26 August 2011

A new set of wheels

For several months, we experienced annoying electrical problems with our Jeep. Since no one could diagnose the problem, never mind fix it, we decided to sell the Jeep. It was bittersweet because we really loved that car. But we didn't want to risk either of us getting stranded somewhere when it wouldn't start.

While we researched our new car options, we borrowed my parents' extra car. It's funny how difficult it is for our family to live with one car! So thank goodness my parents could loan us their extra car for a couple of months.

We had our choices narrowed down to two options: the Chevy Equinox and the GMC Terrain. Since these two vehicles are both GM cars, the engine specs and the interiors are exactly identical. The only difference is the shape and look of their exteriors. I leaned toward liking the Equinox better, and Chris preferred the Terrain. But it was purely a personal preference.

Last night we took a look at both cars. We loved the Equinox, but we were very disappointed in the customer service at the dealership. The salesman told us that the Equinox sells very quickly, so they only had three cars on the lot. And none was the exact trim, color and price we wanted. But he didn't offer to call other locations, tell us when a new shipment will arrive or anything! We left and went to the GMC dealership down the street where we bought our other car. We knew we'd like the Terrain since it would drive just like the Equinox. Once we arrived, we were reminded why we love this dealership and will be their customers for life.

There were plenty of Terrains to look at, but they didn't have the trim and color combination we wanted. Instead, they had one at another location. The salesman offered to go pick up the car that night so we could look at it. We agreed! They let us use another Terrain from the lot to go to dinner while they drove to the east side to pick up the car we wanted. After they brought the other car to us, we took it for a test drive and decided to buy it.

We love our new car! Avery also approves of the "new black car." And I made sure to call our insurance company today to add the new car to our policy. I didn't want to be like Lucy when she wrecked a new, uninsured car. (Watch the full episode!)

20 August 2011

Homegrown beauties, no thanks to me

A few weeks ago after Chris cleared some overgrowth from the backyard, he noticed some flowers coming up. I don't think they ever bloomed before, so apparently removing weeds and dead plants helped these flowers come back to life. We were pleasantly surprised to see some beautiful pale pink lilies this week. Today Avery and I cut about three-quarters of the blooms for a pretty, fragrant arrangement in the house. You may not be able to tell in the pictures, but the petals appear to have a little glitter on them. They're a beautiful addition to our house today!

19 August 2011

17 August 2011

Connie Clark's Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Do you like Mexican cuisine? Try this easy, yummy Mexican dish from Chris' mom. It's great to make just for your family, or double the recipe for a Mexican party! And pair it with Black Bean and Corn Salsa.

3 cooked chicken breasts, chopped or shredded
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 large jar queso cheese
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 package tortillas
1 can chopped tomatoes, slightly drained
2 cups Mexican shredded cheese

Preparation Instructions
Mix chicken, cream cheese, sour cream, queso cheese and onion in a large bowl. Spread mixture on tortillas and fold. Place enchiladas in a sprayed 9x13 pan. Top enchiladas with tomatoes and cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

15 August 2011


Lately, Avery has started drawing faces, complete with eyes, nose and mouth all positioned correctly and even hair. (Poppaw appreciates it when she draws him with hair.) She especially likes to draw faces on her Magna Doodle. Here's one of her latest drawings of herself.

14 August 2011

Regarding Wendy

Last night we ate Wendy's for dinner. As we were eating, Avery said something about Miss Wendy, her Sunday School teacher. We explained to her that there are two Wendys. We weren't eating food prepared by Miss Wendy at church. Her response, "Oh, two different Wendys. Wow."

13 August 2011

A fair day

Yesterday Avery and I spent the day at the state fair with my parents and my sister. Besides the food, the main reason we go to the fair is to see the animals. But as we walked by the midway, Avery pointed to a ride and said, "Avery ride that." So we may have to try a few rides next year.

It was a beautiful day! The weather was absolutely perfect and much cooler than average during state fair time. We couldn't have asked for nicer weather.

First up were some oxen in the Pioneer Village. Not your typical fair animal, but they were there to teach about life in Indiana in the 1800s.

These little goats were just the right size for Avery.

This big pig was taking a nap, offering a good opportunity for Avery to pet him.

Avery liked these baby pigs. After she pet them, she clapped her hands and said, "Yay!" She was a big talker before the fair, telling us how many animals she was going to pet. Thank goodness she warmed up eventually (after that big ox made her a little nervous) and wasn't afraid to pet the farm animals. In fact, she would "talk" to each animal and say, "Come over here!"

I'll apologize right now for the large amount of pictures coming next, but these next two items were amazing.

You'll recognize this sculpture as Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts. But you may not be able to tell that it's built out of 30,000 Lego pieces.

There's a game going on inside the stadium!

And notice that the retractable roof is open.

See the replay screen inside? It was a real TV screen that showed Colts player interviews and game highlights.

If that wasn't neat enough, right next to the football stadium was this: the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

There's the Hall of Fame Museum, the Pagoda and Brickyard Crossing Golf Course.

The front- and backstretches included lots of driver autographs, including some former drivers like Mario Andretti as well as the entire starting field of this year's Indianapolis 500.

This model was very true to life, including the police chasing these two streakers in the Snake Pit.

There was even someone singing the national anthem!

These two buildings were just awesome!

What's the state fair without an elephant ear? All five of us split one elephant ear, and that was enough for each of us!

Avery was such a champ! She walked most of the day except when she wanted Aunt Karen to carry her. And she was so excited to see everything. She even stayed close to us without too much prodding. She was very well behaved.

I made her sit in the stroller as we walked back to the car. And as I expected, she fell asleep. Then she slept almost all the way back to my parents' house. She ended up getting a pretty good nap for the day!

