Family & Friends

Advocate for the blind

Posted by Katie on April 20, 2010
Family & Friends / 1 Comment

My Mom has spent her career serving as an Orientation and Mobility Instructor for the blind.  Before she got married, she worked at the Missouri School for the Blind, and has since worked as an independent consultant for the state of Indiana helping blind people develop the necessary skills to live independent lives.  Her passion has been both professional and personal, and I have witnessed her come to the aid of and become friends with many of her clients over the years.

Recently, she went out to lunch with one of her blind friends who uses a trained and certified Leader Dog as a guide.  They were denied access to the restaurant because of the dog.  While in the moment, the situation was exceptionally unpleasant for both ladies, they decided to use the experience as a learning tool.  They contacted the appropriate authorities, and ended up on the front page of the local paper today.  The restaurant claims this as a “misunderstanding”, but it was a very clear case of discrimination.

Their intention is not to harm the restaurant in any way, but to help raise awareness in the community for other blind people.  Terre Haute, Indiana is small town Midwest America…with a lot of wonderful people and a population of only 60,000…but there are about 10 trained guide dogs in the community.

PS – My absolute favorite part of this article is when my Mom said, “I offered to put a blindfold on him (restaurant worker) and let him experience what it is to be blind.”  Oh yes, that is my Mom!  I’m proud of you.

Picture perfect

Posted by Katie on April 10, 2010
Family & Friends / 2 Comments

This is the result of all six siblings sitting for professional portraits when we were all together last Christmas.

I actually really liked this picture…back when I had a mole on my cheek and Dave had a jawline.

Photoshop much?

Happy Easter for real this time

Posted by Katie on April 05, 2010
Easter, Family & Friends / 2 Comments

Hope you had a great Easter this year!

We had a wonderful long weekend hosting part of my family in Chicago.  Lots of beautiful church services, lots of yummy food, copious amounts of candy and most importantly, the chance to visit with family.

Oh, and an Easter egg hunt which resulted in every item in our apartment being touched 10 times.  There is still one egg missing, and I don’t remember where I hid it!  Moxie will find it.

Note to self – don’t agree to organize an Easter egg hunt when the majority of participants are competitive grown men.  The funny part is that those same men were the biggest proponents of the hunt in the first place!

We had a wonderful time with everyone.  I am so lucky to have a great family, despite the chaos and crazy egg hunts that come as part of the package.

But now that it’s all over, I can not wait to go home this evening, open a bottle of wine, sit quietly with Dave while eating Easter ham sandwiches for dinner and go to bed at 8 o’clock.

They wore me out.

Shhh….

Posted by Katie on March 28, 2010
Easter, Family & Friends / 2 Comments

Don’t tell anyone, but the Easter Bunny has been hard at work this weekend.

We’re hosting my family for Easter this year, and I’m really looking forward to it.

Anyone know how to cook a ham?

Happy Easter!

Posted by Katie on March 20, 2010
Easter, Family & Friends / 1 Comment

It’s Easter.

Ok, well not technically.  But that didn’t stop us from celebrating Easter one night last week.

My sister, Maggie, really has quite horrible luck when it comes to having to work on major holidays.  There was that Thanksgiving not so long ago, when Maggie was living with me…oh, never mind…it was not pretty.  I love you Maggie!

Anyway, this year is no exception, and Maggie is required to be the RA on duty in her dorm on Easter Sunday.  She and one of her friends spent a couple days with us last week visiting over Ball State’s spring break, so we took the opportunity to designate one of the days as “Maggie’s Easter.”  It was great to hang out with Maggie on a major holiday for once, and it was the perfect excuse to open a couple of bottles of wine during Lent!

Liberal interpretation, I am well aware.  Don’t judge.  Even the Easter Bunny left his presents!

So we had wonderful company and good food.  And they surprised me with an early birthday cake, which was quite yummy, and much appreciated.

Hope you had a happy “Maggie’s Easter!”

Giant S

Posted by Katie on February 21, 2010
Crafts, Family & Friends / 4 Comments

While my sister Maggie stayed with us over New Year’s, we came up with the idea of doing craft projects for each other.   A bit silly, I’m well aware, but one trip to JoAnn Fabrics later and we had our ideas.  It turned out to be fun!

Maggie, who is an RA in her dorm at Ball State, got to go back to school with a giant glittery S, representing her last name.  While it looks cool and all, I’m under no delusion that the giant S won’t find it’s proper home in a college dorm either as a prop for a drinking game or as an accessory for a statue on campus somewhere.

Maggie took a much more practical approach to her craft and painted a birdhouse for our kitchen.   She didn’t have time to finish her project while she was in Chicago, but I hear there is a birdhouse in the mail.

One weekend, two families

Posted by Katie on September 07, 2009
Family & Friends, Weird / No Comments

In true Dave and Katie fashion, we did not come home from California yesterday to a quiet apartment.

While we were away, my parents as well as my brother, Brian, and his wife, Katrina, all stayed at our place in Chicago.

