Saturday, August 30, 2008

You hang onto a car this cherry

Chris has a new *borrowed* car from work. It is a Chrysler Crossfire and it is small. I always thought I would want to own a sports car but I'm rethinking that decision. First of all, it's a stick shift car. I don't know how to drive a stick. Chris hasn't driven a stick in a long time and so we've stalled out a few times which is a little embarrassing. Second of all, I am a large woman and Chris is a large man. We look ridiculous wedged in this tiny car. Third of all, I can hardly get in and out of it. The seat only has one position, way back and uncomfortable. Fourth of all, there is no trunk and no back seat. We were discussing how we can't bring the baby home in it because it has no place for anyone to sit. Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking a gift car in the hood; I'm grateful that I don't have to share my van with Chris. However, we are definitely not sports car people.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thankful Thursday 8/28/2008

1. Stupid Francie imposter is finally dead.

2. Basement paths.

3. Sparkling water.

4. Brownies.

5. Teletubbies.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Congratulations, Reg. It's a... squid.

I had another ultrasound today to determine approximate size. Baby Lizzie looks good in there however she has not turned head down yet. I'm hoping that will still happen.

The words the tech used to describe her were a little unsettling. Big head, small belly, long legs. This might be a weird looking kid.

The tech puts her weight at about 7 lbs. With 4 and a half weeks to go, I think I'm looking at another Calvin-sized baby. Hopefully, I'll make it through delivery. I'm feeling a little nervous.

I know my girl ain't so pretty as these girls

I really like the Visiting Teaching message this month. I have always taken great comfort in the fact that I am a Daughter of God and He loves me. During times of distress in my life, I recite the Young Women theme in my head over and over. The opening phrase, "We are daughters of our Heavenly Father who loves us..." immediately calms me. There was a quote in the lesson this month taken from President Faust's talk "What it Means to Be A Daughter of God."

He gave this talk in September of 1999. I was living in Toledo with my family and was really struggling with not having close friends in the area and not feeling like I was worth anything. It was a very stressful time in my life. The ward that we lived in was not too well-to-do but there was a group of women whose husbands were residents at the local medical college. They were all friends with each other and I didn't fit in with them. My husband was just starting his first job out of college and we didn't live in the right neighborhood (I actually heard someone in our ward say that if you lived east of Byrne Road, you were in the ghetto. We lived east of Byrne and were not in the ghetto by any stretch of the imagination.) I didn't get my hair done, I didn't wear the right clothes, we only had one car, my daughter was going to *gasp* Head Start (BTW: Out of all the preschools I have enrolled my children in, the Head Start program was far and away the best. So if you happen to be in the unfortunate position of being poor, give Head Start a try for your child.) The rest of the women in the ward were old and in my mind unfriendable. I had a stake calling at the time and loved the women I served with. I got to travel most Sundays and so I really didn't feel horrible unless I had to go to church in my home ward and interact with people. If I had to do that then I was lonely. It was time for the annual General RS Broadcast. There was a dinner beforehand and I debated whether or not I was going to attend. I really didn't want to but I got ready and drove over to the chapel. I got into the parking lot and saw all the cars and contemplated the conversations or lack thereof inside and kept on driving out of the parking lot away from the church. I pulled over at Monettes Market and sat for awhile thinking and trying to ignore the impression that I needed to return to the chapel. Eventually, I listened. I missed the dinner by just a few minutes, darnit. I don't remember any of the talks except Pres. Faust's. He spoke to my heart that night. Here's a piece of what he said that was just for me:

As daughters of God, you cannot imagine the divine potential within each of you. Surely the secret citadel of women’s inner strength is spirituality. In this you equal and even surpass men, as you do in faith, morality, and commitment when truly converted to the gospel. You have “more trust in the Lord [and] more hope in his word.” This inner spiritual sense seems to give you a certain resilience to cope with sorrow, trouble, and uncertainty.

You cannot imagine the gifts and talents each of you has. All women have appealing features. I do not refer to model-type appeal, but rather that which comes from your personality, your attitude, and your expressions. I urge you to enhance the natural, God-given, feminine gifts with which you have been so richly blessed. None of you should be so content that you cease to care about how you look or act. In his day, President Brigham Young encouraged women to get an education. This is still good counsel, but I hasten to add: in all your getting, do not lose your sweet femininity.

