Sunday, August 31, 2008

One Win Down......

Yesterday was a super day. We woke up to a "briskness" that felt a bit like autumn and football.

Since our first "appointment" of the day was at the Johnsons' home tailgater at 3:30, that left plenty of time to hang out on the couch, read a good book, watch "Game Day" and college football. Truly, it felt like all was well in the world.

In the afternoon, the family headed over to Christy and Sheldon's and joined with a bunch of other buddies to anticipate the kick-off to the UO Football Season. Made even more enjoyable was the presence of our new pastor, Ben Cross along with his wife and daughter. He's from the Washington area, with a few of his children being Husky alumni, so it was a big deal to have him wearing this: (the picture looks a little funny with all of us girls around him, that just happened to be who was sitting near him when we snapped the shot)

And, here's a picture of Holliehobbie and myself - Pete and Hollie and their three kids came on down from Washington (they are DUCK fans, don't let their location fool you) - and it was wonderful to get a chance to see and hang out with them as well.

Finally, we ended up at the game - another date night with just John and I. It was a great time, with a win of 44-10, so it was quite satisfying. The only bummer was the absence of Travis and Stephanie who normally sit two rows behind us. They were very busy at the time, as Travis was actually walking his sister down the aisle to be married. Congratulations Kristen and Brian!

This last picture is of our resident celebrity - aka "Mr. TV Time-Out", Mr. Mike Whitty. Always fun to see him on the field, watching the clock to make sure the local tv affiliates who are airing the game get their appropriately allotted commercial time.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Blog Housekeeping

I had a disappointing afternoon yesterday with the annual "Did you make the team?" class postings at the kids' school sharply put up at 5pm..... (can you tell I can't stand the way they do that?!). Every year it's the same old thing, either the right teacher without the right kids, or the right kids without the right teacher (or, worse yet, having the "right" nothing....). I feel good about Mikayla's teacher (she was my 2nd pick) and even better about the class list, but Brayden got the one teacher I wrote a request asking that I would not get (you can't actually list teachers by name, so I had to describe him needing a teacher that was everything I've heard she is not....). I need to give her the benefit of the doubt, but I'm ready to be "vocal" this year, as necessary, to make sure my boy doesn't slip through the "good-enough kid/B+" cracks that I feel like many can easily do in big classrooms.... Anyway, it took a long time to settle down last night when trying to go to sleep - I really need to rest in the Lord that he has a perfect plan with this choice.

Regarding housekeeping stuff, for those that have been reading but have never commented, or new to visit, I wanted to remind you that this blog allows for anonymous comments, which means you don't have to "log in" or create a password to comment. It would be great if you do as Michele does or John does and sign your name at the bottom just so I know who you are, but either way, I just wanted to clarify that it's super easy to do if you want to add your two cents...... =) (and that's not to say that I believe that is the value of your comment, that's just an expression my grandpa used.....)

And regarding "two cents" - I want to declare that this blog will be a politics free blog. There's a lot that's on everyone's minds right now and I certainly have plenty of opinions, but I deliberately try to keep my blog pretty low in the debate level. I kind of cringe with too much opinion aimed straight at me, and, even more significant, this blog gets turned into a book that is a family keepsake and I don't think in years to come that political debate will be what we'll all want to sit around to read. Finally, when one declares their political stance, all of a sudden, others tend to believe a thousand different things about them based on prejudice and stereotype. I'm guilty of that myself. Since we are all pretty limited in our opportunity to really know each other, I'd rather those assumptions get left off the table. Of course, feel free to comment as you wish, I'm mostly just saying you won't be reading posts that I've written of political nature -

Have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend, and I sign off with just two words......


Friday, August 29, 2008

"Have You Read THE SHACK?"

I can't tell you how many times I've been asked that. I think at least ten. Once, even this morning. I suppose it's because I make no secret of my desire for good Christian literature - and given that, it would totally make sense that I read a slightly sci-fi, Christian book that just happens to have hit #1 on the New York Times Best Seller List.

But, still I resisted. It sounded a little depressing to me. I think there was another reason I was reluctant - I think it's because now that I've read it, I won't be able to stop telling others about it.

