September 28, 2008

Random Road Trip

Tony and I have been spending a lot of time at home lately, which has led to both of us being antsy and somewhat on edge with each other.

So today I wanted to get out of the house all day. We decided to go visit Tony's dad. We haven't been to his house in an absurd amount of time, so we thought a drive to Durand would be the perfect way to spend the day.

Rick and Tina are normally around on Sunday, doing the traditional family dinner with whoever wants to show up, so we figured we would be safe in showing up as a pure surprise. However, as we got closer, we decided we should give them a little bit of warning.

We were greeted by their three dogs and great smelling food. Rick was very happy to see Tony. They were soon talking about computers and projects while I hung out in the kitchen with Tina. Soon after we arrived, Tina's brother Phil, his two dogs, as well as his girlfriend Crystal and her two daughters arrived.

If you are keeping track that is a total of five dogs, large dogs, and one highly allergic Tony in the same house. Luckily, Tony was somewhat drugged, but it was only a matter of time before he started feeling miserable.

There is a reason we don't visit them often. Whenever friends in Muskegon get together, people have often commented about the multitude of children that are in the mix. Well, with Tony's dad and Tina's family, it is the same except with dogs. Each member of the family has at least two large dogs and brings them wherever they go. We were lucky there were only five dogs.

I remember one holiday dinner the dogs seemed to outnumber the adults (I believe there were a total of 10 dogs and 11 adults). These dogs are inside, on the furniture, lick your face, dogs. They are talked to and treated like humans. They are great dogs, there is just no avoiding their allergy inducing hair.

This was in fact the first time I remember being around that family and there were actually children. The parenting style, well, was not the one I plan to use with our children. I may or may not talk more about that in a later post.

I remember when Tony and I started dating how taken back I was by that side of the family. They are really nice, but have a completely different view of the world. The dynamics of that family are absolutely the opposite of my family. Everyone seems to get along, but outsiders are rarely let in. The tone of their voices are almost always monotone. They find bodily functions to be a great source of humor, and are quick to announce safety after noisily releasing some gas.

Overall the trip was great. There were minimal discussions about politics, which is always best to avoid, and nobody burped in my face, a definite plus. And the best part was that we were able to get out of the house and spend some time with family.

September 26, 2008

Jury Duty

I have always wanted to serve on jury duty. I don't know why, and I know that most people avoid it like the plague. But I have always wanted to go through the process.

A few weeks ago I received in the mail summons for jury duty and I was extremely excited. This was the second time I have received it, the first time I never needed to go in. This time I knew I would need to go in.

Unfortunately, I called in today for the second week and I have been excused. Other jury members were called in, but not my number.

Very disappointing. Maybe next time... if there is a next time.

September 22, 2008

Tony's Treadmill Setup

Lately Tony has been feeling a little sick of sitting all day working. He has wanted to become more active in ways that he will be able to stick to. He found an idea online and ran with it.

Below are some pictures of his new setup for work.

Basically, he plans on walking while he works at approximately one mile per hour. That is slow enough to be able to type, read, and program, and still fast enough to be moving. It is about the speed that you would naturally walk while pacing the floor.

This is the monitor and keyboard setup he put together using whatever supplies we had on hand. The only request I made was that he didn't use his saw to cut any of the wood. He would have to make whatever we had work, or find a way to buy something that would. The only thing we had to buy was the treadmill, which we found on craigslist for a cheap price. The board that his keyboard is resting on is actually a piece of his previous desk that he took apart.

Tony found this idea on Saturday, found a treadmill, and has been working since to put it together. Today while I was in Muskegon he finished it.

Needless to say, I am extremely impressed and excited for him. It is really great to watch Tony recognize a problem and find a creative solution. He is constantly working on making our world better.

September 21, 2008

The Magic of Pine Tar

My dad's side of the family is full of rednecks. A friend of the family always called me hillbilly, which used to really get under my skin. When I was a kid I was mostly unaware of how much the family truly was redneck.

I thought that most kids I knew were able to walk and milk goats on a regular basis, helped their grandparents butcher chickens, and ran around the farm barefoot whenever possible.

And using pine tar is just another example of my family's strangeness. We use pine tar for pretty much any wound.

When I was still very skeptical, I asked my doctor if she had ever heard of pine tar, or if she would recommend using it. She looked at me like I was crazy. She had in fact never heard of it, but said that if it seemed to work it would probably be fine to use.

I have since used it on many occasions, most often when I have burned myself, which happens frequently- especially now that I am a cook again. And you may be victim to hearing one of my pitches of why it is so great.

Yesterday I burned myself in two different places on my arms when I was working. We were extremely busy and I have been increasingly clumsy, which is a scary combination. I touched the warming element on the heating window at work, which left two nice burns on my right arm. And at some point I burned my left arm, probably grease or something.

Not wanting scars, I put a generous amount of pine tar on each burn and wrapped it up for the night. This morning in the shower as I washed away the residue of pine tar I noticed my burns were gone. The one on my left arm is slightly visible, but the burns on my right arm are completely gone.

So while it is a nasty smelly substance that is incredibly sticky, hence "tar", it works. I am not sure why it works, but it does. It is great at preventing infection and scarring. Tony thinks it is disgusting, but acknowledges that it does indeed work.