You sisters do not know the full extent of your influence. You sisters enrich all of humanity. All human life begins with you. Each woman brings her own separate, unique strengths to the family and the Church. Being a daughter of God means that if you seek it, you can find your true identity. You will know who you are. This will make you free—not free from restraints, but free from doubts, anxieties, or peer pressure. You will not need to worry, “Do I look all right?” “Do I sound OK?” “What do people think of me?” A conviction that you are a daughter of God gives you a feeling of comfort in your self-worth. It means that you can find strength in the balm of Christ. It will help you meet the heartaches and challenges with faith and serenity.

I wonder if you sisters can fully appreciate the innate gifts, blessings, and endowments you have simply because you are daughters of God. It is a mistake for women to think that life begins only with marriage. A woman can and must have an identity and feel useful, valued, and needed whether she is single or married. She must feel that she can do something for someone else that no one else ever born can do.

I left the chapel that night a new woman. I felt important and loved and I am so thankful that I listened as the Spirit whispered to my heart to turn around and go back. I knew that the Lord looked at my inner self and loved me no matter what my hair or clothes looked like or what my address was.

I am a Daughter of God and that's all I need to know to make it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Put on some baggy pants and take their greasy hair - ew - and cover it up with a backwards cap and like, we're expected to swoon?

For you, Suzy!!

What is it with teenage boys these days?

I'm tired of long hair.

I'm tired of seeing their underwear.

I'm tired of their faux hawks.

I'm tired of them crossing the street really slowly when you are trying to turn your car and looking at you like you are some kind of retard.

I really don't like the latest model of teenage boys.

I'm glad not a teenage girl right now. I'd have a hard time finding a guy to like. Even the celebrities are nothing to look at. I guess this might mean I'm old. Fine. I'm old, but I'm right.

Let's Compare:

The World's Original Heartthrob: Jake Ryan

Of course we have to have Ferris

And hot!!

Even nerdy Michael Seaver was better than:


Hmm. What about a hole? You ever put anybody in "the box"?

I was arraigned in 35th District Court today. It was all quite exciting! I got into a minor accident a few weeks ago that WAS NOT MY FAULT!! But, in all of the hullabaloo of the accident and worrying about the baby and the car, I didn't think I had my driver's license with me. It wasn't in my wallet. It was in my cupholder and I didn't notice it. So the cop gave me a ticket for not having my license. My attorney told me to make a appointment with the prosecutor so that I could explain everything to him and hopefully get the ticket waived. The appointment was set for Monday, the 25th. However, that was also the day that I needed to take Anna to the doctor and I totally forgot to go see the prosecutor. Uh-oh!

So the prosecutor is in Rotary club with Chris and his dad and luckily he calls Chris to see why didn't I show up. He tells us what to do today, to go back to the court and get a new date. So Chris goes with me this morning and we attempt to get a new date but the court officers tell me that there is a warrant for my arrest because I didn't show up for my appointment yesterday. Yikes! So now I have to see the judge. I was nervous, but felt good knowing that Chris' dad knows the judge and campaigned for him to be elected. Hopefully that is worth something. So I go up to the court room with all the other convicts. There are quite a nice group of us. I don't know where these people that I was with have been hiding out but I have never seen a group like this around Plymouth. The judge goes through all his driving on a suspended license cases and his possession of marijuana case. Finally he gets to me and just asks me what I want to do with my case. I tell him I want to see the prosecutor. He tells me ok. So I'm scheduled for a new date next month.

So what did I learn? It pays to join Rotary and to have an attorney in the family who likes to campaign for judges.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Weekly Top Five 8/25/2008

Top Five Favorite Foods that I Cannot Find in Stores and I Will Probably Never Taste Again :(

1. Stella D'Oro Egg Biscuits

2. Pizzeria Chips

3. Dannon Double Delights

4. Clear Pepsi

5. Koepplinger's Bagel Bread

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thankful Thursday 8/21/2008

1. Wing Street

2. Pizza

3. Fixed Garbage Disposals

4. Clouds parting and the sun coming out.

5. New baby bedding.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

You're bringing a girl home... now?

Sweetest conversation ever occurred as kids were discussing who they will marry in the future:

Christopher: I don't know who I will marry.

