Monday, December 24, 2007

2007 Family Christmas Letter

Greetings from the Land of Corn and Soybeans --
With cheerful smiles and a twinkle in the eye, we hereby bring you our 2007 Annual Christmas Letter and Stanfill Family News Update.
My, my, how things have changed for the Stanfill family this past twelve months. The obvious and by far most momentous event of our year was, of course, the propagation of our own kind. Or in other words, we have been blessed with our firstborn baby boy, Perry Jed Stanfill. He arrived, most obligingly, at exactly midnight between February 1st and 2nd, the two disputed dates upon which he was "due." As planned, he was born in the living room of our cozy cottage Orem home where his Daddy Michael caught the baby and was the first to discover that he was a boy! Everything was perfect and Jed, as we call him, has remained perfect from that day forward. I call him my "Happy-Maker" because wherever he goes he is followed by a sea of adoring gazes and enchanted smiles.
Jed started out looking just like his dad, and I mean a freaky clone-like similarity with Michael's baby photos. As he gets older and his cheeks get fatter and fatter, however, people have started to comment that he looks just like his mommy. Gosh, thanks! Fat cheeks must be a Dowdle trait. Seriously, though, to be compared to anything so cute is incredibly flattering. In build, however, he still looks just like his father with a lean-mean-boy-machine body that's already wearing 18-month overalls at 10 months old. You could fit in three of him across, but they are just the right length. He pulled himself into a standing position for the very first time this last week while feeling ignored in the bathtub. Boy, did that wobbly and naked, but proudly standing little body get his parents' attention! He army-crawls with surprising quickness and agility. Also, the "go-go-gadget-arm" gets longer every day and has done everything from yanking the tablecloth and all the dishes on the floor to grabbing off dad's glasses while tossed in mid-flight and upside down. What a boy! Can't wait to see what he does NEXT year! He is the best toy I ever got for my birthday, and a continual source of hilarity and delight.
Michael decided that now he was a daddy it was high time to be done with his college years and move on to his "I actually make money now" years. After an internship with a fantastic photographer in Park City for the winter semester, he graduated in April, only 9 years after his entrance to BYU in 1998, with a B.F.A. in Photography and a minor in Business. Baby Jed wore a matching graduation cap and they made, hands down, the cutest pair in town.
Settling down as photographer, at-home-wife and gurgling baby in Happy Valley, Utah, however, proved not to be our lot in life. After lightning struck in the form of an unexpected "Business Analyst" job offer in Evansville, Indiana, we dug up our roots, threw our belongings into miscellaneous boxes, and ten days later we were off for a new life in Indiana. After a brief stint as Business Analyst, Michael was offered a different position more suited to his creative talents in the eBusiness department, where he is a front-end web developer (technically "Applications Analyst".) I've learned that this means he decides how the web site is supposed to look and work, and then he turns it over to a programmer in India who does all the hard programming. He likes this job, partly because he works with nerds and partly because they only require forty hours of work for forty hours of pay, unlike his last position.
Meanwhile, baby and I have set up house in a little two-bedroom townhome in an area of Newburgh, Indiana named, most aptly, "Paradise." Lovely fields and roads over-arched with thick, luxurious trees surrounded our quiet little neighborhood. Apparently, we live in the "Ohio River Valley," as we are a stone's throw away from the Ohio River. I laughed out loud the first time I heard this, since I had always assumed that a "valley" required the existence of mountains somewhere within a ten gazillion mile radius. Apparently not, and I offended the locals. We also live close to both the Kentucky border AND the state of Illinois, which means we officially live in the absolute middle of nowhere (more miffed locals at that, I thought very funny, observation.) I am throwing myself into the local culture and plan to cultivate a southern accent as soon as possible. After all, we live almost precisely on the Mason-Dixon line and our town was the very first to fall to the Confederacy back in the day (without a shot or a whimper, embarrassingly enough, but we were called "Sprinklesville" back then so there wasn't much honor to defend.)
As for Vanessa, I keep busy chasing my little diapered friend around. I also do laundry and feed my boys three solid meals and numberless baby nursings a day. I also serve in the Nursery on Sunday doing more chasing and feeding. I never knew that there would be so much chasing and feeding of men involved in my life, but I find it remarkably enjoyable and fulfilling. After all, they're so cute. What woman could resist the overwhelming primal urge to feed them? My understanding of womanhood is so much more full now that I have hungry mouths to fill!
Well, that's the news. Wishing you and your family the most delightful of years and the happiest of Christmas seasons. We pray that the light of Christ and the warmth of his love may fill your home and stay there forever. With hugs of love and friendship from our home to yours -

