Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Big Shoes

A father is someone we look up to no matter how tall we grow.

Happy Father's Day!




That's What She Said

Today we were in the car driving home from Father's Day shopping and the girls were both in a good mood, laughing and tallking, with each other, which hardly ever happens. 

Hallie was trying to impress us with her knowledge of Spanish and she said, "Sí, es verdad." To which HannahKate replied, "Yes, it's green?"  {for those not as fluent in Spanish as Hallie:  verdad=true/correct and verde=green}

Next, it was Hallie's turn to need an interpreter.  She was telling us about a classmate from this past school year, and said, "Remember?  He's the one I peenched?"  I just vaguely remembered, so I said, "Why did you pinch him?" She responded, "I didn't, I peenched him."  Evidently there is a difference between pinch and peench of which I was not aware.

And in the vein of good sportsmanship, I'll tell you my "misinterpretation mishap" this week.  A friend of mine sent me an email and asked for help.  She said, "How would you say this in Spanish:  We love you Kevin Arnold.  Thanks a million."  So I translated, "¡Le amamos Kevin Arnold! ¡Gracias un millón!"  And I added a side note explaining that sometimes expressions and idioms don't quite make the jump from one language to another, but that this particular one should be ok.  "He'll get the gist", I said.  She responded, laughing at me in all capital letters, "YOU ARE SO FUNNY!  The 'Thanks a million' part was intended for YOU!"

I guess the girls and I all three have "blonde" roots.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Our Camping Trip--Yes, I Went Camping

A few weeks ago, we had a somewhat last minute invitation to go camping with the Millards and the Scheuchzers.  I've mentioned before that I'm not exactly the outdoorsy, rough it, kinda gal...so we rented a camper.  We packed up and headed to Beaver's Bend in Broken Bow, Oklahoma.  Our traveling band included three vehicles pulling trailers, six adults, eleven children and about a hundred bicycles.  Broken Bow is only a little over two hours away from Hometown, but with an entourage like that you can imagine that it took quite a bit longer...

We arrived late on Tuesday and each family began setting up camp.  We quickly realized our
 "advantage" over the other two families:  our children are older, and we only have two.  While everyone else was trying to feed little mouths, bathe the bug spray off little bodies and put sleepy heads to bed, HannahKate and Hallie were organizing their own bunk spaces and drifting off into dreamland without so much as a "Tell me a story" or "I need a drink of water".
The next morning began with BigJoel making us a gourmet breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and toast.  We don't eat that well when we're at home!  
I have decided though, that "Oklahoma" must be the Native American word for "Really-hot-and-unbearably-humid".

The kids all had a blast riding their bikes back and forth on the road. Whenever someone would yell, "Car!" and everyone would abandon their bikes in the middle of the road and run to safety. They eventually got the idea that they needed to get the bike out of the way as well.

We all had lunch at the park's restaurant (roughing it, I know).  Again, quite the spectacle with just the sheer number of young children we had running around.  A lady from another table said to Bart, "This is going to sound crazy, but have you ever heard of the group MercyMe?  You look just like the lead singer."  It made us laugh and then our service kicked up a notch.

After lunch, we rode a little train which was nice. Then the girls decided they wanted to ride horses.  I can't really remember the last time I rode a horse, but I wasn't going to let my babies ride off into the woods alone.  We had a great time.  Hallie talked to her horse the entire time. The only problem is that now both girls want a pony for Christmas...I can't seem to make them understand the concept of city zoning laws.
Since I went on an adventure with the girls, but without Joel, I went back to the camper for a well-deserved nap.  Joel took the girls to the river to swim.  They came home laughing and telling "redneck" stories.

That night, we all cooked hot dogs and smores around the campfire.  So much fun!

The next day everyone headed to the river.  The water was frigid!  Mike was the only adult brave enough to get in with all the kids.  What a man! 
HannahKate didn't want to swim again, so she and I rented a pedal-boat.  Bart told us we'd be sorry because he'd been with a couple of the boys the day before and it was a lot of work and not much fun.  Again, what a difference a 13 year-old makes as opposed to two 7 year-olds. Hannah pulled her own weight and we had a pleasant little cruise down the river and back. 
The day was over all too soon and it was time to pack up and head back to Hometown.  So while I'm not usually the camping type, it was so much fun being with friends and family that humidity and bugs didn't bother me one bit.

And Just a Few More Camping Pics...

Hallie and Goldie

I told you we had a few bikes.

View from the Pedal-Boat

BigJoel "gathering" firewood.

Riding the train.  Hallie was so excited because she won the drawing from children's ticket stubs for a free cotton candy...notice how many other "children" are on the train...

