We're livin' it up on the U.P. - that's Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Punkie is 6 and LOVED Kindergarten! Isaboo is 2 and she's a smiley whirl wind. We also call her Busy-Isi. This year we welcomed little Lorenzo to our family.

Life is great!

Monday, January 30, 2012

My Favorite!

One of my most favorite things to eat is 
FRESH PINEAPPLE!!!

You CANNOT beat fresh pineapple in Hawaii.
It is SO fresh!
When I visited for three weeks, while in college,
I think I averaged eating a whole pineapple a day while I was there. 
It was bad news for my mouth.
At the time I had braces on my teeth.
It made my mouth hurt but I couldn't stop.
When we visited the Dole Pineapple plantation.
And took a ride on the Pineapple Express, we heard lots of fun facts about pineapple.
Including, they are a natural meat tenderizer.
No wonder my mouth was SO torn up. 

I think I did slow down a little after learning that, but it was hard. 
SO GOOD!

We've been getting fresh pineapple all winter. 
Though not as fresh and delicious as pineapple in Hawaii.
It's still WAY better than canned. 

Often you can buy fresh pineapple precut in a nice sturdy tub. 
We do that as long as it's a nice tall tub (that's the whole pineapple in there).
And as long it's cheaper than the noncut up fresh pineapple.
At first it was but now it's not.

If the noncut up fresh pineapple is cheaper...no worries.
Get it!

I used to cut up pineapple like this:

It's a good way.
But, one day I thought there must be another way...even easier. 
So I looked around on youtube and found this one:
I think it's faster and easier but the first way works too. 
This way I feel like I get more of the core and rind or peel off the first time. 
Less trimming later. 
This lady doesn't cut very close to the peel but with a sharp knife you can.
And it's fun.

I've been thinking about posting this new way I found to cut pineapple, for a long time...months.
so I finally did it. 

Hope these make your life easier. 
Thanks to the people that actually took the time to make the videos. ;-)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

By Popular Demand....

Finally got some excellent pictures of me preggers. 
And I mean excellent! 
(not really, but they'll work)

 We've taken some but everytime we do Nathan doesn't think I look pregnant in them. 
That's because I'm usually in sweat pants and a big t-shirt.
I know I should get dressed more often.
But, I do shower everyday so I don't feel bad.

Do you think my face looks fuzzy?
Nathan said the camera kept focusing on my bust or belly. 
I wonder why?
 Can you tell the difference between this next picture (below) and the next?
 Any difference?
You guessed it, hand and arm position. 
Which hand should go on top and which hand should go on bottom, 
to accentuate the belly of course...
WHICH!?!?
 NOW we're talkin'!
 Below is the best one!
A little modern dance/vogue.
I don't know how to do either so I'm surprised I pulled this off so inspiring-ly.
 Went to my Dr. appointment yesterday morning...just before these pictures where taken. 
This is what I looked like when the Dr. said I am 28 weeks!
 I know I'm bad. I haven't been keeping track of what week I am. 
And yes I was surprised I was so far along. 
And HAPPY!

Yes, I took this weirdo picture before I had any reason for it.

I wish I didn't get deoderant on my shirt.
I wish I had make up on. 

Oh well. 
What can ya do?

Ok! Ok! I'll start keeping track of what week I am.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Curse of the Black Pearl: Part II

Part I here.

Here is Part II - the best part
less pictures but I think more meaningful

Last Friday, Marley and I had big plans:
Go to the SOO!
Playdate!
The Dollar Store
The bank
The Library!
Pick up Dad!
Go grocery shopping!

Big snow storm.
So before I shoveled the 1 foot plus of snow off the walkway and driveway...
I went out to see if the car would start.

Battery was dead.

I cried like the hormonal crazy woman that I AM!

I came back in the house and pouted...and cried. 
And sent several text messages to Nathan.

He suggested asking neighbors and friends to jump the Black Pearl.
I was tired of asking for help and emotional and I was sure the battery was a lost cause.

