Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hockey date

Pete got a pair of tickets to Friday night's Huntsville Havoc home opener from work. He said his first thought when he could only get 2 tickets was for Sam & I to go to the game. He said he knew how much I enjoy going to the games and thought it would be fun for us to go. I'm glad he thought of it. We had a great time!

We had our usual round of 20 - or 100 - questions, and this time the subject was hockey, of course. I really had to dig deep to retrieve my hockey knowledge. We have only been to a few games since Sam was born. Although he sure can dish it, Sam is not a big fan of a lot of noise. It took him a while to get use to all of the noise - air horns, people cheering, yelling, etc. He even asked me after they scored their 2nd goal if people would have be loud if they scored again. I told him that he would know that the Havoc had scored again - even if he didn't see it.

During the 2nd intermission while we were just hanging out waiting for the game to start back up, I snapped these pictures. He was getting tired {long day at school plus he was on meds for a sinus infection}, but he was not ready to go home yet. I offered several times.

And then I caught this clip when "YMCA" came on over the PA system. Delirium had set in.

I saw my cousin {who is 14 and helps out with the intermission games & entertainment} talking to a security person near us. I called him over to say hi & see how the family was doing. He offered to get Sam a hockey puck. I told him that Sam would love it so he went & got one for him. Sam was so proud of that puck. He insisted on holding it as we were walking out of the arena to the van. And he quickly fell asleep on our way home. With the puck glued in his hand. We tried to take it away from him as we were getting him into bed, but even in his sleepy state, he asked for it. So he slept with it all night.

I'm glad we got to have another date night. It has been a while. But Pete needs to take him {or we should all go soon} to make sure my fuzzy memory of hockey rules is correct.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

a GRAND escape

Pete & I had to make a road trip last weekend. We had condo business to take care of at the beach. With our busy weekend and limited timetable {5+ hour drive each way, meetings, a few condo to-do's}, I asked Mom to keep the kids for us. And since cleaning the condo after such a quick trip was right up there on my list with sticking needles in my eyeballs, we splurged. And stayed somewhere else. Someplace GRAND. And it was. The Grand Hotel in Point Clear.

To our surprise, our room was upgraded to a junior suite in the historic main building.

We got down there late Friday afternoon and then ran a few errands. Saturday, we had a couple of meetings to attend and a few more errands. We caught part of this beautiful sunset Saturday evening before we had dinner at the hotel.

The hotel was really nice. The history just oozed from the wood paneled walls in the halls and the giant fireplace in the main lobby.

This is what we looked at Saturday while in & out of the condo. It was absolutely beautiful...but a little crisp.

It was great to getaway - even if we had such a short amount of time to get everything done. was more of a tease than a fix - beach fix, that is.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Louisville - Part 2

I hope you have a minute...or five...this post is a long one...

We got up Sunday morning and wandered the 10 or so blocks over to the Louisville Science Center. We took our time and took in the sights along the way. Louisville has some awesome architecture!

One place of interest {in honor of Sam's love for fire trucks} was an old fire station that has been converted to an office building. Very cool!

Doorways are now windows...

Fireman's hat, hose, pick, horn

The fire station was built in 1891...

We finally made it to the Louisville Science Center and saw the Titanic exhibit. Then, we spent a few hours letting the kids explore the rest of the museum. They had a blast!

Thank goodness they had these raincoats for the kids to wear while they played in the water! Grace was wet enough even with one on!

We ate lunch and then made our way back to the hotel. We saw this fire truck along the way. I'm not sure if we {Sam} had seen one so big before.

In honor of our anniversary...

After a short rest, we did some more shopping and had dinner at J Alexander's. Everyone was pretty tired, so we turned in a little early.

Monday morning, we made a quick stop {thanks to uncooperative kids} by Louisville Stoneware. We left there, and then we were going to make a quick drive by Churchill Downs. Getting there turned out to be a little more complicated than we anticipated. And it included an unplanned tour of the University of Louisville.

We got to Churchill Downs and found out that they were giving free tours including a walk out to the track. So we signed up and were on our way. The tour was very interesting. I still know pretty much nothing about horse racing, but it was nice to hear about the place where the Kentucky Derby is held.

This is the main track. It is made up of sand, silt and clay - 75% sand. There is also an inside {grass} track that is used occasionally.

