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'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!!
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