Tuesday, December 30, 2008

360 shopping days 'til Christmas!

Drew, a Christmas fanantic, asked me in complete seriousness,

" Mom, how many days until the next Christmas?"

2009 may be a looooong year for this kid.

for some reason, I never published this one.

I came across this unpublished post from back in November, and it gave me a chuckle.

"ya think I got time to blog?" (original title)

that is what I said out loud to myself (poor grammar and midwest accent included) the other day when the thoughts in my head told me that I don't blog very often anymore. Apparently I don't even have time to stock the refrigerator.

True as this might be, I do want to continue with the memory recording this blog allows me. As of late, 5 out of the 6 of us had the stomach flu. Only Juliet survived. Halloween came and went without incident. Drew's candy was gone by Sunday, Chase spread his out a little longer. Joy lost all privileges to her Halloween candy by refusing to eat a bite of my dinner creation.
and quite a creation it was with the slim pickins in the frig.

Not much has changed since that day. Our refrigerator is ridiculously bare again due to my refusal to set foot in Meijer between the dates of Thanksgiving and New Year. Drew inhaled his Christmas candy, we weathered another round of the flu, and I still "got no time ta blog"
'Tis the season to be jolly, Fa La La La La, La la la la.

Friday, December 26, 2008

fair warning.

Yesterday, in the minivan, on the way to Christmas festivities, I warned my husband and children that we would be taking a family photo in front of Grandma's tree. I told them that I realize no one wants to do this, but it is important to mommy to have a photo of all of us together. I explained to them that it would be quick and painless, if they cooperated.

Much to my delight and frankly, my surprise, it happened. The obligatory family Christmas photo. No fighting, no bawling, no fake smiles (Dan) and even Juliet without her pacifer!
A modern day Christmas miracle!

May all Jesus is,
And all He gives,
Bless you this Christmas and always!

Friday, December 19, 2008

the Power of a Moment.

It was a couple weeks ago that Dan, the kids and I went out to visit them. Grandpa & Betty Hopkins. As they now stay in MI for the winter, we can swing by and see them anytime.
But, do we? Sadly, no.
We, or I should say I, get caught up in my own busy day-to-day that I probably only see Grandpa 4 or 5 times a year.

This year as we decorated the family Christmas tree, I pulled out the two ornaments hand crafted by Grandpa Hopkins and given to me, my siblings and cousins long, long ago. When I saw these little sled ornaments I felt a sudden burst of emotion. You know the kind that starts in your chest and moves on up and results in tear filled eyes. My Grandpa loved (loves) me so much! I remember fondly, growing up and partaking of the goodness Grandpa and Grandma provided. Be it in the form of the Cottage, Easter Egg hunts, Christmas parties (adults up stairs, kids in the basement), or that piece of candy, a hug, and for as long as I can remember... birthday and Christmas cards with a little $$ tucked inside. (sorry, Tami) ;)

Pure love, pure generosity, pure influence.

As we visited and I saw Grandpa & Betty hold my youngest child endearingly. I realized anew that I am who I am to some extent by the wisdom and provision of this man.
Thanks be to God for his life!

Merry Christmas, Grandpa!

Chelle Ponders...

am I really that out of shape that my legs and arms need to hurt 3 days after the school roller skating par-tay?

predictable "start exercising" New Year's resolution coming soon.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Chelle Ponders...

Why, in the stillness of a Tuesday morning, did I hear the sound of water gushing out of the garden hose? Why were we watering the snow, and for how long?

I'm afraid the answers to these and many other questions will never be known.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

my 4th baby.

It's true what they say you know. That your last child has only a small fraction of the photos taken of her than that your first child. That she will only have a few sketchy details filled in her baby book--usually written far after the event takes place. (hmmm...when did Juliet first roll over?? let's say around 4 months. that sounds about right)

When I heard seasoned mothers warn me of this injustice, I thought that they were just unmotivated. Surely I would devote as much attention to documenting the major events of my precious baby's first year and beyond.


I now stare at a sealed pink baby book, flawless with no inscription. I remember driving the minivan around town h-bent on finding a baby book for Juliet. Nine months pregnant I had an insane need to buy a pink baby book and I pack it in my hospital bag. The book had a front row seat to the labor, delivery and even got to ride in the front seat home from the hospital, only to be placed in the closet never to be opened again in the next 7 months.

