Todd Family Blog

Welcome! Read below for our latest news and pictures.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Spring is Here

Last month I had a wonderful reunion with three Butler friends. Ashley, Megan, Miriam and I were all roommates for a good chunk of our time in Alpha Phi. I couldn't have asked for better roommates or friends during that time, and since my wedding 5 years ago we had not all been in the same room! Ashley is getting married this September to a wonderful guy, Pat, and we are all involved in the wedding in some way. So that we could get to know Pat, they came into town for a reunion dinner at Cafe Nora. The thing about good old friends is that it feels like not a day has passed since you last saw them. Can't wait for more fun at the wedding, girls!

Pat and Ashley

Miriam, Me, Ash and Megan

Recently, Miriam and I took a spontaneous trip up to Chicago to visit with our friend, Katherine, again. This is turning into a favorite mini-vacation of ours, it seems. Miriam and I had a great time shopping while Kat worked on Friday, we had a wonderful tapas lunch with Kat at 1492 as a shopping break, then a great Italian dinner and drinks afterwards. We're already planning our summer trip when we're determined to do some museums, architecture tours and sidewalk cafe dining! Thanks for being such a great hostess, Kat.

Random, but true, here is a great illustration of spring being here. This is from ONE dog - our short-hair shepherd, Luke.

Speaking of dogs, we had a bit of drama this week. Yesterday, two beautiful, SWEET Pyrenees/Collie mix dogs (I seriously guessed exactly that - watching all those dog shows is paying off, haha) literally walked right onto our porch. They had no tags and burrs all through their hair. I was really afraid they had been dumped, which was a common occurrence living in the country growing up. So, I notified area animal shelters, got them all comfy in our garage (our dogs were determined to make them playmates and our poor guests were a bit overwhelmed by this) and decided to take them to the vet to scan for a microchip in the morning. This morning I did exactly that, and sure enough one of them had a microchip! With-in half an hour I was receiving a call from an extremely happy owner who lives two miles away. They had been searching for them since 10 a.m. the previous morning. Lesson learned - get your dogs microchiped! We're doing just that this weekend!

Pixie and Stormy

And one more thing...If anyone knows the engineer that made this, please give me his contact info. I am desperate for something exactly like it. And does it come in a frisbee format, too?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

We Love our Dawgs

Just had to write a quick note to congratulate our wonderful friend, Brad Stevens, and the Butler Bulldogs on an INCREDIBLE and hugely entertaining season with their unbelievably young team. (That was a lot of adjectives!) Though they just fell to LSU in the NCAA tournament, their accomplishments this season (including sweeping the Horizon League Coach, Newcomer and Player of the Year honors) made us all so proud to be Bulldogs.

Thanks for your hard work! We can't imagine how exciting next season will be!

I had to include this visual aide that was sent to us earlier this season by Jason Brown. It was taken during Butler's win against Davidson in the Bracket Buster. Kinda says it all. Congrats, Brad!

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Valentine’s Day to Remember - Vermont, Part 3

We left Vermont on Valentine’s Day and stayed in Buffalo on our drive back home. We thought we had a great plan: Go directly to the home of the buffalo wing, Anchor Bar, for dinner, and then we had a room – no a suite – at a Super 8. (They take large dogs, thank God, so we always stay there while on the road.) Fancy, right?

Well, Anchor Bar was INSANE. We battled for a tiny table in the bar and thankfully got our plate of wings, despite the bartender deciding she hated Brad. (She really did!) I know a lot of reviews say there are better places for wings in Buffalo, but these were DARN good: great sauce, very meaty, not at all greasy, crispy skin. Mmmmm. I can taste ‘em now.

Then we headed to our “suite” at the Super 8. Thanks to what happened there, we now have criteria for a stay at a Super 8: It must be right on a (well-lit) highway exit and not close to any train tracks. Unfortunately, we did not know these rules yet.

