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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Glimpse Into Our Life


Sometimes I think people think our life is so perfect, so happy and so lovey that it should be a Hallmark movie.

Our life is super real. And it's all those above things too. But here is a glimpse of our real life for you all...

When we woke up Thanksgiving morning, we checked traps. As in mouse traps. And we had caught three. I literally did a happy dance. The boys gave high fives. We have been trying to catch these little mice for two weeks...they were so little they could eat and run. Well, they got fat enough finally.

My happiest moment of all of Thanksgiving was watching my brother crawl around on the floor and get my super cranky niece to scream and giggle and watch Jr attack his suddenly grizzly bear Daddy. Literally I almost cried it was so precious and so funny and so great and just so my brother.

My Dad did that with him and I like, last week wasn't it? Weren't we just those ages?

This morning, when I woke up, I was literally laying on the side of the bed. I could not lay on my back or I'd crush Jake. I could not lay on my tummy or I'd be on the floor. I had hardly a sheet on me and it took all my mostly asleep strength to pull just enough of the comforter to wrap me up a bit so I could go back to sleeping. There was, in our queen sized bed, S2, S3 and S4.

And Sadie.

And Jake.

And me.

I wonder why I wake up like an old woman, shuffling for the coffee pot, holding my side that still hasn't healed from the tripping incident and catch a glimpse of me, dark circles under my eyes and rats nest in my hair? It's shocking. As in scary shocking.

But I tell you what, when those chubby little arms fling over and cuddle me closer, I do feel loved.

And realize that it's sad S1 doesn't cuddle in bed with us in the middle of the night anymore.

S4 declared we had too many people in this family, too many brothers. Then when Hubs asked him when we should have stopped having boys and he realized that whenever they would have stopped would have meant no him, he decided that we had the perfect number of brothers. But he was up for having S3 sent to him room for awhile.

We went and got our Christmas tree yesterday. It's lovely. And it's not decorated. It's not decorated because it's so lovely in the raw form...no...it's not decorated because in order to get the decorations I have to clean a path through the spare room. Seriously. That it's not decorated makes S4 so very sad.

And makes me feel even further behind.

My house is such a mess that I would be mortified if someone stopped in. Today I finally took the dead hanging basket down from where it hung on our front porch. But I just set it on the front porch...

I told Hubby that I was desperate to write. He metioned I could in my spare time...

I have no spare time.

I sometimes think my head is a whirlwind of half thoughts and half finished projects.

I didn't even get my sister a birthday gift this week.

And my best friends birthday package is upstairs, half put together, not sent out. Her birthday was in September.

So, if I don't blog often, know its not because words aren't bouncing in my head desperate to get written. I am typing out this rambling bunch because they screamed the loudest. And then I'll be off to re-clean the kitchen, recheck the mouse traps, make dinner, clear all the unfolded socks off the table so we can eat the dinner I have yet to make....

But I'll be thinking of all the blogs I want to write.

And all the walking runs I wish I were doing every day.

And being totally and fully and gratefully thankful for my insanely loud boys, my messy house and my hardworking hubby.

Because I am blessed. And my life is BETTER than a Hallmark movie.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I Fell Flat on my Face (and cried too)

I have these crazy insane friends who love to run. Some have been running for forever and ever amen.

One began this spring.

One just started four weeks ago...and she is the one who is convinced we should do a 5k come spring.

I have always admired runners. Really. It's the one sport I wished I could do and since I have no hand eye coordination....

At.
All.

I figured it could be a good thing for me.

So when my neighbor asked me if I would like to walk with her, I jumped at the opportunity and then hoped I developed pneumonia to get me out of it.

I did get sick with a nasty cold.

But I still went.

And felt great.

Mostly because I didn't keel over and die from walking 2.5 miles.

I figured I was in much better shape than I had given myself credit for. I felt so awesome!

Until that night when I could barely bend my legs as I kneeled down to help all the little kids at church. Sheer torture. Complete pain.

So I walked again the next day, bringing Sadie with me.

And we were chased by a cow so we learned to run.

I had joked the cows would "mooooootivate" us on, but when one began to paw the ground and chase us along the fence, I was wondering if I really trusted in the strength of the fence and decided to not wait and find out if it could hold a cow back.

And when Sadie and I came back thru, the ol' cow had all her cow ladies there to show us they weren't worth messing with.

Sadie and I agreed.

And after Thursday I haven't gone out again. So today, Sunday, I woke up extra early and when the guys went out to hunt, I put a movie on for the other boys and I leashed up BOTH dogs and headed out just as the light was filling our Michigan sky.

It was lovely.

I seen real blue birds, the ones you see in Birds and Blooms, and was thrilled to watch them flitter about. I saw a hawk. And I am pretty darn sure I seen an owl.

It was hard to tell. Because while Josie was being drug along, Sadie was pulling both Josie and I along. My feet were not gracefully running, oh no. They were literally "plod plod plod plod plod plod" on the ground as I tried to keep the leashes from my feet. Sadie wanted me to run, Josie wanted to lie down and die.

It was great fun.

