Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Smarty Pants

Just wanted to take a moment to brag about my hubby...hope he doesn't mind too much. Mike got some really cool news at work late last week. Awhile back, Mike had an idea for a device that would combine multiple current technologies into a product that would greatly enhance a vehicle's vision, particularly aircraft. I don't think that I am allowed to say anymore than that but Mike can add more info if he deems it appropriate.

GE has a great program where engineers are encouraged to submit ideas to their "think-tank" system, where it goes through a review process and so on and so forth. Mike received a call from a patent attorney last week from St. Louis, MO letting him know that GE is interested in patenting his idea and they are moving forward with it. I mean, wow. That is really awesome and I couldn't be happier for him. I can't wait to see how the whole process plays out and if anything actually comes out of his product idea.

So, way to go honey! I'm very proud of you and although I knew I hooked up with a smart guy, you still continue to surprise me with your determination and imagination. :)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Girls Gone Wild!

Monday at the Zoo with the girls! Lauren, Tara and I met up with my sister Anna, her daughter Hailey, as well as my friend Andrea, and her daughter Vivian. The weather was a perfect 71 degrees, partly sunny and all the animals were out and about. I think we'll have to go back again later this summer. The twins already want to go again tomorrow!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


  • Why does Tara always ask for a snack? I mean...always...even after we just ate or she just finished her other snack. Why?
  • Why does Lauren throw herself down on the ground incoherently sobbing at random times during the day? Why?
  • Why does Tara find such pleasure in being sneaky? Sometimes it's funny, but other times I can see the "mean" twinkle in her eyes, and it makes me nervous. Why?
  • Why does Lauren insist on putting her shoes on the wrong feet, wearing a hat and a bracelet(s) with every outfit (even if they don't match) and growling (literally) at me if I even *suggest* an alternative. Why?
Just some random thoughts regarding some of the things my kids do that drive me nuts. None of them are bad, per se, but I find myself unable, at times, to understand their 4 1/2 year old logic. Maybe Tara has a serious sugar deficiency and must consume as many fruit roll-ups and Capri Suns as possible in order to function? Maybe Lauren is truly fashion conscious (God help me) and is testing her style for future runway walks? I don't know......

Sometimes it's so confusing being a parent. You finally feel like you have a handle on what works and what doesn't, and *BLAM*, they change everything up on you. With the twins starting 4 Year Preschool in the Fall, at an actual school with older kids, I know that Mike and I are going to be challenged in a lot of new ways. Why do they have to grow up so fast? I know that this is one of those questions that everyone asks. And, I know some parents who will go to great lengths to keep their children in a box, afraid to let them truly grow and experience the real world and all the good and bad that goes along with it.

I don't want to be that parent. I want the girls to know that the world is greater than our home town, our State, or our country. That there really are bad people out there, who do terrible things and sometimes get away with it. I want them to know that our planet is wonderful too, but just a tiny piece of the greater universe. And most of all, I want them to know that they are important, special and loved...no matter what.

So maybe Tara does need that extra popsicle today and maybe Lauren's 10 extra bracelets really do make her outfit *pop*. And I guess that maybe, just maybe, their mother will love them just a little bit more because of it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Summer Fun Outdoors

It's almost been a week since my last post again and that's irritating. I like to use this medium as a tool to record everyday life, since I know I will forget it all too quickly. I couldn't even tell y0u what I had for lunch yesterday without having to REALLY think hard about it. Life moves so quickly and we change and grow right along with it. I need to do better.

The whole fam took a little day trip up to Newaygo State Park on Saturday to attend an Event put on by Geocachers and also by the State Park to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the Michigan DNR. We had a great time... Mike gave a Geocaching 101 presentation, hooked up with some newbie cachers on their first ever find, had a wonderful potluck lunch, more caching, and ended with cake and ice cream. It was beautiful day...a perfect Michigan day to be outdoors with our kids, playing with high-end technology to find tupperware in the woods!

The Tikibirds Family at the Event on Saturday

Sunday was Father's Day and another beautiful day it was. We invited both our families over to celebrate the day with us and almost everyone was able to attend. Mike cooked burgers and dogs on the grill and I made strawberry short-cake for dessert. The kids played in the backyard while the adults sat around relaxing and yapping. It was very nice. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe my luck is real. I've got a wonderful husband and father to my children, a great home to raise them in and a fantastic set of relatives to share it with. Does it get any better?

Last night we had a delicious dinner with The Youmans, very dear friends of ours, and then had their help at the old house for a bit. Our new renters are moving-in this weekend (yay!) and come to find out, they have their own washer & dryer and microwave! So, we had to haul the old ones out and we'll be selling them later down the road. Then tonight or tomorrow, we need to go back over and fix one of our sprinklers that someone literally ripped out of the ground and repair the fan in the upstairs bathroom. I think that's it. We are SO ready to not have to pay 2 mortages every month and the new renters seem great...let's just keep our fingers crossed that it all goes smoothly.

I have another full week, culminating with the wedding of Deane & Linda's daughter on Saturday at their home/property. Since these are two of our favorite people, I am really looking forward to that and am praying extra hard that the weather cooperates for them. Plus, weddings are always happy events, filled with smiles and hugs, well wishes and pats on the back. I can't wait to share in the joy!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Projects, projects and more projects...

