Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Whirlwind!

What a whirlwind we have been on since last Thursday!

Brock and I attended the Jimmy Buffett concert in NYC on Thursday night. We headed up early in the day to make sure we got there and missed all the traffic! Got into the city around 3pm, parked the car and went directly to Molly Wee's tavern (real convenient, a half block from where we parked the car!). We had a few beers and a little light lunch and headed out to walk around the city for a little bit before we met Bob and Linda at Todai for Dinner.

We did end up at Brother Jimmy's BBQ for a Land Shark beer - we had been told that Brother Jimmy's would be the place for Parrotheads and believe me, from the sea of Hawaiian shirts we saw when we walked in, we were told right! We had a beer and chatted with one of the bouncers before we headed off to Todai for dinner.

Now, I've heard of Todai at least once (or maybe every other) a month since I met Brock. Todai is a Japanese buffet style restaurant that Brock and Bobby (our brother-in-law) ate at in Los Angeles when they lived there. It's all you can eat and Brock and Bobby have been kindly asked to leave for eating too much. When Bob mentioned eating at Todai, Brock wouldn't consider any place else, so Todai it was. Besides, I wanted to see about this place.

WOW! All I can say is they had better start thinking of opening one near Philly because WOW! that was awesome. Todai is between 32nd and 31st - it spans the whole block (it's the short blocks, but still) and the buffet is practically the entire length of the restaurant. And it is good! Sushi and Shashmi and crab legs and oysters and clams on the half shell and all kinds of other goodies - you can eat all you want and believe me, I could have eaten a lot more than I did. I highly recommend if you are in NYC, try Todai!

Off to Buffett (sense a theme? Todai Buffet, Jimmy Buffett?) As usually, Jimmy was awesome. The crowd was awesome - although, being from Philly, it was a little weird to be cheering for NYC (which I only did half-heartedly). Jimmy did a lot more of newer stuff than I remember him doing in the past, but still played of few of the staples - Margaritaville, Boat Drinks, Pirate Looks at Forty and my personal fav, One Particular Harbour.

The concert was over and we were in the car and on our way through the Lincoln Tunnel by 11pm and home by 1am. Leda spent the night over at our neighbors, so we didn't get her until the morning. I had to, unfortunately, get up and go to work for a full day on Friday so sleep was very little! And then, we had guests come in on Friday afternoon.

First, friends from Ontario came through to visit on their way to the NASCAR Dover race. Dan and Deb stopped by for a spell and headed on their way about five minutes before the Marsons arrived! Abby and Sami and Aunt Aimee and Uncle Kurt came up from Florida to visit with us for a few days. We had a great evening of good food and good drink and good company. The cousins enjoyed playing with each other a lot on Friday night, which was good, because they were going to be spending the whole day on Saturday together!

Saturday morning came and the Marsons came back over from their hotel around 8:30 or so and we had a pancake breakfast made by Brock and then off to the Philadelphia Zoo for a day of animals! Rachel and the boys, Calean and Tristan, were going to be meeting us there, so when I say animals, I am not just talking about the animals in the zoo, I am talking about the five cousins who were going to have a blast together for the day!

The Lion checks Leda out!

We saw all the animals (well, most of them, anyway). The Monkey's, the Elephants, the Hippos, the Tigers (and the tiger cubs), the peacocks and the ducks, the Giraffes and the Zebras and the Coati!

Now, if you are asking yourself, "Self, what the heck is a Coati?" then you would have fit in pretty good around here on Friday night. Well, with the adults anyway. Leda has a Diego Field Journal that when you put the correct slide in will announce sounds of a specific animal and then announce the name of that animal. The Coati is one of those animals and Abby, Sami and Leda all know what it is. Without prompting, they looked at the picture and said, "Oh, that's the coati." Aimee and I looked at each other - we had NO clue what a coati was, what it looked like, except for the little cartoon picture on the Diego Field Journal slide. Little did we know that by the end of our trip to the zoo, we'd know what a Coati was (and we'd know how the animal's name was spelled!)

The Coati is a small mammal that eats insects. In fact, Brock first called it an anteater before we saw the display and immediately Aimee and I looked at one another and at almost the same time announced, "huh, so THAT is a coati!" Oh, and yes, it's not very photogenic!

A Coati!

The kids had a blast, the adults were exhausted by the end of the day! We all headed home and the girls slept in the cars on the way home. We decided to head out to the Japanese restaurant for a little hibachi and sushi for dinner and the girls had a good time out for dinner. And a special treat afterwards - we stopped for ice cream! I think the kids liked that the most!

