Sunday, April 23, 2006


"I need something to feel me better." (Make me feel better). This is my current favorite.
"It's a waterfell!" (waterfall)
"Them got..." (they have)
"I play five minutes. Okay? Okay." (self-explanatory)
"Play ____(fill in the blank)____ first. Then, we go. Okay? Okay."

Meeting Thomas the Tank Engine

As a bonus with our membership to The Henry Ford, we got "Day out with Thomas" tickets pretty cheap. Today was the big day! Roman did not show outward excitement at first, rather he processes things in his brain for quite awhile. By the end of the afternoon, though, he wanted to see Thomas' face over and over!

The train ride was about 20 minutes. Afterward we got our picture taken with Thomas while he was in the station. We aren't the type to buy those pictures, but I wanted to see what they looked like anyway. I handed the slip over with our photo number on it and the woman said, "Congratulations! You've got a sticker on your sheet - you have won a free 8x10!" So the photo below is of our free 8x10 picture.

It turned out cute, for sure. We spent most our time at Greenfield Village in the train area. Roman wanted to see the roundhouse and we had lunch. It rained all afternoon, so we were rather bedraggled by the time we hoofed it back to the car. We had a great time, though!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Back from vacation!

The following pictures are not in order, but it's a taste of the wonderful time we had in Cleveland. Partly, of course, just being together with no timetable was the best. But Roman was just a joy to spend time with and he loved everything we did. His favorite was the "dinosaur museum," the Natural History museum which had taxidermied animals of all kinds, as well as dinosaur bones. We also visited the zoo, the science museum, and the hotel pool multiple times. For dinners, we hit two pretty cool spots - Hornblower's Barge & Grill, a restaurant on a boat; and the 100th Bomb Group, which was situated alongside the runways of the airport. So we spent that dinner watching planes take off and land, which was neat too! So here are highlights of our trip:

Roman on the "Outback Railroad" at the zoo, with wallabies just over the fence.

Jumping into Daddy's arms! I also have a shot of him actually underwater, which only happened a couple times in moments of extreme abandon!

The first picture of our trip, outside the Natural History museum. My favorite dinosaur, and Roman's first "up close look" at an actual-sized dinosaur!

This picture didn't turn out too well, but you get the idea - it's an Allosaurus and Roman!

At the Science Museum there was a play area for little ones. This section was "Great Lakes" themed but instead of water, it was blue plastic balls. These fish were blowing air up, and Roman was just fascinated that he could make them float in mid-air!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


We're not going anywhere exotic, or even warm for that matter. We're just getting out of town for a few days. Off to Cleveland! Yes, Cleveland, the "mistake by the lake." There's actually more to do than we have time for - all three days of it. We're staying at a Holidome in a suite, so Roman can go to bed and we can still stay up and read or watch tv. Indoor pool obviously (that's what a Holidome is) so we expect to swim a couple times a day, as its Roman's favorite thing to do.

Otherwise, on our list of possibilities is the Children's Museum, Museum of Natural History, zoo which has a special Rainforest exhibit - and train through the Australian Outback. Also a "farmpark" and/or Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, of course. Got a lead on a couple restaurants too, one on a ship in Lake Erie, another with a World War Two aviation theme. Cheesecake Factory is always a hit, too. We're looking forward to just being away from home, away from phones, and just enjoying each other.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Didn't even have to play "Yodeling Mountain Climber."

After much back and forth, we decided to move ahead with the purchase of a new-to-us car. We will be selling the Jeep Cherokee, Doug will drive my Focus, and I will drive this!

It's a Pontiac Aztek. I love it already. It is taking some getting used to. I have had small cars my whole life; from the Escort, to the Cavalier, to the Focus. The Aztek doesn't feel large inside, but the length is something to get used to. I'm used to whipping in and out in traffic and parking lots - It's going to take some adjusting. So for now, parallel parking is out!

Swim season is over and our team was undefeated. I got thrown in the pool after our win Wednesday night, very refreshing. I am officially on Spring Break now. We're heading to my parents' for Easter - high hopes that Jeff and his family will join us Sunday - and then a relaxing two days before we head off to Cleveland. More exciting details about that later.

Roman is getting to be such a big boy. He talks nonstop, just like his Mama. He is also getting close to obsessive about poop. He doesn't want to do it, he lies when it's in his diaper, and he's concerned about eating or drinking things that may cause it. For example, I made the mistake of mentioning that he couldn't have prune juice because we save it for when he needs to poop. Now he points to any dark juice and asks if it will make him poop. The other day he leaned over at breakfast, peered into Daddy's bowl of cereal, and asked if Daddy was eating poop. Really! After break we're throwing underwear on him and starting training in earnest. Daycare will follow along, so we'll see! I expect lots of laundry. I leave you with a most adorable photo taken April 1st of my two favorite guys.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Teacher's union

Ah, to clarify - my problem with the aforementioned "American Dream" is that it's an assembly line worker wanting the second home and boat. Education should equal perks. Like in the paper today, a man stated he wasn't going to take the $35,000 buyout that Delphi (GM) is offering because, "I could make that in 3 months." Well, hard to make it when your job is being liquidated, I fear.

