Sunday, March 09, 2008

Spring? Is that you?

OK- so even though the weather is definitely not Spring-like outside, I did manage to add a little bit of Spring to our home. On a trip to Lowe's yesterday to buy lighting for the weight room we are finishing in the basement, I came across a display of potted flowers.

I ended up buying some tulips and some hyacinths. It was a complete impulse purchase, but definitely warranted. Not only are they so refreshing to look at, but the Hyacinth's fragrance fills the whole house (although Andy says they smell like nasal spray to him...not sure what that's all about.)

Here are a couple of pictures of my Spring additions. I figured that I better take pictures of them now to preserve their beauty, because there is a good chance they won't survive long in my house!

Also- my in-laws came up this afternoon so we could all go out for lunch to celebrate Matt's and my birthdays. Scot's mom is a scrapbooking and card-making machine. She is so creative and very talented with her cards. I had to take a picture of the card that she made me, although the photo doesn't do it justice. Below is the envelope, yes the envelope. It's hard to tell from the picture, but the circles are 3-dimensional. Also- you'll notice in the corner is my favorite... a dragonfly! I actually think I am going to frame this and put it on my desk at work.

Here is the card. It's kind of hard to tell from the picture, but my name is spelled out in the flowers. It is just too cute, and totally fits the Spring-fever mood I am in! Thanks, Michele!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Haines Happy Birthdays!

As you know from my last post, yesterday (Thursday) was Matt's birthday. Since we don't have the boys on Thursday nights, today (Friday) was our first chance to give him his birthday gift. As you can see below, we did something a little different for his birthday this year.

Here is Matt posing with what he thinks are his birthday gifts (and of course, you can see that Harli thinks everything is always for her.)

However, before he had a chance to open any of them, we informed him that he had to pick half of the gifts and give them to his brother. Andy, who had previously been sitting and half-heartedly watching, all of a sudden became fully engaged in what was going on. We explained to them that they are both getting the same thing for their birthdays this year (Andy's birthday is next month). So in order to not ruin the surprise for Andy, he gets to share in the gift opening process. Matt, being the thinker that he is, took a nice long time to strategically decide which gifts to unload on his brother.

Andy grew quite impatient with his brother's dawdling. After much pleading from Andy, Matt finally finished allocating the boxes.

Then they got the green light to start opening the boxes. You can see from Matt's face in the picture below that he was quite confused about what he discovered after opening the first box.

What was in the box? 2 little Scrabble tiles!

That's right... every box contained 2 or 3 tiles each, for a total of 14.

So now it was on to the next phase. Trying to put the pieces together to figure out what their birthday gift was!

They begged and begged for hints, but Scot and I told them they had to work for it. They seemed to have a much better knack of spelling out inappropriate words, like "topless," than figuring out what the right answer was. But what do you expect with two teenage boys?

Finally, after about 10 minutes of deliberation, they figured it out!

Andy spelled out "Vegas" as a joke, but then Matt quickly put the rest of the words together. I'm not sure what they were more excited about- the fact that they were going to Vegas or that they finally finished indulging in my birthday torture puzzle! Here they are opening their own travel itineraries showing them the official details of their gift.

This is actually a birthday gift for all of us. Since all of our birthdays are relatively close to each other (Matt's was yesterday, mine was today, Scot's is the 27th, and Andy's is April 20th), we decided to do something different this year and do a big combined gift for all. So after the boys get out of school this summer, we will be heading out to my dad's house in Las Vegas for a week!

We purchased the tickets for the trip so long ago, and we've had to keep it a secret from the boys. It's been killing me! Even though today was MY birthday, I was most excited about getting home to give them THEIR birthday gifts and see their reactions. My mom said that means I am officially old. :) I am just really looking forward to us taking this vacation together. I know some of you may think Vegas is an odd place for a family vacation, but there is SO much to see and do in Vegas besides gambling. (Actually, Scot and I don't even gamble when we're there on our own.) Plus, as I mentioned before, I have family there, including my dad (although he's actually in Tulsa for work right now, but hopefully he can come back to LV while we're there), my step-mom, three of my brothers, and a niece and nephew. So I think this will definitely be a great birthday trip for all of us!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Breaking News...

Matt turned 16 today, and he successfully passed his driving test. He is officially official! (Well, at least until 10:00pm on weekdays/ 11:00pm on weekends.) That is the legal driving curfew in Illinois until you are 18. Not that this is a lot earlier than my parental curfew was, but thank goodness we didn't have these legal time restrictions on our driving when we were growing up. Although I am fully supportive of the law now. Guess that means I'm officially old. Wait, that's tomorrow...

