Saturday, December 26, 2009

Getting back into the groove! sorry for the past couple months. Life got a little crazy on us and the blog suffered as a result. I guess to get us back in the groove again, I (Trevor) thought I would just update you on what we've been up to lately for those who haven't been keeping up via other methods!
  • Addison celebrated her first birthday.The party was a blast, though I think we crammed about 4 hours worth of party into about 2 hours. We had a costume party for the kids, it was adorable as the ages ranged from under 6 months to about 9 years all in costume! Addison LOVED her first bite of cake. She got TONS of new toys which she really needed as she was really bored with what she had. After the party, Addison went trick or treating with some of her cousins which was a lot of fun, the kids costumes were a hit with the neighbors.
  • Addison has a great new babysitter, Bethany, who watches her on Wednesdays and Fridays (her Grandma Jeannie still does Mondays). She loves all the extra attention.
  • We learned that last December was no fluke for our eBay business as it spiked again in mid-November. The increase in business means a boost in income for us which is SO helpful. We plan to pay off the 0% interest loans we used to get our new house up and going in 2010 with that money. We are so thankful for God providing for us.
  • Things are going very well with our rentals. We are thrilled with both of the couples we selected which is a HUGE blessing. It was a rocky year as landlords, but we've learned a lot in the process and hopefully we'll make some good money back when we sell the homes.
  • Now that we are settled in our house and at our church (Eagle Brook Church, SLP campus), we realized it was time to get back involved again. We joined a small group in the fall. Our friends Matt and Rachel wanted to find a group as well so we went to GroupLink at EBC on a mission to find a group that we could join together. We found a great group that meets less than 10 minutes from our house and all the couples have kids so we are all in the same boat. Its really nice. Initially Addison did NOT like that we were leaving her in a strange basement with some strange kids watching her. We think it was a combination of separation anxiety and being in a strange place. She's adjusted now though and is playing downstairs with the kids really well! We are enjoying having some adult time and making some new friends and deepening our faith!
  • The holidays were a flurry as always for us. We spent Thanksgiving with my family. It was filled with lots of fun times as always! Then we went back to Appleton again in mid-December to celebrate Christmas with my family. Its rare we get to see that much of my family so its always a treat when the holidays come around. Addison loved all the new, unique foods she got to try for the first time! We just returned from a long weekend of Christmas celebrations with Meghan's family. We were thankful we didn't have to drive four hours in this crazy storm so it was a good thing that it was time for Meghan's family to have Christmas this year! Addison LOVES presents. Not so much what is in them though...she loves playing with them and ripping them open. Once they are open, she's less interested! haha After we show her what it does though, she loves all the new gifts.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The final push...

There isn't much time left in the Twins season. With the football season kicking in Meg and I thought we should take a final opportunity (only our second time of the year) to catch our favorite baseball team live in action.

Keep an eye open for us if you watch the game tonight...we'll be cheering loudly for our favorite team that is just barely hanging in there for the division. We are excited for the game, this will be Addison's second game and she's MUCH older this time so hopefully she'll enjoy it! Its going to be late night though...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Quick update

Man...its been tough to get out here to update lately. I was just in California for first trip there in months. Though I don't mind traveling for work, its certainly less enjoyable when you have a baby back home that you miss! This weekend is Addison's dedication at church. My family is in town starting tonight so they can be there for it. Coincidentally, Patrick and Susan are here from the UK too so almost everyone on both sides will be here for it, how fun! Tonight we are going to Buca di Beppo or as my dad calls it, "The Italian place where you can walk through the kitchen". Tomorrow night Meg and I have to make a steak dinner for the family which was part of an arrangement we made after entering a baseball pool with the family. My dad paid our admission fees with the stipulation that if we won, we have to do dinner for the family. Well we won ($500+) so now its time to make good on the arrangement. We have some really tasty looking Filet Mignons in the fridge from Costco...can't wait for tomorrow night! Good thing I got a new BIGGER grill!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Issuing a Challenge...

to myself (Trevor). At Eagle Brook last night it was Bob's first weekend back after taking some time off to get refreshed, work on his book, and come up with some new ideas/material. For those of you that have not attended EBC in the past, Bob is a tremendously gifted speaker, and once you leave the church you realize just how inspiring his speaking and topics is. They are wrapping up the John's Best Friend series that has been going on all summer. We've missed a lot of it due to being out of town or just being busy...something I am sad about. How is it that summers get SO busy anyway.

This weekends sermon was about the Holy Spirit and how vital it is to our faith and how we can get it to move more in our own lives. I came to realize sitting there that I don't allow time for God to speak to me. I have filled my life with activity and noise and it drowned the voice of God out. Having an infant in your life makes you change your priorities but sadly I think in changing mine I've cut out a few areas that I shouldn't have and allowed other areas to stay that aren't needed. I rarely found the time to get into God's word in 2009 (it was good at times and embarrassingly poor at others). Its sad to admit that, but its the honest truth. I love God, I know he's working in my life but I don't give him the kind of time needed to have a real relationship with him.

