Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sunflower girl

I am a little sunflower
Sunny, brave and true
From tiny bud to blossom
I do good deeds for you
-Peter Brady

Don't be too impressed. Though I am one of the world's biggest Brady Bunch fans and do know many of the shows lines by heart, I only remembered the first and last line to Peter's little Sunflower girl speech. I had to google the rest of it. What did we ever do without google?
The boys brought home this sunflower from the farmer's market on Saturday. Since the moment I saw it I knew that I wanted to try to get a cute picture of Hailey with it. Today was the day. I didn't have very high hopes - normally what is in my minds eye is far from what actually happens in my camera. Today I was happy with what I got. They came out a little dark in my opinion. I should have used the big daddy flash - but who has time? The shots I took were all in a matter of about a minute and a half - that is all she will cooperate for. I am thinking that maybe I will be able to skip the Sears visit and blow up one of these babies to an 11x13 for my wall frame. I am a little worried about grain. My ISO was at 400 - why do I never set it back? Will I ever learn? I need some opinions - which photo do you prefer of the first and second? My gut favorite is the first. I love her expression and her stance but I don't like how the flower is facing the wrong way. I like the second - but maybe she is a little too smiley? The pointed toe is pretty cute though. So what do you think? Good enough for the wall? I need to take both and do some major Photoshopping! Les, are you in for that class?

Nice giant mosquito bite in the middle of her forehead. Thank goodness for the cloning tool. I do know how to fix some things in Photoshop.

Smelling the flower. Sunflowers don't really have a smell - do they?

He loves me. He loves me not. I love how she looks like she is on her knees. She was standing for the shot. A cool illusion that I didn't know I was doing.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A glimpse of things to come...

Hailey has been testing her boundaries. Translation: she has been a complete stinker a large percentage of the time. She is only (almost) twenty months, I am beginning to dread when the terrible twos are upon us - and threes. Threes (at least with our kids) were worse than the twos.

The other day she took the box that holds all the kid computer games and dumped them all out on to the floor. I told her that she had to put them back and she did put a couple back - then moved right on to the next thing she could destroy while walking all over the CD's. I told her not to walk on the CD's because she was going to crack them. She just looked right at me with a big grin on her face and started to STOMP on the CD's. That was the straw that landed Hailey Marie in her first official timeout.

She is extremely defiant. Today at the pool she kept throwing things in the water even though I was telling her not to. She would just pick up my shoe and drop it in and then look at me like "so what are you gonna do about it". If I went after her to grab her and try to punish her, she would run to Grama and cry. She knows that Grama will protect her from mean old Mommy. It is frustrating because she is our baby and our little princess but I don't want her to be a spoiled brat that gets away with whatever she wants.

When she is playing with her brothers, she tries to keep up with them as hard as she can. Sometimes she gets a little too rambunctious and cracks one of them in the head with a toy or something. They realize that she is little and doesn't know any better so they are pretty good with her. Still, I try to make it a point to her to be gentle and make sure she knows that she hurt them and to give them a "sorry" kiss and hug. I think she understands. She seems very empathetic to them when they get hurt by her doing or whatever might be the cause. So we hope... there may be good in her yet.

Doing her "time" in her first timeout. She looks traumatized doesn't she?

Monday, August 25, 2008


We stutter and we stammer 'til You say us

A symphony of chaos 'til You play us

Phrases on the page of the unknown

'Til You read us into poetry and prose

We are kept and we are captive 'til You free us

Vaguely unimagined 'til You dream us

Aimlessly unguided 'til You lead us home

By Your voice, we speak

By Your strength, no longer weak

We are no longer weak

By Your wounds we are healed

Tell me what kind of love is this?

Passed over and passed by until You claim us

Orphaned and abandoned 'til You name us

Hidden and disclosed 'til You expose our hearts

By your death, we live

It is by Your gift that we might give

That we might give

By Your wounds we are healed

Tell me what kind of love is this?

What kind of love would take your shame

And spill His blood for you

And save us by His wounds?

By Your wounds, we are healed

Yesterday our children were baptized. We had been waiting for that day for a long time. Ever since Spencer was born Trent and I both knew that we wanted to have him and any other children we had baptized. The question was where.

