NOTES FROM THE BURROW

NOTES FROM THE BURROW

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

You want a Christmas card...I'll give you a Christmas Card!

For the first time in 14 years, I did not send out our Christmas Card. I got it all done and ready and then we decided that we needed the $50 in postage to go towards Christmas presents. It really pained me to not send them out because I just love to do it but oh well. I'm posting it here for you to read. I know it looks small...if you click on the picture it will get bigger and more readable. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

REVISED: My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes.

Well, Chris and the kids took exception with this post. Mostly the kids were mad that I made them sound so bad. Chris said I really did make them sound worse than they are. I wrote this right after an incident with them and maybe I was over reacting a little. Chris said our kids don't really fight and bicker more than other kids do. He's probably right. I just wish it was less. Thanks for all your good suggestions.

My heart is so heavy this morning. We have such an awful problem in our family and I honestly don't know what to do about it. There is so much constant contention among our children and it is really breaking my heart. It starts in the morning and doesn't quit until they go to bed at night. If you were to hear them talk to each other, you would think that they hate each other. Sometimes I honestly think they do. As soon as they open their mouths, the Spirit just flees from our home. It is a sad situation here.

I am at a loss for what to do. I know that contention in a home is wrong. It doesn't belong there. The scriptures tell us not to let our children fight and quarrel with each other. I've been reading articles on LDS.org for advice and one phrase I read really hit me hard. "Frequent anger and contention do not persist where the gospel of Jesus Christ is practiced." But we do practice the gospel of Jesus Christ! Of course, there is always room for improvement. I am searching for answers. I am praying for a change of heart and attitude in their actions towards each other. Dear Reader, I need some very practical solutions. What works in your families? How do you keep contention down?

You know what I'd really like to do, I'd like to have the worst perpetrators wake up on Christmas morning to a lump of coal in their stockings. I'd like to say, "Santa was watching and you got zilch because of the way you behave at home."

Monday, December 14, 2009

Weekly Top Five 12/14/2009

Top Five Favorite Gifts I Got For My Birthday

1. Tickets to see "Wicked" in Toledo!

1. The promise of Beatles: Rock Band.

1. Funny Framed Poem

1. Lemon Cookies

1. Dish clothes...just can't have enough!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Weekly Top Five 12/7/2009


Top Five Things I want for My Birthday

1. A Cat

2. New Phone

3. Beatles Rockband

4. Vera Bradley Diaper Bag

5. This

Start Shopping!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Ben! Oh, fine, we're giving birth to a big bear? Great! "Gentle Ben!" "Hey, Ben, where's Jerry? Get me some ice cream, or I'll beat the crap outta ya'


I've chosen the names for our baby. Usually I have no problem telling people them. I usually don't care what other people think of them but when I told someone recently what they are, she acted like the names were just terrible. Even said they seemed "too heavy" for a baby. Whatever that means. I've decided I'm just going to get them out there in the open and you can read them and digest them and if you hate them, you can hate them in private before you have to swallow hard and tell me how cute you think they are.

If we have a girl, she will be Genevieve Anna. I think we might call her Gennie-sounds like Jenny. I know the spelling is a little awkward but you have to use the G with Genevieve. Chris' grandma was named Genevieve and she was one of the coolest, nicest, funnest ladies I know. Of course, Anna is named for my sister, also one of the coolest, nicest, funnest ladies I know. I like that the Gennie ties her back to me. I was called Jenny in grade school and switched to Jennifer in high school. NO ONE calls me Jenny now if they want me to respond. I used to really hate it and then I found a little card that my mom had written to me when I was young and she wrote it to "Jenny." Then I found the name sweet and endearing. So Gennie she shall be.

Our boy will be either Theodore Henry or Theodore Hamilton. We will call him Teddy. Chris' grandpa's middle name is Theodore. He is a WWII vet and one of the most honorable men I know. He has always supported Chris even when others didn't. Also, Teddy is the romantic leading man in the Emily books by LM Montgomery. I LOVED him! Perfect name for our little boy. The middle name is still up in the air. Henry is for one of Chris' relatives, Henry Dew, that I feel a kinship with after doing his and his wife's temple work. Hamilton is a family name on my side. I like them both. Maybe I'll let the kids vote.

So Gennie or Teddy it will be. I honestly think they are cute for a baby and have perfectly great names (Gen and Ted) for when they are adults.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

You're enjoying your day. / Everything's going your way. / Then along comes Debbie Downer.

Every year, the date December the Second makes me think of two things. My mean grandma and my dear girlfriend who died when we were in high school. It is both of their birthdays today.

My mean grandma is my dad's mom. I call her mean grandma to differentiate her from nice grandma that is my mom's mom. Grandma Ballard would be 97 if she were alive today. I didn't always think she was mean, because she wasn't always. When I was little, I lived in her house for a lot of the time when my mom was in the hospital. One of my favorite things about Grandma was her freezer full of raspberries and blueberries and strawberries. Grandma was a very talented crocheter and knitter and seamstress. She made me many beautiful afghans and many ugly ones too. And many ugly outfits. Seriously ugly outfits that my mom made me wear anyways because they were perfectly good clothes. 12-year-old girls in homemade clothes get made fun of. It was a sad time in my life. Grandma would sit for hours and watch me swim in the pool. She gave me home perms every time I was there. That was torture. I really loved Grandma but as she got older, she lost the filter on her mouth and said everything that popped into her brain. Even if it was cruel. I wish I could remember all the nice things without all the mean things too. Happy Birthday, Gramma!

My friend, Nicky Faiella also had her birthday on December 2. She and I met in preschool when we were just 4 years old. We ended up at the same elementary and high school. She lived just around the block from me and I walked to her house every morning and we would catch the bus together. We were in the same Girl Scout troop until our freshman year of HS. I stayed at her house at times when my mom was very sick. I remember kissing her poster of Bo and Luke Duke and watching "The Stepford Children" at her house. We were California Raisins together for Halloween one year. We did many school projects together over the course of our education. Nicky was nice and fun and such a good friend. I really liked her alot. In the spring of our freshman year, she was with a friend on the highway and they had car trouble. They pulled over and called for help. Nicky sat on the hood of the car to wait for help to arrive. The driver of another car fell asleep behind the wheel and hit the car she was sitting on. She was thrown from the hood and killed. It was one of the saddest experiences of my life. Today she would be 35. Happy Birthday, Nicky!
I'm on the front row, third from the left. I've got my arm around Nicky, who is second from the left.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Weekly Top Five 11/30/2009

If someone handed me $1M right now, Top Five things I'd Buy Before I went Home:

1. Complete new wardrobe including socks, shoes, underwear and coats.

2. I would call Molly Maids and have them clean all this crap up before I got home.

3. All new kitchen appliances, big and small.

4. A new pre-lit Christmas tree with colored lights.

5. Chips and Salsa.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

So he yells out, "Ready, On your mark, Get set, " and I was so keyed up I just took off. By the time he said go I was ten yards ahead of everybody.

