Friday, June 29, 2007

Pup Art

This is our dog, Killian. I took a photo of her today, and the background was almost totally white. I turned up the highlights and the shadows and it created a silhouette-like photo (minus the collar) - so iPod-commercial-esque, eh? Anyway, I tinted it and I can do this with any colors I want. I thought it turned out pretty cool! I want to experiment with different backgrounds / effects...

Day Lily

taken today in the backyard


Today Ron is working a full day at Woodcraft. It's weird that it's summer and he's gone all day, but the extra income will be nice. Lucy took a 2+ hour nap this morning, and is in the middle of another equally long nap this afternoon. It'll be nice that she has 2 good naps, but I actually find myself a little bored. Hence this post.

I have been trying to stay mentally balanced being a SAHM, but for a long time I have known, at least in the back of my mind, that I need some kind of outlet - something creative, or even a job that I can work 1 night a week or something. I'd like to get more into photography down the road, so maybe a class would do me good. I don't know. I just have a hard time justifying anything that costs money, but it would probably be worthwhile if it would help me in a future "career".

It just so happens that the house we're currently infatuated with is the home of a professional photographer. When we went there for an open house, I saw some of her work on display, as well as her in-home studio. Maybe it's a sign? I don't know - it just seems like if I had similar equipment, props, camera, lighting, etc., I like to think that I have the artistic / creative "eye" that a photographer would need (please ignore the previous post in this regard!!!)... and I can see myself having a lot of fun doing that. It might not bring in a huge income, but it would be fulfilling for me, and allow me to have a very flexible schedule. We're not interested in perpetually becoming richer and richer, as long as we're happy. Afterall, teachers are notoriously underpaid, but I can't see Ron wanting to do anything else...

In the meantime, I should probably get a little more serious with an actual class or workshop that could teach me a few new things, and maybe sometime I'll be able to acquire another camera (although I would still use the current one for everyday snapshots and video clips... and the fact that it's so tiny makes it especially convenient to carry).

Well, back to my putsing.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Every Parent's Dream

I've been keeping this under wraps, but I thought I'd reveal the all-time worst picture I've ever taken. We are not encouraging this kind of behavior...

It's just one of those precious moments caught by snapping lots of quick photos (this was back in May)...

For cuter photos, and proof that Lucy is not always this naughty, click here.

"Date" Night!

Last night my mom watched Lucy overnight so that we (I) could have a break, go out after Ron's softball game, etc... How'd our night off go? Here's a synopsis:

First of all - why am I so sad as I back down the driveway at my parents' house - my mom is holding Lucy and she is looking directly at me, with a confused and somewhat angry expression. I watch her getting smaller in my windshield and miss her as soon as I hit the road. Ugh! I just want to have fun... so I put that pissed off little face aside and quickly remembered that she'll have fun with Grandma and Grandpa, and I'll see her tomorrow.

Ron's team played the Team That Shouldn't Be In Their Division - a team that can hit a ball to make it purposely land in a dixie cup sitting in the outfield. All the pro gear... Checkered Flag Automotive 3, Other Team 17 (mercied in 5 innings). No, really... what was that team's name? Can't remember, but they're going to win the whole tournament. Last time they beat CFA 28-2, so the boys did a little better this time around. Yay.

Afterward we brought Ron's mom home. She had been dropped off by a friend. Also in attendance: Tom, Renee, Jacob, Hannah, and Emily! So the Ronnie fanclub was in full force. Including Renee shouting to "Ronnie" in a mock-English accent. I could tell he was trying to ignore his family. He said he has spent 3 years convincing his teammates he is normal... and they're all going to undo his efforts in one evening!

Then we went to Buffalo Wild Wings with Dave, Keith, Ryan, and Andrea. I had a Boston Lager and Chips & Salsa. When we left we stopped and talked with Keith in the parking lot, and as I was talking about a fireplace we saw (nevermind) he interrupted me MID-SENTENCE with "Why did you cut your hair?!" Whaa! I like my hair! You don't like it? ... No, it's just different, you've always had long hair ... I know, I wanted a change! ... No, no, it looks good, I'm just not used to it ...