To say a particular book is your favorite is like picking a child to be your favorite - it just feels wrong. But, when it comes down to one book that I would most want people to read and grasp (beyond the Bible) - this would be it. Yes, it impacted me that much.

So, I implore you - if you haven't heard about the book, go to the website, and if you have heard about it, head to Costco or any place that sells books and pick it up. If it has already been given to you, find a time to read it. It's not a book you can sit casually with by the pool - it's one to be absorbed- and grappled with. And perhaps, re-read. And, then, discussed - and shared. It's hard not to be impacted and let others know.

If my review sounds over the top, I agree. I'm generally the one who always under-exaggerates so people's expectations aren't too high (I leave the hyperboles to John!). So, just know, I really was THAT impressed. And now I'll be the one asking everyone, "Have you read THE SHACK?"

Our Friend Is Back

I just wanted to let anyone who doesn't know yet that our good buddy, Literarygirl, is back on line and requesting some pretty serious prayer. It's good to have her back, but I wish it were under different circumstances.......

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"All Clear"

A couple of weeks ago, Mikayla and I went on a bike ride to Starbucks while Brayden was at football camp. It was the first time we went any place beyond the neighborhood while she was riding her own bike and I was riding mine. I was very proud of her - she did a super job.

The Starbucks we rode to and route we took, had us traveling across several road entrances leading into a residential areas as well as a whole Home Depot shopping area. Although I had already taught Mikayla to carefully look both ways before riding her bike along the path across the roads, I still found myself charging ahead and yelling out "All Clear" to her.

On the way home, I realized what an impedment I was to Mikayla in doing this. I was preventing her from practicing what she'd learned in my attempt to completely protect her. In hindsight, I realized that I should have watched her look both ways at each opportunity, and then gave the "All Clear" signal, when I saw that she had done what she was supposed to.

It's a terribly hard thing to determine as a parent when it's time to step in and protect and when it's time to step back and let your children learn and experience on their own. I desperately want what is good and happy for my kids - that their lives will be filled with positive memories and they'll always know their mommy loves them. But, as they get older, I'm realizing that my childrens' happiness shouldn't be such a top priority- and that's hard for this mom.

Today was a very difficult day with Brayden. We spent the day at home - which wasn't my intention, but between the weather not being great, and housework really taking THAT long, that's where we stayed. I had braced the kids last night that they would both have to spend some time cleaning their rooms. Both rooms were in about the same shape - both requiring only about ten minutes of good effort. Mikayla actually snuck into her room to clean it without my prompting first thing this morning, just so she wouldn't have to worry about it later. Something I would have done. Brayden ignored his chore. When he started pestering his sister, I got mad, yelled at him and sent him to clean his room. About five minutes later, feeling remorseful about my attitude and sorry for yelling at him, I went to his room only to find it NOT cleaned and him not there. He had probably picked up a couple of things, and then went to watch tv. NICE..... So, I got on him again - little success. And again - same sort of effort. Finally, I found him out at the trampoline and gave him the big guilt trip about how he makes me feel when he chooses to disrespect me like that. He felt bad and even admitted that he "doesn't like it when I do that" - "you mean, make you feel sad because I tell you how sad I am?" - "Yeah, it makes me feel bad". Okay, well, at least I found a button to push that produced results. (For those of you reading thinking I'm a terrible mom with disobedient, disrespectful children - I'm sorry I've let you down!)

As I helped him get his pads on for football practice, I had this gut feeling that we were only just beginning the stress issues of having to prepare for things that were pressure scenarios for Brayden. This is only the second week of practice, but the first week with full tackle/pads. (I had to look it up online to determine where each pad goes - man, this is a science). Brayden had begged and begged to play Pop Warner Tackle football this year, vs. the flag football that he played last year. Brayden LOVES football and could not wait for this opportunity to play. However, since practice has begun, he's been less than enthusiastic. "They've had to run too much, too hard, the tackles have hurt, and the coach is tough."

As is typical for a child with his personality, he was exuberant over the idea, but lost interest when the follow-through became tough. When I returned to the practice after running to the store, I noticed him dead last in the pack of runners, and when he approached to get his drink, he was bawling.