Chris: She'll probably be pretty. Like Mom.

Me: I'm hope she's prettier than me.

Christopher: (In the sweetest, most sincere voice) There's no one prettier than you, Mom.

Me: (In my head) There's no one good enough for you, Son.

Monday, August 18, 2008

You may not talk, you will not move from these seats. Any questions?

I got released from my RS calling a few weeks ago and yesterday was my last Sunday to teach. Aside from the fact that I felt totally overwhelmed by the (lack of) material given (I will not miss those manuals!!), I am going to miss teaching. I enjoyed the feeling of connecting with Sisters and feeling the Spirit as I taught.

I still have a calling left. I teach the 12-13 year old Sunday School class. I am feeling very frustrated with it lately. There is not enough material in the manual. I have to supplement every week with other stuff which totally goes against the paragraph in the front of the manual that says don't supplement with other stuff. When I walk into the room at least one or two of the kids groan. Like they are disappointed that I showed up. And I'm a cool adult! At least I think I am. I guess maybe I'm not. They do not listen to me. They throw stuff around the room during the lesson. When asked direct questions, they do not answer or they give stupid answers that don't make any sense. They write on the board with chalk. I take the chalk away and they produce more. They don't bring their scriptures. They don't like to participate. I ask them to be quiet nicely and they still talk. Loudly. I don't yell or get upset at them but I feel like it. Last week was so bad that I just left the room. They didn't care. I could hear them pounding erasers on the wall as I walked away down the hall. My class last year was not like this. They would talk sometimes but I would ask them to be quiet and they would. They respected me as a teacher. The kids I have now do not. I don't know what to do and I don't want to just bribe them with food. I like this calling...I like teaching...but these kids...I don't like teaching these kids. I like them individually. I think most of them are really nice but they are disrespectful when they are all together. 12 and 13 year olds should know how to behave. If my kids ever treat a teacher the way these kids treat me, I will be very disappointed and they will be punished.

Tips, anyone?

Weekly Top Five 8/18/08

Top Five Things I Wish I Could Change About My House (Stole this from Suzy)

1. Bigger kitchen with an island and more than 2 drawers.

2. First floor laundry room.

3. New, state of the art dishwasher. The kind where you can put the whole cake in it and the pan comes out squeaky clean.

4. Two more bedrooms.

5. Fresh paint on all the walls.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Random Thoughts by Jennifer Vos

Random Thoughts:

When you are old, you should go live in a retirement community. I don't know why all the resistance to doing this. I would love to go live somewhere that I didn't have to worry about taking care of anything and girls from the local beauty college come and give me pedicures.

When you have been married for 15 years, you get a new bridal shower complete with all new dishes, silver, glassware, pots, towels, bedding, etc...

I am hot. Yesterday at football, I saw a mom wearing a shirt that had one strap and that was it. Just one strap over one shoulder. One shoulder had nothing. She looked very relaxed unlike me sweating like a pig. I sat there realizing that I was wearing four layers. I had on my garment top, my shirt, my undershirt that keeps my shirt modest and my bra. Many of you might not count your bra as a layer but I do. Think Mrs. Doubtfire in his fat suit. That's my counts as a layer. So there I sit in four layers plus a space heater strapped to my middle, roasting while this woman is cool and comfy in her one strap. When I got home, I took off all layers but one and took one arm out just to see what it would be like. It was totally wonderful!! I am not advocating immodesty, but for those few moments I was comfortable. There's really nothing I can do about this. Just thought I'd share.

Pregnancy should be 6 weeks shorter.

Babytalk should be outlawed.

Mrs. Piggle-wiggle's cures should be real and I would add a new one for her. In-laws Butt-out cure.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thankful Thursday 8/14/2008

1. Sherbet

2. Slushies

3. Chocolate Malts

4. Ice cream cookie sandwiches

5. Hot caramel sundaes

Would you guess I'm pregnant and hot????

but, sorry about your car, man. That... That sucks.

It's very interesting to me that my last four posts have been about cars.

Well, we lived for 4 days on one car and made it work and now Chris' work gave him a car to use so we are back to two cars. We try to downsize and get rid of our Jeep and now he's driving a Cadillac. So much for appearing to live modestly. Luckily, we don't have to make the payments; just buy the gas.