We decided we probably needed to get it jumped and then go straight for a new battery.

Nathan worked on trying to see if he could take the early bus home so he could rally some help or something. But, he found that he could not.

Marley of course dried my tears with tissues and asked what was wrong. 
(She is used to the this but usually I have no reason for my tears...or I don't want to tell her the reason.)
I told her that the car won't start so we can't go shopping. 
 She too was disappointed. 
But continued to take care of me.

My mom called because she had seen the weather for our area.
I cried some more.
She said, "I wish I was there so I could give you a hug."
I thought, "I wish you were here to give me a ride!"
She made me feel better and told me to find something to do around the house, a project or just clean up one room.
She also told me to stop crying so much and scaring my daughter.
She's never scared. Not when I'm crying at least.
sheesh!

So, Marley and I cleaned the living room and tidied the dinning room.
We swept the entry, kitchen and dinning. 
That's the whole downstairs!
 That felt good!

I can pretty much get her to do anything if I call her Cinderella and act like one of her step sisters.
She always replies with a low head, "Yes Anastasia."
And then she gets to work!
This was taken of Marley by Marley. On this infamous day in January.
I was just about to tackle the bathroom when Nathan texted me and said there was a battery at our local Napa, just right for our car!  
Problem was, he would get home after they were closed. 
I asked if Marley and I should walk over and get it. 

Remember snowy, icy and COLD outside.
And Nathan informed me that the battery would be a solid 40 pounds! 
I suggested the JEEP stroller.
Marley could ride there and then the battery could ride back. 

Nathan agreed that might work. 
He also offered that if we took the old battery with us we wouldn't have to pay a $12 core fee.
WHICH we could get back once we took our old battery in, but gently suggested that maybe I could take it out and Marley could walk both ways. 

Marley got fully suited up in snow clothes and I bundled up and we went out to the garage.

Before I did anything I checked to make sure it wasn't going to start. 

Marley suggested, "Lets be brave and just fix it mom!"

That made me smile and I said, "Well, we're gonna try."

I explained the whole thing to her. The battery, the stroller, the walk, the cold, and hopefully in the end it would be fixed. 
(As she wandered around the garage she continually encouraged our quest with suggestions of bravery.
That actually helped me a lot!)

While I tried several tools in my attempt to get the bolts off of the battery, Marley suggested that we take the double jogging stroller our friends gave to us in September. 

It was a really good idea. Then they could both ride in the stroller AND it has a giant plastic rain cover that would protect Marley from the wind and cold. The problem was it looked like it was buried in the corner of the garage. 

I told her that was a great idea but it might be too hard to get to. 

After texting Nathan several times about tools and such.
And saying a few swears in my head. 

I stopped saying swears in my head and stuck to just praying.

I found the perfect tool and got the battery out! 

It WAS heavy. 

Then I proceeded to dig the double stroller out. 

I actually only had to scoot some bins aside and then move a stroller and a car seat to get to it.

I hauled it out to the breezeway. 
It sat there while I went out to shovel the walkway. 

Marley came out and played in the snow for about 2 minutes and then got too cold and I helped her inside and put a show on for her. 

I finished shoveling and set up the double stroller outside on the walk. 
I tried to figure out the plastic rain cover.
I put the battery in one side. 

Then I went in the house, we went to the bathroom, bundled Marley up in full snow clothes and she climbed into the other side of the stroller, next to the battery. 
I can't get this picture to come into blogger correctly...so you'll just have to turn your head.
I grabbed some tissues because the cold was making our noses run. 
Which is weird because it was also freezing my nose hairs.

We trudged out to the road. 
No side walks in these parts.
The hardest part was getting the stroller over the small berm the plow makes at the end of our driveway. 
I pushed and then I had to climb to the other side of the hill and pull the strollers front wheel until I got it over. 

We started walking. Well, I did.
It was icy and I slipped twice but I didn't fall because of the stroller and it's heavy contents. 
It was cold!
I hadn't put the plastic rain cover on correctly so it wasn't staying closed. Marley had full snow clothes on and a blanket but she was still cold!
I don't have any long underwear because....I just don't.
So my legs were COLD! 

