Wednesday, December 17, 2008

We're not boring

Lest you think that the lack of posts lately implies that Alex and I lead boring lives, let me fill you in. We actually lead quite exciting lives, but I keep forgetting to take pictures and it just seems wrong to write a blog post without a picture or two. Oh well. Alas, you will have to suffer through yet another picture-less blog post for now.

Two weekends ago Alex's brother Matt came out for a visit. (for those of you keeping track, that means he has visited twice...ahem, Beth). He spent a couple of days at Wayne State University in Detroit doing research for his prospectus (the equivalent of a proposal for those of you who only know how PhD's work in Ecology departments), but the real reason for his visit was the Neil Young concert we went to on Sunday (for those of you keeping track, Alex and I have now seen TWO Neil Young concerts). I must say, I was a little nervous about going to the concert because we had general admission tickets meaning standing room only. You'd be surprised how much faster you get tired of standing when you're carrying an extra 30-35 pounds. Add that to the dire warnings posted above the table at the entrance to the concert where you sign the paper that says you won't sue if you die in "the mosh pit" and you make for one nervous pregnant lady. But, heck, I had two Mettler men to protect me, what did I have to lose? We got there in time to catch the end of the opening, opening band whose name I don't recall and to see the full opening band performance. Did I mention the opening band was Wilco? Yep. They put on a great pre-amble for Neil. In the lull between Wilco and Neil, the three of us had a powow in the middle of the mosh pit so that I could rest my legs and back. By the time Neil started playing I was ready to go. I must say I thought this performance was much better than the last one we saw. Maybe it's just because he played more of my favorites. It was so much fun to watch him up there. I can't believe he still sounds so good at that age. During one of his boring songs (yes, Alex, boring) I went and sat in some empty seats way behind the stage to rest up. I came back just in time to see Unknown Legend and Cowgirl in the Sand, two of my favorites. I can't remember the name of the song he played for his encore, but I do remember that he ended the song by breaking every single string on his guitar. He played for a little over two hours, a long time in comparison to other shows he's done on this tour. Yeah, it was fun. I'm sure Alex could give a much more detailed accounting, but since he refuses to blog, you'll just have to make do with mine.

This last weekend was a weekend of holiday parties. On Friday we went to the annual EEB Christmas Party in the Museum. Every year the department hosts a potluck/karaoke party in the Museum of Natural History. It's pretty darn fun. There are prizes for the best potluck dishes. I'm proud to say that last year I won "Best use of color" for my spinach souffle and this year I won "Best aroma" for my banana bread. To be honest, I think it's pretty much a fluke if you win (as in, I may have had four votes over the runner up with 3). But still. The best part of the party is seeing your professors sing karaoke. It's highly entertaining. And Alex always sings a few songs. Usually a Neil Young song or two. True to form, his first song was Harvest Moon. But this year I made him sing Sweet Child of Mine by Guns and Roses as his second song. You really wouldn't believe what a good impersonation he does of Guns and Roses.

Then on Sunday we hosted a "White Elephant" potluck at our house for a bunch of our friends and all of their dogs. It was a rainy day so we kept the dogs inside--that made for a much more interesting party than normal. I think all in all there were 11 people, 5 dogs, and 2 cats in our small house. Well, actually, Rambo is half dog so let's say 5.5 dogs and 1.5 cats. There was so much good food there. I'm glad I have friends that know how to cook. Alex made halibut chowder with the last of our Alaskan halibut. I guess we'll have to fly back up to Alaska and catch some more!

So, hopefully I have convinced you that despite the dearth of blog posts, Alex and I do actually do interesting things. Next up is a visit from Olivia and D-ennis (for those of you keeping track, this is Olivia's THIRD visit...ahem, Beth). I will take pictures this time, I swear.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I took this picture of my belly on a whim one day last week. I was planning to take a few different shots for a baby book, but after the first shot my camera battery died. So I didn't even get to see the results of my effort until just yesterday when I finally charged my battery and downloaded the pictures. I was pleasantly's not often that I get a good picture on my first try, let alone when I am randomly aiming the camera and using the timer. Maybe that's how I should take all my pictures from now on!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Holy Cow That's A Lot of Stuff

When Alex and I drove to Minnesota for Thanksgiving we took some clothes and a couple of dogs and a subaru. When we returned we took a ton of baby paraphernalia (a word which I did NOT know how to spell until just now) a couple of dogs, an end table, and a dodge grand caravan. I think we got a good deal.

Just check out this awesome pile of baby stuff:

I had so much fun putting everything away!

Oh and note that red and black gem leaning against the wall. That's A Chariot. Definition: The ultimate "stroller" for athletic parents, capable of converting from a running stroller to a bike trailer to a ski sled and more. I was looking at the instructions and I'm pretty sure I could rig it up so that Charlie and Ella could pull it behind them on ski trips. Wouldn't that be great? I'm almost more excited to use The Chariot than I am to have a baby. Almost. And to think that when Alex and I were drooling over it in the REI catalog we thought we were just dreaming.

By the way, for those of you who are confused by the fact that Alex and I drove back in a Dodge Grand Caravan, trust me, I'm confused too. We bought it from Alex's dad, and I was definitely involved, but I'm still sort of at a loss as to how it is that I was convinced to get a minivan! I never, ever, in a million years saw myself driving a minivan. Sigh. You move to the midwest and everything changes. On the bright side, it will be pretty comfortable for that road trip to Utah we're planning to do next summer...


