Friday, August 31, 2007

Yes, That is My Son with Braces!!!

Can you believe it...... my little 8 year old is sporting a mouthful of metal. And, he is happy about it. He thinks they are very cool and they apparently do not hurt at all. That is a far cry from what I felt when I had them 20 years ago.

For those of you that think he is awfully young, this is being done in large part because of his jaw. Unfortunately, Brayden inherited from both of us a very bad jaw structure so in order to avoid the surgery John had and I should have had, we are starting early. He will probably end up having the braces put back on as a teenager in Phase 2. Ah, the joys of raising children.....

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Catching Up

First of all, if you didnt catch the 2nd comment in the previous post, were asking for prayer regarding Leonas (Johns mom) John. (That gets confusing in a hurry with two Johns and no apostrophes). Yesterday night we came home to a message from Leona saying that they had had to amputate his right arm at the elbow. I think so much of his condition right now is a mystery to everyone, so were asking for healing, answers, and of course, a peace for both of them in this very, very difficult time.

I just got the pictures from Johns phone so I can share a few glimpses of our evening, Sunday, with Mom and Dad in Portland. These are taken at the Marina Restaurant, downtown, on the waterfront (go figure....). I have to admit, this is the first time I have ever walked anywhere near the waterfront in Portland. It has always looked like a neat thing to do - a cool place to stroll with folks that you love, but I have never made it happen. I guess I can kind of cross that off my list now. Dinner was DELICIOUS, but the company was even better.....

I will also now admit that I had a bit of reservation regarding going to see a Monty Python Musical. Spam-a-Lot is the Broadway Musical version of Monty Pythons Holy Grail movie-show. I barely remember watching bits of that in our AP History class as a treat after a whole lot of very hard work. It seemed like the guys in class loved it a lot more than the gals, but there were parts that made us all laugh. The musical, however, entertained everyone - immensely. I did a lot of laughing and absolutely no when-will-this-be-over feelings.

I think my favorite memory of the evening, however, would be cruising the aisles of the Chevron Mini Mart- all four of us. All looking for some form of junk food, and struggling to come up with the perfect item for the car-trip home. It was a crack-up, all of us wandering with the munchies.


Finally, here is proof that I am now an official wakeboarder. We went out with the Colemans last night and had a blast with them. I selfishly took a very quick turn and Liz snapped this picture of me out there with Mikayla looking on. Thanks Liz!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Couple of Questions 81

Ill have to cut and paste my question marks =)

1. Have you ever had a camp name, what was it, why did you choose it? If not, what name would you pick?

2. What is something you can see that you have passed on to your kids that you wish they hadnt inherited or gained from you?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Two Things That Have Made Me Smile Today

John and I have been on a roll this weekend, and man, oh man, it has felt good. Getting things cleaned up and organized can be a bit contagious and pretty soon the energy is spreading over to areas you wouldnt (dont forget about my keyboard issues folks....) expect yourself to be cleaning up. I love the feeling of waking up to an area in the house recently redecorated or rearranged and smiling at what you see. Thats always a huge thing for me the day after putting up our Christmas decor.

This is the picture of our new and improved office area in the bonus room-kitchen in our house. The cost wasnt pretty, but the end result makes me very happy, and the little convenience of being able to easily slide out the calendars so I can write on them horizontally (vs. the last one we had that was stuck to the wall for good) is huge for me.

This other little item - I sucked into purchasing at Fred Meyer. I couldnt help myself - I just think these two are so CUTE!!!! I applaud the role models theyve been and hope they dont end up like Justin Timberlake and Brittany Spears as the years go by. Im rooting for them....

A couple of other things - watching Joey Harrington play right now on Monday Night Football. Michael Vicks IDIOT choices have turned into a blessing for Joey - hes another one Im big-time rooting for. Go FALCONS - Go Joey - I hope this time youve found a team that loves you as much as the Ducks did.

Finally, I just finished one of the best corn on the cobs Ive had in - well, thats not far, because Ive just had some GREAT corn lately, but this one was particularly delicious. Savoring it while it lasts.

