Thursday, September 24, 2009

New Haircut

I have bangs (sort of) again for the first time since middle school when I hair sprayed the shit out of them. I like my new do!

We're off to Chicago tomorrow! I'm going to be super late doing/posting my Daring Baker's Challenge this month (if I even get to it)!

A Fun-Filled Fall Weekend

We started the weekend off eating these for breakfast:

The new Cooking Light had a recipe for homemade cinnamon rolls based on a famous Chicago recipe. They were quite delicious, especially with the leftover pumpkin-cream cheese icing I had from some crappy cupcakes (the cake part was crappy, not the icing).

With cinnamon roll fuel, my mom, Chris, and I took the dogs for a walk/hike at Fort Bellefountaine. It was a lovely day for a walk. The dogs enjoyed it so much, especially since they are able to be off-leash the majority of the walk there.

Already panting
My mom and Jackson (who was trying his best to stay out of the water).
Chris and Ollie (who is getting to be a water-loving dog!).
My boys in front of the Missouri River.
After walking the dogs, Chris and I drove across the river to Illinois for some apple picking in Grafton. We passed the Piasa (above).

On our way out to the apple orchard, we passed the pumpkins that are looking close to ready for picking!
Chris enjoying a Jonathan apple.
We tried the Golden Delicious, which were, as Chris called them, "Golden Tasteless."

After apple-picking Chris and I had to scurry back to my parents' house to pick up the dogs, take them home, get in the shower to get ready for the symphony!

Before the symphony we ate at the Schlafly Tap Room. Schlafly is a locally brewed beer that is quite delicious (especially their current pumpkin!). While there, we shared dessert -- Sticky Toffee Pudding, which is amazingly delicious. What was even more amazing than the taste was the SIZE!! I swear, this "piece" of cake was more like a loaf.

Then we headed over to Powell Symphony Hall for The Blue Planet Live.

Beautiful interior of they St. Louis Symphony hall.

The Blue Planet Live was really awesome. The symphony orchestra played the soundtrack to the original BBC production "The Blue Planet" which is a documentary about the Earth's oceans. It was kind of a bittersweet, at times outright sad/depressing, account of the Planet's sea. I learned that Killer Whales/Orcas are ass holes. I will spare you the reasons why, because it was pretty sickening to watch. But, being that this was the first time I'd been to the symphony since elementary school field trips, this was a wonderful way to be reintroduced to live symphonic music!

On Sunday I took my mom for her first pedicure for her birthday. She really enjoyed it. Afterwards we went to see Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo. It was ok. Not exactly what we were expecting (we expected more along the lines of his previous films such as Spirited Away).

I forgot to tell you all what the BIG delivery was last Thursday, as well as a recap of how the IVF training went. I am going to summarize quickly, because I need to go pack for Chicago.

Our BIG delivery was a new, KING SIZED pillow top bed!! It is awesome, and awesomely big. Now Chris, Ollie, Wembley, and I can ALL fit on the bed together.

IVF training was very informative. At times it was also encouraging. The Dr. made it sound like at my age it would be very unusual for it not to work within 3 tries. So, I am hopeful. The bad news was that I am not as close to starting the process as I thought. I have to go through a whole month of suppression shots first (where they shut down my ovaries so that I don't ovulate) before I can start the next month's stimulation shots (where they try to get me to produce a ton of eggs for harvest). So, it's looking like, if everything even goes according to plan and without issues, I won't be doing egg retrieval and egg transfer until middle to late November. :(

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Porches and Apocalypse

Friday night there was a bittersweet incident that occurred at our house. As Chris and I were getting ready for bed I heard a lot of commotion (shouting, yelling, cussing) outside of our house. When I looked out, I saw a group of kids just "chillin" on OUR front porch. I was like, WTF?!?! Who does that? So, I went out and asked them why they were hanging out on OUR porch? They responded that they would leave. But, after that I felt a little uneasy, so I kept peeking out of our bedroom window like an old lady. I realized that some of the little kids (elementary/middle school) that had been on our porch were being cussed at and fussed at by the crack-head lady that lives in the corner house. So, I decided to go outside and intervene. When I went out, the kids immediately approached me and were eager to have another adult to tell their story to. Apparently the crack head lady is friends with their mother, who was hanging out at her house. But, the crack head wouldn't let the kids on her porch (even though their mother was there). That's why they were trying to find someone else's porch to escape to. Ok, this is around 12:30 at night and our neighborhood is not great. So, I felt really bad for these kids. They had no where to go and were being degraded by a crack head, but they couldn't leave because their mother was there. So, I started talking to them about their schooling to try to get their minds off the crack head. Then, I asked them if they liked to color. They said "yes". So, I told them if they followed my 3 rules (1. don't talk to crack head anymore 2. keep their voices quiet 3. clean up when they're done) I would bring them some paper and crayons to color on our porch. They were really thirsty and asked for a glass of water too, because the crack head wouldn't let them inside. So, I brought them some water in a cup that I didn't care about along with a big box of markers/crayons/colored pencils and computer paper. When I went up to bed, I peeked out the window a few times to see their sweet little heads bent down, coloring away. When I awoke, I found the porch perfectly cleaned, and the rest of the computer paper in our mailbox along with this:

