Sunday, September 30, 2007

Weekly Top Five 9/30/2007

Top Five Favorite Beatles Songs

1. Here Comes the Sun from Abbey Road: Always makes me think of my mom

2. I Will from The White Album: I love to sing this as a lullaby

3. Blackbird from The White Album: Christopher and I share a love of this favorite.

4. Julia from The White Album: Almost named Emily "Julia" because of this song.

5. You've Got To Hide Your Love Away from Help!: Great song from great movie.

Actually, this was a very hard list to compose. I love all Beatles songs equally. These I love 100%. All the others, I love 99.9%.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Bend it like...Vos?

Congrats to the Plymouth Lightning Bolts who shot their way to a 4-1 victory over the Plymouth Blue Team! Calvin had a great game full of assists and good shots. He loves soccer and works really hard. Last week, he took a ball to the face. After a brief break, he kept on playing. That's how dedicated he is...he'll take a ball to the melon for his team! Way to go on your great game today, Calvin!

Saturday Afternoon Lights

Today was Christopher's first football game with the Plymouth Canton Steelers. He plays offensive tackle and defensive end. Basically, his job is to block and to bring down the person with the ball. He is great at it! He had many great plays and more than once we heard this over the loudspeaker, "Tackle by #59, Vos the Boss." It was awesome! Today's game was homecoming for the players so we had to make a poster for him. There was a brief ceremony before the game for players and their parents. It was such a great experience. I am so proud of Christopher and how hard he has worked. He has really given this his all. He has incredible dedication and determination. I hope he approaches everything in life like this. Proud to have such a great son!

If you watch the video, remember to look for #59, that's Christopher. Also, sorry it is so grainy and jumpy. I'm an amateur. You can tell when I am jumping and cheering, because the picture starts to jump. Also, 10 points to anyone who knows what movie scene this song is from. ('s one of the "hottest.")

Poster we made for Christopher. Thanks to Anna it looks so awesome!!

Steelers Banner

CV running out with Dad

CV with Dad

CV with Mom

Thursday, September 27, 2007

That girl shore is a runnin' fool!

I made this video of Emily running in her first cross country meet today. Emily did a super job of finishing her race. I was so proud of her. She comes from a long line of slow, sedentary people so to have her running is incredible to me. Run for fun?! Who runs for fun? Way to go, Em! So proud of you!

Here she comes!

There she goes!

Thankful Thursday 9/27/2007

1. Rainy Days

2. Plymouth Library

3. Crocs

4. Horatio Caine

5. Granola

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Onion

Google Launches 'The Google' For Older Adults

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA—The popular search engine Google announced plans Friday to launch a new site,, to appeal to older adults not...

I came across this article on I thought it was hilarious given the many experiences I have had and heard of others having trying to help the elder generation use computers and the internet. Check it out!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Twelve Years Ago...

Almost 12 years ago, I was thrown a baby shower for my first child. Hosted by my Aunt Tina, I remember it as being a wonderful event. But, the best part of the shower was that I got to sit by my dear sister for the whole thing. She gave Emily the most adorable dress. I remember feeling so overcome with emotion as I opened it. Here was my sister that I loved as a daughter, giving my daughter-to-be a gift. It was a perfect white dress with pink satin roses on it and Emily wore it on her first Sunday to church.

In a few weeks, I am throwing a baby shower for Anna and her baby daughter. I couldn't be more thrilled for her. I know that she is going to be such a wonderful mother. I am excited to share with her the indescribable emotions that come with being a mother for the first time. It has taken Anna and I years to get to where we see each other as equals and her becoming a mother feels like the final layer will be unwrapped and there we will be. Sisters, wives, mothers, friends forever.

Giant Forks and Spanking Machines

This weekend we went over to our friends', the Heiners. It was Jamison's 8th birthday and Jodi made this great cream puff-chocolate mousse-strawberry dessert. She is the best dessert maker ever. The kids played and had a great time, as usual. We talked and laughed and played until the wee hours of the morning. Sometimes I think we should build one giant house and all live in it together, that's how well everyone gets along.