Anyone planning on waking up at 2am to check out the red moon were supposedly going to see because of the eclipse...... I dont think I will do it intentionally, but if I do wake up, I will have to remember to check it out.

What are some things that have made you smile today..... (those periods are in place of the missing question mark key right now)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Sorry for the Absence

I returned from Michele's house on Thursday night only to find our modem no longer worked. Hmmm, that's a bummer. John took care of that today, but when I began typing on my computer, I discovered part of the keyboard doesn't work. Oh joy! I'm currently typing on Stephie's computer..... we're watching NASCAR at their house - good times!

Several things have crossed my mind to type about lately, but most have escaped me now. Last night, we went out on the boat and you'll see a picture below of my son, yes, THAT'S MY BOY!, wakeboarding! Quote from Brayden: "I've never been so proud....." It was a great parent moment to see him take the initiative to ask to try, keep at it, and go again and again in the cooler evening to get even further once he popped up than the last time (his difficulty wasn't getting out of the water, but rather balancing once he was up). Very, very cool!

The other pictures are from Monday night when we took one of Michele's buddies out - Melissa, AKA Missy. She's our buddy now too, just so you know. It was raining all day Monday, but that just made the lake look like glass and and be completely vacant - and, I would say, the water felt warmer on Monday night compared to last night. It was one of those evenings that everybody had their "best run of the summer" - and Travis and Michele even did a little duo "trick skiing". The last picture has Travis holding the handle between his knees. Fancy......

Tomorrow, we get to witness three of the Meyers' family get baptized out at Harlow - and then we're off to see "Camelot" up in Portland, with and courtesy of, Mom and Dad. Looking forward to some quality time with them.

For us, it's one more week before school starts (at least for Brayden). How's everyone else feeling about this transition time? I certainly have mixed feelings. It was a lot easier last year when Michele spent the "week prior" with me and we did all sorts of fun, fun things with the kids (I'm still bitter with Michael that he had to take their family to the boondocks camping during the week I need Michele the most - and yes, I am kidding about the bitter part.....). So, instead of roller skating, Pump It Up, and The West Coast Game Park Safari, we have appointments with the orthodontist, eye doctor, and hair cutter..... Real fun, but, sigh, necessary. I guess it's time for me to be a big girl and grow up. It can't all be about me......

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Couple of Questions 80

Just hanging in the farmland of the "Schilling Compound" for two days. We walked down to the pond yesterday and picked enough blackberries to make a cobbler last night - good times. While we were down there, I saw the biggest spider - the size of a silver dollar, black with yellow vertical stipes on his belly and bright yellow all over its back - I kept my distance from that guy for sure!

While I'm on the topic of the Schillings and their home I thought I'd point out that excavation has begun on their new home! YEAH!!!!! They actually signed papers last night and because of the nature of their loan, they'll be moving very fast to have the home completed (this time doing a lot of "subbing out" vs. doing the work themselves) - and will likely be moving in before the end of the year. VERY, VERY COOL! Way to go Schillings!

1. What is something you have learned this summer? (a lesson, talent, whatever...)

2. What is a cool blog site that you would recommend to the readers of this site?

Looks like the sunshine and 80's temps are back - enjoy them while they last!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Preserving the Memories

As anyone who knows me or has read my blog at all, you can tell I am all about memory making. That's pretty much 90% of why this blog exists - to keep a written (and pictoral) record of our family's activities.

In a way, it has solved some of my angst about not keeping up with scrapbooking. I figure I have this blog, I'll eventually print it out, and that will work out okay. But, there are a couple of problems with that, 1: I'm missing about 3 years from where my last scrapbook ends and where the blog begins, and 2: I'm not so sure that my kids will want to wade through all of my writing when they want to find pictures of themselves, as well as, believe it or not - not all of my pictures end up getting posted.

I'd resigned to the idea that someday, when the kids are both in school and I have NOTHING to do with my long days of solititude (hee hee) - I'll pull out the cabinet of scrapbooking materials, as well as two additional bins and get to work catching up. This idea doesn't hold a ton of appeal to me, mostly because of the bulk of stuff and mess it creates. It's just such a process! Not to mention that it requires that I print out all of my pictures stored digitally and label them first.