Isn't that a sad story? How did I let 7 months, almost 8 pass without chronicling the beautiful blessing that is Juliet? She is the star of the house, and could not be more precious if she tried!
Today I will close the MacBook (shocking, I know) and open the Baby Book. I will search the files in my mind and recall what life has been like since her arrival. Before I do that I'll share a little slideshow of her and the rest of the gang.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Chelle Ponders......

why am I the only good driver on the roads anymore??

Today we experienced the first snow day, slippery roads , and the official beginning of the unwelcome midwest winter.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Girls shopping trip '08

As posted on Lia's blog, we enjoyed another weekend getaway and did a little Christmas shopping again this year. I have been privileged to be a part of this unique, loving, interesting, challenging, blessing of a family for almost 12 years now and I love spending time with these gals. We sure missed you A, S, & B!
Someone please tell me why I insist on ruining every picture with the patented "Chelle lean-in" ???

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Chelle Ponders...

Do groceries really need to be put away the same day you buy them.

Come ON!  I'm exhausted.

Chelle Ponders......

A new feature on my blog starting today.

I rarely have time to have a complete thought, much less sit down and type it out for the blogosphere.

So in the spirit of "Deep Thoughts" from old Saturday Night Live, I bring you,

Chelle Ponders.......

if you make your bed at 3:30pm...does it still count?

Fig's Fall Fun

Yes, my return to blogging features a post about my Dad's weekend, since he's probably the only one that follows this blog any more. Dan and I were commenting the other night about what an exciting weekend "the Fig" had.
First on Opening Day of hunting season, he scored this 8 point. He arrived home to his biggest fans:
Later that evening he watched his favorite driver score a championship. All while enjoying a lovely wild turkey dinner lovingly prepared by Judy.

And to top it all off, after worshiping in God's house on Sunday, Dad got to sit front and center while his favorite sports broadcaster, Jack Doles, gave a presentation at our church. He even asked him a question!

So that might not be your idea of an exciting weekend. Seeing Dad's joy in the small things made me so thankful that after so many, many years of working so hard to put us through school and build a business he has some free time now to enjoy family, friends, sports.

Friday, October 31, 2008

the 6 Dollar Doughnut,

and other tales from our weekend in Shipshewana, Indiana.

Our children are at fun age. An age of innocence, with the full enjoyment of all things kid. So when I saw an ad on TV for Splash Universe, I talked Dan into going there on a family getaway.

My first goal was to earn enough money at the garage sale to finance the trip. Goal not met.

My second goal was to arrive last Thursday as soon as the water park opened as to squeeze every last penny's worth out of our one night stay. Goal not met.

My third goal was to page through Real Simple, People, and the Banner magazines (you like that combo?) that I brought along. By now you may have guessed, Fail.

It all started last Thursday morning with the tell tale scream.
"Mom! Chase just barfed on my bed and the floor" says Drew.
What a sinking feeling for me when I hear these words. The stomach flu tends to have the domino effect in our household. My mind went to a very dark place in that instant. Visions of the 6 of us in a hotel room fighting for the toilet, dealing with the flu in unison. Canceling our trip was not an option as we were due to check in that day. I hugged Chase telling him, he will only puke once and maybe he just ate something that didn't settle well. Both items aforementioned became untrue as the day lingered on.

To shorten the story a bit (only a bit). We arrived in the town of Amish and Flea Markets well into the evening. The moment we opened the door to the room Chase (with hand covering mouth) hit the bathroom, Joy began running around in circles holding on for dear life so she wouldn't pee on the floor. Juliet was screaming for her next meal and Drew was just plain ol' bouncing of the walls in his swimsuit. Dan had went down to the van to get our belongings and I had a very real fear that he just might join the Amish for the night, or forever.

Thanks be to God, Chase was the only one that got sick that weekend. We had to book an extra night so he could enjoy the water adventure while healthy. Dan decided not to join the Amish folk. Poor guy. Not only had he been working since 2am the morning before, he had to pay 6 dollars for Chase's breakfast buffet of which he barely ate a doughnut. All this on one pair of underwear! Please forgive me Danno!

Friday, October 17, 2008

quotable quotes this week.

Joy: "I smelled inside Juliet's mouth and it smells like babies in there!"

Drew: " awwww, Mom you always fart in the morning, ever since I was in Kindergarten."

"What a rip off!" Chase exclaimed when he discovered an empty envelope which was supposed to contain school pictures.