Some kind of strange spanking machine the kids thought up. Maybe it was in honor of birthday spankings?

Calvin jamming on Jamison's new guitar.

This looks like a normal sized fork but it's not. It's huge. Chris was not amused.

Molly Mormon Maids

This morning I had the opportunity to clean inside the Detroit Temple. I had never done it before and was very excited to participate. There were 8 people from our ward there to clean. We washed the glass, vacuumed, dusted and wiped down all surfaces. I was surprised to see dead bugs and dust in the temple! I guess even the Lord's House needs cleaning. I can't say that I had an overwhelming spiritual experience while I was there, but I felt really good and I am glad that I went.

Sunday School

This week in Sunday School we studied the life of Harold B. Lee. We discussed how he magnified his priesthood, how he was sensitive to promptings of the Spirit and how he had many qualities of a good leader. My students shared that they had felt the promptings of the Spirit. They are still uncomfortable sharing what they felt it about, but at least they have recognized that they felt it. My students are very bright and I enjoy teaching them even though I don't think they enjoy my class very much. I feel very frustrated with the manual that I am teaching out of. The lessons are way too short. I have emailed the Church curriculum department about this issue several times and their answer is always, "Please pray before you prepare your lesson." I do!! This is the first calling I have had where I don't feel GREAT about how I am doing. I wish I had greater teaching ability for these children. They deserve better!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Weekly Top Five 9/24/07

Top Five Harry Potter Wizarding Items I Wish Were Real

1. House Elves--They cook, they clean and they can never leave.

2. Mrs. Weasley's Clock--I would love to know when a member of my family is in "Mortal Peril."

3. The Floo Network--With gas prices being what they are, I am all for alternative modes of transportation.

4. The Pensieve--Would love to view past memories as though I was really there.

5. The Moving Photos--So neat to have people in your pictures waving at you.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Thankful Thursday

Ok...Here's what I am thankful for this week:

1. Colorful plastic bowls from Ikea

2. 2007 Fall TV Lineup

3. Mens Wearhouse Coupons

4. Cell Phone Insurance

5. Plymouth Children's Nursery

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hospital Food

My mom spent a lot of time in the hospital. She was sometimes there for weeks on end. The hospital food would really get to her. We would sneak stuff in to her all the time like Arbys and Wendys. One thing I remember about my dad was that he would prepare a whole meal at home. Sweet corn, steak, tomatoes, salad, chicken, all prepared really well. Then he would put it on a paper plate and cover it with another plate. He would put tape all around it to keep the heat in. He would pack everything, salt and pepper, napkins, silverware...nothing was left behind. The cold stuff would go in coolers. We would place it all in the car and drive it the hour and 10 minutes from Toledo to Ann Arbor where she was. She was always so appreciative of that yummy outside food. It was my dad's mission...find a way to make her happy. Even though she had cancer or heart disease or lung fluid or whatever disease that week and she was stuck in a stupid hospital, he could help her find a little corner of normal. I love that he served her in that way.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Not quite Mr. T

I took these photos of Cam in the tub. Thought he looked so cute with a mohawk.

Weekly Top Five 9/16/07

This week's top five is "The Five Things I Miss Most About Toledo."

1. Churchills. Potato Salad, Macaroni Salad, Thumann's Roast Beef, cookies, cupcakes...I could go on for hours. Sometimes I dream that I am at Churchills. Sometimes when I am having a hard time getting to sleep, I will imagine the aisles and see if I can remember where everything is. Grocery stores in heaven will be just like Churchills.

2. Everything in Toledo was, at the most, 20 minutes away.

3. Free Monday at the Zoo.

4. Fourth of July Fireworks. They aren't better anywhere.

5. The little yellow house on Heatherdowns that will always be home.

6. Ideal Hotdog, Tony Packos, Smuckers, The Andersons, Franklin Park and Children's Wonderland.

Anna, did I miss anything?


