Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Happy Birthday Dear!

Since this is going to be the first time in 17 years - since she was 11 ;-) - that I won't be with Kelly on her birthday I figured I better come up with some special way to let her know that I care. The kids and I decided to make this little video for her.



Sweetheart, we hope you like it and we really hope you enjoy your special day!



[flv]http://www.standifordfamily.com/videos/happy_birthday_mom.flv[/flv]

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Few More Photos

Kelly sent me a few more pictures from Utah. Monday she and Janel took the girls on a bike ride around the campus of BYU. Then on Tuesday Janel and one of her sisters took Kelly to Salt Lake and on the way they just happened to stop at the IKEA store. Kelly has always wanted to go. She found a chair that she said fits her perfectly. Too bad (or is it?) that she would have to find a way to get it home on the plane. I've added a few of the pictures to flickr.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Second Day: A Little Calmer

Sunday morning I dropped the kids off at Linda's House before church so I could go to choir. Kade fell asleep during Sunday School, I wonder why? :-) After church the kids relaxed and watched a show while I rested on the couch for a few minutes. Our Home Teacher came by for a short visit, during which Megan told him all about our trip yesterday and then she shared an embarrassing story which I only heard part of the night before.

She told me that while she was in the stall of the restroom at Rainforest cafe, she didn't latch the door all the way and some lady walked in on her. Well the whole story was that she was in the stall when some lady, who was talking to someone else, backed into the stall (Meg said excuse me but the lady didn't hear her) latched it then turned around to see Meg sitting there. Good thing she didn't sit on Meg! Megan was laughing about it when she told it but I imagine she was a little scared by the whole thing. Now she'll probably never go in a public place again.

Kelly went with the Williams to church and then later went over to Janel's parents' house. She sent me a couple great pictures so I posted them to flickr.

And This is How it Begins

Last night we took Kelly to Midway Airport in Chicago. She was flying out to Utah to spend some time with Janel. We said our goodbyes and off we drove only to get a phone call from Kelly, just minutes after we left the parking lot, telling me that Southwest had oversold the plane and she was fourth on the wait list for a seat. It was then that we decided that we needed to find something to do in Chicago to make sure we were around in case she didn't get a flight out.

We headed for downtown to find some place to eat. Megan had really wanted to go to Rainforest Cafe, so I decided to make that hope a reality. After finally securing a parking spot for the van, not too far from the restaurant, we started on our adventure. The wait for dinner was about thirty minutes so we wandered around the shopping area and looked at some of the fake animals that are displayed around the place.

Dinner took a little while to be served but that was only the beginning of our waiting. We left downtown a little before 10:00 pm and started our way back home. Kade was asleep in a matter of minutes. After encountering much traffic and seeing a sign that said something about 80/90 closed in Indiana I decided that we should head back west and then take 294 home.

It looked like smooth sailing as we headed towards 294 and even as we started down that road but then things came to a complete stop. For the next 2+ hours we sat for 2-3 minutes then we moved up about ten to fifteen feet. Finally a police car came by on the other side and said that 294 was completely shutdown and that all six lanes of traffic were getting off on the next exit. Oh my! We started working our way over to the right side of the traffic, which was an adventure in and of itself. Finally making it over to the last "real" lane, since the 6th lane was actually the shoulder that people had decided to use as a lane, we slowly crept our way towards the exit.

Megan got quite the kick out of the guy in the lane next to us who kept falling asleep. You would see his head tilt down then all of a sudden he would realize that the cars in front of him had moved and he would catch up and then nod off again. We never tried to take the spot in front of him because I was fearful that he might hit the gas while nodding off. It was actually a little scary to watch.

Finally off of 294 we, and the rest of the traffic jam, headed through Hammond Indiana. It was a long stretch of road filled with traffic lights every other street. When I saw the big green sign showing the way to the Toll Road I got too excited and made my way through the traffic and thought we were home free. I should have realized why everyone else was not taking the same route. I looked and we were on the ramp heading West to Chicago. Unbelievable! Oh well I knew at some point I would be able to turn us around and head for home but what I didn't know was that opportunity would not present itself like I thought it would. Megan will tell you that I made a u-turn on the Toll Road right next to a sign that said not too. I figured after all that we had been through I would start crying and gladly explain to the officer why I had done this. Luckily there was no need for this drama.

Now we were finally headed in the right direction and there was really not that much traffic after that. I put the pedal to the medal (again figuring I could work up some good tears for anyone pulling me over) and cruised the rest of the way home. We pulled into the driveway at exactly 2:30 am.

What an adventure! I really hope the rest of the days without Kelly don't turn out to be this adventurous.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Lego Tower

Mattey, Kaden and I built a huge tower out of Duplo Legos that stretched from the floor to the ceiling. I managed to wedge the last one on so that it was able to stand on its own. I managed to get one picture before Kade knocked it over. Megan then helped us rebuild it long enough for me to get another picture and get lined up for the demolition sequence.

