Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Blast from the Past - House on the Rock '95



Excluding my huge'90's glasses, my thin to the point of alopecia beard and my patented "this gray sweatshirt makes my belly look flat" method of dress, this is a swell picture.

This was taken on May 24th, 1995 at the House on the Rock in Spring Green, Wisconsin. It was my first visit to the place, but Lisa was a veteran and had recommended it, and good on her - I loved it.

It was on this trip that I bought her a lovely glass paperweight that still resides in our home today.

Note also my red winter jacket, which Lisa had absconded from me. I ordered that from a glossy advertisement in the Sunday paper, and gladly paid extra for my name to be embroidered on the chest. It was a different time, what can I say?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Welcome to 2003! pt 1


In 2003 I used my monthly planner to jot down very brief notes about my day - sometimes too brief. At times, reading over the list, I had no idea what a notation meant. So when it came time to type the notes up for posterity, I’ve added a ‘?’ behind my reports of those forgotten but apparently noteworthy events.

There are several significant milestones in the newborn LuLu’s life mentioned below; those events I’ve written in boldface.

You’ll also note that I spent a lot of time going out to eat and attending Brewers games. That seems so implausible, given my current financial standing, that I literally grew depressed almost to the point of tears after I typed it up.  Apparently, I had a lot more financial wiggle room in 2003 than I noticed at the time.

With that nonsense out of the way, welcome to 2003!



January 2003

Thursday the 2nd: Grandma Clara turns 80

Friday the 3rd: found out we’re having a girl!

Friday the 10th: noon [appt] for Yaya

Sunday 12th - Grandma's (Clara) Bday Party 1:30 PM  in the Hospitality Inn Columns ballroom

Thurs the 16th: Jaspare and Chris’ birthday’s

Sun the 19th: Tastefully Simple Party

Monday the 20th: Lisa 3 PM appt with ob/gyn

Wed 22nd - Lisa sick. I watch YaYa. [pediatrician] 1pm. Cafe Chili @ night.


February 2003

Thurs the 6th: Dan water aerobics

Monday the 10th: job interview [for who?] at 4 PM

Tuesday the 11th: Toddler playgroup 9-10 AM

Wednesday the 12th: 1:45 PM appt with ob/gyn + glucose [test] 6PM Aerobics

Thurs the 13th: toddler group

Thurs the 14th: todder group 9-10 AM

Friday the 28th: Dan [what?] 11:15


March 2003

Sunday March 2nd:   Barney! [live show downtown] After Barney cake for Katie.
Thursday March 6th:  Stacey’s bday. Sleepover.

Monday the 10th: Ob/gyn appointment 2:30 PM – ask for records

Friday the 21st: Swizzlers? [restaurant]

Saturday the 22nd: Bucco [Di Beppo’s restaurant] 4:00 w/ Mom [Jeanne] for Dan’s bday

Sunday the 23rd: Stacey’s bday party

Monday the 24th: car seat [buy a second one?]

Tuesday the 25th: Los Mariachi’s [restaurant]

Friday the 28th: 1 PM Dan doc appt

Monday the 31st: We take YaYa to see the 3 PM showing of The Piglet Movie at South Shore, cost $5.50, theater Left 9. YaY’s 1st ever movie!


April 2003

Friday the 4th:  10:30 Walmart pics

Saturday the 5th: Bucco @ 4PM for Dan’s Mom’s bday

Sunday the 6th: Pancake breakfast [w/ Easter bunny] and from 12-230 Skate University skating party [for who?]

Monday the 7th: 2:30 PM ob/gyn

Tuesday the 8th: last day of playgroup

Wednesday the 9th: 3 PM ob/gyn

Tuesday the 15th: Lisa – haircut

Wednesday the 16th: 1PM pediatrician for YaYa. Anthony and Nina? [playgroup friend (Anthony) of YaYa). Question mark original] Bucks game 7:00 (Dan, Jonah)

Thursday the 17th: Easter egg dyeing

Friday the 18th: baby shower 11:30

Easter Sunday the 20th: Church. Arthur Ave 4/4:30 pm

Tuesday the 22nd: Stacey’s baptismal anniversary (kitty and card)

Wednesday the 23rd: ob/gyn at 3:15PM. 6-8 open house at flat ?

