Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Fun with the Cousins

My sister left yesterday after a fun action-packed four day visit. Here are some of the things that we did:

  • Visited the zoo and pet the giraffes. (Everybody loved this, especially KL)
  • Went to the park and climbed the rock-climbing walls
  • Visited the Amish farmer's market and bought tasty cookies and apple-cinnamon bread
  • Went to the local museum
  • Spent a day at "the club" -- swimming, sailing, playing in the sand, and bbqing
  • Jen helped me move all of my scrapping and card-making materials into my newly finished craft room (we had fun organizing the suplies into baskets and drawers and cupboards)
  • J and I went to a card-making class
  • K and I made cards in the craft room
  • J helped R with some video-game tricks on the Nintendo. He was right when he told R, "I'm pretty good at video games, I can probably help you out a bit."
  • A major super-soaker fight between all five kids
  • Lots of grilling - hot dogs, hamburgers, salmon
  • Lots of great breakfasts -- eggs, pancakes, donuts, apple-cinnamon bread, tasty cereal
  • Plenty of good conversation between me and my sister :> (enhanced by a variety of tasty wine coolers -- and a lot of them based on the full recycling bin in the garage!)

By the end of the visit, we were all quite satisfied with our cousin fix and all very tired. All of the cousins wanted the stay to last longer.

What fun!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day Dad

Happy Father's Day to my dad. He's taught me so many things over the years, that it's hard to narrow them down to the ten top things that he's taught me, but here it goes...

10. Dad always said that if you can read, you can learn to do anything. So, I thank my dad for giving me my love for reading. Dad is a reader too -- and he likes to have books too. I love to be surrounded by books (I dream of one day having a library with bookshelves from floor to ceiling and one of those cool sliding-ladders hooked on so I can grab any book at any time. Of course, all the books would be in alpha order by author and/or subject.)

9. Dad also gave me a love for business and I probably got my business sense from him. Although, he would have loved for me to start my own business as a child (I remember something about making and selling lollipops when I was eight years old) or joined his business, I know he is proud of my career and my success in the corporate world (which is a hard world for him to get along in, the entrepreneur that he is.)

8. One thing that I always knew growing up is that I was very much loved by my parents. Dad would tell me many times a day that he loved me and that he was proud of me. When he was especially proud of me, he would slap my knee about five times really fast, and give me some great, enthusiastic words of praise. Although my knee would be numb, I would be happy knowing that he was so happy. I have incorporated this enthusiastic love into my parenting skills -- minus the knee slapping.

7. I learned from my dad's experience that it is a good idea to wear a retainer when the orthodontist says that you should. My dad had years of braces, then didn't wear his retainer, and now has crooked teeth. Thanks for taking one for the team dad, I wore my retainer night and day and have straight teeth.

6. I watched my dad be spontaneous over the years and I saw what joy it brought him. I'm not as spontaneous as he is, but the spontaneity that I have must come from him. Mom, remember when we were packing for that camping trip and you and dad went to the grocery store. Remember how he saw that ad for a boat for sale -- and you came home from the store with a boat to tow on our trip? I know that wasn't mom's idea. It had to be dads.

5. I really enjoyed spending time with my dad one-on-one when I was a kid. I can remember singing with him while he played the guitar, or hanging out together on Friday nights when mom came home late from the bank. I even remember helping him practice a lesson that he was going to give in a Bible Study class. From that, I learned that in addition to fun family time, it's special to spend one-on-one quality time with your children.

4. I can whip up some mean scrambled eggs, putting in whatever ingredients I have in the fridge and pantry. Dad's "mystery eggs" (as in, "can you guess what is in here?") taught me that it's okay to have some freedom when it comes to cooking eggs.

