Thursday, January 28, 2010
Eric and I celebrated Ten Years together with donuts from Tim Horton's. Because we are just THAT COOL. I know you are JEALOUS. No, REALLY.
I am NEVER eating pancakes again...these waffles are DA BOMB!!!
Paige LOVES her stool. She was helping me make tea. And, again, in case you forgot, I am using the term "helping" very lightly.
Aly got a new haircut!!
Paige and I enjoy watching the kids get on the bus from inside our heated car...especially this morning...it was 14 degrees...and that was BEFORE factoring in the windchill. BRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!
Yes, she is really this cute.
Have good week!
Monday, January 25, 2010
she is: just a month into age seven. she is reading at a third grade level. she has had three consecutive perfect scores on her math tests. it's safe to say that she loves school. i could not be happier about that. she is still the silliest girl i know. she still LOVES her stuffed dogs (all 50+ of them). she doesn't suck her thumb anymore. she, lately, is much more willing to try new things, but does not hesitate to complain about doing so. oh yeah, she complains...a lot. she loves playing with her friends, and complains when no one is around. she is addicted to her Nintendo DS. she is seriously addicted to art/creating. she may be ready for some sort of intervention....she does not care about clothes AT ALL. she still lets me pick out her outfit each and every day. she, very recently, starting taking showers all by herself. she LOVES her little sister, except when she gets into her stuff. she loves to help me out by putting Paige to bed (reading her a story and singing her "Twinkle"), and helps me get Paige dressed. she does not like chores, and COMPLAINS when I ask her to do anything extra. she still lets me hug and kiss her anytime I want.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
The Spirit of Detroit on Woodward Avenue at Jefferson Avenue, 2 blocks from Cobo.
This was a very important year for the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Hall in downtown Detroit. The U.S. car companies are trying to reinvent themselves amid the turmoil of a harsh economic climate that saw them move a lot less sheet metal than they would like, and all the other car companies and suppliers are feeling the crunch as well. It's survival time, so you better show the best you have to offer!
Ford Motor Company is on an unbelievable roll right now. As the only major US automaker not to take a government bailout they are in an enviable position. They have a huge lead in product development and it shows. They are releasing hit after hit after hit. First came the redesigned Fusion and Fusion Hybrid, then the Taurus and Taurus SHO, the Mustang, The Focus, and finally the Fiesta. This was by far the most impressive lineup of the show, and from top to bottom all the new Ford products show extremely high quality. This is especially evident in the interiors. Their cars are good looking, they perform well, and they are made right. If you are looking for a car you would be doing yourself a serious disservice to overlook this brand. And no, I don't work for Ford. I have never even owned one -yet.
The return of the Ford Mustang "5.0" with a 5 liter engine putting out 420 horsepower.
It's evident that GM is not that far behind Ford in their product development, and you can see that they are serious about their new product. Two monumentally important cars for GM are the Chevrolet Cruze and Volt. These cars are crucial to GM's success. The Cruze is their new compact car and shows lots of promise. Handsome looks combined with good fit and finish and an upscale look to the interior make for an appealing car. GM must sell this car in high volume to compete in the marketplace. In order to be taken seriously by the rest of the world, the Volt electric car must be a success. The development cost for this car is extremely high, but if it succeeds in sales it could make GM a technology leader and push aside the established "Green" cars like Toyota's Prius on the must-have list. With Toyota's current recall woes likely to get worse, now is a perfect time to show some authority and reclaim the global sales lead. Brand consolidation has sharpened GM's focus. Buick continues to sell well in emerging markets like China and Cadillac is offering some desirable models. At the end of the day it's all about making what people want to buy.
