Monday, November 30, 2009

my favorite christmas kickoff tradition.

What I am going to do when we move from Toledo and can't run Maumee's holiday hustle?! we may have to create our own wherever we go.

We were lucky enough to find some friends at the start of the race- sorry we missed you shelly!- and ended up snapping this picture (thanks, alison!). 

I planned on walking the route because apparently my stitches and cuts are the least stable between weeks 1 and 2 (due to the dissolving sutures and whatnot) but my pride got the best of me.  How am I supposed to go to a race and walk?!  I have been feeling fabulous and felt confident that everything would be fine. Plus- I ran half the race with a surgeon (thanks, kurt!). I was confident in his abilities to do something (call 911?!) if I collapsed and was bleeding out. In his defense- he did NOT encourage my running.  And apparently Kent wasn't too worried about my condition because he ran way ahead of me.  And in his defense- he needed to beat Santa Claus so that we could get a free movie ticket.  I ended up running the entire race and felt great.  I was a little sore the next day- but nothing extraordinary.

Here's a shot of what both kiddos looked like all night long. Zeb would NOT wipe the grimace off his face.  Even after the race, when we met up with his friends to watch the parade, he continued to grump.

I think he finally smiled a little when he saw all the lit up trains, racecars, and big trucks in the glow in the dark parade!

Check out his scowl as we waited for the parade to begin.  He informed us that he was "a little bit cross".

 The parade was fun and festive- albeit rather cold- and we had a good time.  One float in particular caught my attention and I had to include a picture.  It is a giant fire (major flames came out of his mouth) breathing dragon with a message.    The part you can't see says "papa's comin' boys".  It was a little bit strange to see in a small town parade- but a very creative dragon nonetheless

Sunday, November 29, 2009

blacky black friday.

I went to bed thursday night at ten-thirty so that I could get started nice and early for my day of deals.  I know I've mentioned this before- but I LOVE meijer. 

This place is wonderful. It's like a happier, cleaner, and friendlier Walmart. Prices can be a little higher- but when you shop their sales and use coupons, the prices can't be beat. All of my major "needs" this black friday were here.  They are open 24 hours and are just a mile from our house so it couldn't have been more convenient. I went over at three and grabbed my spot in the I-touch line.  Kent needs it for school (or so they say) and the deal couldn't be passed up. They were fifty dollars cheaper than anywhere else I'd seen.

I chummed up to the people in line around me so that I could do some multi tasking. Once I had sufficiently befriended my line neighbors I proposed a plan. Since the store was open and many of the good deals were already out on the floor- or being put out periodically- I offered to hold places in line while they looked around, shopped, used the bathroom, etc- if they would do the same for me.  My plan worked like a charm.  By four thirty (we could make our purchases at five) my cart was full of everything I wanted.  I got my I-touch at five, rang up, and was out of there by 5:05.  We got two FREE knife sets, a wonderful external hard drive, and some great stuff for the kiddos.  I love meijer.

I got home and took a shower- and was just about to take a short nap when all the kiddos started to wake up.  we fed and clothed them and then Laney joined me for phase two of the shopping.  We hit up walmart, target, best buy, big lots, and meijer one more time (I'd forgotten to take my coupon that morning) before heading home.  It was a really great morning.  I can't believe the sales that these stores have! and I can't believe how wonderful it is living OUTSIDE of Utah for black friday.  Sure, things are are crazy- but not insane.  You can go to the stores at seven or eight and still see products on the shelves!  I am totally finished Christmas shopping and it feels great. Plus I feel even better that I spent under budget (my camera and kent's I touch were in a separate budget that we'd been saving up for) and came out with forty dollars in giftcards and two free sets of knives!  really, it's like we almost MADE money.

Upon arriving home from shopping, we were met by an unwanted visitor.  The norwalk virus somehow hitched a ride (we drove through the Norwalk, OH, twice on our jaunt to and from ashland) and had infected us.  Kent was throwing up and others were exhibiting unpleasant symptoms.  We (kent, zeb, and Ike and myself) took a long three hour nap while laney, taylor, and Henry went downtown to check out the Imagination Station.  Good thing they snuck in some fun before the virus got them.

The plan for the evening was to head to the fallen timbers mall to check out the reindeer, see santa, and get free twenty dollar giftcards.  Henry and Taylor had to leave early due to some non stop vomiting but the rest of us enjoyed getting our free money and starting off the Christmas Holiday.   I think standing in lines and meeting strange people is one of my favorite parts about Christmas!!