Good old Keith, so much to learn about women still! You ALWAYS say you like a girl's hair, even if you don't! Ha ha ha. I do like my hair, and I think it makes my face look better. I've had long hair since I was 3 and I was sick of it. It's chin-length, by the way, I just can't quite put it in a ponytail (which was the point...). Anyway, so all in all it was a good evening, lots of laughs, and I got to sleep in till 8:30!

photo of my hair, per Kelly's request

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

9 Month Checkup

Today Lucy had to go see Dr. Taylor again - this time at the Fulton location (where my mom used to take Kelly and me). Lucy was measured and weighed - and she is continuing to measure off the charts for length, and around 80th percentile for weight - 20 lb 14.5 oz.! Wow!!! I can't believe she is almost 21 pounds. Mostly because I remember my arms getting tired when she was 10 pounds, carrying her around all the time, lifting her, etc. Now I know my arms must be much stronger...

She had to get two shots, and she was already cranky from all the prodding and crinkly paper on the table... so Ron got to witness the spectacle of immunizations (only 2 this time). She squeezed her eyes shut and had her mouth wide open, but no sound was coming out for the first few seconds... then a deep breath and an ear-piercing shriek that I'm sure scared all the kids in the waiting room. There's no way she could hear our comforting words over the sound of her screams...

We didn't really have any questions about her development, other than her little navel hernia that still popping out, especially after a big meal. The doctor thinks it will vanish on its own before too much longer.

We gave her a bottle right after her shots to calm her down, and then walked around the grounds by John Ball Zoo (but didn't go into the zoo itself)... and by the way, it is hot today! We came home and now she's sound asleep. Next time we go back, she'll be 1 year old!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Girl Who Cried Teeth

It seems like Lucy's teeth have been about to break through the surface for a few months now... "they look so close!", and at times she would have little flare-ups that led us to think that her teeth would appear any day. Days, weeks, months go by... and she's still gumming her Graduates.

Over the last 2 days she has spent most of her waking moments crying - except when we are in a strange new place, or we find some way to distract her with something interesting. She stops for a couple minutes, and then realizes that she's supposed to be upset, and resumes. This really isn't like her, so our first theory is that her teeth - at least a couple of them - will break through soon... but I'll believe it when it happens. I've heard this story before....

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Checkered Flag Automotive Destroys Palermo's Pizza!

In the words of Ice Cube - Today was a good day. Lucy went in the pool for the very first time! All we had on hand was regular Pampers, so her diaper swelled up to the size of a phonebook, but no harm done. I was actually rather impressed with the amount of liquid a quality diaper can contain. Anyway, Lucy loved it - and wasn't even nervous or grabby or anything - she even dunked her own face in the water! We took many photos to remember this, yet another "first". As you can see, she is not wearing a life-vest, but rest assured we had a good grip on her at all times. She IS wearing one of her new swimsuits from Aunt Kelly... very stylish!

After a couple hours of bumming around, Ron had his softball game against Palermo's Pizza (3-4 before tonight), and Checkered Flag Automotive (Ron's Team) beat them 16-10! Their first victory of the season! Way to go, Checkered Flag Automotive (doesn't that just roll off the tongue? ha ha)! Since the game was at 6:15, Lucy and I were able to go (and see Lisa and her baby Lauren, who is only a few days older than Lucy)... I took photos at the game, but only a couple are actually OF the game... the rest are of the girls.

Here is a photo of some of the guys... Ron is #10.

When we returned home, we had a message from our Realtor saying that someone wants a private showing at 10:30 tomorrow morning (with their Realtor) - OK! Trying not to get our hopes up, but it has boosted morale somewhat, knowing that there are interested people out there. Tonight, we clean.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Strong Legs, Long Hair!