Tomorrow Chris is running in the Turkey Trot in Detroit. It's a 10K. He's been training for it since June. I am incredibly proud of him for setting this goal for himself and working so hard to achieve it. He gets up at 5am almost every day and runs or does some other form of exercise. He shows the most incredible will power as he resists the temptation of cheeseburgers and chocolate cake. Since beginning this program, he has lost over 50 pounds.

I wish I could be there to see his face after the race tomorrow. I'm sure crossing that finish line is going to be a very spiritual experience for him. Chris, you are amazing! Way to go! I love you so much!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Second? Seventh.

You know how you get behind on your journal and when you finally go to write in it so much time has gone by and it feels overwhelming so you just write something dumb like, "A lot has happened. Life is good. More later." That's how I feel about this blog lately.

I keep sitting down to write a post and it feels like too much has happened and i can't write anything.

Here's a brief summary of the last few weeks of our life.

Halloween was fun. Kids looked cute and got lots of candy. Cam's costume was my fav. He was Mario.

Lucy turned 2. I love her and being her aunt and being able to live 4 minutes(if you get all green lights) from her. She is funny and amazing and beautiful and smart and wonderful. Just like her mom.



I have had positive parent teacher conferences for my children which makes me very happy.

The Steeler board voted almost unanimously to hold their games at Central Middle School next season which guarantees our boys of at least half their games on Saturday. This is a good thing. Some extremely nice things were said about our boys at the meeting. And Chris was mentioned too as doing good things. I like that we are well thought of.

I am pregnant with baby #7. This was not a total shock to me as in other pregnancies. A few weeks after Lizzie was born I had a feeling that our next child would come to our family sooner than later. In fact, I am kind of surprised that it took as long as it did. This baby will be born in June. My actual date is June 22. I am feeling very nauseated, which is unusual for me. I usually feel just mildly nauseated but this time it's really bad. I'm hoping that it passes quickly. Thankfully, my children and Chris are so wonderful and kind and helpful. Thank you to those of you who have given positive congratulations. To those of you who haven't, please refer here.
We are all happy and excited about the new addition of Lucky #7.

Chris went to Houston for a week and we missed him terribly. His boss and boss' wife came over for dinner and actually threw a football around with my kids inside the house. How do you tell your husband's boss no football inside? I just smiled.

Lizzie cut her first tooth! Hooray! It does not seem to be affecting her attitude at all. It looks adorable.

Life is good. More later.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thankful Thursday 10/22/2009

1. avocado

2. that i am not an airhead

3. The new Bounce thing that sticks inside the dryer

4. the forgotten tv show

5. little red shoes

Monday, October 19, 2009

Weekly Top Five 10/19/2009


Top Five Favorite Kinds of Crackers

1. Chicken in a Biskit

2. Toasteds Onion

3. Club

4. Cheezits Duo Parmesan

5. Whatever those ones were that we had at Linda Christensen's for Book Club maybe a year or more ago. What were those?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Vanessa, if you're still in, I'm still in

If you read my last post, you know my life is consumed with Steeler football right now. If I'm not washing football gear or taking boys to the field or working at the field or buying food for the shack then I'm thinking about doing it. Last Monday, I went to the board meeting and the members of the board were discussing which teams were going to make it to the playoffs and that the freshman team (Calvin's team) would most likely make it to the Super Bowl. As I was sitting and listening to them discuss the logistics of these games, I imagined in my mind Calvin's excitement of playing in the Super Bowl with his teammates and how much he would just love it.

Of course the Super Bowl and the other playoff games are all on the Sabbath.

If you have read other previous posts of mine, you know that we choose not to play on the Sabbath. This decision that we made is the right one. Its still really hard, though, when I know my kids are going to miss out on this good thing. I keep reminding myself of "Good, Better, Best." Football is good. Sabbath observance is best. Someday there will be a reward for our sacrifice. We were discussing it at dinner tonight and Christopher commented that most of the kids on his team think it's really weird that he won't play on Sunday. They ask him, can't he just come to the game after church? He tells them no because then he wouldn't be able to keep the day holy. One boy told him that he really respects him for that, 21 boys think he's weird.

As I have been thinking about this all week, I have been pondering our faith, our LDS religion. It seems more and more that we have to make decisions to either be in or out. The middle ground, gray area, is growing increasingly narrower. This becomes especially apparent to me as my children get older and the consequences of the decisions they are going to make can be perilous. Our 15 year olds should not be dating. Not even for Homecoming! They should be dressing modestly. All the time! They should not be skating on thin ice by paring up at such young ages. Serious dating is for after missions!

All of the decisions we are making right now as parents, as families require us to decide: Are we in or are we out? In my mind, there is just no half way. I want me and my family to be all in. I know that might make us weird. I'm so okay with it. I'm so okay with Christopher telling his date for a dance that he can't take her if her dress isn't modest. I'm so okay with missing swimmeets and games and parties to keep the Sabbath Day holy. I'm so okay with the fact that someday Lizzie might miss out on going to Homecoming because her birthday is in the fall and she might only be 15 and 11/12. I'm so okay with paying extra to alter an immodest dress or fly one here from Utah so my girls can be dressed properly for a formal.

I know it won't be easy. We have some tough teenage years ahead. I know sometimes I might even be sad. But, I've decided-no matter the consequences, not matter the judgements, no matter the sacrifice-we Vos' are all in.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Auf Wiedersehen

Last weekend we held a special celebration for Lizzie's 1st birthday. I pondered long and hard about a theme for it. Most a theme for the food. I really like to have food themes. I knew that she could really care less what we ate. She likes everything that isn't a vegetable. I really love this German restaurant in Ann Arbor. It is so good and I've been craving it for a while. Since her birthday is early October, I put all this together and decided to have a special Birthday Oktoberfest feast.

I knew my favorites from Metzgers: the wursts, the cucumber salad, the German potato salad, the potato pancakes. Those headlined the menu. I researched some other items and even tried my hand at homemade pretzels(not so great). On the whole, the food turned out spectacular. Everyone raved.

We got our first store-bought-other-than-Costco Cake in a long time. It was from a bakery in Plymouth called Sweets 21. It was super yummy! It was a white cake with a lemon mousse filling. The mousse was delicious and the cake part was so light. It reminded me of a lady finger. Lizzie had a treat tearing into it.

