Monday, December 14, 2009

Return of the mold...

On January 6, 2009 Braden took a picture of the mold on the wall of the spare room:
On December 1, 2009 he took the following picture:

We had been assured that the "little" problem had been fixed. Obviously that was false.
Thus began an emergency move to a new apartment.
Here's a few shots of the move:

Apt. 3108 was a mess because all of the stuff in the baby/spare/computer room had to be moved to the front room. Kayla was a BIG help.

The guys are doing a great job moving the desk into the loft of Apt. 1303!

So now we have the opportunity to reorganize our things. The new place is bigger and (hopefully) mold-free!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cooking Adventures

Since it is very cold here in Peoria, yesterday I decided to make some delicious chili that would warm Braden and I up. I put all the ingredients in the crock-pot with one little substitution and let it cook the required 4-6 hours. Braden came home and exclaimed how delicious dinner was smelling and wondered when it would be done. I had to finish up making the french bread (or attempting to make french bread) and then we sat down to eat.

Looks yummy, huh?
(I didn't think so, but Braden said it looks delicious, which is what really matters.)
Unfortunately this "Simple Chili" as the recipe book titles it doesn't taste as "simple" as the name implies. It actually TASTES LIKE BURNING!!!
Turns out ground red pepper is NOT a substitution for chili powder. Oops. Braden's new title for this recipe is "Texas Barbed Wire Chili". He's a good sport and ate his whole bowl. He said, "Once you get past the burning, it has really good flavor." Thanks Babe!
I, however, was less certain.

Also, although the french bread had good flavor, it didn't rise very well because our kitchen was too cold. I tried to make it again today and it turned out the same. Darn. Luckily my hubby puts up with my kitchen experiments and we can laugh about it together!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Starved Rock State Park: The 7th Wonder of Illinois!

Yesterday Tiff thought to herself, "Self, what would be a good thing to do on this fall day, I know! Let's drive an hour and a half up to Starved Rock State Park!" It's the only place in a loooooong ways that you can pseudo-hike, so we loaded up the truck and headed north, with aspirations of a peaceful walk in the woods. We arrived, followed the signs to the "hiking trails" and this is what we found:

Looks like we've had some rain! No this is not a boat ramp, and yes those are trash cans out in the water. It kind of reminded me of our trip to the swamp in South Carolina-without the gators. Luckily, we found another trailhead, and all was not for naught! We hit the trail, put our Chariot through it's paces (it worked great, by the way), and had a good time taking in the Autumn scenery.

Hiking was different, it was mostly on boardwalks and there were a LOT of stairs. They have a pretty bad erosion problem with all of the rain, so they try to keep you off the ground and on the trail.
My beautiful wife next to the Illinois River.

And one sad little bear.

I bet we can make it to the falls...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Our Little Sea Monster

Happy Halloween Everybody!!
Watch out for the Kraken!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Celebrating Fall

Well, summer has come and gone, the leaves are just waiting to fall, and we're celebrating the harvest season before the long, cold, bleak, icy Illinois winter.

These are our Jack-o-Lanterns - Tiff came up with the theme: Eet Yer Peas!!! They won 2nd place at the ward Halloween party, hurray!

This is the apple pie that Tiff made, from scratch!

And finally, Tiff found this little guy climbing on her earring when we were driving home from a bonfire with friends. She screeched, I thought I was going to hit another deer, and she tossed it into my lap in the dark car for the rest of the ride home. Luckily he made it to the floor, and even more luckily he didn't get skooshed under the brake pedal. Happy Fall everyone!

Saturday, October 17, 2009


No we did not have lil' Kayla for dinner, but the kitchen table is making due for her high chair, and she's starting on real food!! (As far as rice cereal can be classified as "real food")
At first she didn't know what to think when Tiff put the spoon to her mouth, but after one bite, she couldn't get enough!!!

What? Why are you looking at me like that? Is there something on my face... ?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

4 Months!

I can't believe our little Kayla has been with us for (over) four months already. It seems like we brought her home from the hospital just last week. She has truly blessed out lives. Kayla is the absolute sweetest baby in the world and we love her more than words can express.
Well, here's her newest stats and some pictures to go along!

Weight: 12 lbs. 9 oz. (25%)
Length: 25 in. (75%)
Head circumference: 16in. (50%)

Kayla LOVES to take off her socks and munch on her toes!
We love you baby girl!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hello September!

Yeah, it's been a while since we posted, but September is turning out to be an awesome month. My plant shut down again for a week, so we took the chance to go to South Carolina last week. There jubilation ensued as we visited Chad & Carole, camped in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the way down, and saw baseball bats being born in Kentucky. Here's a bunch of pictures.

At the Louisville Slugger Baseball Museum & Bat Factory. Kayla loved her little bat, & we thoroughly enjoyed this little piece of Americana. I did however, notice multiple opportunities for improvement in their factory(no pictures allowed inside), but I didn't ask too many questions so they wouldn't think I was a corporate spy. Oh, and that's "The Great Bambino" looking over Tiff's left shoulder, in case you were wondering.
This bear was just about 52 feet off the trail we hiked - straight up. He was enjoying a meal up the tree, we got our picture and moved on before he became too interested in US!
Kayla's home for the total of 30+ hours of driving on the trip. She did really well, especially when we drove straight back to Illinois. We have the perfect baby - No kidding.
There were little streams and waterfalls all over in the park, and it was so green it made Peoria look like the desert.
About 150 years ago or so some people began to settle a little area in the park called "Roaring Fork" When the park was created, they were relocated, and the remnants of their settlement still remain. This was Tiff's Favorite cabin, it belonged to the town entrepreneur (he had a gristmill, general store, blacksmith shop, & woodworking shop) and was painted with all three colors in the Sears Roebuck Catalogue!