Trent was baptized and raised in the Catholic faith. The Catholic church was a big presence in his life. He was an alter boy, spent summers working at the church and even thought seriously about becoming a priest. As he grew and learned about some of the "politics" of the church he began to question his faith and what it really meant to be Catholic. He was wavering when I showed up on his path - I didn't push him over the edge. Ha!

I was baptized into the Lutheran faith but the ceremony seemed mostly for "show" since I didn't really (and still don't really) know what the Lutheran faith stands for or believes in. I didn't grow up in a church environment. I never believed and still don't believe you have to go to church to pray or to have a belief in God. I have always had faith and I have always prayed. I question a lot about religion and there is still much I don't understand about God's plan and how sometimes it seems so hard to see the reasoning behind why things happen the way they do.

We talked all the time about trying to find a church but because we had three young kids at home, the actual act of getting up on Sunday mornings and lugging our kids to different churches to see how they "feel" never really happened. One day in January we received a postcard in the mail from a new forming church in the community. We were instantly intrigued since the postcard had a picture of Da Vinci's Vitruvian man on the cover - we figured this church must be fairly progressive and pretty cool. We went on to receive another mailing from them and also saw a giant full page invitation to their first service in the paper. I am not joking at all when I say that we felt like we were supposed to be there - like this was our knock over the head calling to this church. The day of the first service was a blizzard. I think every church in town was scrolling across the bottom of the TV that they were cancelling their morning services - Trent and Spencer headed out in the blizzard to check out the church anyway and we have been back as regulars whenever we are home on Sundays. Renovate is the kind of church where the sermons make you leave feeling good and feeling like you can make a difference in your life and the lives of others. Not any churches I have ever attended have had that kind of effect on me. The boys enjoy the "kid church" where they learn important lessons about God, Jesus and also basic principles on how to be a good person. I hope that they are believers throughout their lives but if they choose not to, I still think that to be an educated person you have to know about religion - yours and that of others.

I feel so humbled every day of my life for the truly remarkable gifts that God has given me. My children, my husband, my family, my friends, my health and so much more. I love the place in my life where I am right now. I am blessed.

Blog note: The words written under the baptism photos are the lyrics to the song Healed by Nichole Nordeman. She pretty much has written the soundtrack to my life - I just can't get give her enough credit - she is an amazing writer and singer. Listening to that song as she sings it literally gives me chills. The awesome photographer that took the photos was my friend Lesley. She got out of work for the afternoon to be at the baptism to be the official paparazzi. I really appreciate the effort you made to be there and the pictures are all great - I would love to put them all on here but Blogger would kick me off for lack of space!

Hailey wore a dress that my Great Grandma made. It only made sense since fishing the waters of Lake Michigan was how my Great Grandfather made his living. Of course she would wear that dress to be baptized in the same water. I love that my Mom saved all of these heirlooms for Hailey to wear and that I can some day to pass on to my grandkids.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Just another day at the beach...

Our days are numbered. We bought school supplies today. It is starting to get dark faster at night. You can almost smell it in the morning air. Little by little this summer is starting to slip away.

We biked to the beach yesterday. I don't think I have been on my bike in about four years. I was completely amazed that I could make it up all the hills without having to walk the bike up. Go leg muscles! Trent pulled Evan and Hailey in the Burley and Spencer rode Evan's Diego bike with training wheels. He has no interest in learning to ride a two-wheeler. Trent ran over one of his training wheels this past spring so we took them off of his bike thinking that this would be the summer he rode without them anyway. He practiced with us holding on to the back of the bike a couple times but was very skittish. It is sad, but he hasn't really ridden a bike all summer or proclaimed to want to ride one. Yesterday while we were riding I forgot that fact and was getting frustrated with his lack of speed and nervousness of riding down hills. The important thing is that we all got there safe and sound and had another great afternoon. We had the whole beach to ourselves and the kids had a ball playing with my old boogie board. There was not a wave in sight, but they pretended to surf and loved getting dragged around on it. And to think, Trent wanted to get rid of that old thing. I told him to just wait a few years and the boys would love it.

Hailey demonstrating how to be a totally awesome beach babe.

Evan getting ready to build a sand "soup". He wasn't in the mood to have his picture taken.

Spencer riding the (ah-hem) waves! Trent always gets so nervous when I am in the water with my camera.

See what I mean?

Hailey signaling for Daddy to come and get her. She was a total Daddy's girl on the beach and wanted him and only him.

