Sunday, December 21, 2008

Spreading a Little Christmas Cheer

I bought this apron for Evan to wear for baking Christmas cookies this year. I know Evan well enough to know that he is not likely to wear this for more than 3 minutes - but it was so cute and I couldn't resist! So, enjoy what I suspect will be the ONLY picture of him in this get up. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2008

I Got Spammed by Santa Claus

Seriously. I just recieved a SPAM e-mail in one of my accounts from "Santa Claus".

Coincidentally, as I was looking for a picture of Santa to add to this blog post, I saw an image I'd rather forget of a side shot of "Santa". Naked.
What is the world coming to?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Oh, the weather outside if frightful!

Okay, can I just vent for a minute?

Winter hit hard and fast this week. We went from temperatures in the 70's to the 30's in just a few short days. So, it's time to pull out all of Evan's winter clothes and see if anything fits. Fortunately, the big ticket items still fit. So, I just need to buy a few supplements.

Today, I was looking for a fleece scarf to keep his face and neck warm. I went to Target, because I figured they were sure to have SOMETHING that would work. Well, the experience at Target mirrors most of my experiences when I purchase clothes for Evan.

Girls clothes outnumber boys clothes 2 to 1.

Generally, it doesn't matter. Except when I have something really specific that I'm looking for. Like an outfit for his baby dedication or say a scarf. Then I find myself totally annoyed.

So today, in the baby and toddler section there were two full racks of warm weather accessories for girls. There was one half of a rack for boys. Totally picked over. The remnants were 8 fleece hats and three gloves. Not three PAIR of gloves - three gloves. Lord only knows what happened to the fourth glove. But, I digress...

Ditto to the "big boy" section as well. Finally, I found the Target Scarf Mecca! Girls size 4-16. They had scarfs of every color, fabric and size. Pink scarfs. Polka dotted scarfs. Leopard print scarfs. And one lone black fleece scarf.

Yes, ladies and gentleman, my son is going to wear a black fleece scarf from the Girl's section at Target. I was desperate. Please don't revive this post when he turns 15....

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Voting in Virginia

I voted in a blue county in a purple state today. The voting experience was in stark contrast to my previous experiences in God's Country (a.k.a. Texas). So, I wanted to give you a little insight into voting in Northern Virginia.

My voting precinct is at a local elementary school. When I arrived this morning, the line was out the door, down the sidewalk, through the parking lot, and around the corner. It took me about 10 minutes just to find a parking space.

When I finally found the end of the line, I was warmly greeted by an Obama volunteer with a sample Democratic ballot. I politely declined and took my place in line. Shortly thereafter, I was greeted by another Obama volunteer. I looked cold, would I like some warm coffee? I politely declined and started to shift my weight from side to side as I waited. A few minutes later another Obama volunteer came by. Would I like a granola bar? Some bottled water? No and no. Thanks.

The line was moving slowly, but it was progressing. I had finally reached the long sidewalk that went directly into the school. Obama/Biden signs flanked the walkway into the school. As I inched closer to the school, I was approached by two Acorn volunteers in black shirts with bold white lettering. The shirts proclaimed that I had a right to vote and highlighted an 800 number that I could call to report voter suppression. They also pointed to a lawyer (and Obama supporter) who could assist me if I was denied my right to vote today. Got it.

Once I made my way inside the school, the Obama presence faded slightly. Volunteers are not allowed to wear political flair inside the polling place. But, one of the Obama volunteers (sans previous Obama regalia) stood inside the school waiving and giving a “thumbs up” to voters as he passed them. It was like, “You liked the coffee didn’t you? Don’t forget who gave it to you!” To their credit, every Obama volunteer was very kind and polite.

I felt like my voting experience had been sponsored by Barack Obama. I am not exaggerating when I say there was not a single sign or mention of John McCain.

The entire ordeal took about 2 hours. Early on, I called my husband. I could see the line and I knew what was to come. I suggested that voting today was a waste of time and that my vote wouldn’t really matter. He suggested that I should vote because we live in a swing-state. I wasn’t convinced. Then he said, “If for no other reason, you should vote because I risked my life defending our country, so that you could have this right.” Good point.

For those of you wondering if the lines are worth it, if your time is worth it, and if your vote really matters; it is and it does. Our freedom is bought with a price. This is an opportunity, not only to help select our country’s leaders, but to show appreciation to all those who fight to give us this freedom.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Horticultural Update

Fairfax County PD stopped by to let us know that they have decided the "plants" are NOT marijuana. Aparently, they are just WEEDS.

Sorry for the corny pun, I just couldn't resist! :)

P.S. I realize that I am in serious danger of falling back into my blogphobic tendencies. I'll try to come back to the blogging world soon. Blog on!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Family Field Trip - Sully Plantation

We live in northern Virginia, about 20 miles outside of Washington DC. We are surrounded by history and culture. From Smithsonian museums, to national parks, and free concerts at beautifully constructed town centers, we have a plethora of activities to choose from every weekend. Most of them are free. Basically, we have no excuse to complain that there is nothing to do!