Now, the protective mom in me wanted to call it quits for him. I wanted to give in to his desperate pleas to not return to practicing and have him walk away with me so we could go get him ice cream, give him a big "Adda Boy" and say "Nice Try". But, despite his constant cries of "I Can't" coupled with "I just couldn't breathe, I think I have asthma" (which we're quite certain he does not have), I couldn't give in. The ramifications of him choosing not to return to practice would be very big and could be potentially far-reaching for a number of reasons.

John joined us soon after - Brayden still crying, me praying over him, talking him out of his excuses, giving encouragement. John then spent nearly 45 minutes sitting with him and walking around the track with him, repeating many of the same things I said, giving him examples of times he stuck it out (Boot Camp) and times he wish he had and regretted it ever since (high school wrestling). We both talked at length about Brayden's need to demonstrate to his peers and teammates that he's not a quitter, that he has their back and will not let the team down, and that he's courageous enough to return to the field. He did not want to return to practice today, he wanted to sit on the sidelines and go back tomorrow. But, we know our son, and his track record - one little inch given to him, he'll run with. If he thought he could get out of it today, he would have tried again tomorrow and the next day - and certainly numerous times when the pressure of school chimed in too.

Finally, he got back in there. And, by the next water break, he was running up to us with smiles and bragging about the way he'd juked out of tackles repetitively. He had confidence again, and that made all the difference.

After practice, John touched base with the coach who assured us that nearly every child on the team will go through this at one point or another, but eventually, for each of them, they'll have a moment where it all clicks and realize it's all worth it. Looking at our son, who is nearly the shortest, is not "Speedy Gonzalez", is close to the lightest, and does not possess a fiery venom when it comes to taking out his enemy..... I hope and pray that Brayden will find that moment. For now, I'll take today's moment - when Brayden realized that sometimes life means sticking with it even when it's tough, and Mom realized sometimes life means stepping back, even when it causes your child pain. I can no longer pave the way for him, checking to make sure every path is "All Clear" for him - it's time I trust that he looks both ways on his own.

Last Days

I have a couple of "deep thoughts" posts running through my head, but am lacking the energy and thoughtfulness to compose them right now.

Currently it's overcast and quite cool - guess we're not headed to the pool like I'd planned today.

Just a few more days left of the traditional last week before school.... how are you spending them?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Of Course, If We're So Close, We Can't Avoid This.....

Just a few more special pictures- this time of our stop off at the beach in Bandon. The goal was to get a family shot (hence Sydney's opportunity to take the ride with us) - and that was a huge "Mission Accomplished". You'll see that picture sometime in December when it will probably arrive in your mail box along with a Christmas letter. However, here are just a couple we took while playing around-

More Pictures from the McKenzie

These were just uploaded from the Oregon Christian Rafters and Paddlers website - we didn't get any awesome ones of hitting some major rapids, but I guess there are still two photographers who snap your picture from the shore next to Martins Rapids, so we'll have to see what those look like and whether or not we want to invest when they are put on the websites.

Here's our "little family":

And a great one of Travis and the "very brave" Stephie.....

At the lunch break, my dad decided to take disciplining Brayden's very obnoxious behavior (he was on the boat so I can't testify to it.... I can't imagine him being anything but a perfect angel!) into his own hands.... Good for my dad!

Here is a picture of the girls - "Before":
And "After":

And, one of the few shots we had of us actually in the raft - this was the boat with my mom and dad, Michael and Michele, Ellie, Brayden and Traig, and the raft guide, Brian.

And, finally, a picture of Traig with a huge beaming smile, pretty much summed the whole experience up.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

Today - it was the ocean. However, playing in the sand wasn't our primary goal, it was visiting West Coast Game Park Safari just south of Bandon. It's a drive - over three hours, and with us getting a late start due to John's dad being admitted for his SEVENTH bout of pneumonia this year, we were all quite anxious to get there by the time we'd arrived. But, once again, the experience was SO worth it (we visited sans our husbands two years ago). I just can't recommend this very-humble "hole in the wall" off of Highway 101 enough.

