Monday, July 20, 2009


I guess my kids experience the lazy days of summer, like I did when I was a kid, but these summer days feel anything but lazy now that I'm grown up. Don't get me wrong - they're a lot of FUN, but lazy doesn't jump to mind to describe them.

I'm glad I haven't signed them up for a bunch of classes and I'm thrilled my parents have generously agreed to watch them while I work three days a week all summer long. I guess if we were all home together every day we'd be getting on each other's nerves and bored, looking for stuff to do, but the routine never stays the same two days in a row so it goes by fast and fun.

The weather hasn't been warm enough to do a lot of swimming, but we're still glad to have the pool for the days we get close to hot and we're so grateful not to be running the A/C all the time!

I've been trying to establish some sort of schedule for reading, writing and just a few school type activities so our brains don't turn to mush during the break (although there's no real chance of that for Caitlin). I don't try very hard. I think Ryan has written three times in five weeks. Maggie has read a little more often, but usually I end up reading more to her.

I can't believe the summer is more than half gone and true to retail fashion all the back-to-school supplies are donning the shelves five weeks early - quick, get your 17 cent crayons!! It's sad when so many people haven't even gone on vacation yet!

We're headed up to the Dells the day after tomorrow for a Water Park extravaganza with Dan's whole family.

Lazy? No. Summer fun? You bet!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


So we're back from our vacation and already missing the place! Those of you sick of hearing about Camp Arcadia and how wonderful it is can stop reading now.

The only downside was poor Caitlin took a fall our second night there (I guess we shouldn't have let her ride that scooter down the gravel hill in the dark by herself...) So after we cleared the "road rash" from her knees and summoned Uncle Jim to do his best Principal/former PE teacher/Father of Four/First Aid Certified exam on her and conclude no broken bones, we iced her up good, gave her some motrin and put her to bed.

The next morning the swelling was way down, but she couldn't straighten or entirely bend her elbows. At breakfast we were relaying the story to our friends the Farleys at the table next to us and were thankfully overheard by the table behind us who pointed to a man kitty-korner and said "he's a doctor and he brought his bag". Not only was he an MD, he also had a PhD in philosopshy, so he was a Dr. doctor.

First thing he asked was how much medicine we gave her. I said 2 & 1/2 tsps and he looks Cait up and down, raises his eyebrows and repeats "Teaspoons?" I reply, "uhhh...yeah." Then he asks "Can she swallow pills?" I reply, "uhhh...yeah." He's a pretty gracious guy, but I could hear the "Duh!" in his head while he's looking at me and we agree to give her the adult dose (since she's the size of one) and then some right away. He concurs, no broken bones, and encourages more ice and we thank God we don't have to drive to the rinky-dink two bed "medical facility" in Frankfort for a cast (that was Ryan a few years ago) at the beginning of the trip. Unfortunately it kept her out of lots of limb-bending sports, i.e archery, pool (as in billiards), teatherball, ping-pong, etc. etc. but she was a good sport about it. Pun intended.

The beach disappeared some more as its prone to do, and the water was freezing all but one day, but it was still sunny and wonderful to just park on a low chair, read, talk and get some rays. My cousins Mary Ann & Bob were there, they have 11 kids age 27-5 - no joke -and all but one of them were there, plus a husband, two girlfriends and a new puppy, so it was fun to catch up and hang out with them. Bob (aka 'the saint') took a half dozen kids (only two were his) and walked them up the beach two miles ONE WAY to the north bluff - then climbed up the bluff TWICE with all of them and walked them all back while carrying a 10 pound boulder on his shoulder that one of them HAD to HAVE because it was so special (it looked like a gray rock to me). I met him to help walk them all back (most were 10 or under) and forgot how far it was in the 25 years since I'd last made the journey! Maybe that's the secret to staying fit. A dozen or so kids and five mile hikes in sand and water.

Ryan ate, slept, and breathed all things tournaments during the week - he played every sport there at least once I think and hung out with his buddy Kyle (also a 10 year old twin). There was one day I seriously think I only saw him at meals and bedtime.