 We spent our last night with laney and taylor eating pizza and watching a movie. It was so much fun to have family here for the holidays.  Too bad we gave them the throw-ups while they were here!  Laney ended up sick on the ride home and taylor started once they reached buffalo.  Sorry, guys.  I think I am the only one that remained totally unscathed. good thing it was a quick little bug.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Where have we been?!

we've been having a non stop party for the past few days.  No time to blog. Only time for eating, shopping, and laughing.

Laney, taylor, and henry showed up tuesday evening- and late wednesday afternoon we made the short trek to Ashland. 

I love this picture.  Oh, the lucky men who married these crazy ladies.  What were they thinking?!  Being able to visit cousin Amy and her in-laws is one of the highlights to living in Ohio.

 Thanksgiving was absolutely amazing. I had been nauseous and and not eating since last friday (thanks to the surgery) but luckily it all wore off just in time for the holiday.  Thanksgiving dinner hasn't tasted that good in quite some time.

Here's Jack- the turkey carver.  He also did some chiropractic work on me Thanksgiving morning to help fix my tmj.  Thank you, jack!  I'm doing my home exercises!

and dessert was especially delightful. Just ask Amy.  I LOVE this ridiculous picture of her. 

And after dinner we got to celebrate our gratitude in an extra special way.  The boys pulled out their guns for a shoot off.  I got to try my hand at a handgun- a 45- and an AK-47.  I'd have to say the AK-47 was my favorite.  Just shot after shot tearing up the back lawn :)  Those starkeys sure know how to put on a good Thanksgiving. 

And apparently as soon as you put a gun in my hands- I put on a funny face. 

After all of the eating and shooting- we took a needed rest and then packed up to head home. Black Friday was on the horizon and my game plan started that night!

Thank you thank you thank you Starkeys for a wonderful holiday. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I woke up this morning and found myself.  I was starting to worry that this surgery had permanently made me miserable.  Thankfully when Kent left for school/work this morning and woke me up at six-thirty to say goodbye, I realized I hadn't been tossing and turning all night trying to find a painless position and I hadn't woken up AT ALL to take any motrin.  Plus, I didn't even feel like throwing up.

For some ridiculous reason I had decided that recovery was going to be a breeze.  I can have babies with perfect recoveries- so why not a cholecystectomy? those stones were waaaay smaller than Zeb and Ike, right?  Apparently size has nothing to do with it.  The past three days have been hell.

We still took it pretty easy today and stayed home-  but only to save up energy for Thanksgiving and Black Friday!

Poor little Zeb has been really confused about it all, though.  Today he kept asking to go to "meijer" and "malmart",  We see his friends or go shopping or at least go out somewhere every single day- but he's been cooped up in here since saturday.  He just wants friends or social interaction of some sort. Good thing Laney, Taylor, and Henry will be here any minute!!!!!!

And- of course- the very moment I start feeling better, Ike gets all snotty and coughy on us.  Lucky for him, we've got choo choo soul.  Both of my boys LOVE LOVE LOVE this show.  We got the dvd/cd pack from the library and it's been the music of choice around here lately.  It's not even all that bad. I'd highly recommend it.

I think that Ike has a crush on Genevieve.  He's tapping his legs to the beat in this picture.

And here's the monster entering the phase that I hate MOST.  emptying every shelf of every item ALL DAY LONG.

the deals, the deals, the deals!!!

I can barely stand the anticipation. I'm already stressing about when we are going to need to stand in lines to get what we want.  I've scoured every ad looking for the best and most exciting deals.  We've narrowed our (my) list down to six items.  Unfortunately they are at three different stores!  and ALL of those three store open at five AM. We'll just have to see what happens.

The big item I really wanted (dslr camera)- was actually at a fourth store- and possibly the craziest store of them all- so I've been a little anxious about how I'd get everything.  In a pre black friday miracle- that VERY camera went on sale on for the same price PLUS came with extras!  I ordered last Saturday and was excited beyond belief. Until yesterday morning when I checked Amazon to see prices and realized my item had dropped FIFTY dollars since I purchased it.  I was LIVID.  Amazon does not price adjust.  I felt robbed.  So, I did what any deserving and entitled customer would do. I called customer service and "chatted" with the nice man until he refunded me fifty bucks "just this once".  Oh, how  I LOVE AMAZON INC, LLC. Thank-you Thank-you Thank-you.