Right as you walk in the gate, you are bombarded with free-roaming animals (goats, deer, mules, geese) who all want a piece of your cone filled with animal food.

We then gathered the family up and took pictures with "Dahlia", a rare black panther who was 10 weeks old. Just awesome that we could all go up and pet her.

Next in the photo parade, we were able to take pictures with "Delilah", a 9 week old African lion cub - oh man, was she adorable. She sat on our lap and then we were allowed to play a bit with her.

On to the Animal Nursery demonstration - opossums (baby and the adult cross-eyed one!), white skunk, ferrets, and we can't remember the name of the last one.....

Finally, some of the more impressive animals that we weren't able to pet or hold. However, we were really only four feet away from them - just so different from a zoo.

Okay, this last guy isn't exotic, and we were definitely close enough to touch him. This was John's favorite picture, so he insisted we include it. He kind of sums up the great fun of the whole experience!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

On the River

Last night, we were on the lake. Today we were on the river. Tomorrow, we will be at the ocean. It's been a busy water weekend for us - and I believe we will be sleeping well tonite.

Last Christmas, Mom and Dad purchased a gift certificate for river rafting at the Harlow auction. It allowed for 6-8 people, so Mom and Dad invited Michael and Michele, John and I, and the Whites. Upon making contact with Brian, the main guide, we were told that we could take our kiddos too....that it was a very-friendly ride. Excellent, as we didn't have a babysitter and the 80 or so dollars (for 5 kids) we would have had to spend for the 6 hours we were gone was kept with us. =)

It was a fantastic time. The river guides were phenomenal - huge shout out to Brian, Mark, Craig and Elizabeth for taking their time to bless our lives so richly. (And let us not forget "Bennie", Brian's dog who was a major bonus for the girls!) We were in two different boats, Mark and Brian were the guides, and the adults ran the paddles while the kids looked over the bow ready to brace for the impact of the rapids. There were only two "class 3" rapids on the trip, both quite short - so the majority of the time was fun, but not hazardous - full of gorgeous scenery, lots of water fights, and clever banter among the boaters.

The pictures were just a few I was able to take during our lunch break. They had a camera that John used extensively - so as soon as those our posted on their website ( [hee-hee] - that's short for Oregon Christian rafters and paddlers) - we'll be able to put up more pictures.

Thank you, Mom and Dad for making this happen. We all had a blast!

Oh - and this last picture, I just now am downloading at 7:15 pm - proving the above statement about sleeping well tonite to be very true for our two precious guys who have both worked so very hard this week.....

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Not So Inspired

I feel like my posting efforts as of late have a been a little lax - and yes, a little on the melancholy side. I'm really not feeling that way, I just haven't been laying in bed with great inspiration running through my mind of what I want to write.

Yesterday was a busy day that started with Amy and the kids coming over, complete with Champ (their pug) bringing a present around his neck for Sydney. She loved the "bone-like object" inside, and it prevents me from going to the Duck Store on her behalf! (see comments last post) Thanks Champ!

Next up, a trip to see my friend, Stephanie H. with Lisa and kids in tow. She lives in Pleasant Hill, has a beautiful house, and an adorable one and a half year old Golden Retriever. I felt a little bit like I was betraying Sydney for the two hours we were there as I spent the majority of the time making "Sammy" very happy by petting him constantly.

Finally, we headed home and I learned how to peel peaches by boiling them first and then turned that into a fresh Peach Kuchen for the dinner party we were invited to last night with Phil and Lisa S., Steve and Kris, Mark and Amy, and Randy and Nancy. The food was FANTASTIC and fellowship even sweeter - I was very inspired with where the course of conversation took us.

I gotta say, I'm enjoying the weather break. It's just enough to get my cozy feelings going for a bit - and then put a stop to it for a while so I can really appreciate the hopeful next 4-6 weeks of still continued sunshine. It's slowed the pace around here (except for yesterday!) and has helped me get caught up with some of those not-so-fun details that get ignored when we're heading to the pool or wherever else each day in the summer.

Michele and kids arrive this afternoon - tomorrow we'll hopefully take advantage of the weather change at the pool, then Saturday will bring us rafting on the McKenzie, and Sunday will hopefully take us to Bandon. There should be some fun, lively, full-of-pictures posts to come.....

