Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Torch Lake 2008

The whole family (all 9 of us) gathered for a weekend at my parents' cottage. The weather was mostly perfect, there were things to do and places to visit. My parents, after years of deliberation (and, when they're being honest about it, the occasional disagreement) decided to purchase a SeaDoo for the family to use and enjoy. It turned out to be a real hit--everybody rode or drove it (with the obvious exception of Ava.) There was a lot of beach time, a lot of excitement, a lot of laughs and jokes, and lots and lots of yummy (and diet-killing) food.
My family did enjoy each other, but immediate family members grow older, create their own families, and live apart from each other for a reason. Bring them in together again in close quarters for several days, and you'll usually get a reminder of why they all love each other--but also why it is best they they now live apart. (Even Tom and I got on each other's nerves more than usual.) I thought that once I was a grown up, we would all be grown-up--there's a difference. However, the older I get, the more I truly understand how much I have left to learn. I am not at all a fan of The Simpsons, but their creator, Matt Groening, hits the nail on the head in a humorous (but truthful) way when he says, "Families are about love overcoming emotional torture." We may not be perfect, but I will love my parents and sister until the end of my days, and I will cherish all the memories we have made, and the ones that wait for us in the future.

Mt 11:28-30

Relaxing after the requisite shopping trip in Alden, Michigan

Vacation means you can break a few rules...like borrowing Mommy's iPod.

The boys playing football. (Where the heck is that football?)

Give them permission to act silly, and they will. (There are several family friends in this photo as well as our family.)

Most of the kids/grandkids enjoying the beach

"I want to come ooooooooooooout!"

Alex (11) and Zach (6.5) working on a fun new activity--a paleontology set. They "dig" some dinosaur "bones" out of plaster of Paris, then clean and assemble them.

(The boys humored their old auntie by letting her have a turn at it too. Aunt Becky loves to play with toys as much as kids do.)

Liesl enjoying the floating chairs on the lake

We often take several floating devices out to the buoy and attach them. This "floating island" attracts a lot of family conversations...and a few splashes. Pack your digital camera in a Ziploc baggy, please.

More babes on the water...except the boat was on the lift. (With gates and a protective canopy, it makes a nice, safe place to play with an active baby.)

Uncle Tom and Alex at dusk, practicing skipping rocks

First all-family boat ride! (And Ava's very first boat ride!)

Liesl driving Papa's boat. (Yes, the boat really is underway. God be with us.)

Ava wasn't as crazy about the boat ride as everyone else...therefore, it was a short ride.

Liesl LOVES the boat. (And her Daddy!)

The family's Sevylor raft doubled as a beach playpen. Props to Grammie for coming up with the idea. This is handy for busy mommies with small, wiggly babies who are prone to shoving handfuls of sand in their mouths.

Brooke, the granddaughter of a family friend, really, REALLY dug Ava. (The feeling was mutual, you'll note.) The youngest of two girls, we think Brooke needs a baby sister of her own.

Mommy and Liesl on the SeaDoo. The SeaDoo hit 56+ mph several times that weekend. Needless to say, this wasn't one of those times....

...though this one was. (Being a passenger is a lot harder than driving the thing.)

Liesl, Zach, and Tammy out on the water. See the freak making the huge wake on a jet ski behind them? That's Tom. I checked to be sure our life insurance is paid up....

Tom after his maiden voyage. Thankfully, both husband and watercraft are in one piece.

Liesl "driving" the jet ski into the lift for Aunt Tammy. (You'll note that my sister has the key out of the ignition. Smart move.)

Hell has frozen over, and pigs have sprouted wings: My mother, 63, drove the SeaDoo. Go Mom!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

We need a vacation from our vacation

The week of the 4th of July, Tom was on mandatory shutdown. Rather than haul our brood up north, we decided to have a quiet week at home. Ha! We did have a really nice time, but it was far from quiet. And we didn't even go for any fireworks! Two tiny kids makes for an interesting "vacation." Here is a rundown of some of the main (or more exciting) events:

Our hip new ride. :-) Never thought I'd be so happy about a minivan. We turned in our leased 2006 Town and Country, got this red 2008 for even less than we paid for our 2006 lease. I guess there are some advantages to the economy being crummy. Nevertheless, I really love this van. Even though it is a base model with pretty much none of the expensive perks, it has a ton of extra little "luxeries" that make you feel like you're driving something a little more flashy.