Happy birthday, Matt...and congratulations!!!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Just what the doctor ordered...Part 2

Sunday was a happy day for Scot! It was an unseasonably warm 70 degrees in Peoria, which meant that enough of the snow melted for him to go on his first bike ride of the year.

He met up with his friend, "Mountain Man" Mike, (see previous post) to go out for a "quick" ride. I put "quick" in quotes because Scot said he would probably be gone for no more than a couple of hours. Well, almost five hours, 120 miles, (and I'm sure a couple of beers) later, Scot pulled back into the driveway. I can't really blame him for not being in any hurry to get home considering the gorgeous weather.

When he finally did return to the homestead, we took Harli out for a nice walk around the neighborhood. While on our walk, I asked Scot how his bike ride was. He said, and I quote, "Just what the doctor ordered." I thought this was quite funny and ironic as that was exactly what I had titled the blog entry that I wrote while he was out riding!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Just what the doctor ordered...

First off, as a follow-up to my last post, I am feeling much better. Secondly, I apologize for the lack of posts recently. I had to travel to Mississippi for work a couple of weeks ago, and then last week was filled with all-day meetings at work. That means my evenings had to be spent working on my regular daily work at night from home. The last couple of weeks really have been pretty crappy. Thank God I have such a great husband. He has been cooking dinner in the evenings and taking care of most of the household duties since my work schedule has been so hectic.

So I figured this weekend would be another regular weekend- getting caught up on laundry, trying to get caught up on some projects at work, etc. Well, little did I know that Scot had something else in mind. And boy, was it just what the doctor ordered!

Here's the story: We went out to dinner on Friday night, and then came home to relax on the couch. I had 2 glasses of wine at dinner so I was feeling relaxed. After trying to fight the "sleepies" for 30 minutes or so, I decided to embrace it. I ended up stretching out across the couch (and Scot) and falling asleep around 9:30 while we were watching TV. I dozed in and out and assumed Scot had also fallen asleep. I was in a much-needed deep sleep when Harli let out a loud bark. I sat up, gasping for breath, as I was completely startled and disoriented. A split-second later, the doorbell rang. My heart was still racing from being woken up so abruptly, so this freaked me out even more. Not to mention that Harli was barking her fool-head off. I looked at the clock- 11:00pm. I said to Scot, "Who the hell is ringing our doorbell at 11:00 at night!?!"

Scot got up to answer the door. I figured it was probably someone at the wrong house, or a prankster, or something, so I laid back down on the couch. A few seconds later, I hear a group of people saying, "Happy early birthday, Kimmy Kay!" Still half asleep, I looked up to see my best friends standing in my living room! Heather, Sherry, and Charley had driven up from Columbia, MO to surprise me for an early birthday weekend! (My birthday's not until this Friday.) They even had birthday cake for me! I was completely shocked but excited! Turns out, Scot had been planning this surprise for me for weeks. He knows I LOVE surprises, but that I am also next to impossible to surprise. Well, mark another one down for Scot! I had NO clue!

So on Saturday night, along with our good friends from here in Peoria, we all went out for my birthday celebration evening. It was just what I needed after the past few weeks of being sick and being sick of work! We started out for dinner at a great Irish pub down on the riverfront.

Here is the group (sans me as I was the photographer.)

My best girls from back home, Heather and Sherry. It was so good to see them!

Our good friends, Rhonda and Denise. Scot has been best friends with their husbands since childhood.

One of the aforementioned childhood best friends, Mike (aka Mountain Man Mike), displaying a very rare moment of shyness.

After dinner, we headed to another bar for Karaoke. Our group got a little smaller, but we still had a blast. Here is a picture of the group posing with their glasses of Cherry Coke. :)

Not sure what to call this pose. Either "Fishy-face" or "Trying-to-look-thinner-than-you-really-are" pose.

Dennis and Heather

Sherry and her husband, Charley, displaying the fine art of "Skull face." Don't ask. It's a long story. However, this pose has become a tradition for us.

Kim and Scot taking their turn at "Skull face." Not our best effort. I look like I am in pain. By the way- thanks to Sherry for the bunny ears.

Much better with the happy faces. :)

Karaoke time!

Legends in our own minds.

The Master showing how it is really done. Charley is a great Karaoke-er. That's a word, right?