I don't really care about what kind of cars we drive. I have a 12 passenger van with no extras and vinyl floors. It fits my needs exactly. Growing up, we usually had junky or hand-me-down cars. My mom and dad had this ginormous Cadillac when I was a little girl. It was rust colored which was good because the rust blended right in. It had an armrest that came down in between the front seats which I called, "the hump." That was where I usually sat. After the giant Cadillac broke down too many times, we moved to a little red Chevette. It also had vinyl seats, no radio and no air conditioning. I hated that feel of vinyl on your sweaty legs in the summer. Ugh. In addition to the red Chevette, my dad drove a tiny Toyota that was many colors. The hood was blue, there was a yellow door and a white door. I can't remember the rest but I know there was some gray, unfinished metal and a lot of rust. It was pretty awesome. After the red Chevette, we got a gray Chevette that had cloth seats and a radio(AM). I was pretty sure I had moved up in the world. Cloth seats! What a luxury! The next two cars we got were blessings from grandparents. We got a used Oldsmobile station wagon. I thought that was cool because the rear seats faced backwards. We also got a Chevy Astro van equipped with a handicapped ramp for my dad. Not so cool.

I inherited the gray Chevette when I left home and drove it into the ground. Luckily Chris inherited a much better car, a Ford Explorer. We drove that into the ground and then bought a Jeep Cherokee with a payment of $79 per month. Hilarious!! That began our love affair with Jeeps. We have always had such good luck with them.

I like a nice, reliable car as much as the next person but I don't need fancy. I don't want the cost of fancy. I just want practical and enough seats for my growing family. Thanks, Marygrove, for making us a two car family again!

Monday, August 11, 2008

You know we just don't recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they're happening.

I have had a really interesting two days. Yesterday was an *almost* perfect Sabbath. Chris and I spent our first waking moments having such a nice conversation. The thing I love most about marriage is when you connect through sharing feelings and ideas with that one person that you love so much in a way that brings you so close together and forges a bond that cannot be broken. We got ready for church with minimal contention and were not late for church! Hooray! The Sacrament meeting talks were so uplifting. Two graduating seniors spoke about standards and how they have attempted to live up the the standards set forth in "For the Strength of Youth." I was so impressed with them and the decisions that they are making to draw closer to the Savior in a world that grows continually more and more evil. The closing speaker was the YW President who really touched me with her words and the Spirit that she brought to the meeting. She made a point of saying that sometimes you are the only one standing for a certain principle. I was reminded of a quote from Joseph Smith that said "It mattereth not whether the principle is popular or unpopular, I will always maintain a true principle, even if I stand alone in it."

For our entire marriage, Chris and I have been tested in the principle of keeping the Sabbath Day holy. We have been tempted to eat out, swim, play sports, volunteer, shop, etc... all on the Sabbath. I am sorry to say that there were times early in our marriage when we failed and caved and were not diligent in keeping this important commandment. About 8 years ago, we made a firm commitment that keeping the Sabbath was going to be an important part of our lives. We cut out the swimming, the sports, the extra meetings, the visiting with friends. We cut out everything that was not in harmony with what we felt the Lord was teaching us about proper Sabbath observance. Our guide came from two prophets. The first is President Benson who said:

  • “It seems to me that the following should be avoided on the Sabbath:

  • “Overworking and staying up late Saturday so that you are exhausted the next day.

  • “Filling the Sabbath so full of extra meetings that there is no time for prayer, meditation, family fellowship, and counseling.

  • “Doing gardening and odd jobs around the house.

  • “Taking trips to canyons or resorts, visiting friends socially, joy riding, wasting time, and engaging in other amusements. …

  • “Playing vigorously and going to movies.

  • “Engaging in sports and hunting ‘wild animals’ which God made for the use of man only ‘in times of famine and excess of hunger.’ (See D&C 89:15.) …

  • “Reading material that does not contribute to your spiritual uplift.

  • (“Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy,” Ensign, May 1971, 6–7).

