Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Heh, heh, heh............camping

2. Pinching myself and scratching my head at the fact that it appears we have picked a marvelous weekend to go camping. This is usually not the case. We have the notoriusly bad luck of always picking the coldest, rainiest ( and in one case, snowy) camping days. Of course, maybe I should wait until after it actually happens to gloat. There might be an unexpected downpour, tornado or freak ice storm. ;)

This is what I wrote on Friday. We left for camping on Saturday in the midst of a torrential downpour. This after it had been balmy and lovely all morning. And it was balmy and lovely the minute we returned home.
We got a few good hours in before yet another torrential downpour came upon us. The kids actually played on the beach and dipped their feet in the frozen ice cube, er, Lake Huron. "It's raining" I mused to myself "But at least it is warm". I really shouldn't muse. We went for dinner at a local Coney Island after it became apparent the rain was not going to stop and our dinner grilling plans were not going to happen. Upon leaving the restaurant we realized that the *warmth* had left as well.

Soooo- the tally.

Unexpected downpour check

tornado ( well, if not a tornado, at least something akin to a tornado, since we happened upon dozens of felled trees as we entered the park) check

freak ice storm ( maybe not, but Naomi and I could've sworn we saw some snow flakes mixed in with the rain as we were heading to the bathroom for the nightly clean up. half a check. ;)

All in all, we had a grand time!

Kids playing in the sand at the beach. check
Exploring the woods. check
Cooking & enjoying a delicious breakfast outdoors even though it was freezing (that's what coats are for? right?) check!

Friday, April 24, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. What did people do before the advent of allergy medicine? Strange, I never dealt much with allergies until the past couple years. Mostly now just spring/fall. Wednesday I was going through a box of kleenx an hour with my runny nose and eye until Tim said "Why don't you try some Claritin?" Which I did, without much noticeable improvement. On a whim the next morning I checked the expiration date. March 2006. It pays to clean out your medicine cabinet every now and then. Some fresh drugs and I am feeling like a million bucks.

2. Pinching myself and scratching my head at the fact that it appears we have picked a marvelous weekend to go camping. This is usually not the case. We have the notoriusly bad luck of always picking the coldest, rainiest ( and in one case, snowy) camping days. Of course, maybe I should wait until after it actually happens to gloat. There might be an unexpected downpour, tornado or freak ice storm. ;)

3. Woo-hoo, Sissy! Summit Varsity Girl's Soccer is undefeated thus far. Yesterday it was 8-0 and the ref called a mercy ( which means they were so far ahead, they might as well call it a day :)

4. I have shied away from getting a family membership to Greenfield Village/HFM the past few years because I knew it wasn't overly interesting to the under 6 set. ( Well, not enough to go more than perhaps once a year). When I found the deal with the unlimted rides I just couldn't pass it up. Well, I am glad I got that pass. I can see we have to go in little snippets. Naomi and George went off by themselves and were pretty much done with the park by 1 PM, while the littles and I had just visited the farm and rode the train. ;0)
After lunch we decided to try the carousel. Of course, since it was a nice day and spring break, everyone had the same idea of visiting the Village and it was pretty packed. We stood in line for about 10 minutes when Jed decided to step out and run over to the stroller to get a snack. Gabriella followed suit. That left Manny and I and there was no way I could leave him there alone to go chase Eller. It was at that point I decided to call it a day and try again some other time. Not. Very. Happily. I might add ( sorry, kids. :)

5. I really should keep a hard copy ( to give credit to my theory) that everytime I excitedly think to myself "No one has been to the dr. in x number of months !" someone goes to the dr within the next week or two.

6. The girl had two potty training successes yesterday. Pretty much on her own. She likes to do everything herself and she likes to do what everyone else is doing. I think I have that in my favor as far as potty training. Let's hope!

7. I stumbled upon the most charming film at the library this week. "A Sunday in the Country" by Bertrand Tavernier . Set in the french countryside before World War 1, it follows a Sunday afternoon gathering of a French family. Gorgeous. ( delicate and graceful...to quote one reviewer. Yes, that hits the nail on the head.)
My favorite quote from the film ""Will you stop asking so much of life, Irene?" Just like the film. Simple. Profound.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Daybook, April 20th Happy Birthday Zak!