Broke my heart . . . such sweethearts. I can't even imagine living a childhood like they must have to deal with.

The porch was the place to be this weekend. On Saturday we began the horrible task of repainting the porch woodwork. Well, we wanted to do it the right way, and strip away the old paint. We thought we were prepared with a heat gun, sander, glasses, masks, scrapers:

But there was no getting this 80 year old paint off
We tried everything, including a natural stripper and a power washer
Finally, I was irritated with the whole situation and decided we should just paint over it, like everyone else had done.
Our result wasn't too shabby:

New house numbers that we've had since we bought the house 2 1/2 years ago!!!
Mums were added for Fall color:
As well as Halloween lights:
After all the porch madness (which spread out over Saturday and today, Sunday), we went to Chimichanga for some margaritas, chips/salsa, and quesadillas/fajitas. Then it was time for an evening show:
This was an animated film produced by Tim Burton. It had an apocalyptic theme, which tends to be my favorite these days. I just love the personification in animation, and this film did a wonderful job personifying inanimate objects. If you are interested in apocalyptic-futuristic type books, these are some of my absolute favorite books:
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Road by Cormic McCarthy
Blindness by Jose Saramago
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

I am both eagerly awaiting the start of this week and dreading it.

Dreading it because:
-SNAP starts (the after school Speech therapy for private school kids) which means my Mondays and Wednesdays will be spent working until 7:00pm.
-Also dreading it because of a staff meeting on Wednesday morning -- I hate getting up any earlier than I have to.

Eagerly awaiting because:
-Monday night I start yoga at the YMCA.
-Tuesday we should be receiving our replacement drum set for Rock Band (our drums broke the second day of having Rock Band).
-Thursday we have IVF training (so Chris and I are taking the whole day off). And, we're getting a BIG special delivery that day.
-Saturday we're going to dinner and the symphony, and I might try to get my mom to come with me for a pedicure for her birthday!
-Sunday we are thinking about going apple-picking, hiking, and Fast Eddy's (we'll see if this comes to fruition or not).

I shall return with updates through the week. I might have a fun food/baking post coming Wednesday or Thursday!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Fall Fun and Friend Farewell

Well, we all knew it was coming . . . Shawnee is once again headed up to the Great Lakes area. She has found a great job opportunity there as well as an apartment that brings her much closer to her boyfriend. So, this week we said goodbye to our dear friend, Shawnee, at a dusk dinner at the Boathouse in Forest Park.
Chris and me before the other two arrived -- self portraiting it up.
The departing diva in front of a beautiful sunset
Roomies and friends bid adieu

Fortunately, Chicago is conveniently in between Grand Rapids and St. Louis, so we may be doing a lot of meeting in the middle. But, I would really like to check out Michigan as well -- I have never been to any of the midwestern Great Lake-bordering states other than Illinois. Bye Shawnee! We will miss you, but thank goodness for Facebook status updates!

Catty girls struck again Thursday for some Fall fun. We met at Faith's house for some absolutely delicious chicken tortilla soup, yummy fruit and dip, and hummus + chips!

mmmmmmmm, soup
The chef who created the amazing concoction below:
Jennifer enjoying her new purchases (we took a field trip to Micheal's where I bought some cute Fall wreaths):
Octavia enjoying turning a pinecone bag into a hairnet so she can make me some sloppy joe's, sloppy sloppy joe's:
I brought some cookies to the Fall exchange:

Lemon pistachio, another recipe that was remade to have its photo taken for the mother-in-law's cookbook!

Tomorrow Chris and I are going to sand off the chipping paint of the front porch so that we can repaint it and finally put up the shiny new house numbers we bought 2 1/2 years ago! I'll try to remember to take before and after pics!