3. He taught me to "close the gate", which means that you need to finish the job once you start it. This phrase comes from a story long ago, when I was nine years old, and I was in charge of opening and closing the gate on Sunday night when my dad took the garbage down the driveway. The tricky part of this job was keeping our dog, Kruggie, inside the backyard. Well, one Sunday, I got stabbed by one of the wires on the gate and started bleeding and crying, saying I needed to go into the house, but dad told me that I needed to stay and close the gate. At the time, I thought he was mean, but not many years later, I learned that he taught me one of the biggest lessons of my life -- responsibility. And, for that, I am thankful.

2. When growing up, my dad would tell me and my sister that a happy marriage takes work. I heard it often enough that I would eventually just nod my head and say, I know dad. I know that he wasn't trying to say that marriage was hard work, but that one shouldn't take it for granted or take the person you're married to for granted. I'm thankful to him for showing my mom the respect and love that she deserves...which allows me to show my husband the love and respect that he deserves.

1. Finally, the number one thing that dad taught me is that Life is an Adventure; enjoy the ride and love the people that are on the adventure with you!

I love you so much Dad! Happy Father's Day :>

photo credit: my mom 2006

Saturday, June 17, 2006

A Day at the Club

I don't think that I've written about joining a yacht club. Yep, that's right....a yacht club. You remember the story of M finding a reasonable price sailboat last summer, right? Well, last year we kept the boat on the little local lake only 10 minutes from our house. We joined the "sailing club" which didn't turn out to be much of a club at all. There was never any event in which the "club" got together. No club sails, no club races, no club potlucks. Basically, the "club" was another name for "docking your sailboat on really creaky, tippy docks." So, M looked for someplace else to dock our boat. After all, if there was no club involved, we might as well just dock our boat somewhere where the docks actually worked without fearing for your life as you gingerly walked on them.

Enter this oh-so-quaint yacht club about an hour away from us. It's absolutely wonderful. There is a beautiful old club house that used to be someone's lake house back in the 1920's or something like that. It has a big old family room and a nice sized sun porch. Upstairs are two apartments that members can rent for a week at a time each summer -- hopefully we'll be able to do that next year. There is a kitchen for the apartments, with two of everything - two sinks, two fridges, two stoves -- for the weekly renters. And there is a big kitchen for the club members to use when they are there -- and, of course it's used to cook the dinners and lunches that the club has too.

There is a little sandy beach (they bring in sand) with a grassy portion too. The lake only comes up to R and T's belly-buttons, so it's perfect for swimming for them. There is also a playground (albeit old, but still fun for kids.) Behind the house is a shed that has all sorts of water toys, which are available for the club members' kids...the boys sure love that! There is a whole bunch of picnic tables, patio furniture, and lounge chairs scattered around the beach and patio area. It's so quaint, it looks like a page out of the 1950's social clubs or something.

Oh yeah, and there are sailboats, docked on very nice SOLID docks. They race the boats a couple of times a month.

Okay, that's the backstory. Here's my real story...

Last Friday night, M had the opportunity to sail on Lake Erie, something he's never done before. We got a babysitter for Friday morning (I have half days on Friday's now that it's summer) because M had to be at the boat in Ohio at noon. His race started at 5:00 in the evening and he sailed all night, getting to the finish line around 3:00 in the morning. After a nap, he headed back home and we saw him around dinner time.

On Sunday, our club had a brunch. We had a bunch of things to do around the house, but we figured we should go to the brunch since we're new members. We want to meet other members and be social. We brought swim suits just in case we wanted to take a quick dip in the lake. As we were eating our tasty brunch, one of the other members asked M if he was going to race that day. M told him that we didn't have our sails back from the sailmaker, so we couldn't sail yet. "No problem, I have an extra boat you can race. It will be fun." M looked at me with excited eyes, and I said, sure why not? (I was to leave on a three night business trip the next day, but luckily had done all of the laundry while M snoozed the night before. All I had to do was throw it in a suitcase.)

These boats that they raced took two people to sail, so R was M's crew! R had a great time. They sailed three races that took four hours (from 1-5pm). Of course, R had on his life vest. Safety first!

