Thursday, January 31, 2008

Pictures from Jacksonville

We've spent the last few days in Jacksonville. I haven't been able to take many pictures, but I did see a few things that were interesting. There is this bird (seen below) that has been hanging around my house for years. My grandmother has always wanted a picture of it. For some reason, yesterday the bird allowed me to get pretty close to him and take a bunch of pictures. I'm going to frame one of them and give it to my Grandmother. Here are a couple of them:
Maggie's new little cousin Dixie was also there this weekend. She is sweet as can be. Too bad she's going to grow up to look like Uga one day.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Your Grandmother

Matilda (or whatever we decide to name you),

We're going to bury your grandmother tomorrow. I know how bad my memory is and how I usually don't like to talk about these things, so in my moment of weakness, I wanted to tell you a little bit about her before I forget. She was a sweet lady who loved her family, especially me, her parents, and your Papa Rick. Her world seemed to revolve around us. I can remember many football practices and baseball practices that ended late at night. She was there for every one of them. I'll never forget when she and Papa Rick dropped me off at college for the first time. Papa told me that she cried the whole way home.

She loved her church and Sunday School class. When she started to loose her memory, my Dad would come home from work on a Tuesday or a Friday and find her sitting in her Sunday dress, ready to go Church. It was obvious where her thoughts were.

She loved children. I didn't know her then, but when she was in her 20's, she worked for a bus ministry that went around to poor neighborhoods to visit children on Saturdays then picked them up on Sundays to take them to church. After that, she worked in the 5th grade Sunday School class for 10 years. There is no telling how many lives she touched through those ministries. If you see a picture of her and she's smiling, she probably has a kid in her arms.

She was a huge Florida Gator fan. She and Papa went to games down in Gainesville from the time they started dating. If a game was on late, and Papa went to bed, she would still stay up to see her Gators. And it didn't matter if it was football, basketball, or thumbwrestling. If it was on, she was rooting for those Gators.

She didn't talk much, but when she did, you knew it was something worth listening to. She was a great cook. She was a servant. She was a strong worker. She loved her grand children (your cousins). And she loved you. I remember the last time I saw her smile, was when we told her I wanted to name you Matilda. I wish she could have seen you. I wouldn't have been able to get you out of her arms.

There were hundreds there tonight at her viewing, to honor her life. She was loved by so many people.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Clementine Update

Our Doctor noticed that Clementine (we changed her name again) had some calcium deposites in her heart. It was a possible indicator of downs syndrome. We went to a specialist who told us that she had none of the other general indicators. Basically she went from 1/600 chance of having a chromosone disease (normal for any baby) to about 1/300 chance. We're still praying for her health, and also praying she looks more like her Momma than her Daddy. The other thing that came from the visit was we got some more pictures.

Aint she cute?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

New Orleans, Days 2-5

Our New Orleans trip is almost over and I've been busy, mostly just enjoying the city. I haven't had time to write anything down over the last few days. Chrissy has been spending her days in the hotel, mainly because she doesn't like being out in a city she doesn't know by herself and also because it has been cold and windy. I've been in class during the day and spending my evenings touring the city.

Monday, we took a stroll down Decatur Street along the Mississippi River and ran into Margaritaville.
I was so excited. I'm not a huge Jimmy Buffet fan, but I thought it would be really cool to get a Cheeseburger in Paradise. Guess What....

I like mine with ketchup and mustard, heinz 57 and french fried potatos. Big kosher pickle and a cold diet coke. Little different from Jimmy but good food all the same.

Tuesday was more of the same thing. We did some walking around and found a nice restaurant for supper. We also went to Jackson Square. It was a beautiful garden with a Castle-like Catholic church in the background.

I read that people used to be hung or burned at the stake at this very location. Pretty cool huh?

Wednesday, we went to a New Orleans Hornets basketball game. That was a lot of fun. Despite getting really cheap seats, we had a great view.

I know it doesn't look that good from the picture, but we were on the front row of the upper deck and could see everything really well. I'm not a huge basketball follower; mainly because Chrissy said she needed a break between football, baseball and basketball season so she made me pick one to drop. She gets a little tired of nothing but sports almost every night. Anyways, I'm not a big basketball follower, but I'd heard that NO's point gaurd, Chris Paul is one of the best in the game. I wasn't disappointed. You could tell he was good when halfway through the 3rd quarter, Chrissy noticed he only had 6 points and was shocked. She thought he would have been leading the team in points. I explained that despite scoring little, he is a huge part of the game because of the way he "quarterbacks" the offense and creates easy baskets for his teammates. Kevin Durant of the Seattle Supersonics, a rookie out of Texas was not that impressive. He took way too many bad shots and turned the ball over a bunch too. I know nobody cares about basketball, but I like it and I wanted to write about it. So there's my sports rant for the week.

