what more can we say?

all in all, henry did fantastic on the flights and all the adventures in between. he’s a real trooper and we haven’t even had complaints getting back into his car seat once we got back to our own car. he danced in crazy taxis on crazy streets, ate crazy food, slept crazy hours, met crazy people, and gave total strangers (to him) big hugs when we told him they were friends. we had moments of madness ourselves, particularly the first night when it was nearly 3am when he finally agreed to sleep. given that it was only just after 8:30pm at home, that was “normal” for his body clock.

two weeks later, he’s still talking about the camels, the pyramids, the sphinx, and the taxis, as well as the zoo, particularly the zebra, the rhino, the monkeys, the barbery sheep (he loves to say that for some reason), and the elephant that pooped right in front of us!

In true Dan and Carrie fashion, we’ve been busy this summer, tackling one project right on the heels of another. With Henry nearing potty training, we opted to have our floors redone on the main floor (only the perimeter had ever been waxed and that was in 1924; area rugs have covered the main spaces for as long as the house has been occupied). Then with all the furniture out, it seemed like a good time to also paint… the same week as tomato harvest was at its peak and Carrie wanted to can up some sauce!

Some snapshots of the boy…

We went downtown for the early evening festivities on the Fourth of July, with no intention of staying for the fireworks. Henry was enthralled by the bands that played and all the people.

Henry learned to put on his own shoes (and boots) this summer. He’s now learning the difference as to when they are on the wrong foot and they need to be reversed, but as of July 9 he was clueless – and probably careless!

August 6th we pulled out the onions. Unfortunately, Henry is holding ALL of the white onions that were salvageable. Fortunately, the braid of red onions was about 4′ long.

At a family picnic in August, Henry was playing ball with Great Grandpa Ken. I’m not sure who was having more fun.

After the picnic, we went on a boat ride. Here, Henry’s holding hands of two of his “Gigi”, Lenie and Kathryn.

Same life jacket, different day. Baba and Oma took us to Torch Lake. It wasn’t hot, but it was warm enough for a swim if you were brave.

Sept 1, Back at home and in the middle of canning and painting, Carrie stopped caring whether Henry had more than “pants” on. And again with the shoes on the wrong feet… I promise, tho, he really is getting better!

Sept 8, We got to spend the day with Eli on his first birthday and went to the zoo together. Of all the animals we saw and time with his friend, HD’s favorite was the drums by the lions. Not even the lions themselves held his attention for as long as the drums!

and canning… Can you read the glass? It says “Mom’s Mason Jar”. I love all the old jars – they had Way More Character than what you can buy now.

So here it is: 8 qts of marinara, 7 qts whole or halved tomatoes, 15 pints of crushed/stewed tomatoes, 7 pints of roasted garlic & roasted red pepper pasta sauce, and 13 half-pints of corn salsa. To follow were 13 pints of “normal” salsa, but I ran out of steam for a few days. All this from 2 bushels of tomatoes – 105#.

and some snapshots of the progress…

This light is about to meet its demise. The last painters didn’t take it down when they painted mint chiffon and it looks pretty terrible. Anything we try to use to remove that paint also removes the paint that should be there :(

Priming in the den. Those tiles probably went up in the 60s and have never so much as been primed. The room is a lot brighter because of the fresh white on the ceiling now.

Henry absolutely LOVED all the different “toys” laying around. Here he’s arranged the paint cans and paraphernalia as a toddler-sized drum kit and he’s playing the drums for us!

This is a close up of a shadow box in the dining room. Some of the antique white had chipped off to reveal this relic: silver lame’! Oh to have seen this room when that was fresh…

Henry had his own roller and was quick to learn to say the word, too! You can really see the beauty of the refinished floors here.

The den and the dining room in their new duds.

Wall paper behind the wall trim means that the wallpaper went up first, right? that was some high quality wall paper to last 80+ years in such good condition.

The finished product in the living room. Such a calming space now, it’s my new favorite place to sit. Ask me in February and my answer might be the den, which gets considerably more sun. The main windows in the living room face east and are onto the porch so the only sunlight to come thru those is at dawn.

I’d love to hear what you think about the updates  - to the site as well as the house! Leave a comment here or come and see it in person for a tour – and maybe a bowl of chips and salsa if you’re really lucky!

both of us!

beginning the 13th of april i (carrie) went back to work for Cascade Engineering, where i used to work pre-egypt. let me tell you how strange it is to be gone for over 6 years and then come back and find your own initials on documents in the same files you worked on (and thought were old school) back then. i’m filling in for the maternity leave of my replacement’s replacement, and she does quite a different lot of work and more so on the accounting end of things.

