Tuesday, July 31, 2007

elusive mouse

Aron called me while in Florida to tell me he had seen a small mouse scamper across the floor. So, he set out 2 traps with peanut butter and assured me the mouse would be caught soon. However, on Saturday, I was rummaging around in my purse when I pulled out a ziplock bag of trail mix. I noticed immediately that the bag had a hole and trail mix was spilling out. What the heck?! It had to be the mouse. Aron dumped the contents out in the kitchen and called me in. Little, black poop dotted the paper towel landscape amidst the remaining trail mix. I was horrified! And here's why: the purse hangs on our wall coat rack; therefore, the mouse had to *climb a coat* to get into the purse! Oh. My. Gosh. Then this morning, we awoke to find that a bag of candied orange slices and been nibbled into, sugar littered all around the bag. And get this: 2 slices were dragged 20 feet away (off the table!) under our TV. Aron has seen this mouse and tells me it is small. Now, I'm not so sure. We promptly put the candy in the trap instead (it seems to be the mouse's preference right now). I'm seriously freaking out though. What if this mouse climbs in bed with Maggie?! I need some advise or assurance here, people! Nevertheless, I will keep you, gentle reader, apprised of our mouse hunt.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

winding down

Mags and I returned Tuesday from a week-long exursion to see my folks in Florida. We had a marvelous time, relaxing and exploring various places. We enjoyed several good meals at a mom and pop diner called Sweet Mamas, ate delicious seafood at a local joint in Tampa, watched a movie, shopped, visited both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, talked, and of course, played with Mags. My mom gave her a tubie in the sink every night, and both dad and mom read plenty of books to her. Dad bought her a beautiful Mother Goose Treasury pop-up book, to which Jack Be Nimble's leg is now missing (Maggie is quite quick!). The days we visited the water were both extremely hot so we slathered Mags up with tons of block, set upon the beach to dip our toes and play on the sand, and take some pictures. However, to my surprise, she didn't like the water. At all. In fact, the day we visited the Atlantic, she fussed almost the entire time; granted, she hadn't had a good nap all day, so I know that was part of it, but still. When the water would come up to her little feet, she would start to whine and we'd have to pick her up. I took a few candid pics of her and sent some via text to Aron. His response was, "Are you sure she's my daughter?" :) The day at the Gulf was a little better, the water warmer, and Maggie in better spirits; however, she still did not relish being in the water. I know deep down she is a California girl, though! On the way home from Tampa, the heavens opened and the heaviest deluge I have ever been in ensued. For over half an hour, we were in torrential rain; I was awestruck. Cars were pulling off to the side of the freeway to wait it out, which seemed the most dangerous to me. We pressed on and made it safely home. The trip was wonderful, refreshing, enjoyable. Maggie rolled over completely while away! And she is actually teething something awful right now, and I'm actually convinced she's getting in 4 new teeth (on top). One has popped through and I'm waiting for the others. That said, the last few days of our visit, she was crankier than usual and the plane ride home was quite rough. She screamed on and off for about 45 minutes; I felt terrible. But, it was our first not-so-good flight, so I figure one leg out of the 9 she has flown isn't that bad. At least I know we can make it through. It's good to be home, back with Aron, and getting back into our daily routine here. I'm posting a few more shots of our visit; we took so many good ones, it's hard to pick!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Thursday, July 19, 2007

No Disney, but still having fun

Dear friends,

My mama and I are in Florida visiting Grandpa and Marmee (her parents). We flew in yesterday and stay until next Tuesday evening. Today we shopped and enjoyed watching a magnificent thunderstorm from their back porch. It's hot here, too, but lovely and green. We will post pictures and stories when we get back home. I know daddy misses us, but he assures us that he will be editing several videos of me and putting them on the blog. Oh, and I am sporting my special band to help round out my head (I got it the day before we flew out here and I'm slowly adjusting). I look cute (Daddy says I'm special).

the Magster

ps: I'm also cutting TWO new top teeth!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

swing kid

After the Furmans departed, we headed over to this fantastic park less than a mile from our house so Mags could have her first swing. After SCW inspired me with recent pics of her little boy in the swing, I had to see if Mags would be as enamored. And she was!

meeting at last!

Our Dallas friends, Dave and Gloria Furman, stopped in last night on their way home from a 7- week journey of the United States as they raised support for the mission field. Our girls were finally able to meet and now Dealey (the Maples' son) has a picture of his girlfriends together. Aliza is a total doll, with the most gorgeous blue eyes and infectious smile. Dave and Gloria have enjoyed their travels, but are very ready to be back in one place. We had a low-key dinner here, then headed to eat Oberweis ice-cream (Gloria has to have ice-cream every night). We talked until late in the evening, then went to bed. This morning, we took them on our ritual Saturday morning walk to Starbucks, where we sipped our Fraps and Americanos and talked more about parenting, marriage, church, missions, and life. As always, it's wonderful to see friends and catch up in person. Here are a few shots of our time together.