On Sunday the Marsons came by for lunch - cheese steaks of course - and then headed off to join one of Aimee's friends from forever ago, Amy, at her house for dinner. Brock, Leda and I relaxed as much as possible! Naps, and Football and NASCAR Racing! Woo hoo!

Monday evening we headed over to GrandDad Teal's for dinner with GrandDad, Fay, Rachel and the boys and Uncle Wayne! A little BBQ and the kids running around in the backyard! The kids had a blast - I really think Leda LOVED having the time with all her cousins. We'll be seeing Calean and Tristan again soon for Halloween and Abby and Sami for Thanksgiving!

Today the Marsons stopped by for lunch before the headed south again for home. Leda thinks that she is going to play with her cousins again tomorrow! Hopefully she won't be too disappointed to know that they won't be able to all play together for awhile yet, but soon. I am so happy they all got along so well.

Cousins

Go here to see some of the best of the photos from the weekend!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Fins Up!

There is something all-inspiring about 17,000 people dancing with their arms above their heads, hands clasp, looking like sharks.

The first time I saw it happen, I was so amazed, I forgot to join in!

Now, I join in, but I am still amazed!

We attended the Jimmy Buffett Concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City last night. My first concert ever at MSG (considering I live in Philly area, this is not as amazing as it might sound!). We had an awesome time!

More on that later, the Marsons (Abby and Sami - Leda's cousins) are in town for the weekend so it's pretty crazy around here! Lots to update starting with all we did in NYC on Thursday afternoon and evening and ending sometime on Sunday or Monday, after the Marsons take leave. Check back soon!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Number nine...number nine...number nine...

Nine years ago today, Leda's Daddy married her Mommy in the backyard under the old sycamore tree with lots of family and friends who came to witness.

It was a sunny and warm September day.

Happy Anniversary, honey. I love you!

UPDATED: Oh, and Avast! Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day! Arrr!!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

So Far, So Good...

This will be a pretty quick post, due to the fact I have a headache that has plans to hit the Big Time if I don't get myself to bed and relax.

Last photo in Crib

Saturday morning we all woke up and, after the obligatory last photo of Leda in her crib, we immediately began to disassemble the crib. Leda was a little concerned that we were taking her bed away, but as soon as Brock started to bring the pieces of her new bed into the room so we could put it together, she got over it.

Three hours later, TA DA! Big Girl Bed!

Big Girl Bed

Big Girl looking OH so happy about Big Girl Bed

The dolphin quilt behind her is from her crib bedding set - we obviously never used it and I never had a place I could put it until now! Works perfectly and goes wonderfully with the bed and canopy!

So far, so good. She napped in her bed just fine on Saturday and after we spent the evening with the Durhams, she was so tired by the time we got her home, she was asleep before I left the room! Today, she napped fine (after a few minutes of playing in her bed) and she seems to be asleep now.

She hasn't left the bed yet, so I haven't felt the need to gate her into the bedroom area of the house. I am sure that is just a matter of time. But she seems to understand that she is to stay in the bed until Mommy or Daddy come an get her. Yes, I know that will soon change! But so far, she's been pretty good!

Big hurdle, jumped. Guess we'll see what life decides to bring us in the next couple of days/weeks!

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Baby for One More Night

Okay, I am officially sad.

Leda is sleeping in her crib for the last time tonight.

Big Girl Bed will be built tomorrow and crib will be dismantled.

After tonight, she won't be a baby anymore (except for the binky).

However, she will ALWAYS be my baby!

Wonder how many sleepless nights are in our very near future! ;-)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Stuck on Reality

I have recently come to the realization that I am stuck on reality.

Yes, I admit it, I watch reality TV shows.

Now, I can honestly say I haven't voted for anything on any reality show other than Dancing with the Stars (and only the last season with Apolo on it!) However, I do love to pick and choose my favorites, and when anyone I wanted to get voted off gets voted off, I sometimes cheer loudly!

I discovered So You Think You Can Dance this summer and I really had fun watching that show! I never voted for anyone on the show, but I was sure rooting for Sabra and am so happy she won! This is probably the only show other than Dancing with the Stars with Apolo on it that I would almost seriously consider calling in a vote. But I didn't!