Recently, we took a family trip to the Sully Historical Site, which is a plantation that dates back to the 1700's. We thought it would be interesting, plus it would give Evan a chance to run and explore without (many) restrictions. Evan had other plans. When we first arrived he had fallen asleep in the car. We figured that he would wake up once we got him out and started moving. Yeah, not so much...

Evan did finally wake up and we enjoyed the rest of our time at Sully Plantation!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Long post, but worth the read....

We live in a cute little neighborhood of three-story brick townhouses. Each townhouse has a front stoop with wrought-iron detail work and an individual lamp post. We were drawn to the neighborhood because it had great charm and curb appeal.

After we moved in, we realized that many of the other homes were rental units. It has been disappointing to us, because turnover is high and the renters haven't been as concerned with general upkeep of the homes. (Case in point, the trash can that our neighbors left out in an ice storm. It stayed frozen for weeks until I went out - 8 months pregnant - to pry it free. It then sat outside for another two months before the neighbors finally brought it in.)

Over the last few months, the 80 year old grandmother of the family next us has planted a garden in their back yard. At first, the garden was a welcome improvement over the knee-high grass of the previous tenants. That is, until we looked closely at the garden's contents. Zucchini. Tomatoes. Peppers. Marijuana.

Over the summer months, friends would come over to grill out and comment about the "suspicious" looking plants in our neighbors' garden. Over the weekend, we noticed a similar "plant" had sprouted up in their front yard near the sidewalk. Evan plays on the sidewalk, he is fascinated by leaves, we carefully watch him but he has been known to chew and swallow a stray leaf from time-to-time. Having said "plant" in the front yard is concerning to me. It can't be helping our resale value much either.

So, on Monday morning, I called the Fairfax County PD and snitched on my neighbors. They sent two officers over to our house. The first officer mentioned that he was happy to come and take a look, but that the plants were probably just tomato plants. (I would have been very embarrassed if they were, indeed, tomato plants!) The officers looked over our deck on to the garden below. From the distance, it was difficult to tell exactly what the plants were. But, the officers confirmed that they were definitely NOT tomato plants.

They suggested that we refer to pictures of marijuana plants online. So, we used our Wii gaming system to pull up the pictures in my living room. (Now, I was concerned that the officers didn't just KNOW what the "plant" looks like. But, they assured me that they primarily deal with it AFTER it has been processed, not during the growth stages. Whatever.) The website we used had an advertisement with a half-naked woman along the right side. I quickly distracted Evan with a copy of "Mr. Brown can Moo, can You?" and we went back to the photos. Admittedly, it was a pretty funny sight, me and the two officers reviewing photos of marijuana in my living room.

The plants had five leaves and looked similar to the pictures, but they did not appear to have the "buds" that many of the photos showed. The officers decided to take some pictures of the plants and let the narcotics agents review them. Before they left, I also mentioned that there is a lone "plant" in their front planter that looks like the other "plants". The officers thanked me for calling, gave Evan a "Junior Fairfax County Police Officer" badge and said they would follow up.

I closed the door and two minutes later there was a knock on the door. I opened the door to one of the officers. Before I could say anything, he said "It is TOTALLY marijuana!". Vindicated at last! NOT tomato plants! Not just five-leaf ornamental plants! I was a good citizen! I was protecting my family! I was snitching on my nice neighbors... :(

Upon closer inspection, the "plants" in the front of the yard had the appropriate leaves, but they also had the "buds" that were not apparent from a distance on the plants in the back yard. Closer inspection also revealed that the "plants" were growing all over in the planting bed by the charming front stoop with the wrought-iron detail work and the individual lamp post. Charming indeed...

Here are a few pictures from our adventure...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

It's an oldie, but a goodie! Evan (at 9 months) in Dave's old baby clothes. Vintage baby...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Run Forrest, Run!

On Friday evening, I ran into my boss as I was leaving the office. We made the usual small talk on the way out, “Do you have any plans for the weekend?” etc. He mentioned that he was playing in two adult soccer leagues over the weekend and attending a DC United game. I commented that I used to play soccer competitively and I still enjoyed watching soccer games. He suggested that I play in their coed game on Friday night. I smiled, mentioned other obligations and politely declined his offer.

Now, here’s what really happened…

When he suggested that I play soccer THAT NIGHT, I thought there is no way that I could play soccer with no notice. Best case scenario, I WOULD KEEL OVER AND DIE. Worst case scenario I would embarrass myself, my company and perhaps women in general. I haven’t played soccer in at least 10 years. I HAVEN’T RUN IN AT LEAST 10 YEARS. Those of you who know me well know that I had back surgery about 10 years ago. Today, I rarely have back pain and I have a relatively normal life. The trade off is that there are some things that went on my list of “Things I Just Can’t Do” a little early. Running is one of them. Playing soccer is another.

