Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Very Merry Christmas

We have now returned from Tell City and had a wonderful Christmas holiday. Grace especially enjoyed time spent with Grandma and Pop, Uncle Matthew, Aunt Vanessa, Great Grandma, Great Grandpa, John, Trevor, Trent, Grandma Mary, Bob, the Hartz family (especially Mason!), and the LeClere family! We are very thankful for such wonderful family and friends. Here are some photos of the Christmas celebrations. There are lots...but I will post separate pictures of our afternoon with the Hartz family and our Tacky Black-Tie Fondue Night!

We hope everyone has a wonderful New Year's Eve and is able to ring in the new year with family and friends!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Grace's Gift for Santa

Merry Christmas Everyone! Here are some videos of Grace wrapping and then putting out her gift to Santa.

Wrapping the gift...

Putting out the Gift, Milk, and Cookies...

Tomorrow we'll post a video of her waking up.

Merry Christmas!!

We hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas holiday!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Welcome Jackson and Ellie!

Congratulations to the Nickoloff family!!! They were blessed late Friday evening (birthday of December 12) with the birth of their two beautiful twins...Jackson and Ellie. We visited with them today and all are doing well. Both of the babies are absolutely beautiful, and Sarah and Chris are on cloud 9!! We are so happy for their family and can't wait to share many memories with them in the future. Click here for a few photos of the twins, along with some from the weekend.

We also really enjoyed the rest of the weekend in Chicago. We did a lot of shopping and enjoyed a few nights on the town!! Thanks to Shane, Nicole, Mike, Steve and Becky for a wonderful weekend!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

New Beginnings!!!

It's been a while since we posted (our apologies...the holiday season seems to have been more hectic than usual!). However, we have exciting news to post today...we are on our way to Chicago to visit with the Nickoloff family! Sarah has been in labor since this morning, and we are hoping for the arrival of the babies this evening. We are so happy for Sarah and Chris and can't wait to meet their little bundles of joy!

Tomorrow Shane, Nicole and Mike will be joining us in Chicago for a fun weekend! We are going to do lots of shopping, eating and enjoying of the holiday season!

Gracie is spending the weekend with Papa Tuff, Grandma Alys, and Buddy. She was SO excited to see them, and will have so much fun! Grace has really been enjoying the holiday season, and especially liked her visit with Santa. She sat on his lap and told him just what she wanted for Christmas. It was too cute!

Another recent and favorite past time has been gymnastics. Grace LOVES it, and it has been a wonderful bonding experience for her and a little friend, Lily. The coach, "Mr. Andy" is fantastic are some additional pictures to enjoy of our little gymnast!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Our Little Princess!!

Gracie has just recently been interested in princesses and "girly" items. Boy though, now that it's here there is NO stopping her! She just loves dressing up now and playing Cinderella!! Here are a few photos in her dress up clothes...courtesy of Keegan! Very sassy, don't you think?!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Apple Day - Year 27!

This weekend we gathered for the 27th annual LeClere / Ewing Apple Day! It was by all accounts another huge success! Friday evening we (Scott, Micki and Gracie) shared a fun dinner with Grandma, Pop, Uncle Matthew, Joe and Leanne. We also enjoyed a few nightcaps in the hotel lobby...thanks to some VERY upscale wine glasses courtesy of Leanne :) Saturday morning we were up bright and early...the men all met at 7:00 a.m. to set up the tailgate. The rest of us joined them at 8:00 a.m. to continue the fun! Joe made his famous egg sandwiches, bloody mary's and sausage balls! Grace was ADDICTED to the sausage balls - I guess I'll have to get that recipe! We really enjoyed the rest of the involved lots of friends, family, corn hole, flippy cup, beer pong, food, beverage, and birthday celebration (happy 26th birthday Jenna)! Dad, Matthew and I headed into the game for the second half. It proved to be a lot of fun, and we watched the Hoosiers pull out a big win against # 22 Northwestern! After the football game we watched the Cream/Crimson scrimmage of the basketball team. It was fun to watch them practice and got everyone ready for basketball season!

After a few hours on Kirkwood, we headed to Bw3s to watch the Notre Dame / Washington, Penn State/Ohio State, and Alabama/Tennessee football games. We were all relieved to see the Irish pull out an impressive win, and Penn State prevail in the final minutes versus OSU!

