Wednesday, May 28, 2008

In Memoriam

As mentioned in my last post, our Memorial Day weekend was spent laboring over my mother's hardwood floors. However, we did manage to find some time to mourn the loss of a ...... T.V. Friday night once we arrived, we began moving furniture out to clear some space for the new floor. My mother decided to move her TV to the couch while John and I relocated the entertainment center. After hearing an extremely loud boom we ran out to see what/who was hurt and found the TV broken in pieces. Now for those of you that know us, TV is a dear dear friend to our family. And, since my Mom is an empty nester, she and the TV are rather close. Since this was the only TV in the house, we spent a rather long time staring at the pieces in shock and sadness. Actually John and I had a harder time adjusting than my mom did. Her only entertainment, down the drain, just like that. Not to mention our source of entertainment for the weekend. It was hilarious how sad we actually were over her loss. Well after spending the majority of Saturday laying floor and shopping craigslist, Best Buy, and Circuit City for a replacement TV our lifesavers Kyle and Cassie called and said they had an old one she could have. However, it involved a last minute trip to Camdenton on Sunday to pick it up. So after church we headed out on our 1 1/2 hour drive to visit Kyle & Cassie. She fed us dinner and sent us home with a TV - what a great visit!! Nah really, it was an enjoyable visit to see their cute little house and their cute nursery for the little girl they are expecting in October. We lounged and ate and visited and ate some more before we headed out with our TV in tow. So, what was a saddening thing turned into a great visit for all of us and a nice relaxing Sunday before we resumed our hardwood floor laying on Monday. Hope everyone else had a great Memorial Day weekend!

Memorial Day or Labor Day??

Somewhere in our plans Memorial Day got switched with Labor Day. John and I spent our Memorial Day weekend laying floor at my mother's house in Willard. It didn't take us long to realize manual labor is not fun. We are both grateful for jobs that don't require it and we feel sympathy for those that work jobs that do. My mother invited us to help her lay hardwood floor a few weeks ago. I felt very flattered that we received a personal invite and she chose us over all my other siblings. I guess we must be the hard workers in the family...or the stupid ones that didn't have a clue what we were getting into. Neither of us had laid hardwood floors before but it didn't take us long to become very skilled and very tired. We started out a bit rough around the edges but soon had a fairly smooth system down. Here are some pictures of our handiwork...

The first is of John working hard and the second one is a picture of my mom hardly working. ;-) She was a big promoter of "break time" and John and I were determined to keep moving until it was done. Sadly we didn't get to see it to completion because we ran out of wood. We had to leave with about 1/4 of the floor unfinished. So now we've acquired yet another home improvement skill and we've managed to be promoted to my mother's favorites at the same time. And for those who are wondering, no John and I are not for hire. ;-)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Baltimore and a Bum

Our last day of the trip was spent back in Baltimore. Unfortunately, we didn't get to do anything fun because John had to work. I had my sights set on checking out the Baltimore Aquarium but didn't want to venture out and enjoy it alone. Maybe next time we'll see what it's like.

The Bum....actually this incident occurred in D.C. but forgot to include it in the last post. While John was doing some interviews in the hotel, I decided to venture out and enjoy the weather and a nearby city park. I wasn't daring enough to take on those confusing streets all by my lonesome with a vehicle. Just prior to this we had gotten pretty lost and I was ready to be far far away from the vehicle and take my chances on foot. I just didn't realize how interesting that would prove to be.