Then, last Thursday, I attended a coffee get-together with some friends that I knew and some people I didn't know. One gal was there that I graduated from high school with (Heather, remember Stephanie Putnam, class of '89?) She has a new last name and a brand new passion that she was willing to share her limited knowledge of - that being "Heritage Makers".

"Heritage Makers" is a company that offers online scrapbooking. It's been around for a year and a half and apparently is head and shoulders above its competitors in terms of offerings and ease of use. Basically, you export your pictures to that website, use any of the embillishments they offer (which are a ton) - including: borders, quotes, "stickers", etc.... and then pay the money to have it put into a hardbound book - just like a children's book you'd buy in Borders. The end product is so beautiful and professional, it makes you dream big in terms of the "library" you can offer your children. Also, you can scan your old "Creative Memories" albums, upload the pages - and turn those into books too. That will solve my future dilemma as to how to give both of my kids their "family albums" to have for themselves.

If this sounds like some sort of sales pitch, it's not meant to. In fact, poor Stephanie was having a hard time keeping up with everyone's questions and requests when she only meant to have the stuff available for Lisa (the hostess) to show to those people that had previously asked about it. (Plus, she had just discovered the site herself only about a week prior). I think there are a lot of people out there, like myself, who struggle in this new "digital age" as to how to best preserve those memories. For me, the idea of just sitting at my laptop, "scrapbooking" is pretty cool. Apparently, Oprah thinks so too - word has it that she's listing "Heritage Makers" among her "favorite things" in her upcoming fall magazine. That kind of endorsement makes me feel better about diving in.....

So, the website is You can upload and design your pages for free, however, if you want to have more options, or get super serious about it, there are rates per month to pay - or you can go the route I did and just pay an annual amount to get the privleges and perks of being a consultant (which simply provides me some free stuff and eliminates having to go through another person if I choose to order products). To be honest, I've done VERY LITTLE investigating of the webiste myself. I managed to upload some pictures yesterday - which is a great start - maybe when we get away for Labor Day weekend in Portland, I can start making some bigger strides. I also don't know if you need to have a consultant number to log on or look around the site - mine is 257511, in the event that it requires a number to put in.

No sales pitch here, ladies - just a cool find I thought I'd share with you, that seemed all the more of a fun discovery as the days of rain settled in over the weekend. This winter may find me working away on my laptop, with my "glo-lamp" at my side, doing my best to savor the memories of "funner days" and dreaming of ways to create more.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Enjoying the Weather?!

It was just a month ago that I was whining about the lack of sunshine. Amazing how one month can change my perspective because now, I'm just fine with it - in fact, relishing it. At least for these last two days I am. (How about you Jodi? Is this stuff hitting your side of the mountains?)

Michele and the kids are still around and yesterday we didn't leave the house. It was glorious and I found myself looking at the clock wishing time wasn't passing so we could continue the coziness indefinitely. The girls moved from room to room, pretending, painting, gluing, putting together puzzles (pretty much making messes, but happy doing it). The boys spent the day trying to conquer "Sly Cooper 3" - and got along swimmingly doing it. I got rid of a third of the clothes in both kid's closets (I've been waiting for them to grow to finally unload some stuff), took care of important emails, printed off some important documents from our ancient laptop that only works when it wants to, watched the "National Spelling Bee", ordered some organizational things I'm very excited about implementing, and ate some fantastic raspberry cobbler. I think we all loved our "down day".

Today is Sydney's 2nd birthday - so HAPPY BIRTHDAY SYDNEY! She has really been an excellent dog - what makes us love her so much is what bugs us most - she LOVES, LOVES, LOVES us - so sometimes she has difficult time respecting personal boundaries, but that's a hard thing to fault a dog on. We're very blessed to have her.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Turkeys, and Turtles, and Deer, Oh My!