We always enjoy Apple Day and every year are reminded of the wonderful tradition!! It has certainly changed from the days of picking apples, riding mechanical horses, and even picking pumpkins at Huber Winery. I'm anxious to see what the years ahead may bring...future spouses :), children, and who knows what adventures! Regardless, we're guaranteed that it will always result in fun!!! Here are lots of fun pictures from our weekend!

I also would be remissed if I didn't congratulate Matthew and Vanessa. This definitely deserves its own entry (which I will do), but wanted to send them a special congratulations on their engagement!! We are so excited to welcome Vanessa to the family and love her very much!! Congratulations you two!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fun at the Cabin!

We spent a great weekend at Kidders Cabin in Baldwin, Michigan. We started our adventure on Friday afternoon with Scott, Micki, Gracie, Sydney and Toby all piled in the truck. After an evening catching up with Tuff, Alys and Buddy, we retired for a wonderful night of sleep (I slept better than I have in MONTHS). Not sure if it was the new mattress, crisp fall air, or silence of the Michigan environment, but I awoke more rested than I have in a very long time! Saturday was filled with long walks around the lake, watching the dogs run and swim, walking through the woods, and observing the beautiful deer. We built a great campfire and played a serious game of scrabble! Gracie also shared her school toys with Papa Tuff and Grandma Alys. The kids take turns washing the toys over the weekend, and it was Gracie's turn this weekend! It was very cute! Sunday we went for a boat ride and explored the Pine River.

It was a wonderful weekend at the cabin, and we hope to go back again very soon! Below are some of my favorite weekend photos, and click here for many, MANY more photos. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Congratulations Sarah and Chris!

Last weekend we (Micki, Scott, Gracie, Clay and Barbara) traveled to Naperville, IL for a shower in anticipation of the births of the Nickoloff twins! It was so wonderful to visit with Sarah, Chris, and lots of our friends and families! Sarah looks amazing and it was so exciting to hear of the progress the babies are making, and to see and feel them move...independently yet so in sync with each other. We are incredibly happy for them and can't wait to meet little Baby Boy and Baby Girl Nickoloff!

It was great for Gracie to meet and see some of her friends as well...Keegan, Avery, Ethan and Libby! She hopes to see them again soon!

One quick and funny story about the babies...I asked Gracie the other day if her teacher, Ms. Cripe, had a baby insider her (she does). Gracie simply responded, "No Mommy...Cooper has babies inside her!"

Click here to view more pictures from the wonderful shower!

On a separate note, two of our close friends (Heather Glynn and Wendy Angst) are running the Chicago Marathon today. Good luck to both of you - we know you will do great!

Friday, September 26, 2008

New Home Update

The framing is moving along very quickly, both the first and second floors are almost complete. Here is a picture of the front as well as a picture from the inside looking from the family room to the stairway. Grace was acting up so I sent her to her room and the third picture is her crying in her new room.
We have been very busy making selections for the house. For a color scheme we have chosen a dark greenish siding with a cream colored trim.

For the front door, we selected this craftsman style wood door.

Inside we are going with white trim and this three paneled door.
To keep with the early 20th century craftsman style of the house, we are hoping to incorporate as many vintage features as possible. Here is a sample of the interior door handle we are considering.

Next up we will be working on the kitchen cabinets and hardwood flooring.
Here is a nice video that depicts the type of cabinets and features we are looking for.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Ryder Cup

This past weekend, we were fortunate enough to be at the final round of the 2008 Ryder Cup at Valhalla in Louisville, KY and to see the USA win the cup for the first time in nine years. Micki's Dad secured four tickets and took us along with Matthew. It was truly an awesome experience (thanks again Clay!) and unlike any other event in golf. As Matt put it... where else can you cheer with excitement when a European golfer misses an important put!? The crowd was very loud and rowdy!

The tickets were great and included access to the member's pavilion where we could cool off and grab a drink while continuing to watch on one of the many TVs. Unfortunately there are no cameras or cell phones allowed into the event so we have no pictures to share, but here are a few of the memorable moments and some pictures and videos I found...

