My family

My family

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tooltime, Pt. 2

Our sweet Jim is finally done with his side of the closet.  Before putting all his clothes back in the new improved closet, he had to try on every pair of jeans, purge every warm-weather shirt, etc.  I thought he'd never get done. 

Check it looks good, right???

Notice the shoe bags?  EVERY pair of Jim's dress shoes are stored in purple Crown Royal bags.  What does that say about the amount of liquor consumed in our household???

Mary = Home

In Texas, we always knew we were almost home when we saw the Grand Prairie city lights heading west on I-20 just outside of Duncanville.  For as long as I can remember, when we saw those lights, my parents would say "we're home!".  I kept that tradition going with Garrett and the point that they were the ones saying "we're home!" coming down that big hill.  :) 

There is one image that stands out for me just before we enter our new neighborhood in Minnesota.  In the fields just behind our subdivision is a huge statue of Mary.  It's pretty impressive, I have to say.  The land on which our homes were built used to be owned by a local Catholic church.  When they bought the land back in the day, they installed the statue for Mary to watch over the land.  Now there's a fire station, a fairly large neighborhood and a new private Catholic school being constructed.  One thing that stays the same, though, is Mary with her outstretched hands.

The first time I saw Mary, I felt welcome.  The statue has an almost calming effect.  Jim, the kids and I got into the habit of looking for Mary as we got closer to our new home.  I would look at the kids and say, "we're home!" but I could tell they weren't buying it.  As time has passed, it's almost become a joke.  The kids will say "we're at our Minnesota home!".....almost like they feel like they're betraying the Texas home.

Those feelings all changed one night when, as we were rounding the bend toward home (the Minnesota home, that is).  Jim looked out the driver's window at Mary and made the sign of the cross and then gave her a thumbs up sign.  It was so funny!!  Since then, he has added silly little gestures to the end of the ritual like blowing a kiss or a simple salute.  Every time, the kids and I get a chuckle out of it. :)

It's taken a little time adjusting to Minnesota but it's getting easier.  I miss my family every day - some days more than others.  The kids miss their family (especially Kevin) and their friends.  The new friends they are making are easing that a little.  There aren't near as many meltdowns as we thought there would be.  

Back to Mary......Garrett and Maci decided to take a walk and check out the statue up close.  Surprisingly, Mary wasn't as tall as she looks from the road.  I thought she was at least 10 feet tall.  Nope, Garrett took his picture next to her and, if he was standing on the pedestal, they would be the same height.  

Mary remains the symbol of our new home.  It's nice to have a constant in our ever-changing lives.  Mary might not be as awesome as the city lights of good ole Grand Prairie but we are thankful for her. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lanie's new crush

I know what you're thinking......what a hunk! :)  Patrick Eaves plays hockey for the Detroit Red Wings.  When we were at the game last week watching warmups, Delanie SWEARS that he looked right at her TWICE!!!  Check out her Facebook post.....

Delanie Jo
What amazingness!! 
Garrett tosses a box upstairs while I'm getting ready to go to the store with him later. So I put it on my bed to open up later. When I do, there's a card on the front that has my aunt's name
 on it: Ann Marie. 
"Hi Lanie,
We heard you went to the Red Wings game last weekend. We thought you might like this.
Grandma, Aunt Jean, and Aunt Ann"

So I thought back, thinking of when we were at the glass and the Red Wings were shooting pucks and practicing. So just out of blue sky, Patrick Eaves looks straight at me. Twice. It was a BIG DEAL for me. 
So I open up the box and see a black box inside. I start to jump to conclusions, maybe a Red Wings bracelet or a necklace or something small that could fit in this tall box. 
I open up the top. There's a tiny note that says, "Autographed by Patrick Eaves." I start freaking out in front of the housekeeping service, and I pull out a bright red cup with a Detroit Red Wings winged wheel on it, and right above the winged wheel, I couldn't believe what I saw.
"Patrick Eaves"

The autographed cup now has a place of honor on the fireplace mantle....right next to a picture of McCarty beating the crap out of LeMieux and a signed pair of Brett Hull gloves. 

Thanks to Grandma Ruth, Ann Marie & Carol for making Delanie's day, week, month and year!!  I have to say I agree with her.....he really is a hottie!! :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Jim the Toolman

This weekend, Jim took on the project of reorganizing our closets.  In the master bedroom, the builder only put single rods around the entire closet.  There was so much wasted space, it was driving us crazy.  All of our clothes were jammed in with absolutely no room for shoes (big problem for me!). 

