Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Santa's Coming Soon!

I'm still looking for a way to find more time in a day. Items and events are continually being added to that proverbial plate and I'm worried that it's so heavy, I'm going to drop it!  :)

We were finally able to order our Christmas cards and it will be shocking if they get here and then get out the door to be delivered by Christmas. Oh well...I'm not going to fret about it. I like getting mail any day of the week, anytime of year (except bills) so a couple of days late isn't going to upset anyone, right?
I do do a lot of shopping online and I have to say that I've been keeping my UPS man pretty busy lately! He even brought a huge load of boxes into the house for me the other day! How nice...and the post office I keep hopping as well! It always amuses me to see how they try to stuff the biggest packages into the mailbox without coming to the door...and I don't blame them! But it still amuses me...

The tree is up and decorated, as well as the rest of the house. I finally hung curtains in the dining room and we have been finishing little projects all over the place. It feels so good to be getting things accomplished that have been on the list since last year...like finishing the living room ceiling! No more black screw holes and blue chalk grid lines everywhere you look....ahhh, it looks so nice now. If no one notices the ceiling, that would mean a job well done!

I do love this time of year, though. Decking the halls, hanging the stockings by the chimney with care, Christmas trees and Jack Frost nipping at our noses. The kids are excited about seeing friends and family and what surprises are waiting for them under those lovely branches. Buying gifts for others is fun for me as well as making gifts with our own hands...and let's not forget the baked goods and decorated cookies! Yum!

Lastly, we're hosting 3 major gatherings at our house this year, three weekends in a row. I have to say that I'm a little overwhelmed but undaunted! I think that once we get past the first one, we'll be in really good shape for Christmas and beyond. Being able to share the Holidays with our closest loved ones is really what it's all about and being able to enjoy their company in your own home is like putting the Angel on the tree.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sunshine On My Shoulders

How's that for a forecast! I can't wait to be down in Panama City Beach, FL next week, soaking in those last rays of sunshine for the year before we have to return to Michigan and the doom and gloom that is our winter. Sunshine State - Here We Come!!!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wedding Bells

The girls have been asked to be Flower Girls in my cousins wedding! I'm really excited for them although they're kinda pro's at this now. They had a whirlwind year in 2007 where they were Flower Girls in 3 weddings! It was a crazy year, but what's new, right?

Kelsey, my only cousin on my Dad's side of the family, is getting married at the end of March in Milwaukee, WI. We'll travel over there a few days early and hopefully get to see some Wisconsin friends and have plenty of time for wedding prep. So exciting! Congrats to Kelsey and Dave and thanks for letting us be a part of your special day!

My beautiful cousin, Kelsey, and the man who is so lucky to have her, Dave.

Flower Girls for Kate & Danny (Mike's cousin) in Texas '07

Flower Girls for Renee & Kevin (Ren's Brother) '07

Flower Girls for Kara & Mark (Mike's Brother) '07

Thursday, November 11, 2010


My husband is so awesome. He purchased tickets for us to see Five For Fighting in concert at The Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac, MI. When we bought the tickets, we were a little unsure about it, since it's a good 2 1/2 to 3 hour drive, it was during the week, at an unknown venue and in November. I really wanted to go though...and it was totally worth it to see this guy!

Mike's parents graciously agreed to watch the girls for us and get them on the bus the next morning, so at least we didn't have to worry about that!

We had an uneventful drive over, found a parking space fairly quickly and didn't even have to pay for it! There was a line to get in so we had to wait outside for awhile, but no biggie. Once inside, we were shocked to see chairs set up for maybe...200 people. Yup, that's it! We just walked right up the center aisle and grabbed a spot dead center, 4th row. We couldn't believe our luck!

In case you didn't know, Five for Fighting isn't a band. It's just one man, and a super talented one at that, John Ondrasik. He came out on stage, played all of my favorite songs (like Superman, 100 Years, World, The Riddle, Chances and Slice), told us the story behind each song and let the audience members freely take photos. SOOOO glad that I decided to bring my camera at the last minute!

 After the show was over, we stuck around for a moment and lo and behold, here comes John out to talk with and meet the fans! How cool is that?! He graciously signed our ticket stub, said "Hi" to us and let Mike snap a picture of us. I have never had an experience like that...I'm still on a high from it all.