I am going to challenge myself to get back in the word again more excuses. I am sick of being ill-equipped to handle Satan's attacks. I've found a change in my attitude and clearly a change in my priorities and I am working to change that starting today. It probably means sacrificing some sleep in the mornings but change requires some sacrifice. I am taking a few days away from facebook as well to help me figure out my priorities better. Honestly I just need to use my time better and put the big rocks in the jar before the little pebbles. My big rocks are my faith/relationship with God, my wife, my daughter, my extended family and friendships, and my job. I wanted to put this out there so that its not just in my head...if others know about it I am more prone to follow through! Thanks for listening!!

Oh and for those that like is the cutest one of Addison to date. At the park on the swing:

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Back on our own...

Well the craziness has started to settle down. In the past 3 months we've had a HUGE rollercoaster of craziness that has kept us SO busy we didn't know what free time was. In that time we:
- Lost our renters in IL (spent thousands redoing inside due to their damage)
- Bought a new house in MN
- Found new renters in IL (signed the up to a 2 year contract...thank you Jesus)
- Moved into new MN house
- Spent weeks getting new house livable (it was a foreclosure)
- Work/vacation trip to Paris and London
- Lost renters in Rochester (We'll miss you Bristol's)
- Found new renters in Rochester (1 year contract, hopefully there for 2)
- Plus tried to maintain somewhat of a social life

Now with all that behind us we finally feel like we can take a breath and enjoy life again. We have a weekend camping trip (in a cabin...not trying camping with a 9 month old) at the end of the month that should provide some much needed relaxation time. While we just had a long vacation in Paris and London, we spent so much time sightseeing that we didn't get to really relax much. We are really looking forward to meeting Addison's newest cousin who should be born in the next month (to Krista and Bill, my sister and brother in law). And then after that its the start of the football season which should bring a lot of excitement for us like it always does. The rest of the summer and fall promise to be lots of fun and relaxation. We are so thankful to be where we are and even though its been a crazy summer, our God has taken great care of us and we know he'll continue it.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

London Blitz

This is a blog Meghan wrote for Patrick and Susan's blog, but it really summed up the second half of our trip nicely so I am going to put it on our site as well. I added additional details about our day trip to Brighton:

Seeing London in five days means that you see many sites in a little amount of time. Our family planned a ten-day European getaway, first to Paris for five days and then to London for another five days. We left Paris and arrived in London on Thursday night via the Eurostar train. Patrick was kind enough to meet us at the train station to help us navigate our way to their place and to help haul our two big suitcases, two backpacks, a small duffel bag, a stroller, and a car seat. Addison was excited to finally get to meet her Uncle Patrick and Auntie Susan.

On Friday, our first blitz of London included the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey, and Big Ben/House of Parliament. We made it home in time for dinner—our first experience with Indian food. We could not come to London where the best, most authentic Indian food is made (besides India) without trying it for the first time. It was some good stuff.

Saturday we decided to take the bus to Harrod’s where I was wowed by the monstrosity of a single store. We then took a stroll in Hyde Park and stopped at Blockbuster on our way home to get some movies for the evenings.

On Sunday we took a day trip to Brighton where we had a picnic on the beach and spent a few hours on the pier where we indulged in guiltless pleasures. (Written by Trevor) A couple very interesting things about Brighton: 1) The entire beach was made of stones, not a morsel of sand to be seen, 2) Brighton has a great pier kind of like Santa Monica, and 3) I can ride a bull for 35 seconds! We had a blast though. The coolest part we found was that one of the arcades had lots of 2 and 10 pence games...and they were the kinds of games where you could actually win money back. In the US those games would give out tickets for some lame prizes but out in England, they actually let you have the coins. It really makes the money last a lot longer which was a lot of fun!! To read more about our time in Brighton, you can see Patrick and Susan's blog where they did an entire blog about our day in Brighton. (End Trevor)

On Monday, Trevor, Addison, and I blitzed through Buckingham Palace, took a stroll by St. James’s Park, visited the Horse Guards, journeyed into Trafalgar Square, saw the National Gallery, walked through Leister Square, headed on up to the Piccadilly Circus, and from there also went into the British Museum until finally ending our day there and catching the tube back to Patrick and Susan’s flat for some dinner and a movie.

On our last full day, Patrick lead us through our final blitz of London. We visited the Somerset House, St. Clement Danes (the Royal Air Force church), and walked up Fleet Street to Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese where Susan met us for some lunch where I had my first meal of fish and chips. After lunch Patrick brought us by St. Paul’s Cathedral where we then continued on our way across the Millennium Bridge to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. We finished up our day by taking the tube to the Imperial War Museum.