I headed off to the CV Pharmacy to get some batteries and a snack and a Dr. Pepper to calm my nerves from our big city/map episode that had happened minutes earlier and left me with a pounding headache. Looking forward to a nice relaxing moment, I ventured to the circular park (in the middle of yet another wonderful round-a-bout - feel free to refer to my other post to learn of my distaste in these). I felt brave about venturing out by my lonesome in a big city since it was in the middle of the day - and I tend to be a bit naive about the big world and the possibility of anything happening to me. After choosing a seat on the park bench, I heard the man a few benches away ask for some of my chips.....which I hadn't even pulled out of the bag yet. Confused and startled I didn't have a chance to find any other response than...."Sure". I'm so nice aren't I? Anyway, he scooted over by me and I chose to put my clean hand into the bag and pull some out for him. I may be nice but I didn't want his germy hands rooting through my chips. So, after sharing with him, he decided to sit and discuss everything from my tennis shoes, to the weather. I thought, wow what a nice fellow, I shouldn't be judgmental and instead take the opportunity to be friendly. However, the next statement changed my mind. After a few minutes of silence he looks at me and says "You wet yourself." I was like...whuh? He repeated it again and I just sat there confused....and looked to see if indeed I had wet myself. He then said "Ya gotta be careful about that". I was like Yes, yes, I agree....the whole time thinking....uh lunatic! Cuckoo! Then I proceeded to eat one more chip, take one more drink, and get up. Then he asked if I had a boyfriend....actually yes, a husband, I replied and I'm on my way to meet him now. I was outta there after only sitting down for about 2 minutes. After wandering from the park, and checking my peripheral vision, and preparing for all the "what if" scenarios I finally made it back to the hotel to wait in the comfort of sane hotel workers surrounding me until it was time to meet up with John. After all was said and done I laughed at the story but was frustrated at weirdo's like him that don't let me just enjoy my snacks in the park in peace. And he had eaten most of my chips to boot!!

After relaying my story to John, he had kept asking me well did you wet yourself.....uh helloooo no...the guy was crazy!! He then asked, was there a spot on yourself that would have made him think that....uh again no....crazy people don't need actual reasons to say crazy things. Hilarious isn't it? For some reason, no matter where we go, the weirdo's attract to me like a magnet. I'm beginning to get a complex about it.

Touring D.C......on Foot.

Day #2 of our trip was just as fun but had it's own unique experiences to say the least. I had been to D.C. about ten years ago but it's funny how much seems new when you go back. After John was done with work we decided to poke around town and see a few sights. Our first stop was Arlington Cemetery. Getting there, or anywhere around D.C. for that matter....was no easy task. The map is fairly easy to conquer, the round-a-bouts are not however. I thought I was fairly familiar with manuevering around them. The concept seems simple, a huge concrete circle where no one stops and everyone seemingly ends up pointed in the direction they wish to go. However, that's assuming that the circle doesn't include median's that cut you off at the last minute, and courteous drivers that have some patience for us out of town folks that don't commute on the danged thing everyday. After missing our first turn and thus having to drive atleast five miles out of the way to turn around and attempt it again, we finally maneuvered correctly and made it to Arlington Cememtery. We got to see the changing of the guards and JFK's eternal flame. It was a hot day and a long walk but definitely worth it all.
Later that evening we set out determined to see the White House. However, after parking at the closest space, walking a few miles the wrong direction, and confusing the Capitol for the White House (yes rather embarassing) we were pooped. Determined to not give up we finally made it to the White House and ended up walking about 6 miles around DC after it was all said and done. We were never so happy to find the car and rest our aching feet. Here are a few pics of our adventures...
A cool little fountain outside the Capitol where we rested our aching feet.

The Capitol Building (No, not the White House)

And alas, our final destination....the actual White House!

Pat's vs. Geno's

Well for those who weren't aware, John and I got to travel this past week to Philadelphia, D.C., and Baltimore. He had a business trip and I tagged along. We got to do a few things in between work and had a blast. However, it's just as fun to be back home as well. I'm convinced that engineers spend hours upon hours designing planes to be the most uncomfortable modes of transit out there. It's impossible to sit comfortably let alone actually get some sleep on those things. Don't get me wrong....I love to fly simply for the sake of getting somewhere as quick as possible but I have to do everything in my power to control myself from spazzing out due to claustrophobia.