Made it home feeling so on top of the world. Made breakfast for all my boys. Got a shower taken and was totally ready for church ON TIME.

People, this is monumental.

As I was clicking through the house with my heels on, I somehow tripped.

And not having anything around me to grab, I fell.

And because that dresser was going to get moved after Thanksgiving but was still there, I fell into it.

And hit my ribs.

So I laid on the floor, fetal position, gasping for air.

With four boys and two dogs hanging over my face to make sure I was okay.

If I don't laugh, don't take a deep breath, don't move too quickly and don't carry any weight, I am just fine and dandy. If I attempt any of these things, you can tell by the look on my face it wasn't a pleasant feeling.

How can you go from feeling so GREAT to feeling so crippled in mere moments?

Apparently by wearing heels with pants that have large cuffed hems. Or something like that.

Anyway, that's my story for today. I'll have a fun boy one for you soon, I am sure.

Until then, I am hunched over, figuring out how I am going to walk again tomorrow....because surprisingly, as awful as I hurt all over, I do love it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Try to Explain Girly

All the boys are watching Red Green which spurred me on even more to write this post.

Sometimes, I like to be extra girly.

In a house full of boys, that is difficult to pull off.

I curl my hair sometimes. Hubby watched me recently. "Really? You want to spend all that time on you hair? It's just hair....." (Some of my friends are still not talking to him about that comment.)

Or when I tried a new braid and side bun look last week and asked Jake if it looked cute and he said "Yah, I suppose. It's got bobby pins in it so it's cute, I guess...for a librarian."

I love make up. I do. I am a sucker for new colors and new nail polish and mascara that will really make your lashes look like you have fake ones on (didn't work for me...). But the boys do not get it. I can put my make up on and sorta have styled hair in 15 minutes....That's what happens when you have one bathroom and five boys wanting to know what takes so long in there. I can hear them thinking "Girls..." with a shake of their head and a roll of their eyes.

I like heels. I like skirts. I like to get all prettied up and get to stay prettied up. I can wear my jeans and hooded sweatshirt and be just fine, which is good, it's what I wear nearly every day. Right now I am in sweat pants, a Clippers T-shirt and a ratty old sweater that I love.

But this Sunday I really threw the boys for a loop. They stared. They could not understand me. I topped all other weird girl things...

I wore nylons.

Black ones.

With an above the knee dress.

S4 had to see my feet. Because my toes were black too he informed me that I made him feel "nervous". I told him I would take them off when we got home. When he realized they were like pants, he was sorta okay with it.

I got home and put on jeans and shuffled about the house in bare feet. This made the boys feel much relieved.

I never knew nylons could be scary.

Boys.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Washing the Dogs...What Could (not) Go Wrong?

I had a nice blog post going through my head that I am all happy to write for you. But I got distracted.

By my dogs.

Last night, as Hubby and I were snuggled on the couch watching Sarah Palin's Alaska on TLC, he mentioned, again, that the dogs stink.

They do.

But washing them would then be my job and really, I didn't want to take that one on. However, I am tired of the dogs smelling stinky so I decided that since the bathroom was already a mess, I might as well make it messier.

Josie seen the shampoo bottle and hid under the table. She informed me she was not going in the bathtub. I informed her she was and promptly wrestled her in. Once in, she resigns herself to the fact that she must get clean and did a fine job. I dried her off and sent her on her way.

Sadie thought this all looked fun. Looking back on it now, though, she may have just been mocking Josie in dog speak...and since I don't speak dog speak I missed that.

That would have been my first warning.

Hubs called and was so impressed with me deciding to wash the dogs. I might have smugly glowed under his praise.

That should have been my next warning.

He assured me his Sad would be just fine in the tub, she'd love it, she loves water and getting scrubbed would be a special treat for her.

That really should have sent off warning bells.

Sadie happily followed me into the bathroom but when I pulled her toward the tub, the, er, FUN, really began.

Sadie refused to get in the tub. She tried jumping (remember, she is the dog that jumps as high as the door itself), she tried clawing, she tried dragging me......

I held on to her collar for dear life. I turned the water off thinking it might be scaring her. I talked soothing words to her.

She seemed to quiet a bit as I scrubbed the soap in. It had to soak for five minutes so I just kept scrubbing and she finally even sat down in the water.

But when I went to rinse her, well, it made the first half of the bath when I was fighting to get her IN the tub seem to be a breeze.

And it had not been a breeze.

She literally pulled my arm all the way back. That's when I finally let go. The whole bathroom was a standing puddle, her thrashing had emptied the tub. I hadn't really known that could happen.

At least I had her cornered in the bathroom, where she couldn't escape.

It was no sooner than that thought had run through my thankful mind when S4 opened the door.....

....he had wanted a drink of water.....

...and Sadie took off.

My dining room floor looked like I had dumped a bucket of water on it. Sadie shook, numerous times, spraying the whole room. She ran for the living room where she rolled all over the carpet. She ran back through the house to the kitchen, shaking again.

Basically, she went on a shaking rolling rampage.

And to get back at me, she dumped S2's big aloe plant in the bathroom...making the puddle she had created a giant muddy swamp.