Check out the crazy deal I got here and HERE.   It will change a bit day by day due to price flucuations- but It is still better than any black friday deal because of the lens upgrades and the free filter and no taxes and free shipping.  To get the biggest discount- remember that all items must be purchased through amazon inc, llc- not a third party vendor.  If anybody is serious about the purchase- e-mail me and I'll give you all of the details.

So, who else is shopping on Black Friday? the most comprehensive lists are found at I think we are going to camp out at Meijer.  They've got the two bigger ticket items with the biggest markdowns that we NEED and a few really great small ones.

I can't wait!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

our night out and updates

The night before my surgery I really wanted to splurge and eat something delicious since I knew I wasn't going to be hungry for the next few days.  I am just barely starting to get an appetite back so I'm glad we got in a good meal last thursday.

 Ohio has a few strange restaurant chains (Bob Evans, the waffle house, Frisch's Big Boy,etc) that we've always thought were kind of mysterious. We've tried out some of them- but lately I'd been hearing A LOT about Max and Erma's.  They have really creepy mascots that walk in the local parades but usually hand out coupons.  We had gotten a few of those coupons and decided to try the place out.  My seminary students swore that their cookies were the best ever.  I'll be honest- they were really really really good.  And so was the food.  Even Zeb and Ike loved it all. kent got some burger called the Garbage burger.  It had EVERYTHING on it.  It made me want to puke- but he claims it was heavenly.

The past few days have been a bit of a blur- but I finally feel like things are getting back to normal.  I HATE pain meds so after the first few doses I switched to advil 800s and I feel so much better and less insane.  I still didn't make it to church today, though.  I didn't even miss church two days after having my rugrats- but this morning it just wasn't happening. I was so dizzy and uncomfortable still that I couldn't imagine three hours of church.
Plus, yesterday both of our little boys went to bed with fevers ?!?! but woke up perfectly feverless.  We decided to keep them home too because they weren't yet fever free for 24 hours. And since I shouldn't be picking them up- Kent stayed home to help out as well.  It was really good to just relax. Perhaps the boys having fevers the night before was part of heavenly father's plan to get me stay home from church.  I was totally planning on going had the kid been healthy but it turns out I really needed the rest.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

goodbye little gall bladder, goodbye.

Be warned- this is a long post.  

The day started off yesterday quite pleasantly.  We had seminary- watched some cartoons-went to the library- and then I dropped my kiddos off at a friend's place (thank you so much to those that helped with our rugrats!!) and headed up to the hospital.  I went a little early so that I could visit another friend in the hospital who'd just had a baby.  We got a picture of our shared hospital stay and then I had to head up to pre-op.  I am so glad that I wasn't at the hospital to have a baby.

Everything worked out perfectly because Kent was in lectures at the same hospital. He came up and met me in Alison's room and then came to pre-op with me.

The nurses chatted with us and started my IV.  I told them Kent could do it but they wouldn't let him. I made him give me this happy face for a picture. And he took this lovely one of me in my elf booties and flattering gown.

 Laney, are these like the booties you had to march down the Latvian hospital in (with no other clothes on, I might add, for those of you that don't know the story!)?

The anesthesiologist came in and mostly tried to convince kent to be an anesthesiologist.  I asked a few questions and he was really nice. I don't remember seeing him again though.

The doctor also came in for a chat and then the nurse came and offered me a drug. I asked her what is was for and she replied, "it's like a margarita without the salt. It will calm you down".  I giggled and then declined.  I was pretty calm and didn't want to have any extra drugs in my system that I didn't need.  Plus, I wanted to be as alert as possible up until I went all the way under. I do think that a drink every night before bed would actually help me calm down at night and not clench my teeth so bad!!  too bad we don't drink, huh? :)

And then it was off to the operating room!   Kent walked me part way and then they made him stop.  I told him to hurry and get one last picture of me because it could be the last time he saw me alive. He giggled and the nurse was in shock. She told me that was a terrible thing to say to him!

The operating room was kind of creepy. All green walls and big lights on the ceiling. It was super cold too.  My nurses were wonderfully friendly, though. Gerty had been in the Army as a nurse anesthetist and Belinda knew my friend Nicole who had referred me to Dr. White to do the surgery. I chatted with them for awhile (I get even more talkative when I am nervous) and told them about Laney getting her appendix out in lativia and how they told her to wear cabbage leaves in her underwear to help with pain from the shots.  Gerty told me that that's what they were going to start having to do if Obama took over healthcare.

