Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Don't Let The Bed Bugs Bite!

Because when they do it itches like crazy!!! Now I thought that this was just a cutesy little saying that I say to Caiden before I put him down to sleep. Little did I know that it could actually happen! Of course it would happen to me. I have the worst luck.

The story starts where I go to Detroit. I stayed at the Courtyard Marriott, which from all appearances LOOKED clean. My room smelled really strong of smoke, but they also had a sign that said that they recently became a "smoke free hotel". They may have wanted to wash the walls, curtains, carpet and maybe sprayed some air freshener to ensure that the smell was out, but that's not really my problem.

My problem is that I think the room had bugs. I am COVERED in bug bites and I itch like crazy. So much so that I look like I have chicken pox and I feel like it too. :( I'd take a picture, but that is pretty gross, don't you think? I finally decided that I would complain to the hotel as I have stayed as many a Courtyard Marriott and not had this problem before. Hopefully, they can fix the issue before another customer has to endure this horrible itching. :( Until then...I'm going to buy stock in Calamine lotion.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Trip to 8 Mile

Well, not exactly. I mean, I wasn't going it Eminem style or anything, but I did take a business trip to Detroit and stayed somewhat close to 8 mile (we stayed at West 12th mile). However, if you talk to Heather, you'd think that we should be ducking and driving with just our eyeballs peering over the steering wheel. In fact, she actually told me to have Michael Chapman drive and for me to duck (Sorry Michael, guess you know which friend Heather would miss) :P

It was quite fun. This is my second time to Detroit for business and I enjoyed this trip much more. We went out to dinner as a team the first night we were together, and received some unique awards. We went to a Greek restaurant where I tried something called "flaming cheese", where they light your cheese on fire and then sit it in front of you. It was funny because Cristill and I would jump every time someone would order it. She thought that her hair was going to catch on fire, and I was just...well there is really no excuse for me.

The next day was some organized fun at the Henry Ford Museum. I had never been before, so it was quite an experience. They had some really cool things there, like the car that JFK was driven in when he was shot; the bus that Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in, as well as the chair Lincoln was assassinated in. In addition to the more serious things, they had some rather quirky things to like the Oscar Meyer Weiner mobile, some replicas of old hotel rooms (which frankly looked a little bit like ones I have stayed in today), and Thomas Edison's last breath caught in a glass (although I did not see this one, Michael swears that it is there).

Take a look at the size of the people compared to this was HUGE!

The restored bus where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat

I think my favorite thing there was the Rosa Parks bus, and not just because of what this amazing woman stood for, but because we had some school children that were there for a field trip. They all came on the bus and sat down. We listened to a recording of Rosa talking about that day and her experience. At the end a song started playing and all of the kids (unprompted) started clapping to it and singing "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine". I was so impressed at the level of respect they had for this experience and for what Rosa Parks did for civil rights. I am still in awe sitting her typing this, and was touched to be able to experience that with them.

Another cool thing about this museum is that they had a rather eclectic collection of different pieces of American history. For more info, visit their website at

We had to take some silly pictures:
Of course we took some silly pictures too:
Me pretending to be asleep on a plane with drool (I was parched so I am sans drool) :P
We had to take a picture with a Wright brother. Lynne volunteered
Hey, whose the pilot?
Greg thought he would introduce himself to the locals

Of course what is a trip to the museum without a little competition. I mean, it can't all be educational right? :) Michael organized a scavenger hunt of sorts in which we were broken out into two teams and told to take "creative" pictures with different exhibits at the museum. My team was Greg, Lynne, Kim and myself. While the other team consisted of Cristill, Carl, Mike W. and Michael C. We were told to go around both the museum and the "village" and take pictures at certain places. Creativity is key as we would be judged on that. Both teams ran around taking pictures and hiding from each other. Who won you ask? Well I will let you be the judge.

Here are some of the pictures that were entered into this competition. Please judge on creativity:

Friday, April 25, 2008

Rats In The Maze

Well, I thought I was exhausted before, but now I REALLY am. As Michael Chapman says, "there is never a dull moment when traveling with you". Maybe not, but it's REALLY not my fault.

Michael, Cristill and I were traveling to Detroit (pictures to follow in future posting). We were prepared as we could be. We got up early, arrived to the airport early, dropped of the rental car early (are you sensing a pattern here)? However nothing prepared us for the drama that was about to ensue.