I LOVE Survivor. I only watched the last show of the first season, but have watched pretty much every season since. It's not something I schedule my life around, but I love to watch it. There is something seriously deranged about shows where people promise things to one another in one breath and turn around and stab them in the back in the next breath and THEN ask those with the knives in their back to vote for them to win in the end! And the final tribal council, when all the jury members get to yell and scream at the two left to win is just priceless! Especially when the jury members did the same or worse stuff they are berating the possible winners for - just priceless!

I never was much of a Big Brother watcher - thought the concept was too weird. But I got sucked into this summer's season. I don't watch it every time it is on (I usually just try to catch the Thursday night show) and I sure as heck didn't pay to watch it online and we don't have Showtime, so it's not like I am watching them 24/7. I am, however, totally rooting for either Dick or his daughter Danielle to win!

When we were at the beach with the Durhams over the summer, there was a Top Chef, Miami marathon on Bravo that Jennifer was watching and again, I got sucked in! I've watched pretty much every episode since. Now that is good reality TV! Anything that has Anthony Bourdain participating as a judge can't be half bad!

Now, I have admitted that I watch these shows and that I like them - in some cases, a lot! I have to admit, it became quite obvious to me that I am stuck on reality when I flipped through the channel menu a few Wednesdays ago and found that Top Chef was all reruns from the previous season. I thought I might even experience a withdraw symptom or two - thank goodness, my addiction is not that bad yet.

Oh, and I dig Miami and LA Ink on TLC - those shows are pretty darn cool. Makes me wanna get a tattoo!

I can safely say you won't ever catch me watching The Bachelor (except for the one episode when the Bachelor (it may have been a bachelorette, I don't remember) took the date on the Portland Spirit - I mean, it is the family business after all!) or any of those stupid dating reality shows - those are just plain stupid. How the heck can you expect to find your one true love out of 25 by dating them all at the same time?? How weird! I don't watch American Idol - unless there is absolutely nothing else to do at that time of the night - and usually I have to turn it off because the singing can be atrocious. And I don't do the Real World or Road Rules (not in the past 5 years or so - seriously, is MTV dead or what??) and I don't do watch any of the Celebrity Reality - except I did watch a bit of the Osbournes a few years back - that was pretty good!

So there, I have admitted it - I am stuck on reality. And, I'm not ashamed (much)!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Hobart Reunion Party!

I can add two states to my list of states visited (or driven through) - Vermont and New Hampshire (if I'd ever been to either one, I don't remember it at all, so I count this weekend as the first times I've been in either state!)

We left immediately after work on Friday and drove to Deerfield, Massachusetts to spend the night. We got there around 10:30pm and Leda had slept maybe an hour before we got there. So she was WIDE awake. We got into our hotel room and got ready for bed and decided to watch a little news (since Leda wasn't quite ready to go back to sleep). We probably turned off the TV at 11:30pm, but there was no sleeping until about 1am, when Leda finally stopped poking and prodding me and Brock to keep us awake! Of course, then, Duff decided he wasn't going to sleep pretty much the whole night, so he trotted around the room, with his collar tink-tink-tinking all through the night. Oh, and then the whining started around 4:30 or so! The dog, not the kid!

We were up by 7 (I mean, who can sleep with all that going on??) We all took showers and packed up the car and headed over to the Abelson's in Greenfield to meet them for breakfast and then all of us would head up to NH, the site of the weekend party. Justin and Deana were running a little behind and we needed to do a little shopping (food and beer), so we headed off on our own.

The drive up was beautiful. I have to say, Vermont is a beautiful state. New Hampshire was beautiful as well, but we only got to go about 15 miles into New Hampshire! We stopped at a little local grocery store and picked up some provisions and down the road was our destination.

What a lovely little place. One of the guys that Brock hung out with in college owns the place (it's a family 'resort' of sorts). Basically two "cabins" and a barn on a few acres of land with lake access. It's in the middle of nowhere, so it's pretty secluded. Lots of bedrooms in the houses (which were beautiful - not quite as sparse as I was lead to believe - very nice places) and there were a few brave souls who set up some tents around the property, us included - we figured it would be kinda fun. So we set up our tent next to the Chamberlains (Ned, Kathy and Marie) and joined everyone hanging out down at the lake, having a few beers and a little swimming and boating.

View of the lake

This gathering was of the class of 1978 and 1979 of Hobart and William Smith colleges - all who attend the party were friends to some degree during college (roommates, dorm mates, etc) and have been friends ever since. They have all kept in touch and have tried to get together every year for some type of gathering like this. Tom and Gail (our hosts for the weekend) started holding the gathering at their place last year and hope to continue this on an annual basis, and we hope they do because we plan to attend as long as they have it!