She got some super cute and fun gifts. My very very very favorite was a darling doll that Anna made for her. I named it Glory (after my mom) and it hasn't left Lizzie's crib. The children have been warned that if I find that baby anywhere but in that crib they are dead meat. I love that baby doll. Lizzie does too. :)

It was a great birthday party. Thank you to everyone who attended or sent gifts or helped me clean the house before the party. I love you and I love you, Lizard!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Here's where Cameron goes berserk. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm in charge of the Snack Shack for the boy's little league football team. Basically, it's a concession stand. We sell pop, chips, nachos, hot dogs, hamburgers, candy, walking tacos, hot chocolate, coffee, etc... It really is a shack that we sell out of. It is a building that is about 10X20 in size with no hot water and no heat. Because of all of the small appliances plugged into the electrical system of this ramshackle shack, the breakers often trip rendering us without power for a moment. The ground all around the shack is mud so the floor of the shack is covered in mud. The turkey boiling pot that we use to cook the hot dogs in malfunctions and requires that in order to light it you must burn off all of the hair on your hands and arms in the process. In addition to the primitive conditions that I must work with, not many parents sign up to assist me in the process. There are four games on game day. I arrive 2 hours before the first game to set up and make hot chocolate and coffee. I work through all 4 games-that's 8 hours. Then I stay to clean up after for another 2-3 hours. For those of you adding up the time it's 12-13 hours. It's a really long day. To have not much help makes it even longer.

I have been working hard on this job for several months. It's really a hard job. It takes a lot of coordinating of the food, buying the food, cooking the food and selling the food. Seriously, it is the hardest volunteer job I've ever done and I've done some hard volunteer jobs. There are four home games and so far we've had two of them. During one game, one of the water valves of the coolers was open and water from the melting ice was all over the floor. It was like a slippery mud pit all day long. Turned out the valve was broken. We removed the cooler and things got better. The second game was even better because it was raining almost the whole day. The floor was muddy and slippery again. I have not seen my boys play a minute of football this season yet because of my responsibilities in the Shack.

You know, I really don't mind doing it. I like to help out. I like to feel like I am making a contribution. I was voted onto the Steeler board of directors this week. At the meeting, several comments were made about how the Shack is under budget and is making money this year. I left feeling pretty good about the job I'm doing. You know pride goeth before a fall though...

I got a phone call yesterday from someone who let me know that she has been inundated with complaints about the Snack Shack. The hot chocolate is not good, we serve too much variety of food, the Shack isn't clean enough, the homemade baked goods weren't wrapped up, service isn't fast enough, hamburgers weren't hot enough... She suggested we overhaul the entire system. As she was talking I was feeling so angry and embarrassed and angry and disappointed and angry. Did I mention angry?

First of all, its not the Ritz Carlton...it's the Snack Shack. Emphasis on the Shack. We wear gloves and do everything we can to keep it clean but give me a break, what do you expect?? Second of all, why don't you help out instead of running your mouth in complaints? There is nothing I hate more than a bunch a complainers who haven't lifted a finger to help the situation.
Third of all, do you know how hard it is to be cooking hamburgers on the grill, hotdogs in a boiling pan, nachos and walking tacos in crockpots and keep it all piping hot? It's not easy, let me tell you.

My first Blair Ballard inclination is to not open the Snack Shack on Saturday. Just leave it closed and let them fend for themselves. Bun 'em.

But I'm not going to do that. I'm going to open it and do my best for another week and then another week. I'm going to do a good job and feel good about it and try to let the complaints roll off my back. But it really won't be easy for me. I have really thin skin. I wish we all had to walk a mile in each other's shoes before we could complain about each other.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Weekly Top FIve 10/12/2009


Top Five Things that Confuse my brain If I even Try and Think about How they Work

1. The stock market

2. Shipyards

3. Ford Motor Company

4. Physics

5. Health Care / Insurance debate

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Oh, Lizzie, if I could but see you so happy.


Today is my Little Lizzie's first birthday! Happy birthday to Lizzie!

Turning one is such a milestone...forward facing car seat, whole milk, no more worrying about SIDS. And it is usually a reminder that my baby just isn't a baby. That part always makes me sad.

Luckily for me, my Lizzie is ALL baby. She is a tiny little one-year-old. I'm not sure of her percentiles; we go to pediatrician tomorrow. She still fits in her 6-9 month stuff. I put her in a 12 month outfit today and it's ginormous! She's not walking yet and she is not very verbal. She laughs a lot and makes noise but no recognizable words. She is the most laid back baby...hardly ever cries and when she does it's more of a whine. She is content doing whatever whether its being confined to her play area, going for long errand trips in the car, staying with friends or playing with siblings. I have to say that she seems to prefer to be held by me. I love taking her little bitty self and snuggling her and holding her. Lizzie enjoys meal times and likes to sort her foods by color. Anything green goes on the floor. Not a fan of the vegetable. She also likes playing with the kids...they are very entertaining. We all like to call her "The Lizard."

We are having a party for her on Saturday. I'm planning something really fun and I am so excited about it!

Congratulations, Lizzie, on your first year! Love you!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Weekly Top Five 10/5/2009


Top Five Favorite German Foods

1. Potato Pancakes

2. Wursts: brat and knack

3. Braunschweiger

4. German Potato Salad

5. Schnitzel--with or without noodles

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I’m a good noodle! I’m a good noodle!


Cameron started preschool a few weeks ago. He is going with 7 other children from church and we moms are taking turns doing the teaching in our homes. So far, Cameron has really loved it. He has been bringing home very interesting facts and pictures. At his first week he had to take in something he really liked. He took a picture of Blue from "Blue's Clues." The next week, he reported to me that he has bones in his body. Lots of them. Last week, he learned about good and bad foods and is trying to make a new food group for cookies and candy. This week, we had preschool Olympics. They made torches and flags and participated in a variety of events. He even won gold medals. Cameron is having a great time with his friends and he is learning! I'm thankful for fun, intelligent and creative moms to share this with.


Thankful Thursday 10/1/2009

1. It's time for cider and donuts

2. Preschool

3. Getting to be Gager

4. Emily's hair

5. Oktoberfest!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I'm trying to get a little squirrel to come over to me here. I don't wanna make any big, sudden movements. I'll frighten him away.

Why am I so scared to share the gospel? I don't know. You'd think I'd be one of those people handing out Book of Mormons left and right. But I'm not. I've given out one in my life and I didn't even actually get to give it. The person I offered it too rejected it before I could even put it in her hand. So I'm a member missionary reject.

I was scared to share when I was a child. I NEVER considered going on a mission. I hated the part of the presidency callings where you had to call or visit the less actives. In high school, I had a friend investigate the church. She got her own Book of Mormon at a book store and started reading it without me knowing. We were sitting in a movie..."Aladdin," I think...and she whispered to me, "Who's Moroni?" I wish I could have paused the movie but I had to wait until after to talk to her about it. She took all the discussions and committed to be baptized. Her parents didn't approve of that commitment, however. She never joined. I don't know if she even thinks about it. We are Facebook friends and it looks like her life is going fine. I guess that makes my record 0-2.