Chris couldn't take the day off work to join us at the fair, so he requested that I bring him dinner: a doughnut burger. This fabulous fair food is a cheeseburger -- loaded with bacon, lettuce, tomato and pickles -- between two Krispie Kreme doughnuts. It kind of made my stomach churn just to buy this for him!

After mowing the lawn, he was really hungry and ready to heat up and try this interesting sandwich.

The verdict: "It was similar to a McDonald's McGriddle sandwich. You get the sweet flavor of the doughnut along with the salty bacon and juicy meat. It was very good, but I'll only eat it one time a year!"

12 August 2011

It all winds up in the trash

Last installment of inanimate object dress look-a-like...Today...the trash can. Both with blue lids, blue middle with white lettering, black wheels. 3 days in a row is it. Don't expect anymore. It was hard enough after 2 days of on accident to come up with something on purpose.

11 August 2011

10 August 2011

Orange barrels everywhere

Downtown Indianapolis is one major construction site as the city prepares to host Super Bowl XLVI (that is 46) in February. While out to lunch today with some co-workers, they noticed that there are so many orange barrels around that I am starting to look like one. What do you think?

Teresa's Nails and Body Art

While traveling in Missouri last August for work, my co-worker and I came across a small shop sitting on a corner. I made my co-worker stop the car so I could take some pictures. This shop appeared to be closed, but I knew Teresa would get a kick out of the signs.

As you can see, the place was called Teresa's (spelled correctly, too) Nails and Body Art. I guess Teresa had a business I didn't know about around Kansas City, Missouri, but it didn't survive. Does that mean people in K.C. aren't into "body art?"

07 August 2011

The Belle of Greenwood meets the Belle of Louisville

Yesterday we enjoyed a day trip to Louisville with my parents and my sister. The adventures began with breakfast at Bob Evans. At the end of the meal, a nice older gentleman came to our table to say hello to Avery. Then he proceed to call her pretty and sweet and give her a silver dollar. After that, he looked at my sister and must have thought she was Avery's sister, because he gave Karen a silver dollar, too! She was kind enough to let Avery have it.

Then we headed down I-65 to Louisville.

Our big plan for the day was to ride on the Belle of Louisville. This was something my family did a few times when I was younger, but this was Avery's first time on any kind of boat.

We arrived a little earlier than we expected, so we relaxed on the dock while we waited for the boarding time.

Avery was "so cited" to ride the boat. Here she is pointing it out to us in case we didn't see this massive boat sitting in the water.

To pass the time, Avery decided to climb the stairs to this lookout far above us on the ground. That meant that Daddy had to climb them, too. Apparently when Daddy told her that she had to climb back down the stairs, she said, "No, Daddy holder Avery." But Daddy didn't comply!


Finally it was time to get on the boat. We claimed some seats on the outdoor deck but, we sat under cover in case the sun decided to shine (or the rain decided to fall).

This should have been the picture at the end of the ride, but Avery was already worn out even before we left the dock. We thought she'd sleep through the whole two-hour trip! But she ended up staying awake until about the last 20 minutes when she took a quick cat nap before we docked.

Here's the view of KingFish from the beginning of the boat ride. This is the restaurant where we had dinner later in the day.

Here is the paddlewheel at the back of the boat, or simply the "wheel" as some idiots sitting around us called it.

Avery couldn't sit still for the whole time. So she took lots of walking trips around the boat with Grandpa, Grandma and Karen.

This magician walked around the boat to perform some tricks for the guests. He managed to finagle my mom into participating in one, and he left all of us mesmerized. Using an imaginary deck of cards, Mom chose one card, which she identified as the seven of diamonds. Then the magician pulled a real deck of cards from his pocket, and the only card that was upside down in that deck was the seven of diamonds. How'd he do that?!

It was a beautiful, peaceful, two-hour ride. We saw plenty of jet skis, speedboats and even these sailboats, which kind of got in the way of the Belle as we made our turn half way through the tour.

One of the landmarks along the shore was this building that marks the crest for the flood waters in 1937. I guess our own flood experiences weren't quite that bad.

Near the end of the tour, the DJ in the ballroom played some dance songs. So Chris had to teach Avery the Chicken Dance. She actually danced with him for a little while. But then I think she was embarrassed by her father and stopped dancing, while Chris continued to make a fool of himself. His self-confidence is one of the reasons I love him!

Here is how Avery finished the boat ride. Chris isn't really asleep. He was just resting, expecting to carry Avery and her dead weight back to the car. Instead, she woke up just as we were getting off the boat.

It was only about 2:30 p.m. when we got back to the car. After a little snack, we weren't quite ready for a full dinner yet. So we decided to check out the Falls of the Ohio State Park back over the river in Indiana.

The falls were hidden under the river after a dam was built in the 1930s, but what remains today are hundreds of acres of fossil beds that show us which animals and plants lived in Indiana hundreds of millions of years ago. We spent some time walking down to the shore and exploring the rocks. There is a strict policy of not removing any rocks and fossils since this is federally-protected land. Luckily, Avery didn't ask to take home any rocks for her own collection.

After visiting the park, we decided to head to KingFish for dinner.

We had a beautiful view of the Louisville skyline from our dinner table.

After a delicious dinner of fish, shrimp, scallops, hush puppies and macaroni and cheese (Avery kept talking about eating fish but refused to try it after we got our meals), Chris suggested that we go to a small ice cream shop he saw near the Falls of the Ohio.

There also was a playground nearby. So Avery got to run off some more energy and go down the slide with Daddy. Then we all enjoyed ice cream and headed back home.

Avery didn't sleep a wink on the way home. But after a quick yet thorough bath at home, she was asleep in no time.

It was a wonderful day with family!