Round trip the walk is exactly one mile. 
(I only know that because later when I was telling my sister all about this she asked how far away the auto store was and she wanted it in miles. I was pretty sure it was less than a mile. Later I clocked it.)

Thankfully, all the roads were plowed! When we got to the store the parking lot was not plowed... So, it was a little tough to get to the front door. It is a VERY small parking lot though. When we got there one of the workers (a VERY nice man) helped us get the stroller inside by holding all the doors open and even unlatching one of the double doors. 

He said, "What can we do for you?" Just as he noticed a child AND a battery in my stroller. 

I said, "We need a new battery."

He said, "Oh. I see that now." 

The whole exchange took less than 5 minutes.

The man suggested that we leave the stroller where it was and walk around the store for a little while to warm up. 
What a nice man. 

We did. 

We got peanut m&m's from there little machine. 
We walked around and discussed tools and parts and whatnot. 
We really only knew what we were talking about when we came to the broom isle. 
Marley made sure to let me know that she wanted every single one of the those brooms for her birthday but especially the little one that was her size. 
(She pretty much says she wants EVERYTHING for her birthday whenever we go shopping. When she says she wants something, I say, maybe someday. Then she says, maybe for my birthday or Christmas? I say, maybe. She is satisfied and we move on. It works for us.)

Marley got a gum ball on our way out and TWO came out! 
It was cool!

I was able to fix the rain fly so it would stay closed better. And instead of putting the blanket ON Marley I put it behind her head to stop the wind from coming in the back of the stroller.
That was MUCH better.
We trudged back home. 
Gnawing on our hard gum balls.
They were good but hard so half way home we both spit it out into the snow.

Marley went inside to finished her show while I tried to put the battery back in. 

I did it!
I tried to start the car. 
It started with gusto!
It sounded SO brave!
I was SO HAPPY!
I felt SO good!
I felt validated and empowered!
I was on top of the world.
But also very tired.
It was about 12:45 (good thing we had gotten an early start on the day) by this time and Nathan was getting off at 2. 
We ate lunch in the house. 

Then Marley settled into watching another show and by 1:00 I was out shoveling the driveway. 
By 1:45 we were on our way to get dad!
We got dad.
We went to the bank. 

Between the bank and the store the engine light came on!
Can you believe the nerve of The Curse!?!?!?
It's a good thing Nathan wasn't driving because I think he might have jerked the car into oncoming traffic. 
NO! That's a little extreme and tragic. 
But he was peeved. 

I calmly suggested we stop at Advanced Auto and run the diagnostic and see if it's the same problem.
We did.
It was a new problem. 

But, Nathan instantly had an idea of what the problem might be. 
He said, "Ok, I'm going to research and probably order ANOTHER part and fix this but, this is the last thing I'm fixing." 
He has said this before. 
So I just laughed. 
It seems he just can't let it go.
I'm glad...he'll know our car SO well we'll have it for decades!
Ok, maybe not. 
But, I'm still so glad he is willing to try to fix things himself to save money.

The part is ordered. 
Nathan is confident it will be an easy and quick fix. 

And then....

THE CURSE WILL BE LIFTED!!!!!

How have we survived financially?
Well, we still haven't hit $300 in parts so considering the first repair was going to be be over $400 we are still ahead!

Also, since we didn't drive our car for nearly 2 weeks we had more money because we hadn't needed gas. We try to only drive to the Soo three times a week or less (one of those is for church) but still we saved money on gas...which went to parts. 

And we hadn't eaten out. We try not to eat out much too but when we limit our trips to the Soo, it makes our days in the Soo LONG because of all the errands and we usually end up getting something. Even if it's just one eat out per week, that can add up. 

And thankfully we bought our car with cash about 5 years ago so, we don't have a car payment on top of repairs. That's nice.