We flew into Baltimore via a layover in New Jersey and what did we do once we arrived in Baltimore? Got in a rental car and drove right back through New Jersey. Silly I know, we realized all this after the fact, so I pretend like there was a good reason we back tracked all that way. Probably cheaper flights - at least I'll pretend that was the case.

Anyway Day #1 was spent in Phildadelphia. We managed to get lost a few times on our way to find the famous "Philly Cheese Steaks" and somehow ended up in Camden which was the ghetto of all ghettos. Thankfully it was the middle of the day but that did not prevent us from locking our doors just in case. It was an interesting sight that's for sure. We finally found our destination. I had seen a special about Philly Cheese Steaks on the Food Network (refer to my blog about being cable-obsessed) so I knew exactly where I wanted to taste the famous sandwiches. Pat's and Geno's which happen to be right across the street from each other. Pat's claims to be the "Original" and Geno's just claims to be the "cleaner restaurant" (both claims were true) It was raining and cold but it didn't stop us from jumping out and ordering a sandwich and cheese fries from each restaurant. For any of you that saw the Food Network episode - there is a certain slang to ordering. It gets rather stressful practing and rehearsing before stepping up to the window. Luckily after only a few stammers I succeeded in ordering us a "steak sandwich wit" (which means w/onions). John and I shared and placed our vote on which was better. Pat's was our favorite taste-wise but Geno's was a little more pleasant to look upon. So for any of you that have tried both or have yet to...let us know what your vote is! I'm just glad I finally got to taste a real Philly Cheese Steak. Delish!


Friday, May 9, 2008

Here Comes The Bride

Well technically the bride isn't coming until August 9th but I figured I'd devote a post to the next up and coming "Bell Family". My little brother Quentin is engaged to Natalie and couldn't be happier. I knew Natalie and her family for years and was like an adopted daughter of theirs so I'm thrilled that she's joining the Bell family as well. Quentin is the last of the Bell siblings to get married (I missed that honor by a mere few months...phew). So it's a happy occasion for us all. From what I'm told, they are getting married in the St. Louis temple in August and we are all looking very forward to it. I'm sure my mom (and her pocket book) are relieved that she has now married off all the children. So congratulations to Quentin & Natalie and welcome to our crazy family.

Kansas City Here We Come

The title of this blog has me humming that cool little tune in my head. "Goin to Kansas City...Kansas City here we come....they got the pretty little women and I'm a gonna get me one." I grew up listening to the oldies thanks to my parents and that was a personal favorite of mine. And no, we did not get any "pretty little women" on our trip to Kansas City.
Anyway I digress. The purpose of this post was to catch everyone up on our crazy busy weekend. John and I headed to Kansas City (er...Liberty) to see our little nephew Preston get blessed. But in addition to the Sunday festivities we had a rather exciting weekend leading up to it. Forgoing the generous air mattress offerings and floor space offered by my sister, we opted to stay in a nearby hotel and thus got to host the whole fam in the little 4 ft x 4 ft bathtub the Hampton Inn refers to as a pool. It doesn't take much to get us excited. Here are a few pics of the festivities the weekend graced us with.

Here's a pic of John with little Preston - the one we all drove far and wide to honor. He's a cute little miniature man and John is quite the "daddy-in-training" (and no I'm not making any announcements here so don't get excited.)
John and Kayley reading a story while the rest of us napped.

Here's Kayley enjoying dinner at Texas Roadhouse. Her dinner consisted of butter with a side of bread. Note the butter mustache that I thought was definitely picture worthy.

Here's Ashlyn giving her "show teeth" smile. She's the proud big sister to Preston and is rather adorable herself. She loves attention and pigtails...can't get enough of either.

Colton and little Cora swimming in the pool. Cora is the most laid-back baby I've every seen. She prefers to sit and observe everyone around her and absolutely nothing makes her upset.
So all in all, it was a great but exhausting weekend. The blessing was wonderful and everyone enjoyed themselves whether it be garage-saleing, napping, eating, or swimming. A fun time was had by all.