We spent Wednesday morning packing and had to leave the flat at 11:30 for our long flight home. I think in order to fully take in London (at least all the major attractions), you need at the very least a week there. We loved every day we were able to spend there. We saw a good majority of the major attractions, though we went for quantity, not quality.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Keeping Up With The Joneses

Trevor has a great job; he makes great money. I am so thankful for his secure job and his wonderful boss who is so wonderful and generous. Going to Paris has been a fabulous experience, and I am so glad that Addison and I got to join him. This Paris part of our vacation is not actually a vacation for Trevor for the most part. During work hours he has been working at his company’s booth at the Paris Air Show. At night we have been able to be together as a family and be by ourselves with the exception of a wonderful cruise down the Seine on Tuesday night that his company put on.

So during the day all the wives of the men did some sightseeing and touristy stuff. This vacation for us was supposed to be a cheap one. You ask how we are supposed to take an 11-day vacation to Europe for cheap? Well I’ll tell you. Our flights were paid for by frequent flier miles. Our $612 per night room at the hotel in Paris was paid for by Trevor’s company. All Trevor’s food was paid for, and mine was too when I was with Trevor. Our transportation was paid for when I was with Trevor. Thank you Anixter for such a wonderful vacation! The second part of our trip is/was also supposed to be cheap. We have not gotten to that point yet, so hopefully we can keep it cheap. We are staying with my brother and sister-in-law in London, so lodging is free. We are going to try and eat in at their place as much as possible, so cost of food should be kept to a minimum.

The Paris part of our trip was not so cheap. You see, the coworkers that are here with Trevor are all VPs of Anixter, which means they make considerably more money than Trevor. Why does this matter? Because the wives of these men spent money without hesitation. (They even joked about bowing to the Louis Vuitton store when we passed it!) So dining with them and going to all the places that they went was not so cheap for me. Remember that my food and transportation are not covered by Anixter when I am not with Trevor. So our daily excursions cost quite a bit more than we had hoped to spend but they were very memorable and I wouldn’t change them for the world. I just sat back and watched the other ladies spent hundreds of dollars on art and other things just thinking and being thankful that I am in the place that I am, that my husband has a great job (especially in this economy), and though we don’t have a mansion, we have a beautiful new(er) house that we love, a happy family, and everything that we need to survive. I am one blessed woman. Stay tuned for more details of our actual vacation and more pictures.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Today is the day

We leave for Paris today. Its crazy because normally we would have been counting down the days, making lists of stuff to bring, etc. We have been SO busy trying to keep up with life that none of that happened. While its a nice 10 day vacation for my wife and daughter...its a week of work for me followed by some vacation. Nonetheless, I am quite excited for it. I am just realizing how excited I am right now though.

We are also a little apprehensive though as we are bringing a little 7 month old cutie on the flight with us. How will she handle 8 hours on a plane? Will she stay sleeping? Is she going to cry the whole time? Will everyone around us like babies? Will the seat between us still be open when the flight leaves (man I hope so)? How will she adjust to the time change? Some of the millions of questions floating though my (our) mind (s) today as we begin packing.

Even knowing all those questions and potential for stress, we know this is going to be a memorable trip. First, we get to spend about 5-6 days in Paris which despite having a vast population that doesn't think much of Americans is a gorgeous city filled with amazing stories. We have a boat cruise down the Seine on Tuesday night that will allow us to see MOST of the sites. Meg gets to hang out with the wives all day and roam the city (lucky ladies) while us guys man the booth at the show and try to convince customers to give us their business. After Paris, we are taking the Eurostar under the sea to London to spend another 5 days with Pat and Susan in London. This is when MY vacation starts and man do I need it. We don't have an itinerary set for the trip yet. I think we are just going to let them tell us what sites are the most worthy of our time. We can't wait for London though too...again so much many sites. Sadly I think Meghan is most excited to see Platform 9 3/4 Harry Potter fans will appreciate that.

Anyway, we'll let you all know about the trip. We plan to take LOTS of pictures.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Busy life = No blogging

Sorry about the lack of new blogs. Our last blog coincided with the closing on our new house and we have been spending like every waking moment getting the house ready for us to move in. between that and my rebranding at work, there is little time other stuff. That said, the plan is to move into our new place on WEDNESDAY. Not everything is done that needs to be, but its close enough now that we can live there and work on everything else later! We are so excited to have our own place again...its really looking GREAT there, everything we imagined it would be. Its been expensive, but in the end it will be worth it and we'll trust God that He is going to provide for us as he has in the past. I'll put in a few pictures for those of you that haven't seen the place or who only saw pics of the house sans the appliances, doors, lights, etc. You'll have to excuse the mess though...we still havea lot of cleaning and putting away to do!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Disaster leads to promise

What we've learned over the years through all our disasters (and there have been quite a few in our 2 years of marriage already) is that God usually takes our hand during those times and leads us to a better place. We signed new tenants the lease is now signed by both parties. We've had tremendous response of interest from people in renting our place since we spent that weekend working on it. How could there not be though, the place is gorgeous now. Our new renters have no kids and no pets (and no desires for either right now). They both work, one is an engineer making over $80K and the other a quality rep making around $60. We couldn't ask for better tenants from an income perspective! Let's just hope they care for the place better than the last people. All that is left now is starting to figure out how we are going to get our money back from the old renters...we are out some STAGGERING amounts of money right now.

