Saturday, July 30, 2011

Phone heaven

Recently Jesse and I discovered that our texting had gotten out of control. And when I say out of control it wouldn't even put a dent into a typical teenager's texting, but for us it was a lot. We upgraded to a phone texting package, but Jesse still had a phone that did not have a keyboard. Ugh, the pain... I was once in his spot so I could understand the irritation he was feeling with each text. So last Sunday we headed over the to local phone store to upgrade his phone.

When we got to the store Jesse set Riley down to walk around while he talked shop with the sales guy. She took one look at all the phones and then looked up at me with a huge grin on her face. Lucky for her the phones were all at her level. She loves playing with our cell phones so this was pure heaven for her.

Playing with my old phone at home

She's actually pretty phone savvy even if she doesn't really know what she is doing. One time when she was playing with Jesse's phone she took a picture of her foot and texted it to a friend of his in about 5 seconds flat. I'm pretty sure she knows how to work our phones better than we do.

At the store she had to check out every single phone multiple times. I did my best to put the phones back in their original place, but the sales guy assured me not to worry about it as "we have a new guy who can get some practice putting them back where they belong".

At some point she started "talking on the phone" as she often does as home. She'd hold a phone up to her ear, walk around while she babbled into the phone... and even wave her arm around for effect.

And Riley did get her own phone that day. Of course, it was Jesse's old phone which doesn't make calls anymore, but that won't keep her from "talking" on the phone.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Kitchen Remodel part 2

Our kitchen is very, very slowly coming along. We finally have the counter top and dishwasher installed and the lights in. We've picked out the tile back splash, but still need to get grout and mortar... and of course, slap it on the walls. Once that it done we will install the microwave. And eventually, we'll tile the floor. Thought I would share some new pictures since my last update.

Here is the tile we will be using for our back splash. I'm not sure if the picture really captures what the tile looks like. It is a little smaller than a regular subway tile and has a wavy front. I can't wait to see what it will look like once on the wall.

While you can read about the kitchen remodel up until now in a previous post here is another look at where we started and where we are today.




Sunday, July 17, 2011


This weekend was far more entertaining than last weekend. Sunday, we started the day off by going to the farmer's market early hoping to beat the heat. No such luck. It was hot and super steamy out at 8:00 am. We picked up a number of items, mostly fresh veggies, that I made a delish dinner with later in the day. (I talked about Saturday in a different post.)

After coming home from the farmer's market, napping, and eating we braved walking to the water park. Thankfully, there was a breeze and some clouds so it wasn't as painfully hot as I anticipated. This was the second time at this water park. Last time Jesse videotaped Riley, but this time he brought the camera to get some still shots. I would show you the videos, but I have yet to get the video editing program loaded on to my computer so all the videos still sit on the video camera... waiting to be watched.

Riley was a bit hesitant at the water park at first, but then became a little braver. It was nice to have Jesse capture the fun we had today.

These little water spouts are just the right size for her... and far enough away from the scary and unpredictible water cannons.

She loved trying to step on the water to stop the flow. A couple times she stepped right over it and had the water hit her in the butt. After the shock of it she thought it was pretty funny.

You can't really tell this above, but that water was streaming down pretty hard. I didn't think she would appreciate me running her through this, but I think it helped that I was holding her and guiding her face through open spots. Above she debates if she wants to go through again.

'Let's do this Mommy!'

Truthfully, this was as much fun (if not more) for me as it was for Riley. It's so nice to have an excuse to go run through water like a kid. Adults don't usually allow themselves the luxury of this kind of behavior. It was fun to look around and see the adults soaked and having fun. Now if I can just get Jesse to wear his swim trunks next time. : )

Saturday, July 16, 2011


This weekend we decided to take Riley to the Aquarium at the Mall of America. Riley has been pretty interested in fish so we hoped that she would be entertained by this. She has been around real fish before at grandma Ann's nursing home, but nothing to the scale of the Mall of America aquarium. Speaking of grandma Ann's nursing home there is a piece of fish art that hangs in one of the halls. It's actually a painting of fish with a couple of textured, plastic fish attached to it.

Lately when we go to visit we sit around the corner from this masterpiece of art in a little kitchenette. She now knows where the painting is so she'll run out of the kitchenette and around the corner just enough that she can see it. She'll then point at it and say 'fishies!', and then turn around and look at me all proud and excited. She gets especially delighted when you pick her up and let her touch the fish. Cute stuff.