Vanessa and Michael and Perry Jed Stanfill
Christmas 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Early Morning Men

Baby and I awoke early and took his bath. I brought him down to Dad while I got dressed, and when I came down the stairs this is what I found:
Now I understand why cherubs are always little rosy-cheeked boys.

Standing Up





I DID IT!


Jed, as proud as can be, because he just pulled himself up in the bathtub, all the way up standing by himself for the first time.


Baby's got new "skillz."

Playin' it cool for Mom. After the first standing up, he fell down on his bum and proceeded to repeat the process about 25 times until he nearly fell asleep half draped over the bath. What excitement!

This particular attempt was, well, "less successful." Notice the wet forehead and reddened eye, yet the steely look of determination.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

New Harmony


On a whim, Michael, Baby and I dropped our chores amid a long day of cleaning and organizing (oh, the moving will never end!) and took off for Christmas in New Harmony, Indiana. New Harmony is a little historical town about 45 minutes away that once served as the home for a communal society and later a haven for 19th century artists and intellectuals. We only had 2 hours there, but that was enough time for me to fall wholly and passionately in LOVE. Adorable, friendly, sophisticated, and gorgeous, it is like little-town-heaven-on-earth! I can't wait to go back and actually see the sites and take a tour. As it is, we wandered through the bazaars and artisan shows, listened to real bluegrass complete with hairy old men playing the mouth harp and washtub, and discovered a tiny little museum of contemporary art that housed a real Andy Warhol installment called "Silver Clouds." The exhibit was an empty wood-floored room filled with fans and floating silver cellophane clouds. I'm not usually a real installment art fan, but this was utterly captivating. Wandering around through the silver clouds, laughing and tossing and twirling... like a mini-wonderland!
Unfortunately, Jed doesn't think much of modern art. He bawled through the whole thing, those big silver pillows were SCARY! Here's a photo, you can see him in the baby carrier with a thrilled look upon his face.

We saw just enough of the town to know we can't wait to go back.

Uh oh


Jed has started pulling himself up on the furniture. Uh Oh! Here comes trouble!

Thanksgiving Travels

Baby and I are home from our vacation! We were gone for twelve days, and number which I am very precise about since certainly people whom I love and adore have a tendency toward exaggeration and claim, variously, that it was "only a week" (Mom) or "two whole weeks" (Michael.) No, it was the perfect length of exactly twelve days.

I chose to haul my teething, cold-recovering child across four time zones and back during those 12 days. The flight there was one long blurry memory of dirty diapers in enclosed areas and snot everywhere, coating all sorts of surfaces which snot has never been before. We made it to Utah, by some miracle, and spent several days basking in the glow of parental and grand-parental spoiling. Man, no one knows how to spoil like a mom. Or a grandma. MmmMmm! Long luxurious baths, sleeping in, favorite foods, and cute new clothes! I'm a spoiled brat, and so is Jed!

I have mentally prepared myself for a barrage of emails about to flood my box, shouting "WHAT!!!!??? YOU WERE IN UTAH AND YOU DIDN'T COME VISIT ME???" and all I can say is I was so busy being spoiled that very little time was left for visiting. And I'm not one to hazard the wrath of Mom for being gone with baby while she's home with spoiling activities prepared. Sorry, really, I wish we could have visited everyone. Maybe next trip, promise!