This weekend, Mike's parents took the girls for a few hours both on Saturday and Sunday. We also had no big plans for the weekend, a rarity during the Summer months. Time to do more work on the house. Here's what we got accomplished:

  • Finished painting the Guest Bedroom, it's closet and all the trim work. Installed all new switches, outlets and covers in the room. Organized it, too.
  • Painted our Master Bathroom, top to bottom. Installed new towel bar, ring, hook, toilet paper holder, new light fixture, framed the mirror, added blinds and did all the electricals as well.
  • Installed all new switches, outlets and covers in the girls playroom and bathroom.
  • Added all the new hardware to the kitchen cabinetry. 43 handles. Yes....43.
  • Planted 3 flats of petunias (Red, White & Blue-ish) in the little garden next to our garage. Mike and the girls did this all by themselves and did a fantastic job!
We did a lot of other little things as well, but those were the biggies. It's coming along but sometimes it's just so depressing to get up in the morning and see all the work that still needs to be done. Not to mention all the everyday things, like laundry, dishes and cleaning, that are clambering for my attention. Oh well, one thing at a time. Every step forward is just that. Another feat accomplished, an item checked off the list, a tiny weight lifted off my shoulders. Everything will come together in time. It might be a LONG time, but I know that sooner than I can imagine, we'll have lived here for 10 years and I'll be looking to start the projects all over again! :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

...and the living is easy...

Summertime. Not that you would know it here in Michigan, of course. We have yet to hit those 80 degree days - actually we're happy to hit 70! Irregardless, it was time once again for the girls to have their "summer" hair cuts. We go to Snip-its, where everything inside is wacky & fun, you get a new comb and prize when your style is complete, not to mention a sucker, barrettes and sparkles in your hair and super friendly stylists that are accustomed to working with the younger set.

I always worry about cutting their hair but as soon as the shorter do's were done, their smiles said it all!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Happy Birthday Hailey!

Today is my niece's 2nd Birthday and I can't believe how fast the time has gone by. I remember getting that early morning call that she had been born and being one of the first to hold her. The twins have been in love with her since the moment they met her and all 3 girls have so much fun together!

So, Happy Birthday to you, Hailey! Aunt Ren can't wait to see what new discoveries and adventures await you on your way to #3!

Lauren and Tara love their new cousin - June 8th, 2007

Spending time at Aunt Ren's house - June 2008

Getting ready to see her Birthday cake! - June 2009

Thursday, June 4, 2009

New Home Updates II

Looking into Dining Room from Living Room

This is the sunniest room-Tiki loves it!

Master Bedroom closets, etc.

I think the colors turned out really nice in this room...

Our crazy main upstairs bath!

It's not perfect but it's looking much better!

Girls Bedroom and their bathroom door

Nice and bright now!

I've posted this pic before-adding again for posterity!

Girls Bathroom

Went with a beach theme!

View of our backyard (left side)

We've added cedar wood chips and lots of foliage!

I know that's a lot of pictures but many people have been asking to see how the house is coming along. I am really proud of the work that Mike and I have been able to accomplish, without hiring anyone to do it for us (with the exception of the carpet layers). We have had a tremendous amount of help from our friends and family as well-who knew they were so skilled? :)

Can't wait til the Housewarming Party in July. Hopefully we will feel much more settled in by then and can just enjoy the house for a change! ;)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

New Home Updates

I just wanted to post a few before and after photos of the new house. I am going post some more tomorrow as well, but didn't want to go overboard all in one day. We have been chugging along, getting a little bit more accomplished every day. Yesterday, for example, I unpacked 15 boxes and completed the dining room! Yay! I'll post those photos in tomorrows batch...

Living Room towards the front of the house

It's not done yet (nothing on the walls) but it's getting there!

A good view of the eating area from the kitchen

Ta Da!

Looking in from the double doors into the foyer

The foyer is almost complete now!

Here's another view from the other angle...

The new renters will be moving into the Galahad house this month, which is very exciting. A couple months of having to make double mortgage payments is killing us! I would much rather have that money to improve our Riveredge house...which still needs a lot of work. The stairs and hallway (up) still need to be painted, our master bathroom needs help, guest bedroom needs it's 2nd coat and the big family room still needs to be painted as well. Our main level bathroom needs to be gutted, although the toilet is newer and we'll probably keep that. Tons of other smaller items like door knobs and handles, window treatments, landscaping, etc. will have to wait a while longer.

We've been having fun transforming the house and now that we have set a date for our Housewarming Party (July 12th) we have a solid goal to work towards. I can't wait to see how far the house will have come by then! And to think, by 7/12, we will have only owned the house for 4 months! Wheew!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Weekend of Birthdays!

Man, this weekend was Birthday central around here. Mike celebrated the Big 34 on Friday, my Grandpa Kowalewski hit #84 on Saturday and my bother Kevin turns 27 today!

The girls and I took Daddy out to our favorite Japanese Steakhouse (Ichiban) Friday night and it was delicious. Of the 3 parties of people sitting on our side of the hibachi grill, all 3 were celebrating birthdays! The waitress, after our meal, brought out different slices of cake for each of the 3 B-day peeps, with a big sparkler for a candle. Then she brought out a glass of champange to wash it all down with! Nice!

We had dinner with Mike's family on Saturday night and then yesterday, my entire family (paternal side) came over to the house to celebrate all three boys' birthday's! We had cake and ice cream, sang that familiar song a few times for the kids, blew out the candles (twice), opened presents and just hung out. It was nice and relaxing...but boy am I glad that it's over with! I'm exhausted...

Mike, Grandpa and Kevin!