Between John and Travis' birthdays, in general, their gifts to each other have been "experiences" rather than tangilbe presents. In years past, golfing has been a big deal, but now that Travis does that a few times a month as part of his job (poor, poor guy), that just didn't seem special enough. Last year, we got them a "trip to go horseback riding". Haven't gotten around to that yet. So, this year we decided to get him something and actually plan the trip to make it happen. Hence, for his 30th birthday, he got a trip to Hell - well, Hell's Canyon, or Hellgate - along the Rogue River - via Hellgate Jet Boat Excursions.

The idea had been strongly recommended to us by a couple of different people, so it seemed the thing to do. It was a hoot! It is quite an amazing thing they have going there - loading 80 people into a jet boat and streaming across a river only 2 feet deep in many places. The day was beautiful, 80 degrees, but by the end of the ride, we were pulling out our second set of sweatshirts as we were so wet. When we loaded, I figured I wouldn't be getting wet at all. I was in the middle of the row, about 3/4ths of the way back - no problem, I'd stay dry. Ha, ha, ha! That was definitely NOT the case. No one was safe. But, that was a big part of the fun. Travis sat on the outside edge, and in that seat of honor, he might have contended for one of the wettest people on the boat (Happy birthday) - he rarely missed any splash.

The scenery was gorgeous as well. We saw deer, turtles, osprey, a bald eagle, wild turkeys, egrets - and the rock within the canyon was breathtaking. Our guide was outstanding as well - very passionate about the river and wildlife, and very knowledgable on providing a ride full of thrills that still felt "in control".

I definitely recommend the experience now too. This one is located in Grants Pass, but I also know that there are a couple of jet boat companies opperating out of Gold Beach too.

Thanks, Travis, for letting us share your birthday present!
Hellgate Canyon
Looking a "little" dry-

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Wait Is Over!!!!!

Finally, the day arrived. August 17th - the most anticipated Disney Channel Premiere ever!!!!!!! As even Brayden could tell you, at "8pm, 7 Central" High School Musical 2 aired. Because of our handy-dandy east coast broadcasting, we were able to record at 5pm and being watching when we were able to, roughly around 7pm. Due to all the stops and starts, we just now finished. Just a little bit distracting, I must say, but much better than missing all of the segments that we would have because of potty breaks, clean up breaks, and children issues. (I'll appreciate it when or if they decide to do the #3 - as it will be a theatrical stops or starts there......)

Gotta say, I loved it. I think it's beyond me to ever criticize it, though. I loved that their weren't any bikinis worn, that there was finally a kiss (and a tasteful one at that), and that there was so much chemistry between Zach and Gabriella that it took me back to my own "first dating" days when all you wanted to do was just be together. Sweet, sweet, sweet.

Hope the rest of you had a fantastic Friday night----and enjoyed the movie as much as we did.

Celebrating Hollie

I have to laugh at this picture - first of all, everyone wore shades for my benefit, and then, because of the way the sunlight hit Amy and I's shoulders, we literally looked like Popeye as it made us look so bulked up and top heavy - hence the cropping of the picture to eliminate that......

On Wednesday night, we got the chance to get together on Hollie's behalf as she's in town this week with her kids at Camp Harlow (I think they are all healthy.....). Zenon Cafe has the most amazing desserts, it was literally one of those scenarios where eveyone ordered something different and we were all taste-testing each others. I think only one person ended up changing their order, as everyone was so pleased with their original choice. It was a great time of laughter and fun, however, when Lisa was told she had a phone call by the waiter, the mood changed a bit upon registering that Adam was at the ER with seizures (this was Wed. night). Thanks Hollie for giving us a reason to celebrate!