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Sydney

Today our sweet little puppy turns three years old. Hard to believe it's only three years as it feels like she's been a fixture in our family forever. What a great dog. We're so blessed to have her. Today she gets to celebrate with her best buddy, Bogey (the beagle) as they are having their Wednesday doggy playdate. It's good to be Syd.....

Monday, August 18, 2008


The announcer right now is doing a top five list of the greatest Olympic moments thus far - he listed the Opening Ceremonies, the opening basketball game, the butterfly (fingernail) finale, the womens' gymnastics all-around, and the final relay resulting in Phelp's 8th gold. I watched all of those moments, sans the basketball - it's really been awesome.

However, if you have followed the gymnastics closely, particularly the womens' - there's been some obvious injustices. One just has to wonder when China has been the "victor" from these injustices, if somehow, the scores aren't being influenced. You want to just scream, "that's not fair!"

I had my own "life's not fair" day that I can pretty much just sum up as PMS - aka - major irritability. My definition of irritability can often be described as this - "Whatever goes wrong, it is always someone else's fault and whether I express it verbally or not, I'm feeling the anger...." From the Blockbuster employee who put the wrong PS2 game in the case (and we didn't discover it until we were nearly home) to the Safeway employee who felt like only giving me one paper bag (and the rest plastic) when I asked for them to be bagged in paper (I re-use them for various purposes.....). Do I get mean and nasty and ruin their day too, or do I just bite my tongue and recognize "in the big scheme of things" this is not worth making an issue over? (I tried to learn from my own advice today when I told Brayden that Mikayla did not have the power to "ruin his whole day" - it was his own choice to make)....

Then, later this afternoon, thanks to Hollie, I was linked to two sites of families that lost their children - one that lived for only two hours - and the other that died 10 weeks after birth from SIDS - and the clencher - those two children are cousins. Once again, I was brought back to that place of reading people's grief - raw and transparent and recognizing just how UNFAIR this world really is - far above having to backtrack for errands, being hurt by your sister, or even the scores in the Olympic games. I've never been exposed to so many stories of grief as I have this month, and while it may seem depressing, it's actually been a very learning experience for me. While I hope that it will be a long time before I end up grieving to that capacity, it will happen. And, when it does, I hope that I will have the same amount of strength, hope, and faith that Thomas, Steven, Mary Beth, Greg, Nicol, Todd, and Angie have demonstrated......

It sure makes those plastic bags from Safeway seem extremely insignificant.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Cause of Our Concern

So, there it is - proof that we weren't being bombed at 11:15 pm and this was just one of God's fireworks shows - (perhaps to celebrate Michael Phelps, or an irony of names for the Jamaican runner who raced at the time of the storm, nicknamed "Lightening Bolt") - There were a whole lot of all black pictures taken before John caught this one - way to be persistent, honey!

This next shot just looked oh-so-ominous that I had to include it. It reminds me of some sort of setting of a Peretti spiritual warfare book or something:

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Eight for Eight

Right now my daughter is playing with my hair.... that has got to be one of the coziest feelings in the world.... sigh.

As she's playing, she's talking about what she bets Michael Phelps will be doing while he's in Heaven - lots of swimming. "I bet so too, honey...."

Did you know that Michael Phelps has ADHD? That he struggled as early as kindergarten trying to fit in, to sit still, to not be bored? That the structure of a pool with a clearly marked wall (boundary) on each side and T on the bottom keeps him focused and as such, it is his sanctuary. What a testimony of each of us being uniquely gifted. Even in his physical make-up - a man with obvious dis-proportions to his body - such incredibly long arms, but short legs in comparison to his torso - and yet that makes him the perfect swimming machine.

We just watched, as a family, CHEERING, YELLING, WHOOPING IT UP, as he and his team earned the gold medal - and he earned his 8th gold medal, more than any other Olympian in a single Olympics. Every event he participated in, he won - and every time, just as satisfying in seeing his reaction was that of his mom - always there, always encouraging - always loving him whether he was a class mess-up or the hero of the world.