Outside my window: bright sunshine, but there was just a downpour. :)

I am thinking.........about camping this weekend. The predicted temps are 76! Who-hoo.

I am thankful for. . ..my little Zak. 20 years old. For Mom and Dad and Nan having him over to celebrate. It won't be long until he his home :).

From the schoolroom. . ....we had a good day yesterday getting back to the books. Yay. I wrote out a loose schedule ( AGAIN!) but was able to keep to it.

From the kitchen ....sweet and sour chicken from the Eating Well website. I liked it but Tim thought the sauce was too vinegar-y.

I am wearing . . gray sweatpants, black hooded sweater and blue t-shirt.

I am creating . . ..a little household notebook.

I am reading and watching . . , Marie Therese, Bombay Anna

Watched: The White Countess with Ralph Fiennes and Natasha Richardson . This was an Ivory and Merchant film. Many parts visually beautiful but it just couldn't seem to get going.

I am hearing . . .silence. George and Jackson let the little play with their legos. :)

Around the house. . ...laundry room cleaned. Attic closet in my room ( well, a path was cleared). Basement, half done. I am bound and determined to stick to my new housecleaning schedule. Of course I think I am finally succumbing to the crud that has been going around here, so I am without the verve to tackle anything today.

One of my favorite things. ...rain beating upon the roof and windows while you are snuggled in bed. So cozy.

What will we do this week. ....thankfully Naomi's soccer game is indoors this afternoon as there is supposed to be snow mixed with rain. Dyl has a pro-life conference on Saturday. Taking Al out to lunch to celebrate his promotion Wed. (yay-Al!) Other than the usual....preparing for a camping trip Saturday!

Here’s a picture I am sharing. .

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Daybook, Easter week 2009

Outside my window: rainy and chilly..

I am thinking..........I cannot expect to pack a month's worth of spring cleaning into a week. ;)

I am thankful for. . ..a new, bright red & white, IKEA duvet cover and pillow cases and a coral jacket from the thrift on Saturday. I'll admit, I was being a fickle woman on Saturday. I couldn't find anything to wear for Easter. Not that I don't have a closet full of clothes ( but I am working on that), but nothing springy-that-you-could-wear-even-if-it's-cold. ( which was the case for Easter here). I had a short sleeve dress that would fit the bill if I could just find a sweater or jacket to go over it. Well, I took a walk up to thrift to clear my head and found one on the first go through. And the duvet cover. $4.95 each. Score!

From the schoolroom. . ....I'm so happy we have a break this week. Although I do feel bad that the kids are mostly too sick to enjoy it. Hopefully we'll get out and about in a couple days.

From the kitchen .....yesterday we had bbq chicken sandwiches, devilled eggs and fruit salad. It was nice and light after our big Easter meal.

I am wearing . . khaki skirt, white, beige, & yellow flowered blouse.

I am creating . . ..Generally, I am just being a nursemaid and trying not to get sick myself. ;0)

I am reading and watching . . , Marie Therese, Bombay Anna

I was interested in Marie Therese when I saw it on the shelf at the library. She is the daughter of Marie Antoinette and most people know what happened to the King and Queen of France during the reign of terror, but what about their children? I thought I remembered that her son (the Dauphin) had died in prison, but didn't know what happened to her. A very interesting book with lots of insight about this period of history. Which is why I think I have my nerdly fascination with the biographies of Kings and Queens ( among others :). It's a great way to understand history since, by and large, there always seems to be copious amounts of information on their lives and what was going on the world during their lives ( of course, they were famous! ;) It's much more entertaining reading about other people's lives than just dry historical facts. ;)

I watched: If I watched anything I can't remember. LOL! Naomi and I have run out of fresh ideas.

I am hearing . . .cough, cough, cough, cough, cough, cough, cough, cough, cough,

Around the house. . .I cleaned one kitchen cabinet out today. That's why I cannot expect a month's worth of spring cleaning to be packed into a week off of school. ;)

One of my favorite things. ...cadbury caramel eggs

What will we do this week. . .Naomi had a game yesterday that they tied. ( I didn't go, too many sick ones to care for). She has some practices this week but I think it's time for her to sit those out and really get well. I'm hoping we can either go to the zoo or try out our new Greenfield Village pass. ;) Noah had a podiatrist appointment today and we snagged a little Sonic afterward. ;) (Lent's over, right?)