The last thing I remember saying to them (and I'm pretty sure I was way past loopy at this point) was, "If I don't ever see you all again, Thank-you so much!" and they giggled. I also remember they were playing Christmas music- and I wanted to complain about it but I fell asleep too quickly.

The next thing I remember was waking up in Post-op. I should have taken a picture but I was far too despondent. Usually they say patients are awake as they get to the room- but I was still dead asleep for another hour or so in the recovery room.  Drugs work so so well on me, it's ridiculous.  Unfortunately post-op was TERRIBLE.  I have never felt so rotten in my life.  I really just wanted to die.  I was just so tired and sore. And it wasn't so much the pain as it was the crazy crazy nausea.  Laney forgot to tell me- but when she got her surgery in Lativa- and when she went under to get her nose fixed- she was SUPER sick afterwards too. They gave me Zofran and they had given me an anti-nausea patch before surgery (you can see it on my neck  in the above picture) but I still wanted to die. I knew that if I got up to walk around it would make me feel better- but I just didn't have the strength or ability to do it. Kent says that when he gets nauseous (like at cedar point or in the car) he gets super tired as well.

Oh- and the PA who talked to me beforehand told me that most major complaints after the surgery had to do with shoulders!  The gas that they fill you up with doesn't all escape afterwards and so it goes UP to settle in your shoulders.  They were right.  My shoulders were in wretched pain and discomfort.

I didn't want to stay the night (they had booked me a room) so I begged to just stay in post op until the nausea subsided and then just go home from there.  Once you are booked onto another floor in a different part of the hospital it takes FOREVER to get out.  The nurse was pretty hesitant but eventually agreed.  A few times I didn't think I was going to be able to go home because I was so miserable and dependant on whatever she kept putting in my IV.  It was some pain killer that works SUPER fast- but is very short lived (like 20-30 minutes). Luckily I was hell-bent on getting home and figured I could rest more easily there.  I got up to go to the bathroom and nearly vomited and passed out from the nausea- but I pulled myself together- left the bathroom and told the nurses I was fine and they discharged me.  Coming home is still kind of a blur- but once I got here and settled in- I started feeling a gazillion times better. 

I slept pretty well last night besides having to pee every few hours (due to all of the iv fluids).  I am feeling even better today- although still sore.  The place that is the most comfortable is sitting here in the computer chair.  Laying down is uncomfortable- being on couches is pretty excruciating- and standing is the worst- so I may be at the computer for a few more days. 

Oh- and HOW COULD I FORGET?!  They saved me some gall stones!  Kent (he is so weird) told the doctor (before the surgery) that I wanted to make earrings out of them so Dr. white saved  me a bunch- including two large almost identical ones.

I know many of you may be grossed out by the pictures- so just stop now. I think that they are pretty cool.

I am surprised at how big they are- and Dr. White said this was just a small fraction of them!  Some of them were so big he had to crush them first so they'd be able to pull them out of my belly button.

And don't you think my little point and shoot camera took some nice pictures?!  I fully endorse the "sony cyber-shot".


Friday, November 20, 2009

I have had the roughest past three weeks!  Very little in life stresses me out and I'm usually pretty relaxed about life in general.  Three weeks ago I scheduled my gall bladder removal surgery and I think it's made me a little anxious.  I've been on edge- less patient- and just a lot more tense. Thank heavens it's all coming to an end today!!  The worst part has been that because of being anxious I clench my teeth at night (and throughout the day)- and that makes my blasted jaw and head hurt like CRAZY all of the time.  Let's hope I can start sleeping unstressed again soon once this is over.

Kent already made it through his surgery rotation and participated in a few cholycysectomies- so I had him walk me through everything that was going to happen step by step.  I think he actually made me more nervous. Did you know they stick a tube in me and fill my abdominal cavity with gas?! and I didn't realize I was going to be intubated.  They tape me eyelids shut too. ew.  I got my tonsils out in first grade and I was fine. I still remember the nurse (as they were putting me under) telling me about her dog with super powers. They let me choose what flavor of gas I wanted.  I think I chose bubble gum.  I'll definitely be going with a different flavor if they ask me today- although for some reason I have the feeling I won't be getting a choice.  I still have my tonsils in a jar. I really should post a picture.  They already told me I canNOT keep my gall bladder or the stones. Lame-o.  They won't even let me see it.