The shark attack!

Big brother helping his little sister. Spence loaned Hailey his shirt since we forget to bring a cover-up for her. Aww.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Monkey girl

Hailey has turned into a climbing monkey and a little daredevil. Most of the time she knows she shouldn't be climbing up or standing on something - like the couch or the chairs and jumping around, she just does it and looks at you with a big ol' grin knowing that she is just doing it to drive us crazy!

Last week she discovered that she could now master the big slide outside. It is on the grass so if she falls she most likely will be okay. She was so proud of herself climbing to the top and adjusting her legs and bum so she could slide down. Every time she would get to the bottom she would smile and clap for herself.

I remember when I bought this slide for Spencer. He was almost two and loved sliding down but was not so great at the climb up. Actually, he was probably fine but since he was my first baby, my overprotective mommy streak most likely kicked in and I wouldn't let him climb up in fear he would fall and break his little neck.

This little slide has gotten a lot of use over the past five years. For some reason the kids (even the boys) seem to play on this slide more than they play on the bigger slides on the play set. They pair it with the smaller slide (I know, could we have more slides?) and make obstacle courses or contraptions. It stands up to very rough play and still looks like new. Gotta love that Little Tikes plastic - in a few more years I will still be able to get ten bucks for it at a garage sale. That is a pretty good return on investment!

Pretty in pigtails...

Hailey's hair is finally starting to grow a little bit. I can't believe how much hair the boys had at her age and how thick it was. They had already had first haircuts by now. Poor Hailey got the slow growing, thin hair genes - it figures, since she is a girl and the only one who will care about her hair.
I just couldn't stand how cute she looked in her little pigtails. They made her look so polished. Most days her hair is just sticking out willy nilly, long on the sides - she sort of has a Grampa Munster kind of look going. The pigtails made a big difference.
Of course, they were not in tact for long. She only had to realize that there was something in her hair until she started to ferociously rip at her skull to remove the foreign object. Actually getting the hair accessory into her hair was no picnic either. She doesn't really like to have her hair brushed or fussed with, as I was trying to twist and clip she was trying to run away from me as fast as she could. I sense a lot of hair struggle in our future.
Don't you just want to squeeze her?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Look who we got our Hanes on now...

Ok - actually they are Fruit of the Loom, but the point is that my oldest son, my baby boy, asked me the other night if I could buy him boxers.

Trent was at golf league and Spencer wanted to read in our bed until he fell asleep. I was tired and wound up hanging out with him watching TV and just talking to him about all the random stuff that he came up with. At one point the conversation was something like this:

Spencer: Mom, Did you know that Jacob wears boxer shorts and not underwear like me?

Mom: No, I didn't know that.

Spencer: I wish I could wear boxer shorts.

Mom: You have those brief type Batman boxers.

Spencer: Those are not REAL boxers! They are different from the ones Jacob wears and the ones that Daddy wears!

Mom: Would you like me to buy you some REAL boxers the next time I am at the store?

Spencer: (With a big smile) YES!

So I held to my promise and the next time I was at the store brought him home this three pack of boxers. I had to search through what seemed like millions of packs of boxers before I could find the small size. When I gave them to him and he read the package he just beamed with the hugest grin I have ever seen. He put a pair on right away - even the small size were still huge for him - but he didn't care. He LOVES them!

I never knew some new underwear could make someone so happy. Are a boy's first pair of boxers tantamount to a young girl's first training bra? Maybe my son just went through one of his first growing up rituals.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Some little bits of Evan...

While I was making his peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch: "Can I have some ships (chips) before I eat my sandwich for an APPLEtizer?"

After he was made aware of the fact that Pastor Dave was coming over to talk about baptism, a few hours later, out of the blue: "When is MASTER Dave gonna be here?"

Walking in on me right now at the computer wondering when Daddy will be home from golf league and me explaining to him that Daddy will not be home until late, after he has gone to bed: "Can I call Daddy? I bet if I call him he will be home right in a JIFFY!"

I know that these are not that funny or profound but if you could hear the way he says things in his little voice that is so hard for others to understand and see his adorable little face as he speaks, it would just melt your heart!

No Mommies allowed!

