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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Quiet Saturday.

Reading "A Good Day"

Today started off with a trip to the library. Despite the fact that I have about 20 books in my "To be read" pile, the trailer for the movie Stardust peaked my interest enough that I decided to borrow the novel and read it immediately. These days, we don't get to see movies until they come out on DVD, so I'm pretty confident I won't be seeing it anytime soon. Plus, nine times out of ten, the book is usually better than the movie anyway.

We're very lucky in that Shaler Library has a very nice children section, devoting the majority of the second floor to resources for kids. In addition to books, they have puzzles, games, and toys. Lauren just loves it there.

I also couldn't believe my luck when I browsing the for sale shelves. I found a copy of Water for Elephants for $1! Not only is it on my wish list, but it's also currently in the top 10 of Amazon's best seller list. So now I guess I have 21 books to read!

Black eyed Susans.

After we came home from the library, I spent most of the afternoon playing outside with Lauren while Mark worked on his new project. He still needs to complete the landscaping around the steps, but here is what the front of our house looks like now:

Can I come in?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Back amongst the living.

Around 11:30 last evening, I finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Mark walked in the room the exact moment I closed the book and asked if I was finished. When I said "yes," he replied, " Good. You can start talking to me again."

It's okay though, since he's used to being neglected for a day or so every couple of years when a new HP book is released. Although I must admit that it was getting a little extreme, as Lauren kept telling me "Mommy read Harry Potter book," everytime she was in my vicinity.

I'm still trying to figure where Deathly Hallows fits in my person ranking of the seven books. At first, I thought that it was my new favorite, but really I think it's tied for second with Order of the Phoenix. Prisoner of Azkaban remains my favorite, because it was the last book which still had a sense of innocence about it and a pretty much singular focus on boarding school life (When I was young, I used to dream of going to boarding school, so I especially love this aspect of the books. What can I say - back then I was under the extreme influence of The Facts of Life.). After PoA, the story takes a very heavy turn, so much that comparing any of the last four books with the first three is almost like apples to oranges.

Nonetheless, DH does contain my absolute favorite moment in the entire series, which occurs on page 658 in Snape's words to Harry (If you haven't read the book and intend to, please don't go to that page because it contains a major spoiler!), as well as my favorite quote: "You know, I sometimes think we sort too soon..." Indeed, Dumbledore, indeed.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Lauren conquers Kennywood.

On Sunday, we took Lauren to visit Kennywood Park for the first time. We honestly didn't know what to expect. Would she be willing to go on any rides? Would the crowds freak her out? Would we have wasted $40?

But we're very proud to say that she was a trooper. As soon as we arrived, we took her on the Turnpike and she was hooked. She rode the Old Mill (Now called Garfield's Revenge - whatever), the merry-go-round, the Auto Ride, the train, the Lil' Phantom (twice), The SS Kenny, the Whip, and The Turtle.

While she was riding, she showed very little reaction for the most part, but as soon as the ride stopped, she would say "Another ride!" I think that she liked the Turtles the best, because she almost cracked a smile while we were on the ride. Then again, that could have been because we were making a spectacle of ourselves by chanting "TURTLE! TURTLE! TURTLE!" over and over again. After we disembarked from the Turtle, she pointed up to the Steel Phantom rollercoaster and said "Ride the Big Ride!"

There was only one thing that stopped her:

More photos can be seen on on Flickr

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Dinner for three. Twice.

Tonight, My friend Melissa and I took our friend Eddie to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner to celebrate his 40th birthday. I'm fairly confident that I consumed a two day alotment of calories at one sitting, but it was worth it.

A few nights ago, Mark and I had the pleasure of dining at a quaint little local establishment. I think that you will agree that both the atmosphere and the service was excellent.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

We're multimedia!

Presenting the short film, A Little Bit O' Pep:

Monday, July 9, 2007

Oh give me a home where the penguins roam.

This is our shed. For the past couple of weeks, Lauren has been telling us that a penguin lives behind it. We don't know what to make of this. Is she pretending? Is this her first lie? Did she see a skunk behind the shed and mistook it for a penguin? Or does a penguin really live behind our shed? I tend to believe the latter, since she is a very clever girl afterall.

Mark updated his Flickr page with lots of pretty photos of the flowers in our garden. No penguins though. This one is my favorite:

Friday, July 6, 2007

Sleep well Sammie.

We'll miss you.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Proud, oh so proud.

This evening, I came home to quite a shock. Not one, but two of my recent photos are listed listed among the 500 photographs chosen each day for the Flickr Explore page.

So what does this mean? Well, not much really. According to a super secret complex computer algorithm, these two photos are considered interesting in comparison to other photos uploaded that same day. It also means that a lot of people will see these photos who may not have otherwise, which makes me giddy with happiness.

I myself look at the photos in Explore everyday to see all the amazing, beautiful things that this world has to offer. If you don't believe me, take a look for yourself (Warning: It's very addictive!):

July 2nd: At the time that I'm writing this, Lauren's photo is ranked around 340 - 350. So look for her about 2/3 a way down the page. The Explore pages are constantly changing, so she could move up, down or even disappear from the page altogether.

July 3rd: Our dining room (of all things - Mark can't believe it!) can be seen somewhere around 280 - 290.

Come to think of it, if you click here you can see the exact ranking.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Success in the form of a table.

You may recall that we've been searching for a new side table for our living room for quite sometime (Okay, I seriously doubt anyone cares that much to remember, but god forbid I leave anyone hanging on such an important issue). Ultimatums aside, we weren't going to settle for any old table. It had to be the right size, the right color and of course the right price.

We finally found one at the beginning of June at the Great Geauga Antiques Fair. But if you buy a new table you have to have a new lamp, right? And if you get a new lamp, you need new pillows to match, right?

Well, at least that's the way we think. So thank goodness Pottery Barn has 50% off sales for people like us. The photo collage, while inspired by PB, actually came from Ikea, where they sell the same style of frames only much cheaper. It only took us, oh, almost five years to put some of our wedding photos on display.

And to further illustrate how thrifty we are, here are my PB inspired letters (PB catalogs are riddled with big letters), purchased for $2 a piece at the aforementioned antique fair.

I like to think of the tall "R" as Mark, and the small "R" as me.

Here's a bonus photo of our dining room that I took earlier this year while fooling around with the camera. Don't you wish you had a one-of-a-kind portrait of an some old guy watching over you as you eat?

Monday, July 2, 2007

Little brown eyed girl.

I took this photo of Lauren exactly one month ago. She was playing in our bed - being silly as usual. For some reason, I happened to have the camera upstairs with me. I had completely forgotten about it until yesterday when I was browsing through recent photos. I think it's my new favorite.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

An explosive celebration.

This weekend, we held a cookout in honor of Grandma Pinky's 60th birthday. We grilled hotdogs, ate corn on the cob and blew lots of bubbles with Lauren (Trust me, everyone left with at least a little bit of bubble soap in their hair, courtesy of my daughter.). We were even graced with presence of the resident Tribal Elder of Shaler Township (aka Great Grandma Gert).

But by far, the highlight of the evening was the spectacluar fireworks display put on by Uncle Craig.

Both he and and Aunt Phyllis insisted that they were legal fireworks, but I still have my doubts.

More photos can be seen on Flickr.