Monday, December 29, 2008

3 Years Later...

Once upon a time there was a girl from Nevada, who met a cute boy from Indiana at a wedding. Being the proper female that she was, she played the evening very cool and spoke few words to him - with the exception of commenting on how pitiful he looked sitting at the head table by himself eating cake. Nearly 2 years later, she inquired about him when chatting with her girlfriend, only to learn that he was indeed, curiously, still single. She bated her friend into casually suggesting that he email that sweet and beautiful woman he met at the wedding years before. She was thrilled several weeks later... when a message from the boy appeared via cyberspace. They emailed back and forth for a few weeks... and after the girl apologized for humiliating him and his cake, they agreed to go out on a date when she returned to the midwest for the holidays. This is the story of that date:

It was Dec. 29th, 2005. Eric had said it would be fun to get dressed up and try out a nice restaurant in downtown Chicago. I flew in the night before, and spent the morning at the mall with my mom desperately searching for the perfect outfit. 3 hours, and approximately $200 later... I was armed with my evening attire. We were roaming through Pottery Barn when I noticed a voicemail on my phone. The signal was poor so I stepped outside to hear the following message:

"Um, yeah, hi Meghan, this is Eric. Hey - I think I mentioned something awile back about us getting dressed up for dinner tonight... but I only brought jeans so I just wanted to let you know not to worry about anything fancy. See you tonight! Bye!"

Perfect. Thus began my race to return EVERYTHING I had just bought, and the new search for the perfect "hot-yet-sophisticated-and-casual" outfit.

The plan was to meet at the Italian Village.

Dinner was great - although it was noisy at first and awkward conversation was complicated by Eric's soft spoken nature. We shared a bottle of wine (neither of us aware that the other rarely drank)... turns out it really did help Eric at least, to losen up. I was just plain dizzy.

After dinner we walked around downtown enjoying the Christmas lights and decorations, and getting to know eachother. It was a really great first date... and you know the rest of the story!!

At one point that evening, we wandered into the Daly Plaza, where a giant tree is decorated. A man convinced us to let him take our picture for a $10 5x7 - and since neither of us had the nerve to shoot the guy down... we agreed (and of course I'm glad). Here it is:

(Note the polite and awkward distance between us as we both stand with our hands in our own pockets praying for the moment to be over quick. )

Last week, we headed up to Chicago a few days before Christmas to celebrate our Anniversary. Ella stayed with my parents, and Eric and I headed back downtown to re-visit "where it all began". There were a few differences this time... the biggest being that the windchill was somewhere between 20 and 40 degrees below zero.

Here's us at the train station freezing our BEHINDS off!! The train was over an hour late do to ice and signal issues... We huddled together in the station where it was a balmy 40 degrees... and I think the train temperature was lingering around 50.

By the time we got to the hotel we were frozen to the bone. They were having wind gusts up to 45mph, and you pretty much just couldn't breathe outside at all. Nevertheless, we were determined to have a good time - if only for memories and stories!

A quick footbath in the tub warmed our frostbitten feet right up and we even braved the half-block walk to Cheesecake Factory for dinner. We were back at the hotel by 7pm however... and opted for football in HD over enjoying the lights of Michigan Ave.

Here's a shot of the INSIDE of our hotel room window the next morning.

A pigeon fire! Need I say more?!

The winds died down the next day and we had a great time shopping and just wandering around. We ventured back to the Italian Village that night where we both admitted the "sparks didn't quite fly" as they did 3 years prior. Rather than worrying about my hair, I ripped off the hat I had been wearing all day to expose a pretty bad case of "hat head"... we couldn't afford a bottle of wine or dessert... and Eric had me pay at the end of it all. Still... it was fun to be back and remember. Afterwards we wandered over to Daly Plaza... and I was happy to see the tree still there. We begged a stranger to snap a photo of us... and here you go:

This is now...

That was then...
In spite of it all we really did have a great time. It's so hard to believe how much has changed in just 3 short years (and I'm not just referring to my cheeks being a whole lot chubbier!)... Love you Eric... sorry I made fun of you and your cake - but you have to admit... it worked!

Friday, December 26, 2008

She made it fun...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Girlfriends & Cookies

We have been blessed with the best neighbors anyone can ask for. This year our good friends Erica and Steve (next door) had a their second baby girl... and Jessica and Aaron (right across the street), had their first! We had a cookie exchange at Erica's this past weekend and finally got the chance to get the girls together for their first little group photo. Little Isabella (left) was born just 5 weeks ago, and Janelle (right) is almost 4 months old. They're sitting together so sweetly... I have a feeling these moments are fleeting... It's going to be so much fun watching them grow!

"Here Janelle... I'll show you how to sit up!"