I didn't think that I could like Five for Fighting anymore than I already do, but John proved me wrong last night. I couldn't have been more impressed!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

It's All About the Numbers

Our 1000th Geocache find at the "Age of Discovery" Event in Jenison, MI. (2006)
The owners of this Event got us into caching.

Our 2000th find at our 1st Hosted Event - Grand Rapids, MI (2007)

#3000 was up near Big Rapids, MI. One our favorite caches ever! PB-2 Pirate's Quest (GCZRXE)
The owners of this cache met us at the start and did the whole thing with us, along with our friend, Deane. (2008) Thank you, Dar & Terri!

We found #4000 in downtown Detroit on a cold and blustery March day. (2009)
The owner of this cache, our dear friend Tim, took us on an escorted tour!

Geocache #5000 was at this years Chili Cook-Off Event in downtown GR.
One of our favorite annual events!

6000 finds later and we're still going strong!
One the coolest hikes we've ever taken -Ice Glen- near Stockbridge, MA.

And still, after all of that, it's really our friends Deane and Linda (DeRock & The Psychic Cacher) who say it best:

"It's All About the Numbers"

"After a lot of miles and time pursuing geocaches, we've come to the conclusion that it's all about the numbers. The number of good friends we've made, the number of good times we've had with them, and the number of great places geocaching has taken us."

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Photos Make Me Smile!

 Evening of Day 1: Niagara Falls taken on The Rainbow Bridge

Afternoon of Day 2: Picturesque Vermont

Late afternoon Day 3: Plymouth Harbor, MA

 Morning of Day 4: October Mountain near Lee, MA

Sunset on Day 5: Heading into New Hampshire from Maine

Day 6: Ice Glen in Stockbridge, MA

Day 7: Mt. Greylock hike in North Adams, MA
 Day 8: Centerport Aqueduct (original Erie Canal) Weedsport, NY

 Day 9: Waiting on the Blue Water Bridge to cross from Canada back into Michigan!

If you follow me on Facebook, then you might have viewed most of these pictures before. I just wanted to share one of my favorites from each day of our trip to New England. We had a wonderful time, spending quality time together as a family, geocaching (hitting #6000!), checking off more States and exploring. I could have stayed for a month with all the rich and wonderful history in the area!

We have one more trip planned this year, when we head to our favorite home-away-from-home in Panama City Beach, FL for Thanksgiving. And then, frankly, I'm done! :) I think that will make 33 States for the year, 3 Canadian Provinces and more miles than I can comprehend. Our poor Yukon XL....

It's going to be interesting to see what next year brings us! I love to travel, don't get me wrong, but I think I could use a little more down time in 2011. We'll see! :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Crazy Season!

It's about that time of year again when all the craziness is about to begin. I know that some are going to cringe when I say this, but it's only another 69 days till Christmas. That's right folks....2 months. That's it. It's not time to panic yet, but it is time to start prioritizing.

As I mentioned previously, we're leaving soon for New England and that will take up an entire week. Then we have Halloween and all the festivities that go along with it.  Following all that fun, my hubby is leaving for a business trip to Georgia for another week. A little break is in there somewhere and then it's off to Florida for Thanksgiving!

Once we return from Panama City  Beach, we'll have 3 weekends left before the BIG DAY. December is by far the busiest month of the year for us and I see this year as being more of the same. At least Christmas is on a weekend (Saturday) this year, which is kinda nice for a lot of folks who will be able to have Christmas Eve and Christmas day off without any extra vacation days being used. Bonus!

And then....it's the big push for our New Year's Geocaching Party. This is an annual event that we host in our home and it's really a riot. However, it takes a lot of work and planning to get ready for it and I basically feel like collapsing by the time it's all over! I love doing it, don't get me wrong, but at this point, January 1st is looking like not only the first day of the new year, but a much needed break as well!

 Me and my friend Tim at last year's party....

Friday, October 1, 2010

First Kindergarten Field Trip

Doesn't this apple look good enough to eat?
Well, I picked it and I ate it, too! 
 Today we ventured out to Klackle Orchards in Greenville, MI for the first Kindergarten Field Trip of the year. We could not have asked for better weather, with blue, sunny skies and temps in the mid-60's. There were 120 kids in our group along with the 3 teachers and about 50 parents.

We were taken out to the apple orchards first, where we were instructed on how to pick an apple (lift & twist) and then let loose to fill our bags with delicious fruit. We could pick from the Golden Delicious trees or the Jonagold trees so we chose to get a couple of each! There's nothing better than fruit you picked yourself!

