Tuesday, December 25, 2012

From Our Family to Yours: Merry Christmas!

The Garrett Christmas Card got another member this year!  We considered enclosing a letter explaining our new addition, but figured if folks couldn't figure it out, they should just probably send it back.

We sent out a lot of cards this year...a fabulous deal found on Groupon erred in our favor.  Rather than 110 cards for $25 (with free s&h-what a steal, right??) we ended up with a double set by accident...yup,  220 cards!

Every single person we had an address for got a card this year!  As for the rest, we stuffed them under windshield wipers at Walmart.  Just kidding!

With an addition like this, who could resist a little Christmas cheer??

Merry Christmas Y'all!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Garrett Family Christmas Photos

Getting all of the Garretts together can be a challenge, but getting them to smile for a photograph is all but impossible.  But guess what?? It happened and here's the proof!

Brett's sister Dana has an amazing baby sitter, who also doubles as a photographer.  Chris Marsh did an amazing job at herding cats getting our pictures!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Catfish Kid

Up North, we don't get a lot of southern comforts.  One of Heather's favorite foods is fried catfish, which is pretty hard to come by in Yankeeland.  If you come to visit New York, do not confuse fried catfish with "fish fry," it's a completely different thing!  

One of our favorite spots to hit while in Missouri is Ann's Restaurant in Qulin, the home of the best catfish and fried potatoes you'll find this side of the Mason-Dixon Line!

Since this was Colt's first visit to Missouri with teeth, we had to introduce him properly to some savory Southern cuisine.   

Ann's Restaurant now features a Sunday buffet-which was pretty tasty!  Along with the Southern staples of fried chicken, catfish, hush puppies and mashed potatoes, they also had several Mexican dishes on the day we visited.   

Mimi made herself a big plate and topped her mashed potatoes with what she thought was gravy.  It wasn't until she had given Colt a few bites that we realized she had covered her potatoes in nacho cheese.  Colt didn't seem to mind!  He really enjoyed the small bites of catfish and hush puppies that he tasted and said they were the best ever!

It wasn't long before he was back at the buffet going for another round!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Flanigan Family Christmas Photos

Check out a couple of the Flanigan Family Christmas photos snapped by Poplar Bluff photographer Crystal Slayton.  We clean up pretty good, dontcha think??

Ok, ok...so not everybody was all smiles!

Friday, November 16, 2012

How We Almost Became a Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Statistic

This year, we joined the 43.6 million Americans traveling more than 50 miles from their home for the Thanksgiving holiday.  We were actually part of the 3.14 million air travelers to fly the friendly skies and went a lot farther than the average 588 miles most holiday travelers trek.

Traveling at the crack of dawn makes you hungry...for Chicago hotdogs at 8:00 a.m.

By the time we landed in STL, we were greeted by a couple of things:

1) A very happy Mimi & Grandpa Mr. Ed who just couldn't wait to gobble up their little turkey.  As indicated on their large, colorful sign they waved proudly through the airport.  Colt was pretty happy to see them.

2)  Our luggage was a little less than enthusiastic looking when it came around the carousel.  Yes, we were those people who had their stuff falling out of the bag.  We recommend not buying the four piece American Tourister luggage set from Burlington Coat Factory.  The stuff is crap.  On our last flight the large piece (making it's maiden voyage) to the set came with a huge puncture hole in the back, which Southwest gladly fixed for free.  This time, it wasn't even worth the trouble.

90% of Americans travel by automobile for the Thanksgiving holiday and with Qulin about four hours south of St. Louis, we joined that category too.  Packed like sardines, we buckled up, strapped in and set off for Southeast Missouri.  But a stop for lunch in Arnold, just outside of St. Louis, nearly put us into a whole other statistic category. 

While exiting from southbound I-55, a woman, who admitted she was not paying attention, ran a red light causing us to hit her SUV.  Fortunately, we were going slow enough that airbags didn't deploy and the damage wasn't too extensive.

But when it's your child strapped into the backseat, it doesn't matter.  An ambulance was dispatched to the scene just to make sure Colt was fine (and he was).  In fact, the only time he cried was when the paramedic took the pacifier out of his mouth to see if he would smile.  The responding officer was impressed with how securely the car seat was strapped in, thanks to Heather's brother Jim, who just happens to be one of the Car Seat Safety Specialist for the Jonesboro Police Department.