That evening I started thinking. Maybe there is an age at which my initial response will be merited. I don’t think that 29 is that age. So, on Friday night I was inspired. I decided to get on our treadmill and start running. I figured that I would warm up for a few minutes and then try to run. I figured two minutes was a good starting point. I ran for two minutes. My breathing was labored and I was sweating, but no heart attack. So I kept going. I ran for 5 minutes and still felt pretty good, so I ran for 10 minutes and then 15 minutes. It wasn’t pretty, but when I finished I felt like I could conquer the world!

I ran again on Saturday and then on Monday. You know what? I really like it. More than that, it challenged me to think about what else has been placed prematurely on that “list”. So, I want to encourage you to look at your own list. Think about the possibility that you may be stronger and more capable than you think.

Monday, September 15, 2008

After church yesterday, Evan was running around the lobby in a sea of people. The best way for me to keep an eye on him was to crouch down to knee level. From this vantage point, I saw Evan spot something and stop dead in his tracks. It was a little plastic wrapper. He stooped down, carefully picked it up and examined it. After some consideration, he marched over to a man (he didn't know) and tugged on his pant leg. The man looked down at Evan, and Evan handed him the little plastic wrapper. The man looked perplexed, but took the wrapper anyway. As soon as he did, Evan pointed emphatically at the trash can next to the man. Evan wanted him to throw it away.

At 19 months old, Evan is already orchestrating his world!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Cinderella, Cinderella...

Evan has started "helping" around the house. He sweeps the floor and helps unload the dishwasher. Needless to say, I love it! Not because he's all that helpful, but because it marks a new stage in his life where he can be more self-sufficient. I love to see his excitement and pride as he learns he can do new things.

19 months is probably a bit too young for a Chore Chart, right? :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Monday, September 08, 2008

Drive Thru Confusion

McDonalds Drive Thru Operator: Welcome to McDonalds! Can I take your order?

Dave: Yeah, can I get that Southern Style Chicken Biscuit with a different kind of chicken?

McDonalds Drive Thru Operator: No sir. It only comes with one kind of chicken.

Dave: Is it spicy?

McDonalds Drive Thru Operator: No sir.

Dave: Well, what makes it "southern style" then?

McDonalds Drive Thru Operator: silence

McDonalds Drive Thru Operator: So, you'd like the Southern Style Chicken Biscuit then?

Dave: Uh...okay.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

Summer Recap

It’s Labor Day weekend. I look forward to this holiday because of the long weekend. I dread this holiday because it signals the end of summer. I wanted to take a few minutes to share the highlights of our summer…

In June, I spent several days in Chicago at the SHRM conference. I enjoyed the conference and the opportunity to see my friends Beth and David. I was also able to spend a long weekend at my parents’ cottage in Bellevue. Unfortunately, my visit coincided with the Iowa floods, so it felt more like swamp-land than natural bliss.

In early August, Dave and I traveled to New Jersey for my Cousin Debbie’s wedding. Evan stayed with Grandma and Grandpa, so it was a nice break for the two of us. We planned our trip to include an extra night in Baltimore. After 8 years of marriage, the wedding was the first time that Dave met the Dugan side of my family. The wedding was wonderful, Debbie looked beautiful, and the party was fantastic! We loved seeing this side of the family and look forward to more frequent visits. Congratulations Debbie and Kyle!

August was a month of family “togetherness”! After spending a weekend with the Dugan’s, my parents and my Aunt Dee came to Virginia to visit. Unfortunately, it has been rare for the entire Kutsch clan to be together at the same time recently. But, I have a picture to prove that it actually happened!

What summer is complete without at least one trip to the beach? Evan and I went to the beach for the first time last weekend. Overall, I would say the trip was a success! Evan liked the water. Evan really liked the sand. He played in the sand. He rolled in the sand. He licked the sand. (You’re grossed out, right? But admit it, you know EXACTLY what that tastes like, don’t you?)

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the summer:

Happy Labor Day! Milk the last moments of summer for all they’re worth…

Friday, August 22, 2008

When I was a kid, I got a bicycle for my birthday. It was purple, pink and white. It had a big banana seat, handle bar streamers and a big basket with a flower on the front. I rode the bicycle around with our little Yorkshire terrier perched in the front basket. It was a sight to behold and I loved that bicycle.

But, perhaps my feelings are stronger through the nostalgic lens of time than they were in reality, because despite all its 1980’s glory the bicycle was often neglected. I left the bicycle in the yard. I left the bicycle on the front porch. Frequently, I left the bicycle out in the rain.

My parents wanted me to learn to be responsible. They wanted me to know that there are consequences to poor choices. So, they did what most conscientious parents would do, they gave me an ultimatum. The bicycle is stored in the garage OR it’s the last bicycle we ever buy for you. Until two years ago; the purple, pink and white bicycle with the banana seat, handle bar streamers and the big basket was the only bicycle I’ve ever owned.

Note: Now, some of you may be picturing me riding a bicycle for the first time in 20 years. You may be thinking that it probably wasn’t pretty. Well, I can assure you that the actual event was far uglier in real life than you can possibly imagine. But, THAT is another post for another time…

I’m going to start a blog. Let’s hope that this blog lives longer and receives better care than the purple, pink and white bicycle with the banana seat and the handle bar streamers.