Our first stop at this rather confusing and large airport was to drop Cristill off at her gate as she was the first to go. Cristill is visually impaired, so she required assistance in going through the process that we will affectionately call the Detroit airport "rats in the maze" experience. We shuffle through the airport, dragging our bags and leading Cristill to the nearest ticket counter. We wait in the appropriate line until we are able to check in our bags. To help you visualize, Michael is in the lead. His job was to get all of our boarding passes. Cristill and I are behind him with all of the luggage. My job was to get our baggage checked in. Michael is doing his thing to check us in on the kiosk when all of a sudden a rather rude, sharp and annoyed voice shouts at Michael that he cut in front of her and that he was in the wrong line. That "THIS is the line to check baggage and YOU need to be in the line to get boarding passes." *Mind you, we had been standing there for the last 15 minutes or so.*

Michael looks at the lady, says "Oh, I'm sorry" and starts to back away. I said, "He IS trying to get boarding passes". As Cristill's boarding pass is spitting out of the machine, the lady pushes Michael (with her body rather aggressively edging her way in front of the machine) so that SHE can get to the machine. She then loudly complains with her party about Michael, Cristill and I, as Michael and I are frantically trying to get Cristill's baggage, boarding pass and an attendant to assist her through the security checkpoint so that she can get to her flight on time. (Our flight was the other side of the terminal - which you would need to take a monorail-like system to get to...remember...we are early, but now we fear we won't make it to our own flight).

The lady continues to push her way through and is SO vocal, Michael starts backing up. At this point, the rather nice desk agent snaps back at the rude family "Just let this gentleman finish what he is doing". However, when the desk agent's back is turned, the lady successfully pushes her way to the machine, and Michael gets his confirmation code from his bag. Desk agent to the rescue!!! She stops the lady and shouts "where is that gentleman!". I said "Right here!!!!!!" while pointing to Michael and pushing my way through the lady to get Cristill's luggage checked in.

Finally, we get everything in order, drop Cristill off for an attendant to assist her and dash off to our security checkpoint. Now, I never knew how high tech Detroit was. In addition to the regular, take your shoes, and removable clothing off restrictions that all airports have, they also had this machine that you walked into (very Star Trek like) and it shot you with puffs of air in an attempt to detect explosive materials on you or your clothes. It felt like when you go to the eye doctor and they ask you to open your eye while they spit puffs of air, but all over your body. Michael went through it fine and proceeded to the metal machine. However, I on the other hand, had the gentleman who was standing in front of the machine blocking my exit as he was complaining about the lack of opportunities he has to train the TSA agents. The machine was yelling at me to "Please exit", I was bracing for more puffs of air and this guys is babbling about training while blocking my way out. I asked him 3 times if he could let me out and he said rudely, "Did it tell you you could exit?". I said yes and then he glared at me and begrudgingly moved aside.

Thankfully, I made it through the metal detector without getting wanded, and now I am sitting on the plane ready to take flight. Hopefully the flight goes better than the pre-flight experience.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Fun In The Sun

It was hot this past weekend, and even though Kiya and I were feeling under the weather, we couldn't help but go next door to the neighbor's house to watch Mackenzie and Caiden slide down the water slide.

Caiden had a lot of fun, but unfortunately came down with my cold soon thereafter. :(

Here are a few pictures and a video of their adventures.

Caiden, Mackenzie and Megan going down the water slide with the assistance of Michelle
Caiden started jumping halfway down the slide...he got some air!!
Mackenzie before she slid face first :)
My cutie Kiya in her little sun hat. Her cheeks were red from the heat, but I stayed in the shade the whole time.

I just threw in this one for good measure. How cute is my sleeping angel?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Back to Work For Me

Well, it's that time. I went back to work last Tuesday, and I thought I would take a picture of what greeted me as I got in the car. UGH!!! I did not miss this drive at ALL. :(

Notice the right side of the freeway? That's the way I am going. Notice all the red lights...yea, me too. :( Also, did you notice how people on the left side of the freeway have their headlights on? That's because I have to leave so early that it is still dark outside. There are two problems with this:

1. I am NOT a morning person, and I have to get up EARLY to get the kids ready and myself and get out the door

2. I am NOT a morning person and I truly believe that no human should be awake this early, especially when it is still dark. Where are my warm covers when I need them. Is it time to go to sleep yet?

And with gas prices (at around $4 or more) a gallon, I may not be able to afford to go to work soon.

Hopefully all will work out soon. Until then. I will see you on the road.

Monday, April 07, 2008

An Answered Prayer

So today is my last day before I have to go back to work. Today is also the day that I made a payment to the kid's childcare place down in Irvine. After I did, I only had $600 left from my paycheck which did not even account for the $160 in gas a week that I would be using.

Unfortunately, we do not currently have the means to allow me to be a stay at home mom, but it was clear that we were not going to make it with the cost of childcare. You know how some people are house poor? We are childcare poor. It's amazing to me that Dave and I make good money yet we struggle with the cost of childcare for 2 kids. It's even more amazing to me that you can't claim the full amount of the childcare you actually pay on your taxes.

Well, I was so worried and in tears over what to do about the whole childcare situation. Clearly, we were not going to be able to afford it, but I didn't see any other options. I had been praying about this, and last Friday I did some research on schools in our area. I searched and searched and finally found one that happens to be right across the street. I had told Dave about it, but we just didn't see how it would work with me being so far away (when I 'm at work). I wanted the kids to be close to me in case of an emergency.