Family Health Update

Friday, 8:42 am:

All kids, except Nati off to camp-
- Nati will be heading to camp late afternoon after further assessing her energy and fever levels - had fever most of last night
- Brayden now wearing glasses (usually wears contact) as one eye is becoming goopy and red
- Both of Mikayla's eyes are having issues
- Traig appears to be doing fine
- Michele is having sinus issues and a pretty good sore throat - also, she is very tired because-
- Ellie began having a fever at midnight and then starting throwing up every 20 minutes beginning at 4am, she seems to be doing much better now

Yee hah! I am not sure how this is going to influence the celebration aspect of our HSM2 Party tonite - (amazing how many people I know will be tuning in, if not having their own parties - what a testimony to the need and appreciation for great, quality family programming). But, that's the thing about tv, one is able to watch it whether you are sick without energy or bouncing off the walls. We'll make it happen..... just not sure how many "foreigners" are going to want to walk into this house of germs though!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Couple of Questions 79

You know, it was supposed to be an easy week with all of the kids off to camp and a few four year olds running around - instead here's a listing of what the four of our families have dealt with this last week:

-Husband to Amy, "Dr. Mark" had to skip two days of work this week with severe chills and fever and major muscle aches. I think he's feeling a bit better now
-Amy's son, Andrew had fever and chills to the extent that he drenched his t-shirt and had hallucinations in the middle of the night
-I'm now taking eye drops for conjuctivitis (to both eyes) as well as antibiotics for a sinus infection
-Mikayla had a fever Sunday night, and a mysterious pink tint to one of her eyes this morning
-Brayden woke up sneezing and coughing with a sore throat this morning
-Traig had a major night terror Sunday night
-and, finally, most dramatically, little Adam (Lisa's son) was rushed to the ER last night with febrile seizures, a result of a high fever because of the ear infection and minor pnuemonia he had developed.

GOOD GRIEF! This was supposed to be a "kick back" week, and heck, it's August, not January! But, everyone is making it through, still attending camp (does that make us bad moms or what?)..... and outside of the sniffles and such, the kids are truly having the time of their lives at Harlow. And, for that matter, us moms are having a major kick too. Just, lots of obstacles along the way.

Enough about that, on to some questions.

1. From Jodi- what is something that a friend (or multiple friends) have suggested you change, but you refuse to adjust, because you just don't want to (this could be a deep answer or something as trivial as trying a different brand of toilet paper)....?

2. What is something that you will NOT miss once summer is over?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Thank God for Sunglasses

This is dedicated to anyone who's ever given me a hard time that I only put up pictures on my blog that are flattering of me-

So, yesterday, mid-afternoon, I started to notice I was getting a little more gunk in the corner of my eye than usual. Hmmm, I've got a cold, perhaps I'm doing the Mikayla thing and having a little of the snot come out of my eyes..... but, throughout the evening it got worse, and worse, and more gunky and gunky - and by the end of the evening I felt like the little guy in "Hunchback of Notre Dame". (I will say it was a divine evening on the lake - perhaps one of my favorite trips out with Michele, the kids, John and Travis - really having fun on that wakeboard and the water was glass).

This morning it looked even worse. I could barely pry it open. This pic is better than when I first woke up. On the positive side, I don't need to worry about eye make-up. We'll see what becomes of this, I'm hoping my doc takes pity and goes ahead and calls in the antibiotic - I know this thing could be viral, but it would probably help me emotionally to know I'm taking something for it to supposedly go away.

Have a good one everyone - this is definitely one of those that looks a lot worse than it is, so I'll see what kind of fun I can have behind my shades today.......

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Prayer for Our Pastor

I know there are policies and etiquettes regarding taking text from another blog, but in this case, I don't think there will be any offenses - and since I don't know how to create a link, and am not always sure it's the best way to convey information as people don't always hit the link, I'm going to go ahead and copy a post directly.

This post is from a blog written by our pastor's son, Brent. He describes in this post the need his dad and family have for prayer due to the terrible health condition of his dad, our pastor. I haven't touched on this topic at all yet, but our church could definitely use prayer in general for the transitions that are occuring and our future ahead - but, most of all, for the physical health of our current pastor who is about to retire (and sadly, may not even have the opportunity at the pulpit again, due to his health, before that official retirement date).

Enough of my descriptions - Brent does a much better job than me: (this was Saturday's post, the latest update I have is that he is responding somewhat to antibiotics - I'll put his blog's web address in the comments if you want to stay up to speed...)