Saturday the 26th: Tre tuxes

Sunday the 27th: favors and invites at Pam & Tre’s

Monday the 28th: oil change

Tuesday the 29th: playgroup at 9 AM

Wednesday the 30th: 2:45 ob/gyn


May 2003

Thursday the 1st: playgroup 9 am

Tuesday the 6th: project and snack for YaYa’s class

Wednesday the 7th: 2:45 PM ob/gyn

Friday the 9th: Pick up slide @ 2 PM

Saturday the 10th: Mindy’s class @ 8 am.

Sunday the 11th: Dan’s Mom’s house and hospital then eat at Bamboo House

Tuesday the 13th: Playgroup

Wednesday the 14th: 2:30 ob/gyn

Thursday the 15th: tuxes with tre. Dan’s class at 7 pm

Friday the 16th: Fish fry Sioux and Dave @ 5-7:30? (? Original)

Saturday the 17th: Dave – videogames, movie? Sprint (? Original)

Sunday the 18th: 3 PM manicure/pedicure for Lisa and Jeanne

Monday the 19th: Chuck E Cheese for YaYa

Tuesday the 20th: playgroup

Thursday the 22nd: ob/gyn 1:15 PM playgroup 9-10

Friday the 23rd: Movie

Saturday the 24th: 4PM BBQ w/ Mom and Jaspare

Wed the 28th: LuLu's due date (marked with a blue colored heart). 8 am ob/gyn

Thurs the 29th: Olive Garden; library with YaYa

Friday the 30th: Finding Nemo opens. Yaya went with grandma (Jeanne) to Southgate to see Nemo!

Sat 31st - Pam's wedding shower 2PM


June 2003
Sunday the 1st:  Elliot’s graduation. 1PM Brian and DeLaura’s baby shower

Monday the 2nd – tux fitting 4PM

Tuesday the 3rd: Sammy Sosa is caught using a corked bat

Wednesday the 4thLuLu is born! J

Sunday the 10th: 9pm channel 71 - madonna

Wednesday the 11th: Jaspare and Jeanne’s anniversary

Thursday the 12thumbilical cord falls off; 1st bath. Pick up mindy @ 3:30. 6-8PM Chuck E Cheese for Caitlin’s bday

Sat the 14th – Eric and Kris’ wedding reception

Monday the 16thLuLu’s 1st bus ride! Nina and Anthony 5ish

Wed the 18thLuLu doc 22” 9# 15 oz [1st visit to Pri**o]

Thurs the 19thLu and YaYa’s 1st bath together! Jolene 1ish? [? In original]

Friday the 20th: 1:30 PM appt at Walmart Vision @ Southgate. 3PM tux fitting

June 21st – Tre’s bachelor party. Esperanza’s 3rd bday @ Jackson park

Thursday June 26thpoop incident (I think this is when YaYa chose to decorate the wall of her room in her poop). Mindy’s party 7pm.

Friday the 27th: Tastefully Simple party 6PM. Mindy’s party at 11:30-3:30PM

Saturday the 28th: Lisa gets hair cut and dyed “by Robbie” at 1PM

Monday the 30th: noon-3 Children’s Day [Summerfest]



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Christmas Morning 2011


We worked hard to make Christmas special in 2012, putting extra thought into our gifts and scraping together what we thought was an impressive and memorable bounty for the holiday. In some cases we bought presents as early as the summer, so as to take advantage of off-season prices. 

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Note: yes, I know. Christmas is not about the presents, but about Christ, and family. Agreed. But it also the one time of year we get to go overboard on the kids, and frankly, Lisa and I both enjoy giving gifts.

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Anyhow, by late Christmas Eve the presents were in neat little stacks around the living room; Yaya's by the television, Smiley's by the loveseat "Mom's Perch", and the two youngest girls gifts sat by the fireplace.

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Come morning, the kids actually obeyed our steadfast rule: come down dressed well enough for (casual) pictures, or do not expect to open any gifts :)

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We opened the gifts round robin.

Ginger opened her dolly

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Smiley opened his red 'brag' vest for Cub Scouts

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LuLu opened her Justin Bieber perfume!