But of course God works in mysterious ways. Dave said we should just stop by the school and see what it's like. We did and LOVED IT! It is perfect for us. It is close, Dave will be able to pick Caiden up when he is not working and Caiden could make friends and play with kids in the neighborhood. Also, he will not have to spend 4 hours a day in the car with me!!!! The school is amazing, and the people were really friendly, and the more they spoke about it the more we knew our prayer was answered. It is a private Christian school (exactly what we were looking for) that goes until middle school. It is affordable for us, teaches the values that we want, and the children that attend there test over a grade higher than their peers in the public school system. Not to mention, I have been looking for a church for us out here and was going to try the church associated with the school last Sunday, but I had Pam's baby shower. They informed us that if we are members of that church we would get an extra discount off tuition - possibly as much as 15%.

The school program is actually quite big and instead of sorting kids by ages, they sort classes by birth months. We asked if they had any openings and they said they had one 4 year old position if his birthday matched up. They were looking to match a March 10th birth date, and he is March 12th!!! How much more perfect could it be. Everything fell into place. They even said he could start tomorrow!!!!!

When we walked in, I was in tears and felt a bit hopeless. By the time we left I was smiling and my spirit felt uplifted. This is truly what we needed at exactly the right time. Again, the Lord works in mysterious ways!! I feel so blessed and thankful. Now we just need to find childcare like this for Kiya. They don't have an infant program so we still need to find some other option. She is the most expensive of the two kids too. Hopefully, the Lord will provide a way for us again. I feel like a burden has been lifted - at least partially. All I have to say is Praise God...I feel happy and confident knowing that Caiden has an amazing, faith-based school that he can attend for years to come.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Pam's Baby Shower

Today was Pam's baby shower and it was quite a success! It was a very traditional baby shower in that it was for females only. *NO BOYS ALLOWED* With of course the exception being the little men in our lives. No I am not talking about our husbands, I am talking of course about our kids. :)

The day was beautiful with a slight chill, and there was quite a good turn out. Plenty of people trekked in from out of town to celebrate the impending birth of Baby Hester (no first name yet - I have been getting a lot of comments about that. Hester is their last name - it is not the baby's first name).

Pam and friends
This was a game that we played.
Pam mingling

The food was expertly cooked by Jim, but of course he was the "hired help" today, so he was able to escape the "No Boys" clause. :P Baby Hester received a lot of nice gifts and it was wonderful to meet new people and visit with familiar faces as well.

Baby Hester gifts
Homemade, hand stitched blanket
Caiden keeping a lookout for Baby Hester's arrival :P I guess I shouldn't have told him about the stork (just kidding)

After most people had left, the boys played in and around the pool.

They kept getting closer and closer until finally we let them go in the jacuzzi
Wendy and Kiya...she has a real affinity towards her Auntie Wendy
Grammie and the boys
Papa Jim and Micah laugh together

Kiya bundled up and Caiden

After the fun and festivities the real fun begins...the countdown until Baby Hester's arrival!!!!! I for one can't wait!! :)

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Happy 1st Birthday Naffin Twins

So it has already been a year since the Naffin twins were born. Can you believe how time flies?

Steph and Dave had a party for Lindsay and Kyle at their house, and of course I couldn't resist going there.

Here are a few pictures from the event. Who am I kidding? Here are A LOT of pictures :)

Caiden and his new friend Patrick
Kyle and me bonding. He was fascinated with my ears...he kept grabbing my ears and turning my head and inspecting them. Geez if I were a monkey I'd think he was about to pick bugs off me.
Regina, Angela, Carter (?) and I don't know the husband's name.
Jonathon and Kyle
Karen with Kiya, Caiden, Kyle and Lindsay...and of course Bear
Gigi and Kyle
Kiya and I
Lindsay finally got into the cupcake :P
Although her brother was not so sure about his
Then it was time to open gifts. Lindsay loved the paper and bows. :)

It was a long day, but we had a lot of fun. :)

Saturday, April 05, 2008

The Budds Are Back In Town

And when the Budds come, so does Easter! Well, sort of. Since Micah wasn't able to do Easter Egg hunting down here with us, Lance and Susan recreated Easter and the hunt for him. He had a lot of fun from what I could tell and was very meticulous about opening each egg he found in the very spot he found it before moving on.

Caiden sure liked to help, and was excited to show and even bring Micah the eggs, so sometimes there wasn't much of a hunt for Micah. He was good sport about it though. :)

Micah pointing at an egg while Dave and Wendy watch

Caiden helps Micah open the egg

Easter boys :)

Micah then showed us off his cool tattoos, and the boys played a bit.

Susan made a great meal of homemade lasagna, salad, biscuits and even a homemade lemon cheesecake for Jake's birthday :)

Micah helped Uncle Jake blow out his birthday candle

We then hung out for the rest of the evening and just had a good time chatting.

Wendy with Kiya...she rested peacefully

And then she hung out with Uncle Jake

And Auntie Pam
I thought this was so cute. Micah was kissing his cousin-to-be. We can't wait to meet baby Hester.
Self portrait of Kiya and me :)