The new 556 horsepower Cadillac CTS-V coupe
Cadillac's damn-good-looking CTS wagon
The super-important Chevy Cruze
The plug-in electric Chevy Volt
Eric tries to drive off in the new Corvette Grand Sport
The only view most people will see of the 638 horsepower Corvette ZR-1
Chrysler's low-key display didn't yet have much in the way of new product to show. Since joining with Fiat recently new products are currently under development, but we won't see anything significant until at least next year. We are all eager to see what they come up with, but make no mistake - Chrysler's back is up against the wall and this is their last chance. They must have some impressive new products soon to survive. I think their recent creation of the new "Ram" brand for trucks (separate from Dodge) is a step in the wrong direction. The worst thing they can do right now is dilute their brand identity. An association with Fiat makes more sense than the previous arrangement with Daimler and should provide some smart choices in vehicles soon.
This Dodge Viper ACR set the production car lap record at Laguna Seca Raceway in November.
Forget about the Fiat cars of the 1970s (please!) The cute little Fiat 500 is a modern car with modern quality expectations.
Most people don't realize it, but tiny little Ferrari, with it's meager production of 6,000 cars per year is a huge technology leader, with many of their innovations coming directly from their participation at the pinnacle of motorsports technology in formula 1. Some of their innovations include paddle-shift manual transmissions, carbon-ceramic brakes, underbody aerodynamics, launch control, high specific output engines, deformable aerodynamic elements. The new 458 Italia has a specific output of 125 hp/liter from its naturally aspirated engine.
The beautiful Ferrari California with its retractable hardtop
Mazda's product lineup shows a cautious evolution with no real surprises. I am not a big fan of the "corporate look, and Mazda has taken a step in the wrong direction with their "Nagare" theme incorporating large plastic-y grins on the front of their cars with funky looking air intakes and headlights. This theme has lamentably even been applied to the beloved Miata which remains otherwise a great little sports car.
Honda had one of the quietest displays at the show. There was only the bulbous new Accord Crosstour to show in the way of new product, which was drawing universal yawns from the public. Honda also showed it has caught the weird Japanese styling bug over at the Acura stand, where all of its products were sporting huge chromed beak-y grilles. I don't know why you would want the front of all your vehicles to resemble some kind of bird, but I'll make a report right here as soon as I figure that one out. Honda is lucky to have a good reputation for quality product. If they had to rely on style it wouldn't be good. But they are a diversified company and the largest engine manufacturer in the world. They make motorcycles, generators, industrial, commercial, and go-kart engines and lawn equipment. They are now even making robots and jet airplanes.
I try not to have a bias in my reporting, but I have to admit that for me Toyotas have no more appeal than a household appliance. Their products are high quality and reliable (sticking accelerator problems aside) but they are not high on the desirability scale. As such, I skipped their booth entirely. Hey, someone has to make cars for people who don't care about cars. I am not sure who the $300,000 super-ugly Lexus LF-A sports car is for. I say for that kind of money my car better have a Cavallino Rampante on it. If you don't know what that is you might just deserve to own a Toyota.
Tesla Motors is a small company at the forefront of electric car technology. They make high performance plug-in electric sports cars based on lightweight Lotus chassis. They are a good looking and fast alternative in the $100-150 K price range.
Volkswagen, Porsche, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru, etc.
There were many other automakers present at the show displaying their wares. While I took the time to check most of them out I didn't see anything that was significant enough to be considered an important product in the industry. All manufacturers have product cycles, and you can't bring exciting new product every year or you'll go broke paying for the development and tooling costs. One thing is for certain however - cars continue to get better than they have ever been. They are more reliable, more efficient, more powerful, better handling , and safer than in the past. The economic shakeup and the promise of alternative fuels and sources of propulsion make this time in history the most significant turning point since the beginning of automotive history. We are going to see some exciting things in the coming years, so buckle up because it's going to be a hell of a ride!
The precious little Mazda Miata - photographed from the rear so you can't see what they did to the front end styling.
The new $189,000 Morgan with the light and speedy Lotus Exige in the background.
The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG is the modern take on the 1953 300SL Gullwing.
This face is often copied by the Chinese. The Mercedes-Benz Maybach limousine is the original, and it's what to get when your neighbor "only" has a Rolls-Royce.
