Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Good Start to the Christmas Season

It is getting harder and harder to know when to actually start the Christmas season. If you go by the stores’ calendars it is in October. Some years I choose to start the season on the Friday after Thanksgiving after buying lots of presents. This year, for me, the signal was the first big snow. On Sunday we got our first big snow up here and it definitely looks a lot like Christmas. Erin and I were so inspired that we decorated the house for Christmas – except for hanging the wreaths outside on the windows. (It was way too snowy for that!)

It continued to snow on Monday and as I sat and waited for Matt’s flight the entire airport looked like a holiday snow globe. Snow covered de-icing trucks, cranky passengers in very long TSA lines, holiday music over the loudspeakers and lots of people in unfortunate holiday vests - which completely added to the Christmas spirit.

Then to complete the start to the season, Matt got me an early Christmas present – a new digital camera. YEA! I do dearly love my Digital Rebel and I could never part with it. But, she is a big gal and hardly proportioned to be tucked in a purse or slipped in a coat pocket. Therefore I miss a lot of really great shots. The Elph or Elphie as she will be known is quite petite and perfect for all occasions. I am so excited to start taking pictures with her. I need to read the instruction book a little bit more, as the shots I took last night while testing it out were in Aquarium mode – whatever that means.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Ten Years, Already?

Please Join Us!!

Concord High School
Class of 1998
10 Year Reunion

Held November 29th at 7 p.m.
At the Hunt Club in Jackson
(in their back room)
Appetizers and Pizza will be provided

Please RSVP by November 21st to

Friday, October 31, 2008

Just In Time

With only a few short hours until Halloween we found time to carve our pumpkins. It is very surprising to me that it actually happened; in fact I cannot remember the last time I did carve a pumpkin. Usually I run out of time or I don’t have the tools to do so. However, this year it somehow all came together. We even had the appropriate tools for the job - a big IKEA box that was from Erin’s dresser, carving sets from Meijer, an old set of knives I found in a storage box in the basement and candles and LED lights. After the many year hiatus from carving, can I just say – the carving tools that you can buy at the store are so cool. The little saw things cut so well and offer such precision. I was impressed and I didn’t slice off half my finger, both good things. Mrs. Whiskers even got in on the fun, although she wanted NOTHING to do with the pumpkin goop – she is such a prima donna.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Where Does The Time Go?

These last few weeks of October have flown by and I have neglected to give updates. So here is my best recollection of what has been going on. At the beginning of the 14 days the weather was beautiful and Matt and I took a Saturday to go visit an Apple Orchard and get some Apple Cider, Pumpkin Doughnuts and we were planning to get pumpkins – but they were all picked over. On our way back from the orchard we stopped by a park in the area and spent some time walking the trails and looking at the fall color. This outdoor activity was followed by picking pumpkins at another location and a trip to TJ Maxx where they had winter gear on sale. Matt is determined to get me outdoors this winter – now that I have some “good” warm gear, I might be okay with that.

That weekend was so productive that I was looking forward to a great week of classes and all the many nightly activities I am involved in. However – that was not going to be the case. I started to feel really yucky, it wasn’t really a cold nor the flu, but something in between that kept me sleeping all the time and dragging through the days. The week worth of trying to get extra rest helped and by the past weekend I was feeling almost healthy again.

It was a good thing that I was feeling a bit better because on Saturday night Matt and I had tickets to the home opener for the Grand Rapids Griffins hockey team. It was such a good game – high scoring, good popcorn and some intense fights. We even had the opportunity to see Paulette and her husband Lee there. This week should be an even better chance to get back in to the swing of things – let’s just hope that the predicted snow holds off. I am not ready for snow yet!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

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Monday, September 29, 2008

It’s Outta Here!

There are some things in life that truly symbolize summer – road trips, fireworks, hot dogs, friends and baseball. And exactly one week after Fall officially rolled in, I tried to force just one more Summer weekend out of mother nature … lucky for me she obliged. After promising myself that I would make it to a Tigers game this summer, I finally got around to making it happen, although it was very last minute and the tickets made that very clear. Wait – I am getting ahead of myself.

This event really started earlier in September when Matt and I were each supporting our own teams of choice – I the wiser Tigers fan and him the Twins fan. Amongst some baseball related conversations I remembered that I had not gone to a game yet. So with that thought in mind I got tickets and Matt and I were on the road en route to see the last Friday night game of the season. It was an absolutely beautiful night, although it got pretty chilly as the clear night sky settled over the ball park. We each had the obligatory ball park hotdog which tasted really good after the road trip to the stadium and we did get to see some pretty good baseball – the Tigers did win, although it meant nothing considering they were playing the Rays. As an end of summer bonus, I did get a decent lesson in how to officially score baseball … a skill that I cannot believe I have lived 28 years without.

