Monday, April 26, 2010

The Big Trip

Here is a little map of the trip Mike and I will be making with the twins this Summer. We will be gone for 17 days and will visit 20+ States and 2 Canadian Provinces. Are we crazy? Duh.

We want to be in Seattle for GeoWoodstock VIII, which takes place on July 3rd and another event that is being put on by the Mother-Ship (aka Groundspeak) on the 4th. We will then visit our favorite neighbor to the North, where Mike's parents are staying for the week in Banff National Park. We hope to visit with Mike's Aunt and Uncle in Denver on our way out and a bunch of friends that we don't see often enough over the course of our travels.

I have personally never seen the Pacific Ocean, nor been to the majority of the States that we are traveling through. I'm really excited about it and I know that the girls are too. Our country is so vast and so diverse, with so many wonderful places to explore and experience. We are still in the beginning stages of booking our reservations and making our plans concrete. I'll be sure to keep everyone updated as we do more to make this trip a reality.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Highlander

We got a little refund from the government and we have been wanting to get the girls a playset since we moved into the house a year ago. Wait. Has it been a year already? Wow....

Anyway, Mike and I did a lot of research, as always, and found that the set being offered by Sam's Club was really the best bang for our buck. It had good reviews, lots to do, looked really solid and was under 1K. SOLD! They were out-of-stock on it last month but when we called Saturday morning, they had just gotten another load in. So off we went with the trailer, and 4 gigantic boxes and a slide later, we were home, puzzling on what we had gotten ourselves into!

All the lumber laid out in groups alphabetically...

It took us about 2 hours to lay it all out and get all the bolts open and ready to be used. The girls were a big help, getting us pieces and holding tools while we got started. We were actually really lucky that our friends, the Youmans, were free in the afternoon to come give us a hand. Mike and Jim worked the power-tools while Jeanne and I ran parts and kid control. Perfect!

Boys with toys...

We were able to get most of the "Tower" built on Saturday and then Mike and I were on our own Sunday. Both days were really kinda blah with cloudy skies, cold winds and colder temps. I don't think it helped our cause any. Finally, at 9pm Sunday we had the majority of the set finished, with only the little steps and green handles left to install. Mike finished that part when he got home from work this afternoon so the set is officially done for now. 

You can see our old set over to the side. When we pulled it out of the ground to make way for the new set, the timber that was in the ground was completely rotted. We're lucky no one got hurt on that thing. However, it does have some nice rings and a pancake swing that we would like to transplant onto this set. We'll add another arm to the left side in the next couple of weeks and I think the Playset will be complete. The girls love it and can't stop playing on it. 4 levels, 1 picnic table with 2 benches, 2 swings, a rock climbing wall, a glider, a super-fast slide, plus all the extras...what more could a couple of kids want? Wait, forget I asked.   ;)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Loving MyPublisher

I really like using MyPublisher to make Photobooks each year of the girls. They make great gifts for the Grandparents and it's a photo collection that I know the girls will treasure as they get older. I love making them but the books that cover an entire year take quite awhile. The organizing and sorting through of thousands of pictures takes me days to complete.

Last week I received a note from MyPublisher alerting me to a special that they were going to be running-for 5 days only. You could make their Classic Hardcover (11.25 inches wide x 8.75 inches high), with ANY amount of pages, with their new Photo Cover Design for only $20! Holy smokes! That is a serious deal!

So, I started working feverishly to get this thing completed and an hour before the deadline was up, I was done. I'm really happy with the results and can't wait to get the hard copy. I hope that you enjoy it, too!

Check out this great PhotoBook I made with MyPublisher's bookmaking software!
Your Book Click on the image to view

Friday, April 9, 2010

Big Bugs!

Our family, along with my sister and her family, attended the Public Museum of Grand Rapid's "Big Bug Nights!". This is a special offer that they are promoting on the radio and through mailings, online, etc. Here is a little blurb off the website:

     "Big Bug Nights! - No reservations necessary! Enjoy special evening packages March 1-5, April 1-3 & 5-9 and May 10-14. 5-9 pm. Package includes Museum admission, BUGS! admission, a planetarium show, unlimited carousel rides and a kid-friendly meal for just $10 per person. (a $15-$20 value). Members pay just $5. Meal includes hotdog or bratwurst, fruit, chips, cookie & drink."

My sister and I think, "Oh, this is a great little deal. Plus, since it's only at night, the boys can come along too!". We made plans to go last night and to get there by 5:45pm, which we did. There was a line...a big line. When we got up the counter, we were told that they were already sold out of the Planetarium Shows but paying the $10 rate was still cheaper than purchasing everything ala carte so we paid our money and moved on. 

We rode the carousel, to the girls delight, and then realized how hungry we were. So, we moved on up to the second level where there was another very long line, which we assumed was for the upcoming Planetarium Show. Ahhh...nope. That's the line to get your food. Seriously. And, it was right in the middle of the "Musical Instruments" demonstration area, just to add a little intensity to our waiting pleasure. Anna and I stood in line while the boys took the girls to explore elsewhere. The guy in front of us was irritated. The couple behind us was fed up. The tons of kids that were "in-line" were going bonkers! It must have taken us over 30min. just to get up to the food area, which was congested and cumbersome. To be fair, the food was good and we all enjoyed the meal once we got it and found a space for us eat it at.  

The "BUG" exhibit was fun and the big bugs were neat to look at but there wasn't a lot to do there. They had many little stations set up but many of them were too advanced for the girls or already filled up with other kids. The Museum was open until 9pm but by 8 o'clock, the staff were already cleaning, sweeping and basically making us feel very uncomfortable about being there. How rude...

Overall, it was a hectic experience that did not seem to be very well organized. I think that maybe we'll try to go again during the week when it's not as busy and finally get that Planetarium show was always one of my favorite parts!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Splashes of Color

Tara, Lauren & Hailey (their cousin) in their Easter Best!

We spent time this week coloring eggs and just getting ready for Easter in general. It was a lot of fun and the girls, including myself, had a really great time. The Easter Bunny came to our house Sunday morning, as well as Grandma & Grandpa B.'s house in the early afternoon and Grandma & Grandpa K.'s house in the evening. That was one busy bunny!

Easter day was just beautiful...lots of sunshine and warmer temps made for another fantastic holiday. We also celebrated Great Grandma K.'s 82 birthday at the end of the day, so that by 9pm, we were all tuckered out. Loads of candy and sweets, tons of yummy food and lots of laughs made it a perfect celebration all around.