After a few days of recovery from the snot-trip, we loaded up the van for another 11 hours of cross-country travel to visit Mom's family in Sacramento for Thanksgiving. The rest of the week was one giant fete with too much food and baby and I both rolled home, having doubled our body weight with delicious treats. The highlight of the trip was probably visiting with Jed's 95-year-old Great-great-grandma Teresa. We finally got our five generation photo!



Somehow Jed escaped the family tradition and turned out male.

Baby also got his second tooth over a game of pinochle, and cousin Don came to spend the week with us anyway, thereby raising the testosterone quotient for the gathering. Dad and Jed were exceedingly grateful. We made cool birdhouses and watched the BYU/UT football game. Mom's family decided to go with that "other" team and showed up in red. Decked out in our blue regalia, we showed Don and his adopted UT fan friends up, big time. HA, TAKE THAT, SUCKERS!

Back across two time zones, one more day at home in UT, then back across two more time zones, eventually crossing back into Indiana and home again, home again, jiggidy jig. Jed and I are two very fat little pigs.

Happy holidays!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

So yes, things have changed just a little bit since we got here. We are getting more and more comfy in our little apartment every day. I did get a new job. Vanessa got everything right. They had a web developer position open up that required some adobe suite skills, and knew that I had a little and so offered me that position. They said it had nothing to do with my project management skills, which I guess I believe, but between you and me, I was complete rubbish at it. There is a very fundamental difference between doing, making, and creating, and getting someone else to do, make, or create something. That something was usually a really convoluted report. This new job is much better for me, and I've already been able to learn a whole bunch and have actually felt useful. That's really nice.

So on the whole, Indiana has been pretty nice. It's still in the 60's here most of the time which is lovely, and the leaves are changing now. My office building is right on the shore of the Ohio river, and it can be a spectacular view, to the point of distraction. I still get distracted by the leviathan river barges as they push their load upstream and downstream. If I catch one in the corner of my eye, I immediately turn into a 5 year old boy, totally incapable of focusing on the matter at hand, generally a meeting or discussion that I'm suppose to be leading. The birds are fun here too. They are flying south for the winter, and some of the flocks are so large, you cannot see the ending or the beginning of them. They literally stretch for miles. I've been trying to capture how cool that is with my camera, but have failed to do so so far.

Anyway, enough blabbing. Here are some pictures that I just processed for your viewing pleasure. The stacks and pipes are actually the steam stacks of the power plants that my company owns and operates. It's my silly attempt to be a little bit like Michael Kenna.



Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Gobble Gobble

Baby Jed and Mom are leaving town to go visit Jed's great- great- grandma for Thanksgiving.
Poor Daddy has to stay home alone. If you have a moment, take pity and send him a email (www.michaelstanfill.com) or comment to brighten his lonely 12 days!
We'll be back the 27th.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Michael's Bored

Well, we've been here in Indiana for a month and a half now. We've moved twice already. We bought a new car, a new washer, and have a brand new baby. Well, it seems like he's a new one every day because he shore the heck ain't the same baby I had last month! We've had a haircut or two and, well, Michael decided he was bored. Our life is in such a rut. After all, we've had this couch for four days now. He needed something to spice things up.

So he got a new job.

Yes, that would be a DIFFERENT new job than the new job he started last month.

We get bored easily around here.

He's been offered a position as an "Applications Analyst" which he was informed can mean whatever you want on a resume, but in this particular instance he will be a web manager. Rumor got around Vectren (the utility company where he's been working all along) that Michael has mad Photoshop skills, and so when one of the web managers up and quit they offered M the position. He will be a "front end developer," which means he won't be doing the heavy programming but instead will be managing their web user interface, graphic design, data flow, color, online promotion, e-business, etc. So, essentially, it is PERFECT for my computer and technology loving artistic genius. Same pay, same benes, same promise of an MBA, just that now it's a job that I think he's gonna love!