Here’s a picture I am sharing. .

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter 2009

I can't be too effusive about Easter this year. Well, I can be effusive about Easter in general, because there is lots to be effusive about. Our celebration of it, was, well, a little lackluster due to illness.
But, that isn't the main point of it all, is it?
The table was bright and cheery, at least. ;) We had roast lamb, beef tenderloin, sauteed fingerling potatoes with caramelized onions, rolls, layer salad, and sauteed asparagus w/ garlic. Fried ice cream for dessert.
We made these on Good Friday.

Noah will never get over that I got him beef jerky from the Dollar Store
Manny probably won't be too happy with me some day for posting this picture. We all got a chuckle out of it.
And, despite Jed's appearance I just had to publicly document what a naughty marker boy he is. Marker dots all over his shirt and on his forehead. Didn't I say I was going to ban them from the house? It's terrible having selective memory when you find them on clearance at Walgreen's.
I so wish we had only taken a picture of Sissy with her pretty Easter dress on. I look like the wrath of God.
With good reason. Manny got up at 4 am crouping away. We made a couple trips to the bathroom and ran the shower for steam and finally he calmed down. I had had an on and off headache for the past three days ( not one that knocked me out, but just hung around and made things unpleasant). I had 4 children with coughs and 2 that appear tohave bronchitis. Poor Naomi has laryngitis. Ella was feverish ( and later threw up just as we were sitting down to eat:) We were the only two church-goers Easter morning. The big boys went to the Vigil.
There, I got all my complaining out.
Thank goodness for half off cadbury mini eggs. ;)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

Yesterday was my parents 45th Anniversary. Oops, I am late. :)
That's a long time. It's almost 50 years! Usually the image that comes to mind of couples celebrating long years together is one of a round, beaming woman with a fluffy, cotton ball of white hair and her hunched over husband standing next to her, both with corsages and boutineers that seem to over power their frailty. Proudly I boast that my parents look like they could be on the cover of an aerobics dvd. ;)
But, more importantly, their marriage is one to celebrate. It's not that they have just been married *that long*, it is that even though they have been married *that long* they still enjoy each other and being married to each other. My mom refers to my father as her "best friend". And my dad treats her like a queen and is so protective of her. They have their own interests and pursuits, but, by and large, they do everything together.

Of course, that marriage produced 4 children. And parenting children is a large part of any marriage if you are so blessed. One thing I have thought about recently is how thankful I am that my parents *tried*. I hope that doesn't sound demeaning. It is the effort they made that means the most to me nowdays. Probably because I know how easy is is to go off and do what you want to do, or say you are tired ( you are!) or veg out in front of the tv instead of *trying*.

I know now that I am older that it is the *little* things, done consistently, that are often the greatest sacrifices. My dad would play baseball out in the yard with us after working all day, take us fishing, help us with our homework ( whether we wanted it or not :) read us bedtime stories. My mom was up with us every morning, getting us off to school. She laid our vitamins next to our cereal bowls. She said "I love you" every single night before we went to bed. She had dinner ready everyday at 5:00. She was very careful we didn't eat too many sweets and about what we watched on tv and listened to. ( yeah, that was pretty annoying at the time, dang, I REALLY wanted that "Frampton Comes Alive" album :) Collectively, they were both hardworkers and required that we were too ( no easy task, now I know, and wish I hadn't given them so much guff! ;) I almost can't remember a vacation we took where we didn't go to a museum or some historical point of interest. They constantly had our best interests at heart. I see that now. I appreciate that now. There is a lot of bad press these days about the suburban, middle class life....but my parents worked hard to see that we had a stable childhood. Middle class and suburban, nonetheless. It was good.