The second is guidance from Pres. Kimball:

“The Sabbath is a day on which to take inventory—to analyze our weaknesses, to confess our sins to our associates and our Lord. It is a day on which to fast. … It is a day on which to read good books, a day to contemplate and ponder, a day to study lessons for priesthood and auxiliary organizations, a day to study the scriptures and to prepare sermons, a day to nap and rest and relax, a day to visit the sick, a day to preach the gospel, a day to proselyte, a day to visit quietly with the family … , a day for proper courting, a day to do good, a day to drink at the fountain of knowledge and of instruction, a day to seek forgiveness of our sins, a day for the enrichment of our spirit and our soul, a day to restore us to our spiritual stature, a day to partake of the emblems of [Jesus’] sacrifice and atonement, a day to contemplate the glories of the gospel and of the eternal realms, a day to climb high on the upward path toward our Heavenly Father” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball [1982], 216).

Can I tell you how much opposition we have received in our attempt to keep this commandment? Not only from nonmembers but from friends, family and members of the Church. Steve Young played football on the Sabbath, we are told. Marriott Hotels are open on the Sabbath, we are told. Playing with friends on the Sabbath is fine, we are told. The ox is in the mire or at Meijer, we are told. It never ends. Chris and I feel like sometimes we are standing alone in this principle but that doesn't make it less of a principle. I don't know why we are so tested in this thing but we are stronger each time we are confronted to break it and we do not. The talks on Sunday strengthened my resolve to keep this important commandment. I often think of a quote I heard long ago, "The observance of the Sabbath is an indication of the depth of our conversion." It was by Mark E. Peterson.

After Sacrament, I had a temple rec interview with a member of the Stake Presidency who impressed me so much by knowing the date our baby is due and the names of each of our children and their ages. Granted this man is in our ward, but we are not close to him. I'll bet if you stood up 10 men in the ward, none of them would have known this information like he did. I felt loved and important to this man who has taken the time to know our family. I'm wondering if he knows every family like that and if he does, how does he remember them all? The rest of the day was just as nice as the beginning. Nice meals and nice conversation and enjoying our family. The only imperfection was that Anna and Tony were out of town and unable to share our usual Sunday family dinner.

Today was a different experience for us as we have decided to try living as a one car family. I can tell you that it isn't going to be easy and is going to take some careful planning. I'm not sure how long we will have to do it, but I think we can for the duration we need to. Today Chris took my van and the kids and I had been planning on swimming at Grammy's. We got out the bikes and wagon and walked there. It only took us 20 minutes to get there and was not a horrible trip by any means. As I watched my little flock keep their bikes on the sidewalk and navigate one busy road and several small intersections, I kept thinking of the straight and narrow path and trying to stay on it, holding to the rod and navigating the curves that life throws at us. I love my children so much and I pray each day that I am teaching them the correct things that will keep them on the straight and narrow. As I was pulling Cameron in the wagon and watching them, I felt was bursting with love and pride for them and the sweet little people that they are. I can't express how much I enjoy them and being with them and being a mother.

When I read my scriptures today, I was reading in Helaman about Nephi and his sadness at the wickedness of the Nephites. I had inserted a little quote into my scriptures by Neal A. Maxwell.

"The Lord has made no secret of the fact that He intends to try the faith and the patience of His Saints. (See
Mosiah 23:21.) We mortals are so quick to forget the Lord: “And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions … they will not remember him.” (Hel. 12:3.)

However, the Lord knows our bearing capacity, both as to coping and to comprehending, and He will not give us more to bear than we can manage at the moment, though to us it may seem otherwise. (See D&C 50:40; D&C 78:18.) Just as no temptations will come to us from which we cannot escape or which we cannot bear, we will not be given more trials than we can sustain. (See 1 Cor. 10:13.)

Therefore, given the aforementioned grand and overarching reasons to rejoice, can we not “be of good cheer” in spite of stress and circumstance?

President Brigham Young said of a geographical destination, “This is the place.” Of God’s plan of salvation, with its developmental destination, it can be said, “This is the process”!

President Young, who knew something about trial and tribulation but also of man’s high destiny, said that the Lord lets us pass through these experiences that we might become true friends of God. By developing our individual capacities, wisely exercising our agency, and trusting God—including when we feel forsaken and alone—then we can, said President Young, learn to be “righteous in the dark.” (Secretary’s Journal, 28 Jan. 1857.) The gospel glow we see radiating from some—amid dark difficulties—comes from illuminated individuals who are “of good cheer”!