I'm Asking For Prayer
Some of you have followed along on either my blog or my wife's blog. If you have you know that my Dad has had a rough year health wise. He has been fighting an extreme case of Lupus. It has taken it's toll on him. Today he went back into the hospital. About 2 weeks ago he had a massive seizure caused by his fight with lupus. During his seizure, he aspirated and now is fighting pneumonia. We heard from my mom tonight that he is not well. The doctor's are concerned as he is needing to have an angiogram done as soon as possible to possibly put stints in to alleviate stress on his heart due to the damage lupus has caused to his arteries. Things have been progressing downhill over the last couple of months and I don't like to think negatively, but things are not getting better. The doctor's are concerned he will make it through the angiogram, because his system is so weak. They need to get him in on either Monday or Tuesday and the pneumonia is holding them back. He is 6 weeks from retirement, brought on by his health. I don't have a specific to pray for, just that as God leads us through this time that we would be patient, sensitive to His Spirit and that we would know how to provide for my Dad and my Mom in all of it.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Moms Gone Wild

Today was the first day of Camp Harlow, which means that both of my children are gone from the home from 8:30 in the morning until 3:30 in the afternoon. Oh, wow - the freedom. Among my buddies, though, I'm the only one without a little tyke. (The other three kids are 4 years old). So, prior to walking into Target, I laughingly made it clear that I would not be accountable for keeping track of any child and was free to wander from the cart without guilt. They sneered at my remarks until I pointed out that when all my children are gone from the home, having graduated - leaving me in tears - they'd all still have one at home. I guess there's two ways of looking at that, but it was meant as sad thing for me.

Anyway, enough about those future days of grief. As for today, here's a shot of Brayden's boy dominated group - two gal leaders, 7 boys ages 7-10, and two little girls about the age of 6. (Poor girls). At least all the boys are very sweet and respectful......

Two of the the three "little tykes" - the ones we jokingly consider, "betrothed" - Ellie and Jackson, entertaining the folks at Harlow while we waited in line-

Finally, some pictures taken from Brayden's disposable camera:

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Colin's Camp-Out

This last weekend, we hung out at "Colin's Camp-Out" - a large group gathering area off of the Umpqua River, right outside of Elkton. It is a beautiful location, Lisa considers it one of the closest places to Heaven on Earth.

We haven't been camping there in a while, and it seemed like it was a bit more of a struggle to get there than it ought to have been this week. I think John and I were just worn out and wondering if camping seemed like a fun idea and worth the effort. Sometimes, in hindsight, I see those emotional stumbling blocks more clearly for what I think they really are, a ploy by the Enemy to keep us from going. This time, we won the battle, we got there to the campout, but not without a family argument before we went to bed, stemming from Mommy leaving the "once we arrive and change into evening clothes duffle bag" and "Brayden's clothes duffle bag". It was a tussle between John and I that I'm so proud of, such mature comments coming out of my mouth...... =(

That was about it of the drama though - all in all it was a fantastic, restful, rejuvinating weekend. I'll list some of my highlights after I caption the pictures:
The view of the fog clearing from the bridge right down the way from the camping area-

This is Tomaselli's - a little morsel in the town of Elkton that many of the campers gather at in the morning for a real breakfast and flush toilet.

Scott, Liz, and their youngest son, Cooper, hanging out on our boat that we brought with us for the purpose to carry camping stuff as well as take Lisa's family out on Cottage Grove Lake on the way home.

Another popular activity - the Saturday afternoon volleyball game. I slept through most of it, but took a few shots once I woke up. Note Dennis' (Lisa's hubby) fine form going towards the ball....

This is another shot of Scott and Liz's son, Cooper. With his big eyes, curly hair, and mischievous grin, he's a photographer's dream come true....

Dinner time is a big deal Saturday night as everyone shares a gourmet dish and meals end up being a hodgepodge of 18 different offerings..... very yummy (also in the pic are Scott and Liz's other two boys)

Sheldon, Randy, and Pete - 3 very cool guys.....

A funny shot of Dave, also known as "Dave the Wave" a great buddy of ours and the program director of Camp Harlow. His family had just gotten up so it looked like no one liked him or wanted to eat with him.... (which in reality is always the opposite).