On a side note, we close on our new house on Thursday. We are so excited to start making it our own!! The carpets are getting cleaned on Thursday afternoon, appliances will be delivered on Saturday, and then we start moving everything out of storage on Saturday. While we'll miss having Doug and Jeannie around (I know Addison will), having more space to spread out will be a real treat for us. We have a bunch of work to do before we move fully in though: new light fixtures (the people sold most of them), some doors to be hung (yeah sold those too), walls to be painted, vanity to install (yup you guessed it...sold the vanity), and window fixtures to hang. Once we get done though, this place is going to be magnificent!

By the way, if any of our loyal readers want to help with the move on Saturday (or with any projects)...let us know! :-)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Disaster Strikes Again at a Rasmussen Rental

This time it was our 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house in Lakemoor, IL. When we could not sell our house last year, we scrambled to rent it out before we moved to MN. We had thought we found the perfect tenants. Although we never met the husband, she seemed so nice and genuine and like she would care for our house. The fact that they had four children under the age of 6 concerned us a bit, but we just wanted someone to take care of that mortgage.

We requested one month’s rent as a damage deposit ($1400). She had said that they had not gotten their damage deposit back from their previous renters yet but would pay $100/month towards our damage deposit until they got their money back (which was supposedly 45 days or so). So they paid us $750 bimonthly. Then December rolled around and she supposedly sent us a money order, but it never showed up. She supposedly canceled it and was supposed to get a refund in 8-12 weeks. The rest of the payments were prompted until the second payment for March rolled around. Her grandmother supposedly died and they had to go to Texas so they couldn’t make the payment. Then her husband was supposedly laid off from his job and couldn’t make April’s payment either. During this time we kept on asking about the half month’s rent from December and the damage deposit from their old landlords and never got a straight answer about either.

Well they couldn’t live there for free so they asked us for three weeks to get out. We told them that they are bound to their lease (end of September) unless we could find someone else to live there. They said they would leave the house in pristine condition.

Trevor decided to go work from the office in Chicago last week so that he could do a check out process with those tenants and have them sign a new contract saying that they would make payments to us for what they owe (two months’ rent so far). He called them and said he would be there on April 30 at 1 o’clock. To his surprise, they were gone, and this is where the most fun begins!

Trevor called me up when he got in the house at about 2:30 (he had to run to his aunt’s house to get a key because he didn’t have one). He called me to tell me the shape it was in. I bought a plane ticket at 3 o’clock for a 5 o’clock flight. I threw some clothes for me and Addison in a suitcase and rushed out the door.

Back to the house. They left garbage for us to dispose of in half of the two car garage. The house was a complete disaster. There was garbage everywhere. The walls were painted half way up the wall from her trying to cover up the dirt and grime from their children who seemed to be terrors. The carpets were stained beyond belief. There were stains in the master bedroom from where a console TV was on the floor (which they also left for us to dispose of). We think it is mold from rotting wood. The screen door needed to be replaced because there were huge holes in it and scratches from dogs on it. (They were not supposed to have dogs in the first place, but we have eye witnesses who told us otherwise.)

Needless to say, the carpets need to be replaced, every wall in the house needed to be painted, and the whole place needed heavy cleaning. Uncle Gary took two truck loads full of trash to the dumpster plus one truck load full to Goodwill. Trevor and I would have been there for a week or more working 12-hour days if we had to do it ourselves. Thank God for family. Dick, Debby, Krista, Eliya, Aunt Debbie, Uncle Gary, and our friend Rachel from IL all pitched in and helped. We got the place looking pristine. We worked out butts off from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Then we had the long six-hour drive home. We got home at about 11 on Sunday night just exhausted.

Some interesting things that we found in the house while cleaning and going through crap:
1. All four of their children’s social security cards and birth certificates.
2. Their marriage license.
3. Their old lease agreement from their previous landlord, of which we looked at and found that they did not leave a damage deposit at that house, so it was a lie when she told us that they would get it back since there never was one in the first place.
4. A credit card.