So, I send them the very happiest of anniversary wishes. And I thank God for who they are and what they are, and that He grants them many, many more years of marital bliss.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Gabriella; "Moooooooooommmmmmm, Jasson called me a baby!!!"

um----you are?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Daybook, April 5, 2009

Noah, proud Value Center employee in his new work duds
Some people eat a meal with coffee and a newspaper, George and Jackson, Calvin and Hobbes. ( Although Jackson was actually reading a pirate book this morning)
Manny with his favorite book "The Story About Ping"
Jackson was not too happy about me taking his picture.
A fuzzy view of my newly organized crafty stuff. Gotta love those cheap IKEA bins. ;)
George puts the dishes away for us. No small job. Why are all my pictures blurry???????????

Outside my window: bright and sunny now, but I see Spring has ignored my pleas for mercy. They are predicting 6-10 inches of snow for tomorrow.

I am thinking..........I'm way too grumpy today.

I am thankful for. . ..my new shop vac.

From the schoolroom. . ....organized school stuff on Saturday. That always makes for a smoother school week ( I hope :) We are going to make these: Popsicle Stick Easter Cross Craft,http://www.earlychildhoodfun.com/bible-craft-for-easter/ and I even got up early today and sewed the purple swags.

From the kitchen . ...the last of the frozen turkeys from sales at Thanksgiving. I'm trying "flautas" tomorrow.

I am wearing . . burgundy sweater and black knit pants. Silver hoops.

I am creating . . finished a curtain for my sewing room and have plans to work on a cover for a torn down blanket later.

I am reading and watching . . , Marie Therese, Bombay Anna

I watched:

Wuthering Heights.

Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche. I like Mr. Fiennes as Heathcliff ( although the hair was disturbing at times). Miss Binoche as Kathy, I'm not so sure. She is lovely and charming, but doesn't quite strike me as *Kathy*. Overall pretty good.

Somehow the hair reminded me of the 90's and suprise! That's when it was made. :) I guess they missed the memo that authentic is better.....I think filmmakers are doing better at that currently.

Naomi and I tried to watch a newer BBC/Masterpiece Theatre rendition of "Great Expectations", but our small window of opportunity for concentration in peace and quiet was abruptly cut short because of Lego Battles.

Saw the last part of this. I think it is a very good version, although Estella, as played by Justine Waddell ( who was adorable in "Wives and Daughters") doesn't work so well. She is just too sweet. ( I really should have been a casting director for all my complaints.....LOL!)

I am hearing . . .the basketball hitting the pavement out in the backyard. Dishes being rattled in the kitchen. Red Wing game on tv.

Around the house. . .more spring cleaning. I was inspired by my new power tool. Although after barreling through the whole first floor with it, a couple hours later I walked down to see that *someone* had found a snack size bag of popcorn and somehow got it EVERYWHERE. Living room, dining room, up the stairs. How? Did they dance around, whirling the bag with them? Dump it on the floor and blow a fan at it?

What's the use, I ask? ;)

Thankfully, I had a full crew Saturday morning, so there was lots of help. Maybe we'll have a clean house for Easter.

One of my favorite things. ... the smell and colors of hyacinths.

What will we do this week. . .Naomi was supposed to have a game tomorrow, but I have a sneaky feeling it will be canceled. Holy Thursday mass. Good Friday....and then the big day! Easter.

Here’s a picture I am sharing. .a morning photo essay. Since George and Jackson get so little press here, I thought I would try to follow them about their day. I only got morning. We'll keep trying.
And yes, I know I should not give up my day job to become a photographer. ;)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Love is........

a husband who buys you a 14 gallon Shop Vac.
If we burn this one out in a couple months there really is NO hope. ;)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Quick Takes Friday

1. Under the *what I am thankful for* file:

Tim got the tires rotated on the van this week. I was driving Naomi to soccer practice yesterday and a gentleman drove up next to me with his window down and motioned for me to roll mine down. I thought he was going to ask for directions, as that seems to happen to me a lot. :) But instead he told me my right front tire was "pretty low". I smiled and thanked him, but I have to admit, I had the thought running through my head " Hmmpf--men- they're always so anal about things like that." The van seemed to be rolling along just fine (although I am notoriously green about how cars should run:). I called Tim and he said to pull over at a gas station and check it out.
Ack! The tire was nearly flat!
How very kind of that dear man. :) I had to drive a pretty good distance and of course, Naomi would have had a heart attack if she was late to her beloved practice because we had to pull over and change a *totally* flat or damaged tire.
Tim's theory is that he has often gotten a flat tire after getting the tires rotated but he is not sure why. :)

