Life as we know told by Heather

Monday, July 27, 2009

Feeling fishy

After coming back home from Detroit we re-packed and took the kids down to Kentucky. Having saved money by not getting a hotel in Michigan, we decided to treat the kids to a trip to the aquarium and the Ride the Ducks attraction in Newport, Kentucky. We love the Hampton Inn and have stayed there enough this year that it's great for the kids. They know certain things that are always the same at a Hampton property, especially the familiar breakast offerings and cookies in the lobby in the evening. Our hotel was in Covington and we were able to get a view of the Ohio River. The kids liked it when boats or barges passed by.

There were so many choices for dinner, and this is where the kids asked to eat.

This was our second trip to an aquarium this year, so it was neat to see the differences between the two. The kids seemed to have a good time.

After the kids each picked out a souvenir we left and went to get some brunch at Mokka. I'd been anticipating the french toast we had there last year, but then we walked in and this was the daily special...

I LOVE coconut cream pie. How I've never thought of putting it on a waffle is beyond me. But it was really good. After brunch we went back to the levee to walk around and look at the river. Then we took our duck ride. We made sure to get there first so we could sit up front. Before we got in line I took pictures of it from across the river. It's like a driveable boat, originally spelled DUKW and created by GM during World War II. Once everyone's on board they drive you over to Cincinnati where you enter the river.

Of course the best part for the kids is getting their quacker.

The kids each got to drive while we cruised the river.

After leaving the river the tour continues up to Fountain Square in Cincinnati and you get to see some historical sites on the way back to Kentucky. We even passed a homeless man who had his own quacker. After going back to the hotel for a rest we went to Pompilio's for some tasty Italian food. We ate here last year and liked it so much we decided to visit again.

Jordis (aka Spaghetti Face) liked it, too!

Friday, July 24, 2009

That state up north

Last weekend we took a little jaunt up north for our anniversary and spent the weekend with some friends. Joe used to work with Jason and decided to move back home where he ended up meeting and marrying Jen, who I love. They're a lot like us and they "get" us since we lead similar lives, so we really enjoy their company. We were welcomed to Detroit by a gorgeous double rainbow. In fact, there was a rainbow each of the three nights we were there. I figured it was Michigan's way of laughing at me because I'm an Ohio State fan and was coming up there to spend money.

Joe and Jen also had a welcoming committee of their own.

I'm not a fan of big dogs, but Popeye and Armund were sweet puppies. On Saturday we went to breakfast and then they took us up to Frankenmuth, home of Bronner's the world's largest Christmas store. We spent three hours in there. They had everything Christmas that you could imagine, but my favorite part was the huge selection of ornaments. We left with four.

Then we went shopping and to eat. Frankenmuth is set up to look like a German village and had pretty flowers as well.

That night we stopped for ice cream and watched a movie before bed. On Sunday we got up and went to lunch, then to the marina to take a ride on Joe and Jen's new boat.

They keep it docked at Lake St. Clair so they can just go hop on at their leisure. These are the Twin Sisters Lighthouses.

We rode out to Harsens Island and docked at Riverside Grocery, a cozy little place where you could get some basic staples, ice cream, or a meal from the tiny pizzeria.

As if Jason wasn't already wanting a boat after our trip to Louisiana, Joe is on my bad list was kind enough to let Jason drive us back to shore. Here's Crockett and Tubbs...

After going home to walk the dogs and take a rest, we ended up at Olive Garden for dinner and then sat in the hot tub for awhile before calling it a night with some TV. On the way home we stopped at Motown.

They had a large group there so we got to jump in on their tour instead of roaming around on our own. We had two different guides and their presentations were very informative. Both were very knowledgeable and I was shocked that they could answer random questions from the crowd about things that went on way before their time. It was a fun way to end the weekend.

Thief in our midst

I've been meaning to share this story but I keep forgetting.

A few weeks ago the four of us were out and about. I had to run in to a store for just one thing so we decided it would be easier if Jason and the kids stayed in the car. Jason found a parking spot and apparently one of these pulled up next to them in the lot...

Then this conversation took place...

Xander: "Hey Dad, we should get one of those."
Jason: "That would be nice Xan, but it's kind of out of our price range."
Xander: "Hmph! Then we should just steal one."