These people lived like pigs. They are despicable people who were deceitful and sleazy. Shame on them. They have no integrity. I am glad they have to answer to God for what they did. We will, however, do our best to make sure we ruin their lives until we get what they owe us (sue them for what they owe us in rent plus all the damage and travel expenses, etc.). I am glad they moved back to Texas because I would have been tempted to find them when we were in IL and give them a piece of my own mind.

Sorry this was so long. Trev feel free to add anything to the comment section that I missed.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Time to get back on our own...

Most of you know that Meghan and I have been living in the basement of her parents house for a while, since moving back to Minnesota. The purpose for this was to save up some money for a downpayment on a new place up here since we decided to rent our house in IL rather than sell it. It worked out fairly well for us and we recently decided it was time to move on even though it was very comfortable here at the Corcoran's.

We started searching for places about two months ago. The first step was getting pre-approved. We had our eyes on this one house (looked great, perfect location) so we pushed to get it done quickly only to see that house get pulled off the market the DAY we were pre-approved! CRAP...not the kind of start we were hoping for!

After spending some time evaluating where to live and what kinds of homes we wanted (luckily we have similar desires with homes) we started choosing places to look at. Meg found a place that she labelled her "dreamhome"...not only was it more than we talked about but it was out of price range and needed a lot of finishing, but there is NO denying that it was a STEAL and a place we probably could have lived in forever...and it was in the TPC neighborhood which is a sweet place . We arranged a time to see it so we could see if it was feasible or not but upon arranging our visit, we found out they had an offer come in. We still saw the place but realized we would have to move quickly. After looking the place over though, we quickly realized we were in over our heads, this place was totally too much work for us novices!! We moved on, a little sad because it was amazing!

About a week later an even better "dreamhome #2" showed up. It was perfect and a foreclosure so it was a STEAL. The house had an ALMOST finished lower level that would have been perfect for us. We could have lived there the rest of our lives though. After seeing it, we went home calculated how much we needed to spend to get the place finished up (needed appliances and stuff) and then on Monday (the next morning) we got ready to place an offer only to find out they had an accepted offer on Friday that they never told us about. Our realtor was LIVID with the other Realtor...we were crushed. We literally were moving in there in our heads already. We started to figure out that even though it seems like a buyers market, when the homes were priced right, you need to MOVE on them fast!!! It took us almost a week to even look at homes again, our spirits were crushed after missing out on this one! Tiffany, our realtor was great though and encouraged us that the right place is out there and to just be patient and move quickly when you find it!

We were quickly realizing that even though we were in a down market for homes, we weren't able to find the kind of place we'd be happy in for a long time in our price range since we didn't have much of a down payment. There wasn't much out there on the market that we were interested in now though so our second strategy was looking for townhouse or cheap home that we could be happy in for like 5 years and then after selling our place in IL, we'd find our new dreamhome. We set out to find a townhouse, something we both swore we wouldn't do again after the process of selling my last one. There were a few disappointments and a few with potential. We were quickly learning what we liked and didn't like in the townhouse market. At the end of the weekend we still didn't find a place we were excited about though. We came up with one more list of four places to look at the following Tuesday. There were two in particular that we were really anxious about.

We walked into the first house and didn't even make it upstairs...ew! No way we could make that one work. The next house had a great location that we loved but the arrangement would have been less than ideal so we moved on. Then we found our dream townhouse...we walked in and it was like alarms were going off in my head that this was the place! What? Oh Meg just told me that alarms were ACTUALLY going off...I guess the power was shut off and the alarms were going off. We couldn't bring Addison into the house so we took turns touring the house and our smiles grew bigger each time we switched off. Could this be THE one for us? Could we seriously end up living in Coon Rapids AGAIN!?!?

We conferred outside and came to the conclusion that this was THE house...we had to act quick. The house had been on the market for 4 days but was a STEAL. We also had an obstacle with having FHA financing which was not listed among the approved options by the bank that was selling the house and there were a few things that needed to be fixed up before we left. We rushed to our realtors office and wrote a very creative offer...then the waiting began.

Amazingly we got a call the next day...they took it! We were was a long shot because banks are notorious for being completely inflexible. We've spent the last week figuring out what we need to buy for the place and hiring people to fix up a few things before the FHA assessment but we feel fairly confident that everything should work out and this is going to be our NEW home:
  • 3 BR / 2.5 BA
  • It has a lower level that is about 75% finished that will add an additional BR and BA...anyone wanna come help with that project?? :-) When we are done it will be a 4 BR, 3.5 BA don't see many of those on the market!
  • All three bedrooms are upstairs and all have walk in closets
  • Master suite with a walk-thru closet and a full master bath with whirlpool tub
  • Nice detail work throughout the house
  • All this for our offer of $135,000 (bank pays closing costs)
  • The people bought it new in 2005 for $210,000!
We are very excited to move in. The closing is set for May 14. We've been out on the prowl for new appliances along with other fun stuff to finish the place off and make it our own!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Going to Paris and London for $300?

