Tuesday, September 30, 2008

2 bits of good news in Toledo

Numero UNO
Today I was looking for coupons online and found out that THE MELTING POT opened HERE in Toledo!!! and if you sign up for their fondue club- you get free DESSERT fondue. Although definitely overpriced, The Melting Pot is still great fun for special occasions. Kent and I LOVE LOVE LOVE this place.
Numero DOS
remember how a piece of our wall was cut out to fix our plumbing? and how we got to go out to dinner because of it?! Well, they made a small mess and leaked some rusty water in a very inconspicuous spot on our carpet but still wanted to fix it. Apparently the company charges the same amount regardless of area cleaned- so we got our all of our carpets cleaned :) How lucky are we? I think that kent is the happiest.

Monday, September 29, 2008

our weekend- in the form of MANY pictures.

We are back home and into our normal routine already. Our little weekend excursion was great! I was shocked when Kent told me to pack our bags for the weekend. The drive to Buffalo is just under five hours and was absolutely beautiful! I'm sure it won't be nearly as pleasant during the winter months. Kent and I even still think the toll booths are a little exciting. Zeb was nearly perfect on the drive there and back. He missed his bed A LOT and actually fell asleep in Laney's arms after refusing to sleep in the pack'n'play. He NEVER falls asleep anywhere but his bed at night. When we got home last night he giggled with glee and dove headfirst (from my arms) into his crib.

Zeb LOVED Laney and Taylor's apartment! He ran up and down their hallways and around their sun room. And, of course, he loved Laney. He can definitely tell us apart but likes her a little more than most.

Kent made sure that Laney had the weekend off of work and that he and I could have a night without the rugrat- everything was perfect. Buffalo is quite the happening town (compared to Toledo) and we had so much to do.

We stayed at a little Inn the first night and then met L and T for breakfast and a stroll around the farmer's market. We went to some estate sales in their area and then headed to a suburb of Buffalo for "The Great Pumpkin Festival".

I'd have to say that this was the highlight of our trip. We got to take a hayride, watch people catapault pumpkins in the largest pumpkin cannon I've ever seen (although the one I built in mr. clark's physics class back in high school was pretty stinking cool), peruse the ridiculously large selection of pumpkins, pet lots of nasty animals (a goat nearly bit baby hank-possibly due to the fact that Laney was trying to get him to), and go through the CREEPIEST "kid friendly" spook alley of all time. We even found a little bit of Toledo at the farm!

Zeb has picked up the word pumpkin and loves the orangeness of them. He was so excited to be sorrounded by them all.

The pictures of the very disturbing spook alley need to be viewed in the largest way possible to get the full effect. I canNOT believe the strange creatures they had in this place. They terrified ME.

I'm not sure why we decided to kiss the obese clown woman- she was nast-o.

Check out these emaciated skeletons burying somebody. ewww.and here's the only part that made Zeb cry- the giant talking troll.
Zeb gave lots of hugs and kisses while we were there and actually took some interest in playing with baby Hank. We attended church with L and T yesterday morning where I was mistaken for Laney a zillion times. I just don't think we still look that much alike anymore- apparently I am wrong.
It was great to see Laney and Taylor- and I am so glad that we have family relatively close! Thanks for the trip, Kent!

Friday, September 26, 2008

guess where we are!?!

Kent surprised me with a trip to New York (Buffalo) this weekend for our anniversary! I'll have to post pictures when we get back home!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I just LOVE reasons to have parties and get/give gifts and to celebrate. September 25th is definitely one of my favorite reasons.

Happy Anniversary to US!!! I think it's also one of the reasons that I love fall so much. It was always my dream to get married in the fall- and I'm so glad Kent was just as happy to get married mid-semester as I was!

The day we got married was ABSOLUTELY wonderful and perfect (minus getting pulled over on the way home and nearly peeing my pants [wedding dress] because of it). Life with Kent has continued to get more perfect and more wonderful (with no pant peeing or any more pullovers).

When Kent asked my parents if he could marry me- my dad simply stated- "you know what you're getting in to". I am so glad that Kent is ignorant to all of my painfully obvious and obnoxious flaws (or at least that he's so good to pretend he doesn't notice them!). Can you imagine being a person of order and cleanliness- and being married to ME?!

