Thursday, June 19, 2008

10 Years Together....an Eternity More!

I'm a day late getting this on here...but yesterday was our 10th wedding anniversary! I hope that when the 25th rolls around we'll both still feel so young and in love as we do today. It seriously doesn't feel like 10 years. Except...that there are those four children running around our house who call us "mom" and "dad"...and we're both a few sizes bigger than we used to be...but other than that we still feel like newlyweds! Hey, we're still in school and in debt up to our eyebrows!

This is one of my favorite pictures from our wedding day. It was actually a snapshot my Aunt Debbie took of us in the bride's garden at the Idaho Falls Temple. We were waiting for the professional photographer to reload his camera...and she caught us in this candid moment. I just love it because the look on both of our faces says it all. Thanks Aunt Debbie! (click on the photo to enlarge it)

A few things we've learned about ourselves from 10 years of marriage:

1. We were told that after we were married we'd start going to bed at 10:00. Nope. We still stay up way too late and frequently past midnight. I think we're "night owls."

2. Andy doesn't like putting socks into the hamper...even if it's open...even if there's a basketball hoop over it for motivation.

3. Sherrie doesn't like filling cars up with gas. She is extremely talented at running them as low as they'll go without running completely out and then coordinating their expected run out time to when Andy is driving so he'll fill it up for her.

4. Sherrie is the family finance officer. It just works better that way. Period.

5. Andy still has flashbacks from youth when his mom would fix meals with Spam, so for some weird reason, Spam keeps finding it's way onto the food storage shelves. Sherrie once had a bad experience with Spam, and just the thought of it makes her queasy.

6. Sherrie's favorite cereal is Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

7. Andy's favorite time to eat cereal is between 10:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m.

8. When we're both in the vehicle, Andy usually drives...unless Sherrie is doing a quick pick-up on Cedar, Mayfield, or Euclid Hts... in which case she quickly puts on the flashers, swerves to the sidewalk and Andy jumps in the passenger seat. We are very talented at quick pick-ups. Sherrie is also very skilled now at spotting Andy in his blue scrubs walking up the sidewalk..the kids think she has super-powers.

9. Andy is a snowboarder at heart.

10. Sherrie prefers the finesse of skiing.

11. Both Sherrie and Andy love mountain biking. Sherrie is better at going up the hills...she beats Andy at endurance. Andy is better at Sherrie when speeding down the hills, jumping rocks, and splashing through creeks. He is a blurr. Sherrie once tried to keep up with "the blurr"...a very painful accident and a few scars later, she doesn't even think about it.

12. Sherrie prefers cooking extravagant meals to cooking sweets...and Andy is very talented at making sweets. So...our kids don't complain much about food.

13. If given time to relax...Andy would choose to watch a movie...Sherrie would choose to read a book.

14. Someday Andy and Sherrie are going to own 5-10 acres of land. Why? Because privacy and space are extremely important to us.

15. Andy enjoys watching Jane Austen movies with Sherrie...and Sherrie enjoys watching The Lord of the Rings Trilogy with Andy.

16. We don't do "girls" or "guys" nights...if there's actually a time when we could be together...that's what we choose to do.

17. Andy is distantly related to Paul Bunyan. He can freqently be found out in the field trimming the golf course trees with his chain saw or hatchet. Yes. He has a hatchet. It's really cute and has a belt carrying case and everything. Maybe he's part Comanche too. It could look like a tomahawk. I think.

So...there are a million more things I could say...but there ya go. We're both quirky people, and have a lot of fun being all quirky and such. We've actually had a person tell us that they don't get our relationship at all. (laughing right now! Can you believe the things people say?) That's one of the beautiful things about a marriage...nobody needs to "get it" except for the two that are married.

Hey honey...I'm so glad we "get it." Happy 10th!

p.s. After having been married for 10 years...Andy and Sherrie decided that there are a few items they would like to have. Please feel free to browse their online wishlist at Target.com...the link is below. (ahem...you think we're kidding don't you.)

http://www.target.com/lists/21ZUUCS7RPRUI

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Dishwashers

Last Thursday, our dishwasher broke. I went to open it, and the handle broke off. Oops. I could hear a little piece of plastic click, and then tumble somewhere inside of the door. GREAT! So, because the door wouldn't click back into place, this smart machine, knowing that it's door isn't all the way closed, won't run. At this point, I'm wishing that we would have gone with the mediocre-intelligenced machine that really isn't all that smart.

Well, Andy takes the door apart and figures out that all we need is this tiny little piece of plastic, so he calls the parts place and orders it. They tell us that it should be in by Tuesday of the next week. At this point there are two things running through my mind.

1. GREAT! We don't have to buy another dishwasher during our last year here!
2. GREAT! I just won't cook anything requiring pots or pans, and we'll use plastic/paper dishes until Tuesday.

But then...I remembered that we had a couple of extra dishwashers just hanging around the house...they worked very well until Tuesday rolled around. These two dishwashers specialized in plastic cups, bowls, and plates...utensils, pots, pans, mixing bowls...but weren't guaranteed through the manufacturer to safely clean knives or glass...so I did those items myself. It worked out pretty well.

