Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving day deer

No, we didn't eat a deer on Thanksgiving, but I hit one. I think this is the first time I myself have hit a deer. I've been in the car before when somebody else has hit one, but this is my first.

We decided to drive over to Andy's parents house on Thanksgiving afternoon; we had dinner and took showers. I made a Gluten roast in the slow cooker, although we didn't have any seitan so it wasn't that interesting. I hadn't planned on taking it anywhere, but then Andy said it would be awhile before our bathroom was finished, so we should drive over. So off we went. The kids had a good time at Grandma and Grandpa's, but it was getting late so we headed home. Andy was driving, but he was getting really tired as he'd been working all day on our bathroom. He pulled over in LeRoy so I could drive. I had passed another car awhile back, and was heading back into the right lane, when Bam! There it was! I turned my head for 1 second to look behind me and there was a huge deer in the right lane. I swerved just in time to avoid a major crash I think. We did end up with 2 dents in our van (no big deal - we drive a really old van), and a broken passenger side mirror. We'll have to have that replaced, but otherwise no major problems for us. I don't know what happened to the deer though! I felt so bad all the way home. I don't think I killed it right then, but it had to be hurting.

Andy had just fallen asleep when I hit the deer, and he woke up and yelled, "Are you awake Steph?" So I pulled over and explained what had happened and he got out and surveyed the damage. The lady behind us was nice enough to also pull over and ask if we were all OK. We made it home OK after that, but it was a little scary!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Bathroom remodeling

We finally decided to finish our bathroom. We started not long after moving in, and it is 2 1/2 years later and still unfinished. We had to get a new sink right away. The old sink had separate hot and cold faucets and you had to hold them on for the water to come out. I couldn't figure out how to wash my hands or anything else. Then the floor - what a disaster. Somebody redid the bathroom at some point in time. They put down particle board, then ceramic tile on that. Well, the tub setup was a disaster and would leak water out the side. Then the particle board would get wet, expand, and the tiles would break. So we took all that up and redid it properly when we moved in. We just have vinyl tile for now, but it is easy to remove and we can always have something nicer put down when we're ready.

So we decided to finally remove the tub disaster and put in our claw foot tub that has been sitting in the garage for 2 years. We bought it newly refinished from a family in Gibson City I believe. We found the faucet and supply lines and drain on Ebay, and they arrived on Wednesday morning. Thus our project began. Andy started tearing apart the old tub parts while I watched the kids. The demolition went fairly quickly, as whoever redid the bathroom did such a poor job that everything was just ready to fall apart. There were glass blocks built up on top of our bathtub so you could take a shower. Andy basically just had to push on them and they came right out. That is a little scary. We're lucky the kids didn't push them over! Here you can see what they were sitting on.


Then he started to pull off the tile surrounding the tub. Well, it was glued on to drywall, which water had leaked through that so the drywall just fell off. It was mushy and stinky and moldy! So now we have to rebuild the wall. I'm not surprised after seeing what was done to the floor!

Andy finally got all that tore out and decided to get the bathtub out. He asked our neighbor Denny to help him carry it out. It was a good thing too, as it was a cast iron tub and ridiculously heavy. Andy and our neighbor are both big guys and really strong, and they had a really difficult time carrying that tub outside. I have no idea how much it weighed but I'm guessing it had to be 400lbs. So right now it is just sitting outside our front door. They weren't going to move it any further than they had to. Anyone want a tub?

Here Andy is contemplating the plumbing. And no, he is not a plumber and has no experience, so he probably should not be doing this, but he thinks he can do anything after reading about it online. He did manage to install our sink with no leaks, so we'll see what happens here! You can see the yucky wall and missing part of the wall.


He did manage to get the new stops and drain installed, and we have the floor built. We're working on the wall today, then finishing the floor and the tub should be ready to be brought up!


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gridley



So we left Andy's parents house Saturday morning on our way to Chicago. We took 24 to Chenoa, but as we were almost in Gridley, I look up, and what do I see but a huge Johnny Martin looking back at me. Now I had heard that he had a sign up in Gridley. I guess I was not expecting it to be this large, but then who would? Andy almost missed it, so he turns around for a second look. It is impressive to say the least. How many of your classmates have a billboard with a giant picture of themselves?

On our way back to Andy's parents house Monday evening, Andy decided to stop in Gridley for gas. I was sleeping in the backseat and so were the kids. I sit up and look out the window, and right there is Andy and Erin Cooper. We had a great laugh about this. Andy thought it was probably one in million chance that we would run into them. Taking a look back at the events that led up to that, it probably was. We were stuck in traffic in Chicago, then we had to stop and feed the baby. He almost stopped in Chenoa for gas, but then decided to wait until Gridley. We were even just talking about them on the drive. Every wedding we go to, Andy and Erin Cooper are there; this wedding was one of the exceptions because it was my family. But then, sure enough, we run into them at a gas station on a wedding weekend!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Chicago Diner