I am truly the happiest person in the world and we are definitely going to give the marriage another year!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I know that some of you get up this early everyday- but that doesn't make it any easier for me. And really- I'm getting up at 5:45. WAY WORSE than six. Sorry, no time for blogging. I've got to sleep.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Kitchen repairs=have to eat out=happiness

The lady below us has been complaining about a leak in her apartment for FOUR years. It wasn't doing much damage to anything and the source couldn't be found anywhere. This week the leak got bad and started getting her cupboards and walls pretty wet so they decided to take some serious action. Al, our fix it man, came into out apartment and started drilling holes in the back of our cupboards until he found the source. It was in such an odd spot that they had to call in a plumber who had to fix it by going through our LIVING room wall :) We were pretty excited about the mess and non-usable kitchen (we didn't want to keep using our sink and dishwasher because it was leaking on the poor lady downstairs) because it meant we got to use our Chili's gift card that we've been saving for an occasion such as this.

Here is the picture of our semi-fixed wall- and then just some of the holes in our cupboards where they finally found the leak.

Zeb was beyond happy to be eating out(as were we).

Monday, September 22, 2008

We LOVE Halloween and Fall. Happy beginning of fall.

I have to agree with a friend here in Toledo who argued that it is fall and not Christmas that is "The most wonderful time of the year". Today I welcomed fall with outstretched arms. Is there anything better than the smells? and the feel of it? or the colors? or the crunch of leaves? or that crisp cool air? I am so so so happy.

One of our favorite fall/Halloween traditions is perusing the decoration aisles at Walmart/Target/Meijer. Last year Zeb would shudder and tear up almost instantly at the site of anything Halloween. This year he has embraced and loved almost all of it. This evening on our family home evening activity we discovered the part he has yet to appreciate.

I know, I know. We are terrible, rotten, very bad, no-good parents. Sometimes it's just too hard to resist. Zeb's faces were priceless. And please note the fuzzy baby rat in hand. He asked for it in the Halloween aisle and immediately began to shower it with hugs and kisses?! No prompting whatsoever from us. He also demanded to hold it the rest of our shopping trip.
Oh, and to all of you parents out there- don't act like you've never done anything like this to your kids. (Or allowed an uncle or aunt to do it). I think it's just a natural part of parenting.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

five ingredients or fewer.

This is one of my favorite recipes from cooking group this month (thanks candace!). The Chocolate Eclair Cake is in my top five all time favorite desserts- and it is INSANELY easy to make. I can't believe how delicious it is. We had for dessert with the elders today.

2 small packs vanilla pudding
3.5 cups cold (skim) milk
1 tub cool whip (fat-free)
2-3 packs grahams

Frosting (mix all together with beaters)
1.5 cups p. sugar
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons soft butter
3 tablespoons cocoa

Spread layer of grahams on bottom of 9 by 13 pan. Mix milk and pudding for two minutes and then FOLD in cool whip. Spread half the pudding mix over grahams. Put another layer of grahams on the pudding and pour remaining mix over top. Finish with one more layer of grahams and top with frosting. Set in fridge to let crust soften (5-7 hours).

Saturday, September 20, 2008

a family fair at lutheran village :)

We had quite the rough night last night with the rugrat and his cough. Thankfully his oxygen levels are staying above 96 and besides lots of coughs (and subsequent vomit-a-thons) he's just got a runny nose. Last night at 2 AM Kent and I unanimously voted to give Zeb away today. Luckily for him we woke up with a change of heart. Kent was off to study at school and I took Zeb to a fair at the the Lutheran Village (a retirement community here in Toledo). Everything was absolutely free and the weather was GREAT. Lots of friends ended up being there as well.

We started off with free lunch (hot dogs, cookies, pizza, popcorn, snow cones, lemonade, and all the candy you could want) and then made the rounds. Zeb doesn't do candy or cookies- and I only let him have a plain "snow" sno-cone so that I didn't have to worry about a mess. Am I a mean mom or what? He still loved it.

Zeb was obsessed with the swimming pool full of macaroni. Even more than the macaroni- he LOVED the training dogs. They were so calm and good with kids. He wouldn't stop giving them kisses. They also had a herpetlogical booth but wouldn't allow Z man to touch the snakes. They said the law prohibits children under five from petting them!?! What kind of law is that? Bicknell (our pet snake back in Utah) slithered all over Zeb in his early days.

Here's the Zebster offering an open mouthed kiss to the giant dog.
There was a small petting zoo too. The animals were pretty calm and Zeb didn't shriek until the donkey BIT HIM! It bit the poor little guy's finger. He wasn't too traumatized and only cried for a few seconds. It did leave him with a pretty smooshed finger for awhile though.
All in all it was a GREAT day. I could not believe that everything was free. We got to decorate mini pumpkins, go "fishing" for prizes, and all sorts of other great stuff. There was even an armed forces booth where I got some coloring books called "Let's talk about deployment" and "My book about when my parent has to go away". Hopefully I won't be using them- but most likely will at some point.

and here's the donkey that mistook his finger for a baby carrot.

