Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Enjoying the snow!

It was snowing last night as we drove in. This morning, when we woke up, the snowflakes were huge. So, we had to take advantage of the snow on the ground. Wayne and Tyler went sledding.
Walking up the hill...

and coming back down.

Waiting for Grandma Sue to have a turn.

Watching Grandma go by. (See if you can find her in the picture).

Grandma Sue, Wayne, me and Tyler

Tyler checking out the Gingerbread Church under the bird feeder. We've seen a lot of pretty birds - including lots of cardinals and blue jays.


Here's Tyler enjoying breakfast at the hotel Tuesday morning before we took off.

Ted and Sue met us at the hotel around 9:30 in the morning and we were off. We were anticipating snow and ice for the majority of the trip. But, we were thankful that it didn't start snowing until we were almost into Illinois. It was, gladly, an uneventful trip. Isabel had a nice meal for us and we relaxed, happy to be here for Christmas!
Here is my nasty cheek...By the way, last evening, Isabel gave me some hydrocortisone cream which took away the itch. I think it's getting a little better.

T-Rex Cafe pictures

Here are some pictures from our visit to the T-Rex Cafe. In retrospect, I would have taken more pictures. Oh well, maybe there will be a next time.

Outside the entrance is a large (possibly life sized) fossil look-alike. I would guess it was an apatosaurus. Right inside is a very large T-Rex. Tyler declared that it is bigger than all of the people in the whole world. He had been warned by Grandma Sue, so he entered a little tentatively, but later told her that he was very brave and was not scared. :) It roared and moved around, like most of the dinosaurs there. It was quite impressive. All I could capture on my camera was it's babies hatching from eggs and it's front arms.

They have a Build-A-Dino, so here is Tyler helping to push the pedal putting fluff into his T-rex. I was too late getting out my camera to catch him rubbing its heart on his arm to make it stronger, as the employee who was helping us suggested. Tyler was shy, as usual, and looked a little skeptical about the idea, but did as he was told.

The finished Dino.

Here is a brief video from the upstairs. (Upstairs we are standing in an Ice Age room). You can't see much on the video, but it's the best view that we got.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

red scratch

Yesterday, I woke up with what I thought was a large scratch on my face. I thought it was weird, but just figured I had scratched myself with my ring, in my sleep. Well, by last evening, when I got a closer look at it, it looks like a (large) line of red raised bumps. And it's a little itchy. And, of course, it shows up when we're on a trip and I can't just go see the doctor. Yes, as a little worry wart, I've thought of such things as the MERSA virus, a mutant allergic reaction, ...

When I called Mom last night and told her, she laughed. Hard. She remembers that when I was growing up, it seemed I always did something or come down with something right before a trip.

The things I remember are:
1) Crouching a little too close to the space heater after a bath...and ending up with grid marks on my toosh. I think that was right before a trip to Disney.
2) I broke my big toe - the only bone I've ever broken - right before a trip to Washington DC. (Where we anticipated lots of sightseeing and walking).
And finally,
3) I remember getting strep throat right before a long road trip to see National Parks out west. I think they made me wear a mask and Dad took a couple of my antibiotics...just in case.

I guess in comparison, this isn't so bad! :) So, if and when you see me soon...just know that it's okay to mention it. I know you'll notice! :)

Monday, December 22, 2008

We're on our way...

We are officially on the road. I am currently writing from the Drury Inn hotel in Shawnee Mission, Kansas. Hooray! After spending Sunday packing, doing laundry and taking down the tree, we had a leisurely start to today. (Especially compared to most years when we are leaving as soon as I get home from work on Friday or at the crack of dawn). We arrived in the early afternoon to check in, then headed to the T-Rex Cafe. It is an impressive place! They have an array of animatronic dinosaurs, lights, aquariums, etc. They also have Build-A-Dinosaur, and Tyler built a T-Rex, who he named "Rexy." We had an early supper at Dave and Buster's, which also has arcade games. We are now relaxing at the hotel. When I can, I will be sure to upload pictures too. We are hoping all the snow and ice hitting the country will miss us on our journey tomorrow...soon we'll know!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Tyler woke up yesterday morning saying he could "breath like a dinosaur." Of course, getting out the camera means he will become shy, but he did eventually perform for me. Yes, he is sick. No, this is not good timing. But, hopefully he'll get well soon!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

treasure hunt

Last night, Ted and Sue braved the snowy roads to be with us. First, they took us out to eat at Lee's Chinese Restaurant. Then, Sue had planned a treasure hunt to help Tyler find his Christmas gift from them.

First, she explained what a treasure hunt was.

Then, they were off!

Daddy helping Tyler read a clue.

Tyler found a clue on the piano...

and in the dishwasher! (Among other places, like the refrigerator, car seat, etc)

And, after 12 clues, his gift.

A new Radio Flyer Scooter!

He quickly located the bell...and loves it, as well as his new scooter!
He rode it around until bedtime, ringing the bell.

Then, he had to have it by his bed for the night. Wayne said Tyler woke him this morning by riding his scooter into the bedroom, and ringing the bell!
I think the gift was a hit, Grandpa and Grandma!

Monday, December 15, 2008

What was the right thing to do?

Last night, Tyler and I braved the cold and trekked across town to the evening children's Christmas program at church.

After the program, the man behind me told me I had done a nice job with the children's story. I have never seen him before. But, that's not saying much. And the fact that he knows that I did the children's story means he was at least at our morning service last Sunday or this one.

