Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Aunt Shelley Hair - Miriam's new style

Miriam got a hair cut (courtesy of my mom ... a talented hair stylist and the lady who has cut my hair all but a handful of times in my life). Abby says mommy has Aunt Shelley hair now (that is a good thing Shelley).


Long hair just before.



The side shot of long hair in the seat and ready to take the plunge.



This is not a dead dog. This is similar to what the new vacuum cleaner bag contents look like though.



Beautiful new style to complement an already beautiful face.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Miriam and Luke bundled up


Christmas Train

I am trying to start a tradition of putting up some kind of train each year ... hopefully one that will go around the tree and among the presents. Abby and Luke thing it's a good idea.



Working and playing in the snow


My big helper.




All bundled up with his mama.



Trying so hard to be just like her daddy.



Daddy's snow angel.



And Abby's angel? Looks more like a butterfly, but it works for me.

Abby the Bumblebee

On 12/16/07 our church put on the annual Kids Christmas play. Abby took up her designated post of being an animal and Luke was a star. Miriam asked Abby what animal she wanted to be and she replied, "A snake." I don't think Abby has quite grasped the symbolic meaning of the snake in relation to church yet ... you know the whole satan in the form of a serpent thing (not really appropriate for the Christmas play). So, after ruling out a snake Abby had to choose between a bumblebee and a lion ... should have been a pretty easy choice right. Abby chose a bumblebee. She was super cute.



Check out the stinger on that one.



Above is how Abby looked in the play. I was charged with transitioning Abby from her church outfit to her bumblebee outfit. She had on a sweater over her long sleeve black shirt and jeans on over her tights. She, of course, wouldn't go anywhere without her boots. Little did I know that Miriam had intended for me to merely replace the sweater with the bumblebee costume and remove her boots. I removed her pants and put her boots back on ... I thought it looked cute.  Kind of fashionably 80's ... which is back in style.



Who could resist giving this bumblebee a hug?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Crandall Family Holiday Bash

A couple of weeks ago my side of the family had our Thanksgiving/Christmas bash. We rent out the Levasy Civic Center which has a basketball court, some bleachers, a stage, and a kitchen. This is just perfect for us to get together, eat, play, have fun, and let the kids do their thing.
The group consists of mainly my mom's side of the family and looks like this:

So there were quite a few kids running around. Grandma Mary (my dad's mom) was also there. The kids had a blast ... I had a blast. There were all sorts of toys, balls, and little kids kitchenettes to play with. My dad and Uncle Rog brought Cornhole and we played it indoors. My dad smoked me. I am still recovering from the loss (but if I get depressed enough from continually losing to him, at least I can wrestle him to the ground and put him in a submission hold). My dad is actually a member of the cornhole association or something.

I didn't have my camera with me and so I don't have any pictures so I am looking for some help from the fam here. if you have some could you email me some, burn them to a CD and email them to me or post them on the web. Thanks.

And I am pretty sure I am at least 51% kid and 49% adult. Games of all kinds just peak my interest.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

You suck!


That is what I tell our new vacuum. We bought a Eureka 4870 Boss vacuum cleaner. This thing really sucks in a good way. New carpet we have had for 7 months  and vacuumed numerous times with our old vacuum still had tons of new carpet fiber on it. Our new vacuum bag was full after 15 minutes of cleaning the new carpet. WOW! I am extremely happy with the performance of this vacuum after just 30 minutes of using it. It is only $130 and is a Consumer Reports Best Buy choice beating the pricey highly touted Dyson cleaners. Did I mention it is only $130. You can get it at WalMart. Now, hopefully it is reliable. I'll keep you updated. I am sure you're on the edge of your seat.

Abby's Apron - made in the USA


Abby opened one of her Christmas presents early ... a custom made apron from Mommy!!! She was thrilled, as you can tell by the look on her face (not being sarcastic).



Helping mom make sugar cookies ... and snickering a bit in the process.

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Crandall Update from Miriam

Hello Everyone!

We hope and pray that you are having a blessed Christmas season! We are enjoying the season around here. Abigail was thrilled when we put up our Christmas tree and lights outside. She loves to look at them, but she reminds us that, “we just look, we never touch.” It’s always a bit sobering to hear your own words come out of your two year old’s mouth. We often hear her singing familiar songs to her babies as she nurses and rocks them and she prays with them before they “eat” when she puts them in their highchair. She loves to read them her favorite stories.

