Die Hard Fans

Chill and Grill is OPEN!
Neither snow, nor sickness, nor brand new baby, nor rain and 30 degree temps could keep us from being at our favorite ice cream spot on Wednesday! Chill & Grill opened on March 19th, and though we didn’t get to take Emma there (nor did I have my traditional one-pound Monster Burger!) we did manage two visits on opening day. πŸ™‚

My favorite part is eating ice cream in the snow. πŸ™‚

We’ll probably go another time or two this weekend. Today it’s 30 degrees… might be up to about 36 by Sunday… we’ll see…

Time for some ice cream!!

Chill and Grill is OPEN!

Julia’s Birthday Fun!

Julia Gayle is 2!
Little Julia is TWO today!!! She has gotten card and calls from family far away, and started the day out with a BIG fun BIRTHDAY BREAKFAST! Including our family, we had four two year olds (two of them turning two today!!) and their four moms, as well as a few extra siblings… and me making a big fun breakfast of waffles, French Toast (on fresh baked bread I made this morning!) and Dad’s special breakfast potatoes! Fun!

In the afternoon, after the party died down, we made chocolate cupcakes (with yellow buttercream frosting, and some chocolate sprinkles!!) and then ate a few after singing to Julia with the whole birthday candles thing!

This all wore Julia out a lot… so she took a nap. πŸ™‚

Now we’re getting ready to head out for our more traditional birthday celebration of Red Robin for dinner, and Chuck E. Cheese for games afterwards! Tonight, Grandma & Grandpa Walker will be joining us too! (And perhaps more friends) πŸ™‚

The poster above is Julia’s birthday poster… I just loved her “pose” in this shot, and used it to remember that she often will say now, “Me? Song?” and then sing us a song which is most often “Hoooooooly night!” (Her own version of Silent Night) πŸ™‚

She’s beautiful, and awesome, and lots of fun. And we’re glad she’s two!

Love you, Julia! πŸ™‚

Big Fun Food Day

For a little while now our friend Leah and I have been trying to plan a time for she and Scott and Jen & I to have a fun food extravaganza as a sort of “last hurrah” before they move to Maryland. Many obstacles have delayed the outing, and even made it seem impossible. But yesterday… we finally made it happen!! It was tons of fun! And tons of FOOD!

I shall henceforth refer it to as the Big Fun Food Day. πŸ™‚

See, it all started with an idea in my head. We thought it would be fun to get babysitters for all our kids and go out on a “double date” with Scott & Leah before they leave, and I was trying to think of a fun place that they like to make it extra special. Well, the first one that came to mind is one that Leah likes, but Scott… hates. πŸ™‚ (Funnier still, I also am a fan, but Jen is really not.) So, that wouldn’t work… unless…

I thought we could try a “progressive dinner” style outing. Leah and I could eat our fill at the Indian buffet, and then we’d go straight to a place that Scott (& Jen) like to eat. I ran the idea by Jen, and she thought it was fun, and then by Leah, and she too thought it a fun plan… She ran it by Scott, who added his consent and then Leah added Coldstone to the mix for dessert! Ha! Three places in one outing! Fun stuff!

After a few failed attempts at finding a day that worked for all (schedule conflicts) and then finding willing babysitters for our four and their three kids, we finally made it work yesterday!

It all started at about 12:45pm or so. We met up at Willowbrook where we dropped our van and carpooled with them in their (very tiny!) car to the India House buffet. (Photo below… Jen took it, so … she’s not in it.) πŸ™‚

India House Buffet in Victor, NY

We had a crazy waiter here named Dave. He hit it off with Scott as they are both UFC (Ultimate Fight Challenge?) fans. He also introduced himself as Ravi and said he hates Indian food, music, and Indian people. That was awesome. πŸ™‚ (We learned that the first thing he said was always false.) πŸ™‚

The food was awesome, and as I didn’t plan on eating Indian food again for quite some time… I ate… three plates full. πŸ™‚

I was full.