Cascade is a good company. i knew that back then. but now they’re making windmills and kids lunch boxes and “recycle” dumpsters. and they operate on a triple bottom line approach – not just financial but also social and environmental. they even have a company Prius for use when engineers need to go to a customer.

on the 17th of may, five weeks into his six week layoff and my 12-week assignment, dan got a call back to work! we were not expecting that – rather we were expecting that the call would be to extend his layoff. it was working out pretty well to have henry stay with dadda while mama went to work, but HD was beginning to show favorites. at one point, henry even sat back down in bed when mama came in to get him up one saturday morning, and he said “dadda?!” so it’s for the best (and not just financially) that dadda is back to work.

henry’s doing Really well at day care with his buddy Caiden. it even seems like he’s hurrying to get me out of there in the morning with his cute little “bubye” while Caiden’s mama and i are chatting. they have so much fun together and henry is fully converted to one-nap-a-day because of all the fun stuff to do and the variety of stimulation at someone else’s house. i think he was just gettin bored at home with the same-ol’ same-ol’ and prefer to take a snooze.

and i found out yesterday that the woman i’m filling in for has decided to extend her mat leave into august, instead of just the beginning of july. so that means we will quite likely have more income in our future. we’re a bit torn between putting it all towards a trip to egypt or towards a new car. our dear dear jetta had a much deserved spa-day at the Rolland-Spa the last time he was in town. he gave us a printout of all the work that was done to it and the total was, well, a lot. after volunteering his labor and getting us a better-than-retail-price on parts, we didn’t pay nearly that much. but sadly, barely one tank of gas later the transmission had a meltdown. the gear box just isn’t something you look at on a vw when you’re giving it a once over for the things that generally cause it to run hard and clunky. transmissions just don’t die on a vw. usually, that is. so, while the car sits in the street waiting for the “new” tranny to arrive from a land far far away, dan’s been riding chad’s Victory to and from work, thankful for the short commute and the truck to ride in on rainy days. now that my Honda is up and running we just need to get a sidecar and a helmet for the boy and we’d be all set. i wonder if they make sidecars that accept kids carseats…… hmmm… our hope is to keep our dear little jetta running long enough to pay cash for our next jetta, a TDI wagon. vroom vroom, fahrvergnügen.

work is sure not slammed for dan’s company, but they’re keeping all the crews busy to 40 hours somehow. i think i know Who is behind it…

Henry’s becoming quite the farmer.

Dan’s been off work since the 12th of April. He’s been quite busy with various projects for different friends, ever since his test down in Indy on the 16th. He built garden boxes for our friend Diane, tiled a bathroom floor for friends Mitch and Heather, and fanagled a chicken coop from a dog kennel and an old pigeon coop from the Portfleets at our friends’ Dave and Nettie’s place to house egg layers for us, them, and the Fabers. And he built garden boxes for our side hill as well! This past weekend we moved a lot of dirt around and into them, tested the soil, found out why nothing has ever grown Really Well there, and then augmented it and planted a few things. Then yesterday, Dan and Henry went to the city’s compost site and loaded the truck full of free wood chips. They had 2/3 of them on the garden by the time I got home from work!

the best thing to grow in the garden, by far the new terraced garden for 2010 six garden boxes plus two cold frames for our friend diane

by carrie

i had a friend looking for a crème brulée recipe today. since i typed it up, i thought i’d share it with you all as well.

crème brulée, translated and converted from my favorite french-french cook book by Bocuse.
3/4 c brown sugar
1 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp real vanilla extract)
4 egg yolks
1 1/3 c cold whole milk
1 c cold cream

cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise; scrape out the insides and mix with the sugar [or just measure the liquid into the next step]. in a bowl, mix the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla. add the milk and then the cream and stir until smooth. divide into 4 heat resistant ramekins (dessert sized baking dishes). bake at 300 for one hour. sprinkle additional brown sugar on the tops, then broil until golden. serve warm.

crème brulée is my favorite excuse to play with fire inside. we have a hand held kitchen torch to skip over that last step in the broiler.