After buying new tools and a new tool belt just for the occasion, Jim and Garrett (his handy helper) got to work.  It was quite a large project:  hampers, drawers, shoe racks, double hanging bars, etc.  Jim is such a perfectionist, everything had to be just right.  Needless to took a while. 

It took the entire weekend to get the closet done.  Garrett was so sweet...helping out dawn to dusk on both days.  They definitely had lots of male bonding time!  Knowing Jim, I knew there would be lots of creative language flying around during the project so Delanie and I went shopping.  No reason to teach her a brand new vocabulary!

The fact that Jim bought (and wore!) a new tool belt cracks me up!!  If you know Jim, you know that he's not a project kind of guy.  That has all changed my friend!  Every weekend, he's looking for a new project to do around the house.  There were times this weekend that he paid more attention to keeping his tool belt around his waist than he did his pants.  Garrett got quite a view a few times!

Finally, on Sunday night, the new closet was ready for business.  They did such a great job!!  There is now room for all kinds of things....scarves, belts, etc.  I love it!!! :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

AppleJacks Orchard

Some of Jim's favorite childhood memories center around apple trees.  He and his family used to visit an apple orchard in Michigan where they would eat piping hot cinnamon donuts and drink fresh apple cider.  As a southerner, I could never really picture that but I was so curious.

There are tons of apple orchards in Minnesota.  A fan favorite is AppleJacks in Delano....about 15 minutes from our home.  When Maci came to visit, we decided to check it out.  About five minutes into the drive, it felt like we had been transported to a northern countryside.  The Fall colors were so beautiful and there were so many lakes tucked into the scenery. 

AppleJacks has a huge family spread set up.  There is a live music tent with picnic tables for families, hayrides, corn maze, market, etc.  They had thought of everything.  I was so excited as we parked and started exploring. 

I had a mental image of what an apple orchard would look like:  towering trees brimming with apples, ladders on each tree for easy access to the fruit, rows and rows of nothing but apples.  That was partially right.  The biggest surprise for me was that the trees are so short.....8 ft at the tallest! 

There were several different varieties....Honey Crisp (my new favorite!), Gold, Haralson, Red Delicious.  Rows and rows of apples....all shapes & sizes.  Because we visited toward the end of the season, only the tops of the trees had apples left.  Thank goodness I married a big tall man!!

Speaking of those piping hot donuts.....oh man.....they were soooo yummy!! :)

Animal attraction

Bailey & Sugar are settling in nicely.  Sugar - never one to be friendly - has found a new place to hide.  She pretty much sleeps all day....she burrows her way between the comforter and sheet of our bed.  Whenever the doorbell rings, she will scurry to the master bedroom, knock all the pillows back & squeeze between Jim's pillows.  Come near her and you'll be sorry!

When the bed isn't taken, Bailey cuddles up to Jim's pillow.  If Sugar has already claimed her spot under the covers, Bailey will settle for a sunny spot in the master bedroom. 

Let it be known that if Bailey has claimed the bed, Sugar will NOT settle for a sunny spot.  Surprisingly, she goes straight into Garrett's room.  I'm always surprised to find her there because Garrett aggravates her non-stop.  He will pick her up and hold her.....even though she's hissing and growling the entire time!  Who knows, maybe she's planning to leave him a "liquid" present in his bed. 

Bailey is happy anywhere.  She's the first one to greet you when you come in and the last one to lay down at night.  She will patrol the perimeter of the entire house to make sure everyone is settled in and them she will crawl into her bed.  She has begun to audibly "pass wind" (from both ends).  She absolutely LOVES to play chase with Jim!  He will pretend to tickle her and she goes nuts.  Check it out....

The first time it rained after the move, both pets were mesmerized.  It hadn't rained in months before we left Texas.  We were still in Jim's corporate apartment when it started pouring.  Bailey and Sugar took turns checking it out. 

Because of the cooler weather, we leave the windows and doors open much more up here.  Sugar is getting braver each day about venturing outside.  She doesn't have her front claws so we have to keep a close eye on her.  Most of the time, she will sit at the door and peek out but we've caught her trolling around the garage and front porch a few times.

Bailey is LOVING the weather up here.  We installed an underground electric fence to keep her close to home.  She did really well with the training and never complains about wearing the collar.  The collar starts beeping when she gets too close to the "out of bounds" line.  She does an about-face and finds a comfortable spot to observe the neighborhood.  There have been several times when we forgot to put her collar on (especially in the mornings) and she still does great.  She only crossed over the perimeter one time and that was to visit Tucker....the cute little boy puppy across the street. I guess the zap was worth it!!  :)