Heather, Sherry, and Charley left this morning to head back to Columbia. Although I'm exhausted and still have work and laundry left to do, I am so grateful to them and Scot for putting such effort into surprising me with such a great weekend for my birthday. It was a much needed break and distraction for me. Thanks to all that came out to help me ring in the big
3-1 (albeit a week early.) I am so blessed to have such great people in my life!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Animal Instinct

Do you think the animals can sense that their mommy is ill?

Sunday, February 10, 2008


This afternoon we have been watching the NFL Pro Bowl, which is being played in Honolulu. It reminded me that we never did finish posting the rest of our pics from our trip to Hawaii last fall! My work schedule got out of hand shortly after we returned, and my blogging went on hiatus for a period of time. Well, as I sit here battling a head cold/sinus infection/whatever it is, I thought it would be a great time to reminisce about our last two days on the island of Kauai.

Here is Scot on the morning of Day 7. We were on our way to breakfast and stopped to enjoy some of the beautiful scenery at the resort.

These swans were in a pond just outside the main entrance of the resort. I had never seen black swans before, so, of course, I had to stop to take their picture. They were so beautiful!

We drove to a small town a few miles from our resort for breakfast. The food prices in Hawaii are expensive to begin with so the prices at the hotel were especially outrageous. Therefore, we tried to eat outside of the resort whenever possible. We stopped at Tomkats for breakfast, a great little "Mom and Pop" type of establishment. They had great food and the locals were very nice.

Back at the hotel after breakfast. This was taken in the lobby- you can see how it looks out over the ocean in the background.

We then headed out to the beach. Scot was very disappointed that he couldn't swim in the water at our hotel due to the undertow and rocky surf. The resort had pools and lagoons, including a large sandy-bottom pool, so he quickly got over his disappointment. Swimming or not, the beach was still beautiful.

Kim posing along the waves. Man, I wish I was there now instead of here in Peoria where it is 3 degrees outside!

Scot paying his dues by posing on the rocks.

A close-up of some of the beautiful orchids...

We did end up eating lunch at one of the restaurants at the resort. It was such a beautiful view. We are standing right next to our table in this picture. The beautiful view almost made up for the outrageous lunch bill... We had 2 appetizers and 4 Mai Tais (they were small, I promise). Grand total? $75.00 Ouch!

One of my favorite pictures from the trip- I think it looks like it could be a poster or greeting card or something. This, too, was at the restaurant we ate at for lunch.

That night we attended the Luau at the hotel. It was such a neat event. Included in the price was dinner and all-you-can-drink Mai Tais. This picture was taken of Scot and me at the beginning of the event.

I ended up taking TONS of pictures of the Luau (blame the Mai Tais.) Here are just a couple of the better ones... This guy was cool (and a little scary) with his Tribal tattoos.

Some of the lovely Luau ladies...

DAY 8: This was our final day in Hawaii. We had most of the day to do some more sight-seeing before flying out that evening. A final picture of the black swan as we were leaving the resort.

It is tradition to leave your lei on the pohaku stone when you are leaving as a remembrance of your trip.

After checking out of our resort, we headed to another quaint establishment for breakfast. Here is Scot about to devour his Macadamia Nut and Banana Pancakes. He was smiling ear-to-ear in anticipation. He said they were every bit as good as he hoped they would be!

After breakfast, we drove to the West part of the island to go to Waimea Canyon. This is the largest canyon in the Pacific and is referred to as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific." It was truly breathtaking. There is a 40-mile scenic road that you can take to see all of the scenic stops. Unfortunately it is a very windy road. I ended up feeling quite queasy from all of the twists and turns. As a result, we ended up stopping at every possible stop so I could get some fresh air. Here are some pictures at the numerous stops...

Yes- that's us in the middle...

I'm not a flower expert, so I'm not sure what kind of flower this is. I just thought it was really pretty..

This is a picture of the final stop on the road- the Na'pali Coast. It was amazing. This is as close as you can get to the coast unless you go by boat or air.

A final picture of us in Hawaii...

You can see the waterfalls in this picture...

The dirt in Hawaii is this vibrant Red color. I loved this picture of the waterfall along the red dirt. This was taken as we were leaving Waimea Canyon.
After Waimea Canyon, it was time to head to the airport. We left Kauai in the evening and flew all night. Here is a picture of us at one of the airports that we had a connection at the next day. I don't think I knew where we were at the time, so I definitely don't remember now! As you can tell, we were quite exhausted, but it was well worth it!