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And the family keeps growing and growing and growing...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

To Elmo or not to Elmo

After much internal debate, I decided to embrace Elmo. That’s right, we threw a little Elmo themed birthday party this weekend for Natalie, complete with an Elmo cupcake cake (made by my mother and myself) and an Elmo piƱata, which we did not fill since we thought bashing Elmo to pieces might be traumatizing for a 2 year old. We hosted the party at our house with some close friends and the Amsterburg family. It was a beautiful day and we all had a great time. I think her favorite part was the Easter grass that Nona gave her as part of her gift. J

We continued our celebrations at my parents house on Sunday. We had Easter lunch with the whole Maltby crew (aside from my sister who was up North with her in-laws). Then we had an Easter egg hunt in the back yard for Natalie and my cousins. Natalie wasn’t really into it. She was more into chasing the cat around and getting sticks for the dogs. But she did find a few eggs in the end. We topped the day off with an awesome Owl cake made of cupcakes that my mother, Aunt Sharon and I made for Natalie. I didn’t get a good picture of it, but here is what we used as our inspiration. http://familyfun.go.com/recipes/dessert-recipes/cakes-cupcakes/theme-cupcakes/night-owls-cupcakes-984215/

the Elmo pinata

This was her big present from my parents. It even has a cute little bell on it. My dad went all out for this one.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Happy Birthday to My First Born

Every year on our birthdays growing up, my mother would tell the story of our birth. It would always start, on this day (insert age here) years ago… As a kid we would always retort… “Oh Mom!” I never understood why she got so sentimental about the whole thing and how she could remember every detail.

Now that I am a mother myself, I get it. It is such an amazing event that it deserves to be relived AT LEAST once a year every year on that special day. The memory is ingrained in my head as if I had lived it every day of my life for the last 2 years (like Groundhog’s day). I totally plan to follow in my mother’s footsteps and tell the girls their birth stories every year. Someday they will understand too. Until then, they will just think I’m a little looney… but what’s new I guess?

I will spare you all the details, but rest assured, Natalie heard her story this morning J

Happy 2nd Birthday to my adorable little girl. We love you.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

New Rain Boots call for...

We got Natalie some new rain boots. So of course we had to try them out.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Scotland... the rest

Well I had good intentions of documenting our entire trip here for you to read about. As you can probably tell, that didn’t happen. So here is the short version of the remainder of our Scotland trip. We visited another small town. The guys played golf again. Took a boat trip on Loch Ness. Discovered there is no Loch Ness monster (this devastated Phil). Saw some cool battlegrounds & graveyards that were 4,000 years old. Flew back home pretty uneventfully, other than not making our flight from Detroit to Kzoo and having our friends Jon & Randy come pick us up in Detroit.

It was an amazing, once in a lifetime trip and I can’t do it justice with a little blog posting… these pictures do a pretty good job though. Check them out here.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Maltburg's take Scotland...part 1

Well we survived and are basically recovered from our trip around the globe. We had an amazing time that I’m not sure I can do justice in words, but I’ll try! We left Michigan on an airplane around 5pm (Michigan time) on Wednesday and made it to Scotland about 10 am (that’s 5am Michigan time). The girls did great on the plane. Abby slept the entire flight! Natalie was too excited to sleep so she stayed up playing and bouncing around between my parents, sisters and Phil and I the entire flight. She (along with the rest of us minus Abby & Champe) stayed awake for an entire day. We decided to push through our exhaustion and enjoy our first day in Scotland so that we could fight off jet lag.

We were able to get to our flat (that’s what they call apartments in Europe) and get settled, eat some lunch, explore downtown Edinburgh, put the kids to bed early, eat some dinner in and then head to bed ourselves. The flat was so beautiful. It was right downtown overtop of a jewelry store. It had two stories and a terrace on top that opened up to a restaurant and a beautiful view of the city & Edinburgh castle. We had all the amenities (washer, dryer, kitchen, etc) including a dining room carved out of rock made a few of us very claustrophobic.

The next morning we were basically recovered from our travels and working on Scotland time. We explored Edinburgh some more, attempted to take a double decker bus tour of Scotland, but got side tracked by a gorgeous Cragg (which is a Scotland term for mountain) that we wanted to climb. So we spent the morning climbing, had some lunch & visited St. Andrew’s square. We decided to finish up the bus tour the next day.

We had dinner at a little Mexican restaurant near our place where they apparently don’t serve quesadillas but do serve strawberry margaritas so I guess they were redeemed.

The next day we got up early to finish our bus tour from the previous day. We rode the bus around the city and learned about all the amazing history in Edinburgh. The tour ended at the Edinburgh Castle so we decided to go in and explore. They have turned the castle into memorials for fallen soldiers and museums that included the underground caves that POW’s were kept in (creepy). They also shot the canons at 1pm which was pretty cool (and loud!).

This trip was too good to be covered by one post so stay tuned for more Scotland fun tomorrow.

The view from right out our apartment door (downtown Edinburgh)

the girls & Champe (mom, me, Natalie, Annie, Jennifer) starting to climb Salisbury's Cragg

Phil and Gual testing their rock climbing skills

Edinburgh Castle (view from our street)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Hot water anyone?

Ahh the joys of being a home owner. A few weeks ago now, the lights in our master bathroom, bedroom and front hall way stopped working. It was very strange because the outlets still had power and so did the rest of the house. Phil checked the breaker and it was tripped so he fixed it and that seemed to do the trick (at least for a short time).

The next day the lights were back off. He checked the electrical box again and determined that we had a bad breaker and it needed to be replaced. Upon replacing this so called “bad breaker” he noticed it had a small burn spot on the side of it. But with the new breaker in place the lights were back in order.

While Phil was fixing the lights, I was giving the girls a bath before bed. I happened to notice that our once “scald your skin off” hot water was now luke warm. I mentioned this little tidbit to Phil (and by mentioned I mean screamed it from the bathroom while getting water splashed all over me by Natalie). He was literally in the process of closing the electrical box door to complete the first fiasco when this lovely fact came to our attention. He did some investigating and realized that our trusty water heater was no longer working. (We will later discover that the water heater somehow short circuited in the electrical box, causing the breaker for the lights in our bedroom to overheat).

Since the water heater was from circa 1983, we decided it was probably time for a new one anyways and we were actually very lucky since the heating element just stopped working and it did not burst water all over our basement. Since we were doing the job, we decided to do it right and purchased an instant/tankless water heater. That was just the beginning of our troubles.

1 Propane Tankless Water Heater
6 Trips to the store
1 Conversion (from electric to propane)
1 Adapter kit (from LP to propane) shipped from California
5 nights of work by Phil, our friend Jon & Jon’s dad
4 baths with water heated on the stove
3 showers at my parents house
and a week without hot water

Priceless – or memorable anyway

We did survive with a little bit of creativity and a LOT of help from our friends. We now have a functioning instant water heater and will never take hot water for granted again!