The Honda CR-Z has years of work and hybrid technology so that it can get the same mileage as the CR-X did over 25 years ago. Here's a hint: just make it 1800 pounds with a small 4 cylinder and skinny tires like you did back then!
Friday, January 22, 2010
Because TODAY is our TEN year wedding anniversary, I thought I would share my favorite memories from our wedding...a TOP TEN list, if you will. And to be fair, they are in no particular order.
1. Having one of the shortest vow ceremonies, EVER. It was so short, even our wedding photographer wasn't prepared and missed photographing the, "Now you may kiss the bride" part. But, its shortness was a blessing to Mr. MacLean, who performed our ceremony - he was suffering from a bad case of laryngitis. So, for him, short equals less pain. Also, a short ceremony equals less time to get all nervous. Before I had any time to think about ALL the people watching us, we were married.
2. Dancing. Lots and lots of it. Even Eric, after imbibing a very strong rum and coke, danced. My Dad, during our dance twirled me around and around, dipped me, and kept stepping on my dress. I kept laughing. And during our first dance, I was singing to Eric....not too embarrassing, except that the videographer was taping the whole thing, and broadcasting the footage on the big screen for all to see. LOVELY.
3. Returning to our table to eat, only to find out that my brand new husband had eaten my food as well as his. No doubt, to suck up some of the previously mentioned drink. But, Man, I was STARVING!!
4. He ate my piece of cake too. In my family, that can be grounds for divorce. And yet here we are, ten years later. That's LOVE baby.
5. Going to the bathroom. It was quite a scene. And, I could not do it alone. Tracy, my matron of honor had to accompany me. In the stall. Please, try not to picture it. No doubt, of the finer moments in our friendship. I think it was a good thing we were in the bathroom - because we were laughing so hard........
6. Handing out the props for the YMCA to our friends. And then, watching them perform. I have a special place in my heart for the sailor and the fireman. I am also glad that I was unable to attend their weddings (not really) because I hear payback is a bitch. :)
7. The Wedding Dance - or whatever it's called. You know, the one where everyone who is married gets up and dances, and then the DJ has them leave the floor based on how many years they have been married. At the end, you give the last couple standing your garter and bouquet. When we discussed doing this with the DJ during our planning, I was 100% sure that my Matron of Honor's parents - Mr. and Mrs. MacLean - would be the last couple standing. Which would have been SO COOL. I LOVE Tracy's parents, and we have a very fun relationship, so the garter thing would have be HILARIOUS....But, oh, how I was wrong. I had COMPLETELY forgotten that my boss and his wife had been married for one year longer. Nothing more embarrassing than having to give your garter to your boss.
Incidentally - he did give it back to me. It was in a plastic baggy on my desk, when I returned from my honeymoon. EWWWWWW!!
8. Having my Michigan family - including BOTH my Grandparents - there. It would not have been the same with out any of them. I LOVED seeing pretty much all of them on the dance floor.
9. The slide show with our favorite pictures playing throughout the reception.
10. Hanging out at Tracy and Ian's house after the reception. A lot of our friends ended up there, and the party continued until the wee hours of the morning....or until sunrise for some of you! What happens at the McCarver's, stays at the McCarver's. :)
Happy Ten Years Eric!! Best decision I made ten years ago, was to say, I DO. You make me a better person. So glad we are together!!
And please, feel free - if you were there - to share your favorite moments of our wedding. I would love to read them and reminisce.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
But the other bedrooms - there's usually some better options there. Take Emily's room, for example. I have moved it around in at least four different arrangements. And, do you know what I have found? The best arrangement is the original arrangement. But, had I not tried all the other options, I would not know that having her bed on the south wall is best.
Also, because I moved it all back to it's original position, she now has room for a small desk.
Which only means one thing in our house....IKEA here we come.
