Saturday, July 26, 2008

Chase Visit, Week 1

This week has been a busy week for us. Our nephew, Chase, is visiting, so almost everyday has been a busy one, trying to keep a little guy from the busy city of NYC entertained in suburbia.

Today was pretty low key for us. We watched the Tour de France in the morning and caught up with some much needed rest after the busy week. After naptime for Keira and I (Ryan went on a ride at Maybury at this time), Linda and Chase came over to swim in our pool for a bit. Keira really enjoys being thrown up in the air and from person to person in the pool.

Chase also really enjoyed being thrown. He is quite a bit bigger than Keira, so he didn't get as many turns in the air as she did.
Keira also enjoyed laying out in the sun. Doesn't she look so cute? Good thing we used sunscreen.
Friday started off with a Presidency meeting for me, so Keira got to play with Lizzie and Elise all morning. It was Lizzie's actual birthday, and when we told Keira this, she just said, "Cake". It is funny how at the age of 2, both little girls already know that birthdays mean cake. Later in the day, she did say, "Happy Birthday" to our neighbor, Ariana, because it turned out to be her birthday too. We met up with Linda and Chase at Maybury in the afternoon so we could take them on stroller rides while Ryan rides. Keira and I were fortunate to be able to be at the point in the paved path where the mountain bike trail goes along side it at the same time as Ryan rode by. Keira was very excited to see her daddy riding.

On Thursday, I wasn't feeling 100% (and am still not), so Keira took every toy she owns out because we didn't do much at all until Ryan came home from work. We did do a short walk at Maybury while Ryan rode before heading over to Kris and Linda's to enjoy a dinner and relax with Chase. The weather was slightly cooler today, so it made it a great day to enjoy outdoor activities without being miserable.

Wednesday morning, we had initially planned to go to the beach as part of our church Park Days, however, when we were getting ready for the day, it was only 65 degrees, not super warm for the beach, and it was a far drive to just play on that playground. After making a few phone calls, the majority of the Park Day participants were planning on seeing Bee Movie at a local theatre for $1. Keira, Chase, Linda, and I changed gears and met up for the movie. Keira seemed to enjoy it, as she could sit and watch TV all day some days, but Chase didn't seem as interested, so they left early to hit a park before his naptime. After the movie, Keira entertained herself for about an hour playing on the steps outside the theatre. I hadn't planned to take pictures, but she actually asked for the camera, so I went to the car and got it for these shots.

Later in the afternoon, we met up with Linda and Chase at the Novi Sports Park for some more fun outside.
Keira and Chase on the bouncy bridge. This is one of Keira's favorite things to play on at this park. She is a big fan of bridges. She gets really excited in the car when we drive under or over them.
Keira finally got over her fear of enclosed slides, and slid down this long spiral slide by herself today. I went with her the first time, but I felt as if we barely fit, so she had to do it by herself if she wanted to do it again.
At the bottom, success!
She also attempted to walk across the tightrope/chain. She really enjoyed being able to do it by herself. She could only take a couple steps, but she was very excited about that.

On Tuesday, Minde was in town for the morning, so we went to Rainbow Recreation. It is a showroom for the Rainbow Playsystems and they have open playtime in the mornings on Tues, Wed, and Thurs for free. It typically gets very crowded on days with bad weather, but it was pretty empty today. We will probably never own one of these, you can see a price tag in some of the image below if you enlarge it. They do have some cheaper models, but also some for much much more.

Keira climbing like Daddy.
On Monday, we went out to see Lisa and Dominic, and play in their pool. Ryan noticed today how much it looks like our pool. it is funny, because we had initally wanted to move into their neighborhood, but are now unsure with the current housing market. Keira and Dominic had a really great time splashing together.
Here is a shot of the two of them running around outside the pool. They coordinated so well with each other in their babyGap swimsuits. Chase and Minde arrived later in the day, so once Ryan got home from work, we went over to see them at Kris and Linda's. Chase was pretty worn out from a long day of traveling. Here is is with his blanket.
Here is Keira, taking after her mother, with chocolate all over her face. Like me, she rarely turns down chocolate, and is not always the neatest eater. Usually, it is only on my lips and corners of my mouth, and not my whole face.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Weekend Update

Last week was such a full week, and we are anticipating this next week to be equally as full, so I felt the need to get the last couple of things from the weekend posted.