The day was beautiful and there was lots of swimming and boating on the lake. The kids (there were plenty of kids) were just having a blast on the water and the dogs - oh my, were their dogs - thirteen to be exact - where having the time of their lives! Duff was just loving having all the playmates he could want! And Leda made friends with Percy, who was just a crazy dog - he would chase a ball all day as long as someone would though it to him! Somehow, he let Leda feed him dirt - for a few times, until he decided dirt wasn't exactly fun to eat! But he just played so nice with her!

Percy wonders, will Leda throw the ball?

Leda and Brock spent some time boating in a kayak on the lake. Leda really seemed to be enjoying herself! She loved the lake and loved swimming in it and playing in the dirt and sand. The child was absolutely filthy most of the day, except for when she was in the water! She loved it!

Brock and Leda on the lake

In the evening there was a catered dinner (that everyone chipped in for) that was excellent and hanging out and enjoying every one's company. Gail introduced Leda to a doll house and the child spent the rest of the evening playing with the doll house - she LOVES them!

Around 9pm or so, Leda, Duff and I headed off to our tent to go to sleep. About three seconds after I turned off the light, Leda was out as well! Duff wasn't too far behind. I spent a little time reading and probably put down the book around 9:30 - 10 and went to sleep myself. Brock came in around midnight and woke me up and I decided to head off for a bathroom before going back to sleep. I got back to the tent and we settled in for the night.

Not a few minutes after I got back from the restroom and we heard Gail and Tom head off for their house (they actually live a few houses down from the cabins), we heard the most interesting sound. It was very close and it did sound like a woman screaming. It turns out it was at least two packs of coyotes "talking" to one another. Another first - I had never heard a coyote before and wow, it was a little eerie! I was awake for just a little longer thinking about all the wildlife that was roaming around out there in the dark! I did eventually fall asleep!

Around 6am in the morning I woke to rain drops on the tent roof. Kinda expected it to rain a little - they did call for scattered showers throughout the weekend. I figured, it would have stopped by the time we decided to get up and we'd have an hour or so to let the tent dry out and then we could pack up and head home.

The rain, never let up - well, it let up, but only to a drizzle and only sporadically. Most of the time, it was pretty heavy! A little after 7am Leda woke up and after a little cuddling, we all got up and headed up to the house for some coffee. Besides, the tent had started to flood! We were taking on water from the floor seams! We decided it was time to get things out of the tent and into the car before they got to wet. After a little breakfast and hanging out, watching the rain, I headed down to pack up a very wet tent - luckily I had another change of clothes because I was soaked to the bone. The kids loved the rain - they got in their suits and headed down to the lake!

We started the long ride home around 11:30am and it started out pretty uneventful. It rained for most of the trip through Vermont and Massachusetts. Leda had worn herself out over the weekend so she was out in about 10 minutes. She slept most of the first two hours. When we got into New York we got on the Saw Mill which is a bit twisty and windy. Leda was complaining about a boo-boo in her mouth, and we thought she had just bit her tongue or something. We were getting off the Saw Mill and onto 87 when she let loose - yep, lovely, wonderful puke! Oh, and not just any normal puke, nope, the sour milk kind of puke. With chunks! Grossed out yet?

Well, Leda cried, I pleaded with Brock to pull over and he just wanted to find a safe, if not an exit, place to pull over. We did finally get pulled over to the side of the road and pulled the little girl out of her yucky seat, yucky clothes and tried to clean her up as best we could. I had a few moments when I didn't think I would make it through! I had to rinse the kid off with my bottle of water by the side of the road and boy did she not like that all too much!

Because I had hopped out of the car so quickly, I didn't even close my car door. About the time we were undressing Leda by the side of the road, Duff decided he needed to figure out what was going on and he hopped out of the car, too. I turned around to grab my water out of the front seat to find my dog, sans leash, standing just outside my car door - I practically had a heart attack - I yelled at the dog so loudly and urgently that he cowered, but he thankfully hopped back into the car and I closed the door. Duff is a great dog, a very loyal dog, but the idea of him outside the car without a leash by the side of a six-eight lane highway with traffic rushing by was the last thing I needed at that moment!

We got Leda cleaned up as much as possible and found the only dry towel (mostly dry) we had left after the weekend and placed that in her car seat (which we cleaned out as well as we could) and put a mostly naked child (the clothes bag was buried deep in the car and we weren't sure if this was the last of it) back into her car seat and off we went. With the air conditioner blasting in our faces to help with the smell of vomited up sour milk! It was a lovely two hour ride home.