Carrabba's in Henrietta, NY

Next we decided to head to a town about 20 minutes west where Scott’s favorite restaurant resides. We had never been, so I made sure to sample some stuff, but MAN there was VERY little room for the samples! Scott & Jen feasted here. Leah did “sample” as well, of course… πŸ™‚

Funny story was… we got out there about 2:40 or so… and they didn’t open till three!! So we went to Land’s End next door for a bathroom for the pregnant lady and some clothes shopping for Leah (and Jen enjoyed looking at the kids stuff as well) πŸ™‚

Our waiter at Carrabba’s was very good as well. And strangely reminded us of a friend of ours (all of us). They have different names though, so we think they are different people… πŸ™‚

Coldstone Creamery in Pittsford, NY

It was super late when we left Carrabba’s (we were having a great time!) so we didn’t get to stay and eat at Coldstone, but we did swing by there on the way home, and three of us got SMALL ice creams. πŸ™‚ (Actually, Leah got a medium sized one…) πŸ™‚

It was fantastic, but at that point, there was very little room for any more food, no matter how good it was! πŸ™‚

We finally got back to our kids at 6pm, and once we collected them and all their stuff, we went over to the Vs house for a little extra hang out (and our kids all got to see each other and play then, too). That actually ended with Jen making a quick run to McDonald’s to round out the Big Fun Food Day (at least for the kids) with some burgers, fries, chicken nuggets and a snack wrap or two. πŸ™‚

It was certainly a memory, and a great, big, fun, day of food! πŸ™‚

More photos here.

Kirstie’s Day

What a great fourth birthday for our little Kirstie! I figured it would be fun (at least for us!) to write out all the details of the big day, so here we go!

Kirstie was the last of the kids to wake up yesterday, so I gathered the other three and my guitar and we snuck into her room and quietly sang Happy Birthday to wake her up. πŸ™‚ After a little disorientation… she stumbled out her door to see her new birthday poster (see below) and open a present (a new pink booster seat for a BIG GIRL in the van!) and then went downstairs for breakfast.

Mom did some fun-for-Kirstie things till lunch time, and then at lunch Dad came down from the office and Kirstie went on a birthday present scavenger hunt! Mom gave her an initial clue, and then each present she found had a clue for where to find the next one! Great idea by Jen, lots of fun for Kirsten (and the rest of us, too!) After that I made an awesome pink cake – later to be frosted with pink icing – for my pink-lovin’ girl!

I worked a bit more in the office, until the evening fun, which began around 7pm when we headed out for dinner.

First up was a birthday meal at Red Robin. Kirstie got a pink balloon (which ended up in the ceiling rafters…) and ordered a full kids meal – since she was a big girl – and of course had the free sundae which is brought out by singing red robin employees. Ian sang along and said, “I know all the words by heart!” πŸ™‚ Fun times! We love birthdays at Red Robin!

After that we headed around the corner to Chuck E. Cheese! We love birthdays at Chuck E. Cheese! Thanks to some coupons, we got 120 tokens for $10! That’s a great deal, and a LOT of games! We fanned out and had a blast. Kirstie got to play games with all her family members, and just had a great time. One of her favorite things to do!

We stayed until close (they were very gracious) and then headed home, but with a stop at Uncle Scott & Aunt Leah’s first to eat her pink cake! It was a bit late for all, but they were great. Leah had the plates and ice cream (and birthday candles!) ready, and we got right to singing happy birthday, blowing out candles and eating cake & ice cream! The whole visit was only 45 minutes but nice that we could share another birthday with them before they move to Washington DC. We’ll miss them.

At the end of all that, Kirstie was BEAT! Exhausted. Wasted. But… in still able to bring up a few fun things from the day. When we got home she was crying about something (again, just exhausted) but managed to stop, and give Dad a big smile as I was saying good night. For her fourth birthday she felt like the little princess that she is. πŸ™‚

Kirstie is four… next is Julia in just under two weeks… unless….

Baby is due pretty soon, too!

Lots of BIRTHdays! πŸ™‚

Happy 4th Birthday, Kirsten!

Happy Birthday Kirstie!
Today is our little girl’s 4th birthday. Kirstie Rae is FOUR today! The other kids and I sang her happy birthday this morning to wake her up, and then she opened a few presents (and got her birthday poster…) before heading down for breakfast. Mom has a fun scavenger hunt planned for her other presents, and then tonight we’ll celebrate at Red Robin and Chuck E. Cheese (two of her favorite things!) πŸ™‚

So happy birthday little girl! Love you! πŸ™‚

Birthday Month

Welcome to February – a very busy birthday month for our family and friends. Our daughter Kirstie will be celebrating her fourth birthday at the end of the month, but before that four of her seven Walker cousins will be celebrating their birthdays also! And Kirstie’s youngest cousin on the Campbell side of the family is also a February birthday boy.