As you probably guessed, Abby is doing very well, I often need to remind myself that she is only 2 and not 5. She talks and acts like she is much older than her two years. She loves to undress her baby brother, the other day while I was cooking dinner, she and Luke were playing in the living room. Abby came running into the kitchen and cried, “look at me, mommy, I have Wukie’s pants on!” She was thrilled that she had stripped him down and swapped pants with him. She was quite a site to see with his 6-9 month pants on; tight high-waters would describe her look well. Meanwhile, Luke was rolling all over the place in the living room, happy as can be, with no pants on. Luke is quite a content, peaceful little man. He loves to roll all around and play with his toys. He’s at the stage now where he is pushing his torso, from the waist up off the ground (female push-up style). He’s such a blessing. And it is such a joy for us to see Abby play with him, and his round little face light up as he giggles and kicks with glee. They sure love each other, and we hope that continues for the rest of their lives.

I wanted to share another Abby issue I encounter frequently with her. It involves shopping, which is not very fun with two little ones. Abby insists upon walking while we shop (she shops too), and I thought I would share with you a few of the things I have said to her, based upon the things I have found in our cart…”Abby, please put the Vienna sausages back, no we don’t need corned beef hash either.” “Why do we have these?” Abby—“I want them, mommy.” “No, Abby, we don’t need Doggy Temptations.” (apparently some type of doggy treat for a dog that we don’t own). Or, my embarrassment at having to dump 27 packages of socks of assorted sizes on the floor by the sock racks at Target, because I was too tired and too frustrated to sit there and sort them and put them back while she proceeded to pull more down. The one advantage of having her walking next to me, is that she is a talking Christmas wish list, it makes shopping for her quite easy!

Speaking of Christmas, last night I had the fabulous idea to make Christmas sugar cookies for Abby to “paint” with icing. Even though I followed the recipe perfectly, and even refrigerated the dough to cut down on gooeyness while rolling, it was still sticky and nearly impossible to roll out and a disaster to use cookie cutters with. So, while I am fuming inside, trying to roll out this impossible dough, Abby is standing next to me on a stool with a mound of cookie cutters in front of her. She would quickly grab one and jam it into the dough while I wasn’t looking, ruining that portion of dough, and requiring me to re-roll it, which only worsens the sticky problem. I was getting really frustrated, and she could tell (perhaps because I said, “gosh-darnit” after another one of her swipes at the dough). She looked up at me with a sugary sweet smile (the kind she uses when she knows she’s done something wrong) and said, “Are you happy mommy?” While thinking about how to answer that question, she added, “Do you love God?” and proceeded to ask those two questions over and over. Nothing like being reminded by your young daughter about the reason for the season; I encourage you in this season of busyness and (and sometimes even frustration) to, from the mouth of my 2 year old, “Be happy and love God!”

Have a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year!


Corey, Miriam, Abby and Luke

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Abby and the nativity scene

Abby loves to play with the nativity scene. She often rearranges it ... usually with some pretty interesting combinations.


Moving the shepherd boy. Yes that is a black panther in the back (It's my little addition to the nativity scene every year).



Admiring her work.



And trying to ride the camel and why not? Camels are supposed to be ridden ... right? Poor camel.

A better Christmas tree photo


Friday, December 07, 2007

Lots of Posts

I made a bunch of posts recently so be sure to scroll down and view them all. Also, if you are interested in some non family stuff you can check out my blog

Christmas Tree is up and decorated


Not the greatest picture but it gives you a feel for our living room this Christmas. Abby loves the nativity scene at the right of the picture.



Need I say more?



Maybe not so much this one because I am in it.


Big Sista and liddle brudda!


Good looking photos of our boy



Thanksgiving at the Block House

We spent Monday before Thanksgiving through the following Sunday at Miriam's Mom and Dad's house. We had a great time. Here are some pictures from the week.


Hallie, Me and Abby. Hallie (her cousin) and Abby are in cute matching pajamas.


Luke (our boy), Natalie (Joel -miriam's brother- and Shelley's girl), and Tristan (Dan -miriam's brother- and Sarah's boy). This is the youngest of each of the family that was there over Thanksgiving.


Me, Abby, Hallie, Will (Dan and Sarah's oldest), and Mom Block enjoying the hot tub. The kids loved it.