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YaYa opened a pair of Taylor Swift CD's

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Momma opened up a 45 piece set of flatware (she'd kill me if I showed you the picture I took that morning)

I opened my remote boat (aka remote caddy) WHICH, I might add, I used the dickens of before it broke mid-year

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Ginger opened up a stuffed pink doggy and a carrying tote/cage for it

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Smiley opened a Power Rangers fighting dress up set complete with mask and sword

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Lu got some clothes with her dance studio logo

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YaYa got a stuffed owl (she's very into owls)

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Momma opened two 12 piece clear glass dinnerware sets

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Smiley gave me an ornament he made at school

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Ginger got some princess dress-up clothes

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Smiley opened some underwear (they all got a package, and crayons too) and Lu got Justin Bieber trading cards

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YaYa got an archery certificate

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Then, one of the best presents I've ever gotten: a 1st edition Nook from Barnes and Noble!

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Smiley got a Ninja sweatshirt

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each of the kids got a braided hemp rosary


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while YaYa got a Taylor Swift tour CD/DVD

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I got Lisa a collapsible backscratcher, while I got a streaming Netflix player that I would soon donate to the kids for use on their TV

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Ginger opened a set of earings and necklace

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YaYa got some books

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Smiley opened up a Pokemon battle toy

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LuLu got fuzzy blue slipper boots with a glittery peace sign on the side and a copy of the game "Guess Who?"

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Smiley aka 'the flower and garden guy" got a Chia Pet "Shrek"

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I bought Lisa a sewing basket and a bottle of Perry Ellis 360

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I got a cribbage set (and no one to play it with)

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Ginger got pink rain boots that she'd been dying for, and a tea set!

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YaYa got dance studio apparell too

Lu got a lamp (IIRC, this is the one that would later wreak havoc with us on the night of the Hunger Games premiere)

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Smiley got the game "Hoppers Jr."

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Ginger got a journal and a set of six Fairy Angels

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YaYa got an owl ring and necklace

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Smiley got 'battle armour' for a Zhu Zhu pet

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Lulu got a "Tear up this Book" journal and a Lauren Alaina CD

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I got an electric razor!

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Ginger got slippers

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Smiley got a jumbo Bakugan coloring book

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Ginger got a My Little Pony book with a set of figurines

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Lu got a Selena Gomez journal

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YaYa opened a snowboard, which we bought for her months in advance and hid in the basement rafters. We thought it'd be  a great hit, but of course the winter of 2011-12 featured barely any snow at all! She also got a fashion journal.

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Here's Ginger's dance studio apparel

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Smiley got a Pokemon DVD and pocket guide

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Lu got a notebook decorated with hearts and a Justin Bieber picture book!

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Ginger opened a $25 gift cerfticate to Build a Bear!

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Smiley got a six piece twin bed set for his room

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LuLu's big gift - a digital drum kit! She'd been asking for a drum kit for months. Alas, her love affair with the kit lasted all of a few days before she came up with excuses as to why it wasn't good enough, and we didn't we buy her a real set, etc. :(

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Ok, this next gift was such a big hit it deserves a post of its own - YaYa got her very own 1st edition Nook!

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Then my big gift to Lisa: a Nook Tablet and case. I thought she could check her mail, read magazines, and surf the web all from the Perch, since she considered it a bother to go into our messy office. She loved it! But sadly so did the kids, who steal it at every opportunity. She rarely sees it. :(

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When I first glanced at these pictures, I felt in hindsight that it was a big waste of money and that precious few of the gifts were ever used. Upon review, I was wrong. The adult gifts - the Nooks, the Netflix streamer, the razor, the perfume, flatware, etc - were spot on. Yes, the sewing box fell apart soon after but that wasn't my fault; it was pricey enough to last, trust me.

Of the kids stuff the Build A Bear GC, the Nook, and the pink rain boots were steady producers, but I'd say the other gifts (except the before mentioned drum kit) earned their money.

Anyhow, that was our Christmas morning. Later in the day we treated the kids to a movie, going to see Alvin and Chipmunks: Chipwrecked in the theater.

Hope your Christmas was just as fun!