Unfortunately, we did miss my parents this trip.  Brian and Katrina, however, spent last night in Chicago with us and are traveling home to Wisconsin today.  So with Michael and Katie, we all celebrated last night with a dinner out and a few drinks.

guys

katies

Yes, we have informed Michael repeatedly of how creepy he looks with a mustache!

And…NOW we have a quiet apartment…ahhh.

Little guy

Posted by Katie on September 07, 2009
Family & Friends, Travel / 1 Comment

damien

Meet baby Damien!

You know, Aunt Katie, you’re not supposed to drop me, right??  Right?  RIGHT??????

From the look on his face, he clearly senses my lack of baby experience.  Kids pick up on these things, you know.

Dave’s brother, Joe, and his wife, Anne Marie, recently welcomed their first child into the family.  We traveled out to hot and smokey California last week for a family visit and for Damien’s Baptism.  It was an honor for Dave to be asked to be Damien’s Godfather.

baptism

We both took Thursday and Friday off of work, and spent the extra time with Dave’s parents in Los Angeles.  The last several times we have visited with them have revolved around whirlwind family events.  While this visit included the Baptism, of course, it was nice to have a couple extra days to visit without too much chaos.

And now we are back in cool and lovely Chicago, with a whole extra vacation day!

Canoe trip

Posted by Katie on August 13, 2009
Family & Friends, Travel / 4 Comments

Dave and I had been planning for a while to take a canoe trip on Sugar Creek in Indiana.  As a kid I took this trip many many times, although always one of the shorter versions.  And we always ended the shorter trips by saying, “That was really great, but not long enough!”  So, this time we planned on the long version…15 miles!

But last week was a mess.  As usual.  Work was crazy.  Life was crazy.  I spent a couple of days traveling for work.  And at 5 PM on Friday I was still at an airport not located in Chicago.   By the time I actually got back to Chicago, changed clothes quickly, made a couple turkey sandwiches to eat in the car for dinner, threw a bunch of stuff into the car and left the city with Dave, it was well after 9 PM.

You can picture my state of grumpy mixed with work frustration mixed with tired mixed with “Dave, what the heck! I can’t believe you didn’t pack my hair dryer.  Of course I need my hair dryer on a canoe trip!”  Dave deserves a gold medal in husbandry or something.

So here we were, driving to my parents’ house in Indiana late at night.  And we had to be at the canoe place at 8:15 AM…Eastern time…Chicago is not on Eastern time.  It was very late and we were very grouchy.  So we pulled into a hotel between two corn fields for the night.

notbadhotel

I took a picture of the hotel sign as we left the next morning in the dawn hours, on 4 hours of sleep, mostly because it looked so shady.  To tell the truth the hotel itself was not that bad.  I have paid more money to stay at shadier…most notably in Muncie, IN.

And so on 4 hours of sleep, which did slightly combat the grouchiness, we were off to canoe 15 miles.

precanoetrip

This is the pre-canoe picture.  I have lost more than one camera on boating related activities in my life, so I did leave the camera in the car for the actual canoe trip.

Canoeing was fun, the scenery through two state parks was beautiful and the company was grand.

There was one hiccup…Maggie’s kayak had a little itsy-bitsy tiny 4 inch gash in its hull.  This little hiccup required us to pull into shore every 15 – 20 minutes.  Over the course of that much time, the kayak would take on about 100 lbs. of water, slowly sinking the boat below water level and requiring dramatically increased upper body strength to propel the craft forward.  Everyone took turns paddling the heavy leaky kayak, but the extra chore of pulling into shore so often added a lot of time to the day.  A trip that could have been completed in under 5 hours, we completed in under 9 hours.

And there was a second hiccup…and this is the part of this story which makes me cringe with embarrassment at the mention of the term “Hoosier”, because I now better understand how people who are not from Indiana use the term.

The last 3 1/2 miles of the trip allow inner tubes on the creek.  I should note that at this checkpoint we were able to trade Maggie’s kayak in for one which did not take on water.  But back to the inner tubes.

For $5 you can rent an inner tube and drift down the creek for 3 1/2 miles.  Of course you rent an extra inner tube for your cooler full of Coors Light.  Some even choose to rent an inner tube for their favorite canine.  And if you bring a bunch of string you can tie 20 or 30 of your closest inner tube loving friends, their beer and their dogs all together for one drunken party boat.  Of course you should make it difficult for canoes and kayaks to pass up your party boat and all the aluminum beer cans and empty bags of Cheetos you toss into the creek.  Oh and spray them constantly with water guns, they “love” that.

And if you’re drunk in an inner tube while in a beautiful state park, why not encourage your small children to climb up the cliffs of a canyon and jump off into 4 ft. of water?  Totally safe!  And fun for the whole crowd.

You should of course be smoking a pack of cigarettes while doing this.  And wearing a bikini top that is too small.

The whole scene was best summed up by another canoe paddler who said, “I have never seen such a collective dumb-ass.”  True that.

Grrrr….and that’s about when my grumpiness came back.

Having fun is exhausting.

Baby!

Posted by Katie on July 27, 2009
Family & Friends / 1 Comment

No, Mom, not ours.  Yet.

Dave’s brother and his wife welcomed their first child this weekend, baby Damien, into their lives.

Big congratulations to the family!