I, however, preferred this authentic hillbilly cabin, all it needs to be complete are a shotgun, some overalls, a hound dog & a rocking chair.

Our little family at the highest point in the park, not quite the Rockies, but still impressive.

Kayla LOVED camping...
...And she may decide to be a dentist like her uncle Randy.

I paddled us through a swamp in South Carolina, there were turtles a-plenty and Gators galore!

Oh, and there was this duck that had a thing for Tiff, but she wasn't interested, & he eventually took the hint.
Southern Food!!! Those little things that look like tater-tots are actually fried okra, which is disgusting, and there is an onion fried in sweet dough under the cornbread. It was actually pretty good to everyone's amazement.
Um, this is a pineapple fountain. And we love each other.
"Why the alligator tear?" you ask...
Because she's too young to try the fried alligator tail!!! Delicious!
These caramel truffles from the Charleston candy factory were even MORE delicious!
And our niece Emily got a lollipop the size of her face.

Our nephew Tyler - he loves the camera, and the camera loves him baby, the camera loves him!
The whole gang! This was taken in Charleston in front of a full scale replica of the Hunley - the first successful combat submarine! It was used in the Civil War (by the confederates), and had a spear with a charge on the front that it used to damage enemy ships (the union). It sunk it's target, but the Hunley never made it back to port. There's your history lesson for the day, its actually a pretty interesting story I think!

Thanks again Chad & Carol for letting us stay, we had a blast!!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Airplanes, Towboats, and Fresh Mountain Air

This past month we've been all over the place.  As Tiff previously posted, we headed out to Utah and California during a plant shutdown, and marvelous times ensued.  I was able to go backpacking in the mighty Wasatch, we blessed little Kayla, went camping with the whole family up American Fork Canyon, and it was pretty much awesome.  Kayla did great except for a 5-minute spurt at 2 in the morning when she was screaming bloody murder while asleep (haven't yet figured that one out). We then hopped on a jet-plane to California where we wake-boarded, kayaked, got sunburnt, and had a fantastic time hanging out with family.  Kayla did amazingly well with the flights, so we weren't too much of a problem to our fellow passengers. Here are a few pics from the trip:

Kayla loved camping...
Tiana loved Banana-Boats...
Gavin loved Otter-pops...
Heidi got in the way of the picture of the tents (just kidding Heid, this was intended to be a picture of you and it's beautiful)...
And Luke loved the fire!
If it's cooked on a stick you know it's good.  
Noblest of Labradors:  Jax.

Try this, I dare you.

I literally got like  foot of air on this one.  Next up: 720 baby!
Tiff was unhappy because I had to push her off the boat.  She thought the water was cold or something.
She quickly got over it and waved to her fans.
The whole family!

When we got back, a co-worker tipped me off to an open-house at the local municipal airport, and even though we only caught the tail-end (pun intended), it was pretty sweet.  Apparently some dude in Peoria owns a circa WWII dive-bomber (correct me if I'm wrong) and he was buzzing the airport and stuff, which was pretty sweet.  I almost thought he was going to crash on one of his approaches, and I was wishing I was filming it so I could send it in to one of those "Most Extreme" shows and be famous.  But then he didn't crash, which was good really, but I'm still not famous.

Then this last week the largest towboat in the U.S. came up the Peoria River and docked on the riverfront.  Naturally, we couldn't let this occasion pass us by, so we went down and did a self-guided tour.  It's five stories high, 241 feet long, and named the "Motor Vessel Mississippi".  Did you know it's the 5th vessel to hold the title Mississippi?  I know I didn't, until I did the tour that is.  FYI, don't worry if you have no idea what a towboat is, if you don't live by a big river you would have no reason to.  And don't confuse it with a tugboat, because it's totally different.  
Oh, so you want to know what a tow-boat is then? Well I'll tell you.  When they dredge the big rivers to keep the waterways clear for the barges and ships that go up and down them, the dirt they pull up has to go somewhere.  Enter the towboat.  The dredges fill flat barges with dirt, and then the towboat takes them away.  Kind of like a dump-truck on the water.  This one can tow up to 16 barges full of dirt, which is a lot more than your standard dump-truck in case you were wondering.  You can see two of the barges lashed together in one of the pics for a frame of reference, you'll notice the people look like ants except they're bipedal and don't have six legs or an exoskeleton.  The Captain's name was Pete.  He seemed like a good captain and did an interview with the local news station and everything (you can see the interview in the picture). We also learned to not confuse the Captain with the Pilot.  We saw the Pilot up in the wheel-house, and when asked what his job was he said "I steer the boat, except when the Captain wants to 'cause he steers it sometimes too".  Also, if you were wondering, the boat is powered by 3 CAT diesels and power is generated by 3 more.  Which of course gave me a little yellow-pride.  All in all it was pretty cool, and if the Motor Vessel Mississippi ever comes to a river near you, I suggest you take the tour.
See the ant-people?

The beautiful Peoria Skyline behind us, we're on the top deck.

Kayla realized she loved sucking daddy's thumb.  When the bink falls on the deck of a ship, you don't just throw it back in her mouth.
Especially when you're on the Peoria River.  The sign reads:  "Caution: Combined sewer overflow. diluted sewage may flow into the river here during and after storms..."