I realize that the curse has not been officially lifted and ultimately when it comes to cars eventual repairs are inevitable, but unless there is more DRAMA with the up coming repair, this concludes the saga of...

THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Curse of the Black Pearl: Part I

Yea, we're pirate fans.
Not the actual pirates that steal, pillage, take hostages, and murder.
The Disney pirates!
Thus, our car's name is The Black Pearl.
(Pearly black 2001 Honda Accord EX with a V6 engine.)

We love her!

We take good care of her.

She loves us.
She takes good care of us.

But, the past couple of months she has been cursed. 

Started with the engine light.
 Remember that story?
It was a long story.
Recap: our engine light came on while we were heading out of town for the weekend.
While out of town we got swindled by a mechanic who charged us big bucks just for a diagnostic.
Which, by the way, we have learned since, you can do yourself for FREE at most auto parts stores.
(We know! We've done it SEVERAL times since!)
 He said we'd be fine to drive it back to the U.P. but we should get it fixed or our car would start stalling.

When we returned home, Nathan looked the diagnostic code up online.
He found it was an emission clog.
He also did some research and found it would probably be over $400 to get it fixed by a mechanic.

We decided to purchase the manual for The Black Pearl and Nathan found lots of tutorials online on how to fix the problem.
 He felt that he could probably fix it.

He still has a full time job so it was a semi-slow process with lots of trouble shooting.
We ordered parts in phases.
The cheaper ones first, of course...maybe they would be the fix!
 Then the more expensive one.

 And all the while, lots of cleaning.

Lots of resetting the fuse to get the engine light off...only to have it pop back on.
That was always how we knew she wasn't fixed yet.

Thankfully we could still drive her.
Each time we would run a diagnostic to make sure it was still the same problem.

Each time Nathan took the car apart to clean, he would go further and further through the system.
One day, Nathan was tinkering and recleaning and taking apart and putting back together when he found THE CLOG.
It was so obvious and he was relieved and convinced she was fixed!

She was.

But then we started smelling gasoline fumes. Very subtle at first. Only I could smell it.
Then one day, Nathan came home after using the car and said, yes, we have a fume problem.

He did some research online to get an idea of what to look for and what might be the problem.
Then studied the parts manual.
Then took it all apart again.
He found a broken fuel injector.

We decided we couldn't drive her like that.

She was malodorous and in my condition those fumes were bad news.

Nathan ordered more parts.

We waited.

Our good friend was kind enough to come and get us for church.

The part came!

Nathan fixed it!
(but only after breaking TWO 3/8 to 1/4 socket adapters :-(
Ours and our neighbors. Ooops!
 don't worry we are going to replace it.)

But, our car was fixed!

For good this time!

No more problems!

Except then the battery was dead.

We have known since last summer that our battery was on its last leg.
It would die if Marley and I had the car off and the radio on, after only about 10 minutes.
Or it would just die if we didn't drive it often enough.

So, our kind neighbor gave us a jump.
(The last of probably at least three or four.)
I drove it around a little bit to charge the battery and then stopped at the local store to pick up a few things. (tortillas, cheese, sour cream...for burrrrrrritos!)
We hadn't been to the store in almost three weeks.

When I came out of the store, the car started!
PHEW!

Two days later (last Friday) Marley and I had big plans:
Go to the SOO!
Playdate!
The Dollar Store
The bank
The Library!
Pick up Dad!
Go grocery shopping!

Battery was dead, again.
Big snow storm.

Becky cried like the hormonal crazy woman that she IS!
 Stay tuned PART II on Thursday.
Don't worry it gets better.

NOTE: None of these pictures are mine...just googled images.
EXCEPT the first one.
That REALLY is THE Black Pearl with last winters salt ravages all over her...which is pretty much exactly what she looks like right now.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Marley!!!! You Goonie!!!!

Yes, I let my daughter watch
I'm pretty sure I watched Goonies everyday starting around her age. 

She doesn't watch it everyday though...not yet. ;-)
I think she has only seen it a handful of times. 