So before I head off I thought I'd record a few of my "gratefuls" as of late.  They are small- and really just the parts of my life lately that have made me happy.

I am so grateful that Kent has been on the greatest rotation of ALL time and has had 9-5 hours the past two weeks!! no nights- no weekends- no long tiring days. He's been doing his peds clinic hours and we've both loved it. It's amazing how seeing Kent so much can make me so happy and so much less stressed.

I am so grateful for people who make me laugh and who let me vent and who look past my faults and crankiness and obnoxiousness (especially as of late!).

I'm also ever so grateful because "Thanksgibbing" (in zeb's words) is coming up in LESS THAN A WEEK!  One of my favorite things about holidays is the anticipation of that holiday.  I love getting all excited and prepared for big events. I've been spending the last little while just thinking about the best time ever with Laney, Taylor, henry, Amy, Craig, Taylor, Katie, Sophie, and the whole Starkey clan in Ashland, Ohio! I can't wait for the food, the laughs, the stories, and the shopping (which will be a post all on it's own tomorrow or sunday)!!  It makes me so happy to be able to spend holidays with family.

I am so grateful to have (the coolest) family members on this side of the country. 

And I'd be ever so grateful today if you could all send a few prayers my way at about noon. I'm sure that everything will go smoothly and problem free- I'm just a little anxious about it all.

So, if for some strange reason I don't make it- Thanks. I love you all :)  and kent knows all of my last requests.  I want a party instead of a funeral.  Give away all of my organs.

Oh- and I am so grateful for this kid's chubby cheeks and chin.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

yesterday and today

Stop, drop, cover your face, and roll.

 We went to the fire station for playgroup yesterday and "stop, drop, cover your face, and roll" was the first AND last thing that zeb learned.  He was so completely distracted by the tractors outside and all the shiny trucks that he decided not to listen to a thing the firefighters and emt's tried to teach everyone. In his defense- he is two- and the tractors were actually digging and hauling pipe so they were pretty cool.

Ike just hung out in his stroller for the afternoon and smiled like usual.

 Today, however, Ike has been a little less cooperative.
 He has always been a poor eater- but usually it's just that we can't get him to eat at all.  Zeb on the other hand was an eating monster as a baby. He'd eat anything but ALWAYS made a humonogous mess by smearing and mashing all food into his eyes and hair.  Kent couldn't even feed him because it stressed him out so much.  Today ike figured out those same antics.

 At least he's eating, right?  This is seriously the first time we've had an eating mess like this with Ike.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

thanks for the recipe!

For some reason I have had the hardest time cooking lately.  I feel like I go through cycles.  Sometimes I love to cook and I make great meals and try all sorts of new recipes. Lately I've fallen into a rut. I've lost my groove.  I just don't feel like making dinner or coming up with anything new.
I know it's time to get cooking though- because even five buck pizza from little ceasar's is getting old.  Luckily the weather is chilly and I love soups.  They are easy to make- warm me up- and usually can be made with ingredients I already have. 

I got this recipe from my friend, brittani's, blog and I had to post it so I could add it to my list of blog recipe favorites (lower left column on this blog page). I have always LOVED chicken chili- and this recipe is SO easy and SO insanely delicious- that I am disappointed I haven't been making it for years. Thank you, Brittani!!

I, as always, made some "leisy" changes so I'll include both versions.

White Chicken Chili
  • 1 lb. chicken, cooked and diced
  • 1 med. white onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder (or 2 freshly pressed cloves)
  • 2 cans of Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup (reduced fat totally works)
  • 1 can chopped green chilies (didn't use them)
  • 1 can Mexicorn ( I used frozen regular corn)
  • 1 cup sour cream (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream or evaporated milk (I used extra chicken broth instead- you could do milk I'm sure.)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (NO WAY!! I totally left this out!)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
Cook onions and garlic with a little bit of broth or water over the stove until soft. Put all ingredients except the sr. cream and whipping cream into a pot or crock pot. Simmer until heated through.  Add final ingredients.

  Kent added red pepper to his separate bowl and I enjoyed mine nice and sweet without any kick.

Monday, November 16, 2009

We dog sat (just fed and watered the dog) for some friends this weekend and had a blast playing with the baby chocolate lab. 

Zeb kind of freaked out when he thought pablo was going to eat his trains (and shoes and fingers). Check out that ginormous lower lip popping out.  He actually thought the dog had eaten his train until we finally convinced him to look and see that he was still holding it.

and ike just loved being licked and jumped on and trampled.  I think he just thought Zeb was doing it to him like usual.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

it's almost time.

