Tuesday, February 28, 2012

11 Months!

Matthew is 11 months old today!!  

He's a whole bunch of fun!  He likes to sneak into the bathroom and James' room.  He likes to eat cinnamon toast and pizza crust.  One of his favorite things to do is play outside and he refuses to sit down in the bathtub which makes bath time challenging and fast!  

Monday, February 27, 2012

Team Smith Takes - Rotolo's

When you want to know if your restaurant can perform under pressure, can entertain people of all ages and has food good enough to satisfy the hungriest people - send in Team Smith.  Undercover of course.  

Rotolo's opened a new location on Perkins near our house.  I like to visit restaurant websites and sign up for their free deals and coupons.  Rotolo's had an option I hadn't seen before - Mystery Shopper (actually diner in this case).  So, I signed up and received an email a few days later inviting us to dine at the restaurant during February.  

About a week after that I got a coupon in the mail for $10 off.  Score!!

We went a couple of days ago to check it out. 

Brian helped Andrew figure out the games on his place mat.  

James was deep in thought while the other kids were hard at work.

The plates were pretty.

The pizza came quick.  It was fresh, hot and very, very good.  The kids were happy that they could take home their cups.  

The verdict:  We gave Rotolo's high marks.  It's not somewhere that we would go regularly because the price is higher than our most favorite pizza place - Papa Murphy's.  But, for a couple of people who want a good meal Rotolo's is great!  

Friday, February 24, 2012

Valentines Day and More!

So I was able to get the pictures off of my camera so I thought I would share a few from last week.  

Valentines Day began with some heart pancakes.

I will admit thought that everyone only got one heart - I just couldn't keep up and was losing the battle against the empty plates that kept coming back for more.  

We got two heart shaped pizzas for the kids dinner that night.  The one on the left is a little strange looking - but they ate it anyway.

Brian and I had our own pizza - a chicken alfredo something or other and a salad that night after the kids went to bed.  We also watched a movie - but I can't remember what it was . . .

Here is an example of the food I send with James to school sometimes.  

Here is Matthew watching Peter sleep on the couch.  Matthew likes to poke at him while he's sleeping.  Typical brother stuff!

That's all for now.  Stay tuned to find out how we got to be Mystery Diners for dinner last night!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ferrara Fire Apparatus

Today was a busy day!  We left home about 10:45 to make a stop at the post office to mail a birthday package to Jon's friend.  Then a stop at CVS for some cough drops and candy.  We made our way over to O'Neal Lane to meet Brian at McDonald's for lunch.  We got there before him so we went inside and ordered our sandwiches.  They had these cool square tables.  I had never been to this location before.  

The kids are waiting patiently for Daddy to show up for lunch.

When Brian came we ate lunch and then got on the road.  

Lunch didn't take us as long as we thought and we had nice easy traffic so we were pretty early for our field trip.  Luckily we had packed cookies and water to snack on.  

While we were snacking, Tom (former firefighter and employee at Ferrara) the tour guide came out to the van and gave us a calendar and talked for awhile while we waited for the rest of the families to show up.  He told us some very interesting stories about being a firefighter.  He said that new firefighters are called 'boots' and they go through some sort of 'hazing' when they're new.  One thing he told us was that they put baby oil on the pole in the firehouse, ring the fire bell, and then watch as the 'boots' slide down the pole really fast.  He said one time they filled his boots with water and then rang the bell.  He got a surprise that day.   He also took the time to teach the kids how to speak like you're from New York.  He was from New Jersey.  He got Jon to say "how you doin?" and "Eh, I'm walkin' 'ere".  Pretty funny. 

Finally the rest of our friends showed up and we got to begin our tour.  

Because I had the stroller and Matthew, I hung out at the back of the crowd.  Any of the following information may or may not be true . . . based on whether or not I heard correctly.  Ha!

Ferrara Fire Apparatus rolls out about one new truck each day.  They are all special ordered - meaning they don't just make generic fire trucks and people come in and buy them off the lot.  Each truck is custom ordered and then built.  

