Thursday, September 25, 2008

I don't even know what to title this...

I don't know if typing this will do justice to the actual events that took place, but I'm going for it anyway.
Since Ella's turned one and is at the top of the weight limit for her infant carrier/carseat, I have been on a hunt for a safe, somewhat stylish, gender neutral, and cost-friendly carseat for my now-toddler. I've been on review websites, manufacturer websites, and store websites....I've talked to moms (who pretty much all say theirs is fine...i guess I never got to ask anyone who was actually in a car accident and had a testimony that yes, their carseat actually kept their kid from injury), and peered in the windows of cars in many, many parking lots trying to figure out which new throne my daughter would be sitting in as Rhonda the Honda whisks her around town.
As her appetite keeps growing, I began to think that 20 lbs is really more of a "driver's license weight" (you know what I'm talking about ladies) and that I really needed to make a decision and a purchase before the aforementioned infant carrier was no longer safe. So on a recent trip to Target, I decided that I was not only going to pick up diapers, but that I was also going to finalize my deciison and purchase Ella's new carseat.
With Ella in the front of the cart, diapers on the bottom under the big basket, I finally picked an Easyflo Triumph Advance seat with chocolate and sage upholstry. It basically looks like a Lazyboy for kids in the car. All the research had led me to this because of its side impact testing/ratings, and the other mom reviews which say it's great. Plus I liked the colors and the price was in my range, and they didn't have these colors at BabiesRUS. So I find the box and heave it up, resting it on the top of the big basket...cause it clearly doesn't fit inside the basket. Then I try to manuever my way through Target with one hand on the handle and the other on the top of the box, straining to get a glimpse around the side to make sure a crash into an unexpecting shopper or clothes rack or display case wasn't imminent. I finally made it to the front, and it looked like everyone in the store beat me to the lines. So I waited patiently as Ella rummaged through my purse.
Upon completeing my purchase, I knew I had to hurry because I was supposed to meet my mother-in-law to drop Ella off for the night in less than 10 minutes. So I pop the trunk and put the diapers in, and then realize quickly that the humongous box that the carseat is in won't really fit in the trunk becuase of all the other stuff in there. No problem, I'll put it in the back seat. I opened the door carefully as not to hit the other car that parked WAY too close, and tried to heave the box up and in. No dice. I adjusted the angle and tried again. Nope. At this point I think I was beginning to breathe a little heavier. Once I accepted the fact that the big box wasn't going in the back seat because the door opening was too small, I decided to regroup again and try the front seat. It's usually a little bigger. I moved the box, closed the back door, opened the front door, and pulled the box up to the front. I moved the seat and tried to make as much space as possible for this monster of a box. (You would think by now that I would have doubts that the actual seat may not fit in my car, either!) I tried, I tried...I thought I could get it... I think if Ella could talk in sentences that made sense, she's say, "Mommy, I know this game... The big square doesn't fit in the little triangle hole." I really wish I could get the video surveillance of the entire scene. It would probably be worth some money.
At this point I'm sure I was late to meet Denice, so I decided to grab my keys, open the box, take out the carseat and put it in the backseat, and then fold up the demon of a box and put it in the trunk. I got Ella in her old seat, made sure all of the things she took out of my purse were back in, and drove to meet Grandma. When I got there, I figured, "well, since the chair's already out of the box, I may as well set it up in her car so she can use it."
I pulled the seat over to her car and read on the attached literature "6 easy steps to installation". This can't be hard. They've got the LATCH system. 20 minutes later I finally had it hooked in there, facing the rear for added safety and by then I was sweating and breathing hard. A quick review of the instructions reminded me to make sure the LATCH strap was NOT twisted. Ooops. Mine wasn't only twisted but also in the wrong place! Ahhh, screw it. I took the whole thing out, grabbed my old trusty infant carseat and base and 2 minutes later they were on their way.
I guess I'll have to get Brandon to figure it out. Until then, It looks like a full-scale piece of furniture in our living room!

Monday, September 08, 2008

A New Fall Tradition...

My friend, Kelsey, gave us a great idea to go up to Hendersonville and pick our own HoneyCrisp apples at Sky Top Orchard. I had never been apple pickin' before, and for some reason even through he grew up about 10 minutes from this little gem of a place, Brandon hadn't thought about it as a family outing destination. But he was happy to take his girls up and we had an awesome day.

We started off with a few pictures. Ella had on a new pair of shoes and was looking especially cute. Somehow she just knew to stand up tall for Daddy to take her picture by this growth chart. Maybe we'll get a new pic every year. Right now, it looks like she's about 2.5 feet tall.

She was really an angel the whole time. She loved riding on Daddy's shoulders and checking the place out.

But I think her favorite part was sampling the merchandise! I know that this is probably making many mommies gasp ("choking hazard, choking hazard"), but she got a hold of this apple and went to town on it. She ate the entire thing bite by bite (with mommy and daddy ready to jump in if any choking occured). When we got nervous and tried to take it away from her, she screamed to the treetops and made it quite clear that she wasn't done yet.
She ended up finishing off about 1.5 apples before we finally pulled the plug.

The only thing that we could find to distract her was a delicious just-made apple cider doughnut which the three of of split.

We got some beautiful apples and then headed down the road to the Wrinkled Egg, which is a cutie little gift shop that we pass every time we go to the Berry's house but have never actually checked out. It was wonderful to just have time to enjoy perusing the stores.

Afterwards, we went down the road to Saluda where we ate at the Green River BBQ Pit. Brandon had gotten it in his head that morning when we had discussed the possiblity of going up to Hendersonville, and it was indescribably wonderful to watch the satisfaction on his face when his craving came to fruition. We had an awesome dinner there and then stopped at Cold Stone Creamery when we made it back to Greer. Ella enjoyed her first Cold Stone experience immensly, but unfortunately I didn't think to bring the camera in to capture the moment.

The next evening, I tried my hand at my first Apple Crisp, and by golly...it turned out to be pretty good if I do say so myself.

I would like to officially say that this trip got me into the Fall Mood and I am excited that my favorite season is once again on its way.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Feeding Time At The Berry Zoo!

Here are a couple of priceless pics of Ella enjoying mealtime!

Saving a little for a snack later...

You know that wasn't the last time we've seen that corn...