Friday, February 28, 2014

Belated birthdays

I figure I better get these posted as long as we are still in the month of their actual birthdays.  So without further ado, I give you Hailey's tributes to President Washington and President Lincoln on President's Day.

President Washington
1st President
Head (not dead) of army
a good leader.
2 children
had his face on the dollar bill
to go back to his home

16th President
got job (not gob)
killed (not backwards "c" cild) him
mom died (not did)

President Lincoln
16th (not 61st) president
a poor man
honest (not onist)
a job
4 boys
face on the bill
freedom ( not Fred um)

I had to get a close up of "onist" and "Fred um" just because they make me smile. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

The "edge" of the ice berg

I have lived near the shore of Lake Michigan my entire life and for as long as I can remember I have been taught to respect the power of the lake. 

We were told from a young age that however frozen and dormant the lake may seem, there is always water moving and alive under the surface.  Maybe closer under the surface than it may look.  We were allowed to walk out on frozen ponds and smaller lakes like Muskegon lake, but Lake Michigan was off limits.   I have always lived by those rules even as an adult and am proud to say that I am bringing my kids up the same way. 

We have had an incredibly cold winter and at one point we were pushing the record books in the amount that Lake Michigan was ice covered.  Still I have been shocked to see pictures in the paper and on social media of people walking a half mile or more out on the frozen lake past the Grand Haven lighthouse or walking across the frozen channel in Grand Haven.   Crazy people.  People not respecting the power of the lake.

Over the weekend the kids and I enjoyed a sunny day down by the lake. They were amazed at how frozen over everything was, but expressed no interest in wanting to climb all over those frozen peaks. We walked out a little, but not far - if they worst were to happen we never would have been out over our waist.   The kids were actually more interested in staying by the shore and playing on the slippery ice and water. 

Evan and Hailey work on their Olympic ice dancing routine.

This boy knew we were headed down to the lake to see the ice, and didn't wear a hat or gloves. Sigh.  Since his mother loves him so much, she loaned him hers and just put her own hoodie up.

The kids loved playing with the chunks of ice.  I don't know how they could stand the freezing cold water.

Especially when Hailey picked hers up to "Hi-Ya" and immediately fell into the puddle of water.

They were soaked, but having a blast.  I had to force them to leave because I was freezing - I wasn't even wet.

Snow is pretty, but it's got nothing on a blue sky and some sunshine.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I loved this

The author of this and I should be besties.  She totally gets me because this is me - me, not quite 45, but 42 and squeezing...

This is 45.

Forty-five is the eye of life's storm. The emotional drama of growing up is behind you, the physical perils of aging are still to come. In these years of quiet, it is easier to be grateful... and fearful. You are an expert on more things than you care to be, and you realize that most of your life has been of your own making. Yes, you are dealt cards that are both good and bad, but you are the one who plays them. With that realization comes a feeling of late great responsibility. You come to terms with how many moments, days, months have been squandered. You vow to do better; you know that you won't.

Forty-five is being grateful for friends and loved ones who are a few months older than you as they can gracefully cross that aging threshold and turn 45 first, paving your way to the next year, each year. It is acknowledging that there is no longer a first mover advantage when it comes to growing older.

Forty-five is when every birthday candle wish is "good health for those I love."

At 45 you routinely leave the house without makeup; only sometimes do you brush your hair. The number of people for whom you need to look presentable declines precipitously as does the criteria for "presentable." Your favorite outfit is a pair of velour pajamas and the best part of each day is when you climb into bed.

Forty-five is the very beginning of a peaceful complacency, as all of your energy for bear wrestling, mountain climbing, triathlon training and great American novel writing is re-channeled into staying up past 11 on a school night to catch The Daily Show. You begin to realize that granting yourself permission to just "be" is one of the hardest things you will ever attempt. And, as you look forward to a life of coasting down the hill, just one more mountain beckons...

It is still liking your calves and hating your stomach. No matter how many times you hear that your stretch marks are" badges of honor" and that all bodies are beautiful, you can't buy in. If a tummy tuck didn't come with significant pain or risk, you would save your pennies and go under the knife. You wish you were hard-wired to feel differently.

Forty-five is becoming your parents more and more each day, sometimes poignantly and with tremendous pride and other times with mortification, but more and more the former. It is understanding that you can choose which hereditary gifts you accept, and which you reject. Time with your mom and dad feels more precious, and you realize you will never stop needing them.

At 45 your tolerance for mean people hits rock bottom. Life is too short to spend any energy on bullies. They are easier to eliminate from your life, while also easier to understand. You can't help but pity people who hurt so much they have to make others feel badly, but you are smart enough to do so from a distance.

It is two decades of marriage and learning to appreciate your spouse in more ways every day. The scales have decidedly tipped towards loving all that you have together versus lamenting everything you don't. The ability to have entire conversations through a single raised eyebrow across the dinner table, without ever opening your mouth is one of the coolest, sexiest things about being together for so long.

Forty-five is full of fleeting moments of bliss and despair as you watch your children grow up into independent young adults, thanking the universe that you raised them well in one breath, and wondering what will become of them in the other. Despite hard evidence that they are actually going to turn out okay, you remain fearful that the really deep-seated neuroses won't manifest themselves for a few more years.

It is hanging on by your fingernails to the edge of any semblance of youth. You swear to yourself that it wasn't that long ago that you were a 20-year-old kid -- but you don't necessarily want to be one again. You don't get Snapchat -- and you don't want to. You still love to dance.

Forty-five is constantly counting your blessings while simultaneous trying to calculate when your luck will run out. You see pain and sadness all around you, and know it's only a matter of time before it hits your home. You pray for all the hardships to fall on your shoulders, as opposed to those you love.

It is a juke box full of vivid memories -- people, places, smells, feelings -- that can be called up at a moment's notice. But you can't remember the exact year you had that surgery, the first name of that parent of that kid who has been with your kid since second grade, or to schedule your bi-annual dentist appointment. Your brain has reached capacity and to retain any additional information, some things leak out.

At 45, anyone five years younger than you is a "baby"; anyone five years older is an equal. Commiseration is a rounding up exercise.

At 45 you still don't ever understand it all, but there is an acceptance of how this whole life thing works. You are quicker to say I'm sorry, slower to linger in spaces that feed you, and generally liberated from 80 percent of the shoulda-woulda-couldas that dominated your 30s.

It is sweating less of the small stuff, because the big stuff looms large on the horizon. But it is also loving the small stuff, and expecting less of the big stuff. Quietly folding laundry on a chilly Sunday afternoon as your family happily co-exists in this home you have built together trumps pretty much everything.

This is 45. This is me. Now.
- by Emily Mendell

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


My kids are growing up too fast.  It hit me like a ton of bricks last weekend when Hailey made pancakes all by herself.   She got out the griddle and all of the necessary ingredients.  (She has been daddy's right hand girl for years in the pancake making department so she knows her stuff!)

She had a couple of shout outs to Daddy about how much of a couple of the ingredients to use, but for the most part she had it down.  I love all the tiny "Barbie doll" or "mouse" pancakes she made along with the regular sized ones.

Maybe I could make pancakes at seven.  I really don't remember.  We used to do a lot of baking, so I am thinking I could probably whip up a sweet box cake at that age.

She even has the letter pancakes in her repertoire. 

I love that toothless grin.   And I love her.