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Saturday, July 22, 2017

A Dedication

Sometimes a little context would be nice. 
 
What was the writing prompt?  What was happening in life at that time?  And how did I know how much money my sister had?!
 

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Just a Typical Sunday Afternoon....

Holly had a bit of an accident today. 
 
Or maybe a face meeting with a 5-gallon bucket from a two foot fall qualifies as more than a 'bit' of an accident.

 

It was a traumatizing day that I hope she will not remember.  I, however, will never forget the pitiful, tearful, whimpering words of
 
"I just fell, Momma.  I just fell."
 

Nor will I ever forget how this child fought out of her father's, the male nurse's and my grip while getting nasal sedation...  And how hard she fought off four adults who were practically laying on her while trying numb the area leading to the decision to fully sedate her...  And how hard she fought to stay awake after said sedation should have immediately knocked her out leading to her being awake while sewing her back together.
 
4.5 l-o-n-g hours and 11 stitches later, we finally came home to rest and let the healing begin...  
 
 
The trauma to her baby teeth will show as time goes on but will have no lasting affect on her permanent teeth.  She complains a lot of pain and discomfort, rightfully so, and is supposed to take it easy for the next day.  And after a crazy busy six weeks of summer so far, a down day is just what we needed.  It is just sad to get it in this way.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Community Bench

"Our house sits at the top of a cul-de-sac, nestled between one neighbor who has lived here over forty-five years and a retired couple who have been here only a few years longer than we have.  On the other side of that couple are John's brother, Frank, and his wife, Mercedes, and their two young girls.  They moved here first, and a few years later when this house had sat empty for a while, they suggested we try to buy it.  After some stuff and things and negotiating, we did.

Our kids and our nieces were still riding tricycles at the time, so we often sat outside in the grassy center of the cul-de-sac to watch.  Other kids from down the street would often come to join in, and John, Frank, Mercedes, and I pulled out lawn chairs from the garage or spread out blankets on the grass to watch the kids play.

One afternoon while John's mom was visiting, she mentioned how nice it would be to have a couple of benches in the center of the circle, more permanent seating so we wouldn't always have to drag our lawn chairs out every time the kids wanted to play.  Not one to suggest ideas without taking responsibility, she showed up several days later with a bench in a box in the back of her car.  Days later, a neighbor bought a matching one.

Now we have two benches facing each other in front of our houses, like our little community of seven homes finally has a living room.

As I was preparing dinner one afternoon, I glanced out my kitchen window and noticed three of our neighbors leave their homes at nearly the same time, making their way at various shuffling speeds to meet at the benches in the middle.

I'd seen them outside in the past, chatting over newly fetched mail or exchanging comments about the weather, but they had never stayed out for more than a few minutes as their aging bodies wouldn't cooperate with the demands of standing for so long.  Now that we had benches, everything was different.  Unable to resist the community, I went outside to check the mail and crossed the street to talk with them for a few moments.  We spoke of children and grandchildren, aging siblings and friends, the weather.  We enjoyed the breeze and waved at the occasional passing car.  We lingered.

With dinner still cooking inside, I made my way back to the kitchen but kept my eye on them through my window.  They stayed out for nearly an hour.  I'd not seen them do that before.  It wasn't that they didn't want to be together, but before it wasn't so easy.  Now they had benches to sit on.  And the benches made all the difference.

The benches didn't give them something to talk about.  The benches weren't fancy, expensive, impressive, or flashy.  They weren't a complicated solution to an unsolvable problem, and they didn't offer answers to difficult questions.  The benches simply gave us neighbors a place to be,  place to rest, a place to come together on an ordinary day."

by Emily Freeman in "Simply Tuesday"

 
Our little town offers a weekly community dinner.  Just as the benches were a simple gesture of comfort, ease, and bringing people together, so is this community dinner.  It has nothing to do with age or finance; no reason to be hesitant or ashamed in showing up; no need to make it more complicated then that.  It does, however, have everything to do with friendships, bonding, and the closeness that small towns boost about.  And for those of us serving, provides a way to get up out of the pew and put feet to our faith.
 
I am proud to say that our family just served our fourth community dinner.  87 neighbors came through and happily, excitedly, gratefully gobbled down 187 pizza sliders, ham and cheese sliders, reuben sliders, and chicken salad sliders.  They devoured a crock pot and a half of baked beans.  They were graciously overwhelmed with options of potato salad, macaroni salad, 5 bean salad, lettuce salad, Italian pasta salad, and potato chips.  And my, oh my, you should have heard the gasps of joy when I said we had peanut butter, strawberry, and caramel chocolate ice cream pies for dessert! 
 
The heartfelt thanks you's, the coming back for seconds and thirds, and the asking of recipes from the community is enough to fill your cup.  Providing this simple dinner is a chance talk to and connect with people we pass is the isle at Walmart or walk past at Cruise Night.  To see them as people, not just a project.
 