To be cheerful when others are in despair, to keep the faith when others falter, to be true even when we feel forsaken—all of these are deeply desired outcomes during the deliberate, divine tutorials which God gives to us—because He loves us. (See Mosiah 3:19.) These learning experiences must not be misread as divine indifference. Instead, such tutorials are a part of the divine unfolding."

I am trying to be of good cheer in the midst of trials. I don't know why we are being tried and tested in the ways we are right now, but I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for us and we need to be trusting that He knows what is the right path for our family now. I wish I could see all of the plan but I guess that would require no faith on my part. I take comfort in the knowledge that this pain we feel right now is temporary and we will be through it soon.

Weekly Top Ten 8/11/08

Top Ten Cars I Want to Own or Ride In Before I'm Dead

1. Chevy Corvette. Red.

2. Vintage Volkswagon Beetle

3. Mercedes Benz SLR McClaren

4. 1927 REO Flying Cloud

5. Late 70s or early 80s Firebird Trans Am with the bird on the hood.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Hello? There was a stop sign. I totally paused.

I am not the world's best driver. I have had my fair share of car accidents and tickets. I don't really know why I am such a bad driver. Maybe it's because I learned how to drive from my dad. He was a very fast, aggressive driver and was lucky that he didn't get more speeding tickets in his life. Maybe it's because I don't pay enough attention to the road and follow too close.

I got in my first accident when I was 16 and had my license for only 10 months. I was at a stop sign and I swear I looked but I didn't see that there was a car coming and she hit me. It totally stunk. My car was totalled but luckily(?) my cousin fixed it for me in only 2 months time. Not the world's fastest mechanic. I could usually get rides from friends to and from school but there were several occasions where I had to *gasp* ride the bus. Juniors at my high school didn't ride buses. It was a horrible experience and I learned my lesson. No more accidents during high school. That were my fault.

I got hit by a stupid driver my senior year. She was trying to turn the wrong way through several lanes of traffic and hit me. My car was still drivable. Until I went babysitting one night and the people I was babysitting for hit my car in almost exactly the same spot. Hilarious thing is they hit my car on their way out for their date and didn't come in to tell me. Just went along their merry way and didn't tell me they hit my car until they got home. I guess it was okay since one of the kids cut the straps on their Johnny-Jump-Up while I was supposed to be watching him rendering it totally useless. So after they hit my car it made a horrible scraping noise and I couldn't drive it long distances. I got that fixed finally.

During HS I had several tickets including: running a red light(it was totally yellow), tail light out, violation of noise ordinance (my muffler was broken) and plain old speeding.

While I was at BYU I got only two tickets. Both were for speeding coming down from the point of the mountain near Draper on I-15.

Back in Michigan, I got two speeding tickets but no more accidents until we moved to Toledo. In Toledo, I got hit by a truck. It wasn't serious but annoying since it was my fault.

Then back to Michigan, I've been pulled over by the Plymouth or Canton Police 4 times. Twice for speeding, once for turning the wrong way and once for having expired tags. I ran into my in-laws garage door. Forgot to put car in park. ! I rear ended my husband at a red light following him home from a soccer game. I backed into Anna's car in our driveway. I backed into our neighbor's truck a couple of weeks ago leaving a big dent in the back of my van and $2900 worth of damage to his truck. Yesterday, I got rear-ended by a truck that didn't stop soon enough. Luckily, Chris' Jeep is one tough car. The other guy's truck had the bumper smashed into the front wheels. Chris' Jeep had two minor scratches.

So in 18 years, I've had 8 accidents and 12 tickets. That really sounds horrible when I write it out like that and one might think that my insurance is sky high because of my awful driving record. However, luckily my attorney father-in-law has gotten me off on all of the violations that involved points and had them reduced to violations that had no points. Also it doesn't hurt that Chris is in Rotary Club with the judge.

If you see my giant van coming down the road, go the other way. I've been voted number one driver but not in a good way.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Thankful Thursday 8/7/08

1. Beaches

2. Cold water

3. Free sewing machines

4. Sour Watermelon Slurpees

5. Free baby clothes

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I wouldn't sell my bike for all the money in the world. Not for a hundred million, trillion, billion dollars!