Just 7 months ago... she was about the same size as Baby Isie...


These cookie exchanges are pretty cool! Check out the assortment! Nobody was hurting for supply or variety!

BEFORE that party I spent a few hours at our friends John and Cinda making approximately 12,436 cookies...
This is Kara - discouraged that there aren't enough to go around...

Cinda... remembering back to the days when she made cookies in her kitchen without a 2 year old and a newborn around for entertainment...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

She'll learn to appreciate him...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Tour of Homes!

OK... so I have MUCH to blog about and just MAYBE I'll get around to it tonight at work... (yes... I said at WORK). This month has been crazy and I'm still trying to figure out when exactly the Christmas season snuck it's way in on me. I hate not being able to savor the time as we approach the actual day... We are having fun however, and I have a bunch of fun pictures to share soon. Christmas cookie exchanges/bakes... Ella's visit with Santa today... (so far I'm thinking she's not a big fan... but maybe when she's sees all the cool stuff (aka BOXES and TISSUE PAPER) he's going to bring her she'll warm up a bit.

In the meantime... I just found this link to Boo Mamas blog and she's posting a Christmas tour of homes. You can click on many links and see photos of people's decorations!! Check it out!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Prayer Request

A good friend of mine introduced me to a blog of a family who is in need of prayer, and I have to share this one... Last December Carla and her husband set out on the long road of bringing a little girl home from Guatemala to become part of their family. They have been waiting for almost an entire year to bring 5 year old Josi home to be with them... in that time they have poured their entire souls into this child, and they were praying hard that she might be able to come home by Christmas.

Tragically, a couple nights ago Carla received a phone call informing her that Josi had been killed. Apparently the foster home where she had been living was invaded, and the entire family (foster mother's sister, husband, 2 children, and Josi) were all murdered. Please lift them up in prayer tonight...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Not Me Monday!

To play along with us write a post about all the things you "didn't" do this week then go to My Charming Kids and add your name to Mr. Linky at the bottom of her "Not Me Monday" post.
This week...
...I did NOT do 8 hours of computer charting at work, only to learn just as I was about to clock out that I was so tired and delirious I forgot to hit the save button.
...I did NOT then attempt to leave with my co-workers Starbucks, apparently confusing it with the cup I had brought in 12 hours earlier.
...I did NOT play hooky from church and stay in bed until 10:30am on Sunday morning trying to catch up on sleep and just enjoying the fact that I did not HAVE to get up since my baby spent the night at my Mother-in-law's house.
...I was NOT so excited to be at my very first Pro football game on Sunday that I took about 150 blurry pictures from our nosebleed seats at the Indianapolis Colts stadium - approximately 130 of those being of Adam Vinatieri kicking field goals because I kind of have a crush on him...
...I did NOT spend half the game asking Eric to explain to me the confusing rules of why teams punt, why both teams can catch a punt... or can they not?... why they let it bounce out of bounds and why they sometimes want to catch it... unless of course it just hits them and then why does the ball start at different yard lines??? Anyways... I do NOT still NOT get it!
...After contemplating all the things that I had yet to get done this weekend and loving all the sleep that I had gotten the night before... I did NOT call Grandma and Grandpa Cook and ask if they were having enough fun to KEEP the baby girl for one MORE night! :)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Photo Shoot

We were blessed to have Janet of oijoy photo do a fall photo shoot with Ella as well as the three of us together for the holidays... she does such a fantastic job. I've said it before and I'll say it again... if you have not splurged on professional candid shots of your kids or family before... you MUST!! Ella was unbelievably cooperative for the whole event... I had the hardest time choosing which ones to use for our Christmas card! Here are some of our favorites!!

"I think I caught a snowflake!"


"I feel stupid."
"Is this a joke?"

Little Red Riding Hood. (Thanks for the awesome coat Betsy!)

I think she's really starting to look like Mommy, don't you?

Happy girl.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Not Me Monday... on Tuesday (Again)

Since my last post...
...I did NOT receive a call from the repair shop informing us that they discovered $700 more of damage to my Jeep Liberty after they had already made the initial $500 spark plug repair.
...My husband did NOT then decide himself that perhaps I indeed was right about it being time to test drive a Honda Odyssey...
... we did NOT pat ourselves on the back for successfully negotiating our van down to a price $7,000 below the asking despite being the two most incompetent hagglers known to man.
...I did NOT smile inwardly to myself after totally getting my way despite my husband initially telling me that the only Odyssey I would be driving in the near future was one that operated like Fred Flinstone's car.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Not Me.... Tuesdays?

