Monday, December 31, 2007

2007-12 Christmas Trip to Idaho

Thursday, December 20, 2007

2007-12 Disney on Ice

Something happens to little girls as they turn 3 years old... their little worlds become filled with princess, fancy dresses and dancing. Hannah was hit by the princess bug sometime in the fall. When she learned that she was going to see the Disney Princesses she was so excited. It was priceless to see her smile her biggest, most beautiful smile when she saw her "friends" come out on the ice while happily waving to them.

Monday, December 17, 2007

2007-12 Bethlehem Inn Photos

The Bethlehem Inn Back Story

We (our little family of four accompanied by Ryan's parents) arrived just as the dinner was being served. The Inn was overflowing with people but we were told not to worry, there would be room for us at the Inn. So off we went to the "market" to "buy" our garb for this festive event, so that we could look the part as we stepped back in time for this Christmas experience. As we rummaged through the robes, one of the cast asked if we wouldn't mind if Alyssa played to role of baby Jesus. Sure, why not? They would come to get her when it was time.

Once we were dressed, we were escorted to the table prepared for us, right next to the stage. Alyssa sat with us through dinner, a bit fussy, so we could only guess how she would be when she was called upon for her starring role. Hannah happily dressed as "Momma Mary" as she would call herself later, munched on the food served as she looked around, watching as the performance unfolded around us.

Just before the shepherds came in looking for the baby in the manger, Alyssa was handed off to Marija who was to play Mary. The announcement was made that baby Jesus was born, and the angels and shepherds all came on stage to announce his birth singing familiar songs. It was show time for Alyssa who watched the performance from behind the chorus of kiddos. She was quiet and attentive the whole time, even when passed off to Joseph (she does get heavy after awhile!)

As the performance went on, Hannah slowly sank further and further into the lap she was sitting in tired from a long day of being out and about... until, that is, they brought out a birthday cake for baby Jesus. Her eyes got real big as she cried out softly, "Cake!"

It was an amazing retelling of the Christmas story. Alyssa impressed many with her sweet portrayal of the Christ child. And Hannah continues to call Alyssa, "Baby Jesus" and herself, "Momma Mary." Mommy also gets to be "Momma Mary" and daddy is often called "Joseph."

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Mom's Recipes

This is a recipe book that Ryan and I put together. It includes recipes that my mom wrote into a little red book and pictures of me and my siblings growing up. We also included pictures of my mom with her grandkids. There are some interesting recipes there. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Thursday, December 06, 2007

One Step Ahead - Sit 'n' Stand Elite Double Stroller Review

I would love to write a fabulously positive review of the One Step Ahead Sit 'n' Stand Elite Double Stroller but I haven't yet been sent one that I can assemble. Now, I consider myself a fairly mechanical guy, able to read an follow assembly instructions without much trouble. I even like getting out my toolbox for these projects.

Here's my problem. Alyssa is 5 mos. old now and Hannah is almost 3 yrs. We decided that it's about time to get a double stroller but we wanted one that would give Hannah the ability to sit or stand, and get on and off with ease and safety. Naomi did the research and decided that the One Step Ahead, Sit 'n' Stand was the way to go.

She ordered it directly from their website, for $179.50 plus $20.28 for standard shipping and handling. We needed it for a trip we are taking Friday, 12-7-07. Her order was plenty early and we received the box on our door step one full week prior to our departure.

I finally got it open to start the "some assembly required" process on Sunday night 12-3-07. It came out of the box neatly packed. I cut all the wire ties, remove the packaging and started the assembly per the instruction sheet. I got through steps one and two, installing all the wheels, then hit a wall on step three, attaching the front passenger footrest. It appeared that the front cross bar on the frame was riveted in backwards or at least the center rivet on that cross bar was put in reversed.

It snapped onto the side rails just fine but when I tried to push it down it wouldn't lock in. As I investigated I noticed that the back side of the plastic footrest was hitting the protruding side of the rivet.

Now I could have taken the rivet off with a hack saw or a grinder but I figured for the price I paid I should have something without manufacturing defects.

I boxed it all back up and called Monday morning to discuss my options. I spoke with a patient customer service rep who told me if I needed a new one rushed out to me in time for my trip, the shipping would cost me about $100.00. I persuaded her to talk to a manager and have that those charges remove. She wasn't easily convinced to try but after a minute of my explaining that I was coming close to being in a tough spot, impending departure and all, she finally said they would absorb the rush shipping for a new stroller, give me a FedEx Return Merchandise Authorization (to cover the return shipping), but I would be charged the cost of the new stroller. A refund for the purchase of the first would be issued upon it's return and varification of defect. I was fine with that. I work in a manufacturing industry of sorts and that's the way we handle similar issues.

I waited all day Monday for the RMA to be emailed to either of the two accounts I asked for it to be sent to. By the end of the day I sent an email back to their customer service address asking for it to be sent. The next morning, Tuesday, I got a response from CS saying it was sent. I couldn't find it anywhere, inboxes, spam folders, deleted items... I finally called again and they offered to fax it to me. The fax was so bad the barcodes are unreadable. Hopefully someone at one of the three authorized FedEx locations I'm told I can take it to, will be able to reprint it.

That takes me to Wednesday. I was planning on running the stroller to FedEx when I got home in the evening but lo and behold the new one had arrived. After the kids were asleep I went to unpack it.

I put the box on it's side on the floor and started to slide the frame out, again neatly packed and all tied up. This time I didn't even pull it all the way out. Though it was collapsed that front cross bar was exposed after moving the canopies, footrest and snack tray out of the way.

Sure enough, this second stroller had the same manufacturing defect. The rivet was in backwards.

I took the footrest out of it's plastic bag and held it up to take these pictures.

The blown up insert is to put things in context.

The highlighted areas show the extended rivet tab and the whole it's supposed to lock into on the underside of the footrest.

This highlight shows better what I discovered with the first stroller. When it's all unfolded and you snap the footrest into place, you can't press it down because it's back side hits against the incorrectly installed rivet.

I'm about to call One Step Ahead again and explain my new situation. The saga continues but I'll update soon.

This whole ordeal has caused some major stress. Now on Thursday, on top of preparing for a trip, I have to get two strollers returned to FedEx with RMAs, then I also have to go our shopping for a new Sit 'n' Stand style stroller. And it won't be the One Step Ahead that Naomi really wanted.