This evening we had to find a way to keep Lucy entertained for a little while longer, before it was time for her to go to bed. She can get bored/frustrated easily, so we went outside where there is always something new to look at, and it's easy for her to romp around. We spent some time making her practice standing and like the amazing child she is, she got better and better by the minute. I had to run inside and grab the camera:

She actually can stand for several seconds before tipping over (at which point Ron quickly catches her and straightens her back up). She mostly did this when she was trying to go for one of the dogs (we were dogsitting Kelsey today). Some of our other photos show her waving at them (another new trick she likes to do - even if there is no one waving to her!)....

The other news: I got a barrette to stay in her hair! I know it's not really necessary, but since her hair has just enough length to it, I thought it was worth a shot... I can't wait until it's long enough for braids and ponytails!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Long, Long Time Ago...

...Babies ate "real" food.

This is my Star Wars style photographic take on Gerber Graduates.

They're a LIFE SAVER so I don't care if I can't pronounce half of the ingredients. And what is "purple carrot extract"? Where can I buy some of these purple carrots? And what contribution can they possibly make at the end of that long list of ingredients? It's like, "hmmm... this recipe is close, but it's missing something." They sure are cute though... see?

Happy Fathers Day!

We spent the day at Grand Haven State Park - photos here - hanging out on the beach, walking down the boardwalk, and basically just relaxing. We were all smart about sunblock usage and Lucy was a good sport all day, even though (because of where we were) she didn't get much sleep. She played in the water and had a great time, and even got to sample some of my snow-cone...

Today is also, of course, Fathers Day, and although I can't buy him anything from a store, I like to think that this first Fathers Day our daughter is gift enough. Ron is such a wonderful dad to Lucy, and absolutely, shamelessly loves her. Early in our relationship I could tell that someday he would be a great father, and now that he is, I am so glad I married him. I look forward to all the moments we will share watching Lucy (and hopefully another child too!) grow up...

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Open Houses Galore!

Today we spent the morning (somewhat frantically) preparing for the open house - the last-minute stuff... A lot of cleaning, mostly. Then when our realtor arrived, we took off to visit someone else's open house (home for sale). LOVED the house! We played it cool though, but ever since we left we've been obsessing. I really hope it's still around when/if ours sells! It's an amazing deal, and a perfect type/size/location for us. We went to a few students' open houses, and then visited 3 more homes that we were interested in (all in Jenison, private showings). The Allendale house, however, was a tough act to follow. One of them in Jenison is still quite nice, but often the photos on are misleading, so there were a couple disappointing factors (and a couple nice surprises). We're mostly concerned with location, but all houses have pros and cons.

Our poor little Lucy was dragged around all day from place to place, after only sleeping a half hour this afternoon ... not her usual 1.5 - 2 hour afternoon nap! I think it's because we were at my parents' house (since we had to get out of our own home) and sometimes she doesn't nap as well there. She was actually falling asleep instantly in the car, when we went from one house to the next. We had to wake her up and carry her around inside another home... I'm thinking it would have been bad parenting to leave her alone in the car, even though she was sleeping peacefully...

Anyway, so tonight Ron and Ricky swam in our nearly-clean pool and we were both just thinking about how nice it would be if someone wanted to buy our house. Neither one of us were very talkative, mostly because of fatigue, but also because I think it's on our minds... when there is something you want, and it's within reach, but we have to be patient and try to sell our own home first. I guess the open house was fairly slow - but we're hoping that someone out there is watching our listing and will want to come and see it another time. It's only been a week and a half, but I am surprised at how anxious it makes us. There's not a whole lot we can do about it... in time, the right person will come along, and when that happens, there will be a house out there for us, somewhere, and it will be a very happy and exciting time.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


No, I'm not talking about discipline... we're just baaaaarely starting to introduce light forms of that in our home. I'm talking about the kind of time-out you have to take when things are getting crazy and you need to hit a mental "reset" button.