 
To everyone who has helped in the past, present or future and to everyone who has donated and contributed towards these meals -
 
Thank You
 
We all know the saying of 'many hands make the workload light' but your generosity goes beyond that.  More fitting would be the Mother Teresa quote "I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water that makes many ripples."  Every donation, every gesture, every smile, every 'Hi!  How are you today?" before serving a meal changes everything.  From the example that it sets for our children to the changes in makes inside us and the people we serve, it makes a difference.  YOU are a part of that difference.  You are making the world a better place.  Thank you and I can't wait to do it again in November.
 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Monday, July 3, 2017

Summer Fun - Week Five

Week FIVE (how are we five weeks into summer break already?!?!) starts in the kitchen where we have begun to trust Jacob with the stove!  It also helps that he is finally tall enough too..
 
 
Bree was put to work again mowing part of the lawn.  Gotta get those muscles built up.

 
It was back to work time cleaning the garage - all hands on deck!


The kids and I took advantage of the wonderfully cool weather and headed over to Goll's Woods for a morning hike.


 
We went tree shopping as there are some major landscaping changes in the works for our yard.

 
And, of course, summer is all about visiting as many parks as you can...


... and catching up on missing sleep even on the shortest of car rides.

 
Summer is also about acquiring donuts from the Doughbox for breakfast!
 
 
Week five of summer fun also means week five of baseball season.


 
 
But some of us are kind of over this kind of fun....
 
 
This week brought an end to Jacob's baseball season.
 
 
 
And cousin Austin came to watch... and distract.
 



 
It was another week of 9pm dinners,
 

 
late night movies,

 
cherry and strawberry smeared faces,

 
squids for lunch,

 
more baseball games,

 
and ice cream treats.

 
Before we knew it, it was the weekend and our annual trip to "Aunt Becki's Lake!"

 
Jim was trying hard to convince Holly the water wasn't that cold.

 
Eventually she made it in the water and we waded over to the island for their little petting zoo.



 
Back on the boat it was naps,

 
snacks,

 
swimming,

 
and selfies with boat hair,

 
One of the highlights of the trip is watching fireworks on the boat but a storm moved in and foiled those plans.


But we managed to get in a little fishing.. and reading before things got wet. 

 
But you know it the weekend was over and it was a silent trip home. 

Friday, June 30, 2017

June Update

Setting time aside to hit the treadmill or pound the pavement is hard during the summer months when you are a stay at home mom.  Completely do-able, for sure, but hard.  Kids want to come with you - walking, biking, whatever - and that's fine.  But it slows the workout down and makes it somehow not worth it.  So instead you bike, slowly, with them, take meandering walks, and forgo recording those miles because these are the memories you should be making anyways. 
 
But then there are the days you need a little private time, someone's voice ringing in your head that is not screaming "MOM!" and those are the miles you count!
 


27.5 miles in June
 
265 / 2,017
 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Cheboygan

Part of Summer Fun - Week Four included a little family vacay to Cheboygan, Michigan via the in-laws new Minnie Winnie!
 

The kids thought they were hot stuff riding in a vehicle not fully strapped down.
 

 
Definitely made the 5 hour trip more enjoyable.


Our stay was a short one, but we managed to pack in an entire day of riding on the pontoon and dining at a dock side restaurant.  
 


We rode in a lock...
 
 
... and Jacob learned how to drive a boat.

 
We had lots of boat hair, boat naps,

 
and sunburns.  We ate pizza and snacked and munched and munched and snacked.  But hey, that's what vacations are about, right? 


On our second day of vacation we opted for something kid oriented but with a touch of history. 



With a clever answer to a trick question, Bree was pulled up to lend a helping hand in demonstrating the first ways trees were turned into lumber. 


 
 
The history lesson moved on to cutting lumber with the help of water power.  The ways of the past never fail to amaze me and are so mesmerizing to watch. 
 
 
 
 
Our little excursion provided Bree with an opportunity to climb a 50 foot tower!  And she did so with ease!!

 
The rest of us took the easy way out and climbed the stairs to check out the view.


Once safely back on ground, it was time to harness up for her next adventure!
 

 
We hiked,

 
and explored nature.
 
 


Then it was time to head into Mackinaw City - with popcorn and fudge shoppes and candy stores galore!




We putt-putted.


 
And napped. 


And ate ice cream.


 
We fished.


Flew kites with a fishing pole.
 
 
Caught Mayflies.
 
 
Put together a puzzle in an evening 'cause we're awesome like that.
 
 
The kids stayed up waaaay past their bedtimes,


but managed to catch up on missed zzzz's on the way home.
 


 
The vacation was over in a blink of an eye but the memories will last for years to come.  And then there are the souvenirs!
 
We eat lots of popcorn in this household and will buy any flavor seasonings we run across!
 
 
There was a little craft festival going on in Mackinaw so Holly snagged these little beauties!

 
A long time lover and mild believer in Bigfoot, I absolutely could not resist buying this sign for our house.

 
Flowers were still in full bloom up North so I snapped a few photos of God's beautiful work.   
 



 
Maybe some day I'll make a flower collage for my wall.  Or search Pinterest for a creative wooden canvas to put them on.  Or perhaps I should put that effort into getting the kid's schools pictures in frames first - before they graduate.