It has been planned that I would join Trevor on his every-other-yearly trip to Paris for the Paris Air Show for two years now. What made this trip even better was that we were going to visit Patrick and Susan in London after Trevor's business part of the trip was done. My brother and sister-in-law moved to London for two years in September 2008. They have not met Addison yet.

A few weeks ago when Trevor was in LA on business, he met with his boss, who told him that the company was cutting costs. No layoffs (thank you God); however, Trevor's name was taken off the list to go to Paris.

I had already purchased my ticket via WorkPerks miles. There was no way in my mind that we weren't going to make this trip that we had been planning for two whole years! Trevor's boss knew we had purchased tickets and knew we were going to vacation after Paris, so he was very apologetic. Trevor's boss (Mike) came up with a compromise. If Trevor could get to and from Europe, then the rest of the trip would be paid for (meals, hotel, transportation) in Paris. What a relief! The cost for round trip coach class ticket on the flight I was already booked on was only $4000! Well, Mike offered Trevor his own WorldPerks miles so that we could make this possible. Talk about having the world's best boss.

So we paid a grand total of about $300 for round trip tickets from MSP to Paris and London to MSP. (We are taking the Chunnel train from Paris to London.) I am so excited for this opportunity to go to Europe again and explore some cities and countries I have not visited yet. Or wait, have I visited London? Here is a picture I found of us at the Somerset House doing some ice skating!
P.S. For a cute pic of my bro and SIL in London, click here:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Growing Like a Weed

For those of you who are not on Facebook, you probably do not get as many updates on Addison as the rest of the world. (Hint, hint--get on Facebook, it's the cool thing to do.) Anyway, she is getting so big and developing daily. Here are some updated videos and photos of our little munchkin.

Rolling over on February 13th

Our little home girl

In her pretty spring dress the whole thing, the end is the best!

Playing in her ExerSaucer

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Birthday of Choices

Trevor likes to talk big and taunt me with presents and surprises. This birthday was no different. I personally think he wanted to go down in history as Husband of the Year. He gave me vague hints and multiple times told me that I did not choose to listen to his hints, which I came to find later was a hint in itself.

When my birthday finally came, or rather two days before my birthday because Trevor couldn't wait any longer to give it to me, I opened the card only to find a CD enclosed. On the CD was a Powerpoint presentation made by the one and only Trevor. The Powerpoint presentation was where I would make my choices. The first screen informed me that I had a 60-minute massage scheduled at 3 p.m. on Saturday (3/7) with Kate at Aveda in downtown White Bear Lake. The next screen was where I had to pick one of three choices. I had to pick from a facial, mani/pedi, and new hairdo/highlights. I decided to go with the facial (a little taste of Heaven as my SIL Krista so nicely put it). My final decision was to pick between four things. The first choice was to go to two Twins games this year. The second choice was to shop and pick out a new "sexy" outfit (as Trevor put it) and go out to an "average-priced" dinner. The third option was dinner at the Melting Pot. The final option was a "night on the town" which included some activities at Block E in Minneapolis, which included dinner, movie, Shout House (dueling pianos), and of course GameWorks. I choose Melting Pot.

To back track a little bit, I was given a few days to make my choices, until my birthday to be exact. My reasoning for choosing the facial over the mani/pedi and hair was simple: I just got my toes done by Krista a few weeks ago and didn't need that done, and I didn't want to keep paying the maintenance every few months to keep getting my hair highlighted. My reasoning for choosing Melting Pot over the other choices was also somewhat simple after talking through it. We always go to a Twins game or two every year anyway, so why take it as a birthday present (sorry Trev, the truth comes out!). I did not want to buy a new outfit because I am in the process of losing weight, so having an outfit that I would wear maybe once didn't make sense to me. I chose not to do the night on the town because when it came down to my last two choices, Melting Pot blew a night on the town out of the water.

I have yet to set up my appointment for my facial, but we did go to the Melting Pot on Saturday where we were able to easily spend well over a hundred dollars (and that included a free chocolate fondue!) Unfortunately, our camera was left in the car, so we do not have any pictures to post. However, the food was outstanding, the little enclosed table with curtain was very romantic, and I could not have enjoyed myself any more.


Monday, March 9, 2009

A tough week ahead...

I knew this day would come but I managed to put it off for FOUR months...

Today is my first business trip (without my baby coming along). Honestly, its going to be hard to not see my little girl (and my wife) for most of the work week! I am accustomed to spending so much time around her lately that I think I am going to go into withdrawals by Tuesday night! Luckily my wife has family here now to support her while I am gone which gives me some peace of mind! She'll do well though, Meg really has this parenting thing down!

