Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Christmas Haiku

This child of mine,

Found her own unwrapped present.

Christmas day is now.


Monday, December 21, 2009

a reason to celebrate!

Last Friday we had a wonderful opportunity to celebrate with friends the 10th anniversary of Josh and Jamie

A surprise planned by Joshy B.  went off nearly flawlessly.  

Here's a group pic. and a few others from the evening.   I wish I had more,  but I still can't quite figure out the camera that I've had for 3 years.

Happy Anniversary J & J !!!

Thanks for a fab night out!

I will give you one guess as to what these two were discussing.

Looking good VDs !   You're up next, right? 

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tis the Season for impulse buys...

There are three reasons I shop online.

1.   Free shipping,  and if not,  it still beats finding a parking spot and waiting  with 2-4 kids in the checkout line.

2.   Home delivery.   The brown box on the front door step = check one more gift of the shopping list.

3.   Drastic reduction of impulse shopping.   See it.  Think I need it.  Buy it.

Having said that,  I have ventured out to the local Target a time or two.   My latest and hopefully last impulse buy are the following Christmas stockings,,,

Oh the kids were even more excited than I was.  Will they still be excited when all they receive in their stockings is a chapstick because I've already spent too much money ??

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Shrinking the Circle.

I enjoy watching the new TV show -- The Middle.   Some of the truths in an episode usually make me chuckle.  Being middle class in the midwest is somewhat of a unique existence.   Unique, and often bizarre to those who didn't grow up here,  or haven't visited it for an extended amount of time.     We have our own way ( much unbeknownst to ourselves) about doing just about everything.     That could be a blog post in and of itself.     Let me suffice it to say, that   compared to the other pockets of the USA,  the middle is more than just  geography.   

Many of us are born, raised, and remain in the middle.    This isn't necessarily a bad thing.   Famiiies/friends that live close to one another have a certain advantage when it comes to being involved in each others lives.   If you share a driveway with your parents,  you will  know them,  and they you.     If you live 2000 miles apart,  time together is much more of a challenge.   If you have had the same friend since you were toddlers, and now the two of you have toddlers who are friends,  there is amazing blessing in that.    I will never argue that God  does great things right where we are.   But are we just a titch too cozy?   Is all the overlap between school, church, work, hobbies, family-- shrinking the circle?

Do we want our circle to expand?   Do we even see the need for our circle to expand?   

It doesn't matter where you live,  urban, rural, suburban, west coast, midwest, east coast,  Canada.   The question i ask myself and you,  are we increasing our territory, or is the circle shrinking?

Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, "Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." And God granted his request" (1 Chronicles 4:9-10).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

this ain't Green Acres.

do I really need to look up from my kitchen table to see this creature about to peck at the window?
This chicken thing may have just gone too far...

Friday, November 06, 2009

Hotel Excursion '09

What do you do in the midwest when the kids are on a school break just as  weather turns a bit foul?

You take them to a hotel with a swimming pool.   You let them eat junk food and stay up later than usual.  You all sleep in the same room and pray for daylight.

Last year we ventured to Splash Universe in fabulous Indiana,  this year we kept it local.

Here's the thing;  Dan was already gone out west on a pheasant hunting trip.   I promsied the kids that we would go stay a night in a hotel and it seemed like a good idea at the time.  Just me and the 4 kids.  What could go wrong? 

I saw the look of concern on mother's face when she said good-bye to us for the night.   I will admit.   I don't always think things through.    I often leap into something without thinking of the downside.   As the door closed and Mom went on home it wasn't the first time I felt a little nervous about this adventure.    The first time was when I (briefly) lost Juliet.  She slithered out an open door and took off down the hall as fast as her little feet would take her.    The second time was when she fell face first in the kiddie pool,  cause I was keeping an eye on Chase.   I quickly snatched her up, crisis averted.    The third time was soon to come when we were all laying in bed and from about 9:15 to 9:30 it was a chorus of sneezing, coughing, crying, and yes, farting.  

Normally, Mom would have stayed with me overnight  to help me maintain control,  but thankfully she had just recovered from pneumonia and sleeping (or not sleeping well) at a hotel was not what the doctor ordered.     I convinced her I had it under control,  that the kids were getting more and more independent,  that the night would be smooth sailing.  

Believe it or not,  once the kids fell asleep and the riff-raff out in the hallway settled down   the night was great.    Breakfast was hot in the morning, and we had time to take one more dip in the pool.   All  that was missing was Daddy! 

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Dear Fall, it's time we chat.

Dear Fall (or shall I greet you as Autumn?),

Just the thought of you used to send shivers up my spine. I would dread your arrival from the 4th of July forward. I considered you an unweclome precursor to the the season that follows you. I could not understand the attraction, the anticipation others felt when they spoke of you. Fall lovers would talk of you so lovingly. They love your color, your temperature, your fun offerings. I honestly thought I had no use for you. I wanted to close my eyes and wake up in April.