My husband is a pro at doing missionary work. He gives the Book of Mormon to our carpet cleaners, people in hospital waiting rooms, people on airplanes, friends at work...everyone. He's not scared at all. I really envy his confidence. I've been able to pacify myself by saying that I'm a good example for those around me...that's my missionary contribution now. Also, I remind myself that I don't really have any non-member friends. A couple of months ago the missionaries came over and helped me pack my bags for the guilt trip I was about to take regarding sharing the gospel. Ever since then, I've been trying harder to have some gospel discussions with non-members.

At the boy's football practice a couple of days ago, I was talking with a mom and religion came up. She proceeded to tell me how she is Catholic but she never goes and she doesn't believe it and they only stay Catholic to keep her MIL from having a heart attack and what church do I go to? Oh, crap, I think, here it comes. Instead of being excited for a gospel discussion, I was terrified. What if she ran away? What if she didn't like me anymore? What if she asks if she can see my horns? All of these things are running through my head as I swallow hard and say, "We belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Mormons." We continued to talk for a few more minutes but she didn't seem to mind that I am Mormon. Ok...so maybe I can do this. Yesterday, I am talking with a mom at the bus stop. (Turns out there's a nice one.) It comes up that Emily takes piano lessons and she asks from whom and I say someone from church and then she says where do you go to church. Again the hard swallow...and I tell her. She says they are looking for a church to go to. They haven't been in a really long time. Then the bus comes and the boys load up and she goes home to her house.

So, two conversations that really went nowhere. How do I turn these into sharing the gospel experiences? Just give these two ladies the Book of Mormon? Continue to talk to them and hope it comes up again so I can invite them? I really want to share because the Gospel brings me so much joy; I want everyone to have it! Am I doing this right?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Weekly Top Five 9/28/2009

Top Five Favorite Things about this Weekend

1. Anna and Lucy were here staying over while Tony was on a fishing trip.

2. I got to take two really long naps thanks to my family.

3. Chris is home. And he got a raise. :)

4. Did I mention that Chris got a raise?

5. Lots of new TV shows to watch.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Weekly Top Five 9/21/2009

Top Five Favorite Things about Patrick Swayze

1. Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner

2. Ditto.

3. Chippendales. The best!!

4. Orry Main...the hottest.

5. The fact that I hate Point Break but Chris will watch it every time it's on TNT.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

That's the news. Goodnight and have a pleasant tomorrow.

I had a really busy weekend. Here are some of the highlights:

Friday night I bought 4 carts full of pop, water and Gatorade. That's a lot of drinks.

I worked in the Steeler's snack shack all of Saturday. I made coffee for the first time in my life and I'm told it tasted alright. It was really hard work and my feet were so tired when i got home on Saturday night. The best part of the snack shack was seeing all the kids who wanted to volunteer to help. Those cheerleaders and football players who didn't have to help but came to me eager to volunteer really made me feel great. The Plymouth-Canton Steeler football program is full of great families. I'm glad we are a part of it.

Because I was in charge of snack shack, I didn't get to see my boys play their games. However, I got the biggest hugs from them after the games were over. I got to listen to their enthusiasm for the games and the success they felt. Both boys are not in traditionally lauded positions. Their hardwork largely goes unnoticed. Poor Christopher barely ate all week in order to make weight on Saturday. After the game was over, I loved to be able to serve him several cheeseburgers, pizza, walking tacos...anything he wanted. Best quote of the day came from him, "Mom, could I sleep in the floor on your room tonight because I want to talk to Dad all night about my game?"

Chris did the announcing for the games. He did a great job. Just ask the UD for the Westland Meteors. I mean Comets. Seriously, he did a great job.

Sweet Emily was home with the kids from 8AM until 8PM. That's a really long time. She handled it perfectly. I love her for her sacrifice.

I got to tell my kids over and over again: go ahead and eat it.

On Sunday I got to give a talk on the joys of Family History. I love love love Family History. I'm glad I got to share my joy with others.

I got to hear my little Lucy calling, "Gager...Gager."

I got to see my sister's beautiful homemade skirts at church. They looked so nice! And such lovely models.

I also got to teach my new Primary class. I already love each of my students. They were thoughtful and respectful during class. I appreciated how willing they were to share and to help. A couple of them broke into song during class, in a very appropriate way. How wonderful is that to see a 10 year old boy singing a Primary song for his classmates. I loved it! We also got to do Sharing Time for the senior primary. I can almost not describe how much I enjoyed being with the children and sharing the Gospel with them. It was truly wonderful.

Got to watch the Emmy's with Chris. Good times. Neat, neat fun.

Best. Weekend. Ever.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thankful Thursday 9/17/2009

1. The Year of Living Biblically

2. Purex 3 in 1

3. Bread Pudding

4. Really cute ponytails

5. Story Time

Monday, September 14, 2009

I shall not be with you in the fall to guide your progress to even greater heights of scholastic achievement. Let us not have tears;


I got a new calling on Sunday to teach the Valiant 10 class in Primary. I am so excited about going back to Primary because I love it so much! I hope I never ever get released. There are a whole big group of kids in my class that I have known ever since they were little babies. I am looking forward to being their teacher and having fun with them.

On the flip side, I said goodbye to my Sunday School class today. I have really learned to love this group of kids. Even though they talk too much *cough* Bradley *cough,* they are great kids and I am going to miss teaching them each week. I hope that I have taught them something and if they don't remember any of the lessons, I hope they remember that I cared about them and built their testimonies a little.

He worked last season as the pixie dust spreader on the Tilt-a-Whirl...

Em on scary ride!!


This past weekend was the annual Plymouth Fall Festival. I hate to say that it was disappointing...but it was disappointing.

Chris and I headed uptown on Friday for our date night. We were looking forward to some of our favorite food treats. But we were in for a surprise.

First of all, the Civitan club did not do their usual Yaki Tori burgers. They have been doing Yaki Tori burgers for as long as Chris can remember. At least 30 years. He loves the Yaki Tori. He dreams of it. He waits for it all year and saves all his calories for a week so he can blow them on the Yaki Tori. As we approached the usual spot for the Yaki Tori booth, we noticed it wasn't there. I could tell that Chris was starting to freak out. I told him not to panic, maybe they just moved the booth. We walked up and down the food displays. No Yaki Tori booth. He started to hyperventilate. We found the Civitan's selling candy and some other lame stuff. They claimed it was too hard to continue doing the Yaki Tori's because their membership is getting older.

Ok, so a big strike one. Our second favorite treat is the carnival Bucket Of Fries. Dripping with cheese and ketchup...soooo good. Nope. No bucket of fry booth.

Strike two. There's still the Funnel Cakes, right? Right? Wrong. No Funnel Cakes.

You might be thinking that we go to Fall Festival for the food. You would be exactly right. We go for the food and our three favorites were not there. We were so disappointed. We left and ate delicious caramel apples from Kilwins and headed home.

We took the kids up to ride rides on Saturday afternoon but let them know that we weren't getting food...there was nothing worth eating. Spencer took this to mean that there wasn't any food there and when we arrived, he kept pointing out all the food places.