I asked 2 different hotel front desks' (the one where we're staying and the one where my class is being held) if it was safe to walk to the basketball arena. They both said it would be fine. I was willing to take their advice, but during dinner, right before we were going to leave for the game, I asked a policeman the same question. His response was that there was a good chance I wouldn't make it to the game with my wallet, or tickets. Since I've got a pregnant wife, and I like my wallet, I decided to fork out the $10 for the 1.5 mile trip to the arena. Problem was, after the game, there were no taxis around. I happened to overhear a couple of men saying they were going to a hotel close to ours. Assuming safety in numbers, we tagged along with them back to the French Quarter, wallet and purse still intact. Here are a couple more pictures from the game:

Me and My Sweetheart

Hugo the Hornet

Sadly, Hugo never made it to the upper deck but he did point at me as if to say in hornet language, whats up.

This evening (Thursday, day 5) we went to Cafe Dumonde and had some delicious french donuts with hot chocolate. Although it has been good, I was a little tired of the cajun/seafood so we found a nice little Italian restaurant and shared a pizza. Not too much siteseeing tonight, but a relaxing and enjoyable evening just the same. We'll be leaving tomorrow afternoon, so I'm not sure if we'll get to do much else.

Everyone always told me that New Orleans is a dirty city. I don't agree. They wash their streets all the time. This is how I'd rate the city overall:

Kid Friendly: D- DO NOT EVER take a child to Bourbon Street; EVER.

Pregnant Women Friendly: F Its hard when you have to use the bathroom every 10 minutes and there aren't many bathrooms around.

Cost Effective: C+ You can find a hotel for a decent rate. You can also find food at a decent price, but you just have to look for it. Parking (even at the hotel) is expensive, but if you take a taxi from the airport and walk everywhere, you're good to go.

Accessibility: A+ I never once thought that I wished I had a car; except when I got out of the basketball arena. Pretty much everything I would have wanted to see was in walking distance. The trolly or taxi took me everywhere else I needed to go.

Safety: C (You just need to know where to go)

Things to Do: A Basketball, the Aquarium, the Zoo, and just walking around is enough to keep you busy for 4-5 days. I'm excited about possibly going to the museum tomorrow also. I think one of the coolest things we saw was a small blues band playing on the street. There was a tuba, drums, couple of trumbones and a couple of trumpets. They were excellent. There always seems to be things to do or see in the French Quarter.

Food: A- The food was really good, if you like cajun and seafood. I know Chrissy was disappointed with a couple of the restaurants, but for the most part, they were great.

The People: A I would call the people I saw interesting to say the least. Everyone was really nice to us though. People watching was entertainment in itself.

I've had fun, but I miss my bed and I miss my dog. If we have time to go, I'll put some pictures up from the museum.

Until next time.

Chrissy's Take on New Orleans

I can't say that New Orleans has been my favorite place to visit. I would much rather be in Savannah, but now I can say that I have been here and walked down Bourbon Street. Like any big city things here are overpriced ( even Krystal burgers ), there are almost no public bathrooms and to use one you need to purchase something and receive a token, and it smells like puke every now and then. The bathroom thing normally isn't so bad but being pregnant it's been hard on me. Bourbon Street is a paradox to me. It's loaded with adult only places that have pictures everywhere with girls and some guys in the buff ( I can't believe that parents take their children down this road ) and then right next to it is a very nice restaurant where there is a dress code and the steaks are $30-$50. I would think that the nice places to eat would be on a diferent road, but that's just me. When we went to Wilmington, NC last year I had a hard time finding hush puppies, now in New Orleans I am having a hard time finding chicken. Hard to believe isn't it? Who doesn't have chicken on the menu? I guess this is just a seafood place. Good for Chad, bad for Chrissy. Thankfully we have found a few places that are not crazy expensive and have chicken. One place we went to the ranch dressing had seafood seasoning added to it which was gross and the chicken wasn't very good, but the rest of places we have found have been good. Another thing that's different about big cities like this is that they have no continental breakfast instead they have a breakfast buffet that cost at least $10 a person. Who needs a breakfast that big five days in a row? Definitely not me, I'd gain 20 lbs. Actually, I don't think that we had this problem in Savannah or San Fransisco, maybe it's just a New Orleans thing. Now that I've pointed out some of the negatives I should tell you about the nice things here. As you saw from Chad's last post we went to the zoo Sunday and it was great, don't waste your money on the aquarium though. They have a beautiful park here and some lovely older homes in the Garden District. Also everyone seems very nice. The only problem we've had is when we went o Walgreen's to buy some contact solution. Apparently we looked like criminals ( I was wearing a big sweatshirt and a large jacket ) so a cop followed us all around the store.