  • Boo Weekly riding his driver like a horse - video
  • Kim not giving Garcia any gimmies
  • Sergio Garcia's walk of shame after sinking 2 balls in the water on number 7 - video
  • Local boy Kenny Perry's dad showed up to watch in overalls - Picture
  • Meeting Fuzzy Zoeller - What a great guy!
  • Fans of Boo dressed in all camo
  • Kim's diamond studded USA belt buckle - Picture
  • Kim's challenge of Garcia's unplayable lie..."Do what you've gotta do" - Picture
  • Micheal Jordan
  • The roar when Mahan sunk his 40 foot birdie put on number 17 (We were standing on the edge of the green) - Picture

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Home Construction Update

The framing of the house is now well under way. They have now completed framing the entire first floor and will begin on the second floor soon. It is great to see it taking shape and to actually be able to walk into the rooms we have until now only seen on paper. I was very concerned about the 11 inches of rain we received over the weekend (The most ever in South Bend), but the drainage tiles they installed around the basement swept all of the water away great and by Monday it wasn't even damp in the basement dispite not having a roof over the house.
We still have to finalize the exterior colors and then we move onto the interterior cabinet design.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Labor Day Weekend

Grace's Grandma and Pop came to visit over Labor Day Weekend and we all had a great time. Micki, Scott, Clay and Tuff went Kayaking down the Christiana Creek on Saturday while Barbara and Grace spent the day shopping. Then on Sunday, we spend the day in beautiful St. Joe Michigan enjoying the beach-side playground area. Grace got to meet a parrot for the first time... she didn't like it! Monday we took in the Marshall County Blueberry Festival where Micki met this hunky cowboy.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Pletcher Family Vacation

The 2008 Pletcher family vacation proved to be another fabulous trip to Kiawah Island. As always, it was great to spend time with family and to see Grace play with all of her cousins. The week was filled with fun times. We played at the beach, we played at the pool, we played sing star at night and even spent one day at a great water park in Charleston. Click on the images below for more pictures of this great week.

2008 Pletcher Family Vacation

Fun at the Beach

Fun at the Pool

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Home Construction Update

The plans for our home were finalized in late July and we officially broke ground in August. They started by clearing the trees and staking out the house. They then dug the basement (shown left) and have since poured the basement walls. Framing is scheduled to begin next week and we are in the process of picking out exterior finishes such as paint, windows, door, shingles, and brick/rock. It has been very time consuming, but we are really enjoying the process so far. Here are the final floor plans and more pictures of the progress.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

San Francisco - Shana and Scott's Wedding

With our good friends Shana and Scott getting married in San Francisco, we decided to take a couple of extra days off work and make a mini-vacation out of the trip. It turned out to be a fantastic weekend...

We spent the day Friday tasting wine in Sonoma. One of the Notre Dame Trustee's Stephanie Gallo surprised us with a fantastic private tour of the Gallo Fei Ranch Vineyard. The tour was amazing, we learned a lot about the wine making process and were evene allowed to theive wine right from barrel and taste it. After the tour, we enjoyed a fantastic gourmet lunch on the patio of winery's tasting room.

When we left Gallo, we found ourselves at Sbragia where the wine maker and the manager (who were huge ND fans) invited us down their cellar to taste right from the vat. As you will see in the pictures, the wine maker even hand blended us a glass of Zinfandel and Syrah. Click here for more pictures.

Saturday we spent the day touring San Fansisco before the wedding. We started with a morning with a boat trip to Alcatraz which was very interesting. Afterwards, we walked across the Golden Gate Bridge. To see the bridge in person is amazing. It was hard to see the entire bridge most days because of the fog, but this day was clear so we drove to the top of a mountain and got some amazing picutres. Click here for more pictures.

Saturday night was the main event... the wedding. The setting was amazing: in the middle of a park, on top of a mountain, the sun setting and the fog rolling in. Shana look amazing and Scott cleaned up pretty well as well.
It was a blast! The reception was held right in the park and filled with fun and dancing. Click here for more pictures.

We booked a late flight on Sunday so that we could squeeze in as much additional site seeing time as possible. Sunday morning, we headed out to the Muir Woods to hike and take in the views of the gigantic redwood trees with Heather, Bob, and Keegan. After quite a hike, we headed back to the city to take in a few more sites such as Lombard Street and Postcard Row (pictured here). Click here for more pictures.

It was a great trip! We packed a lot into three days, but we enjoyed every minute of it.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Wow! It's been a busy summer...

First, an apology is in order for the lack of posting throughout this summer. To say the least it has been a busy summer with a lot of major developments since our last post (Micki's birthday party)... Babies have been born; friends have been married; we sold our home; moved into a rental; travels have included Panama, San Francisco, and South Carolina; Grace has statred a new school; Micki has transitioned to a new job and we started building a new home just to mention a few.

Unfortunately, the blog we started to document life took a back seat to our life for the during this time. But never fear, if there is anyone out there is still checking our blog at this point, stay tuned because we plan to up date you in detail on all events from this past summer with a series of historical blogs.