Hip-hip hooray for the Lutherans today! We loved their family fair.

my favorite site

I've blogged about this site before- but this week startsampling has really paid off. Besides the great cereal and granola bars that I got in the mail this week for FREE- I also won one of their 25 dollar gift cards from restaurant.com. The qualifying restaurants in Toledo are limited and somewhat strange- but there do look like a few great pizza places I want to try out! Plus, it's free. How disappointed can I be if I'm not paying? I'm going to try for it again this week!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

busy busy busy

The past week has been insanely busy. Good thing I have such a fabulous husband who loves getting the rugrat ready for bed- because I've been gone every night this week and Kent has been the one to do it. This evening Zeb loved that he could blow bubbles in the tub. I was just heading out the door and luckily caught it on video. Our favorite part is when he sucks up the water instead of blowing the bubbles. He nearly drowned a few times while trying to get the hang of it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Book Club

Tonight Leisy has left Zeb and me to go to book club to discuss one of my all time favorite books. It's hard not to feel jealous when she gets to read of the ignominy of Hester Prynne, the burning guilt of Arthur Dimsdale, the ruthless hatred of Roger Chillingworth, and the mischievous innocence of Pearl while I'm stuck at home studying all the hundreds of ways bacteria can evade our natural defenses and make us sick! Luckily for me Zeb was an angel baby tonight; he came to me to have his diaper changed and giggled when I put him in bed. He's trying to make up for last night I guess. It helped that Leisy actually told him she was leaving and gave him a kiss goodbye.

Enough blogging for me. I have buckets of studying to finish. I'll end my blog with a quote from The Scarlet Letter and include a cute picture of Zeb for all of those who thought this was the most boring blog entry ever!

"A bodily disease, which we look upon as whole and entire within itself, may, after all, be but a symptom of some ailment in the spiritual part."

Zeb reading some of HIS favorite books!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

This kid DOES love me!

He never says "mom" and runs from me at any chance he gets. Today after he kissed me he stuck out his tongue and made the funniest little face. Meanwhile- he'll chant "da-ddy! da-ddy! da-ddy!" all day long and pound at the door demanding that Kent come home from school. Tonight I had to drive down to Bowling Green for a seminary meeting and apparently Zeb was not a happy camper. I didn't say goodbye or explain to him that I'd be gone for the evening and he didn't take it well. It's the first time that he has actually expressed any disdain with my absence. Kent said he wailed and sobbed for "mooooom" at the door for an extended period of time right before bedtime. I shouldn't say that I am pleased with his behavior- but I kind of am :) He has been so much fun lately. This is the age of children that I love. He's so busy and so interactive. I think it's mostly the age, but partially his new medication regiment as well. Hooray for healthier lungs and a wonderful zebby!

Monday, September 15, 2008

zeb's best night EVER!

We haven't seen Zeb this happy and excited...ever! Tonight for our FHE activity we went on the full moon walk at Swan Creek park. Zeb was ecstatic. He was laughing and talking to the park guide the entire time!
The glow worms espcially intrigued him. Kent and I were shocked by his ability to see and run around in the pitch black! He could pick out glowworms from pretty far away too. (They light up like fireflies stuck in the ground).
We did have one small problem when the guide attempted to "call" for owls. They played a tape of owl calls to bring in real owls and Zeb thought it was AMAZING. Every time they played one of the hoots- he'd start jabbering and pointing at the sky. We tried to explain to him that they were calling for owls and that he needed to be quiet and listen. Once he heard our explanation he wouldn't stop shouting "OWL! OWL!". At least the other people on the hike thought it was cute. Needless to say we didn't get any owls to swoop in.

By the end of the hike Zeb was DEAD asleep! We ended our evening with hot chocolate and Caramel Apple Cider- two of my favorite signs of cool weather :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

outside adventures!

For the most part, I love one o'clock church! Zeb usually takes a decent nap before church and then church goes relatively smoothly. Plus, I get to have good morning time with Kent because his meetings don't start until noon. This morning we went on a walk to the park- and decided to do some berry hunting while we were out! Along with lots of scratches and bug bites- I got a nice haul of blackberries (or some sort of dark berry). Kent thinks they are poisonous but Zeb and I eat them all of the time and we are just fine. I'm so excited to eat them on my cheerios tomorrow morning :)

We also had torrential rains today. Maybe we are getting the remnants of Ike because it rained buckets- and really hard. Kent and Zeb (both in their their church clothes) went puddle jumping and rain dancing. Zeb LOVED it. I didn't get any pictures until they came inside. They were sopping wet and so happy.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I think that he has imaginary friends that hang out by the door. He tends to spend a lot of time there just jabbering and pointing. His nonsensical babblings have gotten very frequent as of late. In frustration or anger, instead of a terribly obnoxious scream, he actually now yells gibberish. It's an improvement from the scream.