Sunday night after the wedding we took the kids to The Chicago Diner. The link is here:

http://www.veggiediner.com/

It is a great little vegetarian restaurant in the Lincoln Park area just north of Chicago. We were staying in Schaumburg, and there are of course plenty of restaurants in Schaumburg, but not any quite like this(or at least none that we know of). Being vegan, it is always difficult to eat out. There are many restaurants that don't have a single vegetarian option listed on their menu. Then there are the others that have maybe one or two vegetarian meals, and then we have to ask for no cheese or eggs. So being in a huge city with lots of vegan/veg restaurants, I was not going to miss this chance. We arrived around 7:30pm, and the line was out the door. I was not expecting this, as it was a Sunday evening and usually restaurants are not as busy. But the wait was only 10 minutes, so we could do that. We were seated in a booth and handed a menu. I could not decide what to order! Everything sounded good, and everything was vegetarian or vegan, with the option of making it vegan. Whoa! I could order anything I wanted off the menu. I can't remember the last time that happened. It is a very strange feeling and I couldn't decide what to get. Normally the decision is very easy - spaghetti with marinara sauce. Not tonight! Andy had a Reuben sandwich with sliced seitan. He ended up picking for me; I had the Philly Cheeze "Steak" sandwich which also had sliced seitan. It was delicious!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Chicago

We spent the weekend in Chicago and took the whole crew and had a great time. It is much easier to travel now that the twins are a little older. It is still difficult with 3 kids and very exhausting, but easier than when they were babies. We left Saturday morning from Grandma and Grandpa's house. They agreed to watch our very pathetic dog for the weekend. Apparently she did ok during the day, but at night while we were gone she would start crying. She did survive the ordeal and is very happy to be back home. We took the kids to Woodfield Mall on Saturday. It was jam packed - we could hardly move. We were there for probably 3 hours and only made it to 2 stores. I of course had to visit the Lush store. It was awesome and I found a lot of great bath products! They sell all vegetarian products and over 75% are vegan. None of their products are tested on animals, and they don't buy ingredients that are tested on animals either. All of their packaging material is made from recycled products and is recyclable, although they use very little packaging. We then took the kids to Build-A-Bear. They loved that and Faye picked a dog which she named Princess Leia, and Drew picked a white bear he named Storm Trooper. Can you tell they play Lego Starwars? Andy already has their brains warped I think.


We headed back to th
e hotel and Grandma and Uncle Jadon arrived a bit later. We spent the evening swimming in the pool. We all had a great time. Even Alex went swimming for the 1st time. The water was very warm, but he did start getting cold after a few minutes so he didn't swim long.



Justin and Maribeth got married on Sunday morning. We left in plenty of time for the wedding, but once again google maps failed so we ended up missing the beginning. I hate hate hate being late, but there was nothing we could do about it. We basically just missed them walking in, so we saw all of the ceremony. It was short and sweet and surprisingly enough the kids were well behaved. They sat all through lunch really nicely, although we did tell them that they would get wedding cake eventually if they kept sitting. Maribeth did great and made kiddie gift bags for the kids, with coloring books and flashlights and even a bracelet and ring for Faye. She is still wearing the ring! Justin put on a fedora and used a belt whip, while they played the Indiana Jones theme song while he removed the garter. Jadon caught the garter. Are there wedding bells in the future? Only time will tell. The kids love Hallie and Uncle Jadon, but unfortunately Hallie was unable to make it to this wedding. Next came dancing, and Faye is quite a dancer! She was out on the dance floor the whole time, doing the chicken dance and the hokey pokey and everything else you can imagine. She had a great time but was exhausted by the time the wedding was over. Drew played lego star wars on the Nintendo DS rather than dance. But as Jadon commented, it was the best behaved he'd been the whole weekend. He loves video games!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Baby fish

Well, Faye's fish Princess had babies last night. We've only had the fish for 4 days now, and already we have more. I'm not sure how many she had, but there were 4 in there this morning. I read up on Molly fish, and they tend to have babies all the time. Like every 30 days. Even if you have only one female fish, they could have babies 3 or 4 times. They can apparently store semen and use it later. Wow. They also eat their babies sometimes, so there could have actually been more. Now I don't think Princess actually ate them, as she appears to have died in childbirth and is floating on the bottom. We may be having a fish funeral later tonight. But Mr. Fizzwizzle is swimming around the tank looking for them. At lunch I checked the tank and I could now only see two babies. They are adorable so I may have to go get a small tank and put them in there until they are bigger!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

New Pets



We took Faye and Drew to the pet store today to pick out their new fish. I finally got the tank all set up and ready this week. I ended up buying a heater, as we keep our house cold and would probably kill the fish. We asked the pet store lady for recommendations, and she suggested a black molly and also mentioned that they liked to have babies. Drew was sold. So he got a black molly and named it Mr. Fizzwizzle. For those of you who don't know, Mr. Fizzwizzle is a computer game and Drew loves playing it. It is a puzzle game and really gets you thinking. Even Andy and I have trouble completing some of the harder levels!

The website for the game is here:
http://grubbygames.com/

Faye picked out a dalmatian molly. It is silver with black spots and is really pretty. She named it Princess. Imagine that! Her fish and Drew's fish seem to be getting along really well. They are swimming all over the tank together. Drew and Faye fed them right after putting them in the tank and they were hungry! Alex and I picked out a Sunburst. It is yellow and orange, and we named it Freddy. We'll probably add a few more in the future!

