Friday, June 26, 2009

Spirit of Peoria

Joshua and I began a tradition a couple of years ago of hanging a framed picture of the town in which we are living. With each year that has passed, we have added to our memory wall. From Augustana, to Litchfield and Springfield, and now here in Peoria. Today we took some pictures on the riverfront, and now I'm trying to decide which one to frame. We got really lucky to be by the river just as The Spirit of Peoria was passing. I think this one is the winner.

Friday, June 19, 2009

First Guests

Yesterday was our first friends gathering at our new home, which was very exciting. The day wasn't looking good when we woke up in the morning; we had no power, along with thousands of others in central Illinois. Luckily, we were able to take most of our refrigerator food over to Vanilla Bean Counter's house. Besides worrying about the food, the temperature rose to 90 yesterday, making an evening of entertaining not much fun to think about. We waited all day for the power to come back on, but no luck. When we left for dinner at 5:00, still no power. Throughout the Peoria Chief's baseball game (surprisingly fun!), we were wondering if there would be lights on at our house when we got there. After turning into our subdivision, I was so relieved to see all the silly lampposts glowing down the street. The evening was a success. We played Wii, and it was nice to be able to make a little noise without worrying about waking apartment neighbors. It was great! Joshua and I agreed this morning that despite all of the problems we've encountered with the house-buying process, last night made it all worth it. We love our house, and we're anxiously awaiting the new closing date, July 10, may it arrive soon with no more problems arising.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Masterpiece

For the past three weeks, I've been working on this custom order. It's finished and looks adorable. I can't decide if I would want to make it again.

Elephant Picture, as Requested

Here's the photographic proof of the elephant ride.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Vacation 2009

Sorry for my absence for the past week. Joshua and I have been vacationing in the lovely state of Wisconsin. Each year we head up to the north-western part of the state to stay at Grandpa and Grandma's home on Bond Lake. Here's a recap.

Friday: We arrived at the cabin after a nine hour drive. It was rainy and cold, less than 60 degrees. Joshua still jumped off the top of the pontoon boat. He couldn't resist being the first one of the season. I wasn't so brave. I don't have a picture of this year, but here's one from a past vacation.
Saturday: We made a trip to Duluth with Joshua's grandma to update their home with two new TVs. Joshua loves any excuse to visit a Best Buy. Duluth is about an hour drive, but it was another cold and rainy day, so we had nothing else going.

Sunday: Cold and rainy. We spent the day cooped up in the house. Blah.

Monday: More cold.

Tuesday: You guessed it, cold and rainy, a high of 48 degrees. So, we used up our last Wisconsin rainy day activity, a trip to Hayward. If you've heard of Hayward, it's probably because of the lumberjack competitions that are held there. I think you can watch them on ESPN sometimes. While we were there, we went to the Muskie Museum (yes, a museum devoted to fishing the Muskie, complete with a GIANT fish-shaped building you can climp up into), Tremblie's Candy store, and several other little shops on the main street. I found some lovely postcards. I love sending postcards. They're just so cute and cheap to mail! Although I got some great postcards, that was not the find of the day. In one little store that sold a little fabric and other craft supplies, I found FIVE new colors of felt that I have only seen online, never at another store. You better believe I loaded up. I felt like i hit the jackpot. All the horrible weather was forgotten.

Wednesday: The weather was a little nicer, but not much. We spent a small amount of time on the lake in the pontoon boat.

Thursday: Beautiful weather at last. I was in my swimsuit and sunning on the top of the pontoon boat first thing after breakfast.

Friday: More gorgeous weather. I was so happy to see the sun that I didn't bother to use enough sunscreen. Joshua and I are still a little toasty.

Saturday: We got up at 4 in the morning to make the drive to Baraboo, Wisconsin to meet my family for our first ever family vacation. No, I'm really not exaggerating. A few times when we were kids, we would travel to Nebraska or Wyoming to see family, but that really doesn't count. It wasn't much fun, and my Dad didn't come. So, you must be thinking, what in Baraboo, Wisconsin could inspire our family to take a vacation (for one day). It's Circus World, of course! Mom loves circuses, so we did this mostly for her. It ended up being a really fun day. We saw a tiger and elephants. Joshua, Ryan, and Mom even rode one! We ate cotton candy and saw a show with lots of acrobats and contortionists. Everyone was in a nice mood for the entire day; it couldn't have gone better. We ended the day with dinner, and then Joshua and I drove on home, the nicest place to be in the world.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

House Chores

Since moving into the new house, we've been very busy. Yesterday Joshua took charge and ditched our out-of-town lender. He was completely worthless and one of the main reasons why we haven't closed on the house yet. Too many mistakes, so we got rid of him. The funny thing is, when Josh told him, he said it was probably a good idea to use someone else. Strange. Okay, so we went to Busey bank. They seemed very competent, returned our phone calls, and answered our questions. We will be closing on the 19th at the soonest, the next week at the latest. Woohoo! So, that was Joshua's big accomplishment from yesterday.

Our chore for today was mowing. I hate gas mowers. The smell, hassle, and difficulty starting them were enough to convince me that an electric mower was the way to go. It just so happened that Grandpa Joe had one around the farm that he got at the sale barn some time ago. Josh started with the front yard. He was a good sport, but he wasn't great at managing the cord. It's important to work away from the outlet, but he was too focused on going around all the obstacles to begin with. Within the first five minutes, Mr. Erickson (an elderly gentleman with a thick Swedish accent) was over offering us his gas mower to use. He was quite skeptical when I told he we wanted to use the electric mower. Ten minutes after that, Josh was still struggling with the cord when he started chatting with the neighbors. It just so happens that their 16-year-old son likes to mow yards for money. Josh was quite ready to sign us up for $20 a week. I don't think so. I took over the mowing, and really it wasn't a big deal. The only minor issue was the back outlet not working. I'm sure there's a switch somewhere, but I couldn't find it. I just plugged it in inside. Kind of funny. Now I have a guilt-free $20 a week to spend on what I want. I'll just pay myself what Joshua wanted to pay the neighbor.
Tomorrow we're off to Wisconsin for a week. Should be fun!