on recovery, and the blind leading the blind.
by carrie

14 feb, ski accident.
1 mar, ortho told me it’s a torn acl.
3 mar, mri.
8 mar, surgery (mom comes for 4 days to help with the little monster).
11 mar, grandpa calls all the kids home (we drive 3 hours – ouch).
12 mar, grandpa henry dies.
14 mar, visitation.
15 mar, funeral.
16 mar and onward, solo with henry. he likes to steal my crutches and run away with them or swing them around like a cowboy in a rodeo.
22 mar, ditch the crutches, tired of having henry steal them.
23 mar, henry has a well-baby visit and reports in at 26#, 34″ (pretty average for a two year old, but remember he’s 15 months).
24 mar, mom and dad arrive from The North.
25 mar, mom reports for total knee surgery at blodgett at 6:30 a.m. i have a post-op appointment at the very same moment that she is rolled into surgery. dan’s mom came to sit with henry so i could go to my appt solo.
25-28 mar, daily visits to the hospital to visit the newly crippled. henry loved doing laps around the square. the rooms were set up around a courtyard and one side was a hallway and all windows so he and baba (my dad) could go around to blow kisses at us cripples in our various stages of recovery.
29 mar, mom gets her walking papers. we four drive north with only one pit stop! the Blessed Katie Sowers has a crock pot of soup waiting for us when we pull in.
30 mar, today.

we all slept fairly well last night. mom got up (out of bed) just once and went 4 hours (instead of  3) between her meds. i’m moving without crutches or limp or much pain, though the ibuprofen helps tremendously to keep the inflammation down. weird that three weeks later i still have swelling. isn’t that weird? well it is to me. i start physical therapy tomorrow in east jordan and i have to admit that i’m a little bit nervous. ok, a lot nervous. i read something about a bike being part of the regimen and i don’t know that my knee will bend that far that fast. :(

dan’s still working this week, after multiple layoff announcements and “stays”. they did get news yesterday that revenue didn’t come close to expenses for the quarter – in spite of rounds of temporary lay offs – and everyone in the company got a pay cut. but nobody got canned. those close to retirement have been offered some incentives to retire early. and they are trying to keep as many people employed as long as possible. he’ll be coming north on the weekend, either for a visit or to collect henry and me and go back south as a family. it all depends on mom’s recovery.

henry does seem a bit confused this morning. he’s been walking around with his palms up saying “dadda? dadda?. but he really really loves mom’s breathing “exerciser”. it’s one of those thingies that you blow in a tube and it raises the ping pong ball. she’s supposed to blow hard enough long enough to keep the ball at a certain point for a certain amount of time. henry sits on her lap and giggles when she does it. it’s Very Cute.

spring has come to northern michigan. daffodils are blooming all over and there are so many robins i’ve now lost count, after having seen my first one of the season just on sunday. granted i’ve not been out much… the ice is gone off the lake, and there are a few buds on some of the trees. and the smell… can you smell that? ahhhh. i think it’s the smell of the earth thawing. ahhhh…

k, time to jet. henry will be waking from his nap any moment. i should get some lunch together for us all. have a great, beautiful, sunny day wherever you are. by the way, where are you? are you out there? do you read us often?

by carrie

the past month is a month i’d prefer not to repeat. i mean, i’d prefer not to have to go through all we’ve gone through again. if i had to do it over, the only thing i’d do different is that last run on the blue hill that landed me in the ski patrol’s sled and then ER and then at the orthopedist and then in surgery and now on the couch with my leg all purple.

but then, if i didn’t have surgery, then my mom wouldn’t have been with me last week when we got the call that my dad’s dad was calling the kids home to see him alive. he knew he was close last thursday morning, and at 5:30 he woke dad up (who was sleeping on the hide-a-bed) and told him to call his siblings and mom. if she hadn’t been with me, i’d've waited until dan got home from work before heading north, and i would’ve missed talking with him before he was incoherent. and i would’ve been beside myself.

as it was though, because mom was with us, henry and i went north with mom last thursday morning. we got to grandpa’s house at noon and sat with him a while. his face just lit up when he saw his great grandson, and i got to tell him i love him and at that moment when i tried to reach for my son, my grandpa wouldn’t let go of my hand! he had such a firm grip on me and wouldn’t let me go. so my cousin tended to him and i sat longer with grandpa. he asked about dan, he asked about my knee, he watched henry playing. he knew what was coming and he exhibited no fear, just maybe a hint of sadness over missing out on our lives.

by mid-afternoon (on thursday) when henry danger and i got back from his nap at oma and baba’s house, he (grandpa) wanted just to rest. so the house was quiet and we took turns holding his hand but he wasn’t talking anymore. by the time dan got there, he didn’t open his eyes to see who was with him.

