Thursday, November 19, 2009

There He Goes Again

Yep. It is deer hunting time again. Todd is packing up the truck and heading up north until Tuesday. And this year I will have FOUR little monkeys (two of whom have colds right now, Ben and Grace) here with me. I'm a little stressed about the possible lack of sleep on my end since my babies are sick but we'll be alright.

I have plenty of fun things planned for this weekend. My boys' favorite Festival of the Trees is this weekend so Saturday will be filled with hot chocolate, cookies, and beautifully decorated trees. And plenty of me saying, "Don't touch that! That is breakable!" But fun, nonetheless. And if the weather is nice we can walk down the street to the woods where we found a HUGE pile of leaves (the neighbors must use the woods as their leaf dumping zone- SCORE for us!) and do some hardcore pile jumping. Yes. We'll find plenty to do.

I'll make sure that this week does not end up like last year. Me being overwhelmed and yelling too much. And the boys sick of me and misbehaving too much. This year I will do better!

And I won't even let myself THINK about next week when we are having my family over for Thanksgiving on Thursday, and Todd's family over for Thanksgiving on Saturday. Cuz, um, then it might all just be too much. ;)

And if I get a bit overwhelmed I have an escape plan. It is called Operation Edward And Jacob. The NEW MOON is rising and I'm gonna see it. Oh yeah, baby! The wait is almost over. I've got a ticket in my sweaty little palms, and I'm not afraid to use it! The first show on Friday is MINE baby! I am THERE!!!!! Ahhh, sweet escape.

So you see? The next five days will just fly by. Piece of cake. Uh-huh. Nooooo problem. Easy-peasy. No. Big. Deal.

Is it Tuesday yet?

Friday, November 13, 2009

PSF- So, You Want To Date My Sister, Huh?

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and She's a moron and can't remember...

I know that Todd looks at this picture and sees his future hunting buddies,but all I can think of is these three boys answering the door when Gracie's dates comes a calling.

"So, you want to take Grace on a date, do ya?"

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

WW-Baby In A Bumbo

Think she likes it?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Surf's Up

By now it is no secret that I am obsessed with Lake Michigan. I love it. It is beautiful, and unpredictable, and powerful, and majestic. Everyone who sees it for the first time is amazed at its size and how much it resembles an ocean. Still, many people are surprised to hear that we have so many surfers that take on the waves of Lake Michigan.

The city I live in is known as one of the best spots in the world for freshwater surfing. There is an annual surfing contest held here every year and surfers come from all over to participate. It is pretty fun to watch. Especially when our lady Lake decides to cooperate and give the contestants some decent waves. This year the surfers did not have very good waves the weekend of the contest but this past Saturday the conditions were great.
(click on pics to enlarge)
Still, as we were driving by I was pretty shocked to see so many surfers out that day. There had to be over fifty surfers. We quickly pulled the car over and got out to watch for a while. And of course I had to snap some photos too.
The surfers would ride the waves all the way to the beach, walk across the sand to the jetty, and walk out to the pier.
Once they got to a relatively calm area they would climb down the boulders and jump back into the lake's icy waters.
I'm not a fan of being cold, but it looked like so much fun that I think I may have convinced myself to try it someday. Yes, I may freeze my butt off but at least I wouldn't be crashing into coral reefs or get eaten by sharks. It sounds like a pretty good trade off to me.
I guess these surfers think so too.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Finally Fall

Finally! The weather finally feels like fall.

This past weekend we had the nicest weather. On Saturday it was about 67 degrees and sunny all day. We immediately took advantage and used every spare minute of that day for outdoor fun.

After we had stopped off at our favorite bakery/coffee shop we headed down to the beach at the shores of Lake Michigan. The waves were especially large that day and all of the surfers came out in full force. I took a ton of photos, but I'll show you those another time.

After we had our fill of watching the surfers we headed out to one of my favorite spots. It is a huge field and woodsy area with a bunch of different walking paths. A great spot to let the boys run wild.

