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Archive for November, 2011

Won’t you meet me, neighbor?

How do you make friends with your neighbors? I have never really lived in a neighborhood in my adult life – always apartments or very temporary situations in which I didn’t care to meet those around me. But now we find ourselves in this adorable little neighborhood with adorable people, and I don’t know how to meet them.

I’ve waved to the guy across the street who always sits on his porch for a smoke. And Mike has acknowledged the next door neighbor when they were both doing yard work. At Halloween, one couple introduced themselves, while trick or treating, as the folks who live down the street, and I was practically gushing I was so excited to be exchanging pleasantries with a neighbor. But we haven’t spoken to them since. In fact, I was driving home the other day and saw the guy raking his leaves and I dared to wave hello, and he cleary had no idea who I was, and then I just looked like a crazy person. Or like I was flirting with him. From my car. Either way, awkward.

But here’s the more specific issue, beyond just wanting to know our neighbors in general. I want to specifically meet this one adorable family. On Halloween, my mom and I sat on the porch to hand out candy while everyone else trick or treated. After awhile, she pointed out a family walking on the other side of the street and said “I think those are your neighbors. They came out of that house across the street and stopped by earlier.” (When I had briefly stepped inside apparently.)

Well, they were adorable. A young couple with three kids, two of which appear, at least, to be adopted. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to meet them ever since. I saw them walking around the neighborhood recently and begged Mike to help me think of a reason to run outside and casually bump into them. But I panicked and it didn’t happen.

I really just want to become friendly with them, and then maybe learn a little more about their family, find out if they did indeed adopt any of their kids, and share our interest in doing so, as well. But what’s the first step?

I know in the movies people just knock on doors and introduce themselves, maybe bring baked goods or something. But I can’t do that, it just seems so intrusive. What if they’re eating dinner or in the middle of a fight or disciplining a child? What if they’re taking a family nap or watching a movie? What if they’re doing it! Then suddenly I show up at their front door and I’m all “Hi I’m your neighbor, let’s get to know each other! By the way, did you adopt those kids?”

Maybe next time I see them taking a family stroll (how sickengly adorable right?) I will walk out to check my mail! Except our mailbox is the kind that’s attached to the house, not the kind on the street. So I’d have to yell to them from my porch. “HELLO! DO YOU LIVE AROUND HERE?”

It’s all so awkward and uncomfortable, this socializing stuff!

So I don’t want to knock on their door and the mail ploy isn’t going to work. What else you got?

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Art and such

After Mike’s dad’s wedding, we got to explore the grounds where the wedding was held. The got married at Frederick Meijer Gardens, and the wedding guests got free admission. Unfortunately we were very ill-prepared. The weather was unseasonably warm, and the majority of the facility is outside, so Mike was not dressed appropriately at all. As for me, I had the worst possible shoes for walking and exploring at length. I had been before a few times, and Mike was more uncomfortable than he was interested, so we didn’t linger too long.

Did get some pics though!

The famous da Vinci horse.

Mike with Fred & Lena Meijer themselves!

They were kind enough to pose with me, too.

Wall o' Flowers

I think this should be our new logo.

After exploring the gardens, we went home (well it wasn’t home yet, Mike’s dad still lived here and we were crashing for the night) to change, then headed downtown for ArtPrize. It’s an art contest that takes over the city for several weeks, and because we didn’t live here yet, we almost missed it this year. As it is, we hit some of the larger venues and called it good.

I want this dude in my backyard.

Mike's big boy chair

Shrapnel giraffe

Creepy!

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A parental wedding

The house we are renting belongs to Mike’s dad. He recently remarried and moved in with his wife, leaving this place vacant at exactly the same time we needed a place to rent. Well, it didn’t work out quite that perfectly, but good enough.

We think his wife, Penny, is great, and we’re very glad to have her in our family. The wedding was a very nice affair — just family and some close friends. And they found a way to involve all of us. I got to pin on all the boutonnieres.

And Mike was a best man, along with his brother. Mike held the rings and Brian signed the marriage license.

Penny is quite a bit shorter than Steve, so they totally stole our idea with the step stool.

Sorry guys, but I still think ours is cuter.

Here’s the happy couple cutting their cake:

And here’s another happy couple from the wedding:

All in all, a happy occasion.

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Paintball hurts!

When Groupon (or was it LivingSocial?) had a deal on paintball not too long ago, we decided to give it a try. Mike had mentioned it before and I’m usually up for anything, so we convinced two of my sisters, my brother and all their spouses to battle it out in the paintball arena with us. We were all amateurs and weren’t really sure what to expect.

Here are a few things we learned:

1) You don’t get any sort of cover up to wear over your clothes. Apparently a few in our group had expected this. Luckily Mike and I wore old ratty clothes because we assumed they’d be getting painty.

2) The masks you have to wear are nasty and uncomfortable. Just think about how many others have worn and breathed in and sweated in those things. And all that breathing and sweating makes the mask fog up and you can’t see anything. I guess hardcore paintballers buy masks with built-in ventilation systems. Smart.

3) Paintballs frickin’ HURT! I mean duh, but I think they hurt even worse than I had expected.

The arena!

When we lined up for our first game I realized I had no idea what the hell I was doing. I ran to a blow-up barrier, randomly shot some paintballs into the abyss, took one in the face (thank you stinky mask!) and walked off. Second game I got shot in the mouth (paint tastes nasty by the way) and the belly. That was my first paintball sting and I did not enjoy it. Third game I pretty quickly got hit in the groin, walked off, then got shot again. Bastards I’m already out!

At the end of that game I watched my baby sister get pummeled in the wind pipe. She couldn’t breathe for a second, then started bleeding, then started crying. And in that moment I decided paintball was not for me. I sat out with her while the rest of the group played a few more games.

Ouch!

I think Mike had fun, but I don’t think either of us are in any hurry to go again. Ok, I’ll probably never go again. Ever. No thanks. Although we did look pretty badass.

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Exactly three months AFTER our anniversary, we finally got around to opening our Love Letter Box and reading all the notes inside. We were supposed to do this on our actual anniversary, but as explained, life got away from us and it didn’t happen until September. One night I was like, ok we’re doing this damn it! And I got out some paper and pens, and we wrote our letters. After finishing those, we broke out the tools and broke into our box. My dad made the box for us, securing it with screws just to screw with us I think.

Inside were the letters we had written each just prior to the wedding last year, along with some fun notes from our wedding guests.

We read the letters from each other first (I don’t remember what I wrote in mine, but Mike’s was so sweet!), and then the notes from the guests. This was our favorite:

She’s going to kill me for posting that, but whatever. After reading everything, we added our new letters (without exchanging them) to the box and sealed it back up.

And now it’s sitting on a bookshelf in our new home, waiting to be opened again next year. Maybe closer to our actual anniversary this time…

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Mike’s birthday was waaay back in September, but I just realized we never wrote about it. Well, Mike told you about how I bought him a corndog maker, but we also did some fun stuff to celebrate. We got all dressed up and went to dinner at a nice place that offers free lobster to birthday boys and girls.

I was quite frightened of Mike’s lobster, and I was glad I stuck to the halibut. After dinner, we went to the local comedy club. I had never been to a live comedy show, so it was really fun. We intentionally sat in the back to avoid becoming part of the act though.

So now Mike is 30… less than two months before I turn 31. He’s such a baby.

Happy (belated) birthday hon!

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