Thursday, July 27, 2006

What would summer be without a trip to the Fair?

Last night we went to the Boone County Fair. We went mainly to show Meredith the advertised “3,000 animal exhibits.”

It was an interesting experience for me since the only other “county” fairs I’d been to are the L.A. County Fair and the Orange County Fair. Both of these fairs are gigantic. It was fun to go to a much-smaller fair for a change.

I think some people in the family thought that, since I grew up in Los Angeles, I’d never seen a cow before. In order to set the record straight, the L.A. County Fair has numerous animal exhibits, including cows, pigs, goats, chickens, etc. Who would’ve thought?

At the L.A. County fair, you can “learn to milk a goat, sample some of the freshest ice cream around, and meet an assortment of friendly barnyard animals.”

In fact, “last year, over 60 animals were born during the Fair.” At the L.A. County fair you can “visit an array of baby animals and their parents living pastures, just as they would on the farm.”

Don't ask me where the farm is in L.A. where all these animals come from but, apparently, it exists somewhere.

Actually, I have a distinct childhood memory of my mother buying me “fresh” unprocessed milk from a stand at the fair. The stand was strategically located near the smelly cow barn.

My sisters and I would’ve rather died than drink that milk.

That is one thing about growing up in L.A. – maybe you’ve seen cows before but you’d like to think that milk comes from a machine instead. Eggs too.

But, back to last night … I think the most fun part was a show they had going on called “The Fair Factor.” It was a take-off of “The Fear Factor” show.

The contestants had to eat something called “1,000 Year Old Eggs.” These apparently are a delicacy in Asian cultures. They are preserved duck eggs and, when cracked open, look like black jelly. The first contestant kept gagging and gagging.

Kevin was disgusted and left but I, personally, thought it was very funny.

It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing!

I think I was born in the wrong era. The Jazz Kitchen was amazing – the most fun I’ve had in a while.

Probably my favorite part was the vocalist who showed up toward the end of the evening. His voice was incredible and the songs were so fun. He sang “There Will Never Be Another You,” “Angel Eyes,” etc. And the swing dancing was fun to watch too. I think I’ve finally talked Kevin into taking lessons with me. So, next time we go to the Jazz Kitchen it will be even MORE fun. Stay tuned …

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Meeting, greeting, and running around ...

I feel like I spent the entire weekend running around. We went to meet little Brody Sawyer, born a week ago Monday. He’s adorable. I love holding newborns. New life never ceases to amaze me.

Kevin went golfing – two days in a row! When he was done on Saturday we went to see a house for rent. We were almost ready to put a deposit on it and then Kevin had second thoughts, wondering if it was going to be too small. So, long-story-short, we’re still in the market. (We saw three houses last night, we’ll see one more tonight, and three more on Thursday night!)

This house-hunting business is getting physically exhausting (with all the running around, squeezing in appointments) and emotionally exhausting (‘cuz I just want to find a place to call my own and lay my head for the next two years).

On Sunday, we went to Michael and Heather’s house for dinner – even though Heather was scheduled to be induced and give birth the next day! (Heather, I think you’re amazing or crazy or something!) We're looking forward to meeting little David LeFebvre in a few days. Did I mention I love newborns?

Then we rushed to go meet Ronald and Karen for coffee – they were heading through town from a family reunion. I think it’d been more four years since I saw either of them. It was nice to touch base again.

On Sunday night we finally got a chance to meet Megan’s boyfriend. His name is K.C. and he’s very tall. He’s also funny and we like him. But we knew that we’d probably like him since Megan likes him so well.

Tonight we’re all going to the Jazz Kitchen in Broad Ripple, an artsy district here in town.

But, of course, since we’ll have a whopping 15 minutes to spare, we’re going to swing by another rental house on the way.

Sigh … Kill me now.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Niceness Goes Around

Today I complemented the worker behind the deli counter when she gave me exactly one pound of sliced turkey, no more and no less. “Wow, right on the nose! You’re good,” I smiled.

The lady beamed.

I wondered if anyone had ever told her she's good at weighing turkey before.

Then she looked at Meredith and asked me if I would like a slice of cheese or a piece of salami for the baby.

Yes, of course! Meredith had happened to be really fussy at the time and I was relieved that she had something to occupy herself for the next five minutes.

I probably wouldn’t have necessarily struck up a conversation with the lady behind the deli counter except that I noticed she looked particularly tired and weary.

This little interchange really touched me. It was rewarding to connect with a stranger and share little kindnesses with each other.

Sickness and Discipline

Lately Meredith has been under the weather. That, combined with the fact that she’s getting a boatload of teeth all at once, has resulted in her being especially fussy, needy, and clingy.

I’ve enjoyed the opportunities to cuddle with her, actually. She’s typically not a very cuddly baby by nature.

The other day we sat out on the backyard swing for about an hour. Every time a bumble bee buzzed by, she would lift her finger and say, “bug.”

Then, last night, she sat on the couch with me for 30 minutes and we watched one of those home-improvement shows. I couldn’t believe she sat there for that period of time! What happened to my bouncy daughter?

I’ve had a hard time being discerning with her, the last few days, when it comes to the issue of discipline. I feel really badly she’s in pain and have been catering to her a lot. Today I feel like she’s been taking advantage of this situation and has been bratty, knowing she can get away with it.

Sigh ... Knowing how and when to discipline a sick child is more challenging than I realized.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Caught by Grandma

You may remember that I wrote, a while ago, about cutting Grandma Cazzell’s hair. I thought it was funny – definitely a different experience for me to be called over, without a moment’s notice, to serve a new client with my amateur hair snipping skills.

Well, apparently, an extended family member read about it on my blog. I didn’t realize that she knew my blog existed, mind you. It’s amazing how these things get around.

And then, when this extended family member was visiting grandma the other day, she mentioned it to grandma, who was probably mortified to discover that her hairstylist-client-confidentiality privileges had been violated and her personal life had been discussed online.

The next day grandma asked my mother-in-law about it. I can only imagine the look on her face when she asked, "Can just ANYONE read Amy’s blog?"

So, I got caught by grandma, whom I thought I could “safely” talk about since she doesn’t even use the internet.

[It's getting to the point that I can't talk about anyone anymore! How fun is that? How am I supposed to get material for this blog, anyway?]

Sometimes I get into the mindset that the only people who read my blog are the people who comment on my blog.

Apparently this isn’t true – not for me, not for you, not for anyone who cares to share their thoughts on the internet.

In the meantime, (you can bet your bottom dollar) guess whose hair I'll never be cutting again?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Things Not Heard in the Real NFL Draft...

...but were actually said during our fantasy football draft:
  1. “How many wide receivers do I need?”

  2. “What team am I again?”

  3. “I’ll take Braylon Edwards.”
    “You heard he’s injured, right?”
    “Well then, on second thought…”
    “Once you take your hand off the piece, you can't undo your pick.”

  4. “I'll take Larry Johnson.”
    “Someone else already drafted him.”

  5. “I'll take Larry Johnson.”
    “Dude, he's already on your team!”

  6. “Can I phone a friend?”
(Credit: Darrin Thompson, who thought to jot these down and then post them on his blog.)

Monday, July 17, 2006

It's beginning to look a lot like football ...

I still can’t believe it but I’ve been dragged into the whole Fantasy Football craze. All the guys under 40 from our church were planning to do it this year so one of the wives decided that the gals should have a “Chic League” and participate too.

I’m still not sure how “into” it I’ll be – I keep saying I’m doing it for the social factor only. I enjoy watching football but I’m just not into all the stats and stuff. It seems like, if you’re going to win Fantasy Football, you have to really know the stats and keep on top of it every week. Or just be lucky, I suppose.

One good thing is that it will give me an excuse to learn more about the sport. A second benefit is that it will give Kevin and I something to chat about and be competitive about. You can never have enough competition, you know.

The draft itself was fun (but got really tedious towards the end). We all met at the Falks’ house – the girls were upstairs and the guys were downstairs.

I really wish I had a camera. They guys were hysterical. They had the room configured to accommodate all their laptops plus a phone to conference-call a friend. (All the extra leaves were put in the dining room table to do this.) They were constantly smack-talking and then hurrying to go talk with someone else about strategy. They were rushing around everywhere, acting like little boys who were getting their first puppy. It was cute.

During their break, all the guys rushed upstairs. Each guy ran to his wife to look at her list of players and see who SHE had drafted. Somehow I think that Kevin is going to keep better tabs on my players than I will.

Here is an example of how the girls’ draft differed from the guys’ draft:

The guys: “Oh yeah, he played for the Ravens last year!”

The girls: “Plaxico. What a weird name. Okay, I’ll take him.”

Blueberries Galore

On Friday I tried my hand at something new … blueberry picking.

For the first twenty minutes I felt like Martha Stewart. I paused often to take in the lush scenery, chatted nonchalantly with friends, and only picked the plumpest and most beautiful berries for my bucket.

During the next twenty minutes it decided to rain. At that point I felt more like a plantation worker, madly dashing up and down the rows of bushes to get my quota. It was quite comical, actually. The ground became muddy, we were all soaking wet, and we were running about throwing every kind of blueberry in our buckets, including stems, leaves and even a few bugs.

But then the sun came out again. At that point we had most of the blueberries we wanted but decided to continue picking for more, and to try and dry off a little.

At the end of the day, it was a win-win situation. Not only did I enjoy the experience, I also have nearly 20 pounds of blueberries in my freezer, designated for future pies, tarts, and muffins.

This blueberry picking thing is going to have to become an annual tradition, I think.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

My Couch

“Kevin, you know that olive colored couch that isn’t even comfortable and you hate?”


“I miss it.”

So went our conversation last night. It suddenly hit me how I miss certain things from my familiar life in Roseville, CA. It’s been a long time now – nearly three months – since I’ve seen my furniture, my toaster, my silverware, my winter shoes, etc. All those things are packed up and sitting in a storage shed in Brownsburg, IN.

We’ve been trying to find a house to buy. We narrowed down the neighborhoods we like. We were pre-qualified for a loan. We’ve looked at specific houses. But we haven’t had a peace about anything.

After thinking through things, because real property here isn’t appreciating, it might be a better financial decision to rent for two years while Kevin is in school rather than sinking our down payment into something we’re not 100% happy with.

So, now, we’re looking at rental houses.

Things have been great here at Kevin’s folks’ house. They’ve made us feel so loved and welcomed. We really appreciate that. We appreciate their generosity of letting us camp-out here while we try to make up our minds.

But, like I said, I miss my stupid, familiar, wonderful couch.

Monday, July 10, 2006


So, I've been researching interesting-looking Moroccan recipes - 'cuz Morocco is the country I'm leaning towards picking for our next International Food Club night. (I'm still not 100% sure, however.) Today I came across an official government website with 30 "authentic" Moroccan recipes. Here's an interesting one I'm thinking about serving to my guests.

M'chermal - translation: "Brains with Sauce"

I'm also looking into how much it would cost to hire a belly dancer for the night. (Just kidding ... kind of.)

Baby No More

Our little girl is one year old! Meredith is no longer a baby. She’s walking everywhere, talking up a storm, and playing with other little kids on her own. The older kids at church have befriended her and carry her around with them everywhere – she thinks she’s one of them!

This past week Meredith added three new words to her vocabulary – “ice,” “bug,” and “outside.”

It’s summertime … can you tell?

We can hardly ever drink something with ice in it without her saying “ICE” and raising her hand so she can have a piece.

Lately she has been really into “sharing” her food, drink, and pacifier. She has a hard time understanding why we don’t want to suck on her pacifier too.

She also loves to give her baby doll drinks of “milk” from a bottle.

This morning I looked at some old photos saved on my computer when Meredith was five months old. What happened to my little baby?!

Birthday Scenes

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Festive Occasions

Believe it or not, our holiday weekend started with a fiesta. We are now officially part of an International Gourmet Food Club where every month we join friends to make dishes from a featured country. Last Friday the Falks hosted our first dinner featuring Mexico. It was great fun to try out new, authentic Mexican dishes and drinks. The evening was very festive and included a piƱata filled with goodies. We’re hosting the next one and I’m trying to decide if we should do Thai, Moroccan, or Greek. Too many choices!

On Saturday we went to a wedding reception held at a house Kevin used to live in. I had heard a lot about the house and surrounding property, including the pond and all the efforts to eradicate the snapping turtles. It was good to be able to see Kev’s old stomping grounds.

Our 4th of July celebration included a trip to Symphony on the Prairie on Monday. Alaina, Meredith, and I got there 3 ½ hours early to reserve a shady spot! It was hot, but very patriotic, and I'm glad we could go.

The orchestra played many old favorites – a lot of Sousa and other marches, traditional patriotic songs, and the theme songs for each branch of the military. Everyone stood when the flag was brought out by men dressed up like Revolutionary War soldiers. Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address, etc., etc. etc. The concert ended with the 1812 Overture and canons blasting. Then, a spectacular fireworks show.

We were amazed that Meredith slept through the entire last half of the concert, including all of the canon blasts and the booming fireworks!!!

Yesterday we spent most of the day playing in the swimming pool at Aunt Beth’s house. It was Meredith’s first time in a pool and she absolutely loved it. (We took her out because we thought she was cold and, as soon as she dried off, she wanted back in.) The guys played basketball. And, of course, in typical holiday fashion, the food was piled high for all to enjoy.