Daphne's surprise baby shower. :-) Her husband, Dontun, put it together without her knowing. He's quite a guy. He invited ALL 4 of us. It was quite a challenge for Tom and I, keeping both girls happy and fed while maintaining a civilized atmosphere, but we pulled it off.

Riding Moolinda, the fiberglass cow at our local ice cream joint. The Silver Dairy is an institution in Farmington.

Instead of being spoon-fed some of Mommy's ice cream, Liesl now gets her very own ice cream cone. :-) She is so proud!

Liesl "helping" me fold the laundry. Yes, that is her father's underwear.
This is another photo to show to her prom date in 15 years.

Liesl then decided Ava needed to try the new look.

July 4, 2008--Ava's first solids! My sweet baby is growing up.
She had sweet potato puree, mixed with a little breastmilk. So far she is lukewarm on eating
solids. She'd rather nurse. Frankly, so would I, but we feed her a very small serving
of solids every day.


The girls at lunch

Yes, some of those sweet potatoes actually made it IN the baby.

My sweet baby on the 4th of July

I know. I'm mean. But she's so freakin' cute this way.

Patriotic girls

Going for a walk in our quiet neighborhood on the 4th. Everybody else was out of town for the holiday.

Our family room/battlezone after we battled a chipmunk impostor.

With Ava and Liesl safely jailed away (and screaming) from the chaos and the rodent in a playpen and a bedroom, respectively, and with both Tom and I wielding brooms and mops, we played a 20-minute game of "Where-is-he-there-he-is-do-you-have-a-visual-no-I-don't-but-he-ran-under-the-loveseat-now-do-you-see-him-yes-he's-running-your-way-oh-no-he's-in-Liesl's-dollhouse-and-oh-yuck-he-just-ran-over-my-bare-foot-well-I-told-you-to-put-shoes-on-oh-wait-he's-out-the-door-and-YES! He's OUT! We WIN!!!" This was immediately followed by a ridiculous victory dance with two (supposedly grown-up) people raising their "weapons" (brooms) triumphantly in the air and hugging each other before we went upstairs to rescue our screaming kids. I'm telling you, folks...there's nothing like a rodent in your living quarters to test the communication in your marraige. We passed. (Then we cracked open a couple of beers.)

This was Whinnie's 19th birthday. Happy Birthday, Whinnie. Your birthday gift is that we won't trade you in for a qualified mouser for leaving us high and dry with a rodent in our family room.
This was how she looked during the entire Battle of Chipmunk Eviction. Amused, content...and definitely not interested in helping out. (Hey, she's an old lady, we'll forgive her.)

Amalie's 1st birthday party. I can't believe it's been a year since Christine and I met in our midwife's office--me for a prenatal appointment, her for her 6-week postpartum follow-up, with sweet little Amalie.

Liesl "helping" Christine open our gift to Amalie. We gave Amalie a few of our favorite Sandra Boynton books. I had quite a time convincing Liesl that these were, in fact, not her copies of the books. She was quite upset with me for leaving "her" books at Amalie's house. We read all of those same stories that night, to convince Liesl that, indeed, we still had our copy of "What's Wrong, Little Pookie."

The Birthday Girl and Big Brother Jakob.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Remember Ferdinand? He's obviously been busy. Look what Tom found in the yard. Click on the picture to get a better view.

Oh, he was soooo cute....I wanted to keep him so bad! Doesn't God (with a little help from Ferdinand) just make the most perfect little critters?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Someone Else's Serendipity

I'm fairly certain that whoever discovered oatmeal's healing and rejuvenating skin benefits had a 2 year-old old...and that he or she fed that 2 year-old oatmeal for breakfast.

Unfortunately, these benefits do not extend to my table, chairs, windows, walls, floors, clothes, cabinets, blinds, eyeglasses, or counter tops.

(This photo does not do justice to the clean-up task I have after cooking oatmeal--even when Liesl is doing well with her table manners.)

We've been having some c-r-a-z-y times these last few weeks. I plan to post pictures and stories of our vacation week--we vacationed at home. It was fun, but not nearly as relaxing as we had hoped!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Thursday, July 3, 2008

It could happen


This reminds me of the first time Whinnie, ever curious,
stuck her nose into Ava's dirty diaper laundry.
I only wish I had caught a video of her expression that day.
She thinks twice about being nosey in the laundry room now. :-)