Each of the kids got 11 tickets. At 3 and 4 tickets per ride, they had to budget their tickets and I was happy to see some sharing of tickets among them. Emily rode some of the scary rides. Christopher even rode one of the scarier ones. Calvin and Spencer and Cameron stuck to some of the tamer. Lizzie hitched a ride on Chris' back. We had fun waving at the kids while they rode.

Sunday was the annual Rotary Chicken BBQ. Grammy delivered our dinners right to our house! The chicken was great, the clean up was simple and I didn't have to cook a thing. Wonderful.


Spencer and Cameron on dragon rollercoaster.


Christopher on the Freak Out. I think he was freaking out!


Lizzie rode the best ride.



Cam on the train!

Weekly Top Five 9/14/2009

Top Five Things I Like About Fall

1. Parmenter's Cider and Donuts

2. Smell of Burning Leaves

3. Halloween

4. Cooler weather

5. College Football

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thankful Thursday 9/10/2009

1. That other people say Beatles Rockband is totally sweet. Makes me that much more excited to play it.

2. Fall TV season is coming! Hooray!

3. Nice people.

4. Kermit the Frog

5. Old Family Home Evening manuals. They have some really cool stuff in them. I'm working off one from 1970. It's awesome!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

...but I'm sure there are many people who do not like me. Jerry, don't say that.


Today I had a booey moment.
I know it's hard to believe but people in my neighborhood do not like me.

There are several reasons for that.this. Once I left our garbage cans out a day later than I was supposed to before bringing them in. Someone called the Township office and had us cited. Our dog sometimes gets out of the house and roams the neighborhood while we chase her and try to catch her and bring her home. She also barks at EVERYONE. Loudly. It annoys people. Once, about 3 years ago, Calvin and Spencer were playing in the yard. Calvin was 6 and Spencer was almost 3. They were yelling at a little girl who lives two yards over. They wanted her attention and were throwing sticks and rocks toward her yard. The sticks and rocks were going no where near her or her yard, but her mom flew off the handle at me. I took the boys over and they apologized. I understood how she felt. If boys were throwing sticks and rocks at Emily when she was little from 10 yards away I would have been mad. But I knew that my boys meant the little girl no harm. They were just trying to get her to play with them. So that mom has hated me for a while. She won't smile or wave when I drive by. She gives me a stony stare. Another lady yelled at me once because our front door made a loud bang when it closed. The pump thing was broken. I backed into another neighbor's truck last year causing some minor damage. Our insurance took care of it and he is still friendly, but his wife never waves or smiles at me. Like I said, I'm not well liked by the neighborhood.

Today when I went to pick up the boys from the bus, there were four moms waiting, including the mean mom who hates me. They were all talking about their kids and school. Mean mom gave me her stony stare and kept talking. I wasn't included. I felt stupid. So, I texted Chris and told him to call me so that I wouldn't have to stand there doing nothing. He did and we talked for a minute and I felt a little better. I wish those ladies could see me with my friends who really like me. I wish they could see me with my sister. I wish they knew that my Facebook friends like me and think I'm worthwhile to know. I wish they knew that I'm nice and fun. Alas, I fear that I will not get another chance with them. All my bad first impressions are doomed to last forever.

'

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Travesty. Horror. Decadence. Excrement.


First Day Of School




Calvin, grade 4

Cameron thought he should try 4 too.

Cameron trying to make a P for Preschool






Spencer making a K for kindergarten







Emily, grade 8



Christopher, grade 6



Guess which one isn't mine?

My strong boys.


Cameron being welcomed to school by his friend, Alex.




Cameron and Alex playing a game.

Day 1 done. Mom tired.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Hey dad! Maybe when I'm at school, I'll see a shark.

Tomorrow is the first day of school. It is going to be a bittersweet day. I am so ready to get the kiddos back into their routines and out of the bickering mode. I hate the bickering! But, I do love having them home with me. They are my favorites!

Today we went to our stake Labor Day picnic. It was super fun! The kids had a great time playing with friends and I had fun talking with people. I love our ward. After the church picnic, we went over to Grammy's for the last swim of the year with the family. We grilled out and the kids had fun visiting with their cousins.

Messy Cameron after the picnic


Emily and her friends


Happy Lizzie


We came home and had a special FHE with the theme of "Be Smart." In addition to this, we decided to give our children special family "callings." These are things that they are specially in charge of. Emily is our family music coordinator. Christopher is our FHE scheduler. Calvin is our family peacemaker. Spencer is our family scripture study supplier. Cameron and Lizzie are the family cuties. I think they magnify it really well!

Chris gave the children their Father's Blessings. They were so well suited to each child. I am so thankful for Chris and that he is a worthy priesthood holder. Our home is blessed because of him and his faithfulness. I remember the first blessing I ever heard him give. We were dating and he gave a blessing for the sick to a sister missionary in our ward that I was friends with. I was amazed by the way he spoke; it wasn't his usual way. I just knew the Lord was speaking through him. BTW, if anyone knows a Marci Nielsen from somewhere in Utah, let me know. We totally lost touch.

Tomorrow is going to come early. Emily is taking Chinese and has to be to the high school by 7:12. Holy freak, that's early! Christopher doesn't have to be to the bus until 7:30. The rest get on the bus at 8:20. My day's of sleeping in are gone with the wind. Even so, I think we are going to have a good year.

Weekly Top Five 9/7/2009

Top Five Things I love to Hear My Husband Say:

1. Let's get a treat to eat.

2. Let's go out for dinner.

3. I'll change her diaper.

4. Please be nice to Mommy. She's a good mommy.

5. I got a raise.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

You can't just walk out of a drive-in!

Last night we did such a fun thing. Tony brought a projector home from work. One of the fancy ones that hooks up to a computer. He set it up in our backyard along with his surround-sound speakers. We set up chairs and set up a snack table with fun theater snacks like popcorn, candy and homemade Hostess cupcakes. We watched the movie with the garage door as our screen. It was the funnest thing ever! We watched "Bedtime Stories" which wasn't the best movie ever but I think being outside in the dark with family and friends made it seem awesome! I'm so glad we found this new family tradition!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Random Thoughts by Jennifer Vos

I've been thinking a lot lately about second chances. I'm really thankful for them. This week in particular I've had a myriad of experiences that reinforce how important they are. I am someone who needs a lot of second, third, fourth and sometimes thirtieth chances. My husband is really good at giving more chances. I think maybe he has an unlimited supply. I hope he does.