While I was busy getting Grace into her sling the boys played a game of hide and seek in the tall grass.

"Where are the boys?" "There they are!"
After I got Gracie into her sling we were ready to go!
One of the paths we chose had a pretty little bridge with a tiny creek running under it. The boys had a good time throwing stones into the creek, as you would imagine.
They were so happy to be out racing around that they even stopped to let us snap a pic.
They boys found big sticks shaped like rakes and spent much of the time raking the entire path.
It was very tiring and after a while Ben needed a lift.
All the beautiful, multicolored leaves had already fallen off of the trees, but we still had some color. We found some bright red berries here and there.
The sky was a gorgeous blue.
And we even found a bright orange bush or two. Mostly, the boys just had a good time running around in the woods for a couple of hours.
And I was just thankful that I was able to have a little bit of my fall.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


The sun is shining today, so that automatically puts me in a good mood. I eye the massive bag of apples atop my counter and figure that now is as good a time as any to start in on my applesauce.

I stand at my sink and peel away at apple after apple. Peel, peel, peel, core, cut, put in the kettle. There are so many apples that it takes me close to an hour. Well, that and the fact that I have to stop about a gazillion times to break up fights, hand out snacks, change diapers, wipe noses, and wipe butts.

Still, the sun is shining in through my windows in heated streams, Frank Sinatra is playing in the background, and the sweet, spicy smell of my apples is filling the whole house. Strangely enough, it is times like these that the hole in my heart feels especially sharp.

It has been too long since I've seen you. I mean, I know that when people die you don't see them anymore. I get that. But, well, I really miss seeing you. I've been missing you so much lately. I'm wondering if it is finally hitting me that you are gone. I won't be seeing you again. And now I'm starting to cry again.

This past week we celebrated All Saints Day at church. Just like every year, the names of all the church members who have passed away in past year were read in front of church. There I sat in my pew, sweating and nervous. Dreading when they would get to your name. And when your name was finally read it felt like a punch in the gut. I cried and cried and didn't even care that the girl in the pew in front of me turned around to stare. Stare away, girlie! I miss my dad.

This year we skipped right over fall. It was never golden and pretty. It was not cool and crisp. It didn't even have that wonderful fall smell. It was dark and dreary and bitter cold. It seems appropriate though, because fall was your absolute favorite time, and without you here to enjoy it what is the point?

There are so many things you have missed, daddy. I have a little girl. Did you know that? I like to think that maybe you already met her, but I don't know. I named her Grace. And she is perfect. I wish you could have met her. And her you. I feel she is really missing out without you here. We all are.

The boys still talk about you. Mostly at night when we are saying prayers. They like to think of you as an angel now, and they sometimes ask you for favors. One night Joey even asked you to "help all the girls stop trying to kiss me". I laughed so hard and I pictured you laughing right along with us. You would be so proud of my boys and so happy to see how much they want to protect their sister. It is very sweet.

We moved too. Remember that neighborhood that you and mom used to walk through all the time? The one right on top of the lake by the woods? Mom said you used to walk down the very street I live on and dream about living here. The house has everything you always wanted. A fireplace, a big backyard, a huge garage. It even feels like we live out in the country because the neighborhood is so quite. You can hear the waves crashing and listen to the geese honking as they come in for a landing over the cliff edge onto the lake. And the other night we had four deer in our yard. This house has your name all over it. I wish you could see it. You would be so happy for us. So excited.

I miss you, dad. I wish you would visit. At least in my dreams every now and then. It has just been too long. Every once in a while I can hear you in my head. The other night when I was irrationally annoyed with mom I heard you say, "Awe, honey. Come on now." Just like you used to do when mom and I would bicker with each other when I was a sassy teenager. It immediately made me smile. And then it widened that hole in my heart and I missed you even more.

Here I thought I was so strong and doing so well. But I guess it is finally hitting me now. Before I was just happy for you. Glad that you were finally released from your body that wasn't working anymore. Grateful that you were not suffering anymore. Now. Now I'm just sad for me.