These trucks are basically just cabs at the moment.  They are waiting to have the backs built.  

This cab has a double door on each side.  

Team Smith representing at Ferrara.

There were 63 homeschoolers (moms, dads and kids) there today.  Quite a crowd!  I can see two of my kids.  Can you?

This truck is being built for FDNY!  

Then we went into the factory to take a look around.  Some of the cabs raise up to allow access to the engine.  

Andrew was just a bit taller than the tire.  Expect a lot of photos of Andrew - the other kids were in the midst of the group and didn't present themselves for photo opportunities.  

Matthew found it all quite yawn-worthy and decided to use the time in a more productive way. 

There are 65 different shades of 'firetruck red'.

This firetruck is being built for Chi-Town.  The truck is painted black on the top because the trucks get so close to fires that the tops of the trucks were getting black marks from debris etc.  So, they ordered this one with black paint on the top.  

There was a yellow firetruck.

This man was attaching a stripe decal along the front.  Notice the lights on the floor waiting to be put in.  

This is Andrew.

This is Andrew's favorite firetruck.  The orange one.  He wants it for Christmas in case you're taking notes.

This is Andrew watching his reflection in the metal wall as he danced.  

There was a board with the decals from some of the fire departments who ordered firetrucks from Ferrara.  

I didn't see any from MN.  What's wrong with you guys?? 

Even the People's Republic of China has ordered some.

You can go to this link and find out where some of the trucks have been sent.  

Here is our model next to some gauges and levers.

Our tour guide Tom explains that the stripes on the back of the firetruck are actually a DOT regulation. 

Jon walked by and I told him not to step in the blood.  Hahaha - it is only red paint.  You shoulda seen his face. 

"Does anyone have any questions?"  I asked Andrew if he did and he said to me "is it hard to make firetrucks in this big firetruck building?"  Little did I know that he was on to something.  

Cool red doors.  Huge! 

Aww, he's a good model and so patient with me posing him in front of everything.  

After the tour we were shown into a room with a very old Ahrens Fox fire engine.

Peter - like a deer in headlights a little.  

This was an old barber chair modeled like a firetruck. 

As we were leaving the parking lot it occurred to me that Andrew had been paying attention on the tour.  When he wanted to know if it was hard to make firetrucks it was probably because we didn't actually get to see how firetrucks are made.  Hmmm.  Maybe they can't tell us because of some highly secret maneuvers they make while building them.  Who knows.  It was fun anyway and I think the kids had a good time.  

Next up . . . 

Those pizza pictures that I couldn't show you before.  Yes - my camera and computer made up and they're speaking to each other again!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Field Trip

Team Smith goes on a Field Trip today.  Stay tuned for all the fantastic details . . . 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Last Week

Unfortunately my camera and computer refuse to talk to one another and I am unable to upload the pictures I have from last week.  Pictures of heart-shaped pancakes and heart-shaped pizzas and date night dinners (also involving pizza).  But, alas, it will have to wait for another day.  

Alyssa and Faith went to a rollerskating birthday party for a friend last Friday night and had a good time skating.  It wasn't a sleep-over though so I picked them up about 10pm.  

We had quite a rainstorm on Saturday.  James' worship team practice was cancelled because of it and there are still huge puddles in the backyard.  

James has two days off from school because of Mardi Gras.  Yay!  (sarcasm)  All isn't doom and gloom for him though as he is still currently at a birthday party for a friend that began at the laser tag place and ended with dinner (pizza?) and presents.  As we go to press, Brian is picking him up on his way home from work.  

Tomorrow is an exciting day as we are driving out of town for a field trip with our friends.  We are going to visit a place where firetrucks are made.  Should be interesting!!  I plan to take pictures and hopefully I can get them on the computer . . . 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Can I Take a Picture, Mom?

I love downloading the pictures from the camera to the computer and finding all of these pictures that the kids took.  I think they were mostly taken by Jon.  He likes to take the camera.  The last time he did this he made a bunch of videos too.  I'm going to try and put them together for you.  Until then, enjoy these photos - taken by kids.