I have no idea why he decides to bash his head against the door in this video. Perhaps his "friends" told him to do it.

Friday, September 12, 2008

another fall favorite

Chewy caramel corn

This one has been one of my favorites since I can remember. It's from my Grandma O- and it is so dang good. Caramel corn always reminds me of grandma's house and Halloween. We made it last night for a movie treat.

1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 c br. sugar
1 c karo syrup
1 stick butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Melt the first four ingredients and bring to soft ball candy stage (when dropped in cold water, it will lose some elasticity- but when removed can be formed into an oozyish softball). I just let mine boil (while stirring) for two minutes. Remove from heat, add vanilla, and let sit for five minutes. Pour on top of six quarts (twenty-four cups popped or about 3/4 c kernals).

I halved my recipe and still made plenty!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Please forgive the filming. This is a bit of a bumpy and blurry movie- but well worth the seasickness. Zeb's hugs and kisses are so funny. He kisses open mouth and thinks that a hug is tilting your head and saying "awww". He is learning new words everyday and is up to nineteen that he uses regularly. My favorite thing he says is thank-you.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

look what we won!!!

I entered Kent, Zeb, and myself into a raffle at Kent's school to win these giant pumpkins - and we won ALL three. Really, I don't think that anybody else wanted them and we won by default. I LOVE them. They are ginormous and make me so excited that fall has arrived. This morning on our run I could see my breath!!!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

freebies galore!

At walking group this week I heard about the "Fallen Timbers Farmer's Market" grand opening celebration. I also heard that it involved free stuff so we placed it on our itinerary for the day! it turned out to be fabulous. There were buckets of fun things going on. Zeb didn't love the oversized dog- but enjoyed everything else immensely. I was super bad and told the man inside the costume to hold Zeb tight even though he was screaming because I wanted a picture. I love the photo.

We went on a free hay ride (where we got free tickets to a haunted house), watched a P.F. Changs cooking demo (with great free samples, recipes AND coupons for a free appetizer!!!), sampled all sorts of great fruits,breads, etc. from the farmers, and got TWO ten dollar gift cards to the mall!! One for Zeb and one for me. Kent and I will definitely be going to P.F. Changs (w/o zeb)to use them and the appetizer coupon.

Monday, September 8, 2008

one of my favorite fall recipes

This recipe comes from Kent's family and I love it. It is absolutely terrible for you- but you can pretend that it's healthy because it has lots of zucchini in it.

"Chocolate Chip Brown Sugar Zucchini Cake"
the b sugar makes it soooo tasty.
1.2 c butter
1 3/4 c w sugar
1/2 c oil
2 eggs
2 cups blended zucchini (skins and all)
1 tsp vanilla

2.5 c flour
4 Tbs cocoa
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soda
1 tsp b. powder

Mix wet and dry ingredients and then add 1/2 c sour milk (add 1/2 tbs lemon juice to 1/2 c milk). Pour into greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with 3/4 c brown sugar and choco chips. 3/4 c nuts optional. bake at 350 for 40 minutes!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

a neeww caaaar! -just pretend it's rod roddy's voice saying it.


Zeb was all smiles and in celebration mode this weekend. We've always been a one car family and been rather content in our environmental friendliness. We also knew becoming a two car family would be an inevitable development with the progress of Kent's schooling. Our plan has always been to get car numero dos before Kent started his third year of school (which includes hospital rotations at insane hours, rotations in rural areas around Ohio, and military rotations all over the country). We've been on the hunt for awhile now trying to gage the market, find out what best fit our needs, and just checking out deals so that we were prepared and didn't have to jump into a purchase we weren't sure about due to necessity. Kent doesn't start his third year for another ten months but we stumbled upon the perfect car. With me teaching seminary in the morning, winter approaching, Kent having to be to church an hour earlier than us (mid Zeb's nap), and a plethora of other factors we decided to take the plunge.

It's a 2002 Honda Civic LX. The only downside to the car is that every time I see it, it makes me think that my mom is here!

We've now got a Toyota and Honda- not the most popular car choices here in middle America!

We are terribly excited and pretty nervous! Big life changes always make me a little anxious.