In general, we had a great time. Food was good, family was great, the games we played were fun (even with those who can't follow directions). And Dan is amazing at fixing/tearing apart/putting back together an ATV ... just for the record.

I posted this entry with windows live writer so if you don't like the way the pictures are linked to then let me know. I may switch back how I was doing it before.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Veteran's Day

So this post is a little late but ... better late than never.
Check out Marvin Mann's story here. Miriam and I know Marvin from Kirksville. I am not sure how Miriam knew the Mann Family (a story for her to tell) but she knew them when I met her in 2000. It would be hard to put all the memories I have from their house/ranch/farm into this post. If you read the link then you know about Marvin's injuries. Marvin is an amazing fellow. No doubt about it. I have had the privilege of getting to know him and his family. I helped Marvin build a playset (more like a small apartment complex) for their kids when I was in college and there is just something you learn from being around a guy like him. Laura (Marvin's wife) is a great lady who will never let you leave her house on an empty stomach (great for me outside of wrestling season ... not so good in). I have much respect for Marvin. Thanks to all the folks who have served or are serving honorably in the military.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Miriam at Kak's

A very pregnant kak. Looking good and ready to go!

Miriam with Caleb (on the left, Kak and John's boy) and Luke..

Miriam went out to visit her sister in Ohio over the 5th and 6th. Above are a couple photos.
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Sunday, November 04, 2007

NEMO Triathlon 9/9/07

So here I am coming up on the finish line at the NEMO triathlon. And in case you were wondering I am not so far ahead of everyone that no one else is in the picture ... quite the opposite actually.
The race was on 9/9/2007 but I am just now getting around to the post.

The race was a 3/4 mile swim, 18 mile bike ride and a 5 mile run.
My total time was 2:06:25 which was 92nd over all, 53rd amongst males, and 8th in my age division (25-29).
Swim split = 25:45 (Modifed Side Stroke almost the whole way ... wasn't in good enough shape to crawl it)
Bike split = 58:12
Run split = 42:28 (yes, this is the equivalent of what my 2 year old can run).

To any of my wrestling buddies who come across this post ... don't laugh. Considering the training that I did to prepare for this I am not completely ashamed of the results (close ... but not quite). In the 3-4 months prior to this race my training consisted of the following: 1 X 18 mile bike ride, 5 X Bike to YMCA (4 miles) ... swim for 20-25 minutes ... Bike home (4 miles), run a total of maybe 3-5 miles. So I pretty much just wanted to survive and get a feel for the flow of the triathlon.

Next year, I want to compete. I want to be in the top three of my age group which means I need to finish between 1 hour 33 minutes and 1 hour 40 minutes which means knocking off 26 to 33 minutes of my time. Time will tell. Check out the race at

One last note (shameful for me ... great for him) ... I met a guy before the race who looked familiar. It was Damon Motley ... and offensive lineman who graduated from Fort Osage High School in 1997 (I was a 99 grad). I was a quarterback, receiver, defensive back, wrestled and ran track (400m, 800m) . He beat me by 16 minutes. A lineman vs a QB/receiver/d-back. I hope coach Litchfield never finds out.

Amber Waves of Grain

Ever wonder what "amber waves of grain" looks like when you sing America The Beautiful?
wonder no more
My dad took this shot while hunting in South Dakota.

October 31

Abby in the Chinese outfit I got here while I was in China a year ago. Looks like a Princess to me!

Our fam!

Lukeeeeee the pumpkin.
My nephew, Brycen (he's just over 3) ... the thuggish pirate.
Wouldn't want him boardin' my ship!
Brycen and Kaden are my brother Cam's boys.

My nephew Kaden. You have no idea how big this kid is.
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Daddy Daughter Weekend

Miriam flew out with Luke on Friday night to see her sister in Columbus, Ohio and won't be back until Tuesday night. She flew Skybus and got a ridiculously good deal ... like $40 round trip ... seriously. There are limitations to the airline but if you fly in or out of Columbus, Ohio check it out at

So what does a daddy and his daughter do when mommy leaves for the weekend. We dropped Miriam off at the airport at 9:30 pm on Friday and got home and Abby in bed around 10:15 pm.