It's kind of a joke in the law enforcement community that kids of cops tend to end up in the most trouble, but I think we're starting a little early at our house.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Before our trip

I didn't get a chance to post anything about our week before we went out of town. Last Sunday we took the kids to the 2nd Annual Softball Showdown for Autism. It was sponsored by one of the local news stations here and created by one of their anchors, Jerod Smalley, whose son has autism. Xander was hoping that Johnny DiLoretto would be there to represent the Channel 6/Fox 28 team, but he wasn't. He was happy to meet Jerod and eat a sno cone though.

Jordis was excited to meet Buck I Guy and get his autographed picture, even though I didn't find him to be too personable myself.

After the games Jason let the kids run bases with him.

A few days later I took the kids to a program at the park called Creepy Crawlies. They got to learn about different kinds of bugs, how many legs they all have, and then got a chance to catch some. The kids' friend Wes came to meet us there, but we were having trouble getting anyone but Jordis to participate.

And of course the kids put on a show for me as well. This week they actually let me take pictures and videos. They were in rare form.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Today is our 11th anniversary. Eleventh. Seems like it went by pretty fast. Luckily, our marriage is about the only thing left from our past. The place we met is gone, where we had our first date is gone, where we got engaged (kind of) is gone, place we got guessed it....

Check it out....

...apparently our waistlines are gone, too. Ha, ha!

Thanks to the babysitting efforts of my parents we are getting to go on a little trip for the weekend. We're going to go to Michigan to visit some friends and are quite excited for adult conversation and eating hot food when it comes to the table. It's the simple things, you know?

For your musical enjoyment while we're out of town, here's a little ditty I like to listen to once a year.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Don't look, Mom!

I've wanted a tattoo since about 1993, when I skipped class in college one day to accompany my dorm-mate to the tattoo parlor off of Vine St. in the university district of Cincinnati. However, I've always been averse to needles and blood, so I wrote it off as something I would never have the courage to do. It has become a joke actually. Just going into a tattoo shop with Jason over the years has made me sick to my stomach, and I've had to retreat to the outside world that doesn't smell like rubbing alcohol and has no whirring of tattoo guns.

In 2001 my friend Jen and I went to Jason's hometown for Mardi Gras and told our co-workers we were going to get tattoos while we were gone. It was just so darned unfortunate though that we showed up when they were closed.

Over the past year or so we started selling off the kids' baby items and outgrown clothing and I've been stashing the cash.

(I'm not telling you where because then I'll need to come up with a new location).

I've been telling Jason it's my Tattoo Fund, and then we laugh, because we both know that'll be the day. But we went on vacation, and I always said if I had the opportunity to get a tattoo from Randy's (the place pictured in the photo above) that I'd do it. I always thought I'd want my tattoo on my lower back, but I decided if I was going to go through the trauma I may as well put it where people will see it. And then, on the last available day we had, we were at the store and I said to Jason "today is the day," because I knew I wouldn't do it at home. It was now or never. I decided where I wanted to put it and Jason got his mom to babysit so he could take me to the shop as soon as it opened. I still wasn't sure what it was going to be when I got there, but it came to me in a moment of clarity so we drew it up and got to work before I changed my mind.

I knew it wasn't going to go well, but I wasn't quite expecting to be leaning over the trash can within the first few minutes. A nice break, cold rag, some Sprite and smelling salts got me to the point of continuing, and after awhile I was all good with the outline. At one point I had considered just leaving the outline, but I knew if I got up I'd be upset that I didn't get it filled in. I figured since I was used to it by this point that the rest would be a piece of cake.


The shading was much worse than the outline. Quite frankly, I would have rather had an epidural. I ended up taking a break long enough that my tattoo guy had time to eat dinner. But when all was said and done I LOVED it!

It's my tribute to being Cajun by marriage, but in Ohio State colors. The kids' names are on it, as well as 717 which is our anniversary and also Jason's unit number. I was so excited when we left, I couldn't wait to go to our family cookout and show it off. I was even feeling so much better that I pigged out, especially enjoying a venison/jalapeno appetizer and cousin Shannon's amazing brownies and bread pudding.

I called my mom to share the news, and let's just say she was not pleased. Yeah, we'll just stick with that. But I guess that's how mom's feel sometimes.

After tipping the tattoo guy extra for putting up with my "difficulty," we still had enough money left for Jason to go get a matching tattoo the next day. Instead of Ohio State colors though, he got his shaded yellow and purple in a tiger stripe pattern for LSU. For some reason my mom doesn't seem to be upset about his 4th tattoo. Where's the love?

Typically when we go out of town we try to get a Christmas ornament from the places we visit. But I was thinking we could start a new tradition of getting tattoos instead. We're going out of town this weekend.....ha, ha, I'm so funny.