And, who knows… with a baby due mid March, she could have a sibling join her in the Birthday Month!

Besides close relatives, many friends also celebrate their birthdays this month with probably the craziest day being our oldest niece’s birthday. On February 20th (our niece’s birthday) three of our friends will also be celebrating their birthdays! Four on one day! (And two of them were born the same year also!)

So, it may be the shortest month of the year, but in a of way it’s one of our busiest! πŸ™‚

(And don’t forget, this year we get a bonus day!)

Happy February! πŸ™‚

Just Lucky, I Guess

Last night we celebrated Ian’s birthday. His birthday falls on Christmas day, so it has been our practice to set up a day in January to celebrate Ian, and nothing else. Well, he wanted to invite our friends the Velasquezes to join us for a night at Chuck E Cheese’s in a town about 35 min to the west of us. Would work out perfect as that is where Mr. V (we call him Uncle Scott) works. I was to bring a cake that I made, and we would play games, eat cake, and celebrate Ian.

Well, the funny thing is…

As we were on our way there, we went through an intersection where the traffic light was out. “Oh my goodness…” All of a sudden, the days events all came together in my head… We had some serious wind (remember? we might get blown up?) and power was out all over the nearby areas – just not ours. The thought hadn’t crossed my mind until just then that…

You guessed it. The only block without power in the entire area we were going to was the block where Chuck E. Cheese’s resides. Nice.

Well, we decided to head back to our friends’ house and eat cake and play games there. Ended up being a fun night, just a huge waste of gas and time I guess. Again… nice.

Next time… call ahead. πŸ™‚

National Hot Tea Month

I learned from my wife last night that January is national hot tea month. Now, I am known to have a cup or two a day… I am a fan of many kinds. (Big Train Chai is another favorite drink!) But with it being National Tea Month and all… I suppose I shall have to have a bit more. πŸ™‚

Care to join me for some tea?

(That’s our awesome brown tea kettle in the photo by the way!)

A Wet Christmas?

I thought the song said White Christmas….

We did get a lot of the white stuff for the whole month of December. Probably the first three weeks straight. OVer a foot of the good stuff. I think I heard that we’ve gotten around 38 inches so far! BUT… for one week before Christmas we had temps in the 40s, and RAIN. Yuck!

But the best part had to be Sunday, December 23rd. That day we not only had more melting of the existing snow, we had torrential downpours!! I didn’t think about it while it was happening, but a couple hours of some seriously hard rain on top of all the melting… was too much for our basement. πŸ™

So, this Christmas, not only did we have rain, but we had a flooded basement. We’re still trying to clean up from it, but haven’t had any time with all of the Christmas celebrations with family and friends. We came home tonight to a VERY stinky house. (The furnace blows up the nasty smell from the basement to the rest of the house!) πŸ™ I went down and dumped some clorox on the floor and sprayed LOTS of lysol. That helped for now.

Hope your Christmas was dryer. πŸ™‚

I’m NOT dreaming of a WET Christmas!

Christmas Report II

When I was trying to think of what I needed to do today, I also remembered the past few days that have been. It seemed like today might be the first kinda normal day in a while. (Which, strangely makes it feel like Monday, maybe Tuesday…)

It’s been quite a week! I’m sure it was for you as well. I think maybe we have an extra piece with Ian’s birthday being on Christmas day. Because of that there are a few more celebration days for Ian in there. Like, we did our annual Birthday Burger at Red Robin sometime last week for his birthday. Balloons, singing, and all. It was awesome! Then the fun started again this past week… maybe on Saturday.

Saturday was the day we were singing at Wal-Mart. That shouldn’t have been as eventful as it was, but after getting there and getting everything set up, I realized I had no guitar picks. And then we found out that Wal-Mart did not either! So, we went on a bit of a scavenger hunt, finally picking some up (pun intended) at a local music store. Then, to top it all off, after about an hour of singing – which was super fun! – I broke a guitar string. While that used to be commonplace, I am pretty sure that’s the first time I have done that in most of TWO YEARS! Crazy!