So, last Sunday, we loaded up the kiddies in the van and made the one hour trek to our nearest IKEA store. I had already checked inventories online of all pieces/parts to the desk before we left - lest not to leave with a very disappointed seven year old. Everything was in stock. YEA!!!
So, we bought her a top, four legs, a chair, a small desk drawer, a bulletin board, AND her favorite thing - her VERY OWN trash can.
She is one happy girl. She is pretty much parked there all the time - either working on her Legos or her latest artistic piece. She made name signs for all of us - I will have to share Eric's in another post - it's pretty cool.
Anyway - enough of the back story - here are the photos:
Also - she is working REALLY hard on the sullen teenager look.....
But, then, her seven year old self comes right out again. (Thank God!)
So, basically, it's just me and Paige now. Eric is in the basement working, and now, Emily is upstairs in her room, creating - with the door shut, jamming out to Taylor Swift on her MP3 player.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Happy Birthday to my favorite 39 year old!! Enjoy your last birthday with those spectacles!!
(He's having his eyes lasered on Thursday!)
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Sorry for the SQUIRMYNESS. She's TWO. Very two.
Also, sorry about the underwear at the end. She's on the road to potty training, which has been delayed for a month because of circumstances which I cannot discuss on this blog, and LOVES her Elmo underwear. So she wears it OVER her pants.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Sunday, January 10, 2010
When I came home, at midnight, the following conversation took place:
Eric: You know, when you tell me to feed the kids Mac and Cheese, it would probably be a good idea to actually HAVE some.
Me: We do HAVE some. It's in the pantry.
Eric: Uh, no we don't. I tore the pantry apart, and it's not there.
I walk into the pantry, look for about three seconds, and find the Kraft Mac and Cheese. I also pull out the Trader Joe's Organic Mac and Cheese as well.
Me: UM, what's this?
Eric: Where did you find that? I looked CAREFULLY. REALLY.
I open the freezer and pull out the large Stouffer's Mac and Cheese.
Me: We had these as well.
Eric: You are AMAZING*.
Two things you have to know - he DID try to call me, but the STUPID cell phone was on vibrate, and I missed all three of this calls. AND, he did make some quasi Mac and Cheese that most of the kids loved. Way to GO Dad!!!
(*yeah, he didn't really say that - but I KNOW he was thinking it. Oh and Linda....all I could think about was that card you gave me for my first anniversary...."Honey, we're out of butter.")
But I digress.
It's been cold, and snowy. But, for the last two days the SUN has been out...making those twenties seem not so bad.
A couple photos from the last few days:
It's winter, it's cold, it's a pain in the butt, but it's only January. We have at least three more months to go. I can't start hating it now. And, truthfully, I am okay with it, for the moment.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Unfortunately, because of the boring, the camera is staying tucked away in it's little nook. Do you really want to see pictures of me doing laundry, cooking dinner, grocery shopping, taking Emily to the bus stop, and going to the gym? Well, even if you wanted to see pictures of me at the gym, you can rest assured...THAT ISN'T GOING TO HAPPEN.
So to go along with the BORING theme....I present, a picture of Paige sleeping:
This was at four o'clock yesterday afternoon. I attempted waking her at 3, then 3:15, then 3:30...no go. She just curled back up like this until we forced her to wake up.
But not before I got a picture of those cute piggies....I am kind of obsessed with little feet. Please don't send me pictures of your feet. Sorry, but big people feet kind of gross me out. But these little ones....so CUTE!!!
And Emily reading in her room while we waited for Paige to wake up. So very EXCITING. I know.
But then today - this afternoon to be exact, something happened.....
I cannot believe that it's already January 7th, and this is our first real snowfall of the season. We are supposed to get between 4 and 6 inches - which is not a lot, but it's more than we have seen in quite a while. Unfortunately, it's way too dry to make anything out of it. But it was still a blast to play in. We would have stayed out longer, but I needed to come in a get dinner started.
Here's to more excitement filled days.....well, just a few. I am still in Christmas recovery. :)