Here's a picture of a pretty church at Jax Square.

Here is a statue of Andrew Jackson.Tomorrow we are hoping to get a chance to go to the a WWII Museum. They are showing a special exhibit called When Baseball Went to War, you know Chad is pumped about that.

I miss my class. Jawan let me know how they are doing.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New Orleans, Day 1 (Sunday)

We're in New Orleans this week because I have a class for work. We originally were staying at the Hilton Hotel on St. Charles Street, and we would have had to pay for internet service, so that is why I haven't written until now. Being the cheap scape that I am, we've moved to a different hotel with free internet and free breakfast. Don't worry though, it is still nice and still in a good area. I'm only going to blog about our first day because I'm tired and I want to go to bed. We've had a lot of fun so far and really like New Orleans.

We arrived at our hotel early Sunday and decided to go check out the sites. There was a worker at a local restaurant that was about to start washing the street when we walked by. Unfortunately when he turned on the water the hose was pointed directly at us. And it wasn't one of those wussy garden hoses. It was a fireman-style hose. It soaked the back of our legs and feet. It was already really cold outside, and that just made it worse. Well, we found our first New Orleans style restaurant on Bourbon. It was called Krystals. They have these neat little miniature hamburgers, and Krystal Chiks. Great stuff. After warming up, we decided take in more of the sites. First stop was the New Orleans Zoo Chrissy always complains how we don't see her family enough, so I figured when we were close to some of them, we might as well stop by for a visit. Yes, I did use that joke last time we went to the zoo. I just wanted to prove to Chrissy that it is still funny. I just giggled. Told you so Chrissygirl.
Don't know why, but this handsome fellow kind of reminded me of my Dad.
You see the little monkey in the right corner? She was sleeping in a little bucket. The monkey hanging from the ropes decided he wanted to go visit. He went up to her and started headbutting her. When he realized she wasn't getting up, he pulled the bucket out from under her.
He took the bucket back up to his little resting spot.
The monkey sitting in the bucket was happy, but the previous owner wasn't too pleased. It kind of reminded me of an old married company fighting over the covers. Found a Jaguar and made me think about Jacksonville. I hate that my Pats had to beat them, but they had a great season.
Chrissy doing her best Jaguar impression. ROAR!!!!
She told me she'd do the Jaguar pose in return for me showing you the worlds ugliest parrot.
Go Gators

After the zoo, we took the trolley back into town and went to the aquarium.
The trolley kind of reminded me of San Francisco. Look Andrew its a lobster!!!
Chrissy petting a sting ray.

More to come!!! Hopefully tomorrow.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Our Other Daughter

With Matilda on the way, I haven't written much about our other daughter.

She just keeps getting sweeter and sweeter.
Her 2 favorite things to do are go for rides in the car and cuddle.She already loves her little sister.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Family and Friends to Thank

Some times I just don't know what I'd do without my Family and Friends. My brother-in-law Jason helped me get my toilet fixed by spending about an hour on the phone, walking me through it. It ended up only costing me about $18.00 to fix it. My Father in Law gave us a really nice glider chair. I hear it helps the baby go to sleep. I know it sure is comfortable.

And our friends, Mitch and Jawan gave us a crib for Matilda.
Mags (aka Little Maggie) is already in there ready to be cuddled with.
God has blessed us with wonderful friends and family. I can't wait for Matilda to get to know them all.

Matilda Update

We went to the Doctor and got some new pictures of the little girl. Chrissy was disappointed that she wanted to sleep the entire time we were taking pictures. Chrissy is doing well. She is really starting to show now. We'll send more updates as soon as we hear anything else.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Bathroom Humor

I found a leak coming from the toilet in our guest bathroom. Considering my stingy heritage as a McLeod and personal reputation of being thrifty, I decided it was time to take up plumbing as a hobby. Now I have a toilet in my bathtub and a hole in the floor. I tried to get Chrissy to take a picture of me from behind with my crack showing, but she wouldn't do it. Sometimes I just don't understand women.
The "Throne Room" under construction.

I told Chrissy that if she had to go real bad, and I was in the other bathroom, she could use this hole. She didn't find the humor in it. Like I said, girls just don't make sense some times. These are the before pictures. Hopefully, after tonight, I'll be able to put up some after pictures.