Maggie spent about 1/3 of the week on a new merry-go-round at the park on the beach. Yes, that's right, you read "new" and "merry-go-round" in the same sentence. She hung out with her friends/cousins Angie, Meghan, Gretchen, Janine, Melainey and Kyle's twin Katie. She caught a beetle for the critter race early in the week, but alas the poor creature never made it to Friday. She had a blast ditching us for a cooler family in church (Paquettes) and during family game night.

We enjoyed getting to see some friends we hadn't seen in a looonnnggg while (that's you Jeff Moore) and many from home we always wish we could spend more time with (Steff, Jim, Beth) plus got some time to ourselves.

I actually played volleyball a couple of times (or tried to) and Dan played softball and golf. He did NOT go up in John Jass' flying lawn chair this year, much to my relief. We each had a couple of fun night's out (game night in the Trading Post, fire on the deck at McKenna's, wine on the pier with Beth) and nights in playing cards with the Ulbrichs. When a sleeping Jaden fell off the top of the couch onto a sleeping Ryan on the bottom of the couch, we determined it was time to go home. We also got a day in Traverse City at our favorite winery, Left Foot Charley where Bryan was good enough to take the young uns on a tour while I ate cheese and bread and sampled the cider.

The lectures were good with John Nunes at the helm and a panel of interesting people engaging everyone in (I greatly restrained myself and only chimed in three times all week!) The kids had a blast with the program staff leading them in a VBS type morning program and there were a TON of kids their ages there.

Our first night was 4th of July and we all did sparklers on the patio with strangers under a star-filled sky lit up like a lite bright. The mantra all night was "KEEP ONE LIT!" Since we collectively had one lighter that took 30 minutes to light the first one.

I have to admit, I think the thing I may have enjoyed most from a strictly vacation perspective was the meals. God bless Kurt. He's the chef and yes, it's chef, not cook - he's that good. There was something wholly wonderful about entering the dining room at the same time three times a day all week long, sitting down and being served a meal, I didn't shop for, think about, prepare or have to clean up! And they were all FABULOUS! I think I gained another five pounds. So this time, I'm seriously going to start the diet again. Really. I am.

I could go on and on (as most of you well know) but I think I'll save some for another night and actually try to post more than once a week now.

I have the song "Till We Meet Again" in my head and I know if Tammy's reading this she's crying now.

Friday, July 3, 2009


We are headed to our own little paradise on earth in the morning...yes trivia fans, that would be Arcadia, Michigan!! We are looking so forward to some rest, relaxation, renewal, refreshment, rejuvenation and really yummy food! How's that for alliteration?

Seriously though, this place fits the bill. No cell phones, no laptops, no T.V.'s, no Wii, no Facebook, no Twitter, (not that I have the last two at home) - just sports, sun, books, beach, food, fun, and friends! It really is a little piece of heaven to us.

It's been awhile since we spent the 4th of July up there so we're looking forward to that. It's my favorite holiday. Not only because it's in the summer and often involves parades, BBQ's, friends and family (all of which I LOVE), but because it represents freedom.

By the grace of God, Dan was never deployed during his 22 years in the Army National Guard, but we did spend a fair bit of time with folks who had been and they are an amazing group of people. I am so deeply grateful to those who have so sacrificially served (and those who continue to serve) to protect this country's freedoms. I get chills every time I hear the National Anthem at a ball game and every time I see the American Flag blowing high atop a pole in the wind. I get teary-eyed when I see the WWII veterans march in a parade. There are so few of them left now it makes me even more emotional. I guess it is their sacrifice that is so deeply moving. That so many of us enjoy so much because they gave so fully.

The other freedom I celebrate is the freedom I have from sin because of Christ's ultimate sacrifice on the cross for me. I don't always live in the light of that freedom, but I am convinced I have it. And for that I am eternally grateful.

Happy Fourth of July!!