Thanksgiving is one of four federal holidays when there is a higher-than-average ratio of fatal crashes.  Highway holiday travel claims the lives of nearly 800 people every year.

We were lucky.  And we sure were thankful to finally make it in one piece to our final destination.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Kids at Heart: A Visit to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

The library in our town of Clifton Park offers a really neat program that allows you to check out passes to museums all over the Capital Region and surrounding areas.  In the past we've used the pass program to visit  the National Museum of Horse Racing in Saratoga Springs.  The library recently added a few new places, including the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts.  After reading up on the museum, we decided this weekend would be a good time to visit, during the 10th Anniversary Book Signing Bash.  Amherst is about two hours away from Clifton Park, so we knew it was going to be an all day event.

We are huge fans of Eric Carle ever since our introduction to the Grouchy Ladybug.  It's one of Colt's favorite books and we also have the Grouchy Ladybug toy.  The Museum was having a special "Doodles for Dollars" event that allowed folks to meet and have their favorite authors & illustrators draw personalized pictures for $10.  Eric Carle, along with Tony DiTerlizzi and Peter Laird, were on hand to do the honors.  The museum opened at noon, when we arrived at 12:30, we ran into this:

Not a good sign, right?  Each artists were only doing 100 doodles and by the time we reached the ticket counter, Eric Carle was sold out.  We were lucky enough to snag tickets to Tony DiTerlizzi, and Peter Laird.  And what a treat it was to have them doodle for us!

Tony DiTerlizzi co-created the Spiderwick Chronicles with Holly Black.  He was happy to draw us Byron, a griffin with a hawk's head and a lion's body.

His adorable daughter Sophia also drew us a picture of a fairy and a snowflake, but the woman in front of us in line grabbed it before we knew what was going on. Thanks lady, thanks a lot.

Peter Laird was our next stop in line.  The comic book writer and artists is best known for co-creating the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Heather chickened out and did not tell him the story of how her 6th grade softball team used to wear TMNT band-aids on our middle fingers and huddle up on the pitchers mound to point our fingers to the sky, inadvertently flipping everyone off, while yelling "Turtle Power!" before the start of every game.  (We thought we were soooo cool.)

The Massachusetts native told us he came up with the idea for TMNT while drawing silly pictures to make a buddy laugh.  He estimates he's drawn 10's of thousands of turtles in his lifetime!

We figured one more turtle wouldn't hurt him....

We didn't get to have anything signed by Eric Carle, but we did get really close to him.  Like, retraining order close!

Actually, he seemed to be a really nice guy!  Since he was sort of the main attraction, he offered up a choice of drawings for those lucky enough to get tickets.  We overheard a museum employee talking about how the line started forming at 7:30 in the morning!

The Book Signing Bash also included 12 other children's authors and illustrators, so we got to see Kathryn Brown, Nancy Ekholm Burkert, Bruce Degen, Jerry PinkneyEtienne Delessert, Barbara McClintock, Linda Gramatky Smith, Paul O. Zelinsky, Jane Dyer, Mordicai Gerstein, Barry Moser, and Donald Saaf.

Bruce Degen, illustrator for The Magic School Bus, signed a book for Mrs. Gunter!
 Thankfully, Colt didn't spend much time waiting in the long lines with his mom.  He & his dad got to sit in on story time with Bruce Degen!

What we loved about the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art was that it is perfect for children of all ages!  Even the bathrooms are suited for tiny humans...

Wonder what Brown Bear sees in the bathroom?
We were lucky enough to get to see Eric Carle's most famous work, The Very Hungry Caterpillar on display in the art galleries.  The galleries also feature the original works from dozens of famous authors and illustrators, but The Very Hungry Caterpillar is by far the most impressive piece in the collection.  It's only brought out for special occasions because of it's fragility, after all, it is made out of tissue paper.

Here is Heather's fancy instagram of Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  FYI-it was super cool up close!

We had a great time at the museum and would love to go back the next time Eric Carle is in town!