And HannahKate was the only one with cell service thanks to AT&T...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Cruisin'--Part 2

The next day after CocoCay, we docked in Nassau. Unless you are going to purchase diamonds, perfume or cigars, there really isn't much to the shopping. Its either extremely expensive, or extremely cheap. And it was extremely crowded.
So we rented a little car for the day...and I do mean little.
We drove all over the island and had lunch at a fun restaurant/resort.

Joel had a conch burger....ummm, yeah....I'm glad it was his meal and not mine.
We had a nice enough day just laughing, talking and being together, but honestly, I couldn't see what all the hoopla over the Bahamas was about. Until we drove back into town and crossed over to Paradise Island. That's where the beauty, action and fun stuff is. Of course, that's also where all the people are and where everything costs twice as much.
So Nassau wasn't my favorite destination ever, but I wouldn't trade the time I got to spend with Joel that day...no phones, no kids, no worries. I just love that guy!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Cruisin'--Part 1

Back at the first of May, we got to go on a cruise to the Bahamas. I haven't really shared much from the trip, but I figure "better late than never", right?
We departed from Orlando and arrived early the next morning at CocoCay, a private island owned by the Royal Carribean cruise line. I could probably get used to waking up to a view like this!
We spent the day on the island. It was beautiful, very postcard-esque: crystal-clear water, white sandy beaches, palm trees and birds.

Lots of birds...and you know how I feel about birds!

So BigJoel and I set off down the beach to find a spot away from the other tourists...and the birds. Did I mention the crystal-clear water?

We found a thatched umbrella with two chairs and made ourselves at home.
And this was my view for the rest of the day....I'm quite certain God created the Carribbean to give us a glimpse of Heaven!

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Good Ol' Summertime

Haven't blogged much lately. No excuse really, just kind of in a "blog funk" or blunk.

School is officially out for summer. Everyone on Facebook has been posting statuses like "...can't wait for my kids to be home all day!" or "...is so excited about spending time with my kiddos!" or "...woohoo! School's out!". And with each one I read, I squirm a little more in my guilt.

First of all, I cannot stand the word "kiddos". I think it should be moved to the top of the list of words that are blacklisted from the English language. It just reminds me of little kids with spaghetti-o's smeared on their faces, which brings back a childhood memory of the two weeks I spent in daycare where they fed us those foul little rings with a side of peas and carrots and then made us lay down for "rest time". I still remember "GranGran" walking around with a yard stick poking those of us who couldn't quite get settled in. My mother thought I needed some socialization, being an only child and all, so she made me go. But when I protested on the grounds that they made us take "the longest naps in history", she relented and signed me up for art lessons instead. But I digress...

Where was I? Oh yes, my guilt. Am I the only mother who has secretly dreaded the last day of school? Its not that I don't love my children; I'm just better able to express that love between the hours of 3:00 and 9:00 p.m. Its not that I don't want to spend time with my kids; I just prefer quality over quantity. And its not that I don't enjoy my children; I just have other interests (and a life) that don't always revolve around them.

Fortunately, we have some things planned this summer that should help us prevent any loss of life as well as protect Mom's proverbial "last nerve" from being shattered. Next week we are going camping. I've never been camping before, but BigJoel rented us an RV and we're headed to Beaver's Bend for a couple of relaxing days. I'm sure this will be the stuff fond memories are made of...

Later in the month, Hallie will be going to Pre-teen Camp with our church. She's very excited. And I am already praying for the brave saint who will be staying in a room with her and three other 9 year olds who've never been away from home before.

In July, we are going on a family vacation. We haven't gone on a true vacation together as a family since...I honestly don't know when. I've blocked it out because it was such a traumatic experience of whining and pouting and squabbling. Its still up in the air, but we're leaning towards a road trip to Chicago. I just know that now the girls are older and can more easily tolerate 15-16 hours in a car...right? All that matters is the Giordanno's pizza waiting for me in the Windy City.

Then HannahKate will go to Youth Camp. This is always bittersweet for me. Up until six years ago, I had been to Youth Camp every single summer of my entire life since 6th grade. Because Joel was a youth minister, it was in my wedding vows "to love, honor and go to Youth Camp". Now when that bus full of teenagers pulls out of the church parking lot headed for camp, all I can think is "I'm so glad its them and not me!"

By that time, it will be August and we'll begin two-a-day volleyball practices, shopping for school supplies and searching high and low for standardized-dress clothes that will fit a short, round 4th grader.

I guess looking at it all laid out like that, summer's not so bad after all. I think I might even be a little excited about it myself now. If nothing else, maybe it'll at least give me something to blog about and bring me out of this blunk I've been in for too long.