Friday, July 13, 2007

the ringing bell

Derek Webb's newest release, titled above and linked right, is being dubbed by Paste magazine (yes, Mel, I am reading it) as his "masterstroke," being given five stars (not easy to come by). The lyrics are inspiring, poingant, and even humorous and the music folksy and beautiful. Webb, once of Caedmon's Call, makes candid observations about Christian fundmentalism and a variety of social issues. A favorite song for both Aron and me is "This Too Shall Be Made Right," detaling the hope of the life to come. Album reviewer Jason Killingsworth writes, "The Ringing Bell is a perfectly concise musical statement from an artist whose auspicious moment has finally arrived. Easily one of the year's best records."

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

wordless wednesday

Mags is 7 months old today! We love our little girl more and more every day and are amazed by the joy she brings us. Currently, she rocks back and forth while sitting and lunges for objects out of reach. And, she slowly pulled herself up in her crib on Sunday (we promptly lowered the bed). Yesterday, I sat her in front of her mirror-toy in the crib and came back a few minutes later to find that she had pulled herself a few inches along the railing. She growls when playing, says "bababa" all the time, has added a "g" sound to her repertoire and I swear is close to saying what will be her first word: "mama." I can't resist posting a few new pictures to this not-so "Worldess Wednesday." Enjoy!

Monday, July 9, 2007

cheers for friends

"Will Feed Anywhere"
The Bean in Millenium Park
Overlooking the Chicago River
Chicago Deep Dish

Playing with M

Walking around Palmer Square, near our flat

Our good friends from Dallas, Brad and Tammy, came up for a weekend visit. The boys went to The Police concert at Wrigley Field on Friday night (and according to Randall, this is only the second concert venue Wrigley has ever hosted) and Tam and I just chilled with Mags. We did some outdoor shopping, came home and ate sandwiches, talked, and later watched "Deja Vu," which was a bit disappointing. The boys couldn't have been more pleased with the concert and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. On a very warm Saturday, Tam and I made our first trip ever to Steve and Barry's where we purchased some of Sarah Jessica Parker's new clothing line (it's only sold at these stores). "Bitten" is stylish and inexpensive; nothing (yes, nothing!) is over $20. There are shoes, t-shirts, dresses, swimsuits, jewelry, purses, shirts, and pants. You must check it out! Later, we all headed downtown and enjoyed Gino's deep-dish pizza (M&R, we totally thought of you guys), walked along Michigan Avenue down to Millennium Park, made a stop at Moonstruck Chocolate Cafe, and lastly, waited in a very hot and long line for Garrett's famous popcorn (again, M&R, totally thought of you guys). The weather was extremely warm and the crowds downtown large, so we made our escape after a few hours of exploring. That night, we played Scene-It and ate dinner (the girls won every round). On Sunday, we took them to church and later grilled steaks at the house where Shel and Randall joined us. The guys played Guitar Heroes, Randall even arriving with his guitar in it's own case!

Brad and Tam, you two have been some of our most favorite guests yet. Please come back anytime. Thanks for all the Maggie love, too. It was awesome to watch all your interactions with her. As we put her to bed tonight, she reminisced about our weekend together, smiled up at us and said, "Nose." Tam, can you believe it!? :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

next stop, the airport (again), then finally Denver

Mel and me outside our old room at Ravencrest
Old Ravencrest friends. Rachel, on the right of me, was also one of Mel's and my roommates. The girl at Mel's left also attended RC. What fun to reminisce!
At E's wedding reception--it was a beautiful outdoor event in her parents backyard. You could see the mountains for miles!
Mags dressed and ready to go to the reception

Malachi and Mags...he really loves her!
He played with her any chance he got

This is how Mags looked almost the entire night of E's semi-bachlorette party.
After dinner, we stopped at The Drunken Monkey bar to snap a quick picture of E on the swings they have inside...um, how safe is this really? Drunk people on swings?! They have to be crazy to allow it, don't you think??

Some of the girls outside the Mexican restaurant
E and her lovely sissies at dinner

E and Mel drinking Starbucks in Estes Park. The air just smells better up there!

Hanging out in Ft. Collins

Breakfast in Ft. Collins

E and her new hubby, Jonathan--he cooked some amazing meals! Pictured here is salmon with a delightful rub and fresh fruit parfaits. Dessert: homemade vanilla cookie dough ice-cream with homemade, gluten-free brownies. Yum!