Blogging Bursts

So I've realized in blogging that I'm a person that likes to blog in bursts. This could be due to any of the following:

  1. I spend most of my time reading about everyone else and their blogs so by the time it comes to write about our exciting life, I'm too exhausted.
  2. My creative juices flow only once every three days and thus I post like crazy when that happens to make up for my laziness on the other days.
  3. I feel overwhelmed by the pressure to be funny and/or exciting and thus talk myself out of my posts. Where exactly does this pressure come from? I have no idea but it's out there believe you me!
  4. Or, simply put, our life is only exciting in actual bursts of time. Days can go by with nothing blog-worthy happening and then all the sudden two days equal 5 good posts!

At any rate, I love observing the blogging world while simultaneously living in it so hopefully you will learn to enjoy my 3 post days and will forgive me during the dry spells.

So tomorrow is our neighborhood garage sale!! Haha....yes a rather random change up in the post I realize. But I am rather excited about it. I don't necessarily "need" anything but the thrill of getting out and looking at other people's junk is extremely exciting. I don't like to lose sleep over much but garage sales are definitely worthy of lost sleep. Last week we enjoyed garage sale-ing in my sister Michelle's neighborhood (which is much nicer than my own). I don't think John actually knew what he was in for when he volunteered to tag along with the gaggle of women.....and Nick. John is convinced that people who garage sale tend to buy things/junk they don't actually need but convince themselves they need when they see it dirt cheap. While I do agree with him for the most part, I don't classify myself as that type of person. I've become rather "snooty" in what I purchase and usually come away empty handed - but it doesn't change the fact that when I find that one great deal I relish in the victory for days on end. John actually changed his view on garage sales this past weekend in Kansas City when he happened upon a 1985 Chicago Bears mug (the year they won the superbowl I'm told) for only $1.00!! He was thrilled with his find and told me afterwards that he would have gladly paid $10.00 for it. He beams every time he holds the mug and I've promised him I'll make him a nice cool beverage for him to enjoy....after we scrub the nasty germs off of it which could take days.

My side of the family shops at garage sales by proxy. It's funny actually. We've learned it through the years of us not being able to all be with each other in person at every sale we happen across. We always take cellphones on our hunt and call each other with potential finds that we are aware he/she might need or be looking for. Usually we have a mental list of who needs what and when. So, just because I'll be the only one "physically" hunting through my neighborhood tomorrow, my sisters should be ready to answer the phone at the break of dawn if I happen upon a deal for them. I used to be afraid they would hate me for waking them up so early but we each understand the need of garage sales and how rare they are so I think we've all agreed not to chew each other out for waking the other up.

One man's trash is another man's treasure and yes we happen to be THAT man! Wish me luck in my endeavors tomorrow and feel free to comment with anything you'd like me to hunt down for you as well!

I Blame My Mother

If my mom reads the title to that post she'd be rolling her eyes by now. It's a running joke that I blame all my weaknesses and less desirable traits on my poor mother. In all reality, all those that know my mother, know what a saint she is....and all those that truly know me know I just like to point blame on other people instead of me :D. But I'm sure somehow, somewhere, the following story is because of my mother right?

So, I'm an addict. The first step is admitting it right? So technically I could be on my way to recovery soon at this rate! We were raised without cable television growing up. Whether it was because we couldn't afford it or that it doesn't actually contribute to a productive life, we just plain never got to watch it. I've been graced with it here and there throughout my college life and single years and now, as an adult, I've married into it. Life all the sudden got much more exciting! Instead of the five basic channels I have a plethora of shows to watch. I've gotten rather talented at wasting hours upon hours of life simply trying to find something interesting (that's not a RE-RUN!) to watch on our cable. It's quite a talent I have mind you and yes it does require hard work and persistence! I'm sure my over indulging habits are because we were deprived as children (I had the same experience with Fruity Pebbles cereal but that's another post for another time!).