Yesterdays Sunday School lesson was on prayer. I had four students in attendance although one laid behind the piano the entire class. I'm pretty sure he was there though. We talked about the steps of prayer and how each is important. We talked about how you can go to Heavenly Father with anything. Big things, little things...He wants to hear it all. They thought it was funny when we read the scripture in Alma about praying in your closets. We discussed how this meant to find a quiet, private place to converse. Several of them said they had prayed to ask for help with a problem but they didn't feel comfortable sharing it. That was ok with me...I'm just glad they pray! The lesson was a good reminder to me that I need to be more specific in my asking and also need to give time to Heavenly Father to respond. I left them with a challenge to improve their prayers this week. Next week we study the life of Harold B. Lee.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Margaret Mary Platte

I have the most wonderful Grandma. She is 90 years old and the sweetest woman on the planet. My grandma bore 13 children, raised 12 and buried 2 before she was 75. She worked hard and lived her faith. I don't know any woman like her. Growing up, there was no better place to be than with Grandma. I can still feel what it felt like to hold her hand. She is a very important person in my life. Here are some important lessons she taught me.

1. Food is very important and should be the first thing you offer people when they come to your house. It also should always be homemade, have a lot of calories and taste wonderful. Everything my grandma cooked was yum. Sloppy joes, potato soup, pie, cookies, her special salad dressing, fried chicken...everything tasted great at Grandmas. Even fried eggs.

2. Children are the most important thing in the world. My grandma is the mother of 13 children. Her first child died during child birth. She had 11 girls and one son after that. My mother was 7th of those. She delighted in her children, her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren. I never heard a harsh word towards me or my cousins. She was kind and caring to me all the time. She has hundreds of framed pictures of me and my cousins and our children as the decorations in her home.

3. You should accept your children for who they are. My grandma was upset when my mother left the Catholic faith. I don't blame her. If Emily came to me and said she was leaving the LDS church, I would be distraught. Somehow, my grandma came to peace with my mother's decision. I never saw my Grandma angry with her or harsh with her. She accepted her because she knows that love is unconditional. She loved my mother no matter what.

4. Things are not the most important things. My grandma's house is very comfortable. It is not flashy or fancy. The decor is nice and cute and shows what is important in her heart: God and family. My grandma knows that God and family are more important than fancy homes or clothes or cars.

5. When someone you love comes to visit, you should give them a really big hug. When they have to leave, you should wave with both hands until you can't see them anymore.

6. You should believe in God and give Him all the praise for the good things in your life. I loved going to church with Grandma when I would visit her. Even though we practiced different religions, it was comforting to be with her worshiping God. Hearing her words of prayer soothed my soul.

7. Hard work is a blessing of God and a necessity of life. Obviously, with 12 children, my grandma worked hard and she taught her children to work. Grandma was always cooking, washing, cleaning, sewing, or preparing to work. When I was a young child, she and my grandpa had a farm. They had animals and acres to care for. Not only did she care for her home, but she assisted in caring for the farm. She canned fruits and vegetables and meats. One fond memory I have is when they made sausage in the basement of the farm house. I think a pig had been slaughtered and they were making pork sausages. My parents were there helping and I was given the job of blowing up the casings for the sausages before the meat mixture was put in it. I was happily blowing up the casings until I asked what they were made of. I spit them out when I found out they were pig intestines.

8. Your husband should be the light of your life. My grandpa died when I was 15. I wasn't astute enough to notice what kind of a relationship they had. However, I have seen a picture of them at their 50th wedding anniversary. They are laughing and smiling at each other like there is no one more important than each other. I love that photo of them and I think that's how they must have felt about each other.

9. You should always laugh and have fun. One fun thing my grandma did with me were playing Kismet. I loved to play Kismet with her! Also, loved to play card games with her. Grandma was always laughing at a funny story or happening. She had a fun sense of humor. Her eyes were always smiling. I get a little catch in my throat when I think of my grandma's smiling eyes. They are one of the most wonderful things in the world. Grandma liked to go to McDonalds. It was a treat to go there with her.