The end of the game brought fireworks, my favorite – although they were less than fantastic. At this point in the night Matt and I had experienced most of the summer requirements, but to complete the list we had to navigate stupid Michigan summer road closures (I forgot to add that to the list) and then head out to Allen Park to see Sara Rzepka. Now, I can officially let summer go … I am kicking and screaming and there might actually be tears … but I couldn’t have asked for a better way to enjoy the last of the warm weather.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Getaway Weekend!

Paulette and I have been talking about going away for a weekend since the beginning of last spring. We finally were able to do it and only 6 months later ... not too shabby for two working gals. We decided that we would take the weekend and drive up to Traverse City to stay at the Grand Traverse Resort. It was a perfect choice since it was the weekend of Red Wings training camp and the players also happened to be staying at our hotel. I have to say, as much of a fan that I am, it was still pretty hard to figure out who was who when they were in street clothes. I am so glad that Paulette could recognize people, otherwise I would have never known when Maltby passed right by us or when Holstrom and Filppula, were sitting having lunch as we walked by. Since Paulette is always prepared she was able to have some stuff signed by them.

It was such a beautiful weekend and we were both itching to sit outside and enjoy the weather. We decided to sit on the patio of the clubhouse at the resort and have some snacks and drinks, we also had the bonus of watching many of the players participate in a golf scramble and getting blinded by the Stanley Cup which was there for a photo op. If you look real close you can see the cup sitting near the lake in the background.

We took some time over the weekend to watch the Wings scrimmage and practice which has now spoiled us, as we were so close to the game – we are not sure we can watch games at the Joe anymore, it is just too far away.

No trip to Traverse City would be complete without some good food and wine tasting and of course we obliged. My favorite winery in the area is Chateau Chantal and I took Paulette up there to sample some wine and enjoy the views - which was followed with a trip downtown for some shopping at the Cherry Republic. One of my favorite memories of the entire trip was when we were walking downtown. It is no secret that Paulette’s favorite player is Chris Chelios and she has had the oppotuntiy to meet him a few times before and during the weekend, however this meeting came as a total surprise. There we are walking down the street and this mad biker comes careening around the corner of an allyway, nearly knocking us over. (That might be a little bit hyped up, but it sounds more dramatic that way.) Needless to say, the crazed biker had to pause a little and give the obligatory look of – “I’m sorry I almost threathend your life with my less than fantastic biking skills” and as Paulette and I looked up we both realized at the same time that it was Chris Chelios. Paulette politely said “Hi”, whilst I bit my tounge from letting him know he needs to be more careful, geeze. Then of course while he was out of sight – only because he was behind us – we started to giggle like girls.

We recovered from that near catastrophe by having dinner at the North Peak brewery and gawking at Mike Babcock. Dinner was fantastic and based on a great suggestion from Matt Knoll, Paulette got to have a smashing beer – of course no pun intended.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Now I Am One!

Mrs. Rosslyn Whiskers is now officially One Year old. It is hard to believe she is not the tiny little kitten that we brought home. Now she is grown up enough to go to the bathroom on the toilet, to sleep all through the night and to really jump high. Here she is at her birthday celebration, she got to be a queen for the day - she looked oh so lovely.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Lake House

Earlier this month I was blabbering about how I enjoyed the water, how I loved to be in the sun and on the beach. Well, this post is not too different, except this last week I was able to enjoy the water, sun and fun up at Hubbard Lake with Sara Rzepka at her family’s Lake House.

The drive to the lake house was very nice; the sun was out, it was Saturday so I could talk on my phone for free – until I lost signal of course, and the hardest part of the drive was deciding what animal to listen to on the radio. If you have frequented the upper half of the Lower Peninsula you know what I am talking about. Every stinking radio station up there is named after an animal – the moose, the eagle, the fox, the bear. If anyone understands why they feel the need to do this, please let me know. So, with that being the hardest part of the drive I was able to make it to my destination in about 4 hours and arrived to Sara, Brent and Anna soaking up the sun in the MegaStation. It was quite a start to the weekend.

The fun continued as we watched TONS of Olympic Events over the week, including our favorite Handball, which we plan to have our own Hubbard Lake Handball team in the future. We also had quite a match of ladder golf, cranium and charades – you could say it was our own version of the Olympics, but don’t expect to see us on TV anytime soon.

Our first field trip of the week involved us driving to the town of Glinny to tube down the Au Sable River. That was a great time for all, except for Ammie who would have rather been in a tube with a bottom on it. The river expedition took about 4 hours and was completely relaxing and tons of fun. It did take us sometime to get used to the COLD water, but we were happy to have the chill later on when the sun got hot. We avoided all major obstacles including trying to get all of our tubes connected and more importantly connected to the tube with the food and drink, the random logs and rocks in the middle of our path and we only bottomed out one time. When we returned from our outing we had a great taco dinner and Brent and I (maybe more Eagle Scout Brent than me) made an awesome camp fire to make ‘smores and solve the problems of life by.