I was asked about teacher's unions, which, unfortunately, I am a member of. The reason I remain a member and do not, because of personal beliefs, pay dues is because of the line of work I am in. I am a dues-paying member of the PCEA for one reason only - because the clientele I work with could damage my entire professional career with one complaint. I greatly fear one wayward comment by an angry or revenge-seeking 12-year-old and I would have no defense but my good word. And we all know that historically, accusatory children are given more preference than a teacher.

So if it weren't for that, I would have no need for my union. I went to one union meeting for a contract renegotiation and had to walk out to calm down, I was so angry with the spewing. I'm of the firm Republican belief that you rise and fall based on your abilities, and you succeed based on your own hard work, not by any assistance from a union. I do not use my health care, Doug's is better. I do not plan on my pension as a given - Doug and I assume there won't be any Social Security by the time we retire, so a pension is not on my radar. It's nice to have my breaks, but I work close to 60-70 hours a week (even including breaks and summers!) anyway. I teach because I love working with the kids and I love the subject matter I am talking about.

Now, historically it was important to have standardized pay, hours, and work atmospheres for factories and the like, and I support that. But teaching is a strange lot; anything run & paid for by the people through state government should not also be unionized.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Black Friday

Friday a not so good day. After the initial thrill and excitement (and email to everyone I know) that we are getting an Aztek for me, we've begun to second-think the finances, and perhaps put the car purchase off to the summer. So the deposit is good until Tuesday night, which gives us more time to talk and think. So we'll see.

But worse--prepare yourself. Doug's former employer closed its doors with a BANG at 11:45am with an all-hands meeting announcement. The owner, Bob, had been trying to buy back the manufacturing plant for some time from his partners (Meridian) and it just wasn't happening. He decided to close up, move some of the current projects to the new company (where Doug works now) and say "sayonara" to the mess in Detroit. How absolutely horrible. Every single person there, from CAD designers, program managers, to sales and accounting, are out of work. Well, sales and accounting are employed for 2 more weeks to do all the closeups and transfers, THEN they're out of a job. The only three people still employed by Bob are Doug and his 2 coworkers. Scary. Feels like we dodged a bullet. Automotive is going down the sh&$%er, folks.

My parents-in-law are back from traveling the SW and something my mother-in-law said was interesting. We keep hearing on the news that we're out of recession, that jobs are growing and unemployment is going down, and MIL says that's very true from what they saw, everywhere else but Michigan. That's what comes from basing an economy totally on one product, and allowing unions too strong of a hold on said economy. I understand that people who have put their time into a company expect something in return based on hiring agreements, etc., but the damn pensions and health insurance and God knows what else is bleeding this state to death. Themselves and their generation may be set until they die, but the future of Michigan is bleak. Nobody new coming in, and existing large companies laying off or closing altogether.

A union worker was quoted in the paper a few months back as saying that he was being denied the "American Dream" by his automaker company. He explained what that American Dream was - a nice home, a vacation home up North, and a boat. Honest to God, he felt he was entitled to that. Disgusting.

So anyway... Monday will bring interesting things, as Doug is curious who from the old company (sales and accounting) may show up at the new company to finish things off. Only 4 more days until my break, too, thank goodness. Doug's grad class will be done a week from Tuesday, swimming is done Wednesday night, and we can get back to normal!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Out from under, for a few days

Life is chugging along quickly in this part of the world. We had back to back swim meets last night and tonight, I did the lineup for tonight's meet. So that took me a good part of the weekend, along with regular school stuff. We won both, so we're undefeated - but there's one League Meet to go. If we win that (which we have for the past 2 years) I get thrown in the pool. That's always fun. So that meet is next Wednesday.

Roman has a new passion - Winnie the Pooh. Not to the level of his trains yet, but he sings the Tigger song constantly and we are different characters - most the time I am Kanga and he is Roo, although tonight I was Pooh and Daddy was Eeyore. We alternate "The Many Adventures of" and "Tigger Movie" every day. Roman's phrases are all grown up now, too. We here "That's alright, Mama" and "Of course!" Another favorite is "oh, all right." He insists on doing things himself. He closes his door to take his clothes off, and last night told me to stand in the hall while he brushed his teeth. Sunday afternoon he put himself to bed for quiet time, it cracked us up. Took off his shoes, told us goodnight, and went to bed with a book. Didn't nap, but it was cute.

My mentee and his wife had a girl, Kaelyn Elizabeth. She was 4 lbs so stayed in hospital for awhile. All is good and besides constant feedings, they are all doing well. Patrick is in charge of 10pm and 1am feedings, so he's pretty tired.

Lastly, tomorrow evening we are going out to test drive a newer car for me - an Aztek. Doug will take my Focus. Gas isn't going to get any cheaper, so it's time he drive the communter and I get the one that will pull the popup.