I'm sure there are many more lessons I learned from her, I just can't think of them right now. These nine are pretty important ones. When I was a senior in high school, two girlfriends and I wanted to go somewhere for spring break. We all had family in Michigan and decided to drive from place to place visiting family, shopping and having fun. The second stop was to my grandmas. We were to stay there one night and then we were all planning on leaving the next morning. I went to bed that night feeling like I should cancel my plans with my friends and stay with my grandma for the entire rest of the break. For some reason, i needed to be with her. I told my friends in the morning what I was doing. They were pretty mad at me and our friendship was never quite the same after. However, my grandma I and had such a great time the rest of the week together. I don't specifically remember anything we did together, but I know it was wonderful being with her. I am thankful that I made that choice. Now I only see my grandma once a year at a family Christmas party. Age has left her body but taken her mind and I am not sure if she even knows who I am. I see her face and look into her eyes and squeeze her hands and want her to remember me . It is painful and very difficult for me to see her now. I know that one day I will be with the grandma that I knew again.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Memories I Don't Want to Forget

A new feature from the Burrow: Memories I don't want to ever forget.
Some are funny; some are sad...but they are all worth remembering. Check back often to read more.

My eyes were closed in my kindergarten school picture. I had a full-on grin, all the teeth showing...and my eyes were closed. My hair is cut with straight across bangs. I look so goofy. My mom was upset and didn't buy the package...and didn't do retakes through the school. She took me to Penney's instead to get pictures done. At the end of the year, I didn't get a yearbook because we didn't buy a picture package. I guess they came together. My teacher took pity on me and gave me her yearbook. I was thrilled, except there was that ugly picture of me with my eyes closed. I tried to think of a way to make myself look better. I thought maybe I would look better if I was blonde. I guess I thought blondes had more fun! So...I took a pencil eraser and erased my hair. !!! Instead of looking blonde, I looked like I had no hair. It makes me laugh now to think of that. I wish I had the picture of myself. It would be a good chuckle.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Thankful Thursday

A new feature from the Burrow! Every Thursday is "Thankful Thursday," where I will list some things that I am currently thankful for. Some things you will not find on the list are: My husband, My children, my family, my friends and my faith. I am ALWAYS thankful for these things. My "Thankful Thursday" list is about fun things that I am currently grateful for.

1. Gas Cards
2. Tivo
3. Cool, Fall days
4. "Cuisine At Home" magazine
5. Marygrove Awning

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Emily's New Endeavor

Part of Middle School means choosing to play in the Orchestra, Band or sing in Choir. Emily decided that band would be what she would want to do. She had a choice of playing either the French Horn or the Baritone. She chose the French Horn. Here she is bringing it home the first day. The noise it makes right now is loud. And it really annoys Nala. She howls whenever it is played. Hopefully, that stops. We are excited to hear some really beautiful music.

Cameron's Hiding Place

Cameron loves to go under his crib and hide. It is so funny! If I am busy doing something, he'll go in his room and go under there. Then he'll holler out to me in what sounds like a grunt, to find him. It is really cute! He's all wet in these pictures because he dumped water on himself. I was trying to get him to change him and he hid under the crib. What a silly boy.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Spencer's First Day of School

Spencer started his first day of preschool today. His preschool is a co-op so that means that I get to stay with him some days and "work" at the school. His regular teacher is Mrs. Lloyd and both Christopher and Calvin had her. She is loved by all of our children. Mrs. Lloyd is on vacation and will return in October. Spencer has a substitute teacher, Mrs. Zambon, until Mrs. Lloyd returns. It was fun being back in the school and seeing the fun things again. The school has all new windows, giving it a spruced up look. Spencer is especially excited that his best pal, Gavin, is in his class this year.

Spencer outside by the picture tree.

Spencer by his school sign.

Spencer and his best friend, Gavin.

Spencer found his nametag.

Spencer loves feeding everyone in the Blue Room.

Spencer playing in the sandbox.

Spencer has a blue hand after the painting project.

Spencer was building a gas station.

I had a great day at school!

Weekly Top Five

A new feature from "Notes from the Burrow:" The Weekly Top Five. This is where I pick a catagory and tell you my top five favorites in the category. Check back often for updates.