So, back to the Mall of America. We might have been foolish to head out to the mall on a steamy and wet Saturday morning, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I anticipated. Even though the aquarium was highly overpriced it was still fun to see Riley experience all the fish. I forgot to bring my camera so I had to make due with the phone camera which in no way does the experience justice.

In case you can't tell this is a turtle.

Afterwards we went to Chevy's to eat. It was getting close to nap time for Riley so she was fussin' it up. After numerous tactics to chill her out I simply handed her a lime off my plate.

As you can see she enjoyed experiencing the lime. Who knew a lime could be a lifesaver to help get us through the rest of our lunch. Mucho gracias citrus fruit.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Our kid is a Superstar!... oh, and we bought a car.

I feel really grateful to have the kid I do. We hauled her around to do a lot of things weekend and she was such a trooper. She really helped keep us in a good mood as we faced some frustrating moments. Thank you Riley for being you.

Wearing Daddy's shoes

 This was yet another weekend where we focused on car resolution so we could actually buy a car and replace the Lemon... aka Mazda. Going into the weekend I am pretty sure my husband's frontrunners for a new car was a used 2011 Kia Sorento or a used 2010 Nissan Murano. The Sorento we both drove and liked, but we had yet to drive the Murano. We had driven a different Murano which I liked and he... not so much. I was leaning toward the  brand new 2011 Kia Sportage, myself. I thought it was a pretty good car, it was smaller, it had dual climate control, and it turns on a dime. So Jesse agreed to drive the Sportage again and admitted he did like it. We both had some concerns about it, but they weren't deal breakers.

We decided that before we went any further we had to get a number from the Mazda dealership as to how much they were willing to give us for trade in. Another Morrie's dealerships told us that it was $14,500 in their system and they would have to honor that. However, we thought that was too low. Last week we sent an email stating that we wanted $15,300 or we were going to the Attorney General. We never received a response, but Saturday they upped the trade in price to $15,000. We decided to go with it since there were some other purchasing incentives on the table. We still weren't sure if we were going to buy used, new, or even from a dealership outside of Morrie's, but we were assured that we could go to another Morrie's dealership and the $15,000 would be honored.

On the way home we stopped and drove the Murano. The Murano was top of the line when sold in 2010, but I wasn't impressed. And it was apparent that it was previously owned my a smoker. A serious, hard core smoker. No way was I going to buy this car and I made myself known to Jesse and the sales guy. Pretty sure my attitude was fueled by an empty tummy, tired kid, and a morning at several dealerships.

After food and naps (I took one too) we headed back out to Kia to look at the Sportage. Jesse and I had crunched numbers and compared all the cars pros and cons and decided this was the car for us. When we got there the sales guy headed off to find out what the deal was with the trade in price only to come back (after a long wait) to tell us he could only honor the $14,500 in the system and that he didn't even try to call the Mazda dealership. After a string of foul language ran through my head we left... angry, saddened, disappointed. We left a message for the Mazda sales guy hoping we could still resolve this, but not happy with the overall customer service we had received.

We decided to look outside of Morrie's again and headed over to Honda. Unfortunately, due to the earthquakes and tsunami in Japan, they didn't have any new CRV's. We gandered at a used one, but I knew that Jesse wasn't really inspired to get another CRV. While we were there we received a call from Kia assuring us that they would honor the $15,000 now, but we needed to get over there asap to close the deal if we wanted the car that day. I was hungry and tired and really wanted to used the deal I had purchased to eat at the Loop (especially since it was the last day to use it). Curses to car dealerships for not being open on Sundays.

We were told that they would clean up the car while we ran home, grabbed the title and ate quickly. When we arrived the car hadn't been touched yet. Whatever. We'll talk to the finance guy while it's getting cleaned up, right? Not exactly. We had to wait and wait. But finally we were able to meet with the finance guy who listed the car for about $260 more than it was listed on the website. You're not getting that one past me Mr. finance guy! He corrected the price, but downplayed it by saying "it's really only taking about a dollar of per payment". Yeah, but that's still my money buddy.

Anyhoo, there are a lot more details that I could share, but they are either of uninterest or they'd make me get upset. All in all I am just glad it is behind me. We are still connected to Morrie's, but at least we aren't driving a car that we had been lied to about not having been in an accident.

Again, the upside of the whole day was how fantastic our kid was all day long. Outstanding! The only time she got a little pissy was right before lunch/nap time, but so did I. Otherwise she was well behaved and in a good mood all day. She seems to love dealerships. They have lots of room to run around, stairs to climb, play areas, big people chairs to sit in, and bathrooms that echo. All exciting stuff to a 17 month old.

