Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fall Fashion

One of my absolute favorite things to do is shop. When I have some money to spend, it's even better. I have no money to spend these days because I just moved and am still trying to find a job, but I still enjoy shopping no matter what. A couple days ago I got to go shopping for a few hours with my sister-in-law, Jessica, and my mom-in-law, Micky. There is a really nice outdoor mall about 35 minutes away from their house. It was a beautiful night out, which makes outdoor mall shopping even more fun. We went to Panera for a quick dinner and then hit the stores. We made sure to stop by the Nestle Toll House shop before we left for a sweet treat.
I haven't been shopping lately, so I had no idea what the new trends for this fall were. A few items I noticed in most every store I looked in were:
* Wide-leg pants
* Scarves
* Yellow and orange

* Black and gray

* Bold colors

* Jackets/Blazers

For the most part, I'm okay with the fall trends. The only thing I wasn't too thrilled about was the mustard yellow and burnt orange. I will not look good in those colors, especially once my tan fades away. So, I will probably stay away from those items on the shelves. I did, however, get started on my fall wardrobe. My mom-in-law was so sweet and bought me a really nice outfit. I got some wide-leg pants, a white tee, and a pink scarf. All I said was that I thought the outfit was cute, and the next thing I knew she had all three items up at the counter and was paying for them.
Here's what I got:
So, I now know I will look "in style" when I wear this outfit!! Thanks Mom!!!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Week in Review

Here are some highlights of our first week back in Michigan:
* We got everything unpacked, put away, and stored in the storage unit. The door to our unit is broken (of course), so we called and they are getting that fixed (hopefully soon).
Here's just some of the many boxes that we filled up with our junk

Here's Parker sitting on top of a pile of trash bags filled with clothes, blankets, sheets, etc.

* Todd and I spent 2 days pulling weeds and thorny bushes out of the landscape at dad's office

* Halle cut her hair!!! It was in the middle of her back and we chopped it above her shoulders. She looks so cute with her hair short, plus, no more big tangles! "Before"- I know it's not the greatest pic, but it's all I have on my memory card right now

"After"- Halle and Bailey

* We had a big family party for Brad's grandma on Saturday.

Her health is detriorating and everyone wanted to get together to spend some time with her. We get to see her quite often now that we are back in MI because we live only 1 mile down the road from her house, however, there are a lot of extended family that doesn't live close by, so this was a nice chance for those people to see her.This is Grandma! She is SO sweet!

Here is Brad's dad pulling Parker in the wagon

Here are a bunch of the grandkids and great-grand kids.

All the guys played basketabll for over 2 hours!!!! Here's Brad going up against one of his brothers, Todd.

* We watched "21" (it's a movie) on Saturday night. It was SUPER good! If you haven't seen it, you should watch it.

* We went to a new restaurant. Well, it's not actually new, but it's new to us- we've never been there. My brother-in-law works there as a bus boy. It is on a lake right by where we live. We got to sit outside on the patio overlooking the water. It was so peaceful and relaxing and the food was good.

* We spent Sunday afternoon at my parent's house. My dad grilled chicken, we played with sidewalk chalk, we got to see my mom (she flew home from Chicago tonight-she was there on business), we went for a walk and picked Queen Anne's Lace (we tried to see who could get the biggest one), and we went for ice cream at a sweet little shop in the town where they live. It was a very enjoyable evening.

So, that's our first week back in MI. It's been full of fun and work and we love it! I hope everyone else had a great week too.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Thorny Bushes

Well, I haven't been able to get on my blog for the last week or so because we have been moving and we haven't gotten our computer hooked up yet. I am actually at my parent's house right now, so I thought I would write a little.
We made it to Michigan safely. It was a long trip!!! We left Charlotte, NC at 3:00pm on Friday afternoon and got into Lapeer, MI at 11am Saturday. We tried to sleep at a rest stop for a few hours, but you can never get comfortable in your car to sleep. I think Brad and I got about 2 hours of sleep. We were exhausted!!! We didn't even begin to unload the moving truck until Sunday afternoon. We got everything we needed out and unpacked and put the rest of our junk into a storage unit. You really don't realize how much crap you have until you move. It was amazing how many boxes and bags we filled up. We honestly didn't think we would ever get everything packed. We are extremely glad that is all over.

Brad has already started working for my aunt. He is busy putting an addition on her house, building a huge porch, reroofing, painting a barn, and drywalling the entire interior of the house. He will be busy with that until the end of summer at least. He already has a bunch of other jobs lined up that he can work on when school starts too, so that is a great answer to prayer.