Whew! It's a good thing I had them just lying around the house!


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Taylor's 2nd Grade Zoo Trip

During the last week of school, the 2nd graders had a field trip to the zoo. Unlike our Kindergarten run this year, Tay's class had beautiful sunny weather. I loved it! Andy took a day off of clinic to come with us, and we had a lot of fun taking a small group of them around the zoo. And, just like with Rachey's class...you'll see that Brooklynn, although only three, is not shy around siblings' friends and can easily squeeze her way to the front of any crowd. It's a talent.

Oooohhhhh.....elephant teeth.
Taylor has been nicknamed "radar ears" in our house...I thought this picture was very fitting.
And it looks like Tay's best friend Nicholas has the same ear problem.
Not to be outdone, Brooklynn quickly jumped between the two ears to show that she was just as grown up as her brother and his friends.
Well...if everyone jumped off a building would you? Apparently so. Here is Matthew's turn with the big ears, although I don't think he really understood why Dad seemed to want to squish him and his backpack carrier inbetween two big pieces of weirdly-shaped metal.

Money burns a hole...into Nyah's pocket. Nyah, the girl in purple had a quarter. All day long she was begging me to let her buy stuff. Annoying! Andy tried to teach her a concept of "saving." That didn't go very far. Finally, I saw this cool "save the rainforest" thingy and pointed it out to her. She immediately wanted to drop in her burning coin. I've got to admit...yes, I intentionally lured her into it, but hey, the rest of the trip was so peaceful...and they had a lot of fun watching it slowly roll around and around and around until it disappeared at the bottom.


Brooklynn's favorite part was the butterfly greenhouse. Here she is "reading" (because now that she's with a group of big kids, she knows how to read) about all the species of butterflies.


And here is the little group we took around. Brooklynn didn't quite make it to the front in this picture...you can see her behind Tay and Nicholas. So, it's Lizzie, Nyah, Nicholas, and Taylor. Taylor is so sad because Nicholas has now moved to Chagrin Falls.
And on the way home, we had to stop and get a part for Andy's scooter. (We are always getting parts for that thing...will it last 11 more months???) Anyway, Matthew quickly fell asleep and was snoring...I thought it was funny.


video

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Customer Service

Customer Service. Usually when we hear that short simple phrase, especially those of us who have had that wonderful "priviledge" of working in retail sales we think of that other phrase "the customer is always right." At least, I do. I had that phrase grilled into me during my years as a department store employee...I had to deal with all sorts of people.

The old ladies who smothered themselves in bad-smelling perfumes asking me to follow them around the store holding the mound of ugly clothes they wanted to try on...all the while asking me how nice I thought their choice of colors were. Well...their choice of colors WERE nice...just not nice when put together.

The young mothers who for some weird reason decided to go clothes shopping for themselves with all of their rowdy children who liked to play hide and seek in the rounders and then got themselves lost so I was the nice lady who would calmly take them up to the front desk and announce over our loudspeaker system in a calm voice "SERIOUSLY LADY!!!!! COME GET YOUR OFFSPRING BEFORE I KICK THEM OUT ON THE STREET!!!" Okay, really I would say something like "We have a lost child with the name of 'Timmy I'mabother' ...would Timmy's mother please come and pick him up in the layaway section?"

Then there were the bored women who we would see come into the store at least 2-3 times a week, and would get upset when we didn't have new merchandise out on the floor for them to try on and leave scattered all over the dressing rooms like a bunch of slobs. Seriously...I hated to even think of their closets.

Then there were the poor husbands who would come in at 5 minutes to close on Christmas Eve wanting that perfect gift for their extremely picky wife and wanted ME to choose it....no pressure or anything. I would ask, "well, what size is she?" "Um....I'm not sure...she's kind of average, I think." Great. That really gets us somewhere. In the end, I would just pick out something I thought was fabulous in a size...whatever we had of it and made sure to tell him to save the receipt (knowing that the day after Christmas she would be in to return it).

Ahh....customer service. Well. The Walmart here in Cleveland Heights is AWESOME. Awesome for a good laugh if you can keep your attitude in the right area anyway. Since we've been here, I have had so many experiences of ridiculously bad, terrible, absolutely non-acceptable customer service issues with the people they employ there.

From the time that I waited for 30 minutes in the Express (10 items or less) lane with my 7 items, only to get up to the desk and have the colossal employee tell me in a slow drawl that I'd have to go to a different isle because my items were TOO BIG. Yep. Too big. I pointed out that the sign doesn't say anything about the size of the items, only the quantity and that since I had only 7 and not 10, that the size and quantity should average it out making my cart acceptable for her lane. Nope. Her attitude was as immoveable as her rather large-sized person. I had to take my water coolers and other camping gear to a different lane and wait again. I was FUMING!!!! 3 years later, it's funny.