Monday, May 19, 2008


What a great weekend...Scott planned a fabulous 30th birthday celebration for me Saturday evening. Tons (well, okay 40) of our family and friends gathered for a bus "tour" around the best and most sophisticated establishments in South Bend and Mishawaka. Actually, we visited some dive bars, but they proved to be tons of fun!

It was the best birthday celebration I have had thus far. Thank you so much Scott for organizing a fun night; and a special thanks to all of my friends and family that helped me celebrate!

Click here for pictures of the evening. Also check out the Ditty's blog for a great video from the bus!!!

Thanks again everyone!!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Congratulations Doctor Ditty!!!

We want to say a BIG CONGRATULATIONS to Shane...he found out over the weekend that he passed his oral boards.

Congratulations Shane - we knew you would do great!

Monday, May 12, 2008


I apologize for the lack of posts...between a Trustee meeting, Gracie's birthday and trip to Vegas, we have had a lot going on!!!! We are so excited though that our house sold last Wednesday! After only two weeks on the market, we are happy to report that we sold the home to a couple in their early 60s. They were looking for a ranch with a semi-private backyard, so it worked perfectly!!!

We officially close on June 5th, but because of my travel schedule we have to move out before then. So, we will be moving over Memorial Day weekend!

I just can't believe it...after 5 years in our first home together, we will now be moving out in less than two weeks. It seems crazy, but we also feel very fortunate to have sold the home so quickly!

Friday, April 25, 2008

On the way to Green Lake...boy have things changed!

We are currently en route to Green Lake for a weekend getaway with the Hunts, Glynns and Berndts! We are very excited to spend a relaxing weekend at the lake with great friends. The trip has been great so far, with me being able to catch up on some emails (thanks to Verizon's tethering capabilities) while Gracie took her nap.

Boy have things changed in a year though...Scott and I were just talking about how one year ago we were headed to Milwaukee for a little weekend getaway. Still at that age, Gracie slept most of the time and was pretty quiet when awake. This trip on the other hand, she has constantly been chatting since she woke from her nap. We have officially entered the "Are we there yet" stage. The worst part, I think this stage lasts for about 15 years! :)

Nevertheless, it's been a great drive so far and we are looking forward to the weekend. We'll be sure to post lots of pictures upon our return!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Anyone in the market?

It is now of yesterday morning our home is now on the market!! Please keep your fingers crossed, and say a few prayers!!

Check out our virtual tour, and spread the word if you know of anyone looking for a home...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Good Luck Dr. Ditty!

We'd like to wish Shane good luck on his oral boards. He takes them tomorrow in Florida. We know he will do GREAT, but please join us in wishing him the best!!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Grace to take classes at Notre Dame?

Our little Gracie is growing up sooo fast! Just this morning I was changing her diaper, and this evening... Well, this evening we got a letter notifying us that Grace has been accepted and is enrolled to take classes on Notre Dame's campus for the fall semester.

She is officially enrolled at Notre Dame's Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC) and will begin classes on August 25th.

We have been very pleased with our experiences and the staff at Friend's School and Daycare, but we feel the ECDC curriculum and staff will provide an even better learning experience for Gracie as she gets older (plus it is right down the road from our new house). The program is one of the best around and enrollment is limited (especially for 2 year olds) so needless to say, we couldn't be happier that she has been accepted.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Little Girl...Monster Ass

this is one of the funniest you tube videos I've seen! Check out the little girl and her attitude about monsters. I can totally picture Gracie saying this any day now!! :)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Preliminary Plans are in!

Our home building project just took a huge step towards becoming a reality! We just recieved the hand drawn preliminary plans from the architect, Len Mysliwiec. In addition to the elevation, Len has drawn two versions of the first and second floors, click here to check out the floor plans. We welcome any and all comments, please let us know which version of each floor you like best.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The real Smith home

Last week we posted a picture of the "Smith Mansion". Check out the real progress of Brad and Michele's new home at the following link:

Welcome to the blogging world...the house looks great!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Foot Faucet

As many of you know, Scott and I are in the process of building a new home. We have really only just begun and have met with the builder and architect once. Therefore, we are still developing our list of "must-haves" for the home (if you have any ideas...please pass them on!). The other day Alys mentioned that she wished someone would make a faucet for your home that had foot pedals (instead of reaching up with wet/grimy hands and getting the faucet all yucky!). Well, low and behold they do make such a's the Foot Faucet! It looks pretty cool - and you can even install one in your current home. Wow - what will they think of next!