In the midst of fixing a broken section of our countertop, and Ricky stopping by numerous times (and consuming equally numerous Flav-or-Ice sticks), the excessive heat, and more phone calls that we usually get in an entire week, we decided to stop and take Lucy outside to play. We sat and watched her climb on our laps, pull grass out of the ground, and gently crinkle up dried leaves, and it was just so calming and simple. I made a blade of grass into a whistle between my thumbs, and she was totally amazed! It's been a while since I even tried that...

For some reason that time outside this afternoon keeps replaying in my brain. Hopefully it will be a reminder of what's important.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


This afternoon we were sitting in our living room, when suddenly an unfamiliar pickup truck slowed down and came to a stop in front of our house. We anxiously sat still, as if a wagon full of free pool chemicals was parked in our driveway and if we ran out there too suddenly it would disappear. I think I was even talking without moving my lips. Lucy continued to squeal and climb up the sides of her playpen. Shhh!

Then I noticed the guy got out of his truck ::car door shut:: and walked across the street to talk with our neighbor, who is in his front yard. What is he asking? What is our neighbor saying? Then along comes Ricky. Ohh, Ricky. What do you want now? Then a door-to-door salesman wants to sell Ron some cooking supplies. Get away! We might have an interested potential buyer. Then the buzzing street cart gang decided to hit the pavement (there are more, newer, louder machines than ever! I seriously think I saw a dune-buggy)... Oh this is going to attract someone to live here! Ugh. So I motion Ricky to come in through the breezeway so I can learn what he snoopily discovered about the strange pickup truck man. Aaaaaand... It's the former owner.

I imagine he was told, "hey dude, your old house is for sale" and wanted to come by and see how we have destroyed his knotty pine palace and turned it into a drywalled monstrosity. Well, nevertheless I tidied up, just in case he requested entrance. Ricky thinks maybe he's interested in buying it back. Oh, to be 14. So we're still hoping for a legitimate creepy slow-moving vehicle to drive by. What a tease.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

After All These Sunburns... er... Years

I spent most of the day with Lucy in Grand Haven, visiting my mom, and some of her friends who also stay out there in there RV's, lounge around on the beach, wander up and down the boardwalk, etc. Of course I kept Lucy protected with sunblock and a hat, and as much shade as possible. I returned home with her in perfect condition. I can't say the same for myself however, since I neglected to put sunblock on my legs, and paid dearly. I thought (the same stupid thought I always have my first time to the beach), "I could use a little color". Now I have a distinct line where my shorts ended and my bare legs began. I tried to make up the difference with some sunless tanner. We'll see how that turns out... but I'm not getting my hopes up. No matter what I do, I'm going to look like I have hot pink thigh-high hosiery on for the next few days.

Being at the park, and going for a walk down the boardwalk, always brings back memories of the summers we would "camp" out there. We spent the days with our friends eating Pronto Pups, ice-cream, Hawaiian ice, various other junk food, and then burning it off by riding bikes, rollerblading, playing in the lake, harassing the rangers, having water balloon fights... Kelly always ended up with some kind of high-quality major purchase like a Swatch watch or a Stüssy hat (does that say 90's or what!?), while most of my allowance went toward the afformentioned junk food. I have no regrets.

The kids are grown up, and now just the moms continue to stay each summer at this beach front parking-lot community. Some head out to visit for a day here and there, like I did today... but I can't say I enjoy it the same way I used to. Now when I go, more than anything I enjoy the trip down memory lane. I can recall specific events from specific spots along the way... literally, like, right here is where I wiped out on my bike and skinned my knee (I still have a scar) and walked all the way back to the campground alone... because (I was possibly being a baby but) no one cared. And there is where I stood and watched the Northern Lights one night, and there's where we buried a time capsule by a small cottonwood tree...