From the apple orchards we enjoyed our tractor ride over to the pumpkin patch were everyone was able to choose a perfect specimen to take back home with us. The girls made their selections quite quickly and it was back on the tractor ride. 

Lunch was a a bit hectic and there weren't enough tables for our group, but we soldiered on. For dessert, we enjoyed fresh cinnamon donuts with equally fresh cider....so good. The kids were then given about a half hour to play at the playground, which really helped to burn off some of that donut buzz. 

It was a great time. I was able to meet a couple of the other parents and really talk to their teacher since we sat by each other on the bus both ways. The girls really love her and I do, too. I think they're going to have a great year at Pine Ridge!

 Having fun at Klackle's!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Yes....We are Crazy!

It's that time again, and the crazies are heading out on another trip. We normally head down to FL in the Fall, but since we going there to share our turkey dinner with Mike's parents in November, we thought a different venue might be in order.

Hence, the alternate trip to New England. We'll be staying in The Berkshires in western Massachusetts. Our goal is to venture up into New Hampshire and Vermont, make a stop in Maine and explore throughout MA and Rhode Island. The Fall colors should be absolutely fantastic in October and we're really looking forward to this latest adventure.

As insane as this sounds, after this trip and another visit to Florida in November, we will have visited 32 of the 50 States! THIS YEAR! Holy smokes! It will leave us with 5 States that we haven't Geocached in yet (AK, HI, LA, MS, & NM) and Mike will be down to only ONE State that he hasn't had the privilege yet of visiting. Can you guess which one? It's Hawaii! I haven't been either so maybe in 2012...we'll see!

Thursday, September 23, 2010


The story begins back in early 2001, when a beautiful Pie-faced Lovebird was born. Since I'm so allergic to our furry friends, I didn't have a lot of options when it came to pets. Growing up, I had my share of frogs, turtles, lizards, an occasional fish and a gerbil named Dusty. But, I never had a pet that was long term, like a dog or cat. So, when we moved into our 2nd house, Mike said that we could get a pet and I choose a lovebird. We named him, Tiki, after the tropical birds in the Enchanted Tiki Room at Walt Disney World.

It wasn't until years later, that we found "he" had laid an egg! I guess poor Tiki was a "she" all along! Sorry!

Tiki was our guard bird, always chirping to alert us that someone had arrived or something out of the ordinary was going on. She was unusual in that she talked. She said her name, "Tiki", as well as "Tikibird" and "Pretty Bird". She also loved to mimic and would cough, laugh or sneeze when we did. She sounded just like the microwave as well, and confused us daily with her "beeping".

In late 2003, we finally tried this crazy sport called "Geocaching" that we had been hearing about, but before we could log our first find, we needed to come up with a Team name. Some teams just used their real names or some variation of it, while some teams highlighted their professions, hobbies or family.  We wanted ours to be unique and easy to remember, so we came up with The Tikibirds.

We found a graphic of two lovebirds in a tropical setting and it became our logo. We used it for our pathtags, geocoins, shirts and signature cards and still do to this day. Tiki became our mascot, as well as an important member of the family. When the twins were born, she wasn't particularly fond of their cries but in time, she grew to love interacting with them and showing off for them. The girls became known as the Tiki-Twins in our geocaching circles and that was just fine by them!

Last week, I came home from lunch with Mike and shopping afterwards, to find Tiki on the bottom of her cage. This is unusual, since birds rarely walk on the bottoms of their cages. She also didn't welcome me home like she always does, which alarmed me right away. As I looked closer, I could tell she wasn't with us anymore. I broke into tears. She was mine. We had had her for almost 10 years and the loss was devastating to me. Neither Mike, nor I, ever had a long term pet growing up, so the sudden and unexpected loss of our Tiki was profoundly sad. The girls had never known life without her and their tears only increased ours.

We held a private ceremony in the backyard and said prayers and our goodbyes. The house is SO quiet without her here and I miss her. I think we'll get another lovebird, maybe for Christmas. We do have some fish now but they just aren't cutting it. We were blessed to have Tiki in our lives, and her name and spirit will live on. We'll always be The Tikibirds, and remember the wonderful times we shared with her.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


---A friend of mine shared this little article with me and I, having been married for 11 years myself, found it amusing and realistic. Definitely worth passing on!

10 ways to divorceproof your marriage

By Samantha Bee and Jason Jones, RealSimple.com
August 24, 2010 9:47 a.m. EDT
Couples should only fight when they're walking because it's harder to stay mad.