We are leaning towards installing one in the new home, so we'll let you know how well they work (a year from now!)

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Mayor, First Stud and Hillary!

Mom and Dad attended a rally for Hillary last night in Evansville, IN. Check out the photos...they were right behind the stage!

Here is a link to the story:

Smith Mansion

Our good friends Brad, Michele, Olivia and Jackson Smith are in the process of building a new home. Brad likes to keep us updated on the progress and sent out a photo this week. Check it out...

While there is a lot to do on the inside, they recently finished the exterior. The Smith family is really excited because they've never had a home with this many levels and rooms.

I only hope our new home turns out this nice! :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Gracie and Max Sitting in a Tree

Gracie and Max have been boyfriend and girlfriend since their days in the nursery. While they have always been close, she decided today she would take things into her own hands. I think it's time we have a talk with her about being too aggressive with the boys!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Pudding and Pigtails!

Gracie spent the night with Papa Tuff and Grandma Alys Saturday evening. She had a great time, and particularly liked playing with Kessie and Brittney. We also realized two new things after her stay...she LOVES chocolate pudding and her hair will fit in pigtails! Geez...I never realized either of those!

Tuff also made stilts...which we tried out Sunday afternoon. They are much more difficult to operate than you would think, although Scott and I weren't that shabby!

Here are a few photos of Gracie's fun weekend!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Whew...what a week!

We hope everyone is having a great week...with the NCAA tournament just around the corner, how can you not?! Although it's been a hectic week at work, I've also been fortunate enough to enjoy a few girls nights out, and a family night with Scott and Gracie today! I went to see "Definitely, Maybe" last night with Patty, Caroline, Ann and Clair. it was really cute - the perfect carefree movie you need mid-week.

Tonight Gracie, Scott and I enjoyed a dinner at Hacienda followed by a trip to Barnes and Noble. A funny thing happened as we were perusing the children's area. We kept picking up various stuffed animals and asked Gracie if she knew what / who they were. She got the usuals correct...Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Dora, Big Bird, Elmo, monkeys. We were shocked though when Scott held up a strange looking thing and said "Alpaca". Grace quickly responded with perfect enunciation..."Alpaca" I'm not sure how she did it...the girls can's say Scott or Grandma or Water correctly, but she sure can pronounce Alpaca!!!

We had a great visit with the Barrons last weekend, celebrating Libby's 1st birthday. Although I forgot my camera (again!), Alison got some great shots of the big celebration. Click here to see the birthday girl! Happy Birthday Libby!!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

I love my two Grandpa Kidders!!!

We had a great family outing at Missy and Brian's house the other night. Gracie spent the entire evening running around with Lauren and Drew. She also enjoyed spending time with Papa Tuff and Great Grandpa Bud! These are two of my favorite pictures...playing basketball with Great Grandpa Bud and then all tuckered out with Papa Tuff. Too cute!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Weekend Fun!

We had a great weekend in was the second annual Kidder/Mauck/Elsesser reunion! Scott, Gracie and I drove down early Saturday morning and met Mom and Dad in Broadripple. After a long lunch catching up, we hit a few shops and then parted ways. Mom and Dad took Gracie for the evening and Scott and I headed downtown to meet Sarah, Geoff, Elizabeth and James. We had a great time enjoying the company as well as a few local establishments :) It's always fun to catch up and reminisce about old times!

Yesterday we met Mom and Dad at Barnes & Noble for a while, and then headed back home. Scott and I were EXHAUSTED last night...although we did manage to stay up for two great new shows. Oprah's Big Give was great, as was the Newlywed reality show!

I didn't get many photos in Indianapolis as I forgot my camera in the car. Elizabeth and Sarah got a few though so I'll hopefully post those soon. We did snap a quick photo of the new Colts stadium on our way out of town. It is HUGE and dwarfs the RCA dome. The picture to the left shows the progress made thus far.

I also realized last night that we have lots of winter pictures that I never posted. They are posted at the following link...enjoy!

Well, happy Monday! We hope everyone had a great weekend and wish you a great start to the week!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Fun New Website

It's amazing how much my love for shopping has diminished. Of course I still enjoy a quick trip to White House Black Market, but I'd rather play with Gracie outside these days than spend a whole day at the mall. As a result, I've turned to any on-line opportunity I can find and my searching led me to a fun new website for handbags and shoes. The site is and it was started by They carry name brand shoes for women, men, and kids! It's fabulous!!! Check it out when you have a moment...and happy shopping!