I actually promised Michael he could put this post up but I was in the mood for posting and I don't have anything else to talk about (more snot, more dishes, more diapers, ho hum) so, um, here is a special space for him to clarify and correct everything I said wrong:

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OK that's enough. :c)

He starts the new job this week though they will be phasing him out of his old job for the next month. Kudos to my studmuffin spouse who is SO DESIRABLE that the departments of Vectren are fighting over him. What a man!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Settling In

Well, we're settling into our little townhouse at last. It is small, and ghetto, but everything is covered with a nice layer of fresh paint so you can really hardly tell except for the vague musty smell and the upstairs toilet that doesn't flush anything more dense than three squares of paper... Along with the apartment, however, has come a whole host of exciting changes. I shall list them for you, for ease of access and consumption.


EXCITING CHANGE #1
We bought a washer! Yes, as part of my sacrifice in giving up my long-cherished dreams for a dishwasher, we settled for an apartment with washer/dryer hookups (apparently in Indiana it is NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE to find the two washing utilities in the same space. I was told by more than one older, balding apartment manager, "Well, don't you think any woman would prefer the cabinet space to a dishwasher? I know I would." Obviously these men have been married for more than 25 years and haven't touched a sink since college. I almost snorted my glass of water the first time I heard this line.)

But I digress. So, I have my very own SPACE SHIP WASHING MACHINE to match my new space ship car. I am so modern! So spoiled! So hip! We decided since I am probably going to use this washing machine almost every day for the next 25 years it was worth investing a little extra moolah for something that actually cleans clothes, in contrast to washers I have used in the past. So, we bought this one:
We have been known to sit and watch the spin cycle as a family, jaws dropped in awe. Did I mention we don't have a TV? All the sudden the other appliances in the house have become so much more thrilling.

EXCITING EVENT #2
We borrowed a couch from Michael's parents. Well, it's a loveseat. With a blue slip cover. But it fits perfectly in our tiny little living room. I rearranged everything yesterday and it looks simply lovely placed diagonal against the corner with my huge green fern behind it.

EXCITING HOME ACTIVITY #3
I painted a bookshelf. Inspired by my RS Enrichment "Home Decorating" group, I decided to paint our nauseating rose bookshelves. Michael wasn't with me, so with my mother's sage interior design advice ringing in my ears ("Just buy whatever you like and when you put it all together it will always look good."), I bought a bright blue Montana Summer Sky color and painted my bookshelf the next day. Since my kitchen has nowhere near the storage capacity required for my daily cooking rituals, the bookshelf has been transformed into a food storage shelf. Yes, it's garishly bright. Yes, it matches nothing else in our home. But looking at that shelf makes me happy every day. Here's a really bad photo taken with my grimy cell phone:
Doesn't nearly do it justice. These shelves GLOW.

EXCITING CHILD UPDATE #4
Jed himself deserves at least a dozen updates. He changes EVERY DAY. Astonishing! Yesterday, he couldn't play the little tikes piano because the keys were too small. He woke up today and started banging on it like a pro (future pianist!) He crawls. Yesterday he started following me around the house. I'd put him in the bedroom while I put on my makeup. I can easily see him from the bathroom, but I looked down for a moment and when I looked up again... he was gone! My heart lurched and I did a wild glance around. And then, a touch on my foot. I looked down and there he was smiling up at me proudly, sharp tooth gleaming from his drooling mouth. Yes, a tooth. And another on the way! He rolls! He pulls himself up on the edge of his crib! He makes all sorts of consonant and vowel sounds! He laughs and sings to himself and smiles all the day long. He's huge. I can't even begin to describe how much he has changed in the last month. We have photos and videos on the way when we get our computer stuff hooked up. Here is a grimy cell-phone photo of him proudly getting up in his play-pen bassinet and smiling at his mother's chagrin.


THRILLING UPDATE #5
I do pushups almost every day and I am happy to announce that my ugly post-preganancy arm flab has completely disappeared. It even appears that I may be developing an ARM MUSCLE. I know, I know, try to hide your gasps of astonishment.