Yesterday, while we were making dinner, she was talking about a movie we have, one that she wanted to watch.

"You know that movie that the guy is in a red coat and he drops the bottle?"

I had no idea what movie she was talking about so I tried to coax more clues out of her, but I couldn't.
A few minutes later, after we had moved on to other topics she randomly said,

"Hope it wasn't my fozit bottle."

Though she got some of the words wrong, her tone was accurate and I instantly knew what movie she was talking about. 

I told her we could watch it tomorrow.
(which is today)

Her favorite character is Chunk.
"I like him. He has cwazy hair like mine!"

Cyndi Lauper is on the tv for a couple seconds and Marley asked if I could do her hair like that. 
Funny because at the time, her hair already looked like Cyndi Lauper's. 
In style...but not in color.
And I'm pretty sure she was hoping for Cyndi's color.

Other parts she really likes:

When Chunk smashes is pizza and shake on the window and the shake splashes his face.
When Troy is on the toilet and gets shot up into the ceiling and then slammed into the ground.
"Daddy!"

The line the Goonies say together at the same time of Troy's mishap is often used in our family:
"Let's get out of here! Like NOW!!!"
Mostly after we've been in Walnast too long.

 Her second favorite character is:
Sloth
"Hey you guyys!"
"Sloth, you're gonna live with me now. Yea, I'm gonna take care of you. Cuz I love you."
"Sloth love Chunk."

Marley: "Can we get a Sloth?" 
I just laughed and asked, "Marley love Sloth?"

One of her least favorite parts:
When Chunk is being interrogated by the Fratelli's.
Looks traumatic to a kid but it's hilarious!

Did you know that there really are two versions of The Goonies and one really does have an octopus in it?
Really!
I saw it once when I was babysitting!

"No pen...no write...no SIGN!!!"

******
I think I would love to live in Astoria, Oregon. 
Check out their site
Doesn't it sound and look beautiful there?
Right at the mouth of the Colombia River and so close to the Oregon coast!
They even have a Goonies page and June 7 every year is Goonies day! 
Check out the Youtube at the bottom of that page.

Ahhh. I love that movie.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

It's Winds-day!!!

It's actually not blustery at all today!

I got to open the blinds...cuz it's SUNNY today!
Yeah!
And snuggle up on the couch with the warm laund-raaay!
We watched the Biggest Loser. 
Love that show.
But, you already knew that.
Something you might not know...but probably know.
I'm a hormonal, pregnant, basket case. 

Farmer Freitas KNOWS!
Marley pretty much knows but doesn't have the label to put on her randomly crying, moody, fun, hysterically funny, dancing (all in one minute) mom.

Now YOU know. 
And maybe you'll understand better why I LOVE this commerical. 
Saw it today. 
Made me CRY!
I love it!
I started to cry when it showed that dad in the crib with his tired but fighting sleep baby.

It's just a good commercial.

And though it is just marketing....

Our life is truly what we make of it. 


I also went for a walk today in the sun.
That felt goooood!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

pictures from my phone

I got a little memory card for my phone for Christmas.
Since it is January 11th I decided it was time to figure out how to use it. 
It was surprisingly simple to get the pictures from my phone to the card and then to the computer.
Sooooo.....there are pictures on there from when I got my phone in August 2010.
That was SO long ago. 
Wanna see um?
No?
TOO BAD!
 
I love that face! And that guy!
 Ha ha! Sleepy head!
 We were in Park City with the Freitas clan (August 2010). Marley was loving swimming.
She was fully clothed when we put her in our room to take a nap in the closet she had been sleeping in on this trip.
When we went in to check on her, she had a swimming diaper on, on TOP of a floaty suit.
And she was asleep on her bed in the closet. (closet door always open)

 There were 229 pictures on my phone. 
That's it for now though. 
More great pictures are yet to come...
lots of random pictures taken by Marley....
lots of Marley taking silly face pictures of herself.....
and driving across country while moving to Mich.