We have been hitched for almost 10 years now, and until recently our No.1 piece of advice would have been: Don't write about how to make your marriage divorceproof.  It's hubris!

But we like to take risks (that's piece of advice No.2), so we knocked on wood, threw salt over our shoulders, and forged ahead with all the unstoppable energy that a couple with two kids under the age of five can muster. (Eating a pile of old Halloween candy helped, too.)

Ultimately, we came up with this list of marriage rules and reminders -- all of which, we hope, are cheaper and more fun than therapy.

1. Realize that if you can agree on what constitutes a clean room, you can agree on anything. If you are the kind of person who wants the vacuum tracks on the living-room carpet to last all week (as in, Jason), you need to understand that your spouse is physically unable to hover three inches off the floor when traveling from point A to point B. You may have to shoulder the burden of raking the shag rug twice a day yourself.
Conversely, if you are the type of person who "gets around " to wiping up a raw chicken--juice spill on the counter (for example, Sam), you should know that if you want to live with other humans, you need to surpass the hygiene standards of, say, the average fraternity-house bathroom.
Fortunately, if you can compromise on the red hot--button subject of cleanliness, your marriage is unlikely to be thrown off course by comparatively less volatile topics, like politics, religion, and money.

2. If you're irritated by your partner, imagine him as a small child. We know! You totally don't want to try this! It sounds awful! (And maybe even not that much of a stretch.) But trust us --this is an amazing way to see him from a fresh angle.
Here's what to do: While your partner is puttering around and looking idle, imagine him at age five. Awww. Isn't he adorable? And so smart! It's easy to forget how appealing your spouse is when you are looking at him through a prism of all the chores that he has yet to accomplish (fixing the garage-door opener, booking the tree-removal service...we could go on).

3. No fisticuffs in public. Take this example: We were at a picnic with a group of friends when the wife of one of the couples present casually announced that she had bought their family a house. In another country. Without consulting the husband. He turned about 14 shades of red, and they began fighting at the top of their lungs.
Cut to everyone else with their heads down, forensically examining their egg-salad sandwiches as though they contained the secrets of the human genome. You do not want to be That Couple Who Ruined the Otherwise Delightful Picnic.

4. Marry someone with a backbone who appreciates that you possess one of your own. That said, try to have bendy backbones if possible. Don't attempt to win every argument and get your way all the time. Who could bear all that responsibility, anyway?
Repeat this spouse-mollifying phrase after us: "Yes, honey, I will see the Transformers sequel on one of our precious and rare date nights. But on our next excursion, I get to choose a period piece featuring people in bonnets who churn their own butter."

5. Procrastinate. Yes, we know things need to be done, but seriously. Put your BlackBerry away and stop worrying about the broken garage-door opener. Have dessert in lieu of dinner. Watch old John Hughes movies. Hold hands. There, aren't they smoother than how you remembered them?

6. Have sex with each other. And if you can't have sex with each other for some reason, let your spouse know that you are thinking about having sex with him and that you are looking forward to the next time you are both available for sex. Like, in 2012. Try sending a "sext"; apparently it's all the rage.

7. Accept that everybody needs alone time. Sometimes your spouse needs to go to the bathroom for 45 minutes. Look, he's not going to the bathroom the whole time; he's trying to get away from you. And that's OK. Maybe you're being annoying. Sometimes you can be kind of annoying, you know.

8. If you have to fight, walk and fight. In our experience, arguments stem more from being cooped up together in tight quarters than from the issue at hand. Plus, getting fresh air is good for you, and it will give you more energy for No. 6. (Hey, everyone knows that makeup No. 6 is the best kind.)

9. Let your spouse in on 90 percent of your day-to-day routine. Save the other 10 percent for your bathroom time. Sam, for example, will never allow Jason to see her lurching to put on a pair of panty hose, and he never wishes for her to see him struggling to shave the back of his neck. It's those small things that keep the mystery alive.