FUN EVENT #6
Michael and I taught Institute the last few weeks. We were only substitutes but oh, how I'm going to miss it! Such fun! We taught the Old Testament and much to my surprise, Leviticus and Numbers are far more fascinating now than when I was 14, the last time I bothered to read them. Our students were hilarious and smart and delightful in every way. I am jealous of their new teacher. Apparently, however, we don't have the requisite "maturity" necessary for a full-time Institute teacher. Oh well. Maybe in ten years we'll be old enough. It is kind of weird to teach students older than us.

SORROWFUL OCCURENCE #7
Baby Jed and I are sick. And he's teething. So pretty much life has been one whiny, snotty, drool-drenched round of nursing and sleeping. Hopefully all will be well soon. We have been to bed at 9 PM every day this week, which explains all those unreturned phone calls. (Difficult when you're asleep before your free minutes kick in!) We'll return to real life soon.

Well, I think that's enough titillation for one blog entry. Hope you can all calm your racing hearts and muffle your cheers. It's nice to be back online. More (quality and non-grimy) photos and updates coming soon, promise.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Baby's first words?!?! video

Sunday, October 28, 2007

MOVING IN

Hooray! We're moving in at last! The bad news for YOU, however, is that we do not currently have the internet at our home, so if I owe you an email sorry and if you are lusting after baby photos, my deepest condolences and you'll have to wait a week or two.

But we're moving in! Staying with M's family has been lots of fun but it sure is nice to have our own itty bitty little place.

Oh, and I forgot to tell you this earlier but we have bought a car!!! Yep, we got a 2003 Honda Accord LX. It's emerald green and so plush that it feels like I'm driving a space ship! I love it! AND it is officially mine and Jed's. I've never had a car so nice to drive. The radio even works. I'm trying to take good care of it. Which is why I immediately spilled a half a bottle of baby shampoo on the back seat and spent an entire rainy afternoon cleaning it up (ugh! If only I could grow up!) Apparently those seats are really just big sponges and hold the suds remarkably well. I said several fervent prayers of thanks for the inventor of wet vacs.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Getting Ready for Bath Time

Baby got ahold of a watercolor pencil yesterday and within ten seconds was a blue MESS! His tongue, spit, chin, and a big slash across his cheek. I cleaned up the rest, but the blue warpaint cheek was too cute to clean.





Here are some more of my baby photos... I've been trying to practice every day. Still have a long way to go. I think on these photos my ISO was too low. It was too dark. Hooray for photoshop. :c) I'm having a fun time tweaking my photos, too. A few people have asked, and most of these photos were taken with M's Canon 5D. Some of others I've posted were taken with the old RolleiFlex, but I haven't used that in a month or two. We've kind of swapped for a while, so you'll have some of M's Rollei photos up here soon.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Carrots




Another Apartment Video

Here is the exterior of our future home.
video

Another Apartment Video

Here is the interior of our apartment.
video

Found a Home at Last!

Well, ok, not a HOME, but a home for now. Finally, after much searching, anguish, and occasional confusion, we found a place to live here in Newburgh.

We thought we had found a place two weeks ago, but found out Monday that it had fallen through. Bummer. That's ok, though, because our new place is BETTER! We found a little townhouse with 2 bedrooms and 1.5 baths in a lovely, quiet area that is surrounded by fields. It's only $500/mo and all we pay is electricity! It's about 20-25 minutes from Michael's work, so a little farther than we anticipated, but the location is so nice we can't turn it down! Here is a map of where it is. Green is Michael's parents (where we are staying now.) Yellow is our new little townhouse. Red is Michael's work.

View Larger Map

One of my favorite things about it is that even though we are in the Newburgh zipcode, the name of our little town is "Paradise." :c) And here I always thought that was in Montana.

I took a few videos to send to Michael this morning. They aren't all that great and if you would mute my awful narration I would appreciate it. But here's the general idea. The house is in a shambles because they recently gutted the whole thing and completely rebuilt it. Everything is new except a few kitchen cupboards and the sinks. It will be all ready for us (fingers crossed) a week from this coming Monday.


video

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dance Party

There were no adults around Monday evening. So for Family Home Evening activity we had a hip-hop dance party. Here's a clip. Of course, it was much more glamorous in person. And it's so humiliating to see yourself dancing out of the moment. This particular clip features everyone but me.