Riding bikes in the summer is a glorious activity. Growing up in Toledo, riding bikes is what I did all summer long. I got my first two-wheeler when I was 5. It was orange and I loved everything about it. I rode it around and around and around and around the block. It saved me from various scary neighborhood dogs and helped me achieve respect from several neighborhood boys who would let me play with them because my bike wasn't pink. I was a rider in the days before the helmet craze. If you were crashing, you were hurting. I was a rider in the days of the banana seat and the giant pole with a flag attached. I loved my bike.

One evening my mom and I went for a bike ride/walk to our neighborhood park. There was a baseball game going on and we saw some friends we knew. I had ditched my bike in the grass to play on the play equipment. After the game was over, the friends offered to take us in their car to get ice cream. My bike was forgotten as we piled into their car. The next morning, I went out to our garage and was confused at not seeing my bike parked in its usual spot. I ran inside yelling to my mom that my bike was stolen. She came out and was as perplexed as I was as to where my bike was. Then I remembered...I left it at the park! As fast as my little seven year old legs could carry me, I headed for the park. I can still remember the feeling of panic and fear of losing my bike and hoping it would still be there. I searched everywhere but it was gone. I walked home crying bitterly all the way. My precious bike! I had lost it! A few days later one of the boys in our neighborhood came over with his dad. He had seen my bike at another kid's house. Apparently that kid had taken my bike home from the baseball game and since it wasn't pink, he was keeping it. The boy and his dad went with my dad over to Bike Stealers house and retrieved my bike for me. I can remember sitting on the front porch dying with anticipation at being reunited with my bike. It was wonderful to have it back. We bought the neighborhood boy a toy for his reward for finding my bike for me. I never lost my bike again!

When I was 10, I graduated to a 10-speed bike. This bike and I were friends for a long time. We knew every uneven piece of pavement in the neighborhood that would send you flying when you hit it. We found the driveway that was really steep and fun to go sailing down. We spread our wings together riding to the library and Burger King and friends houses. Anna and I would go for bike rides after dinner. I remember how fun that was. I can remember the first time I let her ride her bike alone around our block. I'll never forget the panic I felt when she didn't return in what I thought was a reasonable time. I started running in the direction that she should come back from and pretty soon I could see her. There she was just happily riding unaware of the panic I was feeling. I stopped and composed myself so she wouldn't know how worried I was. She was so proud for riding all the way around the block all by herself.

I left that 10 speed at home when I left and I haven't had a bike of my own since even though I really long for one. The last experience I had on a bike was several years ago at Lifetime Fitness. I thought I would give one of the biking classes a try. Much to my surprise, those seats were painful! I couldn't stand it. I left the class before it started.

My children were all given bikes by their grandparents recently. Emily got hers a few summers ago and Christopher, Calvin and Spencer all got theirs this summer. Christopher and Calvin just on Monday. Yesterday they rode up and down our street and I sat in a lawn chair and watched them. They had so much fun and it brought back so many biking memories for me. Someday I hope we are in a situation where I can have a bike too and go with them. I don't know if I'll remember how, but it's riding a just don't forget.

Emily's scootering because her bike needs a repair.

You won't get any dancing here, it's illegal. Jump Back!!

One of my favorite summertime events for many years has been Music in the Park. Music in the Park is a gathering of children and moms and dads from the community in Kellogg Park, Plymouth. They gather to hear performers and dance and eat lunch and have fun. We have been faithful Music in the Park patrons since we moved here in 2001. Each Wednesday morning, I would get up early and throw blankets and chairs in my car and drive them up to the park and set them out so that we would be guaranteed a good spot in the front. In the beginning years, when Emily and Christopher were small, they would run up to the stage and dance the entire time of the performance. I began to notice a change in their enthusiasm about 2 years ago. Calvin does not like the spotlight and Spencer doesn't want to dance by himself. Emily and Christopher refuse to go anywhere near the dancers. So we sit on the blanket and eat our lunch and listen to the music. Today marked a new low in the experience for me when Emily declared that she didn't want to go and couldn't she just stay home. :( She stayed home and I took the boys and Anna and Lucy. Here's what my boys did for the hour we were there: Tore up styrofoam cups into tiny pieces, complained that it was too loud, dug in the dirt, begged for lemonade from Main Street Bank, signed up to win drawings for prizes, made faces at Lucy, laid on the blanket covering their ears, peeled all the labels off the water bottles, begged to go to see the fountain. So not only was Emily not there, but my boys weren't interested in the music or dancing. Little Lucy danced with Anna and I'll bet next summer she'll be on the sidewalk dancing her little heart out. Maybe she'll be able to get Cameron out there with her. Maybe you are wondering why I continue to go in spite of all the opposition I am receiving. It's 'cause I really like the music and the atmosphere. I like it and I'm going and I guess anyone under 12 in our family has to go too. So there.