Saturday, Abby woke up at around 7:30 am. We goofed around and wrestled on the bed for a while. We ate some breakfast ... cereal for both of us and of course Abby's daily dose of "dip my graham cracker in my milk." We went to the gas station, Walmart (diapers, ammo, and hair ties), and then off to the YMCA. Abby played in soft play area while I swam and worked out. We got out of there about 11:20 am and headed over Aunt Stacy and Uncle Pete's house. My dad was there ... nice surprise. Aunt Stacy watched Abby inside while the boys went out and shot .22's, shotguns, and my cousin BJ let me shoot is new glock (sweet handgun).

We left around 1:50 pm or so and I had Abby in bed by 2:30 pm. She slept until 5:30 pm while I picked up the house and did some things on the computer. Abby woke up, we ate some dinner and played around the house. Then around 7:30 pm we went to McDonalds to get some ice cream. Abby loved it and we had a great time. We also so some friends, Mike and Penny Lotz, and chatted with them for a while.

On the way home at 8:30 pm, we stopped by some friends that live 2 blocks away to tell their just-turned-4 daughter happy birthday. We didn't end up leaving until 9:30 pm ... their just those kind of folks ... always welcoming and always a pleasure to hang out with. Because of the time we skipped Abby's bath and went straight to bed. I did some more work around the house and went to bed about 11:30 pm.

It is now 7:45 am on Sunday morning. Abby was up at 6 am ... apparently daylight savings doesn't mean anything to her. We played, ate and are now getting ready to take a bath and go the 9 am church service.

We are missing mommy and Luke, but having a good time with just the two of us.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The worst idea walk and bonking daddy bedtime

Miss Abby not so happy after the walk and her daddy. She does not like that jacket.

Little Man Luke bundled up and happy on the walk.

This post is about Thursday 11/1/07 evening.

I got home from work a little late and Miram and I tried to take a walk last night from our house to Adam's Dairy Parkway and back. It did not go so well. I was full from pizza (I worked late and got pizza ... people will do large amounts of extra work for a slice of pepperoni pizza) and Miriam was just finishing eating some ravioli. I colored with Abby on the floor of the kitchen for awhile while Luke sat in the swing. Abby is a pretty fun girl. We had a good time coloring. She would ask "Are you ready Daddy?" before turning the page.

We got Luke dressed in his fuzzy blue suit. He looked pretty warm and cute. Abby was wearing her new pink winter jacket ... which apparently she hates. Just as we got her seated in the stroller and getting ready to go she started crying about her jacket rubbing her chin. It was like 7:10pm and it was already dark and cold. I think the temp was around 47.
About 0.5 to 0.6 miles into our walk Abby was being a royal pain in the tail. She did not want to put her gloves on and didn't want to put her hand under the blanket ... so instead she just let them freeze while hanging on to the stroller bar. Kids ... sometimes it just isn't worth the fight. Miriam and I did not want to let Abby walk because we were just trying to get a good little walk in (1.5 mile walk). Well Abby became a little too frantic and so we decided to let her walk. She was so happy for about 50 meters and then it just all fell apart. She wanted her hat off, then she wanted her gloves on and then off, and then she was trying to tear her jacket and her hat off. The whole time Miriam and I are trying to coax her into keeping said items of clothing on. After about 5-10 minutes of this we decided that it was not worth it and to just head back home. Abby did not particularly like this idea either and insisted on walking the other way crying very loudly. Miriam was pushing the stroller and I was on full time Abby duty. It was another 5 minutes of trying to get her to walk back to the house but she would just stop and cry and not walk. Then she would take a couple steps and stop and cry and she wouldn't really say what was wrong she would just stand there and stomp her feet and flap her arms and cry.
I was thoroughly confused (although I believe Abby is helping me to understand the female species better ... more on this topic at another time). Eventually I just picked Abby up and much to my amazement she let me carry her. It was a surprise because just 3 minutes earlier when I attempted to carry her she threw a fit and was kicking and screaming and again ... crying loudly.
I unzipped my jacket, tucked her cute little hands up underneath my arms near my armpits (one of the warmest parts of the body) and wrapped my jacket as far around her as I could get it and started off for home. I was now trailing Miriam by a little bit and had to play catch up.
When I caught back up with Miriam, there wasn't a whole lot to say about the situation other than, "This wasn't our best idea." And you know, it may not have turned out to be the best idea but as I was carrying Abby back to the house with her snuggled up to me and my beautiful hard working wife pushing the stroller with our sweet little boy all bundled up inside it, I couldn't help but think that "It's just another day in paradise." I have a great family with God at the helm. We were on the way to a warm house stocked with food (and way too much STUFF). It is hard to complain when you step back and be appreciative.
Back at home we had to take some pictures to capture the moment in color. Then it was off to bath time and bed time after I read one of the silliest stories ... Amelia Bedlia, the rocket scientist.
Bath time did not go so well either. We were bathing Luke and Abby at the same time (as we usually do). Abby usually does a good job with Luke. But tonight she decided to dump water on Luke's face ... TWICE! Miriam I and were unhappy (to put it lightly). Luke was coughing and it was sad.
Bed time went a little better but Abby was just kind of in a bad way this evening. After we finally got her hair combed, teeth brushed, pajamas on, ears cleaned out, and in the proximity of her bed ... I could feel freedom just around the corner when she said, "Okay daddy, I go tell mommy night night and and and den you stay right here ... and I BE RIGHT BACK (with her finger wagging at me)." I said no. A small exchange and then she crawled into bed and says "Daddy lay down right here in my bed." Her bed is way too small for me but this is her way of telling me to put my head on her mattress with the rest of my body on the floor, which I gladly do. She accidentally brushed my head with her hand and said, "I bonk daddy's face" with a big grin while sucking her thumb. I smiled and said, "yes you did, but it was gentle, no big deal." She didn't even really bonk my face. Then much to my surprise she balled her hand into a fist, cocked it back to left field and punched me in the lip. That was definitely a bonk. I exclaimed, "Abby!" but couldn't help laughing. She said, "Sorry dad." We had some small talk and then she wanted me to put my head on her pillow on the floor right by her bed. I do and next thing I know Miriam is waking me up. It is around 9pm and for some strange reason ... feels like bed time for me.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Digitizing and Energy Savings