2. Under the "what on earth was I thinking file?"

Yesterday I went up and got some Easter stuff down from the attic. I was a little puzzled because one of the boxes had ample evidence of mice infestation. It surprised me because I have never had that happen when getting anything out of the attic. (the garage, yes!). Upon further investigation, I found that there was a bag of jelly beans, and a bag of malted milk chocolate eggs in it.
Well. I am trying very hard to figure out what my thought process was last Easter. Did I REALLY intend to save those for the kid's easter baskets this year? I'll be the first to admit I come up with some wacky ideas , but that one really left me scratching my head. I can only hope that because I found some other, non food-type things in there that I had bought at after Easter sales that this was just an oversight. ie: I had left them in the bags with the other non perishables I had bought by accident.
I'm hoping.

3. Under the "It pays to be aware of what date it is" file

Yesterday I got a call from my beloved Joe College. Not to chit chat, or catch up, but so he could play a "April's Fool" joke on me and he really had me going for about 10 minutes. In fact, HE had to tell me "April Fool's!" ( I never figured it out).
I guess he knows that I rarely pay attention to what the date is. I remember even saying to Noah and Naomi earlier in the day that in the morning I thought it was Thursday and in the afternoon, I thought it was Tuesday ( so much so that I made a special trip to Mc Donald's to get Jed a *Tuesday special* Happy Meal for lunch while we were out and about! :) It was Wednesday. April 1st.

4. Under the "I wonder" file.

I would like to do an experiment where you clear out your schedule for a day ( or maybe a week) and take some kids to the park and see how long THEY would like to stay before THEY want to go home. :) It never seems like we are there for long enough, no matter how long we stay ( admittedly it's probably never been more than a couple hours :) and there are ALWAYS complaints.
It would be interesting. For sure.

5. Under the "what inspired me this week" file:

"Broken by Parenting" by the ever wise and witty Barbara Curtis.
She is mostly talking about courtship and dating in this article, but her phrase "broken by parenting" resounded with me. You have a lot of big ideas ( and for the record, I think there are definitely some non-negotiables in parenting) when you start out. Often they seem to work just fine until your kids get old enough to start thinking for themselves.
Then you find your best laid plans don't always mesh with their free will. LOL!
I don't think that the teen years are horrible. I don't shirk from them. Overall, it has been a joy to see the kids reach that age and start to form their own thoughts on things. I enjoy their company and think they are great people to know, but it does require a certain departure from *holding onto to your ideas of what is best for them with the tenacity of a bulldog" if you want to remain sane.


6. Under the "I can't help myself from complaining about the weather" file:

Spring, we must have a chat. I woke up on Monday morning to a windshield covered with a thick layer of ice and a dusting of snow on the ground. Now, I know it is foolish to think that once *Spring* shows up on the calendar we aren't going to have anymore cold or snowy weather here in Michigan, but come on! We had a long, hard winter, couldn't we get at least a little bit of a break from you? ;)

7. Under the "Way to go, Dyl" file:

He made the ALL STAR team for his basketball league.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Good Morning

Hot Chocolate has been our morning drink of choice this winter. It's cheap, it's hot, it's fairly easy to keep large quanitites of around ( juice gets guzzled indiscriminately by the folks residing here). What will we come up with for a summer breakfast beverage?
aAnd Manny's endearing statement of the morning:

I put Jax and George's old desk in their room and asked Man "What do you think of your new desk?"

"Sure" he said "I like it"
"I have a new room because of you, mom. I love you. I love you, mom!"
At least someone appreciates my constant room re-arrangements ;) even if he is only 4.


Jed found this little kit at the thrift store. I didn't have high hopes for it, although I do like to encourage his love for builing things ( conversely, Manny loves to take apart things :)
We were all amazed he put it together all by himself, without any instructions ( there were none).
He's pretty proud of himself. ;)

Streams of consciousness from a mother of 10 who usually can't collect her thoughts and finds commas a nuisance.