he held on almost another 24 hours. there were moments of struggle, but then he would cough and then breathe easier for a while. the very end wasn’t a struggle, at least not for him. all five of his kids were with him, as well as Kathryn, his wife of 8 1/2 years, my mom, another uncle, dan, myself, and henry danger. descendants to the 4th generation.

and henry, at just 14 1/2 months, knew we were all sad and he handed out kleenex as some of us sang “Just as I am”, one of grandpa’s favorite hymns.

this year's models for the blue and white line of arm slings and knee braces

we had a really good time skiing last weekend with friends. on friday we went up to my (carrie’s) parents while they were in da UP snowmobiling. our friends the fabers (minus chad, who is off galavanting in DC for the state dept – hi chad!) went with us. dan skied saturday while carrie and henry went visiting great-grandparents and some other friends. then we swapped and carrie went skiing on sunday.

we both fell.

dan ended up with a bruised bone in his shoulder and a recommendation to see an ortho in 7-10 days if it wasn’t feeling better by then. carrie, well, carrie sprained her knee. sitting in the ski patrol hut after getting carted down the hill on a toboggan behind first a skier and then a snowmachine, i figured out that it had been about 6 years since i was last on downhill skis. it was absolutely exhilarating to go effortlessly down the hill and feel the wind and taste the snow flakes. i had forgotten how much fun it could be!

but then whamo. 7 hours into it and i fell hard. nary a skid until the moment i did a somersault down the hill. i laid there on the hill screaming, trying to figure out what had just happened while damon, elena, and andrew waited at the bottom on their snowboards. yes, three kids on boards – one of them on her Second day ever boarding – went down in front of me. here’s what i recall: i was zig-zagging down the hill, hit a bit of ice, lost control the slightest bit, then hit a “push pile” where snow gets piled from others schussing – or snowplowing – down the hill, and one ski tried going up the hill and the other down and suddenly i was airborne then tumbling. one ski popped off. the other – on the knee that is now sprained – didn’t. a random kid came whizzing down the hill and popped my ski off for me and i established that i could bend my knee and move all my parts and nothing was broken. phew.

ski patrol asked if i thought anything was broken or if i was ok to get up and keep going. like those two were my options: broken or keep skiing. i think i started crying, feeling in absolutely No Shape to stand, let alone ski!

so they brought a sled. then schussing schussing schussing we went down the hill. i had this fancy little cardboard splint that they wrapped my leg in, with duct tape and carpet pad. sure wish i had a photo of That, it was Hot. seriously. they recommended that i go straight to ER and get it x-rayed. we opted to go home. dan was on his way already as mom and dad had returned from da UP and were watching henry, so he was going to join us for night skiing. he picked me up in kris’ car and she then had ours to get herself and the kids back to mom and dad’s house. we went home, got a bite to eat, changed clothes, swiped mom’s crutches (she’s a nurse, she has things like crutches and shower chairs just laying around the house…), and decided to go in to the hospital to have it looked at. because i was going, and dan was going with me, i convinced him to have his shoulder looked at too.

so what happened to him? he was skiing the trees, and when he tried to get back on the groomed section, his ski caught on either a root or a push-pile and suddenly he was no longer moving forward but just moving Down, with all the momentum with which he’d formerly been moving forward.

the doc told me no weight bearing on my knee for 4-5 days, and do stairs on my butt. well… i only did stairs on my butt one time and decided that was rubbish. and yesterday i ditched the crutches bc henry was having too much fun with them once i’d put them down. does that mean i feel better? heck No. it means i’m stubborn and probably a little stupid.

Now we have a functioning blog again, and even tho it isn’t really @ www.danandcarrie.org, it gets you there.

So why have we not updated our blog?

Mostly now it is just procrastination.  In some ways, a lot has changed since we last posted, but in other ways it seems so normal, why would we bother writing about it?

Henry continues to amaze, confound, delight, and frustrate us. Often all of the above in the course of the very same day! He has been walking for a few months now  (since 10 mos 3 weeks) and is into everything.  He is a very curious little man, but listens fairly well most of the time.

On the kitchen front, things continue to plod along, and we now have drawers, complete with fronts at the coffee counter, and the pantry is complete.

All of the drawer fronts need a coat of paint, but they are in place, which is the big challenge.  We will wait until they are all done to paint, rather than doing things one by one.

As soon as the bottom drawer on the coffee station was done Henry claimed it as his own.

we’ve missed you. thanks for checking back.

i (carrie) am working on getting some photo albums up and running but for the time being, here’s a link to our albums on picasa: www.picasaweb.google.com/carrieelzinga.

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