September 18, 2008

"Morning" Sickness

The past few days I have been nauseous frequently. I remember when my mom was pregnant with Beth that she suffered morning sickness at night. I have had it all day, pretty much any time I eat, or anytime I am hungry.

The good news is that there has been no vomiting. It takes a lot to make me throw up, and it has been almost four years since I have (the last time was two days before our wedding). I would be happy if it continues to just be nausea without vomiting.

I have also been getting up in the middle of the night to pee. I normally sleep like a rock straight through the night, so when this started a few weeks ago I was a bit confused. I am glad that I am able to go straight back to sleep when it happens.

I am a little over five weeks along, and am very excited about making it to six weeks. We lost our first baby just before six weeks, so in my mind that will be a significant milestone.

Our first doctor appointment isn't until October 6, which seems like a long time from now.

We still have to figure out names. I know we have time, but I want to make a decision as soon as possible.

Tony has started a grid of the things that we are going to need and an approximate cost. He has also started researching certain items to learn more about which ones are the best option for us. I love it.

This is a random update. I am sure there will be more. :)

September 13, 2008

By The Way,

I'm pregnant!

We found out this week and couldn't be more excited. I am only four weeks along and the estimated due date is May 20.

Life is changing and I am extremely happy about it. We don't know the answers to many questions, such as where we will live after the baby is born, or how our schedule will work out, or what kind of support network we will have in Grand Rapids, but we are confident that our story will continue to unfold in creative and wonderful ways and we are committed to making the best choices possible for our child.

In the few days that we have known, it has been pure joy to talk with Tony about the many joys and struggles that lay ahead. He is going to be the best father a child could want or need. He is already so protective of me and the baby, learning all about the dos and don'ts of pregnancy. I couldn't imagine having a child with any other man.

Looking forward to nausea, frequent peeing, and many other reminders of the baby I am growing.

September 12, 2008

Benevolent Builder

I took this personality quiz that a friend also took and mentioned to me. Below are the results. Click here to learn what this means.

September 11, 2008


As a part of my recovery, I have been going to physical therapy for about a month now to build strength and hopefully prevent future issues.

Usually my physical therapist is Tara, but depending on the schedule, it changes, and I have seen all of the therapists that work at the location I go to, as well as a couple from other locations. Today I saw Rob.

Rob is the owner of Health Motion, which has three locations and is an amazing place. The people are friendly and the techniques they use work. They don't push you so far you're in pain, but they don't accept no results either.

Anyway, the last time I saw Rob was at the end of my first attempt at physical therapy. Rick, my therapist at the time, was unsatisfied with the results he was getting and brought in Rob to take a look at me and see if there was something he could do to help me.

After meeting with me and testing where I was, Rob told me that surgery was unfortunately my next option and that they could no longer help me.

I left in tears and was very scared. I figured I would never see Rob again, and that he was usually the bearer of bad news to patients that don't improve.

So today when I found out I was seeing him I was excited. He actually remembered me (which surprised me because of the number of patients they see). And I was able to report to him that I have been pain free and able to return to normal life and also share with him the exciting things happening in my life. No tears today.

He was very pleased. There was something that was extremely rewarding for me to see him again, but this time in improved physical condition.

As I am wrapping up physical therapy, I am full of joy to be closing this chapter of my life and beginning a new one.

September 06, 2008

Date Extravaganza

Tony spent a few weeks planning a secret date day for us to enjoy and yesterday we were able to share in a wonderful day together.

We started our day picking up some random items Tony needed from Target, including a Pac Man game. That was all I needed to be happy, but the day continued to improve.

We then spent a couple hours on the Grand River canoeing. The river was wide and calm and it combined with some interesting weather to make for a scenic trip.

Having some time to kill, we headed home to get ready for the second leg of our date. Dressed and ready to go, we headed out to Schuler Books. Once there, Tony told me to pick out a book and that he would be back in thirty minutes.

After he returned, we checked out the Celebration on the Grand where we sampled some food from local restaurants and toured the art museum for free admission.

And our night was just beginning.

At seven, we boarded a hoarse drawn carriage for a ride around the city. It was fantastic. I have always wanted to take a ride, even though it is quite cheesy, and Tony was willing to endure the ride to make me happy.

The driver dropped us off outside of our restaurant, Bistro Bella Vista, where we had a delicious dinner. I had duck for the first time ever and it was worth every penny. Moist and flavorful. Amazing.

We strolled along the river walk after finishing dinner and watched the fireworks on the river. They were pretty spectacular. Anytime I watch fireworks, I get bored about half way in, but the finale always seems to make up for it.

One final surprise; Tony booked a hotel room at the J.W. Marriott with a room overlooking the river. With the city all lit up, the view was unbelievable. We had enough time to head down to the pool and sauna before it closed for the night. One steam room was eucalyptus scented, which made us both choke because we could barely breathe.

We finished the night together, enjoying each others company and reliving previous memories. This was one date I will never forget. I am so grateful that Tony is in my life. He is such an amazing man and I am just lucky enough to be the one he has chosen to love.