Monday, July 29, 2013

Terrific Two - Sneak Peek

Not sure if you heard, but a previously-planned Colorado sister-visit prevented Grandma Betty attending Maizey's birthday festivities. And, because I imagine she's regularly refreshing Aunt Bonnie's browser, hoping for a glimpse of the fun, I wanted to get some preview pics posted. Here you go, G-Ma B.

More to come...

And, THANK YOU to all who attended. Despite the wacky weather, we had a spectacular time. Maizey executed a near perfect "Happy Birthday to Maizey" self-serenade Sunday night and was yapping about her party all day.

Sunday, July 28, 2013


On July 28, 2011, at 3:05 p.m., Maizey blazed into this world. While on one hand it seems a lifetime ago, on the other, I can't believe how swiftly time passed. She is, at two, truly coming into her own. Following pal Karyn's lead, we gave her a little 2-year quiz, to be repeated annually. Here are the results.
  1. Where do you live? Milford    
  2. Where do you go to school? Daddys work   
  3. Name the members of your family. Devon, Miss Allison, Mommy, Natalie, Daddy, Tip  
  4. What is your favorite color? Blue    
  5. What is your favorite toy? Ummmmmm...babydoll   
  6. What is your favorite fruit? Blueberries 
  7. What is your favorite vegetable? Raspberries    
  8. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Mini-Wheats    
  9. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Turtles     
  10. What do you want for your birthday dinner?  Paul
  11. What is your favorite drink? Toshie milk    
  12. What is your favorite animal? Elephants   
  13. What is your favorite book?  Turtles. (Mom: "That's not a book. What does grandma read you?") No, David  
  14. What is your favorite song?  Please and Thank You   
  15. What is your favorite thing to do with Mommy? Play puzzles (we rarely play puzzles)
  16. What is your favorite thing to do with Daddy?  Play turtles (the turtle obsession began in Florida and hasn't abated)
  17. What is your favorite thing to do outside?  Get wet (she hates the sprinkler)
  18. What is your favorite thing to do inside?  I went through the cave at golfing 
  19. Who is your best friend?  Daddy (ouch)
  20. What do you want to be when you grow up?  Firefighter (chosen from a list of options which included a mama, doctor, teacher, dancer and painter)
At two years old, Maizey is a joy. Days feel shorter and outings are not only easier - they're fun. She talks non-stop, which by 7 p.m. is often exhausting, but worth it after a day filled with laughter.

She loves swimming, raspberries, blueberries, popsithicles, mini-wheats, books, mom, dad and kip. Her penchant for french fries and cheese is still going strong. She just started watching television and enjoys Sesame Street, old Disney cartoons (Chip and Dale, Donald Duck, and Goofy), and Dora. She is a little bed bug and spends hours in it, crooning away, carrying on conversations with herself and reading books. Naptime or bedtime tears are rare. She isn't in undies yet, but often requests to use the "potty." And, as you see, has uncovered a fancy for tutus.

Today, we'll celebrate Mary Elizabeth Spurgeon. I will marvel at her, and my capacity to love. I will thank Will for his life-giving tendencies and dedication to his family. I will consider the good fortune we've experienced. We have health. Loving relatives. Security. And each other. 

Happy Birthday, Maizey, and thank you for making my life so different. And more fulfilling.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Enlarging disappointment

Will and I are currently dealing with an upsetting, anxiety-producing, borderline infuriating, just plain shitty situation. As many of you know, in February we embarked on a home renovation journey to help accommodate our "enlarging" family.

This was after extensive, somewhat intense, personal conversations regarding our options - "love it or list it" style. (Maggie = love it. Will = list it.) We'd house hunted last summer and just couldn't find something that lived up to our location, lot, and home's character.

We interviewed three architects. Hired one. Settled on the plan to add a bedroom and "jack and jill" bathroom to the second floor, as well as renovate the existing upstairs bath. Months went by. Measurements taken. Drawings sketched. Changed. Plans completed. And, about a month ago, we went to bid. Drawings and schematics were sent out, as well as a line-item, open-book bidding excel spreadsheet. In the past few weeks the architect's associate and I spent hours walking three different builders through the house. 

(Now, as an aside, the unreasonably lengthy duration of the planning/architecture process was understandably stress-producing. We embarked on this endeavor to accommodate the baby in my belly, who was growing each and every day. So, each and every day we weren't moving forward was another day for me to stress about. Recently, we'd come to the conclusion that this would be a two-step job. First step (before baby) = demo and rough-in. Second step (1+ month post baby) = finishing. Totally not ideal, but hey, what can ya do... Yes, I wanted to scream at the architect to hurry the f*** up, but, I was trying to be flexible. To help expedite the process I interviewed and hired somebody to source fixtures and cabinetry based on idea boards I developed. The horses were in the gate.)

The three bids came back this week and on Thursday, the architect, his associate, Will and I gathered around our dining room table to go over the proposals.

End result? We are out $5K to the architect, have some useless plans, and are back where we were in February (or even arguably, last summer, at the "love it or list it" phase.) I am 8 weeks away from having a baby.

We are livid.

Of course, when we started the process we talked numbers. Before hiring the architect, we got rough estimates on costs. Conclusion? He is the world's worst estimator, or a very deceptive individual. He underestimated between 75-100%. 