As for Leda, she was fine. What I deduced had happened was when she fell asleep, she had fell asleep with her cup of milk that she had from breakfast. When she woke up two hours later, she finished said cup of milk. We assume that at that point, the milk may have started to turn a little and the twisty ride down the Saw Mill didn't help matters and her little tummy couldn't take it any more, so it gave it up! Because the kid was fine the rest of the ride home and was fine when we got home (she woofed down some chicken and yogurt for dinner).

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend - really, it was. We enjoyed spending time with old friends. We can't wait until next year! Go see some more pictures!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

T-Minus one week...

...(and a day or so)...

until Leda is in a big girl bed.

Ikea finally (FINALLY) had the bed we wanted for Leda in stock as of yesterday and so we trundled on down to the store to pick it up along with the canopy and mattress.

Since we will be heading off to New Hampshire this weekend, it will be next weekend before I will be able to put it together, take down her crib and get her bedroom all reconfigured with the new bed.

Leda's excited. She loves the bed (the set up they had in the store tonight had the bed as a bunk bed and Leda climbed right on up and loved it. Of course, she won't have it as a bunk bed yet, but it's nice to know she likes it that way as well!)

I'm excited. Leda's been playing in her room a lot more now an likes to play in her crib (which she can climb in and out of when the side is down). This gives me heart attacks everytime I see her in and/or climbing in or out of the crib. I figure when we have the big girl bed in there, I won't have to worry about her killing herself getting in and out of the crib! Also, I can climb into the bed with her and read her books there! I can't wait!

Let's see, who do you think is more excited about the bed?? ;-)

The Season of Shopping is upon us

This is what I received in the mail today....

Catalogs

Yes, that would be TEN (10) catalogs! Yes, I said TEN!

Okay, so I usually get a lot of catalogs - I have in the past purchased from many catalogs (mostly their online stores). But to receive 10 catalogs in one day, now that's gotta be a record!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Summer over?

Why is it that Labor Day is the end of Summer? Isn't the end of Summer on September 23rd? I always feel as though we are being rushed into Fall on the day after Labor Day.

Not that I have a problem with Fall. I love Fall - one of my favorite seasons (I tend to like Fall and Spring more than I like Winter and Summer). I just don't want to be rushed into it.

Anyway, school's back in session (not that it effects us all that much yet) and the traffic outside the house has picked up during the morning and afternoon hours and the weather has a nice coolness to it that is usually lacking during the Summer months. A leaf or two have begun to change on the trees outside my office window. I may have put away my "baving soup*" for the last time yesterday (*what Leda calls a bathing suit).

We had a nice holiday weekend at home. On Friday night we had the Flogaus's join us for dinner. Dave and Annie and Brock and I had some nice adult conversation while Leda and Danny played. On Saturday Brock headed up to Pocono for the day of racing the MINI while Leda and I hung out at home. We did a little shopping, napping and then Leda and I painted! We painted a nice picture for Cousin Steven who is in Iraq. Plus a few other paintings that we will have to figure out who to share them with!

On Sunday we headed over to the Durham's for a little Labor Day get together. Leda and I and Daddy all had fun swimming in the pool and playing with Paige and hanging out with good friends. On Monday we relaxed and then headed over to the Shier's for a little last night before school hangout/bbq where we swam some more!

These pictures are in the Durham's pool - Leda LOVES to get in the big pool now that we bought her a little floating device (that would be the yellow thing on her chest). It helps keep her head above water. Brock threw on the pink floaties when we were at the Durham's and all that buoyancy kept her a float enough that we could let her go and she could "swim" on her own. It was quite cute.

Leda is swimming!

In the Pool

Back to work yesterday. No school yet for Leda (next year we'll start her in a pre-school). Short work week and then we are off to New Hampshire for a weekend gathering of Brock's College buddies. Hopefully the weather will cooperate as we may camp out in the tent!

Speaking of which, I set up the tent in the backyard over the weekend to ensure it didn't stink (since it hasn't been used in over 3 years) and to ensure I still remembered how to put it up! Thank goodness it comes with the instructions attached to it's bag, so I can't lose them! Leda had a great time running around in the tent. It has some pockets on the sides to hold things like jewelry and wallets (for when you are inside the tent) and Leda thought they were AWESOME because they were just the right size to hold her Dora books! Wonderful!

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