Today was a low key Sunday, which consisted of attending church and grilling out. Ryan did a ton of work on our patio over the weekend, so it was much more open and spacious. The trees around are patio are too big to be as close as they are to the building, so they tend to get overgrown easily. The previous owners should have thought a little more about planting trees with the potential to grow so big in such a small space before planting them. Our day lilies on the outside of the fence are in bloom and look great. I should have taken a photo a week or so ago, because we have already lost some of the blooms.

Saturday was super busy for us. Ryan went for a ride at Lakeshore Park to train for an upcoming Tree Farm Relay race while Keira and I attended a baptism. Later, we went over to Michelle's condo for a barbecue. She had her extended family over and invited us as well. The food was great, and it was fun to just hang out. It is funny how we haven't seen each other in a while, yet managed to get together twice in the same week.
Michelle, Keira, and Me

After Michelle's, we dropped Keira off at Kris and Linda's for a couple hours so that we could attend another get together to celebrate Lisa G's birthday. Her friend was hostessing the party not far from Kris and Linda's. We enjoyed more great food and company over there as well.

Ryan thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Dark Knight. We will see it together shortly, because it is showing at the IMAX theatre at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. We will probably wait a couple weeks because our sister in law Minde and nephew Chase arrive in town tomorrow, and will spend the upcoming week doing more child friendly activities. Chase will be staying at Kris and Linda's while Tyler and Minde enjoy a trip with her family.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lots of Parks and People!

So far this week, we have spent a lot of time out and about. Tonight, Ryan is seeing the Dark Knight, which he has been highly anticipating. We didn't do it as a date night, because we are having one tomorrow to attend a friend's birthday party. Prior to the movie, we spent the evening at Maybury, where I was actually able to run about a whole mile without stopping to walk. I had been previously alternating short bursts of running with walking, depending on uphill or downhill. I have actually found it easier to run uphill, because it is easier to control my pace with the stroller than to be pulled downhill by it. Keira really enjoyed running, and when I did start to walk, she pleaded for me to run more, which was not a good idea, and it turned the remainder of the work out into a walk for me. It was still great to get in a decent chunk of running. Keira has also decided that "Been Caught Stealing" by Jane's Addiction is her new favorite song. She calls it the "dog song" and we listed to it about 7 times today, and that is a lot considering we were only in the car long enough to listen to 2 or 3 other songs in addition to that one. We will add it the blog once I figure out how.

Thursday was also a very full day. We spent the morning running errands, and on our errands we heard about a family day at Shiawasee Park in Farmington that was going on that afternoon. It is a really great park with a cinder trail where I used to do track workouts for my marathon training with a really fast group of runners, and they have a great play scape as well. Of course, as soon as we get to the park, Keira was not interested in any of the festivities and wanted to swing on the swings. I eventually got her away from the swings to go look at the ducks that are usually in the stream that flows through the park. I had no idea the ducks would come as close to us as they did. They got a little too close for Keira's comfort. This picture is not zoomed at all.

After seeing the ducks, we made our way over to where the rest of activities were. We stopped at the Farmington Fire/Police area, and Keira was very excited to run around on the mat intended for "Stop, Drop, and Roll" demonstrations. She didn't want to explore the fire engines on her own, so I was able to get one of the firemen to take our picture. I had wanted to have her put some gear on, but it was super hot and she was still nervous about the whole thing.
Then, we made our way over to the petting zoo that was set up. One the way, Keira found a hula hoop, which she had only seen before in use on a TV screen (Word World, Wall-E, and Wii Fit). She wanted me to do it, which doesn't work so well with a big pregnant belly.
After the failed hula hooping, we went to the petting zoo area. As usual, it took Keira a few minutes to get warmed up to the animals. She really liked the bunny because it was very soft and stayed pretty still.
She also enjoyed the goats. She was debating trying to feed the goat some grass here, similar to how she fed the cow at Maybury on the 4th.
She jumped back a little once the goat showed some interest.
They had a whole variety of animals. They had a pony, donkey, several goats, llamas, a duck, a wallaby and a small ostrich. This was my best attempt to get Keira, the ostrich, and the wallaby in the same shot.