I sure hope I can be that kind of mom, in all circumstances - challenging, pushing, encouraging, praising, disciplining, and always loving my children for just who they are, with each of their individual make-up of strengths and weaknesses that are often the very same quality.

Thank you Michael Phelps for making this the best Olympics I've ever watched, and thank you Michael Phelp's mom for being such a huge part in making him the hero that he is today.......

(You'll note by my comment that we were actually able to watch this all happen at 8:15 - and then went to bed - the comment doesn't make a lot of sense if you don't know that)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Brice Creek

As we were supposed to be going to Michele's today, and then that got postponed a night, I felt the need to do something special today - just me and the kiddos. I decided we ought to go for a hike as Brayden was previously very bummed that Michele and I had done that long hike without him. Having worked in a capacity with kids for the City of Eugene as a director/planner of an outdoor excursions weekly camp - I feel like I should have a good idea of great places to take the kids. While this is relatively true - it's still been 10 years since I've accessed those ideas - and distance was an issue in terms of wanting to stay closer to home. We ended up still driving an hour (had I known it was that long, I might have reconsidered) - and we went to Brice Creek.
Perhaps just a half mile up the trail, we came upon this amazing water hole - the very place I remember hanging out with the 15 or so campers when we went before. It was already inhabited by several teenagers and three moms semi-supervising, but things were pretty tame, and since the moms were there - I felt comfortable crashing the party a bit. I'm surprised there weren't more people - it seemed an ideal location for anyone to spend a 95+ degree day....
I think Sydney had the most fun on the whole excursion - she wasn't afraid to get wet - again and again. Unfortunately, the little Jack Russel terrier in the above picture wasn't very fond of other dogs and greeted Sydney with quite a bit of scorn. (The mom told me that he did that because he knew she was on a leash and could get away with it). Smart dog..... He backed off after a while, but did occassionally steal the sticks we threw in the water for Syd to retrieve.
The only drawback with having Syd enjoy the water so much was her need to shake right next to us whenever she got out - this is a great shot of her catching Mikayla.
This is the area right above the swimming hole - gorgeous, huh?
While I'm glad I made the effort to take the kids out, it probably won't go down as our favorite adventure ever. Brayden is very worn out from staying up too late and participating in football camp during the mornings (his attitude is scaring me for what's to come.....!) - and Mikayla was either completely on Brayden's nerves or on the whiny side. It's a bit disheartening when you plan something that you think will make them very happy and it just doesn't work out that way. But, not every activity can be a total winner, and I actually have a feeling that this place will seem a lot neater for them in memory as they did think it was pretty cool. And, you know, as a mom, just making the effort on their behalf felt good to do.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It's That Time of Year

This picture was taken about a month ago, and is my gardening pride and joy. For those of you reading long enough, you'll remember that last year's pumpkin efforts garnered a perhaps C- score. I came away with a couple white mini pumpkins and I think two normal size ones, but it was certainly a weak showing.

This year, I've been highly attentive to my little babies. I've used product to keep fungus away and have tried to water early enough so that it doesn't mold overnight. My efforts have proved "fruitful" (or is it vegetable-full?!) as it appears that I have at least 8 shot-put sized little pumpkins growing..... This makes me very happy.

As the pumpkins mature, however, it makes me realize how close we are getting to the end of summer. For the sake of needing to re-set better habits and routines, I'm ready. For the sake of embracing the feel of the harvest season and all things cozy that goes with it, I'm ready. But, I'm not ready to turn the easy laughter I'm hearing these days from Brayden into whining and tears as the morning wake-ups and pressures of school kick in. I'm not ready to lose my faithful daily companion for the last 6 years to a full day of school. (I'm telling myself right now, "DO NOT CRY!"). And, honestly, I'm not quite ready to tell you how I'll be spending my time while she's gone.....(I think I'll be postponing any major decisions until January....)