After the string broke, we packed up and did a little last minute Christmas & birthday shopping there at Wal-Mart and a couple other stores. It was nice, just me and Jen. πŸ™‚

When we got back home, we did a few more things then packed up the troops for a trip to Victor. We actually went to the mall area on the Saturday before Christmas!! (We really needed an ink cartridge, and that’s the closest office store…) After we picked that up, we stopped by our friends’ house and hung out for a little while with them. Had some hot cocoa and fresh-baked Christmas cookies! πŸ™‚

Sunday morning brought a visit from some other friends. They were dropping their girls off so that they could go to the Bills/Giants game over in Buffalo! (They bought our tickets from us, a nice Christmas present for our friend the Giants fan. Unfortunately, turned out to be a little TOO nice!!) We kept their girls all day, and had a blast! The evening ended with a visit from John Dupra for a recording of the Buffalo Bills Review, and then some good Christmas cookies from our friends. πŸ™‚

Christmas Eve started later than I thought it would. We slept in a bit, then tried to decide what to do. We were going to make some Christmas gifts (food) for friends and drop them off, but then after talking with them, decided to wait on that. But then in talking with our football ticket friends, ended up deciding to bring Christmas dinner over to their house to share with them the next day. So, in between making Christmas cookies for Santa, Christmas Eve also involved baking bread and making a lasagna to bake the next day!

That evening we went to Willowbrook to see friends (and family!) we haven’t seen for a while – some of them a LONG while! That was nice, and was followed by a stop at another family’s house for a late night Christmas Eve party! Was nice to hang out with them for a couple hours. We stayed longer than we wanted to, but that was due to caring for one of our friends’ sick kids. Long story. Long night. πŸ™‚ We didn’t get home, and get the kids in bed, until midnight!

We weren’t totally done with Christmas and Birthday preparations by Midnight, so… we were both up till 2am. For me, that’s fine… for Jen? Not so fine. Christmas morning came a little too soon for her. Even though it wasn’t till 9am. πŸ™‚

Christmas Day was no less crazy. Once we got up, I took a quick shower, and then we all headed downstairs to find some presents left by Santa (alongside the ones we had already put under the tree) and our stockings full of goodies! The kids were fun to watch. πŸ™‚ After unwrapping all the fun presents, we headed into the kitchen to make a big French Toast breakfast for Ian’s birthday! (His request.)

After breakfast, we headed back to the family room for Ian to open his birthday presents. (Yes, he gets LOTS of presents on Dec 25th, and the week before and after that!) We didn’t have a cake, so I stuck a candle in a giant navel orange, and we sang for Ian using that. Fun stuff. πŸ™‚

After Ian’s birthday celebrating, we packed up pretty quickly, and took our big Christmas lunch over to our friends’ house to celebrate and eat with them. Spent about two hours or so there. They may be moving soon, so we’re enjoying all the time we can get with them. Will be strange if we are not living in the same town…

We packed up after lunch with our friends and headed out to Buffalo to visit with Jen’s family. Got there around 4:30 or so and got right to eating! (Yes, you’re right… that IS a lot of eating…) It was a great meal, and a fun time with Jen’s family. Her oldest brother and family were not there, but there were plenty of people to go around and we had a great time giving and receiving gifts… and eating taco dip! (One of my favorites…) πŸ™‚

We left around 8:30 or so, putting us back home at 10pm. We were BEAT from the past three days. Jen was exhausted for sure. The kids were pooped. Most slept the whole way home. But not Kirsten. She sang Christmas songs with Dad most of the time. πŸ™‚ SO CUTE!!!

But we weren’t done.

Wednesday morning was very busy for me! I did sleep in, but once I got up I was on the phone, IM, and e-mailing. Plenty of Boxing Day business I guess! I was also making bread because some other friends were coming over for a late lunch/early dinner. And the best part? They were bringing lasagna! Funny. I made/brought lasagna for some other friends, and then we had different friends do the same for us! Give and you shall receive. Or something like that. πŸ™‚

We had a great time with them, and enjoyed all the good food. The really funny part was they came at around 3:30, and with the short days and all, when our friends left at 6pm, it felt like bedtime. BUT IT CERTAINLY WAS NOT! So, we didn’t know what to do with ourselves πŸ™‚ The kids helped clean up, then watched some movies with Mom while Dad spent about TWO HOURS catching up on our finances! Crazy!

That brings us to today. And actually… it has been a pretty normal day so far. πŸ™‚

A great, fun, fabulous Christmas and Ian’s birthday in 2007. Hope yours was as well!