So, my latest addiction is the TLC channel. For those of you fellow cable lovers out there - I am addicted to "Little People, Big World" (I know there are others of us out there because I've conversed with you so now's the time to fess up!) I don't know what it is about this show but I can't miss an episode. Monday night is the back-to-back line-up so my life is pretty exciting that evening. Someone please explain to me why I'm hooked to this show?? Something about "little people" living a normal life (with a rather messy house) makes me realize that they are normal and probably pretty rich thanks to people like me that tune in every week.

John's take on the show and my addiction? Well when we first started dating it came up that he gets weirded out by "little people" in general. The few that we ran across in our dating life proved he was indeed weirded out by them and could hardly look at them in all their unproportional splendor. At the time, I thought this was hilarious and teased him often. Fast forward to our 5th month of marriage and my latest addiction. I actually got him hooked on the show as well!! Mind you, he's not as intense an addict as I, but the fact that he enjoys watching people that once weirded him out is a HUGE accomplishment. My inquiring mind wanted to know how he overcame such hurdles and he explained that he's acclimated to this "little people" family since they are almost practically in our home every Monday night - and he likes seeing what they are up to. But other "unfamiliar" little people still weird him out. For instance, if the Roloff's have their little people friends visit them on the show, John all the sudden has problems watching them and has to leave. I think it's rather funny but am grateful for the huge milestones John is overcoming by taking part in my addiction. His "little-people phobia" excludes the Roloff family but still remains with the rest of the population. Who knew that cable could help us overcome life-long barriers??

And on a sidenote, in case any "little people" find my blog completely offensive, please know that I love all little people and will happily watch any of you on TV. I have no biases unlike my husband.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Family Blessings

Well, this weekend is full of family blessings....quite literally and figuratively. As it turns out, both the Bell and Hufford side of families have baby blessings happening this Sunday. Sadly we haven't figured out a way to clone ourselves and be in two places at once so we can witness/participate in both. John and I are heading to KC this weekend for Preston's blessing but found out that in doing so, we are missing out on Laney's blessing. :( So, to make up for our absence, I thought I'd post about each of the little kiddos on the blog. That's almost as good as being there right? They are both just adorable. I stole these off the respective families blogs so I offer my apologies in advance :D

Laney Hufford is 6 weeks old and looks just like her older sister Megan but with brown hair. I just got to meet her for the first time last Saturday and she is a cutie.

Preston Walker is around the same age and looks just like his older sister as uh in a very masculine type way that is! He is about 6 weeks as well I think and the first boy on the "Bell" side. I got to meet him for the first time about 3 weeks ago and he is a cutie as well.

Anyway congrats to both families. John and I are always thrilled to be aunt/uncle again so keep them coming!! As of right now, my little sister Cassie will be having a baby this October - she's the only one I'm aware of currently. Stay tuned for the follow-up post on this weekend's festivities. All I can say is that it will include: a neighborhood garage sale, a hotel pool party, and visiting the food storage building. All the ingredients for a grand ole time...jealous aren't you? ;-)

If you build it....they will come.

My apologies for the Field of Dreams reference but it was what came to mind at the time. What I'm referring to is building the blog. I just feel so wonderful when I see that people are reading our blog. A few posts back I mentioned how I absolutely LOVED when people post comments so I know I'm not writing in vain. And lo and behold, you've all obeyed sooo well. Sometimes I just visit our blog and scroll through and re-read the comments or read the parts where it says "6 comments" and get warm fuzzies inside all over again. It's nice to know that we have a following.....even if it's the same six people posting comments. ;-)

Those fellow bloggers out there might relate to some of my observations since we entered the blogging world. Tell me if you can answer "yes" to any of these questions...