Yesterday when I went to Kroger, I pulled into the parking lot and tried to pull my van into a spot that was too narrow. I backed out because I realized that the spot wouldn't work. As I was pulling out of the too small space, a car approached from behind me and (I thought)patiently waited until I was done getting the van into another space. I parked and walked up to the building. I heard someone call from behind me, "Ma'am, ma'am." I turned and saw a man running after me. He said, "You almost hit me when you were backing up back there." I said, "I'm sorry." Should I have said something else? I didn't think so. I didn't hit him. He did have a wait a bit for me to get myself situated in the space. It's hard parking that big van! He responded by mocking my answer, "I'm sorry," he said so sarcastically. "Learn how to drive, you b*&#@." He hurried by me into the store and as I approached I saw him waiting for me at the door. "You are a terrible driver." He yelled this at me as I walked in. I could see other people staring at us. " I wish you would have hit me so that I could have sued you and put your family on welfare." He followed me to where the aisles start and then hurried off. I was so shaken by this verbal assault that I had to stop and wipe away the tears that sprang to my eyes. I stood crying for a minute by the wines, which, if I were a drinking person, might have been added to my cart. What a horrible, mean man! I hope I never meet him again.

I read a great book yesterday called "Gossamer" by Lois Lowry. I recommend it to anyone who has dreams. It's a beautiful story.

Anna's mother-in-law gave me a wonderful bag for my temple clothes. I love it! I put something in each pocket. I can't wait to use it at my next visit.

I can't stand stories of child abuse. It hurts my heart right to the core. I heard one a few weeks ago and the evilness of it just went all through me. I couldn't shake it. I finally knelt in prayer and asked for help to forget this awful thing I had seen. I asked for the child to be happy (it's with the Lord so I'm pretty sure it is). Since then I have forgotten the horribleness of what I saw. Its like my mind got dry erased. I'm glad.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Weekly Top Five 8/31/09

Top Five Things I want to Eat Right This Second

1. White Chocolate Mousse with Raspberry Sauce

2. The Wildcat

3. Coke with Lime

4. Handcut french fries with cheese and vinegar and ketchup

5. Philly Cheesesteak With

Saturday, August 29, 2009

"Bubotubers. They need squeezing. You will collect the pus-"

It seems we are growing some Elegant Stinkhorns in the mulch in our front yard. It sounds like something from Harry Potter. They look gross and smell gross. I don't know how they sprouted or how to get rid of them. They are some kind of a fungus. They look like a carrot with some very gross ooze on their tips. Enjoy the pics! To bad I can't do a scratch 'n' sniff thing for you.


Stinkhorn Eggs



Monday, August 24, 2009

Weekly Top Five 8/24/2009

Top Five Things I need for my Kitchen

1. 5 quart saute pan

2. 16 quart stock pot

3. A good set of wooden spoons

4. A good set of spatulas

5. Roaster Oven

Wish I would have thought of these things at the start of garage sale season. There's always next summer!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Did it look at you? Did the fire look at you? It did.


On Friday, Chris and I and the kids picked up Anna and Lucy and 4 of our kids' friends for an afternoon of swimming at my mother-in-law's pool. As we approached her street, we could see that the street was blocked by firetrucks, ambulances and police cars and smoke was pouring from the house next door to hers. We had to turn around and approach the house from another direction and got there in time to see the firemen putting out the fire in the house. It didn't look like a horribly bad fire, but the fireman said the the entire structure will have to come down and that if it weren't made of brick it would have burned to the ground.

The women that lived in the home have lived in that house for many years. They were retired school teachers that never married and lived together for at least 40 years, probably more. Probably they lived together their entire lives. They are pretty old--late 70s, early 80s.

When Chris was a little boy, they were mean to him and the other children in the neighborhood. They would take the children's balls and toys. They would complain about all the noise that the children made. They would complain about children riding bikes on the sidewalk in front of their house. They would complain about cars parking in front of their house. Just a few weeks ago, a friend of mine parked in front of their house when they came swimming with us and the old woman turned her sprinkling system on so she would get wet. As they have gotten older, they haven't really gotten any nicer.

I still feel bad for them. What a sad thing to lose everything you have including all your photos and mementos. One of the sisters had all of her things that she wanted to be buried with stacked on the foot of her bed. Chris' parents have told me all along that these sisters are heirs of some famous Rackham man. The genealogist in me started to research. Horace Rackham was the attorney who incorporated Ford Motor Company. He scraped together $5000 to buy 50 shares of stock in 1903 and was elected to the board of directors of the company. He was able to retire from his law practice in 1913 and then in 1919 he sold his stock to Edsel Ford for $12.5 million. He was a great philanthropist during the remainder of his live donating the land which the Detroit Zoo is on, Rackham Golf Course in Huntington Woods, and many great donations to the University of Michigan. He died in 1933.

This man was the great uncle of the sisters. I don't know how much, if any, of his fortune that they have inherited. I don't know why they never married and had families of their own. I can't help but wonder if their loneliness has contributed to their outward meanness to others. Or if their outward meanness has pushed others away and contributed to their loneliness. In any case, what a terrible destroyer fire is. This experience has given me cause to reflect on the fact though I have many possessions and cherished keepsakes, the things I love the most aren't things at all. They are the people who share my life.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My sister

I love her.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thankful Thursday 8/20/2009

1. Emily comes back home today

2. Total time wasters

3. Sweet corn

4. Fresh tomatos from the garden

5. books that are so good you can't put them down

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Man and wife...say man and wife!


Yesterday was such a great day in the temple. Chris and I were there for most of the day. I think one of the loveliest parts was being welcomed to the House of the Lord by President Dunnigan and President Medley. Such great men! Also lovely was seeing all of the faces of wonderful friends serving as well.

We were able to do many ordinances for family including sealing both sets of our great grandparents together. I haven't participated in the sealing ordinance in a long time. I remember when we were sealed to each other, I was more interested in looking into the eyes of my sweetie than listening to the words of the sealer. A month after we were married, we had the opportunity to attend the sealing of some dear friends. As I sat and listened, I was struck by some of the words that I had missed at my own sealing. I was glad to get the chance again to hear these words and feel the power of that ordinance.

Leaving the temple that day the thing that struck me the most was the reminder to have joy in my posterity. It is something that I try really hard to do but sometimes in the midst of the bickering and teasing and frustration and potty training and picking up...I forget to find the joy. I am going to try to concentrate harder on finding the joy.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Weekly Top Five 8/17/2009

Top Five Real People I'd Like To Be Friends With

1. John Stewart

2. The people in this video

3. J. K. Rowling

4. Jim Gaffigan

5. Sheri Dew

Friday, August 14, 2009

What are you a wacko?


I think that a really good place for a dirty jock strap and athletic supporter is at the threshold of the living room/dining room.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Weekly Top Five 8/10/2009

Top Five Favorite Leading Men from a John Hughes Movie

1. (tie) Ferris and Cameron

2. Jake Ryan

3. Duckie

4. Keith Nelson

5. Steff ( i know he was a jerk but he was still pretty hot)

Friday, August 7, 2009

The rest of us are all probably going to die of heart attacks and strokes long before you.

I was going to do my "Weekly Top Five" on Monday as my Top Five Favorite John Hughes movies. I just sat down to do it and as I starting typing the list, there are just too many more than five to make a list like that.