Some Churchill Downs/Kentucky Derby factoids:

9-11 races a day
$3 for a ticket for normal race day
$5,800 for trackside box for 6 for derby day
$20k for suites where celebrities hang out for derby
$40 for infield entry where they have a big party {similar to tailgating}; you don't even see race, just say that you've been there

Our tour guide explained that they didn't get lazy about updating the sign in 1973. Disney was there {a few days before our visit} filming a movie about Secretariat when he won in '73. They haven't had time to change the sign back out. The movie has Diane Lane in it {and I don't remember the big name male actor} and is due to be released in October/November 2010. We'll have to try to see it!

This horse ran in the 2002 season and placed but didn't win. He has retired and is spending some time at Churchill Downs. Beautiful horse! There is a miniature horse that is in residence there to keep the visiting retired horses company.

And this pic is honor of our Hawaii obsession...

We really had a great time in Louisville and plan to go back someday. Hopefully the weather will be a little warmer next time to accommodate us going to the zoo. And we'll definitely have to go back to the farm.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fall Harvest

We recently signed up to participate in a CSA - Community Supported Agriculture - for this fall. We got the 1st installment of 8 last night. It is organically grown and picked the morning of delivery. Could it get any fresher than that? In last night's box...winter squash, beets, eggplant, various bell peppers, apples, cucumbers, onion, tomatoes, peas and a few jalapenos.

They have just started to offer a bread share program that sounds really good. For the remaining 7 weeks, we will get a couple of breads a week including jalapeno corn muffins, sourdough bread, cinnamon rolls and yeast rolls. I am looking forward to that as well!

If you are local and interested in participating in this program, let me know and I will send you some information. They are sold out for the fall, but spring will be here before we know it!

I still need to finish my 2nd Louisville trip's coming....eventually!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Louisville - Part 1

After going back and forth about where we should spend fall break - the beach, Atlanta, Memphis, Birmingham, Chattanooga, Nashville - we decided to do something different. {Do you know how many times we've been to Memphis, Chattanooga, Nashville & Birmingham? Like a 100 times between them. They are fun places to go, but it gets kind of old doing the same ole thing over and over. The exception to this...the beach, of course. I could just about go there any time we have a few days to spare, but it isn't always feasible.} We have actually only been to Atlanta a couple of times - and had hotel reservations to go for fall break. But the rain put a huge damper on our plans.

Plan B {or was it C, D or E?} was Louisville, Kentucky. I have actually been there before - twice. The first time was in 1991 when we visited my stepsister. And the other time was 3 years ago when I went for a convention for work. Pete & Sam stayed home when I went for work. I was impressed with all of the things they have to do there - the Louisville Slugger museum, Science Center, etc.
The drive was pretty easy, and there was lots of kid-friendly things to do. I put it on my "one of these days" lists for a getaway.

After we decided that Atlanta wasn't the best option and that Louisville might be a good rain-free option, I started thinking about my trips there. I remembered that when we went in 1991, we went to this farm in Indiana to eat dinner. I didn't really remember anything about the place, how good the food was, etc. I just remembered that it was neat. So I asked Mom if she remembered what it was. And thanks to her and Google, I was on my way with researching and planning. I discovered that not only was the place still open {things DO change over the years, you know?}, but Joe Huber's also has fall festival-y activities...including picking pumpkins!!!
{and if you ever want to go, they have various "pick it yourself" options during the year...strawberries, apples, etc.} I was SOLD! Having our fall break trip AND getting a trip to a farm in for picking pumpkins at the same time {since we won't have time for that otherwise} - how cool is that? Between the farm and the fun stuff I already knew about in Louisville, it didn't take long to have our weekend planned out.

We drove up on Friday and hit rain just north of Nashville. The drive across the state of Kentucky {which despite the rain was just beautiful!} took a little - or a lot - longer thanks to the heavy rains and a few wrecks. We got checked into our hotel and then drove over to a mall area with lots of restaurant options. We settled on Cheesecake Factory. After dinner, we walked around the mall for a while before we went back to the hotel. We ended the evening with a short swim in the hotel pool.

We were staying downtown, so when we got up Saturday morning, we walked 10 or so blocks down to the Louisville Slugger factory and museum.

Louisville Slugger Museum - isn't that bat cool?

We checked out the museum, and then we did the factory tour. It was interesting! I know Pete enjoyed it. We all got mini bats as part of the tour. I'm not sure how long they will survive in our house. It didn't take Sam & Grace long to be dangerous with them.

After we finished there, we walked to the Old Spaghetti Factory for lunch.

We made our way back to the hotel to freshen up and were on our way to Joe Huber's Family Farm. I called the day before and made reservations for dinner at 6:00 in their main restaurant.