10. When you buy gifts for each other, give them at least a full minute of thought. Sam's mother once gave her partner a giant meat grinder for Christmas so that he (an extremely reluctant cook) could make her tastier hamburgers.
In our opinion, gifts that require someone to perform a household task don't count as gifts. A present should convey the message "I love you, but most of all, I get you." (Yes, that's a tough sentiment to express with a big-box--store gift card. Ahem.) Like playing chess or figuring out Facebook privacy settings, delighting a longtime spouse is a genuine challenge --which (duh) is what makes it worth the effort.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Summer Girls

Such different personalities.....
So glad they're both mine!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Kindergarten '10/'11

With the start of the school year only 2 weeks away, there's a lot to do before the big day. I know I'll need to have my camera and plenty of Kleenex handy! I've already been shopping for some of those basic clothing items like jeans, black pants, shoes and sweaters. Lauren has really jumped in sizes while Tara can still wear some of her old things and some of her sisters. Coordinating these two will be a little more difficult this year but I think it will work out just fine.

I'm actually really frustrated with their school district right now, though. I just found out yesterday who their teacher is going to be (got the one we wanted-yes!) but we still have no idea what day(s) of the week they'll be attending. We were informed in the Spring that Forest Hills was changing their Kindergarten classes this year and have eliminated the Morning/Afternoon M-F schedule. The girls will be going all day either  M/W/F(morning) or Tu/Thur/F(afternoons) and riding the school bus.

Their school in undergoing a massive renovation right now and has been closed all Summer. Thus, it has been impossible to get any information. We were told that we would receiving letters with all the information about the upcoming year during the 1st week of August...nothing. Second week....nothing. Finally got a letter from their teacher yesterday listing the things that they needed to bring when they have a little meet n' greet next week but nowhere in this missive was WHAT DAYS they're going to school! Tried calling the administration building yesterday twice and got nowhere. Called today and were told that they don't have access to the class lists and schedules and that we would have to wait for their school to open to get that info. Great...it looks like we'll have to wait until the week before school to finally find out when our kids are going. So frustrating...it's not like it's important or anything. Geez.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Up, Up and Away!

I love my children and their artwork, but let's be honest. Most of it consists of coloring pages with ripped corners`and torn edges, random blobs that we try hard to guess at and craft projects with too much glue and glitter.

This particular piece, by Lauren, really tugged at my heart, though. It's a picture of her lamb (which she has loved since birth) flying through the air with balloons. She even looked up how to spell the word "Balloons" so that she could add it to her drawing.

It was just so cute that I had to frame it and add it to our study. I love it....  :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Signal Visits the States

A collage of photos that I took of a beautiful leather notebook embossed with "Signal the Frog", who is the official mascot for Geocaching. Each picture was snapped as we crossed into a new State or Province, and I was able to get most of them. The only ones that are missing are those that we crossed into while it was dark out - Oklahoma, Utah, Washington & Montana.

It was a fun little project to tackle. I originally had the idea of getting pics of the girls at each State sign, but the logistics proved to be too daunting. This worked out well and putting them all on one page really highlights all the places we were able to cover!

Homeward Bound: Day 16 & 17

Tara, Klara and Lauren @ The Galaxy Drive In

Roasting marshmallows....

Tara, Lauren, Klara & Lydia eating their s'mores!

Staying in downtown Minneapolis for the evening.

A typical view for the past 17 days...we're almost home now!

We took a really crazy route on day #16 in order to pick up a few more States. Woke up in Iowa, drove South to hit Nebraska, and then turned around and drove straight North through South Dakota and into North Dakota. We had almost 2 whole days of South Dakota driving and I think that's enough for now...

We then turned East and headed into Minnesota, where our destination was Minneapolis for dinner and sleeping. Our friends David and Kristin, along with their 3 daughters, live in the area and we were excited to see their lovely home and grab some food with them. David suggested that we try out a fun place that was right around the corner from their place - The Galaxy Drive In. We sat outside eating our yummy food and then David treated us to a s'mores making kit that the kids just couldn't resist. It was so cute watching the girls trying to get their marshmallows just right and the end result - deliciousness!

Kristin was able to join us too, which was an added surprise as she was working quite a ways from home that day. The daughter you don't see in the pics, little Rose (born on my birthday btw), was happily strapped to Dad the whole time. It was a welcome break from our usual routine and a chance to get caught up, never mind the fact that the girls didn't want to leave each other. Klara and the twins are only 2 months apart in age and they are still asking me when they can see Klara again because they had so much fun playing with her! 

We stayed in downtown Minneapolis that night and then it was the final push towards home. Our last day was the only one that we had rain off and on the majority of the day, which was ok since we didn't have any other plans besides getting back to Michigan. We made it home without incident and quickly collapsed in our long-missed bed. 

What did we just do? What a trip!