Several blogs I frequent have begun this blogging trend called "Not Me Mondays". The idea is to list random things that they have done... or "not" done throughout the week leading up to that particular Monday. It is all written in somewhat of a sarcastic manner... and since I've been told that every once in awhile my humor carries a "sarcastic undertone", I'm considering jumping on board. You can see I've already missed the boat this week, but since it's my blog and I make the rules... I think I'll go ahead and designate it "Not Me Tuesday" - at least for today. It has most definitely NOT been an eventful week around here - so here goes nothing!

...3 weeks after I definitely did NOT back into my DAD's car sitting in our driveway, I did NOT wake up to learn that my husband had backed into my MOM's car while it sat in our same driveway.

...I did NOT ponder giving Ella a *small* dose of Benadryl to *help* her sleep when I came home after working all night and had to function as a Mommy without baby back-up. I did NOT instead force my child to watch some 3 hours of Baby Einstein while Mommy slept on the couch with one eye open.

...While browsing through Marshalls and allowing Ella to play with a small toy from the baby section, I did NOT put the toy back despite noticing that my daughter had managed to chew half of the price tag off. I did NOT then drag her all the way out to Babies R Us and spend over $125 on formula and various flavors of baby food that the dog probably wouldn't eat.

...On our way home from shopping I did NOT hear a sudden loud grinding sound when I hit the breaks and mutter to myself that Eric was SO buying me that Honda Odyssey this week!

...Upon arriving home I most certainly did NOT find Max cowering in the corner of his small crate with poop, diarrhea, and vomit covering him, his bedding, and the carpet surrounding him.

...At this point I definitely did NOT curse my husband who was gone on the Men's retreat for the weekend enjoying what was NOT his SECOND "Man-cation" in 4 weeks.

...I did NOT listen and watch my daughter grunt and moan, beet-faced, and blood vessals rupturing while she fought a losing battle over the evil formula monster that raged in her colon.

...After looking forward to what was going to be my first relaxing weekend in quite awhile of having the "place to myself", I did NOT spend my entire Saturday cleaning up the diarrhea that my dog had christened the carpet with in the middle of the night, and shoving suppositories and rectal thermometers in places poor Ella did not know existed. Consequently I did NOT wind up getting up EVERY 2 hours in the middle of the night to let my poor sick dog outside in a feeble attempt to keep my carpets clean.

...I did NOT stay home from church Sunday morning after agorantly announcing to the Lord that the only fellowship I was in need of that day was with my pillow, and any lessons He felt I needed to learn that day would be well received and acknowledged in my dreams.

...I did NOT then get called into work that night after being told I was going to be called off and opting to watch football rather than take a nap of any kind.

...And finally... I most certainly did NOT happily announce to my husband before leaving for work that night that the car had miraculously cured itself of any issues. That same car did NOT then completely DIE on me while I was stopped at an extremely busy intersection 1 mile from work. I did NOT then call my husband from the back of a police car while my useless vehicle was being loaded onto the $99-flat-fee-plus-$3/mile tow truck and announce that he indeed was going to have to buy me my Honda Odyssey this week. I was NOT then escorted to my job like a criminal by Joe the Policeman.

...I did NOT learn just this evening that not only would I NOT be driving to work in my tricked out Honda Odyssey next week, but instead I would be working a night of overtime to pay for a couple spark plugs in the Jeep Liberty that refuses to die with dignity! And I did NOT write this post at WORK!

"I'd Like to Thank the Academy..."

...or maybe just Kim, for my very first blog award! Thank you so much for this incredible honor!
In keeping with it's tradition I'd like to tag the following blogs with this very same award for being one of MY favorites! Congratulations!:


Scratch that last post. My poor baby is pooping rocks again. *sigh*

Sunday, November 16, 2008

All backed up...

So, a few weeks ago Ella decided she was old enough to begin putting her "free will" to practice, and began opting for the bottle rather than nursing. I was really surprised, since from day one she has been an excellant breast-feeder! She has been getting bottles with breast milk whenever I am away at work, and I guess she just decided to start taking the easy way out all the time, instead of working for it. I thought I would be more O.K. with transitioning her to formula when the time came... but it's been tougher than I expected. I've spent the last 5 weeks or so trying to coax her back to nursing, but it seems to be a losing battle. Once, after several minutes of "gently" forcing her face into my boob while she bounced and kicked on my lap, arched back to try and see the TV, and reached for imaginary things in the sky, she finally got fed up with my pathetic desperation. She pulled her head back, slapped my boob with her hand, looked me straight in the eye and screamed.

I got the hint.