On a positive note, Addison is doing great! Addison is healthy and growing her four month checkup we found out she is 11 pounds 13 ounces now and 24 inches long. She's long and skinny, does that like anyone you know?? haha I am sure she will love to be blessed with my skinny genes if that is the case! There isn't much that is harder to endure though than watching your helpless little 4 month old baby get shots though. I have NEVER heard her cry like that though! We are expecting a new cousin for Addison in the coming weeks which will be so fun for her...Meghan and I each had a cousin about the same age as us and we have fond memories of us hanging out together!! We can't wait to meet little baby Vik!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Super Bowl Ads

I am a HUGE football fan, but I'll confess the reasons I watch the Super Bowl in seasons where the Packers are not it are:
1) Funny commercials
2) Last chance to watch football for like 6 months

I was a little disappointed in #1 this year (though the game was GREAT) but there were some real good ones...just fewer to choose from. With this economy though I expected things to not be what they usually are! To make my list, you need 2 things, make me laugh and be creative. If you lack either I will likely forget your previews and tv show ads do not count. Some companies (like GoDaddy) continue to push the lines with their sexually charged commercials and honestly, that is so like 5 years ago. Most people are past that and honestly if I need to register a domain name, GoDaddy is NOT getting my business.

So without further ado, here is Trevor's Top 5 Favorite Commercials from the 2009 Super Bowl:
#5 - Cheetos - Power of Crunch: Not a uber creative commercial, but it made me laugh and I liked the end how his luck ran out IMMEDIATELY after the bag was empty. This wouldn't have made my list most years though...weak competition in 2009.

#4 - Bud Light Meeting: Being a marketer...I can relate to the person mention cutting back marketing cause that seems to be one of the first cuts in times like this...its usually people like them that don't have a clue that come up with it too. How proposterous to come up with the idea of cutting the Bud Light from the budget!! I laughed hard when I saw the guy fly out of the building...not too unrealistic though (well at least their reaction wasn't).

#3 - Teleflora'sTalking Flowers: This commercial is a juggernaut but not a good enough one to crack my top 3. This makes it here for two is that its INGENIOUS from a marketing perspective with V-day about 2 weeks away...captive audience of mostly men...Teleflora will BLOW up cause of this. I thought this commercial was really funny though too, especially when the flowers say "no one wants to see you naked" at the end!

#2 - Doritos - Free Doritos: Every man is up for a good hit to the junk commercial. These are almost relics these days but that makes them funny again. There was a time when these were the norm in the Super Bowl but they are more rare these days which makes them funny again.

#1 - E-Trade Singing Babies: I am a sucker for these E-Trade commercials...I admit that. When the baby started singing I lost it! I love these commercials and this one was GREAT. Slam dunk...I knew this was the winner right after seeing it!

I give a special honorable mention to two commercials:
HM #1 - Miller Lite's 1 second mock your biggest rival like this (Bud spent about $35 mil just in advertising time...not including what they spend in creation) was stinkin AWESOME!

HM #2 - Career Builder: The core of the idea was wonderful and I think it could have been a really funny commercial but it was too repetative that made me actually get sick of it before it was even over the first time. They could rebuild this one into a really funny one though!

What are your thoughts? Did I miss one that you loved?

Monday, February 2, 2009

The First Few Days

Greetings from sunny, warm, not-humid, gorgeous Grand Cayman. We enjoyed our first two full days on the Caribbean island. On Sunday hopped in the car and drove up to Rum Point where we ate lunch on the beach. The view was fantastic. Rum Point has some of the most amazing stretch of ocean and beach on Grand Cayman. It was a real treat to get to spend some time there. We plan on going back for a day at the beach, and I cannot wait. Addison got her first touch of the ocean at Rum Point.

Then we went to Georgetown where 90% of the shops were closed (most of the island closes down on Sunday). We had some ice cream at DQ and took a short ride up 7 Mile Beach where we reminisced about our honeymoon and saw the Marriott (where we stayed) and some of the restaurants we ate at. Then it was back to our condo for pizza and snacks during the Super Bowl.

Monday was a day of relaxing. We stayed out in the sun most of the day; Addison in her Bounce 'n Play.

For dinner we went to the Lighthouse where Addison slept the whole time, and we were able to enjoy a dinner in peace and quiet for once!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Addison...11 weeks and growing!

It's come to my attention that we haven't posted pictures of Addison on here since shortly after she was born. My apologies to our loyal readers...I guess I forget that not all of our readers are on sites like facebook. Without further ado, I introduce our 11 week old little doll, Addison:

Here she is spending some quality time with Grandma Jeannie. She gets lots of quality time with her grandparents these days!

Addison's favorite place in the house is the bathroom. She LOOOOVES baths and loves to look at herself in the mirror...with a face like that though who can blame her!