I can only imagine what Juliet will say when she begins to talk.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

where have all the bloggers gone?

Most of the blogs that I follow, including my own, have nary a post lately.
Are we just too busy? or perhaps we are filling our nosy needs through Facebook ?


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

yearbook photos thru the ages

Thanks to the Church Lady's husband I was insanely drawn to this website, and just for funsies I gave it a try.

YearBook Yourself

what you are about to see is what I may have looked like.
**warning** it is not for the squeamish, you may not wish to proceed...

1994-- I was in my prime

1984--Lookin' gnarlly!

1974-- I look like my Aunt Diane Devo.

1964--the best housewife around!

1954--nerd alert!

Now this one from 1952 just weirds me out.
I look like some kind of female version of my Dad!

Try it for yourself!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Blah, Blah Blogging.

I have been a bit absent from the blogosphere lately. Scattered posts with ranging topics, and my faithful reader (s)? have asked me why.

A few reasons exist.

A. The stereotypical life of a Mom who drives a minivan. School, soccer stuff, appointments, church activities, meetings. Maybe I need to ditch the minivan and I won't be so busy??

B. A little precious pacifier popping princess (how's that for alliteration?) who as she ages wants more and more of me and less and less of her swing, crib, and a bottle for that matter.

C. Lacking Inspiration. I usually blog when something particular inspires me to do so. Maybe that is my problem. Perhaps I should just blog the basics. What is going on, photos, and little updates instead of waiting for the light bulb to turn on.

D. My Home. I feel a bit owned by my house lately. Many of you know that I am a card carrying member of the Anti-Autumn club and would normally be raving on about this extendo summer. But this pleasant and preferable warm weather has left me with a multi-season mess. Swimsuits mixed with lunchboxes. Shin guards, reading records, sunscreen, and flip-flops coexisting in a tiny little closet.

I haven't closed the door on Mini-Van Mega-Fun quite yet.
Here are a few photos of what's been happening around here this past month.

Come on! Don't take a photo of me!

Juliet savors her first bite of cereal, it was a family event!

Joy's special day at Pre-K.

The girls at play.

Dewey still shirtless into the Fall.

Welcome home again Lia!

This is how Chase feels about 3rd grade homework.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

lunch lady

Every so often when I am performing a particularly momish task (in this case, packing my boys' lunch box) I stop and reflect.

I try to imagine some 25 years ago. I picture in my mind my mother packing my lunch in my metal, not plastic Annie lunch box. I remember the PBJ or bologna sandwiches, the Little Debbie snack, the obligatory piece of fruit that may or may not have gone into the school trash. My unassuming mother probably thought we actually ate that fruit. I did not want to disappoint her by bringing it back home.
25 years later my boys do not have the same consideration. For the last two mornings when I open up their lunch boxes I found unopened yogurt, warm grapes and string cheese.

When I ask them why they didn't eat it and left it to rot,
they almost always reply:
"I forgot"

So, they remembered to eat the sweet goodie and the sandwich but it completely slipped their mind that there was also something healthy to partake?


On to Hot Lunch. A certain sense of excitement is in the air on Tuesday and Thursday, for these are the days the boys get to have hot lunch. Pizza and rubbery chicken nuggets. What's not to love? I guess it beats the boiled hot dogs and doughnuts from my Hot lunch days

Some things never change. In a weird way it comforts me to know that 2 generations later kids still bypass the fruit and drink chocolate milk out of little cartons.

God is Great and God is Good. Let us Thank Him for this Food.
By His Hands we all are Fed, Thank You Lord for Daily Bread!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

a bunch of bunk.

I was half heartedly listening to ABC network last night and heard them numerously mention

"National Stay at Home Week"

It seems we Americans don't stay home enough and just watch TV anymore. We are just to0 busy not watching ABC network and are off doing activities! The horror!

National Stay at Home Week boasts huge environmental impact. If we all stay at home and watch TV, we won't go anywhere, avoid using gasoline while driving our SUVs. Imagine the money you could save by participating in Stay at Home Week!
Oh, not to mention all the new season premieres that just happen to debut this week.

Come on, people.

Bunk I tell you.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

the family that skis together...

stays together??? or something like that.

On Labor Day or any given Saturday, my Dad likes to get everyone and anyone out on the lake for a ski ride.

Labor Day was couples day.

Aren't they Adorable? Dave & Judy still got it!

