was to watch the Packers, so I allowed it.


We were able to visit my grandma (my dad's mom) at her apartment afterwards.  Matthew got ahead of me and ran down the hall and was rattling every single door handle he could reach before I caught up to him.  Thankfully, they were all locked.

Then it was back to my sister's house for one last night.  She graciously let Matthew and I have her bedroom so we could close the door at night to keep the kitties from jumping into Matthew's pack 'n play and accidentally causing chaos.  Her bed was crazy comfortable, and I slept great every night, except for the last one.  The last night is always hard.  I hate falling asleep because I know that when I wake up, it's time to hit the road.  Being realistic with vacation days I have left for the year, I'm certain I won't make it back until sometime next year.  It's always so hard to leave.

The drive home went almost as nicely as the drive there, so I really can't complain.  My parents decided to take the long way home so they could drive through Michigan, so we left at the same time and traveled together for most of the trip.  Mom rode in the backseat of my car to spend time with Matthew.  He loved having her there.

By the time we got home, our trip odometer showed that we had logged 1,063 miles.  I can't wait to do it again!


Monday, July 21, 2014

Eventful Weekend

This past weekend gave us a few fun Matthew milestones:

  • Matthew's first camping trip
  • Matthew's longest road trip so far
  • Matthew's first night away from home

Matthew did awesome with all three!  We unfortunately experienced a lot of problems with our fifth wheel (a leaking toilet, a blown out tire on the freeway, and a hole in the roof, to name a few).  We also found out before we hit the road that my credit card number had been stolen.  How lovely!  Fortunately, our credit card company was suspicious of the card activity and contacted us.  The charges were at a local store that I shop at regularly, so I was really impressed that they were able to detect the fraudulent activity so fast.  

It was kind of funny because on our way up, Ernie had stopped to change a blown out tire on a horse trailer for two ladies.  We had left feeling happy we could help and also thinking that maybe that would give us good karma for the weekend.  Apparently not!

After Ernie finished changing our blown out tire, we continued on the freeway in silence for a little while.  I could tell that he was also exhausted and in disbelief over how much stuff had gone wrong for us.  I finally broke the silence by saying, "You know, someday we are going to look back at this weekend and laugh."

Ernie said nothing.

"I mean, that day is really far off, but we are going to laugh so hard someday."

"Well, at least we're all okay," Ernie said.  "That's what's important."

Definitely.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Road Trip

My dad's side of the family is having a reunion later this summer, so Matthew and I will be taking our first road trip together to go back to my hometown.  Aside from two of my cousins spending about 15 minutes with him, nobody on that side of my family has met Matthew.  There seems to be a lot of excitement about him coming, and I'm looking forward to having an adventure with him.


When I make the trip by myself, I can make the drive in less than 9 hours.  I make one pit stop to get gas, use the restroom, and grab a snack.  My drives back home have always been about (safely) making the best time possible.

I have no idea how the drive will be with a toddler in tow, but I know it's going to be different.  The drive will take longer.  There will be more stops. Matthew will need diaper changes, drinks, snacks, and time to stretch his legs and burn off some energy.   There are always such pretty and fun places that I blow past when driving home.  I sometimes, think about stopping, relaxing, taking some pictures.  Ultimately though, my desire to make good time wins, and I just keep driving.

I'm looking forward to having an excuse to enjoy the journey a little more.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

"I Want To Go Home!"

Last month, I received a recall notice in the mail for my car.  It sounded minor, so I wasn't overly concerned about taking care of it.  I called the dealership and arranged to drop off my car Friday morning before work. They would then give me a shuttle ride to work and pick me up once my car was ready.

After dealing with the service department, I was told to sit in the waiting area, and a shuttle driver would be there to get me shortly.  A few minutes later, one of my co-workers called my cell phone.  The girls at work knew I'd been planning to hit the dealership and then grab a shuttle to the office, but she wanted to make sure I was fine and didn't need a ride.  I thanked her but declined, since the shuttle driver would be there soon.

Pretty soon, a gentleman approached the waiting area and asked, "Did somebody need a shuttle?"  I said yes and stood up, informing him that I needed to get to work.  I thought we were going to leave right then, but an elderly man who was also sitting in the waiting area suddenly announced, "I want to go home!"

The shuttle driver asked him if his vehicle was in for a repair or oil change.  He replied that he his was in for the recall.  The driver explained that the gentleman would need to speak with his service adviser to determine how long the repair would be, as a shuttle might not be necessary.

An elderly woman who had been sitting with us chimed in, "I want to go home too!  Will you come back to my home and pick me up then?"

The shuttle driver, seeming a little flustered, politely responded, "Well, that is my job."  He once again explained how shuttle service had to be coordinated with a customer's service adviser.  "Okay, let's check!"  She got up from her seat, and we walked into the service area.

While the two people spoke with their respective service advisers, a customer next to them declared, "I want to go home too!"  A service adviser stated that he had a customer who needed a shuttle home, and then another person chimed in with (you guessed it), "I want to go home!"

I've utilized the shuttle service for this dealership several times, and I have never had this happen.  I was a bit frustrated because I was needing to get to work and getting held up by all of these people who just wanted to go home.  It was pretty funny though, having all of these people announce one after the other that they wanted to go home.  This seemed like such a novel idea to all of them.  I don't think most of them were aware that shuttle service was an option at the dealership.

With such a group forming, a second shuttle driver was summoned.  I ended up in the shuttle with the two elderly people who had been in the waiting area with me.  My destination was the closest to the dealership, so mine was the first stop.

I feel like I should send a letter of apology to the dealership for causing the daily fuel cost for their shuttle service to skyrocket.