I found a three page letter that you had written to me when I was in high school. In it you told me how proud of me you were and how much you loved me. It felt so good to read those words from you. Having that letter now means more to me than you could ever have imagined when you wrote it.
You ended the letter with:
"Mom and I both hope and pray for a bright future for you and that you never stray from the right and good path. We have loving concern for you- so very much- our youngest and last of all of our children. You have so much to offer. Please- always- depend on God to help you- to guide you, care for you and to bless you. And give Him your love, praise, adoration, thanksgiving, and support.
God Bless You Honey- I love you very much!! And right now I am choked up. Dad"

Thank you, Daddy. What a gift. I'll end my letter the same way.

God Bless You Daddy- I love you very much!! And right now I am choked up. Kathy

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Dare I Say It?

Up until now I've been too nervous to mention it (well, I'm actually still nervous- hear me knocking on wood?), but for the last three weeks there is a certain smiley little girl that has been SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT.

Oh yes. You heard that right. My baby girl started sleeping through the night at two months! TWO. MONTHS. I'm telling you, this kid is an angel! Such a good girl.

"Who's a good girl?" "Gracie is!"

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Oh, October

Oh, October, where did you go? You have always been one of my favorite months of the year and this year you were no where to be found.

We waited patiently for you to come. Dreams of sunlight streaming through the trees, pumpkin farms, and Halloween night filled our heads. Instead you brought us temps in the 40s, dark, dreary days, howling winds, and torrential rains. We rarely saw the sun, and trips to the pumpkin farm were cancelled over and over again. Our annual leaf pile photos were impossible with the high winds that shook the leaves off the trees before they could turn their true brilliant colors. Not to mention the fact that any leaf piles we could muster were soaking wet.

But we tried. We tried to resume our normal activities though they were much later than we would have liked.

We did make it to the pumpkin farm. The day before Halloween. And all of the pumpkins they had left were rotten. And the pumpkin patch was muddy. And it was 40 degrees, windy, and dreary. But we got there. And somehow we still managed to have fun.

We took plenty of goofy pictures like this: And this:

We managed to get a decent family picture. Everyone was even looking at the camera!
Gracie got her very first pumpkin.
Ben saw some super cute bunnies.
And the boys got a big kick out of all the baby goats.
It was a short trip to the pumpkin farm, and we couldn't do half of the activities there that we normally enjoy, but we still had fun.
I was hoping that you, October, were saving the most beautiful day of the month for the very last day. Halloween. But, you didn't. We woke up to a rainy, cold morning, with 30 mile/hr wind gusts yet again. The boys were nervous that trick or treating would be cancelled, but I reassured them that we would have fun no matter what.
We got all decked out in our fabulous costumes, with 10 layers of clothes underneath.
Grace was a mouse for her very first Halloween. I think she liked it.
Ben was a dalmatian again this year because the costume still fit. And besides, he makes an adorable puppy.
Joey was a vampire. Secretly I wondered if my Twilight obsession was to blame.
And Tommy was once again saving the world as Spiderman.
They made a handsome crew.
It was very cold outside but running from door to door helped to keep us warm. That and the four layers of clothes we had on underneath our costumes. We meet some of our neighbors for the first time and discovered that this neighborhood is very generous at Halloween, which pleased the boys immensely.
After the first few blocks I decided Grace would be warmer next to me so I put her in the sling and hid her inside my jacket. Much better.
The kids were super troopers walking for two hours in the cold and Grace was very patient. But she was clearly relieved when we finally got back home and she was able to eat. She was a hungry and tired little mouse. Though she hid it well.
Yes, we managed to have some fun, no thanks to you, October. Next year I would greatly appreciate it if you could kindly remember that you are supposed to average 65 degrees with no more than 5 or 6 days of rain. I'm just sayin.
And if you could tell November to take it easy on us, that'd be great. Thanks.

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson