Monday, March 26, 2012

On the Mend

Last Wednesday we got a call from the school nurse informing us Maddie had burned her arm in Home Ec class.  The nurse told us it didn't require a doctor, but she was going to be pretty sore.  One day before the end of this class for the year...

It was a pretty bad burn.  She didn't want me taking a picture of it.  At 2am she woke us up with tears saying that her arm was in a lot of pain.  The blister had popped and Mike (who is our resident first-aid guy) bandaged her up and she was able to sleep through the night.

The bandage stayed on through the next day of school.  She wore a long sleeved shirt to keep from answering questions all day.

She also had her final volleyball tournament this past Saturday.  I think she was a little nervous about her arm when we were at the Y that morning warming up.  She dove for the ball and the skin on her arm pulled tight.  Mike made sure to bandage her arm up extra for the games and she didn't have any problems.  Now we are just dealing with the forming scab.

In related news - our ever impressive tree has been placed under Mike's care as well:

He noticed the other day that some bird was eating away the inside of the tree where the bark has split from all the trauma it's undergone the last couple years.  Mike chased the bird away a couple times and then applied this "bandage" to hopefully keep it away for good.

I teased Mike if his mom (a former nurse) had taught him all he knew about bandaging up people - and things.  He said, "No...I learned it in the military.  So, if you ever have a gaping wound in your stomach, I'll be able to bandage you right up."

Good to know.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Such a Girl

This past weekend Mike and I were invited to a birthday party where the invite said, "Dress to Impress".  Another friend had been trying to figure out exactly what that meant when she was talking to the husband throwing the party.  He started with, "Well, I've lost a bit of weight, so I have to take my tuxedo to the tailor..."

She said she was waiting for the punchline but it never came.  While I knew Mike wasn't going to wear a tux, I did figure I could at least get a new dress.  After an afternoon of shopping where Mike was second opinion, I found one that was so fun!

It also meant that I had to buy new shoes!  My mom and sister suggested getting a silver/pewter pair and Tracy said they should have a little peep toe.  I know next to nothing about fashion so I took their advice and went shopping.

At the fourth and final store (DSW...why don't I ever go there first??) I found several pair that would fit the bill.  After 3-4 texts with Tracy, an email to my mom, and some serious deliberation, I walked out with a pair of shoes unlike anything I've ever purchased...

When Maddie got home I pulled them out of the box and she was SO excited and immediately asked to try them on.

This girl LOVES shoes.  She loves high heels.  The higher the better in her opinion.  I was pretty sure she'd think they were awesome.

Then I put them on and she said, "Whoa!  You are TALL."  This was what I had been nervous about - I didn't want to be an amazon woman.

But the shoes sparkled and matched perfectly with the dress.  After getting ready and showing everyone the black shoes I had (which are really fun too...) and these it was hands down that these stayed.  Even my dad and Mike threw in their opinions so these must have been the ones!

I love getting dressed up.  I don't want to wear this stuff everyday, but once in awhile is so fun!  I know many will be shocked to hear that I got new jewelry to go with it which I LOVED.

Sadly, no one was left at home to get a picture for us. When I got downstairs I pointed to my outfit and told Mike, "THIS needs to happen again."  He promised to take me out somewhere to make that happen at some point.  Hopefully someone will be around to capture us on film!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Babysitting Photo Shoot

On Monday the Runchey girls came over to stay with me while Tracy went to Jake's class to be the "Scientist for the Day".  (Incidentally, Jake got home and said, "Tracy was the bomb!" - so THANKS, TRACY!)

The girls and I packed a lot into our time together.  We had a scavenger hunt outside in my neighborhood and we made chocolate chip cookies (though they have requested that we make shape cookies next time...).

In the last little bit I think they were getting bored.  Ellie said, "I think you should take some pictures of us."


They were the directors.

"First let's take a silly picture."

"Next, we'll take a pretty picture, okay, Riley?"

"Um...Ellie, that was cute, but you moved.  Don't move."
"Okay - let's do another pretty picture.  Smile, Riley."

"That was a nice smile!  But now, Ellie, don't close your eyes."
"Yeah, Ewwie...don't close your eyes."

"Okay, now just take a picture of me, Aunt Kerry."

"Now take a picture of me too, Aunt Kerry!"

"Okay - but now you should take a picture of me.  But NO RILEY in it!"

"That's nice, Ellie.  But you aren't really smiling."
"Let me see...I am too!"
"Hardly.  Let's try again..."

"See, Aunt Kerry...I am smiling..."


"Okay...Riley, come back here.  I think we should do a sad picture."
"Yeah!  We should do a sad picture!"

"Now we are going to do our spoooooky picture!"

Then the doorbell rang and their mom had returned and all picture taking directorials were forgotten.

I think next time we'll work on defining "spooky".

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Cake

I found a new blog I'm liking the looks of: The Girl Who Ate Everything.  As you can probably guess, it's about food.  She posts great pictures; especially in the dessert section.

On Friday Maddie and her friend, Elizabeth, came here after school and I assigned them homework: bake something for our guests that night.  They looked over the blog and after several vetoes from at least one of us, there was unanimous agreement that the Cinnamon Roll Cake would be the test run.

This cake was completely made from scratch so I was a little dubious as to whether they would be able to easily follow it.  

No problem there!  I think there are four steps listed for the cake.  They didn't even use a hand mixer (I really did offer one!).  One of these girls is a swimmer, the other plays volleyball; apparently their arm muscles can handle the work.

They really made it look super easy to make. Then they put it in the oven...

Oh.  My.  Good.  Gracious.

The smell in our kitchen was amazing.  Cinnamon rolls are one of Maddie's top two favorite foods (the other being whipped cream).  It was heaven to her.

The results?  Despite it being close to 5pm when they finished, I let them actually taste their results with about a 2-inch-square piece.  I'm generous like that.

Just like a cinnamon roll, it's topped with a bit of glaze.  Fresh out of the oven and with warm glaze?  Well, I think I've found my new favorite cake.

They were even kind enough to share with their siblings.  

We finished most of the cake that night with our guests and I think everyone agreed it was tasty.  I didn't think to warm it up before serving it, but I believe I will next time.  

This is definitely going into our books with a note that Maddie is in charge of baking it!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Indirect Answer

Every day after school either Mike or I ask Jake the following question:

Do you have any homework?

The other day his answer was, "No."

Here's the rest of the conversation:

Me: You have no homework?
Jake: I mean, I have my home read, my daily reading, and practice my recorder.  But I don't have any math.

This is what we struggle with.  In Jake's mind, if there is no math, then there is no legitimate homework.  Daily reading and recorder practice are just that...daily.  It's a given.  The home read is a worksheet he gets on Monday and it's due on Friday.  If I ask him about homework on Tuesday, clearly this is not something he has to list.  (It is also not uncommon that he leave it out of Thursday's homework listing as well.)

Each day we have to sign his planner and review what was listed for homework.

In our minds, it's all legitimate.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


About a month ago Mike headed to India, Prague, and Amsterdam for work.  He was gone a full two weeks.  Sorry it's taken so long to update this, but I kept forgetting to check where he'd filed his pictures.  Last night was the first time I'd gone through them with him.

First up was India.  He was in Bangalore (I believe, also known as Bangaluru).  This was where he spent the majority of his trip - a full week here.

This was the lobby of his hotel:

It was completely open to the outside and he said this place was very nice.  He was a little nervous about the food in India and how his stomach would handle it after hearing so many awful stories before leaving.  He did okay though.  He said the hotel had an awesome breakfast that filled him up.  They did have dinners and lunches out - they even went to an Italian restaurant!

He was amazed by the cows.  Everywhere there were cows: in the middle of the street (as seen above) and even in really nice shopping areas there would be a cow standing outside the store window eating through the garbage.  He talked to one of his co-workers there and they explained that surrounding the city was a lot of farms and the farmers just released their cows in the morning to go find food.  Every evening the cows just wandered back to their farms without being herded.

This was also a common sight in India.  Because India is 12 1/2 hours ahead it was so easy to Skype.  We were able to catch up before the kids left for school (the end of Mike's day) and often times before the kids headed to bed (the beginning of Mike's next day).  Once he was in Prague and Amsterdam (and only 7 hours ahead) this became much more difficult and we probably one talked to him once or twice the remaining days.

And that's the tour of India.  Impressive.  He really didn't get a chance to see much because of working.  They did visit a zoo and while walking around a few people came up to ask to have their picture taken with him.  He has no idea why and no one could explain it, but somewhere in India a few random families have pictures with Mike.

On to Prague.  He was able to see a bit more here because he arranged to be there for the weekend.

He was able to see the Prague Astronomical Clock.  This clock was built around 1410 and shows the movements of the sun, moon, and zodiac.

Mike was also able to visit a few churches.  The one that garnered the most picture taking was the Ossuary Chapel in Sedlec - or the "Church of Bones".

According to his tour and some information I was able to look up, this church was a much sought after place to be buried.  Then there was a massive plague and the church was overwhelmed with bodies.  The monks started placing the remains in the church.  Years later (around 1870), the family that owned the area commissioned a local carpenter/artist to do something to get a handle on the bone situation.  So he did - and decorated the church with them - roughly 40,000 skeletons.

40,000 bodies - and do you want to know what creeped Mike out the most?

In the picture above you'll see these little baby angels looking down from the column tops.  He tried to tell me these were especially scary - and he's completely serious.


This skeleton chandelier above supposedly contains every bone from the human body.

There are a couple "bone bells" and I think this is one of them:

Mike thinks that it was a pile of bones in the middle of the church (I think differently because it's an exact picture of a couple different sites on the Internet that explain them).  Anyway - he did say that where there would normally be pews in a church, there were just piles of bones.  There was no where for anyone to sit for a church service - not that there are church services, but it would be standing room only if there were.

Above is the coat of arms for the family that commissioned the artist.  Down in the lower right corner of the sculpture you'll see a raven picking out the eye of a skull - apparently a real part of the coat of arms.  Still...all made of bones.

But, Mike still maintains that the baby angels were the creepy part.

Now, not that this church wasn't odd enough, but while Mike and his group were standing in one alcove a man and woman came in.  They apologized to Mike's group for what they were about to do and went on to explain that for the past 10 years whenever they have been in a "famous" landmark they stripped down and took a picture of themselves.  Seriously.  And then they started taking off their clothes really fast so they wouldn't get caught by the people in charge.  Mike just left the room; very happy no pictures exist of this.

He did visit a few other churches, though he can't remember the names of them.  Decidedly less disturbing, but still some odd factors.

Impressive organ!  He only took this because he thought I'd find it interesting (which I did) and he thought it would be fun to imagine playing it someday (which it would be cool!).

He thought the design was odd because the rest of the church (the actual sanctuary part) was located off to the right; that poor organist can't see a thing!

You'll also notice a small decorative box on the bottom left.  It contains this:

That is the body of a saint sent back here by the pope.  Mike has no idea which saint it was and I can't look it up because he can't remember which church it was.  However, there were two saints at this church in these boxes.  He said there really was a body inside and the clothing interweaves with the skeleton.  When you stood at the head side of the box there was a window so you could see the actual skull and then they had placed a plastic face over the front of it.

He also found the statues of men flanking the box to be eerie.  Mike grew up in a Catholic church where these types of statues are prevalent.  It blows my mind that he finds these figures so disturbing - especially considering they are all surrounding skeletons of mass numbers and size.

There were several beautiful windows:

(Side note: Just want to say, I'm kind of impressed with Mike's camera phone.)

Then they were off to Amsterdam.  He was here for about two-three days.

He did manage to tour the Heineken factory.  Priorities.

This (along with two other beer pictures) were what exists from Amsterdam:

This was a beer sampling at one of their dinners.

He went on a tour one night with a group of co-workers.  They did visit the Red Light District though no pictures exist because that's really frowned upon.  For those that don't know, Prostitution and Marijuana are legal in Amsterdam.  But don't take pictures of it.

He came home bearing many gifts which were very fun for all of us!  Two weeks was a long time and we were ALL glad to see him back at home!