My kids enjoying Music in the Park several years ago.

My kids today.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Pool and a pond... Pond be good for you.

Today we participated in the RS Beach Party. The kids and I had so much fun. It was hosted by Lisa Nielsen, whose parents were so nice to let us use the private beach owned by their neighborhood. There was a shallow, roped off area for the little ones and a deeper area with a high dive platform for the bigger ones. My kids just loved every minute of it. I think we left with 50 pounds of sand in our car. I love the vinyl floor and seats. I can just sweep it right out!

Cameron loved the water and the sand.

Calvin having fun.

Anna and Lucy had fun too!

Spence loved the giant Shamu

We buried Calvin in the sand.

Christopher and Emily on the platform.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Weekly Top Five 8/4/08

Top Five Favorite Material Things My Mother Ever Gave Me

1. Flowered jewelry box from Avon.

2. Hand-crocheted baby outfit for my Cabbage Patch doll.

3. "I Walk By Faith" album.

4. Her copy of "Jane Eyre."

5. My first tape ever, "Whitney Houston" by Whitney Houston.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

No one, and I mean no one, comes into our house and pushes us around.

Today was significant for two reasons. Number one, Emily got the Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer book and has had her nose buried in it since she got home this morning at 12:30. Here's a link to Anna's post about the party at Barnes and Noble. I think she might have slept a little. She is right now planted on the couch anguishing over an issue with a baby. I have not read the Twilight series for reasons that I keep to myself. I'm glad Emily is enjoying it.

Number two, it was equipment pick up for Steelers football. Christopher (CV) and Calvin (LV-little Vos) went with me to the field to pick up their helmets and shoulder pads and girdle and 7 white pads and vest and practice pants and practice jersey and game pants and game jersey and socks and butt pad and belt and mouth guard. I think I got it all. They got weighed and checked out and butt slapped more times than I can count. After that we went to buy the all important "athletic supporter." Best quote of the day was from Christopher, who said when I held up one cup, "Mom, I think it's kind of big." He was right. They got cleats with the proper number of molded cleats in the bottom and Daddy got a whistle to get their attention. There's lots of testosterone in our house today. Poor Emily tolerates it the best she can. Soon we'll have a little more estrogen here. I'm not sure that's such a great thing either tho. The emotions of a 12 year old girl...another time, another post. Little Spencer (MV-mini Vos) got in the action by wearing CV's helmet from last season. Everyone is excited for the start of football practice on Monday. This season we are trying to cope with the fact that the boys only get to play in two games because 6 of the 8 are on Sunday. It was a no-brainer decision for us...Sabbath observance or Football...hmmm. We chose Sabbath observance. However, I was surprised by the reaction of others. Many, many coaches and parents have tried to convince us that we should play. Some of their reasons are: we can go to church on Saturday, we can go to church earlier, we could talk to our pastor and get special permission, and it's a family activity. Several of the parents and coaches, however, admire our ability to live our faith. I hope our example touches someone. I hope next year more games are on Saturday. We are all praying for games to be moved this season still. This is a righteous desire, right? It could happen. I am also praying that the birth of our baby doesn't conflict with any of the games. The two we can attend are September 13 and October 4. I think we should be ok. I'll have the baby on the 19th and we'll be ready to go on by the 4th. Do you hear me, Lizzie? Please plan your arrival around football season or Daddy might not make it to the hospital!!

Where Em's been all day.

Buffalo Stance


Brotherly Love. Don't you love Spence's different colored Crocs?

Let's get tough!!

The tubs of gear. Chris asked me where I'm going to store them. I suggested his side of the bed. He didn't find that amusing. Notice the box beside the tubs. Spence brought that out. It's for his gear. Cute!
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