So, what happens now? I cry. A lot. I am angry. Embarrassingly, I grieve. And, we try to pull together a game plan, both for the baby's arrival, and the future. I don't want to move. At all. I.Love.This.House. But, we really need more space, and, now that it seems adding the space here is financially ridiculous, hunt?

Stay tuned.

And, for effect, let me repeat. We paid somebody $5K, invested 60+ hours of time, and are at the same place we were 8 months ago.

p.s. Yes, I realize the kids could share a room. (I did as a child - and loved it.) But, we determined that would be tough given our home, and, that we didn't want to go that route. And yes, I do realize this is another one of my first world problems.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

29 French Fries

July 13 was a big day at 505. Probably my favorite day on the Spurgeon Calendar. French Fry Day. After attending Willa's fourth birthday (and staying until 7:30p?!), I insisted we stop at my fave Burger Joint for a fry fill-up. Same place M and I celebrated last year...

Loved 'em.

She's a tad bigger now...

 But still a fry lover.
Like her Mama.
(Maybe because I started her early...)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Badwater Ski-ters

Our favorite Escanaba sesquicentennial event was not the lumberjack show, the beard contest or Catte Adams. The Badwater Ski-ters won. Hands-down. 

Even Papa Bob played spectator. 

And Maizey practiced her moves. Future Ski-ter?

The beautiful night and backdrop equaled a large turnout.
Super for the community.

Annnnnnd.. Maizey did more move practicing...

She was hooked.

Oh yeah -
I was there too.

And did I mention the costumes?

During lulls there was Grandma entertainment.
Always willing to sacrifice a shoe in exchange for a smile...

We love her!
Thanks Mama Grandma Betty!

ASIDE...So, Escanaba's sesquicentennial... It was a noble effort, put forth by individuals unaccustomed to planning large community events. Most everything we participated in or attended had a small-town, amateurish feel. Campy. (And not in a kitschy hipster way.) It was as though people volunteered their entertaining services and the organizers didn't want to hurt any feelings, so on the roster they went. Which, in my mind, is disappointing. A missed opportunity. But, I suppose a community could have worse qualities than being campy and "too nice." I am still a fiercely proud Escanaban!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Be Polite

Every once in awhile Maizey breaks into a song unfamiliar to Will and I, obviously learned at school. 

Here is the most recent track...

Please and thank you.
Sounds so nice.
Manners are important.
Be polite.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Picking, picking

In my life, Escanaba, early July and strawberries go together like peanut butter, bananas and honey do in Will's. So, I was thrilled that our visit coincided with picking season. (Last time we picked I was 9 months pregnant!) And, even happier that the field was kid friendly and Maizey got to participate. The potential for rain and wet conditions meant that my camera stayed in the car for the tractor ride and actual picking, but we did get some fun shots of the aftermath...

Thank goodness they didn't weigh her before and after!

P.S. We dined on some amazing Betty pie in Escanaba, and on a Maggie-re-creation in Milford. Check out her recipe here.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

1129 LSD

After a few days in Lake City, we ventured north, across the Mighty Mac, to Escanaba and Grandma Betty, Grandpa Bob and Uncle Pete's welcoming arms. We tackled the car ride midday (a first) and were pleasantly surprised at Maizey's performance. Minimal fussing to report, and only about an hour of Kindle Fire time needed. We were less impressed at the picnic park options in St. Ignace - if you are looking for a nice park, don't ask the folks at Subway.

We arrived on kick-off day for the sesquicentennial , but skipped the parade and headed to Breezey Point for a perch fry. I was in h.e.a.v.e.n. and even Pete joined us!

(I'll get to more on the celebration in later posts, but want to condemn this article, which was an atrocious piece of "journalism" - and point out that Detroit News did a follow-up, using the same photos with a completely different tone... Personally, I liked this rebuttal.)

Anyhow, like I said, we were welcomed with open arms and easily fell into the gentle, lakeside life at 1129 LSD...

Maizey showcased one of her new chores for Grandma and Pete,
Heading down to Grandma's new compost pile. 
Which had a tad of a drop, compared to home. Luckily Pete was there to help deposit salad scraps. 

After chores, blueberries!
Of course, Grandma let Maizey pick the first, and only ripe berry. 
Though she was fine going for the green ones.

Then, on to the bonfire sandpit for some creating. 

Get this girl a sandbox!

And, back to the house on a Papa Gnome hunt.
 "Papa Gnommmmmmmme, where arrrrrrrre youuuu?"

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The rest of the fourth

Despite the cloudy morning and not-so-stellar beach weather, the afternoon of the Fourth turned out beautifully. Maizey chilled with her boyz...

The neighborhood BBQ was a hit.
Or rather, Mr. Crissman's sandbox was.

The supplies for the Jenny-organized nature walk weren't too shabby either...

But ended up being Dad's responsibility by the end of the adventure...

Bucking bedtimes, we headed to the beach at 9 to prep for the fireworks.

Grandpa Bill explained...
 the mechanics of a sunset.

And totally enjoyed his rapt audience,

though Maizey tried to convince her friends not to listen to a word he says.

I enjoyed time with my loves...

 While Maizey enjoyed time with her new Lake City friends. The second generation of the V.
"So, what about that lame parade?"

Meanwhile, Gemma waited patiently for her chance at a Fruit Loop.

Sacrilegiously, no s'mores were on the menu.

But, the view made up for the lack of sweets.
And the fireworks were pretty good too.