So if you know me then you know I am (or attempt to be) organized and can sometimes get uptight about it. Well, recently I have had kind of a mental switch from keeping everything because I might need it to getting rid of the stuff that we just don't use. It is a stress producer for me to keep track of all our stuff. I have a tendency (thank you dad) to be a bit of a pack rat. I don't need to keep everything. I always think, "I might need this 6 months down the road so I better keep it." Doesn't matter I haven't used it in 2 years. Well, now I am leaning towards, "I haven't used it in 2 years, so get rid of it." If I need it 6 months down the road, I'll go buy it. It'll save me stress. You may be wondering what this has to do with Digitizing and Energy Savings ... wonder no more.
As part of my getting rid of stuff, I occasionally go through my filing cabinet (where I file too much stuff) and see what I can weed out. I had to file an Aquila (electric) bill and saw that I had all my Aquila bills for the last 3 years (basically since we got back from Romania). Aha! A perfect candidate for weeding out. I can scan these 36 pages of bills into just 3 documents and store it on my computer as a pdf, then shred those paper bills. As I was looking at my bills I noticed our energy usage from last year for that month was considerably lower which got me thinking. And me thinking can be dangerous (and potentially time wasting). So being the geek that I am, not only did I digitize my Aquila bills, I also entered the important data into a spreadsheet and graphed some of the stuff I find interesting(It only took a total of 2 hours to throw all this together). The main point of me looking at this data is to find out how we are "spending our electricity" so I can slow our usage a little and SAVE SOME MONEY.
In 2005 (the most recent date such statistics are available - links to an excel file at the department of energy) the average american household used an average of 938 kWH (Kilowatt Hours). In Missouri that number was 1102 kWH. In 2006 we used an average of 699 kWH/month, which was well below national and Missouri averages for the prior year ... yay for us. Unfortunately, our 2007 monthly average is already at 1000 kWH. So I want to know why this is. What happened that caused us to use more electricity? check out my geeky cool graphs for some insight.

So this graph (above) shows our average daily use per billing period (total kWH for billing period / number of days in biling period). Check out the spike around August (billing period 8). Hot summer? Run our air conditioner too much? Our new deep freeze purchased in december of 2006 working too hard? What gives?

And here is daily change.

The last graph is a big one for me. This is how much money we could have saved had we only used as much energy as we did the year before. $280. It's not life changing but hey $280 is an iPod.

So, I will be consciously thinking about turning off lights and trying to save energy. Good for the environment (at least as much as piddly little me can make) and good for my wallet.

So what about you, how much electricity do you use? Let me know in the comments or send an email. And you don't have to tell me, I am a geek ... I know this.