I love it when all three of the kids play together nicely! Too often their games of choice consist of some sort of wrestling match, running crazily around the house or seeing how long they can torment each other before they get sent to time out.
Not to mention throwing giant puzzle pieces at each other which somehow results in Spencer falling over the back of the couch and breaking the sound barrier in the house with his wails of pain which coincidentally is what just happened as I sat here and typed this post.
I digress...Yesterday after eating lunch the boys ran up to their rooms and got their favorite blankets and pillows and had a camp out of sorts under the dining room table. Hailey is not one to be away from the action, so she was crawling under with them. At first they were trying to keep her out citing the "no girls allowed" rule but then when they discovered her amused shrieks of joy and "peek-a-boo-ing" at them under the table added to their fun, they changed the rule to "no mommies allowed". They kept playing under the table for an hour or so and it was so nice to be able to laugh with them as I tried to shoot some photos of their "fort" and not have to be the constant referee for the normal mayhem.

Photo note: We finally have our computer back with a new hard drive. We still don't have a status report on the old hard drive and I will be so sad if all my pictures from 2008 are lost. Anyway, since the computer is back so is my Elements program. I tried to collage these photos on Elements and it sort of worked. I so badly need to take a class in Photoshop - it just can't be so hard to figure out.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

What's next, an ipod?

Last night I had my camera out taking pictures of some awesome looking clouds after the storm had passed.   I went upstairs to tuck in the kids and since I had my camera with me (convenient,  I know) I snapped a couple of sleeping shots of them - of two of them.  When I went into Spencer's room I found him sitting up in his bed, completely naked (his pajamas of choice lately) and claiming to be not tired.  When I aimed the camera at him he just sat there and said to me completely deadpan:  "Don't you dare put this picture on your blog!"

I assured him that that picture was taken from the chest up and none of his privates would be shown.   After that he wanted to see the picture and then pretend he was sleeping so I could take some sleepy shots of him.   

I am just amazed how much kids absorb when you are just going about your day.  I didn't know that the kid even knew what a blog was, let alone that I had one and put pictures and stories about him on it.  

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Hangin' at the "yach" club

Today we spent the afternoon in the pool at the yacht club, or the "yach" club, which is what the boy's call it.   Grama is a social member of the club since she doesn't own her own "yach" so we get to go with her and use the pool.  

The kids love it.  There are always a few other kids swimming and they make fast friends and start playing games they make up.  Today it was "rocket" and "shark" - they have such a good time it is hard to drag them out of there.  

Hailey was a pool monkey today wanting to jump off the side all the time.  A couple of times she just took off heading for the edge with no fear.  She seems to be taking after her little fish brothers and desperately wants to keep up with them.  

The club has just finished renovations on their kitchen so now they have pool side food and drink service and a pool waitress.   Margarita's by the pool!  What could be better?

We are trying to savor and soak up every last bit of summer.  When I looked at the calendar today, I was shocked to discover that in two weeks we will know who Spencer has for a teacher next year!  When the lists go up, that is a signal of summer's end.   Why does the summer always go by so fast? 

Hailey enjoying some french fries with her dip!  

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


It is easy to take for granted where we live.  Tonight we walked our five minute walk down to the beach and got to swim and play on a private, deserted beach that a vacationer would kill for.   I have lived near Lake Michigan my whole life - except of course during my college years where I lived in the sweltering valley of Kalamazoo - it is easy to forget how lucky we are.  This lake provides us with so much.  I can't count the number of times I just got in my car and have taken a drive to the lake to clear my head or just listen to music and not think about anything except the lyrics to a song and singing at the top of my lungs.  Trent jokes that riding by the lake is "my strength" - what he says is not entirely in jest.  I do feel a connection to these shores not unlike the Scarlett connection to Tara.  Maybe it has to do with my Grampa and his Grampa fishing these waters - I don't know but somehow this water courses in my veins.  In a few weeks my children will be baptized on this shore of Lake Michigan and I can hardly wait.   

We had a great time tonight.  We all got to go for a nice refreshing swim in the lake.  The water was so warm and just wavy enough to be fun.  We took a walk down the shore and the boys decided they wanted to be rock climbers.  This is the stuff vacations are made of - right in our own back yard.  

Hailey happy with her juice.  She recently learned how to smile on the "cheese" command.
Evan just happy to be jumping in the waves.
Spencer ready to scale the rock mountain.
Little beach baby.
The boys at the top of the rocks.