Then there was the time when Andy went there on his bike only to find that they didn't have a bike lock rack...so he didn't know what else to do but to take his bike in with him. Well, of course the friendly greeter told him "You can't take that thing in our store!" In a nice loud Cleveland street slang voice. Half the store turns around to watch this tall white guy in blue scrubs try to reason with the store greeter. Andy told her that he would be happy to lock it outside if the store would kindly provide a place for him to do that. Well, they were at an impass until the store manager came out, and told Andy that he would have to leave. Andy told him that he would have to provide a place for bicyclists to lock their bikes or he would continue to bring his bike into the store. Well, the Cleveland Heights Gettomart now has a bike rack. Way to go. They also have a different manager now...I don't think the two incidents are related.

Just two nights ago, Andy and I were up doing odds and ends after the kids went to bed and both of us thought that a Subway sounded sooooo good. Well, it was only 9:00, so we thought, Great! We have time to go grab one! Like the great guy that he is, Andy volunteered to go and get the sandwich. He goes to the Severence Walmart Subway. By the time he actually gets in there, it is 9:20...but, the store doesn't close until 10:00, so he still has plenty of time, right? WRONG! He goes in there, and the girl is putting a sandwich together for this guy, she looks at Andy and says "We're closed." Andy just kind of chuckled and said "You're closed?" And she says "Ya, we're closed." So, he asks her what time they close and she says "At 9:20". Hmm...that is a strange time to close. So, he walks over to the greeter person and says, "hey, what time does the Subway close?" And the greeter tells him "oh they don't have a set time, usually between 9:30 and 10:00" hmm....what to do now. Cause a scene? DEMAND A SUB? Make it yourself? All these questions, but no answers!!! So, in the end he just laughs at the incredulousness of this store and goes to a different Subway.

Seriously. When the Gettomart trains their new employees and they come to the section of the training manual entitled "Customer Service" that's the part when the employees go out for a smoke break or something.

Oh...and I'll blog about their choice of background store music on a different blog. Seriously, Rap? Oh, that will calm people down in a hurry.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Where's Matthew?

A frequent question out of my mouth these days is "Where's Matthew?" Now that he has officially mastered the stairs (yes, it took him a while) his favorite place to sneak off to is my bathroom. He's very careful and quiet going up the stairs, but then his loud pitter patter of running feet from the top of the stairs to the bathroom is a dead giveaway as to his position.


This is what I found the other day...okay, the foot thing cracks me up.Lest you all get worried...I have long since moved out anything dangerous from underneath this cabinet. The most he will find is a nebulizer, which you see him chewing on (not dangerous for him, but maybe a bit yucky for the person who has to use it next) and toilet paper. I've come up to the bathroom before to find that he has successfully unstacked my neat pyramid of toilet paper and thrown it all over the bathroom floor. He is quite the little guy...I think he's trying to make his way to the status of "silent tornado" which his previous three siblings have been able to lay claim to in the past. He's not quite there...but getting close.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Father and Son Campout

So, I'm a little late getting this on here...but we've been on round two of Strep. Seriously. Enough is enough.

While on the Father and Son Campout a couple of weeks ago, Taylor demonstrates the fine art of eating a smore. Look and learn people. :)

First, you get a stick and roast a marshmallow. But you have to make sure and get really, really, REALLY excited about it, or it won't turn out right.


After roasting your marshmallows to perfection (which can include charring in the flames) you squish the stuff in between two grahams...but don't forget the Hershey's chocolate (gotta be Hershey's, unless you don't have any Hershey's with you, and then any other form of chocolate will be acceptable) and remember, you MUST stay very, very, VERY animated about the whole deal. Animation is the KEY to a good smore.


Next, you look at your gigantic, squishy, sticky, chocolatey mess of a smore right in the face and stare it down. This intimidates the marshmallows so that they don't think about falling out all over the place. It also lets the grahams know who's boss of the situation. And as always, remember...be extremely, extremely, EXTREMELY animated. Make sure you engage each facial muscle. This is crucial. Depending on your animation level, you can burn between 100-200 calories an hour, just eating smores!

The time for chomping down has come. Make sure that the first bite is very firm, nothing wavering. Keep those facial muscles tightened (remember those calories!) Make sure that you smack your lips and chew very loudly...this increases the tasty sensation of chocolate mixed with creamy, charred marshmallows with crisp grahams. The smacking also helps with calorie burn...maybe increasing it by 10-15 calories an hour depending on your jaw strength.

Another key factor is closing your eyes. This allows your other senses (taste and smell) to almost completely take over, making the entire experience much more yummy. It also helps you to forget that you are getting sticky marshmallows on your fingers, hands, face, pants, shirt, and whatever else is nearby. Also, remember that closing your eyes takes muscle, which means calories burning! This will increase your total burn by 20 cal/hour. We're up to 235 total calories burned here!


Yum! Don't forget to lick your fingers. Forget about the fact that you've been playing in the dirt for hours, you're in the woods now. The trick to a good smore is to lick away all of the stray marshmallow goo that gets everywhere. Just searching for those elusive drops of marshmallow burns at least 50 calories...so that brings it up to 285.


Ahh...now that you've eaten one...it's time to get that stick and start on another one.