When we were ready to leave, he followed us upstairs and was putting his coat on. I was telling Tyler he needed to wear his coat because it is cold outside. (I don't understand why he has to be coerced into putting a coat on, but whatever).

Anyway, this man commented that he had to walk home.

At this point, I'm asking myself whether I should offer to take him home. But, I have a weird feeling about having a strange man in the car, and honestly really don't want to do so.

I asked how far he had to walk. He said about two blocks "into the wind."

I felt this internal struggle. As a Christian, I have many times heard the analogy of caring for one another like we are caring for Christ; or like we want to be cared for. But, on the other hand, what if he is not just an innocent man who needs a ride? (And here is where my worrying, paranoid mind started to get the best of me). I was alone with Tyler...what if he would do something to us?

Instead of offering, I just said something like, "Wow, it's really cold to be walking." And he left.

I keep replaying this conversation in my mind. Wondering if I did the right thing by not offering a ride...

I don't know why, probably just because I'm weird and think of such things, but I've often wondered what I would do if I was alone and a man needed help - or a ride. Now I know. I will chicken out. But, though I'm not proud of it, I honestly think I'd do the same thing again. I just hope I haven't hurt his feelings, or made him feel unwelcome by not offering.

What about you? Anyone else think they'd do something different, or the same? Anyone been in a similar situation? Any thoughts, any, are welcome. (I won't be offended).

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ruining angers

Just now, Tyler was being taken (ok, carried unwillingly) to time out, and he yelled,

"You are ruining my angers. My anger is stronger than you-ers."

He is now, but we are definitely getting out the Wii Fit to burn some little boy energy!! This cold weather makes entertaining a little more challenging. :)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

My little sleeper

I know that this may be boring reading...but to me, who wondered whether getting Tyler to sleep without me in the room would ever happen, and never thought it would be this painless, it's pretty exciting.

After 2 weeks of Tyler going to sleep without me laying next to him, but me sitting in the glider until he fell asleep, I realized that Tyler thought I was sleeping in his room all the glider... I know that's what he thought, because he told me so. :) So, I started leaving the room after his nightly routine. Since I have been leaving the room, he nightly wants to be a "baby burrito" (lightly swaddled), has music or a story playing, and has to have his teddy bear and his elephant to snuggle with. According to Tyler, he needs them, "in case I have bad dreams." But, after a few nights of needing lots of things after I tucked him in (different music, a drink, use the bathroom, etc), he has been doing great.

Last night at 2 (something) a.m., I awoke to Tyler standing quietly next to me. He gave me a kiss. I sat up and followed him to his room where he quietly said, "baby burrito." I tucked him in, we said I love yous and he was down again. (In the past, when he has woken up, he has usually just yelled for me from his bed - I thought the kiss was a sweet alternative).

Monday, December 8, 2008

Traveling, traveling through the snow...

How much road time, to visit family and friends, do you expect during this Christmas season?

Under an hour - 4 (26%)
1-10 hours - 7 (46%)
11-20 hours - 2 (13%)
21-35 hours - 1 (6%)
36-50 hours - 1 (6%)
50+ hours - 0

Our travel plans have not been finalized, so there may be a few more hours tacked on. But, at this point, we are looking at at least 35 hours of driving, assuming we have clear roads. I see that we aren't alone in our hours on the road. My goal this year is to make the journey less about merely surviving it, but for it to be part of the fun...and vacation.

We love seeing family over the holidays. In fact, the suggestion that we just stay home is not an least not yet. We appreciate how flexible our families have been over the years as we try to coordinate schedules to see everyone that we can. This year is no exception. This year, however, we can't fit everyone and everywhere in...and it kind of breaks my heart. Lynette and Rusty are in Thailand, so we knew we wouldn't see them, which is hard enough. But, we also made the decision not to continue our trek across the country to see Tim and Carrie and their boys. :( (They'll be in Virginia for Christmas this year, which Carrie said is about another 12 hour drive, one-way, from Middlebury). We are especially disappointed that the cousins won't see one another...and haven't seen one another for over a year. And, we have yet to meet baby Zion. Hopefully we will be able to make something work before too long.

We are excited for the time we will be able to spend time with family. We will get to see Wayne's Mom's family in Illinois, his Dad's family in Indiana and my parents as well. We will miss those we don't get to see, but will relish the time that we do have together. We are thankful for that. I wish you all safe journeys this holiday season!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Wait...and wait...

I know we're in the season of advent. Waiting and anticipating. But not quite like this.

We did a little shopping after church. After we ate lunch, and were on the way home, I thought of another stop we could make. I asked Tyler whether we should (whether he would cooperate with a) stop at [undisclosed location] to get a gift card for Hollins.

"No. Let's wait until I'm a grownup to do that."

Poor Hollins. That would be quite a long wait. :)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Bran Muffins

Wayne found a bran muffin recipe that he wanted me to try because he needs "more bran." :) It was delicious. I especially love the crisp top. It probably comes from the sugar...which isn't the point in a bran muffin. I keep telling myself that they have to at least be a little better for me than a chocolate or blueberry muffin, right? But, who needs an excuse? These are the fluffiest, yummiest bran muffins!

Classic Bran Muffins
-Janet Kalman/

1 1/2 cups wheat bran
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raisins (I didn't put these in)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease muffin tin (12-regular) or line with paper liners.
2. Mix together wheat bran and buttermilk; let stand for 10 minutes.
3. Beat together oil, egg, sugar and vanilla. Add bran mixture. Sift together dry ingredients and stir into buttermilk mixture, just until blended. Fold in raisins. Spoon into prepared pan(s).
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool and enjoy!