Well, these two ski all the time.

Here is something you don't see everyday. Dan kept spraying me, I could hardly stand it!!

Farewell to the Cottage and summer!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I blinked.

Summer is over, and my baby is 4.5 months old!

Bear with me as I go back and record a few memories once again.
Following Juliet's birth in April I had one goal---Make it through the rest of the school year. Survive sleep deprivation and school craziness ---reach June 15 and I would be golden. School would be completed, baby gal would most likely be sleeping through the night.

Now I am knocking on Sept. 15 and all of that forward hoping is a thing of the past. Call me crazy, but it makes me very sad. I actually miss the teeny tiny-ness of my newborn. I miss the quiet of the middle of the night nursing Juliet. I miss changing her diaper half asleep and laugh remembering the night when I realized I put her diaper on backwards but absolutely left it that way because I didn't want to wake her.

In the rush to get her sleeping through the night I really tried this time to appreciate how precious those first couple of months really are. Spring turned to summer and with it brought her first smiles, laughs, cooing and more. Her older siblings still can't get enough of her. Two days ago she decided to take a pacifier. The first few attempts at giving her a pacifer early on were met with gagging, screaming, and refusal. Today she treats it like an old friend. Are we stupid to give it to her now after all these months without it???
I thank God today for her precious life. For giving me daily strength, patience (sort of), and the ability to enjoy the everyday moments that seem to fly by too quickly.

Friday, August 29, 2008

His Window on the World.

I thought I might use my blog for a little public service announcement today.

Last summer our son Drew had his first eye exam per recommendation of the health department school screening system. What we learned is that he has deep Amblyopia in his left eye.

Amblyopia, also known as "lazy eye," has many causes. Most often it results from either a misalignment of a child's eyes, such as crossed eyes, or a difference in image quality between the two eyes (one eye focusing better than the other.)

In both cases, one eye becomes stronger, suppressing the image of the other eye. If this condition persists, the weaker eye may becomes useless.

This is precisely what was going on with Drew, and we were unaware. His eyes were not crossed, and he never complained of not being able to see anything because his right eye was seeing everything clearly. During the school screening, while covering his strong right eye, his left eye failed the simple testing. He was 5 years old at the time. Five years of decreasing vision in his left eye.

Can anything be done to treat amblyopia and prevent vision loss?

With early diagnosis and treatment, the sight in the "lazy eye" can be restored.

When should treatment for amblyopia begin?

The earlier the treatment, the better the opportunity to reverse the vision loss.

That is key. Early dianosis and treatment. Had we known in infancy or during Drew's toddler years that he had amblyopia, through eye patching we could have restored some of that lost vision. If you don't use it, you lose it. By patching the strong eye, the weaker eye is forced to be "used"

At his age the percentage of restored vision is significantly lowered. It makes me sad that NO ONE told us while our children were babies to have their eyes examined, and I imagine many of you were never advised as well.

I want to get the word out that there is a Public Health program which provides FREE eye exams to infants in the first year of life.
It is called InfantSEE

Please check into it if you have young ones at home. Especially if your child has a family history of vision problems, lazy eye, glasses. It can make such a difference on how your child will see the world for his entire lifetime.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

you gotta love this guy...I do.

Yesterday was a busy day to say the least.   The kind of day that makes you forget things.   

Per normal on the first day of school, something slips through the cracks.   Yesterday I sent the boys to school with no beverage.  No water bottle, not even an artificially flavored box of juice!    You can about imagine the tongue- lashing I received after school from my precious sons!

After the day wound down and I was brushing my teeth,  I turned to Dan and asked,
"Did you already take a shower?"
Looking confused he said something like,
Wait, did I?"

He couldn't remember if he did or not.
I then talked him step by step through the evening.  We still had no real evidence on his level of cleanliness.

What he said next was classic.   
"Well, there's only ONE way to find out."
If you know Dan,  you know how he solved the mystery.

Like I said, you gotta love this guy!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

summer daze

Ah, to be a kid again and run around in concentric circles.

Goodbye summer 2008, school starteth tomorrow.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

"Church. The way you remember it."

I actually read that nebulous description on a church sign while driving to a doctor's appointment this week.

"hmmmm." I thought.

Interesting tactic.