Sitting in a chair like a big girl

Kia's dealership also had this alien cardboard creature that she became fascinated with. She ran up to it, pointed, and said "daddy!". I brought her up close to it, and she was a little apprehensive at first, but then loved to push it to have it bounce back at her.

Thanks to Riley Jesse has now found his doppelganger.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Independence Day

This past weekend we had a few goals:

1. Look at cars - check
2. Return a bunch of stuff to Home Depot - check
3. Clean the house - er, sorta check
4. Go to the neighborhood water park - check!
5. Have Riley wear all the 4th of July outfits she has received (thanks Liza, Charlie, Lorelie, and Libby!) - still working on it.

Riley actually had two big firsts this weekend: Riding in the Burley bike trailer behind the bike and playing at the local water park. Both were a success and I can't wait to do them again. I hope she feels the same.

Riley also received a lot of 4th of July outfits from a friend of mine who has three daughters. This seemed like a good challenge to try and wear a new one (or two) each day.

Never mind the clashing shoes

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Zoom Zoom

Due to being misinformed when we purchased our Mazda CX-7 a year and a half ago we would like to get a different car. Last weekend we looked at a used 2008 Toyota Rav4 and a used 2007 Nissan Murano. The Rav4 was in really good shape, but as far as features it was quite the downgrade from our current car. The upside was that we had a lot more history on the previous owner of the car. I was a little skeptical about the Nissan as we drove a Nissan Rogue when we bought the Mazda CX-7 and I didn't like how claustrophobic I felt in the car... or the poor visibility. So going into driving this Nissan I had low hopes and Jesse had high hopes. Turns out the car exceeded my expectations, but were far below Jesse's expectations. Out on both.

This Saturday we dropped Riley off at Grandma Suzie's so we could do some car power shopping. Because of the deal we are trying to secure with Morrie's Mazda we were told that we could look at cars at any Morrie's dealership. Our car guy said that we would have to find cars, tell him about them, and he would go pick them up. Something about stepping on toes... But our guy was out of town so we just went to other dealerships and explained the situation before driving any cars. They can fight it out themselves.

First stop was Morrie's Hyundai. Jesse immediately poo poo'd the Tucson so we drove the Sante Fe. After an unimpressive drive of the 4 cylinder we took a spin in the 6 cylinder. It was a pretty nice car to drive, but it was hard to get past the ugly interior. We just aren't wood panel people.

Next we went to Morrie's Kia. We drove the Sportage and would have liked to drive the Sorento, but they didn't have any more 2011 models (the 2012 models are out of our price range). We both really liked the Sportage, but the interior had some cheap features. I didn't notice it as much as Jesse did until I looked in back where there was a styrofoam storage unit. Cheap. However, this car was a pretty nice drive in a smaller, but decent sized compact utility vehicle. It turned on a dime (which was sweet!), but after having a car with turbo it seemed a little snail'ish when accelerating.The best part was the dual climate control. Jesse says this could save our marriage. Now if I could only get that installed in the bedroom...

At both dealerships we were told conflicting information and additional information that was not shared by our original sales guy. We did discover that they aren't willing to give us what we requested for trade in. However, we still need to talk to our original sales guy to confirm this. Also, both dealership lots were really bare. There weren't a lot of options to choose from. We were told that the factories couldn't keep up with the demand. This bummed us out a bit, but we still got a feel of what to expect out of a Hyundai and a Kia.

Later in the day Jesse decided to go to a non-Morrie's dealership to look at some used 2011 Kia Sorento's. I was worried that they would be a little too big so I wasn't too excited about this. While on his test drive he came home so I could take it out for a spin. I actually liked it (minus the big hood).It was a nice drive and has some decent feature (AWD being an important one for me). It still feels like a bigger car than we need especially with the third row seating (that tucks away). Seating for 7... but there are usually only 2 - 3 of us in the car at any given time. It makes me feel like a hog. And please don't suggest I should have more kids to fill it up.

Right now, I think we are leaning towards the Sorento, but this seems to change hourly. We have decided that we are going to look at Honda CRV's as well. You never know we might end up with two CRV's since I still have my 1998 CRV!

While looking at new cars is kinda fun it is also frustrating that we have to put out a chunk of money to get a different vehicle. I'm not one to get new cars often so this is killing me a little bit. In fact, I had my first car for 11 years (1991 Chevy S-10 Tahoe) before selling it and I still have my second car (going on 11 years). That makes the Mazda my third car. That's right. I am almost 40 and have only had 3 cars... soon to be 4. Hopefully, whatever we select will be a keeper and I won't have to buy another car until 2022.