  1. Do any of you feel like sometimes you live life for the blog? Example: Hey lets go bowling tonight....that will be fun! Secretly knowing the only reason you want to is because you want to post it on your blog?
  2. Or the camera is now hooked to your hip because of the blog? Perhaps you take pictures of things you wouldn't normally just because it would look cool on your blog? Look! A little bug walking on the sidewalk....hurry take a pic so we can blog about it!!
  3. Or, maybe you type, revise, erase, and type again trying to make something that is normally boring - sound exciting and/or funny? Just to make your readers laugh? Who thought eating Mac 'n' cheese for lunch could be so hilarious when blogged about??!!
  4. Try to make it look like your life is exciting when it is really just regular old boring life? Feeling like you have to compete with everyone else who seems to be leading more exciting lives than yours....after all their posts seem exciting!
  5. Try to find pictures that relate to your post so you can dress it all up nice and pretty?
  6. Spend hours dressing up/designing your blog to be the prettiest out there?

Anyway, sometimes I laugh at how obsessed I've become with this blogging stuff. Everyone needs a hobby right? ;-) I'm actually guilty of all the above so I'm not just teasing everyone BUT me. But no I haven't yet taken pictures of bugs, gone bowling, or eaten mac n cheese for lunch......YET that is! Desperate times call for desperate measures so I'm not claiming to be "above" any of that. Stay tuned...

Lest I forget...

After talking to my sister, Michelle a few nights ago, she commented on the blog and reminded me that I had forgotten another "snag" on my wedding/honeymoon posts (read further for you inquiring minds). Once she reminded me about it, I laughed and mentioned that I was in the process of blocking that snafu out of my mind apparently...and it was working until she came along!! Nah, it really is funny now but I hardly remember laughing at the time. So, I must now recount it for all you blog readers out there...

Enter wedding day: In the midst of all the chaos, the snow/blizzard, the long drive to Columbia for the reception, the exhausting day, John and I had made it to the reception/church running a bit late, we had hurriedly put our wedding outfits back on and prepared to congregate with our party-goers. However, after I had rushed to get ready and bolted out of the bathroom, my youngest sister Cassie was already running toward me with not-so-good news. However, before her mouth could relay the information, my nose was already aware. Horrible smelling smoke was billowing through the hallways of the church, and the bitterly cold breeze was not trailing far behind. As it turned out, my loving, helpful, ever-so-kind grandmother (yes, Grandma Weekes, for all you that are related), was helping prep our reception food and mistakenly assumed a particular PLASTIC dish was well.....not she tried warming up the food in the oven. Thus it had melted all over the oven rack and oven. Burning plastic and smoke are two things you don't want to smell in the hallways right as people are arriving to celebrate your union. Not to mention, the oven rack was propped up in the snow outside to cool off....right next to the main guest entrance. What a wonderful decoration for everyone to see, an oven rack with melted and burnt with the plastic drip effect, amidst the tule and decoratively lit walkway.

Did I mention my family sometimes borders on "white trash"? What better way to represent our roots, than at my own reception right? I do love and adore my grandmother but there were a few choice words in my mind as I walked through the smoke filled hallways. After all, how can one get upset with a person that is trying to help you out?

On a somewhat related side story... Those that know and love Grandma Weekes completely understand what I'm talking about when I say she is hilarious. A memory that still makes me laugh is the condo/bbq grill incident. I was probably around 15 or 16 and grandma had gotten us her condos for the weekend. Quentin (my lil bro) and Grandma decide to light up the barbecue grill for hamburgers. Unbeknownst to them, they were working with "ready-to-light" charcoal. So, after dousing the charcoal in lighter fluid, they apparently leaned in to start the match....and POOF, the flames were there in full array. However, their eyebrows weren't. Technically the rest of us were inside and didn't get to witness the actual incident, which probably would have made us more sympathetic to their injuries. Instead, we witnessed both of them walking through the door with cinged hair and eyebrows. We laughed hysterically while trying to figure out what the heck happened to them. And Grandma Weekes doesn't get alarmed at ANYTHING so her laid back personality made it all the more humorous. The poor woman had a big red burn mark on her arm as well. We asked her if it hurt and all she responded with was....yeah it burns a little....then she meandered around like it was no big deal. Anyway, perhaps it was funnier to those in attendance at the time, because even now when we relive the experience we all start laughing.