In lieu of photos from today (since I didn't get any good ones) I am including a sampling from the past. Some awkward tween years, perhaps, but classic, fun times.

Monday, June 11, 2007

A Case of the Mondays

Today has been one of those days. I'm sure all of you have had worse days, but relative to our daily normal routine, it's been somewhat exhausting (including sucky trim-painting up really high on a ladder, paintbrush taped to a pool pole... sun in your eyes). We're trying to get some jobs done before our open house on Saturday, and some of those jobs require 2 people, which means the best time to do such things is during Lucy's ever-decreasing naps. She takes a short one in the morning, and if things go according to plan, a longer one in the afternoon. A couple of barking dogs later, the afternoon nap was cut short and from that point things continued. Ron gave Lucy peaches for part of her dinner, and although we both would think that isn't a problem, they just don't seem to sit well. Upset tummy + not enough nappy = baby won't stop crying. I even busted out the ol' Gloworm, which held her attention for several minutes. An early bath and bedtime for Lucy. She seems pleased to be down for the evening, and risking lightning striking me from Heaven, I am pleased as well. She can be such a happy girl 95% of the time, but tonight she was against the odds. Time for my glass of wine.

The highlight: meeting someone from the hippy commune across the street when her dog came to make friends with our dog.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Open Houses

Today Ron and I are going to try to make it to 2 student open houses. It's hard to justify going to some and not to others, except for the fact that we have lives of our own. Sometimes students forget about that; they think that once school is out, teachers have nothing to do but start lesson plans for next fall, and scheme up ways to make teenagers' lives miserable. Someday we hope they grow up and aren't so shocked when they run into Ron at the grocery store (buying BEER! Oh NO!).

Next weekend we might actually be able to go to a few more, since we're having an open house of our own. We're supposed to get out of here for a few hours while complete strangers walk through and critique our paint colors, tiling jobs, DVD collection... We're going to have to be mindful of what is hidden in cupboards and drawers as well, since there is always a chance someone will peek to see what kind of space we have (and how organized we are... or aren't). We don't want one of our neighbors finding the penis-shaped bottle opener Ron's sister gave me for part of a wedding shower gift... not that it matters, since hopefully we'll be moving this summer. I guess I just worry too much about what others think! Ha ha... well, maybe not that much since I just advertised the fact on the Internet. Have a nice day.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Dora the Saleswoman

Kelly sent me this article from New York Magazine about kids and TV viewing. While I think that most things are alright in moderation, it's worth reading, especially if your child(ren) becomes a little too infatuated with characters and all the associated goodies... and less interested in the world around them.

It's Official

Today our Realtor came over to fill out some more paperwork, we gave her a CD with photos, descriptions, etc. for the listing on and she put the sign in our yard and everything! I guess that's normal... but it seems very strange to us. There's a sign in our yard. Sometime tomorrow morning our home will be among the other 7 million homes in our neighborhood that are listed online, and we are hoping that somehow, someway, ours will appear more attractive to a buyer than those other houses. Maybe another young couple, looking for a house that doesn't transport them back to 1977, and is duped into thinking owning a pool would be a lot of "fun"... (any potential buyers out there in blogland, a pool is awesome, and I just don't know how we'll survive without one).

Speaking of our totally great super pool, we finally found time to start vacuuming up the sludge that accumulated over the winter, and the water is looking good! We've been vacuuming to waste, so it's on a hiatus while the water level gets filled back up. Later this afternoon (when it's not 90 degrees out) we hope to finish that up, and get the chemicals in, get things churning.