As if we had not spent enough time in the heat yet, once we left the park, we came home, and then went to the pool once Ryan got home from work. We were able to try out the swim float that my mom had brought up during her visit last week. Keira really loved it!
One Wednesday, we spent the morning at McClumpha Park. It is a great park, with a huge massive play scape and a sprinkler park. Keira was slightly disappointed when we arrived because we were not going to the swings, and we were not going to a pool, and she had her suit on. Check out her unsure face looking at the sprinklers.
We had gone to meet people from church for their Wednesday Park days, and had only hoped to stay an hour or so. Unfortunately, it took Keira a while to get used to the whole thing and people were really late to show up, so we ended up spending a lot of time there. At least she had time to enjoy herself. I did have to just carry her into the sprays to show her that it was fun, but she ended up finding a big puddle to splash around in that provided her with lots of fun. We will probably try this park again once Chase arrives next week.
After the park, we came home and Keira napped, and then we went over to Valerie's house to see her new baby Lucas. He was 16 days old, and a super cute well behaved baby. He slept pretty much the whole visit, and Keira enjoyed playing with her friend Katie. It was really fun to see her actually playing with other children, instead of just playing alongside. At one point, we heard hysterical laughter coming from the next room. We aren't sure what they thought was so funny, but everything was intact, so whatever it was must have been between the two of them. Here is a photo of Lucas.
Tuesday was more Kindermusik with Lisa and Dominic. I didn't get any pictures of this. We walked into Kellogg Park in Plymouth after the class for a bit, but I had to rush home to meet our new Realtor- Elaine Knuth of Century 21 Town and Country, to pick up our new listing papers and take photos of our place for the websites. We are discouraging people that we know from just looking up our place online, because she tracks the hits on our site. I don't want to get my hopes artificially inflated from people we know just checking it out and thinking we have a lot more interest than we do. If you do, please send us a note so that we can subtract it out from the count she provides to us. We are hoping that with her detailed reporting on interest and the market, we will be able to react better to changes than we had previously.

Monday, my former roommate/sorority sister Amanda was in town on business for Kroger. She was staying just a couple miles away from our place, and we were able to meet up after the workday was over and went to Maybury for a walk while Ryan rode his bike. She is training for a run, and with the weather and her unusual work schedule, we figured a walk would be sufficient and more social. Afterwards, we met up with Michelle, fellow former roommate/sorority sister at BW3s for some dinner. The Novi BW's is much nicer than the one we used to frequent in college! It has been really great being able to keep in touch with so many of my friends from college. I was able to visit Amanda outside of Cincinnati in March (I was unfortunately not so good at doing blog updates then, so I don't have any of the cute pictures of our girls together posted). Michelle lives about 20mins south of us, so we do see her quite often for running/biking and other social events. Michelle, Amanda, and Me.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Busy Week

This week has been pretty busy for us. We are in search of a new realtor, and this week was spent interviewing and calling new realtors to get their views of how to sell our condo. On Wednesday, my mom and cousin, Stephanie came up from Ohio to visit for the day. It was a beautiful day, and we went to lunch and the Novi Sports Park during the day.

My mom and Stephanie at Noodles N Company

Stephanie helping Keira on the rings at the park

After Keira took a nap and Ryan got home from work, we went out to dinner at Bahama Breeze for a meal together before Mom and Stephanie returned home for the day. It was great to be able to have a relaxing visit with them.

Thursday, Keira and I went to a free Kindermusik class at a local coffee shop. We also attended one on Friday at a different coffee shop. For non coffee drinkers, we certainly spend our fair share of time at coffee shops. You can't beat free, though, for the Kindermusik classes, since they are pretty pricey to actually enroll. They are usually about once/week at different locations, but with the holiday last week, there were two back to back. We usually hit 3 per month.

Keira with the egg shakers prior to the start of the class

Keira hoarding the maracas. 5 was her max.

Friday marked the completion of the realtor interviews, and we had been given many suggestions for minor home improvements. We spent Saturday browsing the home stores in the area, Ikea, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Pier 1. We purchased a sleeper sofa from Ikea, that is essentially a fancy futon for what we had been using as a large kitchen to turn it into a gathering area and open up some more space. We went from having 3 tables in the room to two, and it looks great. We also think this will be a great piece of furniture for visitors and for once we get a house to put in an office/den type room. We had always talked about putting one in our current office, but it is too full of bookshelves to fit, and it coordinates with our current office furniture.

Dining Area, before

New Ikea Couch with Keira, Nana, and Papa. They came over on Sunday to help take the huge table and chairs over to the storage unit. I just didn't think it was a good idea for me to try to load the table into the truck at this point in the pregnancy. We may paint the wall behind the couch, but the wall adjacent to it really needs to be repainted, and it is quite noticeable now that the table is gone, so we are still deciding what to do. We tried a new enchilada recipe off the package of the corn tortillas that were apparently a one time only deal at Meijer. It was a good thing we didn't eat all of them for tacos last week, because when I went back to get more and the ingredients for the recipe, they were gone and there was no longer a space for them on the shelf. We made about 3/4 of a recipe, and it was the perfect amount, since Keira didn't eat them (as usual and only ate rice) and Kris and Linda had eaten recently.