E, Mags, and Mr. Darcy

Following our time with Eric and Kandi, we were due to arrive home on Monday night, then get up on Tuesday morning and M and I would fly to Denver for my annual girls' trip (4 of us have been meeting up for the last 4 years). That was the plan. BUT...we unfortunately experienced our first ever missed flight in Phoenix. And while we do take responsibility for getting to the airport late, the American Airlines' agent was utterly unhelpful and downright rude. Basically, we cut it too close arriving at the airport, but thought, "hey, we have 40 minutes until departure, we should be fine." And truthfully, I have cut it close before, and they have never given me too much grief. However, we arrived at the terminal to over 40 angry passengers whose flights had been cancelled to DFW due to bad weather. This shouldn't have affected us, but it did. Aron tried to self-check in, but they had started boarding the plane 5 minute earlier (literally) and therefore, the kiosk wouldn't let us check in. After another 5 minutes (keep in mind that every minute is precious at this point), Aron was able to get the attention of aforementioned utterly unhelpful and downright rude ticket agent. He politely (really) says, "Who can I speak to about this late check-in notification?" And she replies, "Well let me get this straight--you want to talk to someone about your missed flight." She proceeds to ignore his request to tag our bag and tells us to get in line. We wait for 40 minutes and miss the flight. Finally, when we are at the front of the line and able to talk to an agent, lo and behold, the *same* agent decides she's ready to help our line (and not the self check-in-ers anymore). I inwardly groaned. We step up to the counter and proceed to tell her our story and see what can be done. We learn there are no more flights to Chicago that night. We learn that we can only get on standby on various flights in hopes to make it back to Chicago in time to catch my Denver flight the next morning (meaning, i might not even make the Denver flight). Bottom line, this woman was unable to confirm us on any flight that day or the next; I cannot express just how rude she was. What makes it even more frustrating is that we were trying to be totally patient and loving towards her (really). Wouldn't you think that someone would respond well to that? Not our lady. We finally decided that standby the next morning would be the best option. In frustration, I ended up calling the airline after we re-rented our car to see if there was something more they could do. The woman I spoke with confirmed us on the flight in about 3 minutes. I was befuddled--why could she do that and the ticket agent not!? She had no answer. So, we headed back to Eric and Kandi's, picking up some delicious sushi on the way, and enjoyed another night with them. Up at 4am the next morning, we drove back to the airport, made it on the plane, only to sit on the tarmac while maintenance checked on a light that came on unexpectedly. Have I mentioned that I felt stressed? This put the plane about 20 minutes behind schedule (have I mentioned that every minute counts?), but the pilot was gracious enough to ask the passengers if those making connecting flights could get off first. I literally ran with Maggie to our gate for the flight to Denver. I had 10 minutes until departure and of course, the gate was about 18 away. I made it with 7 minutes to spare; however, I had left Aron behind to wait for the stroller. He also had the diaper bag and camera. The agent rudely told me to get on the plane. I said, "My husband is running here right now." She said, "Ma'am, we are departing. Either you need to get on without the stroller or not go at all." I said, "You have no idea the last 24 hours I have had. Please be patient. If my husband says he's running here, he is." She sighs and soon closes the door. Moments later, I see Aron and I yell, "Run faster!" He arrives, I tell the agent I'm getting on the plane, and she opens the door for me. The two reprieves along this journey were a) Maggie traveled phenomenally and b) on the Denver flight, absolutely every seat was taken, except 2--mine and the one next to me! Maggie was able to sit and play and I was able to read and catch my breath. Needless to say, American will be hearing from me.

In summation, my 6 days in Colorado with girlfriends (we have been getting together for the past 4 years) was relaxing and enjoyable. Elicia had her wedding reception, which was oh-so lovely. We were able to connect with a few other Bible school friends from back in the day and this was an added bonus. Mel, E, and I soaked up the time together, ran errands for the reception, visited Estes Park (where we went to Bible school 10 years ago), stayed up late talking, shopped, and just hung out any chance we got. And at long last, Mel and I were able to meet E's wonderful husband, Jonathan. La, you were sorely missed! Next year, we aren't sure where we will meet up, but, oh, how I anticipate our yearly trip. A final highlight was E's son, Malachi, and how much he grew to really love Maggie. At first, he didn't seem to care for her, but every day he grew more and more attached, telling me things that she liked, playing with her, tickling her, and basically wanting to see her every time she was awake. See below in pictures what I have been up to for the past week.

Monday, July 2, 2007

hotness in phoenix

We're home from our many adventures in two different states. First, we spent 3 days, 4 nights in Phoenix with our friends, the Pfeiffers. I believe the temp every day we were there was over 105. Aron described the landscape as "lunar" yet it had a familiar quality about it and we likened it to Southern California with no ocean. Spending time with our friends was refreshing; we enjoyed many good conversations about life, family, and community. We met several of their friends over a salmon and veggie dinner on Saturday night; a wonderful, relaxing time all around. Aron and I were both impressed with how well Eric and Kandi are training their children; they are loving and consistent. Their kiddos were much fun to be around and Charity's quick wit kept us laughing. They both really enjoyed Maggie, too and it was neat to watch them interact. Many thanks, you guys, for the Starbucks, the good eats, and the good conversations. We love you!