Today is the first day of summer vacation for Grandville Schools. It's weird to think we're at that point in the year already. Yesterday as I was driving, around 11:00 a.m. I noticed teenagers on skateboards and thought, "hey, shouldn't you punks be in school?" and I realized that for the next three months teenagers, skateboards, motorized scooters, and dune-buggies will all be much more prevalent on good old Taft Avenue. As well as the ice-cream truck (which plays Christmas carols in 4-, maybe 8-bit sound). Ahh.... summertime.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


This was just a random snapshot, actually it wasn't even a "keeper", originally, because Lucy isn't looking at the camera, and she has her fingers in her mouth (again) but I ramped up the contrast, tinted it purple (just for fun) and, with the mirror behind them, it turned out pretty nice.

Drastic Move

We took the television out of the living room!

As Ron was doing some work behind the TV (patching a hole) he apparently freaked out and lost his mind with all the cords, and the dust, and general mess in that corner of the room - the sagging IKEA TV stand, the monolithic TV that sat upon it... so we decided to try life without Everybody Loves Raymond reruns.

Amazing thing: we actually had an enjoyable evening, listening to music and talking... I felt almost zero stress (which seems to add up for me at night). We set up my Bose stereo on a small table, so we can still listen to our stored music from the computer (through the AudioTron), and the sound quality is, of course, much better since we're using the Bose, and not my old-school Sony tower speakers. Why didn't we do this earlier?

It was funny, instead of staring at the TV, I caught us both staring at the stereo. Old habits die hard.

Lucy will have to do without Sesame Street for the time being, at least until we move. I'm having a harder time without Today, but I have enjoyed listening to more music, and the increased spaciousness of the living room... so it's a manageable trade-off.

We aren't completely in the Stone Age - we have a smaller (in my opinion, "normal" sized) TV upstairs, so there are occasions where we'll be able to see what's going on in the world, or at least watch old episodes of The Wonder Years.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

She Wants My Sudoku Book


No, My Computer Isn't Broken...

I just haven't had a whole lot to write about - same old, same old around here.

We've been working on the pool. Ugh. It's green, but that's normal for just opening it. The good thing is: no leaves in the pool. So, as long as we can vacuum up the algae and get things moving, it should clear up much more easily this year. It's just so much work (maybe other pool-owners out there have had an easier time, but) for us if it's not one thing, it's another... something in our filter broke so Ron had to buy a new part. Now everything is working fine... we just find it difficult to devote time to the pool with a lot of other projects going on. Today, however, we should be able to make some real progress.

Apparently school is canceled (exams) for East Kentwood grades 9-12 today, but no word on why that is. The call went out early this morning, and the superintendent said he was going to talk about why at 7:00 a.m., but then it got bumped to 10:00 a.m. All the secrecy has me very curious. Of course, it's not weather related. If it was something like a water or power outage, they would have said so. Parents and media have been calling and school officials refuse to say anything! Isn't that odd?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Da Ga G'hee Ya Dee...

Our "baby" is 8 months old today, and finally - Lucy is using consonants (mostly D's and G's... c'mon give me an "M")! For the longest time she would "talk" using plenty of inflection and different patterns, but all vowel sounds (and yes, sometimes Y!). We were trying so hard to get her to form other letters - if you can picture us in her face, her in the high-chair, while we slowly and loudly say "Dog-gie" "Da-Da" "Ma-Ma"! She would just smile and squeal and put her hands in our mouths, trying to check out those square white hard things in there.... (where can I get some of those?, she's thinking). The past couple of days, however, she has started to figure out how her mouth can be used as more than just a way in for food, and she's quite a chatterbox! It's so cute to finally hear her little voice more...

Last night we let her destroy a small coupon magazine that came in the mail, and she was having way too much fun. How do we teach her the difference between paper that's okay to rip and crinkle, and precious books that we want (we're ignorant fools, I know) to keep in mint condition? Anyway, I had never heard her babble so much. We kept looking at each other, like, "are you hearing this?!"

Then she pulled herself up to standing by the couch. Crap! Ron, are you ready to catch her? You got her, right? I don't want her to smack her head on the floor!

It's just a matter of time before she ventures away from the furniture, chasing after the "Da-gee"...