The remainder of the week was spent on the boat and laying out in the sun reading and relaxing… ahhh the life of a lady of leisure. I LOVE IT. We also took our second field trip of the week into the bustling town of Alpena to have dinner and celebrate Tara’s birthday. The week was wonderful and I am already looking forward to next summer.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Oh Baby...

Announcing Blake Steven Tomasoski

The time has finally come! It seems like we have waited much longer than 9 months, but as of Sunday, August 10th, 2008 Luke and Katie Tomasoski became parents. Blake was born on Sunday morning (8/10/08) at 5:50 a.m. He was 7 lbs 3 oz and 18 3/4 in long! He was born with a head full of dark hair. His weight had dropped to 6 lbs 10 oz when they left the hospital on Tuesday, but as of Thursday he was back up to 7 lbs 2 oz. Congratulations Tomasoski family!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Busy Summer Days!

This past week was full of lots of activities. On Tuesday we celebrated National Night Out with a street party. It was a great opportunity to meet the people on our street and there was lots of good food to sample. I did make a note not to make cheesy potatoes for next year, as mine were one of six different types. The highlight of the party was the fire truck that parked at the end of the street and sprayed a hose for all the kids and pets to run through. Erin and I opted for a second helping of dessert.

I have also been on campus quite a bit starting to get ready for classes. Hard to believe they will be starting in only 3 short weeks! But I don't mind getting ready in the office, if nothing more it gives me a chance to sit in the air conditioning for several hours.

Things around the house are coming together and Erin and I have been painting window trim and touching up the walls. I have also started to paint the foundation with a coordinating color; that is going to be a big task, but well worth it. The siding and window project is almost complete and I will be posting pictures soon. But right now I am off to pack .. this next week I will be resting and relaxing in the sun up in Alpena with Sara Rzepka.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Water Wonderland!

One thing I have started to enjoy about living on the West side of the State, are the endless opportunities to spend time on the water or at the beach. On Friday afternoon and evening I went with Marcie Ray or (Mar Sea Ray as she is known when driving her boat) and some friends down to a lake outside of Lawton, Michigan to spend time boating. When we first got down there, we almost didn’t get to enjoy the night as the battery in the boat had gotten run down. But with the help of a neighbor, we were able to get the battery charged up and the boat started. Once we had toured around the lake a few times we felt assured that we would be able to turn the boat off, anchor near a sandbar and not get stranded out there. So while floating on the lake we enjoyed beautiful weather, some great tanning opportunities, snacks and delicious Chocolate Crunch Cake.

Saturday presented another opportunity to get out and enjoy the lake as it was Coast Guard festival in Grand Haven. Usually that means that “locals” all stay away from Grand Haven, but this year I braved all the “tourists.” I supposed I should clarify that I was really not that brave, because I never actually drove downtown, that would just be crazy. I did meet up with my friend Amanda whose grandparents' have a home on the beach. It was wonderful…the sun was shining, there were no kids throwing balls over our heads; there was a strong breeze so you never got hot, and the best part was that you didn’t have to try and find a public parking spot. After we spent some time at the beach we had a delicious cook-out and thanks to some prior planning and spot saving by Amanda’s parents we had a great view of the fireworks later that night. If I ever want to enjoy the Coast Guard Festival again, Amanda is the gal to call.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend

I cannot lie, that statement is completely true! Diamonds are my best friend, so if you have some to share, send them my way! But, if you are a gal that owns her own house, a Troy-Built – 190cc –Self propelled lawn mower is a close second. This is especially true when the previous mower was bought at Montgomery Wards approximately 25 years ago. It was a good machine, but we had a love/hate relationship. So this weekend while my parents were up for a visit they bought me a new mower out of sympathy. It is shiny red and it goes really fast, I am gushing I know. I am just so happy to be able to efficiently mow my whole yard in less than 2 hours. Yea, me!

As if a brand new mower was not enough excitement for the weekend, my parents also helped me install a new mailbox post and box. My old mailbox was attached to the house and was rusty and ugly. It also leaked every time it rained and therefore a lot of letters were soaked. So the shiny new silver mailbox and bright white post is SUPER FUN and now I don’t have to lay my mail on the heater in order to read it.

So many things are going on with the house right now, new windows are being installed and soon siding will go up. I am taking pictures so I will be able to post those soon, you will be amazed at the progress. Soon I will not be the ugliest house on the block.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Summer Fun

It is 80 degrees out, time for the pool! That is what we thought when Jessica, Jane and Rachel Carter beat the heat with me at my parent’s pool. We all had a great time and we were all very impressed with Jane’s swimming skills. A few swimming lessons this summer and Jane is able to go off the diving board and swim to the side of the pool all on her own. I am so proud of her! We then had snacks and played doll house with my mom, that was a hoot. Rachel enjoyed the little pets the most and fondly named the dog, Boy. Lunch was a pizza treat from the Cadet, YUM!