Baby LOVES dancing and gave meaning to lyrics that otherwise would have been... questionable? Baby come into my arms! Baby want to go to bed with me! Baby oh baby! Baby I think I love you!
video

Moving Video

Here is a little video I took while we were moving and I didn't get my camera unloaded until today. My child is so masculine. I am astonished. Anything big truck like is an immediate fascination to him. When we are at Granny Zo'An's house, you can hardly get the child to look at you because he's always craning his head to look at the window at the big trucks going up the hill!

Michael was pretty thrilled about his big truck, too. Until he hit about 18 hours and a night spent in the cab, then he was sick of it. He did enjoy, however, the fact that all the other truckers became his immediate friends. They would wave and make manly trucker gestures every time he saw him. And all the ladies at the truck stops, upon seeing his haggard, unwashed, and bearded state started calling him "hon." "How you doin, hon? Long night?" Good thing I wasn't there or I would have beat up those sassy Southern broads for hittin' on my man. ;c)
video

Monday, October 8, 2007

Bath Baby

I just love love love taking photos of baby in the bath. He looks like a cherub. I've been practicing with Michael's nice camera during the day while he's at work. Taking photos is easy when you have perfection for a child.
V


I think this bottom one is M's favorite.

Conference Weekend

Yesterday we presented quite a scene. After two days of rotting in front of the TV, several movies, very little bathing, a bag of Chocolate Turtle Chex Mix, a huge bowl of barbecue/sour cream potato chips, leftover shrimp/lemon linguine, olive-oil drenched foccaccia, ice cream, brownies, and candy bars, yesterday evening Michael, Annie and I lay sprawled out on their parents' couches, still in jammies and sweaters, bloated and groaning beneath a misty cloud of released noxious gas. ohhhhhhhhhhhh the suffering! Ohhhhhhhhh the heartburn! Ohhhhhhh the releasing of noxious gases! Oh, the joys of conference weekend!

Fantastic conference! Favorite talk has to be Sister Beck's talk on motherhood. Listen to it here, promise you're gonna love it.

Fun fact: check out this video. If you click on number 17, church membership, the eighth person they show, the cute waving girl, is my old mission companion Claudia Boscolo from Brazil! I screamed in excitement and jumped from my chair when I saw that. I miss her! I don't have her address so we aren't in touch, and seeing her happy face made my day.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Angel

Jed has had a banner week. In the past 7 days he has:
- Turned 8 months
- Caught his first cold
- Started to scoot around on his belly
- Cut his first tooth
- Stood up on his own (holding on)

And all this on top of a major move and still no place to call home. He's had a hard time sleeping, but he is still his mommy's angel.
We love you, Perry Jed!

Tongue





Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Big Trip

Strictly speaking, our trusty little 1992 Honda is maroon. But even before we set off it was dirty enough to be a ghastly mottled pink. So much junk was in the trunk and back seat that we had to shovel out space to get baby in the car seat. But there was, quite simply, NO TIME for cleaning. In these circumstances, Dad and I set out for Wyoming, four hours late and a few dollars short (more on the dollars situation later.)

The whole point in bringing dad was so that I wouldn't kill myself and the child with my usual long-distance-driving-self-hypnosis. When I was little, Mom and Dad taught me to sleep in the back seat during long trips. This probably seemed clever at the time. However, in later years it proved not so smart, as my training (as well as Eric's, and possibly mom's) proved far more effective than expected. On long trips in our latter years in MT, it was not unusual for ALL THREE of us to be in a dead cold sleep before we reached the highway (under 2 miles.) The training has also made me a remarkably poor long distance driver. I have to nap about as often as baby has to eat. And that's a lot.

As a disclaimer, however, I will point out that I drove FOUR hours the first day, and kept up my share of half the miles the entire way. I'm quite proud of this and don't expect it to ever happen again. Last time we drove to MT I slept 7 of the 9 hours and I'm hoping to keep that pattern as a tradition. I love having a chauffer. Poor Michael. Dad tried to warn him!