That was the theme of my Thanksgiving weekend. I know, it's not really a traditional theme like "Turkey!" or, for my family, "Pie!" or, something more all-encompassing like "Weight Gain!" Don't get me wrong, those themes also ran through the weekend, but the over-arching theme was definitely "Surprise!"

Let me start from the beginning. You see, now that Alex and I live in Michigan, we are about an 11 hour drive from his parents house in Minnesota. In contrast, we are about a $500.00/person flight (on the holidays) from Utah. On top of that, if we fly anywhere, we can't take our furry children with us. As a result, we have spent the last two Thanksgiving's and Christmases with The Mettlers. While I looooove celebrating with The Mettlers (they really know how to do it), I also miss spending the holidays with my mom and sister. This year, for the first time, Olivia lives within a 10 hour drive from Ann Arbor. So I hatched a scheme to go down to her house for Thanksgiving instead of to The Mettlers and to convince mom to fly out to MN for Christmas. Well, the plan seemed fated to fail. Olivia had been invited by Dennis to spend Thanksgiving with his sister in St. Louis and accompany him to his cousin's wedding the same weekend. In addition, I could tell Alex wasn't too thrilled about skipping Thanksgiving with his family, making some lame excuse about the Subaru not being in good enough shape to do the drive down and back to Illinois and then out to MN for Christmas. And, after all, Barb had already bought us tickets to the dinner theater. I, ever the supportive wife and sister, told Alex we could go to MN and told Olivia it was more important for her to be with Dennis and that maybe we could instead see each other over Christmas. Meanwhile, I searched for Christmas airfare for my mom and was disappointed to find that flights to MN from Salt Lake were exorbitantly expensive for the dates that would work for my mom. Oh well, I said to mom, she'll be coming out to MI when the baby is born anyway. I'll just see her them.

Skip ahead now to Wednesday last week. Alex and I started our Thanksgiving pilgrimage to Minnesota at about 7:30 in the morning. As usual, I called Olivia around 9:30 for some entertainment on the drive. She was headed to St. Louis to go to Costco to buy more flooring for her house and to shop for a dress to go to the wedding in. We talked and talked about what she should buy and what the wedding would be like and how it would be to meet Dennis' family etc. etc. In the afternoon I called my mom for more entertainment. Her phone was off, but she called me back when Alex and I were about 20 minutes from his parent's house. She was driving down to grandma and grandpa's and couldn't talk for long. She had turned her phone off for a meeting earlier in the day and had forgotten to turn it back on. OR SO THEY SAID.

When we arrived at The Mettlers, everything was as it should be--Barb was home cooking lots of food, asking lots of questions, and giving lots of hugs. Then Alex's brother Matt and his girlfriend Meghan arrive. Everyone is chatting like normal, and about 10 minutes later the doorbell rings. When I go to the door, who should be standing there but mom! Woah! I'm shocked out of my pants! So mom and I and Barb sit down and are chatting away talking about their scheming plan to get mom out to MN and how cool it is that Olivia gets to go to a wedding with Dennis when Alex's sister Beth arrives home. At the same time the doorbell rings again. When I go to the door, who should be standing there but Liv! Woah! I'm shocked out shoes!

You might think that's the end of the story (and maybe you're wishing it was). But it's not. Skip ahead to Saturday morning, two days after Thanksgiving. Alex's grandma had come down with a case of cellulitis below her ear. It was very painful for her and as a result, she wasn't going to be able to come to the usual Saturday family dinner. So Barb asked Alex and I if we would mind visiting her on Saturday morning since we didn't get to see her much on Thanksgiving. So we headed to Emily's house at about 8:30 in the morning. (Thank god I decided to shower and dress nicely, not something I do every morning). We chatted with her for about an hour and then headed back to the house. When we arrived, there were about 30 extra cars parked around the driveway and a suspicious pile of gifts on the dining room table (visible from the car). Yes, it was a surprise baby shower complete with a gourmet brunch. I guess I was shocked out of my hat?

Now, in hindsight, I should have been able to figure this out.

I mean, there was that email that my grandma sent out to all her friends and family that said "since Olivia and Bonnie are going to spend thanksgiving in Minnesota, we're going to celebrate without family this year." I, of course, assumed Grandma was confused. This assumption was corroborated by Olivia who reassured me that she had talked to grandma and straightened her out.

Then there was Alex's lame excuse for not wanting to drive to Olivia's for Thanksgiving.

Then there was the strange way that Alex kept pushing me to finish the baby registry and send it to his mom. Why on earth did he care so much that the baby registry be done now instead of in a few days?

Then there was the fact that Olivia was awake and driving at 7:30 in the morning. Olivia doesn't get up that early, especially not just for dress shopping, no matter who she's trying to impress (sorry Dennis).

And then there was the way that mom suddenly ended our conversation in the car, rather than chatting while she drove. She loves chatting while she drives, mostly to keep herself awake.

And then there was the shifty way that Alex went to answer the door. He kept glancing around at me like I should answer it. I never answer the door there because it's never for me. It took him several minutes to finally decide that he should answer it.

Then there was the suspicious way Barb prepared her turkey and stuffing on Friday night while mom and Alex and I worked on a puzzle in the next room. I don't ever remember her doing that before... And I don't remember the smell of sausage either...

Then there was the way Alex suddenly decided we needed to leave Grandma's on Saturday morning. When I asked what the rush was, he said "Oh, I just have a lot to do today" What? When we go to The Mettlers, we don't do anything--that's the joy of it!

But, I can't be too hard on myself. Those Mettlingers can be pretty convincing and conniving when they want to be. I guess I just can't trust them. Small price to pay for a really, really wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.