While her first love is mommy...she's started to develop eyes for her dad. I can't wait until she old enough to get excited when I come home from work!

Lastly this was our picture for our Christmas newsletter. I thought I would end with a cute picture of our little family.

Its so amazing to watch this little girl grow. The changes that have already happened have happened so quickly...she's grown from being a little newborn baby to having a personality already in such a short time. We've been able, most nights, to get her to be in bed between 9 and 10 which when compared to midnight is an amazing treat for her parents (who were getting a little worn out from the late nights). She sleeps through the night, usually 6-8 hours which is wonderful as well. We've found she shares her mom's love of sleeping in too which has been nice for her mommy.

Just 2 days ago we enjoyed Addison's first laugh which was one of the most gratifying moments of my life I think. You can't describe the joy you feel when you experience some of your own childs firsts in life. I am so thankful I was there to witness it! Tomorrow night is another first for Addison, her first night alone with dad. Meghan is going to my sister Melissa's wedding shower and leaving our little daughter in my capable hands for the night. It should be a nice night of bonding for the two of us...hopefully its one of her GOOD nights so I don't get overwhelmed!

I hope everyone stays warm this weekend and has a memorable weekend!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Finally a night on the town

We had a big achievement last night...our first night away from Addison for a nice date! I want to thank my little sis for the inspiration. After finding out she and Bill were heading our on a date night, Meghan was jealous but torn with the idea of leaving our baby girl alone for a whole night. I assured her if anyone can do a good job watching our little girl at night during her "cranky" time, its her parents who see her every night!

We decided to go for it and I called Saji Ya on Grand and set up our reservation for 2!

We fed Addison and got ready for our date. I grabbed the camera on our way out just in case there was anything fun to take a picture of...we always seemed to think there was back when we were dating! Luckily I did as it provided for some good I know Beth hates it when we blog without pictures. ;-)

We arrived at the restaurant and were sat at an almost full table with a family of 5 and a couple on a date. Meg ordered a glass of wine which when you are breast-feeding, is a really nice treat! One of the cool thing about Teppanyaki tables is its more of a social atmosphere...we started talking to the couple next to us right away and really hit it off! David and Trish were a fun couple in their late 30's that had only been dating for about 2-3 months. They were high school friends that reconnected recently on facebook after each going through a divorce. It was fun to see the "young love" that they had building already! Trish and Meg really hit it off so they kept the conversation interesting!

The dinner was fabulous, and so was the preparation. For some reason I didn't take any pictures of the cook making the food, I think was too busy eating it! We shared the Saji Ya which is steak, chicken, and lobster. Luckily my wife doesn't like lobster so I got it all to myself! After dinner the family on the other side of the table started to pull our presents and we realized it was someone's birthday! How exciting! The camera came back out...who doesn't want their picture taken when opening presents, right!?! :-) The first present for Liz (who's name we learned AFTER taking her picture) was a DeWalt power heard that right. The second gift was a HUGE set of drill bits...later we find out that Liz, who looks maybe 20 but is 25, is a welder! After taking their pictures, the family opened up a lot more and we had some fun times chatting with them too.

The night was still young so we headed over to Dixie's (next door) for a nightcap with David and Trish. After some more fun times, it was time to head home and "rescue" Doug and Jeannie and put our little angel to sleep for the night. We got home at about 9:30 to find her sleeping in Jeannie's arms and she was DONE for the night. I put her in her sleep sack and she was out until early this morning. It was a nice end to our night to have our daughter already sleeping and staying asleep (which is NOT something she always does). We hope to have more nights like this, it was nice to have a night to ourselves to just enjoy one another like it was before Addison came into our lives. Thanks Doug and Jeannie for allowing us to have this night!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Our first party BACK in Minnesota

Living at your parents (or in laws in my case) has some restrictions (though Doug and Jeannie are GREAT about giving us our own space) of which is that its kind of hard to have big groups of people over when you are sharing someone's house. When we found out they were going to the UK to visit Patrick & Susan, we jumped at the opportunity to have friends over for a little shindig. What better time is there than celebrating the New Year!?!

We both love entertaining so throwing a party was something we were both super excited to do! We told everyone we'd take care of the food ourselves and we decided to do one of our favorite things...FONDUE! If you go out for Fondue, its like $50 a person, but really its MUCH cheaper to do yourself though there is some prep work involved. We had a cheese fondue and a chocolate fondue with lots of dipping options. It worked out great with the grazing atmosphere we were going with at the party.

Our new WiiFit even got a little use as people tried it out to see what the rage was about. Since many of our friends now have young children, they came and left whenever they needed to but we managed to still have 8 people (including us) still there as the ball dropped! It was a really fun night, so thanks to everyone that came by and spent their New Years Eve with us! I don't have any pictures but if anyone who came does, feel free to send them and I'll post them!!