One early fall day I asked myself why I disliked you so. Did I have the evidence to support my stance that Fall was a necessary evil? What exactly was it about you that turned me into a harvest time scrooge?

My introspection provided me with a few reasons not listed in any particular order.

  • You indicate the official end of summer. (lazy days, 80 degrees, vacation,)
  • You make our lives overly committed with the commencement of school, soccer, church activities.
  • You shorten daylight hours
  • You make us search for socks, shoes, jackets, hats.
  • You bring us one step closer to the looooonng, cold winter with its treacherous driving.
  • You remind me that my kids are not getting any younger, nor are any of us.
The list of offenses against you are kind of laughable. How can a change of season be blamed for life just-- well, happening? Why must I use my energy to hate on fall, when I am really just hating on change ?

Just because I want my babies to be babies forever, and for the structure and responsibility of school time to go away, or for the weather to be 85 degrees forever, does that mean I am some kind of wingnut?

wingnut :

(noun) A person appearing to be moderately to severely crazy, disoriented, jumbled and more often than not, a total mess. A wingnut is a constant source of entertainment to those surrounding it and can easily be found in any type of setting or venue. Example: grocery stores, sporting events, cross-walks, public transportation, school, work…you may even have one in your house.

But, I digress. This year, Autumn, I decided to look at you with new eyes. Before, you could do no right by me. This year I watched you develop.

  • I noticed the joy in my family and friends at your arrival.
  • I took a good hard look at your colorful display and appreciated you.

  • I wrapped my first cozy scarf around me neck and enjoyed it.
  • I sipped hot coffee to warm me as I cheered my sons on during their soccer games.
  • I felt the confidence in my daughter's step as she ran out of the van to join her classmates.
  • I sat and enjoyed the pure silence as my baby slept and the older kids were at school for I had not experienced that kind of deafening silence in 3 months.
Fall, you bring certain change. I can now embrace you next we meet, instead of speaking ill about you. I can look to your appearance as the demonstration of God's promise in Geneis 8:22:

"As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

under, over, or never churched. Does is matter to you?

God brings this previous post to my mind today, often actually. It is amazing what a sign on the side of the road can say to my heart.

What are your thoughts?

Do you like church the way you remember it?

Do you remember it?

Would you even want to?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Master.

Having golfed for only the second time this year (the first time being a week ago), Dan brought home the hardware!

The (mostly) Annual Hopkins Masters Golf Championship took place this past Saturday. According to the traveling golf ball shaped trophy, the first winner was Grandpa Hopkins in 1973. Awesome. Dan wasn't even born yet! There were many winners in between then and now, my Dad took home the coveted Green Jacket an impressive 4 times.

I was oblivious to his winning, until he walked in the house sporting the Green Jacket! Let me tell you, the kids were EXCITED! Drew wanted to keep the trophy in his room, Chase enjoyed reading the names etched in brass (and one in masking tape). Dan talked about wearing the Jacket in all it's 1970s glory to church today.

The future Master almost didn't go golfing that night because I selfishly wanted him to stay home with me but I am so glad he did!

Final score 31. That's one nice handicap.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sushi Revisted.

Hot Sake, anyone?
Where does the time go?

3 years ago we went our for dinner with our neighbors, and we were introduced to sushi.

I really liked it, Dan really did not, as seen in this archived post.

Last Friday, thanks to the kindness of grandparents we were able to enjoy a night out again at Tokyo Grill.

Again, I really enjoyed it. Dan still, did not. But we brought him along anyway and he ordered beef.

Mr. LowCarb and wife

The now, officially 30 year old Katie with her handsome Scotty.

The men paying the bill, and looking so happy about it too.
At this point, they were probably ready to trade us in for the ladies at the table behind them.

A good night with family that also happen to be great friends too.

Let's not make it 3 more years before we go out again, next time is squid and sake bomb!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

get real.

I read a number of blogs, and see many photos on Facebook.

The thing I sometimes internally chuckle about is how most of us, naturally, put our best foot forward. After all, we don't want to send out the message that things are slightly less than perfect, or that we are not having the best.life.ever. Right? perhaps I am way off here. Bear with me.

Take my blog for instance. Do I drone on and on about how I sometimes don't take a shower until noon, or how my kids sit and play the Wii when they should be doing homework? Do I mention that Dan is not in fact perfect with his LowCarb diet and sometimes I have one glass of wine too many?

Of course not. Most of my posts detail how my kids have accomplished this or that, how Dan is the poster child for Diabetes, and how I live a glamorous life full of vacations and fun. All with not a hair out of place. (for I wouldn't want to post and ugly photo of myself)

a nice top o'the mornin' photo. seriously? is that food on my face?