T played on the beach -- he started off by himself, but then joined the other boys.

T had a great time splashing and swimming in the water and making sand castles, while I hung out on the beach watching him play in the water. I also got to chat with some of the other wives who were on the shore. T and I made a quick trip to the local general market to grab some food since we didn't plan on being there for so long. Here's a picture of M and R getting ready to get the sails up and head to the starting line. The picture below it is of the other boats getting ready to head out.

Here are all the boats out on the race.

M and R hung in there on the races, even taking a third place (out of 7 boats) for one of the races! They had a break in between the 2nd and 3rd races, so they came ashore. That's when T said that he wanted to sail too. So, M had both boys on the boat for the last race......which means...that I, for hte first time since having kids.....was able to read a book on the beach!!! One of my all-time favorite past times. How nice :>

All in all, it was a wonderful way to spend a Sunday.

Monday, June 05, 2006

The Pros and Cons of Reading

Yesterday, after dinner at a restaurant, T and R had to go to the bathroom. I stood outside the one-potty unisex bathroom while both boys went in. R came out right away and said that T would be awhile, so I went in to keep T company.

Upon entering and taking a sniff, I asked T to flush once to get rid of the smell. He flushed and then looked a bit worried.

T: Mom, I'm worried about what to do with the toilet paper.

Me: What do you mean, T? What worries you?

T: Well, R read me that sign and now I don't know what to do with the toilet paper after I wipe. If I can't flush it, what should I do with it. It's gross.

I looked up and read the sign... you know the one..."Please do not flush santitary napkins or paper towels down the toilet. Thank you."

Me: Oh, T, that sign doesn't mean toilet paper. It means you can't flush other kinds of paper down the toilet. If you do, it will make the water rise up to the top (we just had an incidence of this at our house, so T knew what I meant.

T: What kinds of paper do they mean?

Me: Oh, things like paper towels.

T: But there isn't any paper towels in here, only that blower thingy.

Me: Yeah, they're serious. They really don't want you to flush paper towels down there, but toilet paper is okay.

T: Whew. That's good news.

Friday, June 02, 2006

I Didn't Know I'd Need a Kleenix

Here's the report on the Mommy's day at T's preschool last week:

It was SO much fun.... As I mentioned last week, T kept mentioning things throughout the morning that he would show me at his school. He was so excited to leave to go, but he did remember the little present he got for his teacher.

When we arrived, about half of the class was there with their moms. Now, the class only has 10 kids, but we barely fit in their little class room with the 10 kids and 10 mommies and 2 teachers. As soon as we walked in, T gave his present to the teacher with a big smile on his face. She squatted down at his level and opened it up and gave him a big hug with a thank you. All of the kids did a craft (glued tissue paper squares onto a cut out turtle) and then they had play time. T kept finding new things for us to play with. By the time we started with the blocks, he wanted to show me the puzzle box. When we decided on a puzzle, he wanted to show me the story nook. When we got down there, he wanted to show me the science corner. So many things to see with so little time!

Then, the kids had snacks -- yes, the highly anticipated donut hole (just one) and milk. Then it was gym time. Their gym is small and indoors, but fabulous. There is a jungle gym and stuff, but the highlight is the ROAD with trikes and bikes (with training wheels). Boy, do those kids go fast! It was great.

The highlight of the day was music time. T's class has music time with another class, so we had 20 kids and 20 mommies and 4 teachers crammed on the floor in this music room. The teachers had a little ceremony in which they gave out "diplomas" to the students. After this, they played a DVD that had still pictures put to music of the entire year. This DVD lasted more than 15 minutes -- there were lots of pictures, including about 8 or so of T. I and most of the moms had tears. The music was beautiful too, including "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong. The teacher passed around a kleenix box. It was great!

When I told M about the DVD, he called the school and is trying to get a copy for us... Cool!