Meanwhile, as we drove across UT and WY, Michael realized he had lost his debit card. But he had a credit card. So he cancelled his debit card. Which cancelled my debit card. I didn't have a credit card. So that made the trip interesting.

Dad and I made it to Rawlins, WY, and decided we couldn't make it any farther that night. Rawlins is a cold, hard, mining town full of men in trucks and seedy bars. Being the tight-fisted pair that we are, Dad and I opted for a fleabag hotel called the "Happy Traveler" or something similarly ominous. The room was FIFTY EIGHT dollars and even worse than you're imagining. I mean, I did NOT want my feet to touch that floor. You pulled a string to turn on the light over the sink. The green/grey tiled bathroom had been grouted at least a dozen times, apparently by a four-year-old with wood glue. I tried to put my towel on the rack and it fell off, carrying a shower of who-knows-what to the floor with it. YIKES! Also, all my personal hygiene equipment had been misplaced, so no toothbrush, no shampoo, no soap. I was one sad bedraggled sight. Baby and I slept in one bed together and didn't do a whole lot of sleeping.

Poor Michael, meanwhile, slept in his clothes in a chilly truck cab by the side of the road somewhere in Wyoming. I'm still not sure which of us was worse off.

The next morning was frigid. We decided to skip the free breakfast, given the nausea inducing morning shower, and ate a lot of dried apricots instead. As a side comment, I do NOT recommend consuming more than 14 servings of dried apricots in 36 hours. Not good. Just so you know.

The rest of the day is rather a 12-hour blur of flat land and, um, stuff. Baby did just fine as long as I stacked a HUGE mountain of toys (literally every toy we own) on top of him after feeding him every two hours. In his usual obligatory manner he did not poop while traveling (though today has been a rough day to make up for the two week hiatus...) and was general cheerful until about the 12th hour when he decided that EVEN the big boy remote control I had given him to chew on was no longer going to distract him from his misery.

Dad and I had a jolly old time chatting it up. I estimate at least 22 hours of talking in 48 hours. Talk about Dowdle heaven! Endless rants on oil sheiks, the mid-east situation, health care reform, corrupt politicians, ethanol, presidential candidates, housing prices, the general state of the economy, fast cars, alternative energy sources, geological formations, and, um, did I mention gas prices. We had worked ourself into a warm state of indignation by the time we were done and the best part is that we always agreed and were always right. What a great trip. It flew by for me. Don't get quality time like that every day. I was so happy that dad was willing to come.

That night Michael had miraculously caught up with us (thanks to his 5 AM wakeup and our frequent baby stops) so we all stayed together in St. Joseph, MO. Michael kept braggin about how he had caught up with us even though he could only average 35 MPH on the hills. I pointed out that he had spent the entire day traveling across NEBRASKA which is not exactly known for its mountains. We stayed at a nicer hotel and ate barbecue. Yum! Baby woke up at 1 AM and didn't got back to sleep until 2:30 AM. By then I was wired and never did go back to sleep. I did, however, get in half the book of John, the longest shower known to man, and full use of the free breakfast (since I had breakfast twice.)

The next morning we didn't have much of a drive. Dad did try to get onto the freeway by driving down an offramp, which was exciting. A few hours and we were in St. Louis. I bade Dad farewell and three uneventful hours later we arrived at our new hometown, Evansville, Indiana.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