Recently, I also had the opportunity to visit Sara Rzepka at her beautiful home in Allen Park. The neighborhood she lives in is charming and full with the typical Detroit suburb brick bungalows, tree lined streets and cute little downtown areas. While visiting we braved the rain (which you can see from the picture) and made time to visit La Pita for some great Hummus and bread, Greenfield Village to visit Sara’s old employees and to walk around, the Boston Tea room for fun and IKEA to pick up some necessities for my house. It was a busy but, fun time! And she is already preparing for me to visit again, we still have lots on our list of things to do, a Tiger's game, more IKEA shopping and maybe even a day at the spa ....

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Grad Girls In Traverse City

I am not sure who came up with the idea that Teri, Rachel and I would go on a vacation every year. I do know that the tradition started after we had so much fun when we went to New York City. Since then we have been to Chicago and now to Traverse City. This was a tough summer for all of us and finding the time to go took some maneuvering and some days off work for Teri and Rachel, but we made it happen.

We started our vacation with a long day of driving … first to Traverse City and then through many of the little towns in the area. We made sure to stop at the Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor to get some yummy snacks and to drive by some of my favorite places from vacations that I used to take the with Horosko family. Teri thoroughly enjoyed using her Mario driving skills that day and Rachel loved the opportunity to catch some sleep when possible. At the end of our long drive we had a great dinner at Scott’s Harbor Grill which is on the bay and has fantastic drinks and blue cheese dip. Following dinner we went to the hotel for a break, to Teri and I that meant checking e-mail and watching Ice Road Truckers and Deadliest Catch and to Rachel that meant a little nap. When Rachel was rested and ready to go we headed to the casino to make some money. The highlight of the adventure was Rachel and the slot machine. After looking for three penny slots in a row, which is very hard to do. We all sat down threw in some money and got ready to win. Rachel turned to me and asked what buttons to hit, I reach over and hit a few buttons mumbling something about playing max bet to get the biggest payout. I then hit a few buttons on my machine and Rachel leans over and says, “What does it mean when it says $50 something dollars here at the top.” I think my exact words were, “Hello, that means you won.” I still attribute Rachel’s winning to her nap and will try that strategy myself the next time we are up there.

Monday, was quite the day … it started with a tour of the different wineries in the area. Followed by lunch and McDonalds, because we all know how good that grease tastes. Then off to the theater to see Sex in the City, boy that was a roller coaster of emotions. Reeling from the drama we did what any normal girls would do, we drove downtown and calmed ourselves with some good shopping. The night was capped off with drinks, dinner and more drinks at the Red Mesa grill, a great suggestion by Jessica Carter.

The last day we were there we took in the beach and made our way back to Grand Rapids to drop me off and then back to the South Side so Rachel and Teri could go home. Overall it was another great trip with my Grad Girls.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Basement Can Now Be Taken Off The Home Improvement List

I can’t believe that it is already July! In only 8 short weeks classes will be back in session and I will be overly busy once again. The countdown is now on, as I have a list a mile long of things that I want to get done around the house, along with another list for class prep and the most important one with things to do with friends. This past week, my mom came up to visit and we were able to check off many things on the around the house list. I was very lucky when I moved into this house, as the basement was already paneled with a dry wall ceiling. Now, I am not going to say it was in move in condition, as you will see from the pictures ( in the album off to the right), but at least half the hard work was done. The rest of the hard work was completed this last week. We painted the walls and ceiling bright white, laid new tan carpet and most importantly, set up 8 storage racks in the furnace room. The furnace room started to get a make-over this past Winter when Jessica, Chad and Rae came up to help me paint the walls and the floor. Now with the addition of the storage racks the room is complete. The completion has given me the opportunity to organize my things and put them in places where I can find them. I cannot even tell you how rewarding it is to be able to find things when I need them; I have been going crazy over the last 2 years of never being fully packed or unpacked. Along with the basement, we were able to take down a rusty wire fence in the backyard, install a new light fixture over the sink in the kitchen, paint the interior French door in the kitchen (which was installed this past Winter, but never was painted), and weed the yard. As always, if anyone wants to see all this work in progress or the finished projects, you are welcome to visit. I love to have company and Mrs. Whiskers finds it mildly enjoying as well.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Back To Blogging

I have been pushed back into the world of blogging by many family and friends that want to know what is going on up here in Grand Rapids. Please stick with me as I get back into the habit of being a consistent blogger, for now I have posted some pictures from my house renovation in the photo album. Enjoy!