My all time favorite John Hughes movie is "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." I saw it for the first time at a sleepover in the 6th grade and it captivated me in a way no movie I'd ever seen before. After seeing it, I knew I had entered my teenage years. I was no longer a child. In high school, a friend and I spent one entire sleep over memorizing the words. The entire screenplay. There were people we knew that looked like some of the characters and we would call them by the names in the movie. We had secret theories about a possible relationship between Cameron and Sloane. I am always on the look out for a good Cameron look alike. I spotted one on an opposing swim team once and secretly took pictures of him through the whole meet. I named my son Cameron, for Pete' sake! I really love this movie.

The rest can't be put in an order. They are all pretty special. "Sixteen Candles" was first seen at my 18th surprise birthday party. My friend gave me a copy of it and I watched it over and over again. If Chris dies, I'm giving my heart to Jake Ryan. "The Breakfast Club" was one that I saw too young and it took until I was older to understand some of it. In 8th grade, I had to do a group project with some kids. We gave our group the name "Neo Maxi Zoom Dweebies." I saw "Some Kind of Wonderful" at another sleepover. I was enthralled with the lead's hair and got a cut just like hers. My friend and I watched "Weird Science" at her older sisters house every time we visited her. I remember watching "Mr. Mom" when I was 10 on a family vacation to Mackinac Island. The hotel had HBO! It was awesome! The summer before we got married, Chris and I watched "Vacation" over and over again. We would sing the "Marty Moose" song to each other all the time. We watch "Christmas Vacation" every year after we put up the Christmas tree. "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" is oft quoted at Thanksgiving. "She's having a Baby" was THE date movie to watch at BYU. I probably saw it at least 10 times when I was there. "The Great Outdoors," "Home Alone" and "Uncle Buck" are newer movies that I love and have started sharing with my kids. How can you not love John Hughes movies?

One of the best things about them are the soundtracks. So many of my very favorite songs are from John Hughes movies. Here's a list of my very favorites. Go get them on your ipods. You won't be sorry.

"Don't You (Forget About Me)" by Simple Minds
"I go Crazy" by Flesh For Lulu
"If you were here" by The Thompson Twins
"The Edge of Forever" by The Dream Academy
"Pretty in Pink" by the Psychedelic Furs
"Weird Science" by Oingo Boingo
"Young Americans" by David Bowie
"Turning Japanese" by the Vapors
"True" by Spandau Ballet

Don't you just want to grab a friend and watch your favorite one? I do!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Thankful Thursday 8/6/2009

1. Sandwiches at Penn Station

2. Coming in first

3. Dark Blue

4. Geri Aldrich's lake

5. Flowers

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

So Biff wants to be a buff? ... Well sleeping less than 18 hours a day would be a start.



When I was in the sixth grade, we studied World War II and watched a movie in our classroom that depicted life in a concentration camp. I remember sitting, riveted in my chair unable to comprehend what was being portrayed on screen. It was hard for me to believe that this had actually happened to real people. This was my first introduction to the horror that was WWII and the Holocaust. The details of this period in time gripped me like none other. I spent hours pouring over WWII books and watching movies. The summer before 7th grade, I spent laying on my stomach in the backyard reading the entire Time-Life World War II series. All 39 books. It was an obsession with me to read and watch more and more.

It's hard to put my finger on what enthralled me about the era. Perhaps it was the struggle of good vs. evil. Perhaps I identified with the persecution and attempted annihilation of a religious group. Perhaps it was the romance of the time--heroes fighting for freedom and the women they loved, women taking to factories for the first time in their lives, victory gardens, etc... I guess it was all of these things rolled together.

I talked about it nonstop with my mom and dad, friends, teachers...anyone who would listen. I got the game "Axis and Allies" for Christmas when I was 13. It was all I wanted. I made my parents play it with me over and over again. I'm sure they were terribly bored! I was obsessed.
In high school, we read the book "Delivered from Evil," in my American History class. I spent one weekend reading the entire 1000 page book and loved every exhilarating minute of discussion that we had in class about it.

I lost touch with this passion I had after high school. I still enjoyed watching WWII movies like, "Schindler's List" and while Chris sat with his head between his knees during "Saving Private Ryan" because the beach landing scene made him light headed, I sat transfixed, unable to take my eyes off the screen. We watched the series "Band of Brothers" faithfully together. And then, nothing for several years.

Last week, I checked out "The Winds of War" by Herman Wouk from the library. While reading this book, I felt my familiar love of the history of the WWII time period return. I finished the book and am now reading it's sequel. I have found that the History and Military History channels have several shows dedicated to WWII history. Last night, I was watching a show about the last days of the war and it was showing liberation of some of the concentration camps by the American soldiers. I had to stop watching after a few minutes because the suffering of those interred there seemed much more acute to me now that I am a mother. It is unimaginable. So much hatred...I can't understand it.

I feel overwhelming emotion in trying to end this post. I started it on July 28th and here it is August 5th and I still don't know what to say. I want to sneak in my baby's room and cuddle her and whisper a prayer of thanksgiving for being born into the world now and to a safe haven from the evils of the world. I think I will.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

She called us all babe.


Nineteen years ago today my dad woke me up and told me that my mom died in the night. At that moment, one volume of my life closed and a new one opened. The entire day felt unreal. It was like I wasn't me, but I was just watching things happen in my house. People came and left. We went to the dry cleaner and Churchill's like everything was regular. But it wasn't regular and when I had to interact with people, I wanted to scream at them "My mom is dead. Don't you know? My mom is dead!" But I didn't.

She died on a Saturday. My dad said we had to go to church on Sunday even though it would be hard because if we didn't then it would be harder the next week. I suppose he was right. We always sat in the very front row and it seem to me that no one spoke as we walked from the back door of the chapel to the front. A dear friend embraced me and I sobbed in her arms.

After church, we had to go to the funeral home for the viewing. People were there already because it started before I even got there and I was upset because I didn't get a minute alone with my mom before people starting coming. People kept telling me that she was wearing her wedding dress but I knew this couldn't be right because she borrowed her wedding dress and didn't own it. When I approached her, she was wearing all white and the clothing would have looked like a wedding dress to an unknowing observer, however it was sacred temple clothing. She looked very beautiful. I touched her hand. It was cold.

The day was a blur of people and hugs and tears. Finally everyone left and we were alone with her. I took her wedding ring and put in on my finger. I was lonely.

My cousin came home with me and stayed overnight. I was so glad. Sometimes we talked and laughed and sometimes I cried and she held my hand.

Her funeral was nice. I don't remember anything about it except sitting next to Anna and feeling like everyone was watching me. I remember that someone put anti-Mormon literature in the bathrooms. I was so angry I took it and waved it at my dad and cried. How could anyone be so cruel? It was done by a cousin of mine. I had one cousin who's husband wouldn't come into the church building. I guess he though Mormonism was catching. We might grab him and baptize him if he came in.