We're Moving!



Well, we're not really moving, but I sort of wish we were! I don't want to actually move all my things as that would be too much work with a baby, but I wouldn't mind the new house part. Alex and I drove to Pontiac yesterday morning to see Billie Jo and her family and their new house. It is beautiful! They have a huge kitchen with stainless steel appliances and anti-slam drawers and cabinets, lights everywhere, and a huge pantry. I have to say I would love love love to have a kitchen like this!! Did I mention they have a master bathroom with a huge jet tub! Their living room is also large with a fireplace. Yep, that's right, a fireplace! I love fireplaces - my next house will have one! (billie jo, I'm moving in) Haha! Anyways, they have worked very hard for over 2 years, picking everything for this house, making thousands of decisions, and painting and staining and doing who knows what else. Their hard work really paid off!



Billie Jo and I were able to go out for lunch at How Sweet It Is, a new little place on the square in Pontiac. It was really good. We had hot apple cider and I had a grilled Veggie Panini, and they also make Fudge so they gave you a sample with your meal. It was Wedding Cake day, and it was different, but very good. After lunch we went back to her house, and Alex had a fun time playing with Billie Jo'
s step-daughter Brittney. Alex and I had a great time spending the day there!




We decided to stop in Flanagan and see Oma while we were there. She was surprised to see us, but I think she was glad we stopped. We played a game of cribbage while Alex slept, then we had dinner and fed Alex. I decided by then I'd better head home and assess the damage of leaving Andy home all day with 2 kids!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I'm Sick!

As we were getting the coats on the kids this morning, ready to take them to preschool, Drew informs us, "I'm sick!" Well, he was not at all sick, but thought he'd try getting out of preschool. I think we're in for a lot of trouble from him down the road, if he's already trying to skip preschool. It occurred to him to try this excuse, as Faye really was sick on Tuesday and stayed home. Drew went to school without Faye, but not without a fight. Andy actually carried him into the school kicking and biting and screaming. His teacher Ms. Angie came out in the hallway and got him and carried him in, and after about 10 minutes he was fine and had a great time at school. It was his friend Maddie's birthday, so they had cookies, and since it was raining they went to the gym to play and they had bikes and slides out for the first time. He was very excited and had to tell Faye all about it!



Here's a picture Faye took of me and Alex. I thought it was a good picture of Alex, although she did cut my head off.




I took Faye to get her hair cut last week. It was just crazy, so this is a little better. You can see she is not feeling well in the picture - her nose is all red from wiping it. Poor girl. She woke up crying on Tuesday from not feeling well. It is so hard to explain to little kids why they are sick
!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Alex 4 months old

I took Alex to his 4 month checkup yesterday. He is 16lb and 26 1/2 inches long. So he has grown 6 inches in 4 months. He's a tall baby! The pediatrician said he looked and acted more like a 6 month old baby. I'd have to agree. He thinks he is much older as well. He gets very very frustrated if Drew and Faye are playing and we're not 'playing' with them as well. He is very anxious to get moving, so he can go where he wants. I think he'll be following his big brother and sister all day. I think he'll be crawling really early so he can keep up with them. Uh oh!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Secret language?



I've heard that twins sometimes develop 'secret' languages, but so far I've never seen it in my twins, until today. It was a beautiful day outside today so we went for a walk. The kids were so excited about the leaves, that we decided to go home and rake the leaves and play in them. I did most of the raking, while the kids jumped in the piles and had a blast. Drew did try a little raking, although mostly he tried raking the trees to try and get the berries to fall. Alex sat in the stroller and watched, giggling as the kids jumped in the leaves.



The kids were really tired after
all that playing, so we went upstairs to take a nap. I have to sit in their room until they fall asleep, or they never go to sleep, no matter how tired they are. I even have to insist they close their eyes. So they are both lying there with their eyes closed, and I hear Drew make a noise. It was sort of a humming noise, and I wasn't sure what it was, so I just ignored it. About 10 seconds later, Faye makes a similar noise. This went back and forth for about 10 minutes, with them occasionally smiling or laughing like it was some sort of inside joke that only they understood. I'm not certain that what they were doing meant anything to the other, but it sure seemed like it! But finally they did fall asleep!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween


The kids had a great Halloween this year! Faye went as a butterfly and Drew was a Ninja. They woke up Friday morning so excited about going trick or treating. They weren't too excited about waiting until dark though. "That's too long to wait mom!" they kept telling me. We tried getting them to eat dinner before we left, but they weren't hungry. More room for candy I guess.



Finally once Andy was home from work we had them all dressed and ready to go. Drew did not want to get his picture taken once again. But we did manage to get them to sit on the couch for a couple pictures. Alex was mesmerized by the orange pumpkins and would not stop staring at those.

We got out and at the first couple houses Drew and Faye would ring the bell , but once somebody came to the door they would not say 'Trick or Treat'. I figured they would get the hang of it after a few houses, but no, they would just stare and wait for treats. I guess that worked too!