While driving to the Super 8 we noticed the neighborhood becoming less than desirable, but we went ahead and checked in anyway. After the fun of walking the antsy dogs in frigid weather along the neighboring train tracks, and then feeding them in the parking lot, Brad had to leave me holding all three dogs and our luggage as he went inside to open the side entrance. I waited, listening to the background noise of yelling and bottles breaking on the road below. Hmmmm.

When my hands were finally frozen we lugged our stuff up to our “suite”, which Brad had specially requested. (How romantic.) It took us a while to find a light switch, but once the lights were on we were met with a confusing sight: a small living room area, a bathroom, a large common space with two tables and 8 chairs, but no beds. Was it a conference room? Who in this neighborhood rents the conference room at the Super 8? And for what purpose?

But no. We simply needed to notice the handles in the wall. That’s right: the handles in the wall. One simple tug and our lovely Murphy beds – two - became apparent. That is, after we moved the tables and chairs out of the way.

There wasn’t much to do but get ready for bed and wait for morning to come so we could get the heck out of there. It was extremely cold with only one thin blanket on the bed. We asked for an extra blanket, but apparently they don’t keep those at the Super 8 in north Buffalo.

Unfortunately, the dogs were less than pleased with our location. Usually they sleep very soundly and calmly, but every little noise made especially Luke bark. We’d be just about to fall asleep, ignoring our shivering, and Luke would bark. This went on for a couple hours. Desperately we considered just getting up and just leaving. Then Brad had the light bulb moment. He suggested getting down the second Murphy bed and inviting the dogs to sleep in the beds with us. Maybe that would make them feel better? Worked like a charm! Luke snuggled right up to Brad in the second bed and we all slept soundly. Luke’s favorite moment was when Brad put his arm around him in his sleep. That made Luke squirm around in dog euphoria: a rescue dog’s dream.

In the morning we did get the heck out of there. I was hoping the neighborhood would look better in the light, but no such luck. Our Super 8 rules were born as we drove towards the safety of Westfield.

Happy Valentine’s Day to us.

Anchor Bar, home of the buffalo wing

The wings were worth battling the crowd and the bartender.

Tables pushed aside, one of the beds still in the wall

Luke inspecting this strange discovery. No wonder he was disturbed that night!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Vermont, Part 2

I’m sure you’ve all been dying for more pictures of our Vermont vacation, right? You’re definitely in luck. Behind as always, but here are some more highlights of our great vacation last month.

Outside one of the huge antique malls near my parents’ place, Brad posed with a new friend.

People always ask if our dogs get along. Here they are being cozy in front of their first fire. The boys are even sharing a bed.

Luke and Cal really enjoyed watching some of the Westminster Dog Show.

For those of you who haven’t been to Vermont, it’s just like a postcard. Few chain stores. No billboards along the highway. And this is Montpellier, the capitol. Seriously.

We did a lot of cheese, syrup, coffee and ice cream tastings. The little family dairies are the best, but Cabot, which you can find in stores all over, is also great. And you can’t go wrong going to Ben and Jerry’s and Green Mountain Coffee. All in one day!

The dogs loved the sightseeing too, mostly because they get to ride along. Here we’re ready for another day.

All Brad wanted all week was a squeegee for the truck’s back window. Of course we found one at Dan and Whits General Store. (You have to go to a general store for most purchases in Vermont. There’s not even a Target in all of Vermont!) We knew Dan and Whits would have it. Their motto is, “If we don’t have it, you don’t need it.”

One of the highlights of any vacation to the Woodstock area is going to the Barnard Inn for dinner. Their onion rings are amazing. Believe it or not, Brad and I ate too much that evening.

Though it didn’t snow a ton while we were there, there was plenty left from the month before. The dogs had fun trying to climb the mountain in front of the house. There was no way to get in and out of the front door and even the windows were partly covered!

Another place where we love to go and look around is the famous Vermont Country Store. They have EVERYTHING. The candy selection alone is mind-boggling. And just to prove that they really do sell everything, I took a picture of one particular product.

I'll soon post a little bit about our trip home. It was priceless, and on Valentine's Day no less.