What a Mess

Well, we're moved out. Sort of. Really we're moved-ish. The basement is spick and span, the upstairs is carpeted with a thick layer of random "stuff" that we have no idea what to do with, and our HUGE semi truck is half full with our life. Funny that our life doesn't take up that much room.
Thanks to the help of family and friends, and a couple of humongous, ponytailed passing Micronesians, yesterday's 17 hour moving marathon wasn't quite as aich-ee-double-hockey-stickish as I thought it would be. By the time Michael and I staggered into my parents' house about 11 PM, we both looked like survivors of second world war. I'd been up since 5 AM cleaning, packing, moving, lifting, and climbing the stairs several thousand times.
When Michael went to pick up his 22 foot trailer we had ordered, they told him that they didn't have any 22 footers left but they would be happy to give us the next size up for the same price. Michael happily agreed and we went outside to see them bring it out front. It came through the parking lot gate and OH MY GOSH IT'S HUUUUUUGE! It's a FULL SIZE semi truck. The interior is approximately the same size as our entire home AND the full basement. Holy cow. Tack the trailer on to tow the Volvo to it's new home and my studmuffin spouse is driving a healthy 45 feet of manly diesel and disk brakes. I stood in awe. This is without a doubt the largest vehicle I have ever set foot in. Well, I suppose a plane is bigger. But you know what I mean. It's a twenty foot barge!
Today we finish cleaning out the upstairs. Rearrange some packing, get some food, shovel out some space in the Honda, pick up grandpa, and we're off! Tonight we head to Cheyenne, WY.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Moving

Well, it's official. We're moving! We will be moving to Evansville, IN, a week from tomorrow. Michael got a job there at a company called Vectren where he will be a Business Analyst/Project Manager. Mixed feelings abound, as the sudden change of plans leaves a lot of our most precious friends and family behind, but we are excited for the prospect of a new career. They've offered to pay for Michael's MBA, so once that is finished and he has a few years of work experience under his belt, we figure we'll have lots of great options for our little family. It's not the bohemian lifestyle of an itinerant photographer, but we think corporate America will still be quite the adventure. If you click on the "Evansville" link above, the big building in the middle of the photo is where Michael will be working.

In the meantime, our house is an absolute disaster area, as you can imagine. I had this fantastic well-organized ideal of how I was going to pack each part of the house separately and have them individually stacked and carefully separated--HA! Check out this place now! I guess my subconscious decided to go the "all-at-once-chaos" method.

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Jed has no complaints. Take your eyes off him for a second and he's rolled over to some previously forbidden item, such as Dad's photo prints, jars of water, cell phones, books, you name it... they're all drool soaked in seconds.

Breakfast at our place


Join us for a delicious breakfast of oatmeal and peaches!
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Whee!

Dad likes to play games with baby. This one became particularly amusing on another take when Michael clocked Jed's noggin on the camera. Here was one of their more successful maneuvers.
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Notice the fierce determination to never, NEVER stop chewing on the fists, even when free falling and screaming aloud.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Happy Boy


I think we have the happiest boy on earth. What a cute head! video
Nobody ever told me that children were so good for the ego. I'm a regular comedian! Baby makes everybody feel like a million bucks.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Babe on a Plane

Just wanted to add my two cents...
You can tell from the photo how much he was just hating the plane ride. Ever time anybody walked by he was all dimples, smiles, and flirty eyes. He was quite the hit, let me tell you. And look at his cute little airplane outfit! Every single person, it seemed, who passed us would get a huge smile looking at our little boy. He's our happy-maker!

Home from Indiana



We had a wonderful time playing with family in Indiana. Jed flew in an airplane for the first time, and did quite well. We got more than a couple of looks from jealous mothers with screaming babies. He was also quite the charmer, spreading smiles anywhere we took him.

We also had to be very careful though, once while I was sitting in the aisle seat and trying to see something outside the window, I turned around to find him tickling the rear end of one of our stewards. How embarrassing! He managed to do this to a stewardess as well. None of them reacted, which I was glad for.

More to come! M

Monday, September 3, 2007

More bowling





Britton and Mom tied for first place. Between two games they bowled 245. It was quite impressive. It's clear to see why as they have perfect form.

Michael

Laboring to Bowl



Check out my Dad's fine form!




Vanessa trying to kill the camera man. She is VERy proud of her Cowball.




Clark gives those pins the ol' one two.




Vanessa decided to add another element to the game of Bowling. Hide and Seek.

The ball won.




Annie shows her determination to get yet another strike.