This week I am listing my favorite Spongebob Squarepants episodes. Unfortunately they are so good, I couldn't list just five so this is a top eight.

1. Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy IV: Did you set it to Wumbo?
2. Band Geeks: Sweet Victory!
3. Club Spongebob: All hail the Magic Conch!
4. Grandma's Kisses: I've been growing these babies for years.
5. Ripped Pants: Oops.
6. Squidvil
le: Spongebob, this is the final straw. I am going to move so far away, that I will be able to brag about it. I would- I would rather tear out my brainstem, carry it into the middle of the nearest four-way intersection, and skip rope with it, then go on living where I do now.
7. Rock-A-Bye Bivalve
: You’re right. If I was a mom, this would be kind of shocking.
8. Krusty Krab Training Video: P.O.O.P.

The Platter

Most visits to my dad involved a stop at the local antique market. This market was a warehouse of rented space to various vendors of antiques and junk. Dad liked to look for Fiestaware, small items from his childhood, antique toys for the kids...anything that was interesting. Most important was the hunt for Fiestaware. Dad knew the colors he was looking for, how much each piece should cost, the difference between real and fake. It was an adventure looking for the dishes.

Upon entering the market, the first space on the right had china cabinets filled with china, teacups, little sparkly knickknacks. The entire space was decorated like something from your great aunt's sitting room. Lots of old, frilly stuff. In the very back of the space, propped up on a table was a round, ivory Fiestaware platter. It was in perfect condition. I noticed it the first time we visited the market. During each visit, I would pause and look at the platter. It was beautiful and I really wanted it. I considered myself a novice collector of Fiestaware dishes. Dad had been giving me Fiestaware, little by little, for about a year. Each gift of the Fiestaware was like him giving me pieces of my mom. She loved Fiestaware. She would hunt it out at garage sales, rummage sales, wherever, buying chipped cups and saucers for $.25 at a time. The gifts of Fiestaware were like my Dad was saying to me, "You are worthy to have something of your moms. You are a good person like she was. I acknowledge the goodness in you by giving you a salad plate." It sounds ridiculous when I read it, but that is exactly how it felt.

I was sure I'd never have the platter. It was priced at $85. That's a lot of money for a plate. But I so wanted it. I admired it for about a year. Each time we would visit the market, I was sure it would be gone, snatched up by someone who didn't really know or appreciate Fiestaware. But, it was always there. It was waiting for me. For Christmas in 2002, Dad gave me the platter. It was wrapped in bubble wrap and brown paper. He handed it to me and said simply, "Merry Christmas." I opened it excitedly. I already guessed what it was by the shape and weight. I held the platter in my hands. It felt beautiful. It was a gift that he would have given to my mother, but she wasn't there, so he gave it to me. I was worthy of such a beautiful, pure, perfect gift. I held the platter on my lap the entire hour and a half drive home back to our house. I washed it by hand and placed it in the cupboard.

I loved the platter and everything it represented. Hors d'oeuvres and desserts were loving arranged on the ivory surface. The understated elegance of the platter made the food seem more appetizing, I was certain. The platter was one of my most prized possessions.

One Sunday afternoon, I was grilling pork chops for my family. It was an unseasonably warm, March afternoon and it felt so nice to be outside after such a long, dismal winter. I put the chops on the grill. I had two platters of chops and gave one to each of my boys and told them to take them right inside and place them in the sink. I turned around to tend to the chops and a few moments later, I heard a crash. I turned to see my son surrounded by the broken pieces of my prized platter. How could I be so stupid to hand my beautiful platter to an 8 year old? What was wrong with me? I burst into tears. I looked at the platter smashed on the driveway. My precious platter was broken. The crying turned to sobs as I stared at those broken pieces. It was the love given to me by my dad. There was his love, broken on the driveway. I couldn't glue it back together. It was gone. Never again would I have something to show that he loved me. My son went to pieces as he saw my reaction to the broken platter. I tried to assure him, through my sobs, that I wasn't mad at him. I hugged him and continued to sob for the lost approval that I had treasured.

