Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A visit from the Ohio cousins and other assorted relation

Franny's birthday was Feb 2, and her cousin Rita's was this past weekend. Because we were royally snowed in for her proper birthday, we had the Cincinnati cousins up to Gun Lake over the weekend and celebrated everyone's birthday.
Cheap plastic sunglasses are very cool, especially when you haven't seen the sun for a month or two.


Because we were sick over Christmas, we never used the "decorate your own gingerbread men" kit she got. We figured February was as good a time as any to decorate gingerbread men.

Uncle Abe and his friend Jenny also materialized for the celebration. Rita, Dean and Franny all really like Uncle Abe,

Grandpa Gary also materialized for the celebration. He was very thoughtful, and did all his eating out of a single dirty sauce pan, so that way I wouldn't have to do so many dishes. I have all that fiestaware that I collect, there's no point in putting it to use, you see. Let it sit there, clean. That's what dishes are for. The dishwasher is working just fine, but Grandpa Gary insisted on teaching his family the virtue of thrift. Yankee thrift and practicality, that's what I'm going to call it--"yankee thrift."
There were lots of presents passed around. Here is Frances with one of hers.
Rita is a big girl, she's four now. Franny, being three, is in awe of this fact.

All that snow we got on Frances's birthday melted during a fluke warm spell. Then it froze up again, and another snowstorm, ready to dump another foot on west Michigan, is raging as I type this. We figured we may as well go outdoors while we could. The lake looks kind of cool frozen solid, with no snow covering the ice.
Here is a nice pic of Abe, Jenny and Dean.
I like a good campfire, and I consider myself a bit of a pyro. But my brother-in-law has me beat, hands down. He got one big-ass roaring fire going. At one point, the flames were as tall as Suzanne.
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"I really really like vanilla ice cream"

I have Frances two mornings a week, and sometimes I just get so tired of those DVDs and of the four walls of our living room, that I need to get out of the house. So, on my stir-crazy days, we will often go to McDonalds' for breakfasts.
Note that I said BREAKFAST. Frances is no fool. She knows full well they have ice cream there, and she started announcing loudly that she really really likes vanilla ice cream, every time she saw an employee walk by our table. I was slightly mortified when a manager appeared with an ice cream cone in hand, and asked if she could have it. I couldn't very well say no. Well, I suppose I could have. But I am not that hard-core. Sometimes, I do know when to lose gracefully. This was one of them.

That toddler! We're in for it, aren't we?
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Monday, February 7, 2011

Frances, in a cute mood

I took these pictures on Friday. I realized that the entire month of January had passed without me taking a single picture of Frances (in part because I left the camera at Gun Lake and then we didn't go down for a few weeks) and then I was pleasantly surprised to see Frances in a cute mood when I actually had my camera handy--and I was doubly pleased to be able to actually get a few pictures of her being cute.
I truly believe there is a sidewalk somewhere under the snow. We shoveled, but snow removal is an imperfect art, and then the snowplows go by and re-coat what we've just shoveled. Anyway, this is our Franny after the "Blizzard of 2011" picture. She is almost smiling in the above picture. I took a second one at the same time, but in that one she was looking more like an outraged Empress, about to order a beheading.
She got cute when we went to McDonald's. (You see the sort of ship I run, here. I am the sort of father who takes his child to McDonald's on Friday mornings, before she goes to school. Its our Friday routine.)
"Look! I'm making a scary face, Daddy! Did I scare you?"
Here's Frances in all her cute toddler glory. She's holding her beloved "Poopsie" bear, which was given to her by one of the nurses in the Pediatric Gastrointestinal clinic where Suzanne works. They give "Poopsie" bears to constipated children when they start showing progress. Franny got her "Poopsie" bear just by showing up one afternoon to fetch Mommy from work. Its one of her favorite stuffed animals, and she can't sleep without "Poopsie."
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SNOWPOCALYPSE and Frances's Third Birthday

Frances turned three today, and today we also experienced the "Blizzard of 2011" which is, at least in theory, the biggest snowstorm Michigan has had since 1978. I think that's a bit of a stretch. We got 16 inches of snow from Tuesday night into Wednesday. 16 inches of snow is a lot, its enough to be an inconvenience, but lets be serious. Its not exactly the end of the world. Suzanne and I were in New Jersey for the Blizzard of 1996, and that dumped darn near three feet of snow on us, but that was New Jersey. Suzanne remembered the grocery store being sold out of everything, and that they even closed the mall. Anyway, on Frances's third birthday, we were pretty much snowed in. Schools were all cancelled. Suzanne, however, had to go to work.
The above picture was the view from our front door at about 9:30 am. You can see traces of Suzanne's footprints, from where she left for work three hours eariler. I would like to point out that Suzanne's clinic did in fact close for the day because of the storm, but nobody called Suzanne and told her this, so she went in, riding the GRATA bus, like she would do any other day. She said it was a very productive day, nobody was around to bug her.
This picture was taken from our bedroom window. You can see two snow-covered cars. One is mine, the other is our neighbor's. Shortly after this, some good samaritan came and snow-blowed our cars out for us. I am not sure who did this, but I was certainly grateful, as we don't have a snow blower and I was not looking forward to shoveling.
I baked Frances a cake, and after it cooled, she watched me put frosting on it. We decorated it with M&Ms. Since the frosting was chocolate, I let her eat the brown M&M's, since they wouldn't add any color to the cake. I also let her lick the spoon from the can of frosting. (Yes, this cake was from a mix, and the frosting was from a can, you see the sort of ship I run here)

I tried to take pictures of Frances blowing out her candles, but well, I didn't take any because she didn't blow them out. I put three candles on the cake and lit them, and when I brought the cake to her, she ran away screaming "don't burn me, don't burn me!" So, I blew out the candles and served the cake.
I want to note that Frances's Uncle Abe surprised--no, shocked--me when he showed up at the house with his girlfriend Jenny at 4pm. Abe lives in Lansing, its 70 miles away. The entire state is buried in snow after a huge storm. The expressway was barely plowed, they said it was down to a single lane. But Abe and Jenny came to Grand Rapids anyway. I was so impressed that they came all the way to Grand Rapids with the roads in the condition they are in, that I felt the only respectable thing to do was to take them to dinner, so, big spender that I am, I took them to Russ's on 28th Street, because it wasn't far, and because it was open. Also, Abe shoveled the sidewalk. So I really couldn't not feed him.
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