Another New Feature - Snap Shots

I just installed another new feature on this site called Snap Shots that enhances links with visual previews of the destination site. You can see this by putting your mouse over the little image that appears after a link. A little window will pop up and display a preview of the site that is being linked to. One of the cooler features is when the link is pointed to photos on flickr you can then scroll through the pictures by clicking on the left and right arrows that appear in the pop up window. Anyway if you don't like this then just avoid the little images as they are what will trigger the window, the link itself will not pop up anything.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

School Picnic

Tonight we attended the Open House Picnic at the Girls' school. We were able to go see their classrooms, find out where they sit and meet their teachers. Obviously we already knew Mattey's teacher, since Megan had her for first grade but we had never met Megan's new teacher. They both seem quite nice. One of the funniest things is that in each of their classes they have a classmate who is a child of someone that I went to high school with. I really haven't seen a lot of people from my school in the many years since I have graduated so it's really strange to meet both of them there.

Pictures, of course, are available on flickr.

Three New Shelves After we got the girls in bed, Kelly had asked me to help her put up some shelves in the office over her desk. Normally hanging shelves in our household leads to more than enough holes in the wall and frustration trying to get a screw to stay in the drywall. We can use every kind of anchor and it usually still ends up not exactly how we planned. Tonight was a huge exception. The process of hanging these three shelves really went smoothly. Thank goodness for that.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

First Day of School

Today was the first day of school - didn't you hear all the Moms shouting for joy? Mattey started 1st grade today and she ended up getting the same teacher that Megan had for 1st grade. That was never something I experienced, so I was curious to hear what the teacher had to say. "Your Megan's sister aren't you?" Hopefully that will always be said with a good tone.

Megan started 3rd grade today. She's an old pro at this already.

Other comments I heard today:



I didn't have fun because I didn't get to go on recess. (Mat)

It was fun meeting new friends and my teacher. (Meg)

The bus was so loud it was killing my ears. (Mat)

We had short lunch and short recess. (Meg)



Pictures from the first day can be seen on flickr.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Circuit City and Their 24-Minute Guarantee

Circuit City has something called the 24-Minute Guarantee and according to their website, "Our in-store pickup is a fast, convenient and satisfying way to shop. Your order is ready when you are! You can research your purchase on our site, buy online and have it in your hands in just 24 minutes—without paying shipping charges".



I decided to put this guarantee to the test today. I've ordered from their website before and picked it up in store but I've never been in a position to be at the store in 24 minutes. I placed my order online, drove to the store, and waited until one minute after the guaranteed time to approach the service counter. First I was questioned if I really selected pickup as my method of delivery. I told them I was pretty positive on that since there wasn't any shipping charges on the order confirmation I handed the employee. After searching around in the computer for a while he told me, "Oh, I was looking for the wrong order number." He then gets interrupted by another employee who he then proceeds to help while I am left standing there. He then walks to the other end of the counter so I ask the other employee what is the definition of "ready". She basically ignores me but asks the guy who was supposed to be helping me, "What's going on with this web order?" He mumbles something and disappears to the back and finally emerges with my order. He bags it up and finally hands it to me, 35 minutes after I placed the order. So I politely ask, "What is the definition of ready?" His answer, "well uh I THINK it means" at which point I really start to question this guarantee. So I ask again, and finally a different employee steps in and says, "It means that the order is sitting on a shelf in the back with my name and order number on it." Great so it's completely up to Circuit City employees to say that the order was ready because we as customers have no way of seeing if it really is ready or not.



I left wondering if the first employee really was typing in the wrong order number or was he stalling? Needless to say I didn't get my order in 24 minutes nor did I leave the store with a $24 gift card. I probably will order through them again, if the price is right, but I know now that trying to get them to honor their supposed guarantee is a complete waste of time. It would be hard to get them to admit that the order was not ready.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

New Features

It's been a while since I have added any new features to this site so I decided it was about time to get busy. It has also been kind of hit or miss on if you would see a new posting when you stopped by for a look. That is a problem I hope to solve for everyone today.



You can now get email notification whenever there is a new posting on this site. It's really easy to setup. Just click on the "Subscribe to Posts" link above, fill in your email address and click Submit. You will then receive an email every time something new is posted. No more wasting your time stopping by when there is nothing new to see and no more missing out on something. I promise to not sell your email address to spammers. :-)



There is also a small feature that will allow you to be notified of any follow up comments that are posted after your comment. When leaving a comment on a post just click the little box ("Notify me of followup comments via e-mail") below the reply box. This will let you know when someone has posted a comment to the same post you have commented on.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Strawberry Picking

After returning from our Mackinac trip we took advantage of another day off and went strawberry picking. We went to this great place in Niles, MI. It is called Grandpa's Orchard and you place $10 in a locked mailbox, grab a box, and head out to pick. We all had a really good time. I think Mattey was the winner of the who could eat the most contest. A rule had to be put in place because of her and it was, pick ten then eat one. Click on the photo below to take a look at the photos.