So, I'll end my post with those questions that have been on the minds of so many minds these days. What are you looking forward to with the change of seasons and what are you dreading?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Armchair Olympians

I grew up in a household where sports were rarely on the television. Generally, the television was on, and consequently, I've grown up accustomed to its place as "atmosphere" in our home - but my mom and dad just aren't that big of sports fans, so that was that. My mom's dad, "Grandpa Plum", however, always had football on when we came to their house and visited near the time of his birthday (around Halloween). For most of my life, I saw that as a boring nuisance, because that's how my parents' perceived it, but now that I've grown to love football, I so wish I could go back in time and appreciate it with him. (He passed away in 1995, the year before John and I got married).

I kind of got lost on a tangent there.... (sweet memories of Grandpa Plum.....), anyway- the one exception to the sports generalization was the Olympics. I remember VIVIDLY watching Mary Lou Retton do her "double zuchahara (sp!) with a full twist" on the vault and earning perfect tens. I cried - and as a kid, not a lot brought me to tears (Michele and I both were amazingly hard-hearted as a small children!).

So, here we are again, with the Olympics on and John and I are loving it. We are very like-minded in our television viewing (the exception to the rule would be my appreciation of sci-fi and his appreciation of X-Games style sports). We were both so excited to return home from church yesterday (we each had responsibilities so we didn't get home until 1), to try to catch up on all of the DVR'd events. It was a cozy afternoon. Eventually, however, we realized that the kids weren't quite so excited, so we ended up taking a break and playing a little football (Brayden) and volleyball (Mikayla) at the elementary school before heading to Jamba Juice. It was our act of parenting pentance......

I also discovered a new computer games website that made the kids very happy. So that, at least, kept them in the living room with us while John and I wooped it up watching the US men kick that cocky French's team rear end in the 4x100 Relay. (Seriously, what was that team thinking when they publically mocked them to the media 'We are going to crush the Americans'?!). As you can see, as well, Sydney had no problem finding a comfortable position to be cozy too. The only drawback to these Olympics is the threat it poses to our sleep - particularly John's- even with our "east coast three hour head start". As John aims to be out of the house by 6:00 every morning, that guy can't dilly-dally in the evening hours without it making a big impact on his well-being. So, we'll do our best to show restraint, but if you notice either one of us acting a bit grumpier in the next couple of weeks, it might have something to do with the strain of being "Armchair Olympians"......

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Boatin'..... Again......

This must get old - seeing more pictures of the same ol' innertube and wakeboard, but it's a lot of fun for us to take folks out and see them try some of the stuff on our boat for the first time. On Saturday afternoon, it was Mark, Amy, Andrew, Christina, and Jackson. For as great of friends as they are, we have a heckuva time trying to arrange schedules to make a boat run happen with their family. So, despite the cool start to the day, I was determined to make it happen - and it felt rewarding when we arrived at the very unpopulated lake at 3pm with the temps in the mid-70's and the sun shining bright.

First up, actually, it was Mark and then Amy on the slalom. But, that's old news - they've both been successful at that forever. Having Mark strut his stuff on the wakeboard, having just tried a couple of times before - that was photo-worthy. He demonstrated some natural talent, he's gonna need to get himself one of those once he gets his boat.....
A sweet shot of father and son......
A sweet shot of mother and son......
Mikayla has been avoiding the innertube like the plague for the last couple of months. At one point, it got too bumpy for her, so she's been fearful of it and unwilling to go out again. But, bless Christina's heart - she was just the remedy and exactly what Mikayla needed to "get back in the saddle again". That, and Carrie Underwood singing, "All American Girl". Those girls were so precious singing along to it, doing hand motions, and especially, holding their "microphones" as they belted it out. As happy as they were, it might have been even more meaningful for the parents of these two "All American Girls" to watch......
And, then there are our boys - who's request for "action" in the tube is about 5x more than the girls - showing that they are oh-so-cool!
Last night was a little crazy. We got off the lake around 7pm, stopped by DQ, and then headed to Elkton at 8:30 just so we could hear our buddy, Dave, play his guitar around the campfire at Colin's Camp-out. We arrived in time to hear all of four songs, but they were all "Dave-written" originals, which means we had our own private mini-concert. It was awesome, my little girl falling asleep in my lap, worshiping, the campfire cracking, and all of those stars overhead. It was so worth the drive there and back, arriving home just before midnight......