Additionally, we bought a slipcover for our couch. It has received mixed reviews from those who have seen it. Here is a photo of the couch without the slipcover:

Here is the couch with the new slipcover. It is pretty soft, and coordinates with the valance, which is the only original window treatment left in the place from the previous owners.
Finally, I had to include Keira being cute on the new couch. We are already glad that we chose black, over a white couch we also liked (not a sleeper, and only white was a decent price), because Keira ran over to it almost immediately after dinner, and I had barely finished wiping up her face and hands.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Happy 4th of July

We had a really fun 4th of July weekend. It was nice that the holiday fell on a Friday, so we were able to enjoy a 3 day weekend as a family together. Saturday was a fairly typical day for us- we were a bit tired out from Friday, but we still managed to have a full day. I have decided that it is much easier to bike now than to run, so I actually pulled Keira with my mountain bike in our trailer at Maybury. I got some funny looks followed by relief as I rode up to the mountain bike trailhead to see Ryan off before continuing with my ride on the pavement. I am sure I looked like a safety nightmare with my big belly and trailer, especially at the thought of riding on the Maybury trail. I rode for about a half hour towing Keira while Ryan completed the trail. My road bike is just not comfortable to ride ride now.

After our ride at Maybury, we went to the pool. Keira had a good time swimming with Ryan and enjoyed imitating him as he laid in the sun to dry off a bit before heading home.

For the actual 4th of July, we had a pretty big day. We started the day going to downtown Northville for the parade, where I had the genius idea to park at Hillside Middle School, which is, if you couldn't guess, on a HUGE hill. It is where I would start/finish running with the Northville Road Runners. Needless to say, we passed many other parking areas as we walked our mile or so into downtown Northville, and no one else was parked near us at all when we returned to the car. We were able to get a decent spot along the parade route, and saw a family from church- Carlos was in the parade with St Mary Mercy Hospital, and his family was right behind us! We enjoyed the multiple flyovers at the parade as well. I made a slide show of the parade pictures. Some are more exciting than others.

After the parade, we came home and grilled out and let Keira nap before heading to Kensington Metropark for the fireworks. We had hoped to grab some food at the farm, but the grill there was closed. We did have a great time at the farm, though. My camera battery died here, so the shots are from my cell phone, which works surprisingly well with a lot of light, and has its own little memory stick that goes into our computer. Keira was very afraid of the pigs when they got close, but was excited to touch the new calf. This calf was born just a couple weeks ago.

After the farm, we started our quest for food. We new that there were some snack bars at the beaches. I am so glad that we grilled our burgers at home instead of packing up a picnic to grill there. It was packed with "professional" picnickers! I don't think I have ever seen anything like it. There would have been no finding an unoccupied grill since we don't have our own portable grill. People had brought out tents, tables, huge grills, chafing dishes, and everything imaginable to the park. Now, we are campers, not picnickers. In hindsight, we could have made a mean backpackers pantry or mountain house meal on our campstove, and it would have all fit into a small backpack instead of needing to bring a motorhome with us to the park, like some people did. We were able to grab some hotdogs and pretzels at the Maple Beach area, but decided to go to an area of the park with less amenities to park our truck (for the 3rd time) and get out our bikes. Ryan pulled Keira around in the trailer and we were able to find a play structure and swings for her to play on, which made her happy. She was really having a hard time at the beach areas because we wouldn't let her play because it was just too crowded to let her run around. Once we arrived back at our truck, we ran into a different family from church. Ryan played indoor soccer with Merigay, and I also knew her well from her involvement in Primary. We were able to set up our chairs and blankets with them. Her husband has already moved to Texas, so it was nice to be able to spend some time with her and her 4 girls before they move as well. Her girls also kept Keira occupied while we waited for the fireworks to start. The fireworks were really great. They were being shot off from an island on the lake just in front of us. At some points, they almost seemed too bright! Merigay really had found a great spot! Keira did really well, she didn't get scared, but she was tired, so she spent the show snuggling with Ryan. It took us a while to get home, but it was definitely worth it.

As for the week leading up the 4th, Keira and I had a pretty fun week. We went to the pool several times. Here is a super cute shot of Keira in her not so itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini! It was a present from Lucy. Keira loves it because it has a skirt and bows. She is such a girly girl already!
We also got together with Lisa and Dominic at the mall. We had planned to go to their pool, but the weather wasn't nice enough. I didn't take any pictures, but here is a picture of Keira and Dominic from last week at the Novi Sports Park, since I didn't add any photos from last week.