Alright, a few weekend highlights:

- Catching up with friends I haven't "caught up" with in a long time - and having the notion of "friends for life" ring true, even when the friends rarely ever see each other and spend time with entirely different groups

- Taking time with just Brayden to row the inflatable boat accross the river (which flows more like a lake - the boat did NOT drift at all), and spending time with Brayden as he explored the rocks and tried to catch tadpoles

- Really good s'mores

- Singing the "Go Diego, Go" theme song with Lisa as we took 3 young children on an adventure to feed 4 "teenage" kittens that lived in the barn near the camping meadow. We had seen them, then returned with a pack of hot dogs, ready to do an "animal rescue". I chose to step foot in the barn and tear apart the hot dogs, all the while noticing the bats circling in the rafters, and swooping down - far too close for my comfort

- Having another uncontrollable belly laugh as Lisa and I sailed across the lake in the intertube - with her screaming hysterically. We had one hit that caught more air than I've ever caught in that thing, and shall I say, the landing was not a pretty thing (my neck isn't very happy with that). But, ahhhh, the laughter, it was worth it........

- Successfully, "officially" wakeboarding, and feeling somewhat in control on it. I was having some fun on that thing, and the grin all over my face certainly showed it

- And finally, the most meaningful experience for me was singing as Dave led and played on his guitar at the campfire. As I've told him myself before, Dave is a bit of a hero to me as his leading worship in church can completley move my heart to exactly where it needs to be with the Lord. He sang in our wedding and his voice is just awesome. Mikayla had had me singing to her in my lap around the fire, wanting me to sing "every God song I knew". I was so excited when Dave appeared with his guitar and Mikayla's "God songs" could become so much better. At one point, she asked to go to bed and I told her, "one more song" as it was one of those times I couldn't be torn away from. Sure enough, the very next song he sung is one of my favorites. Mikayla had fallen asleep by that time in my lap and tears rolled down my cheeks as I worshipped at the campfire, family in my lap, friends by my side - the sweet, sweet sounds of accoustic guitar flowing through the air, and a sky full of stars overhead. I couldn't help but cry. I remember 6 years ago, being in a camp chair around that same campfire, with Brayden on my lap, feeling Mikayla's first kick inside my belly while we sang. Amazing, that's about all I can say.

Thank you Colin for opening your family's property up for us to retreat to. I don't think you'll ever know until Heaven the impact that place has made in people's lives.........

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Pictures from the Kid Boat

Mom and Dad gave me their camera this week to download some of the pictures they took from our camping weekend. Dad just got the camera - a Kodak Easy Share from Costco - I think it's a pretty impressive camera for the price.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A Couple of Questions 78

I am so tired of flies in my house! Anyone else?

On to the questions......

1. Let's say you agreed to go "primitive camping" for a week - what element of civilization would you miss the most? (Examples of: Starbucks, hot lengthy shower, tv, the internet, the "feel" of civilization", etc......)

2. Let's say you had to perform a song "karaoke" (someone's life depended on it) - which song would you choose?

I know, some far-fetched scenarios, but I thought I'd ask-

Monday, August 06, 2007

Churchill High School - Class of '87

I really don't have a lot to say about this event - pretty much, I literally hung on John's arm, exercising all of the smile muscles in my face. John reported that it was a lot better than his 10th year reunion, what they say rung true for him - the 10 year is all about reporting how successful you are, where everyone seems to mellow out by the 20th, reporting instead about family and good times.

The folks we ran into and talked to varied - one of the guys, who John got into some of the most trouble with, I found most fun and wish we could have talked to more - he literally glowed in his report of being told he and his wife were having triplets, and how amazing his wife was to go nearly full term with them. Yup, that guy's changed.

Others, sadly, were totally lost - one guy, standing out front smoking was reporting through a myriad of cuss words how he had just moved to Florence 3 weeks ago and is working at the casino counting money. When asked why, he said, "mid-life crisis, but I'm okay with it" - Alrighty then, didn't know how to respond to that one (let's just say the comment was laced with a few more words than I'm adding too).