My pumping supply quickly diminished despite trying to keep it up... so we "succumbed" to formula. Not the end of the world by any means... but there was something about providing my baby with the "perfect food" that felt really good, and it's just kind of disappointing when it ends. To make things worse, she was really getting constipated from the formula. I was using Enfamil, then Similac... then the Costco brand because the Pediatrician reassured me it was identical to the popular brands and yet 70% cheaper!! With all... the poor kid could be found grunting and straining on the floor, so terribly I was worried my child would become the first 6 month old to have hemorrhoids! I pumped her full of prunes... but they didn't help much. After some research online, I decided to try some apple juice, and the formula pictured above. Nestle Good Start is sold alongside the other popular brands, but apparently they break down the proteins even more to aid in digestion. You can see a difference just by mixing it. Virtually NO air bubbles at all and a creamier consistency. Miss Ella pooped that night (effortlessly I might add)... and the next day.. and the next!! AND she hardly spits up anymore at all. I guess I should have known... Nestle makes great chocolate, why wouldn't that quality carry over into their infant formulas?!

I had to share... in case any of my readers have struggled with those dreaded gassy side effects of formula. Try this stuff... it's wonderful! The one downside: quite a bit more expensive than Costco's Kirkland formula... and RIDICULOUSLY more costly than breast milk. But the important thing is my baby is hemorrhoid free, Eric's back to having to change those poopy diapers, and mommy's nipples are no longer biter bisquits!! :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Photo Op

Hey! Where is everybody?! Judging by the low comment numbers I think the blogging world must have fallen asleep!!

So... this past weekend we had the opportunity to hang with our dear and incredibly gifted friend Janet of oijoy photo. We had been anticipating some great fall family photo ops... but after several consecutive weekends of unseasonably gorgeous warm weather, winter decided to arrive. A few snowflakes were falling rather than leaves, but Ella was a trooper as we ran outside for quick shots and then back in to warm up. Janet also got some absolutely wonderful pics of our baby girl indoors - showing off her new skill of sitting up!

If having professional photos taken of your family has ever been something you have considered doing (or even if you haven't), I would really encourage you to do them. It is well worth the money... and as Janet mentioned to me, it's really an important thing to do for family. Check out a sample of Ella's shots here: on Janet's blog.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Ricky's Bench Dedication

Couldn't get this to download on blogger... so here it is in YouTube! Be sure to scroll down and pause the music player in the right column before playing this!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Blog Makeover

Those of you with blogs might be interested in knowing that Danielle is offering a chance to win a free blog makeover!! See her page here for instructions on entering, and here to see her work!! She has some fabulous templates to choose from and does an awesome job!!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Well, tonight is Daylight Savings. In the past, I have looked forward to this night in the fall in which time stops for much of the country, and gifts us with one whole extra hour of sleep. This year however, I cannot appreciate it for the precious bonus that it used to be for 2 reasons:

#1) I have a baby - who for some reason chooses not to indulge in an extended night's sleep
#2) I am working the night shift

Working on the night when we fall back one hour has always been torture. You watch the clock progress to 2am... only to see it suddenly change all the way back to 1am, forcing you to pretend that one whole hour of work never happened at all... and you must do it all again. So since it is apparently still the same time right now that it was one hour ago... I figured I would pass the time with blogging. And since we have entered the month of Thanksgiving, I figured I would spend the extra hour pondering some of the things I am most thankful for these days.

... a wonderful vacation in Reno - and more priceless memories

... friends and family, who I do believe loved and miss Ricky almost as much as I do

... a beautiful memorial bench that represents a very short life that changed my own

... a husband who loves me - despite my love for shopping

... a baby girl who at 6 months, already gives hugs

... $1.97/gallon gas (did we ever think we'd see that again?!)

... Fall in Indiana

... "A child left by one human embraced by hundreds" (See Carrie's letter to Ricky written in her blog on October 26th)

... Gerber Organic Stage 1 Bananas (that stuff is delicious!!)

... a God of second chances... and thirds and fourths and fifths...

... better make that a God of patience

... Pumpkin spice candles

... Football (yep, that's what I said)

... a baby who sleeps 10-11 straight hours each night (and somehow knows how to adapt to 3 hour time changes)

... people on airplanes who have patience for "happy" babies who think screeching and squealing at the top of her lungs is really really funny

... Yoplait Light Thick and Creamy Key Lime Pie Yogurt

... Cold water (do you know how hard it is to get ice in some countries??)


... front load washer & dryers (I don't have one but my friend Stacey does, and using it made me happy)

... bareMinerals make-up

... Pomegranate! (I had my first one ever in Reno last week and it was SO yummy!)

... walking right past Tony Dungy in Target today!!!

... and even better then that... who can't be thankful for smiles like this:

There. That burned some time! :) How about joining me and leaving a comment about what you're all thankful for!! (And keep scrolling down for new pics!)

Little Punkin'