My sister came outside and hugged me. She picked up the pieces of the platter and told me that she would crush it and make a mosaic out of it for me. The platter would live on, she assured me. I didn't believe it. The beautiful, ivory, smooth platter was broken. I never wanted to see it again. I never wanted to discuss it again. It would never be the same. I couldn't get back what I had. I could see Dad shaking his head in disgust. "She can't even keep the platter whole. I should have never given her such a responsibility to care for. She is so careless." I want to go back in time and place my beautiful, perfect platter in the cupboard and never take it out except to look at it and admire it for a moment and then put it back.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Sunday School Lesson

This Sunday I taught my 12-13 year old Sunday School class. The lesson was on how Joseph Fielding Smith magnified his callings. We discussed six main areas that he magnified the talents, responsibilities and callings from the Lord. They were physical fitness, new challenges, missionary work, church service, father and church president and prophet. Some things I didn't know about him are that he could fly fighter jets, he had 11 children, he served a mission to England and didn't baptize anyone, he was married to three different women (all at different times :)), he was called to be an Apostle during General Conference and didn't know it until his name was called, his father was Joseph F. Smith and his grandfather was Hyrum Smith and he formalized the Family Home Evening program. Only three students were present today. They were all boys. Sometimes I feel like they don't enjoy the lessons. At least they listen; maybe something is getting through! Next Sunday I teach about the power of Prayer.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

It's Fall Festival Time!

One of my very favorite activities of the entire year is going to Plymouth's Fall Festival. It is held in downtown Plymouth every year the second weekend in September. There are rides, games, car show, craft show, chicken bbq, dog show, fun stuff for kids and great food. The kids love the rides and really had a fun time this year. Chris' favorite is the Yaki Tori sponsored by the Civitan Club and I love the sweet corn by the Vietnam Vets. The food is the best!

Christopher excited about his ride tickets.

Calvin having a hard time containing his enthusiasm.

Christopher and Spencer on the bumper cars.

At the bottom of the big slide.

Calvin and Spencer on the dragon roller coaster.

Poor Cameron just got to look and point. He said "wow!" alot. That's his new favorite word.

Calvin on the swings. He thought they were a little boring.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Not quite the DA, but lively discussion!

The Plymouth Ward Book Discussion Group met on the 6th to discuss "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." This month we met at my house. There were 8 women in attendance. The discussion was really wonderful! Most agreed that Harry Potter is a wonderful book series. We even decided that we wish we could live with the powers of the characters. Who wouldn't love to have a house elf? I'd even take Kreacher, especially by book 7.

I tried a recipe I found online for Pumpkin Pasties. They turned out to be yummy! It would be fun to have a whole HP themed party and make all the goodies from the books. I'd like to try the Rock Cakes! Anna brought the yummiest brownies too.

Personally, I am hoping that JK Rowling goes back to HP and fills us in on those missing years. Would love to know what happens. Next month its back to reality with Dr. Phil and "Family First."

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

First Day of School...First Day of School!!

It's the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!!! Emily was up before the sun getting ready and complaining of a stomach ache (nerves). She had to be at the bus stop at 7:29. She was carrying her Dad's old MSU backpack and feeling rather un-cool in it. Her outfit and hair looked cool, though. We took some pictures in front of the usual tree and away she went. Mom choked back a tear as she boarded the bus with the "big kids." Emily is starting 6th grade at Middle School.

I had to shake the boys awake, as usual. Calvin especially didn't want to get up. Finally they were up and excited. Backpacks ready, new shoes on...we were out the door. Poor Spencer was pretty upset that he doesn't start school until next Monday. Poor kid. He made some pretty convincing sad faces.

Daddy and I drove the boys to school. They posed for some pictures with the Smith sign, made some funny faces for me, and then Daddy and I walked them around back to their class lines. Calvin is starting 2nd grade and Christopher is starting 4th. Calvin was excited to see some old friends in his class this year. Christopher was playing it cool in his line. No kisses for Mom; just a little wave.

As Spencer, Cameron and I walked back to the car, I was a bit sad. Just them and me for a while. It will seem quiet!

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