The drive to the farm was really pretty. The trees were just starting to change colors, and we noticed a lot of red leaves. Seemed to be more intense than we see around here. We finally got there and it. was. chaos. People were everywhere. We figured out where to go for the tractor ride to get pumpkins. {That part of it seemed so much easier, faster than at home. They would take you out to the field and drop you off. You wandered as you liked to find a pumpkin, then hopped the next trailer or the next or next after that. I wonder if they took people moving classes at Disney?}

After our pumpkin picking experience, we played around the "barnyard" - the area for kids. They had slides out of a "barn", a playground area, hayrides, a silo with an overlook. We also checked out the country store.

We pretty much had done everything that we could or wanted to do. And we still had a hour or so before our reservation. I started to second guess my suggestion that we eat there. What if we waited around and it wasn't good? We finally decided that we would just stay but check in early in case we could be seated early. {They also serve the same food in 2 overflow "barns" buffet style. In the restaurant, you are served family style - bowls and platters full of fried chicken, ham, green beans, corn, mashed potatoes, waldorf salad, slaw, fried biscuits & apple butter. With small kids, I'll take someone bringing it to me at the table over having to hunt and gather at the buffet any day.} We got checked in {and found out that the walk-up wait time was 2 hours} and were seated pretty quickly. I. am. so. glad. that. we. stayed. The food was so good. And the mashed potatoes were some of the best that I have eaten. Ever.

We stopped on our way back to Louisville in Clarksville, IN for a little shopping {We weren't up for swimming and it was still early to be in the hotel room with the kids. They needed to burn off more energy.}.

The other half of the trip to follow...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A little bit of crazy

I got a message the other day from Hillary about a "crazy" post party. Anything crazy goes, so in no particular order, here's an example of the crazy that goes on at our house.

1. Way back in 2001, in the days before our days were filled with bottles, naps, changing diapers and watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, we took not one but TWO trips to Hawaii. In the same year. Just 6 months apart, actually. And it was great! We even got another trip in before Sam came along. We are just a little bit Hawaii obsessed. And on another level of crazy, we plan to go back in 2011 for our 15th anniversary - and probably will even take the kids.

2. We sold our house back in 2005 - and moved just 1 week before Sam's 1st birthday party. Not only did we work like mad to make the house presentable, we prepped and cooked food to go along with our Hawaiian Luau theme the next weekend {Did I mention we like Hawaii a little bit?}. For 40 or so people.

3. We spent most of Fall Break this past weekend in Louisville, KY. We spent Saturday afternoon at Joe Huber's Family Farm. In Indiana. So, you could say that we drove all the way to Indiana - 300 miles - to get our pumpkins. While that may seem a little crazy, Pete is convinced that it was not too far to drive for the meal that we had at their restaurant. It. was. wonderful!

4. We went to Disney World as a {with kids} family for the first time last year. With our 17 month old. People asked why we would want to do that. The trip wasn't for Grace - it was for Sam. So we hopped on a jet plane to Orlando with the kids and a semi nap-friendly schedule. We survived. And have been back. And will go back again soon.

5. The freshest silly or crazy thing in my mind that we have done is getting the equivalent of front row tickets to see Rick Springfield at Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville. We'll spend the evening with my SIL & one of her friends at a table within sweat flinging distance of Rick Springfield. And after the show, we'll get to meet him LIVE in person. And I'll have to work hard to separate him from Dr. Noah Drake in my mind. We'll be all giggle-y and have a great time though.

I have noticed a trend as I have thought about this post and put it together. We're a little crazy about travel. What are you crazy about?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Road Trip to Louisville

Gas for a road trip to Louisville, KY.....2 tanks (roundtrip)

Pumpkins from Joe Huber's farm.....$7.50

Tickets to the Louisville Slugger museum.....$20

Tickets to the Louisville Science Center.....$65

A long weekend making memories with the family.....Priceless

More to follow...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

I know it is early, but I would like to go ahead and put in our request.

Sam needs a new bicycle. We finally got around to taking the training wheels off of his bike. And he took right off. He hasn't been riding it much lately because he likes his scooter so we didn't realize how big he has gotten for it. His circus clown bike routine is cute, but he is sure to knock his knees on his handlebars soon.

And I am sure there must be some kind of ratio law for height vs. bike size. He is starting to tower over his bike.

While we're at it, could we please have a bicycle for Grace? She has gotten the Flintstones move down, and I think she is ready to move to pedal power.

Again, I know it is early. But, I know you have lots of bikes to build. See you at the mall!

Sam & Grace's Mom