We had to drive to Lansing for her burial. My dad dedicated her grave.

That first day, I thought that it couldn't get any harder. I was so wrong. Although the pain isn't as new as it was then, nineteen years later I think I miss her more now. On August 4th, there was a rainbow in the sky. Every year after that I have seen a rainbow on that day. Even the year I was in Utah. Even the year that it was beautiful out but a friend gave me a card with a rainbow on the outside. She didn't know about my rainbow thing. When I see a rainbow, I feel like God is saying to me "I took your mom, but I promise it will be worth it." I hope I have enough faith to believe Him.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Just when I thought you couldn't possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this... and totally redeem yourself!

All of the ingredients in Enfamil, Similac and store brand baby formula are exactly the same. The prices however are not the same. The store brand is half the price of the others. I am interested to know why someone would pay for the expensive brands. It doesn't make sense to me.

Weekly Top Five 8/3/2009

Top Five Favorite Scents from Bath and Body Works

1. Cotton Blossom

2. Sweet Pea

3. Cucumber Melon

4. White Citrus

5. Seaspray

One of my all time favorite pictures

Saturday, August 1, 2009

I am ALWAYS ready! I have BEEN ready since first call! I AM READY! Roll!


***update*** I found my memory card reader under a pile of laundry in the laundry room. Right where it's supposed to be. :)
Here's a few pictures I wanted to post with this post.


I have been waiting to write this post because I had some pictures that I wanted to take from my camera and upload for it. However, SOMEONE has stolen both of the memory card readers that I have. I'm not naming names *cough* Cameron *cough.* So I guess you get the post without the pictures for now.
My cousin, Hayden


Lizzie enjoying the mini-recliner with Aunt Suzie


Emily went to her second year of YW Girls Camp this month. She had a super fun time. She especially loved having Anna there as an adult leader this year. Emily came home with stronger friendships with girls in our ward. Hooray! I'm happy for that. She had fun canoeing, picking mulberries, performing in a skit, swimming in the lake and all the other fun girls camp stuff that happens.

I drove the girls to camp and home again. On the second trip out to Battle Creek, I stopped at my aunts house to visit with her in Marshall. I have posted about this particular aunt before. She's one of my favorites. One time when I was staying there in the summer, I convinced her that I was old enough to ride her bike from their house in the country to town to get a few things she needed from the grocery store. I think I was probably in the 7th grade so that would make me about 12 years old. I looked it up on the map and the distance was about 6 miles round trip. That is a lot for a 12 year-old-girl in unfamiliar territory! However, I was determined. I got on the bike, which included one of those baby seats. I headed out and promptly got lost at the second turn. I just couldn't remember which way to go. The cornfields all looked the same and I headed the wrong way for a while. I got myself straightened out and headed over a river and then over some rail road tracks. Those were scary on a bike. I continued on until I got to Michigan Avenue. I think every state in the union has a Michigan Avenue and they are all the same: 2 or 4 lane divided highways with fast cars zooming by. I didn't have any much of this kind of road experience but I pressed on. I made it onto the road and almost immediately had to drive on a bridge over I-69. This was terrifying. I went as quick as I could over the bridge and headed into town. I made it to the Feldpausch's grocery and purchased the items for my aunt: sour cream and enchilada sauce. I put the items and the change in the bag and headed back to the bike. I wasn't looking forward to the drive home but nevertheless, carried on. I wanted to cross Michigan Avenue right there in front of Feldpausch's because I was going to the McDonald's across the street to get something to drink. As I was riding across the5 lane highway, my bag broke and all of my purchases and money flew all over the road. I hopped off the bike and scrambled around trying to pick everything up. The sour cream had cracked and some oozed out but I think I saved everything else. I made it to McDonalds, drank my pop and contemplated calling Aunt Suzie and having her come and get me. I decided I could make it home, so this time, I buckled the bag of stuff into the kid seat and headed back out. I made it back over I-69, and headed out to the country. I had to go back over the railroad tracks and when I did, the bag I put in there flew out and scattered my purchases all over the tracks. I was panicked that I was going to be hit by a train but determined to rescue the food cuz how would Aunt Suzie make her famous chicken enchiladas without the sour cream and sauce?? I got everything and continued on my journey. I made it back to 130 Brook Drive in once piece thankfully. I relayed my adventures to Aunt Suzie, who was able to save most of the sour cream and make the delicious enchiladas. It was quite an experience in my 12 year old life.

Friday, July 31, 2009

You have to meet Bess. She's amazing. She's 93, she's a writer... and I told her about you.


On Thursday, Rachel Clawson and I went to the temple to do an Endowment session. The two names that we took to do were family members that I know a little bit about. The first was Jane Dorothy Hamilton. She was my grandma's cousin and I met her several times. She ended up being quite a wealthy woman and either had no children or maybe just one. She would send a box to our family every Christmas with some toys for Anna and I and something for my parents. I remember she bought Anna her first real Cabbage Patch Kid. She was a very nice lady. I was glad we could do her work. The other person we did work for was Waneita Hudson. She was my great-grandmother's cousin. She was quite old when I knew her. She was born in 1902 and she went by the name "Neita." She and my mom shared quite a bond over African Violets. Many of the ones my mom grew came from starters that Neita gave her. Neita came to my house once and I was just searching for the picture from her visit but was unable to find it. I'll keep looking.

I'm glad I had the chance to go to the temple and bless the lives of these two women who blessed my life in many ways.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thankful Thursday 7/30/09

1. Sock monkies

2. War and Remembrance

3. Honest neighbors

4. Facebook connections

5. Candyband

Monday, July 27, 2009

Weekly Top Five 7/27/2009


Top Five Favorite Kinds of Cheese

1. Boursin

2. Havarti

3. Marscapone

4. Provolone

5. Blue

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thankful Thursday 7/23/2009

1. People who move away and give me some of the food from their freezer

2. People who give rides to my kids for school stuff, church stuff, sports, etc...

3. People who invite both of my older sons to birthday parties and sleepovers

4. People who comment on my blog.

5. People who are Emily and are coming home today!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Well, if you were directly above him, how could you see him? Because I was inverted.


On Saturday, we were able to go to Thunder of Michigan Air Show at the Yankee Air Museum. Someone at one of the local TV stations gave Chris tickets. We let Spencer bring a friend to celebrate his birthday with him.

It was such a neat, fun time. I really loved it. We got to see lots of old planes and new planes. The Navy's Blue Angels were there also and their show was incredible. How do they fly so close together and not hit each other?? I just don't get it.

There was a plane there from WWII that my neighbor in Toledo flew and was shot down in. He was in a German POW camp for a long time before being freed and returning home. There were giant C-13os that the kids got to tour. The fighter jets were incredibly loud when they flew by. There was a stealth fighter that flew over. It was really cool.

Something about the military and soldiers and veterans brings out the patriot in me. I am proud to be an American!


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