As I thought more and more about it (I had only the baby with me in the van, allowing me time with my own thoughts for once) My best guess is, by putting that on their church sign they intend to turn folks on to church by tugging at their nostalgia bone (I think it is one of the rib bones) ;) I thought of even more teasers they might put on their sign:

"Come to this church--you can return to the Sunday traditions you knew and loved.

"Fed up with new, modern church-ing? Join us today!!"

"Church, the old school way"

I won't deny putting that "Church. The way you remember it" will in fact attract some people. Some folks (myself included) have warm fuzzy memories of church and the traditions therein.
If one has left the church community, or worshiped elsewhere for a spell, they might find peace and rest in joining such a church in which they feel comfortable.


what if you don't remember church?
what if you remember church as a place of judgement, exclusivity, and legalism?

If that is you, you might not feel at all attracted or invited to come to a Church. The way your remember it. Mission not accomplished.

This post is not meant to be a springboard for a debate on worship style, denominational ties, and tradition. I simply wanted to toss out the thought that if doing church the old way doesn't reach the lost, or the searching, or those hurt, is it really the best way to forge into the future?

Let me be clear. I love my church, I love the important traditions it holds dear, the way I remember it. I also love people. Jesus was about people, reaching them with sometimes untraditional means. I am ready to change some the "ways" of church to keep it alive!

I want my kids and those who may not yet know what church community is all about to be able look back someday and remember how they were touched by God and and His church in a real and eternal way. So they can say with joy "you know what I remember about God's church?"


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda...part two

Many good, some flattering, and other just plain odd guesses by my fellow bloggers.

Some of the following made me smile:
Professional Blogger? I'm positive I make too many grammatical errors, and could I really make $$ droning on about MiniVans and Macs?

Hair model? I have always thought of my hair as severely lacking...but that guess was closer.

Cheerleader? Come now, many of you have seen me dance. Too tall, white girl rhythm, anyone? I have one dance move, and it isn't smooth.

Mac Salesgirl/nerd? Well, I hate to say that I didn't start my love affair with all things Apple until about 2001 with my very first used iMac. Believe it or not, I very rarely used a computer until then.

If I had a "do over" in career pursuit I would have gone to cosmetology school and learned the ins and outs of cutting, waxing, curling, and styling! How invaluable this skill would be for me now as a mom at home, and as a woman who must always tweak my hair on a regular (some might say excessive) basis.

Simple really, but it is one of those I could just kick myself moments for not pursuing it back in '94.

Is it truly never too late??

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda...

Tonight Dan asked me when exactly I see myself going back to work. A trick question for sure.

It was about this time a year ago I told Dan I was pregnant again. One of the reasons he was not as thrilled as I with the news was that another child would set me back a number of years from getting back into the working world full time, and contributing to our family's income.

I've been playing that game in my mind. You know, that one that says:

It seems unproductive to think about such things, yet I wander there anyway. Who would not like a do over or two??

Specifically speaking about a career do over, I know what I should have done after high school, I wish I would have done it, and I really could not do anymore.

Can you guess what I woulda, shoulda, coulda done?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

#300 and your weekly Don Johnson sighting.

300 posts already. Where has the time gone? Oh, right. It was wasted on 300 blog posts.
We decided to celebrate 80s style yet again.
Actually we were fortunate to attend another gnarlly 1980s par-tay last Friday. I think we are starting to get our money's worth out of the Miami Vice get up. Dan doesn't look quite as excited to be wearing it again. Poor guy. What's not to love about a pink shirt and a plastic badge?

Here's to 300 more blog posts, and many more occasions to celebrate!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

"you should put 'the Mallard' on the Blog"

An actual quote from my son Chase.

We have returned from a week's vacay camping at the cottage. Each year we spend some time at Big Whitefish Lake with Dan's family. This year was different because we borrowed the coveted, most magnificent, extendo, motorhome lovingly referred to as "The Mallard"

What she lacks in beauty and pleasant aroma, she more than makes up for in space and surround sound entertainment. The kids could hardly wait to hop in watch movies. Movies? Yes. My cousins (the fortunate owners) have rigged up a DVD player with surround sound speakers. Dan was so manly driving that big rig down the highway at a cool 60MPH. I enjoyed the full size mattress in the back and ample closet room. She's a beaute!!!

Many thanks to Carl and Nute for use of the 1987 Mallard for the week. I think I might want to keep her.
We had a great time camping at the cottage!!!

Driving the Mallard. Can you find the Duct tape?

Full Surround Sound Experience

It really is gigantic.

oh yes.