I will be working at my aunt's house as well here shortly, but until then, I am just doing odd and end jobs too. Today, Todd and I spent all day pulling weeds and thorny bushes out at my father-in-law's office. We started with the weeds that were at least 1.5 feet tall. There were 100's of them. It's amazing how strong the roots of a weed are. We both mentioned that we wouldn't have weeds if Adam and Eve hadn't sinned in the garden. We then moved to the areas where we needed to pull these dead bushes out. We didn't realize that they were covered with thorns until our hands started getting pricked a ton!!! It was hard work. At one point we were pulling this huge root out and we just could not get it. Todd is a strong guy, but it definitely didn't want to come out. We both just started busting out laughing because he was pulling with all his strength and I was trying to chop away at the roots as fast as I could. We must have looked hilarious. We definitely had some good times today, although it was hard work. We didn't get it finished, so we will be back at it tomorrow.

Here's a few good lessons that I learned today:

1.Don't let your weeds grow until they are taller than you

2. Don't plant thorny bushes in your yard or business place EVER because it's a pain to weed around them

3. Don't ever plant those bushes that spread all over the ground. They are also a pain to weed in and look horrible when they begin to die.

4. Don't ever let an actual professional Landscape Architect plan your business' landscape. They obviously rip you off by planting really weird plants that are thorny and that die, so you end up having to rip them out anyways. The thorny plants must be the cheapest around so the architect can make a better profit by planting cheap plants and still charging alot.

5. Always have a BIG shovel with you at all times!! We learned that the hard way.
PS. I took some pics of us moving and I will take some pics of our "weeding" work tomorrow. I will hopefully get them posted soon!

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Big Move and The Beach

Well, after living in Charlotte, NC for 1 1/2 years, we have decided it is time for us to move back home to MI. Although we absolutely LOVE this place and think it is a wonderful place to live, we feel the Lord is leading us to go back where all of our family is. We miss our family a lot and need their support. The only reason we moved in the first place was so that Brad could have better job opportunities. We have found since living here (and 3 jobs later) that there really aren't any "better" jobs for him here. So, there is no reason to stay when all of our family is back in MI. Brad is actually going to go back to school and get his degree. He doesn't have one, so his job options are VERY limited. He is considering something in the medical field, not a doctor, but possibly a physician's assistant or something in the administrative part of medicine. His dad is a family physician, my brother is in medical school right now to become a doctor, and his brother is in physical therapy school. So, we will have a lot of family in that field which could lead to better opportunities. I will have to work full time in order for us to survive, but I am very excited about it. I have applied to a bunch of jobs, both in teaching and in clerical/administrative. So, hopefully, I will hear back from some of them soon. If not, I will sign up to substitute teach and pray that I get called everyday.
We decided we were going to move a few weeks ago and had planned on moving at the end of this month. However, Brad ended up quitting his job earlier than expected due to some interesting circumstances that took place at his job. So, we decided it might be better to just get up to MI and get going on things instead of sitting around here staring at each other. So, we are leaving at the end of this week!!!! We are packing and getting all the small details of moving accomplished. Everything is really going quite smoothly, so I am not stressed out at all.
Brad's brother, Scott, had planned to come and visit us a couple of months ago (when we weren't even thinking of moving). We all thought he was coming for a vacation but instead he has been helping us pack!!!
We did realize that since living here we have never been over to the ocean, so we decided to pack up and go for one last hurrah before moving. We really didn't have any clue where the best place to go was, so we just mapquested a bunch of different destinations and Charleston, SC was the closest to where we live. We took off at 8am Sunday morning and got to Folly Beach before noon (we had to stop on the way because we were all starving!!!!). It was absolutely beautiful!!!! The weather was perfect-90 degrees and pure sun!! The waves were BIG and the water was warm, yet refreshing. We couldn't have asked for a better day!! We spent 5 hours at the beach, playing in the sand, swimming, and riding waves. I packed a huge cooler with sandwiches and snacks so we just ate right there on the beach. We rented a big umbrella so Parker could play in the shade and we could take a break from the sun if we wanted. Parker absolutely loved the sand. We weren't there 5 minutes and he was down in it, crawling around, kicking it, and eating it!!! He loved it!!! Halle kept saying it was "the best day I've ever had", so obviously she really enjoyed it. We were all wiped out by about 5pm. Parker actually fell asleep on Scott's shoulder while they were out in the water. He was extremely tired. We headed back home and got in around 8:30pm. Parker and Halle slept the majority of the ride home. Parker's first encounter with sand

Our little area

Scott and Halle

Halle and I playing in the waves

Halle and Scott's sand city

Parker fell asleep on Scott's shoulders

We wish we would have been going over there ever since we moved here, but we are super glad we went once before the move. We will definitely come back to the beach when we are on vacation.