Then, there was the gal that came over to John because she'd had Mikayla in a small group at her pre-school's VBS last summer. She had adored Mikayla and wanted to meet John because "he must have changed a ton" - she ended up whispering in John's ear, "please pray for my husband" before we left......

Two hours later, we were out of there and headed to Cold Stone Creamery. Couldn't wait to get out of the dress and heels, put on some sweats, and pig out like the best of them when we got home. One can only act impressive for so long.......

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Packard Creek Camping Trip

Ahhhh, do you hear that? Hmmm, I hear a dishwasher running, a dryer humming, a washer spinning, and Rich Mullins singing, "Alrightokuhuhamen" - and, that's it....... No kids arguing, phones ringing, or voices talking......a very blessed thing. John did indeed take the kids to the reunion picnic by himself today (is he a saint or what?) and I am here "catching up" in so many more ways than one. Now, if only I could do something about the puffy eyes and pretty intense neck pain right now I'd being doing super-

Our camping trip ended up being more therapeutic than I originally estimated. It didn't look like that from the start, though, - at 2am Friday morning as my air mattress had deflated and the chirping of the birds had me falsely believing that it was nearly dawn I was really wondering what about camping has any lure to me. But, it does - and it was a great weekend. In fact, our annual trip to East Lake now looks like it's been converted to an annual trip to this campsite at Hills Creek. I can't say that I'm on board with that idea one hundred percent (I am still a bit of a camping purist to want to leave the ski boats behind), but I'm willing to concede to the majority and it is certainly a fun enough event to be repeated annually.

Here's a pic of the group campsight - after we'd removed all of our tents and stuff-

About a third of the group piled onto Randy and Nancy's boat-

Mom and Dad being the faithful pullers of the big intertube - aka, being captains of the "kid boat"- Thanks!!!!!!!!

Watching Michele ski - get comfortable, she loves to ski and ski and ski and ski.......... =)

I thought this was precious, Mikayla was giving Travis a "massage" by petting his back after he wakeboarded-

I hope you all have had a fantastic weekend. I've got losts of blog posts to catch up on, so I'll try and do better about getting something up daily for a while.......

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Running on Fumes

First of all - major oversight on my part. When I posted about "High School Musical on Stage" I forget about mentioning why we got to go in the first place. Thank you Uncle Jeff and Aunt Laura! As a Christmas present they had gotten us tickets to a play that ended up getting cancelled. So, this is the performance we chose to watch as a family instead. I feel like a big dufus for not giving thanks for that earlier.

I think it was just about a year ago that I submitted a post about recognizing my need for "alone time" to rejuvinate. It was on a Saturday where John took off for a "day camping experience" and I cleaned house - re-organizing my living space as well as my thoughts. Funny how sometimes things become so "seasonal" - or in this case, annual. Because, I am in desperate need of alone time right now.

As the title points out, I feel like I'm running on fumes when it comes to my interactions with other people right now. I feel completely, socially, run-down and in no way "authentic" when speaking to people. This evening, at church, greeting people was truly a chore for me, there's just nothing left to give out.

This is all fantastic timing as we have a group camp-out beginning tomorrow and John's reunion Saturday night. I better resurrect some extrovert reserves pretty darn quick.....In the meantime, I'll rely on sugar, caffeine, ample sleep, and the beauty of nature to offer their mecidinal therapies, and hopefully, be a pleasant person to be around.

I need to reiterate that this is just a "me thing" and not a red flag for me being depressed or in a big fight with anyone - it's just as I described last year, I'm more introvert in nature and eventually, without some good "down time" I'm going to wear out. I think the recent posts have made it clear that that has not been happening lately (down time). In fact, one of my favorite moments this week was simply watching "Kyle XY" with John (fun show). We haven't sat and watched tv together in the evening in a while, and it was comforting to me to return to that normalcy with him - and I've found myself wishing that's all we could do again. But, alas, it is the height of summer, with many weekday and weekend demands - almost all promising fun and festivity. So, "get over it, Steph", be thankful for the wonderful people that surround you, and pray that Sunday John might feel the desire to take the kids solo to the "picnic" aspect of his reunion so I can finally get my day of refreshment........