The weather has been abnormally warm so far this fall- but it's starting to get a little more unpredictable and it looks like walking group at the park is on it's final leg. Yesterday while we were out running and we passed the playground, Zeb told me the swings were broken.  I didn't understand what he meant until I finally realized they were actually GONE.  They take the swings off the swingsets for the winter months. I guess they are trying to tell us it's too cold to be dragging our kids out to play still.

We used to walk at the mall down the street- but then we found out it was full of black mold and asbestos and they tore it down.  This year we are walking at the empty Lucas county recreation building. We've already been twice on rainy days and the kids actually don't mind it.  Besides the fact that the continuous laps make me dizzy- I don't mind it much either.

There haven't been many friends for Zeb to play with at activities lately and I think it's due to illness.  I can't believe we've made it thus far unscathed. I feel like we are usually the ones that are sick and snotty and feverish.  We are crossing our fingers that we stay this way (unsick) all winter long!

I think this picture is so funny.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

please don't end!!

Today is one of those days that I wish would just go on forever and ever.  It was heaven. Pure bliss. So much fun.

We started off with a stellar day in seminary.  Who doesn't want to learn about peeping and muttering wizards?!  My students were great today and we learned a lot.

After seminary Kent got up and STAYED home.  Today is Veteran's day and school was off!  All of the public schools still went and every body pretty much still worked- but Kent's school was off. 

We went running as a family first thing this morning- which has to be one of my favorite things in the world.  Kent pushed me hard and I'm very sore tonight- but it was worth it. Zeb loves when Kent comes with us. Plus, at least half of all of my elderly friends were out in the parks today wearing veteran's hats and jackets and shirts.  I am so grateful for amazingly brave and selfless people who give of themselves to protect and maintain our freedoms.  It made me really proud of that fact that Kent is in the Air Force and will be able to play a role in those things.  Sacrifices will most definitely have to be made- and things may be really hard- but I'm so glad that this is the path we have chosen!

After our run we went to the Imagination Station for the first time!  It's a children's science museum downtown that just reopened a few weeks ago.  The place is AMAZING.  I'm pretty sure that Kent and I had more fun than the kiddos.  There was a huge exhibit about the circus where you can tight rope walk and do acrobatics.  It was CRAZY fun.  Kent and I both loved the acrobatics- but Kent almost ralphed afterwards.  The sign warns that it may cause nausea but apparently Kent didn't see it.  It was so much fun.

 Ike and Zeb were totally amazed at Kent's flipping abilities.  I was too.  You can see Kent's head and arms at the top of this picture.

They also had a big costume circus area where you become the ring leader- or an animal - or the muscle man. Zeb chose to be the strongest man in the world.

We stayed for two hours and only saw a fraction of the stuff they have.  I loved the hurricane force winds booth- but Zeb was totally mortified. You can't see the terror in this picture very well, but the kid freaked. He couldn't breathe with all of the crazy wind but cried pretty hard once it stopped.  It was so strong you couldn't even keep your eyes open!

Both rugrats loved the mini gorcery store.  They have the cutest shopping carts with tons of food- conveyor belts- and even cash registers. Zeb would ONLY load up on hot dogs. Very indicitive of his home behavior sometimes. My word of advice- don't ever give hot dogs to your kids. They are gross and unhealthy but kids LOVE them.  Often they are the ONLY thing that we can get zeb to eat.  Check out this cheesy face he gave me when I asked him to smile. He's so weird sometimes.

And here's Ike joining in on the hot dog fun.  Ike will only know plastic hot dogs.

And Zeb's very very favorite part of the entire museum. He sat here for at least thirty minutes. He was still talking about them tonight when he got into bed. He calls them "raceballs" and he LOVES them.

Things just got better as the day progressed.  We'd heard there were restauraunts all over offering free dinner for military personnel and veterans so we decided to take part in the festivities.  We went to Applebees with our friends, the Delaps. We did feel a little sheepish getting free food with the Delaps since Daryl actually served in Afghanistan and Kent has really yet to to do much of anything for the military besides take their money :) - but, hey- free dinner is free dinner, right?  And to make the night even better, the waitress messed up something with our bill and couldn't get the discounts to ring up so she just gave us ALL free meals.

I just wish that kent were ALWAYS home all day and that we always did something exciting and that we always had free dinner.  I guess then days like today wouldn't be quite so wonderful.