Perhaps to outsiders MiniVan MegaFun has it's act together.

married. Check.

christian. Check.

obligatory minivan. Check.

2.3 kids. Check. (and then some)

nice, clean house. Check? ?

Then I start to think about the things that really matter.

Self Control

Can I get a check? ? ? probably not. Not even one of the Fruits of the Spirit can I claim as checked on my list of accomplishments.

Please don't get me wrong here. I am not telling you that I am bogus, or that you are bogus. Not at all the point. I have many blessings of which only only come God. I recognize that, and I do celebrate that.
I just get distressed when we feel the need to be dressed up, cleaned up, buffed up, shiny, happy people holding hands. (remember that tune?)

Many times I have felt the urge to encourage authenticity. Among myself, family, among my friends, in our church, and now, in the blogosphere.

A blog post I read recently that does a much better job of putting my thoughts into words.

Find it here.

Please , keep the discussion going...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

See Baby Walk.

Our children have been consistently slow to walk. 13, 15, 16, almost 17 months respectively. But when she decided it was time to walk, it was also time to run. Such a fun time of life, too bad we don't remember ourselves at one year and a half and literally learning something new everyday.

Juliet sees the chickens.

See Juliet chase the chickens.

See Juliet confused.

See Juliet frustrated.

Day of Firsts.

Shiny new school shoes.

My previous post highlighted our summer break. August 31 rolled around and this was the official vote the day before school was about to begin.

Yay! for School:
Chase (excited to see friends again)
Dan (happy to see Chelle up bright and early)

Nay! for School:
Drew (would rather play with his toys)
Chelle (likes to avoid the morning ridiculousness of getting out the door on time)
Joy (nervous)

Juliet was undecided.

The first day came and went without incident and I am thankful. Here are a few pix for the memory books... (and for the Grandmas)

Finally, some time alone with Mommy.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Back to School, Back to Blogging.

I do believe this has been my longest absence from the blog.

80 days.
I guess I needed the break, and now I am ready to remember and record. Get cozy, you may or may not have asked for this...

In the spirit of Back to Schoolers everywhere, I humbly submit my childlike essay:

What I did on my Summer Vacation. by Chelle

The goofy weather this season left me waiting and wondering when Summer 2009 would begin. While I was waiting, we made good use of the time. First we went to the Brummel family cottage. The weather was a little chilly but you can see, we made our own fun.

selling shells for profit

Mac nerds unite!


a bike ride to cool my jets...

Next up was our weekly outdoor event. With the purpose of exploring our community and getting to know friends both new and old we attended Picnic in the Park Thursdays.
For 11 weeks we had fun whether it was rainy, cloudy, humid, or sunshine-y. (photo props to Cara VD & Nat)

Pokemon cards may or may not have been traded in this photo.


looks like a nice Autumn day in mid June

The good times kept rolling along with our annual week out at Payne Lake. Grandpa H. was on the other side of the earth (So. Africa) so it was Mother, me and the kids. Highlights included mini-golfing, corn-hole tourneys, and ice cream getting. Not much swimming this trip. Again, too cold.

a friendly game.

Grandma takes some of the grandkids for a walk.

After all this family fun, I looked forward to a bit of adult convo. July allowed me two nights out with the girlz!

high school hotties

this group sure can attract a crowd (wink,wink)

4th of July @ Payne Lake

the rooster firecrackers seemed especially appropriate.

Wow, so much activity away from home! Not only was there happenings away from the Hill, much was taking place literally IN OUR BACK YARD!

you guessed it, the first egg!

This photo, taken by Katie, catches Dan deep in thought about whether the first batch of chickens were Roosters or Hens. (sometimes it is hard to tell, people) You see, hens were what we were interested in, 5 roosters is what we had. When it was all said and done, a quick and easy exchange gave us 5 egg layers and we were back in business!

Camping. A third attempt at the perfect vacation. Oh, how we all looked forward to this week. We booked the campsites sometime back in March. We planned, we prepared-- it rained. Having whined that, personally speaking, I enjoyed all moments of our small group camping '09 adventure. A few pix:

Bike time.

Food time.

Sleepy time.

Craft time.

fire time.

Messing around in the trailer in our pajamas time.

To put an exclamation point on an unusual but jam packed summer vacation we had one more event left in us-- the Luau. Brad and Stacey hosted a celebratory gathering and we enjoyed the company of family, friends and Erik's mad DJ skillz...

It appears that while I was waiting for summer to begin, summer was happening all around me. It was a memorable one. So much so that I just didn't want to let it go when school time came a knocking. But that is a different post for another day.

Farewell Summer '09, we enjoyed you.