The big 4-0! To celebrate, Ross and his family made the treacherous snow-filled drive down from the Michigan tundra. So much fun.

The girls

The boys

Although still a bit cold, the sun was out and the wind was not, so we made the trek up to the zoo. By a birthday miracle, we had the entire park nearly to ourselves. Hilariously, the was the first time in a loooooooong time that our kids actually really looked at animals. We’re so used to going to run around, ride the train or the merry-go-round or play in the playgrounds, that actually stopping to enjoy an animal was refreshing. And interesting. (otters? really? i didn’t know…)

Leva and Lauren

Geert, Cameron, Joe, and Mr. Polar Bear

BEARS!!! (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha)

Hattie enjoying “bear treats” from the hand of Uncle Ross, who, sadly, she now recognizes. No more twin games. Sigh.

Leva’s portrait of a lion, who’s grumbling, muffler-less, albeit impotent roar scared us. While the lady lions rolled their eyes and wished he’d find something useful to do.

Birthday party at Dewey’s Pizza

Morning cartoon snuggling with the cousins

Gettin’ the lead out before the long drive home

Brad and I set out this morning, thinking that we were driving to Louisville, KY to watch the World Cyclocross Championships, and were pretty psyched about it. Waffles, good coffee, and on the road almost on time. Even with the “snow emergency” in the forecast, we let it dampen our spirits not. On the road, whatev’s. Hit it.


But, uh, three hours later as we were finally getting to Cincinnati (which should take about 1.5 hrs) and hitting the worst stretch of road mashed potato snow, with big blue smears on the radar still headed our way, we started to re-think. Maaaaybe we could get there in time for the men’s championship race, but it would be close. Sooo, after driving for 5-6 hours we could watch a one hour race and then have to turn around and drive right home. Which could take six more hours since more gigantic blue smears were on the way. Hm. So instead of watching this:


we drove to Ikea, ate meatballs, bought the kids new snuggly stuffed animals and this:

photo (1)

which i suppose we’ll watch longer than for an hour.

Oh yes. Today is also Brad’s 39th birthday. And I completely forgot to wish him a happy one at all this morning. I blame it on the surgery adventure, but really, there’s no excuse. So happy birthday to my husband, my favorite person in the world, the father and best daddy ever to our kids, my hero, and the guy who gave me the most blessed life ever. Enjoy your last year in your 30’s!


I have to admit, I kinda talked Brad into this spot. He was reluctant, and shy, and self conscious, but I, selfishly, wanted the world (or at least Columbus, Ohio) to know what I know – how great of a dad Brad is. Maybe someone out there saw this video and was inspired to do the same. Maybe another stay at home dad who thought he was all alone now knows that he’s not. And maybe our kids will find the video on the blog when they’re older and get a better picture of how truly selflessly he loves them.

Now I look at the video and I laugh at a lot of things: Leva’s shredded wedding dress that she wears constantly. The infant Tylenol on the windowsill. How Hattie starts sticking her fingers up Brad’s nose and he’s so used to it, it doesn’t even break his stride. The Snowville creamery milk in the fridge. How we change diapers on the floor because we don’t have room for a changing table. And I see my family perhaps through the eyes of another and I am SO PROUD.


So this year’s Iceman was a challenge on many fronts. First and foremost, although Brad did do a lot of biking this past summer and fall, he didn’t feel as though he had done as much in the past, and was a bit worried about how his performance would reflect that. Challenge met: he got 10/142 in his category (sport men 34-36) with a rippin’ new personal record. No more whining from Brad, he’s awesome.

Next, we decided to take the children with us. This was a challenge on many fronts – first was the car ride. Neither of our children are good at riding in the car. They don’t nap under any circumstances (weird, I know), are easily restless, and can shriek for over an hour without stopping for air, one trying to outdo the other. Challenge met: we got a roof mount DVD player. It was, admittedly, at an exorbitant cost, both financially and on the brain-cell killing front, but worth every single solitary penny. We’ll have to cut TV out of the kids’ daily routine for the next month to make up for it, but worth every cent. I think Leva watched Sleeping Beauty four times. She’s fascinated with the witch, but that’s a story for a different day.

Second were the sleeping arrangements. Not only do our finicky children not sleep in the car, they don’t sleep well outside of their own beds. The first night we drove to Ann Arbor, arriving at about 8:30pm. All we had to do was enter the hotel room and set up the pack-n-play for Geert to start screaming like he was being attacked by a pack of wild dogs. Bucking and arching, shrieking and screaming, he continued this for an hour and a half. We were on the verge of turning around and going back home (GOBA style), when Brad finally laid him down (out of frustration more than anything) and slid away, leaving G to scream for another agonizing 10 minutes or so, and then – silence. He slept through the night, although Brad and I, rattled, lay awake for most of it. Challenge met: apparently submersion therapy worked for the kid – the next night he shrieked for 2 minutes, and the next night not at all, sleeping through the night on all occasions. Granted he and Leva missed almost all their naps and were painfully sleep deprived as it was, but it was a tangible relief to have 12 hours of quiet through the night.

Third, I decided to drop Brad off at the finish line, see him along the way, AND catch him at the finish line, all this with the kids and me 7 mos pregnant. Challenge met: it’s called a Chariot, folks, and although Geert can spill all the goldfish and pull his sister’s hair, and Leva can kick out the screen, they can NOT undo the buckles on their seatbelts and are captive until I decide to release them. They did remarkably well, but there was many a time I was glad to strap them in that stroller to get to where I needed to go or take a picture without worrying one of them had escaped already.

And last but not least, the eating challenge. Why we have the only two kids in the world who won’t eat anything is beyond me, but, challenge met: graham crackers. All in all, a successful seventh or eighth annual Iceman Challenge, and we had a fantastic time hanging out with friends and family we really don’t get to see enough, and Leva even squeezed in some time at the beach. Brad can’t wait for next year! (I’m not going. No way.)

Pictures here: Iceman


In honor of Brad’s birthday (it’s Stacy here), I’m posting videos of the kids in all their glory.  They wouldn’t be the great kids that they are if it weren’t for the greatest dad in the whole world.  We love you!!

Stacy worked late last night, so Leva and I went for a nice evening walk. She stomped every puddle, grabbed every piece of snow and threw every stick she came across. We also stopped to visit our neighbors down the street (The Yue’s), but Leva started to scream when she realized it involved going inside! So, we cut the visit short and headed back outside to continue our walk. One final trip back to our house was all it took. Leva asked for her sippy cup (”wawa”) and a snack, demanded her toothbrush, turned out the bathroom lights and grabbed all the nookies she could find in her crib. I dimmed the lights, shut the door and walked down the stairs. Silence.

After hearing that I was on my own for dinner, Jim Yue stopped by with a pot of chili verde. Silent house, comfy couch, Pitt vs. Lousiville on the television, feet up in the air and a steaming hot bowl of chili verde.

How sweet is that?

Chili Verde

I thought you’d all like to see the new ride! Looks familiar, huh? After riding Stacy’s bike so much over the past two months she decided I needed one of my own. Thanks Stace – I love it!


On the way home from the grocery story – with a week’s worth of groceries!


Today, I attached Leva’s new seat. Look out library! Look out community pool! Nothing can stop us now!


Be like the Fischers. Take the 2 Mile Challenge.

the Christmas season has begun.


Pootie II

Expected date of arrival: May 31, 2008

(For those of you already doing the math in your heads, that’ll make them about 19 months apart)

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