We are going to miss all of our friends we have made here in Charlotte and especially miss our church!!! Goodbye North Carolina!!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Ear Tubes

Yesterday, my little guy, Parker, had to have surgery to have ear tubes put in. Since he was born, he has never been able to pass the hearing test. Believe me, when we left the hospital (when he was born) after failing the hearing test, I was scared to death that I might have a deaf baby. Thankfully, that was not the case. We have had countless tests done to make sure he can hear and after many hours and lots of money, they concluded it was just fluid behind his ear drums. Take this advice- if your child can't pass the hearing test, go straight to an ear doctor, not an audiologist. They waste your time and money on pointless tests when a doctor can just look in his ears and tell you exactly what is wrong. Anyways...since visiting with the ear doctor, we determined that if he still had fluid behind his ears around the age of 1 (that's the age where speech development begins), then we would get the tubes put in. We went to the doctor on Tuesday and both ears were still filled completely. If you don't know much about how your ears work (honestly, I didn't until all this happened) everybody has an eustachian tube behind their ear drum that allows the fluid to drain down to the back of your throat. Most adults tubes are slanted vertically and have a large enough opening for the fluid to drain easily. A baby's, however, is very small, and lays horizontally at first. If there is any swelling or it is not developed all the way, the fluid backs up behind the ear drum, not allowing the drum to vibrate when sound goes in, making it hard to hear. By putting in tubes, the fluid has a place to drain out of, allowing vibration, which allows a person to hear.

Here's a picture to help better explain what I just said.

Here's a picture of where they place the tube in the ear drum.

After visiting with the doctor, it just so happened that the very next day (yesterday) had an opening for the surgery. So, I went ahead and took it. We got up at 5:30am and left the house at 6am because we had to be at the hospital at 6:30. Parker was not allowed to eat anything past midnight of the night before. Thankfully, he wasn't too fussy when we first got there. We filled out all the paperwork and didn't have to wait very long (that's the nice part about being the first surgery of the day). We went back to the pre-op room and got Parker dressed in his gown-it was orange and he looked adorable in it. By this point, he was really tired and hungry, and he screamed any time a nurse came close to him. Halle was wonderful. She just colored and never once complained. I love her!!! They gave him a sedative to relax him a little bit right before going into surgery. They told us it would make him drowsy and tired. Well, it obviously had the reverse effect on Parker. He was spastic. He was crawling all over the place as fast as he could, darting here and there. I would turn my back for one minute and he would be out of sight. He didn't want anyone to pick him up or be put in the crib. It was actually quite hilarious because we thought he was going to be drowsy and snuggly with us and he definitely wasn't!!!! They took him into surgery right at 8am. He had to be put under for the surgery. We couldn't see him when that happened so we put all our trust in the doctor and anesthesiologist. The surgery only took about 10 minutes. I was able to go back to be with Parker when we was waking up from the anesthesia. He was horribly cranky which they say is very normal. I tried feeding him a bottle, but he was beside himself. I hated seeing him so upset. About 20 minutes later, we moved to post-op room #2. Brad and Halle were allowed to come back. He fell asleep in Brad's arms about 5 minutes later and about 1/2 hour after that we were free to go home. Really, we were only at the hospital for 3 hours total!!!

Thankfully, everything went really smoothly. We are hoping this will be the only set of tubes he will need. They are supposed to stay in for 10-12 months and will fall out on their own. Hopefully, by then, his eustachian tube will have matured enough to drain the fluid properly. If not, we will be back to have another set put in.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Celebrate America

What is it about listening to patriotic music that's gets you in the spirit of celebrating the 4th of July? I can't ever remember a July 4th that there wasn't John Phillip Sousa music playing somewhere.
Tonight we went to Pops in the Park for their patriotic program. It was SO fun and FREE!!! There were thousands upon thousands of people there with their blankets, chairs, picnic dinners, patriotic clothing, and sparklers. I wish there could have been a way to count all the people that were there. I have never seen so many people sitting inches from each other, covering the entire ground around the ampitheater. We sat up in the mall parking lot, so we couldn't actually see the symphony, but there was a speaker really close to us, so we could hear it perfectly. We walked up and saw the conductor and symphony playing though. At one point, the conductor asked if everyone would take out their cell phones and open them up and wave them back and forth. It looked so cool seeing the lights sway back and forth to the music. Some of the songs the symphony played were: The Star-Spangled Banner, Liberty Bell March, Armed Forces Salute, A Tribute to Irving Berlin, Saints, and America the Beautiful.
We went with our good friends, the Hansons and the Steiners. We all packed a bunch of stuff to eat and had dinner there. Everyone did go and buy a frozen ice towards the end though. After the symphony was all done playing, there was a really nice fireworks show. We could see the fireworks really well from where we were sitting. They had passed out 3-D glasses earlier in the evening, so Halle wore those to watch the fireworks. They actually made them look really cool.

I am really glad we went. It got me into a patriotic mood and I am looking forward to celebrating our country's independence tomorrow. My camera's battery died early in the evening, but I did catch a few shots of the crowd. Happy 4th of July to everyone!!!

This is where the symphony plays.

I wish these pictures could have captured just how many people were really there.

Halle and Parker playing

Halle and Ashleigh playing Hang Man. It was quite hilarious because Halle doesn't know how to spell a lot of words.