I have spent the whole entire day cleaning - scrubbing - our bathroom.

The dogs do look fluffy and nice, I must admit. The whole entire house, however, smells of hot wet dog.

Husband, you can wash the dogs next time.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The DIANA Exhibit in Grand Rapids, Michigan

One late morning, I was getting ready to make up our dinner for that night and I flipped on the tv.

eightWest was on.

eightWest is a local talk show that has been on for a year now. It's not a show I follow faithfully but if it happens to be on I watch it. This particular episode they were talking about the Diana exhibit that was coming to Grand Rapids and since my mom and I have been planning on going since we first heard it was arriving in our city, I ended up just standing there watching the whole segment.

It ended with the hosts, Rachel and Terri, offering 1oo free pairs of tickets to a special showing of the Diana exhibit to the first 100 people to email them.

I didn't know their email. It was up on the screen and my fingers were flying over my blackberry curve. I sent the email as fast as I could type out my message letting them know I wanted to go. Don't even know what I said but I do know I sat there wondering if I sent it right and if I didn't should I retry and if I retry and the first message DID go through would I be disqualified and if that happened how crushed would I be?

I won two tickets.

I called my mom and left her a message. She called me back, nearly able to speak she was so excited.

My mom is the biggest Diana fan I know.

I grew up knowing all about the princess in England who had boys just a little younger than me. My mom knew it all. She woke up early to watch THE wedding, she had a trunk that was filled with magazine articles and what-nots of Diana's life. She had just gotten rid of a vast majority of the magazines the summer Diana passed away and my mom totally kicked herself for that.

I do remember, vividly, the day she died. I called my mom on the phone in the apartment on the first summer Jake and I were married and my mom and I both cried. I watched the funeral and heard about the wedding, my mom watched the funeral and remembered the wedding she had seen there.

There is no one else at all that I would take with me to see the exhibit.

And we got to see it a FULL DAY before it opened to the public. Thrill!!!!!

I knew there was no way I could go see the Diana exhibit without wearing heels and a dress, hello, its DIANA and it was so much fun to dress up to head out. There were ladies there in jeans, and there was a girl in a formal gown...quite the variation and eightWest went all out for us. It was decorated beautifully with fresh flowers, the elaborate cake that imitated the wedding cake of Prince Charles and Lady Diana...we even each received little goodie bags with a few mementoes and were served cupcakes and punch while live music played.

But we were all there for one thing...to see the exhibit.

There are no cameras allowed. It is understandable, the flash could ruin the clothes. But eightWest took oodles of pics of the "reception" (none have my mom and I in them! :) ) and you can see them on their Facebook page.

This is a timed exhibit...only a few people are allowed through in a certain amount of time. When one is purchasing tickets, you purchase them for a set time. I find this to be brilliant. Even with us all there, they allowed us in a few at a time to keep it from bottle necking. I appreciated this.

When you first walk in, there is the crown. Glowing. It's breathtaking and no photos or video footage of it have done it any justice at all.

There is an introduction of sort following that, introducing you to the Spencer family and showing a few of the prominent women in the Spencer line and the jewels given to them. Loving history, I found this part a nice addition.

Next was bits of her childhood, including some home videos that you can't help but smile over. It was fun to see all the bits and pieces of her young life.

We went through a hall filled with pictures of Lady Di and Prince Charles and the history of their meeting and so forth. Then you round the corner and

There.

Is.

The.

Dress.

I think my mom cried.

She could not leave that room. She read it all. She watched the short film off different scenes from the wedding. She studied the dress and it's long train, walked around it numerous times. She said later that seeing the dress made the world seem so small...never in a million years would she believe someone if they told her that early Saturday morning she sat there watching a kindergarten teacher become a princess that she would one day get to see that dress herself, in her state, in a nearby city....

She can never finish her thoughts on seeing the dress.

We then view many of Diana's charities and her handwritten notes to those whom she appreciated.

And then it was the funeral.

The room is scented and filled with a large screen showcasing bits of the funeral and at the foot of the screen are piles of dried roses.

No one spoke in this room.

Everyone sniffed.

It was painful to be there and yet awful to leave it.

Following this room was a large room filled with many of her outfits and pictures of what she was doing when she wore them. This woman had great style. The last gown she wore on her birthday, days before the crash, are in this exhibit.

And then it's done.

You walk out and see piles of books behind glass. I found this an odd place to have us walk out at, as though they had no other place to put the library. And then I read the sign...these were SOME of the books signed by thousands of people who stood in long lines to write their last thoughts to Lady Diana. It's amazing.

Seeing this exhibit was amazing. This is the tenth city this exhibit has been in the entire world and it is all of 40 minutes from my little farm out here. I am so glad eightWest gave us the special opportunity to see it before anyone else.

But seeing this with my mom will go down in my life book as one of my most favorite memories. Seeing her experience this exhibit made this exhibit. And for that, I cannot ever thank eightWest enough.

Thank you.


Although you cannot take pictures, I did find some video footage of the exhibit that you can see HERE. And if you are interested in seeing this exhibit at the GRAM, you can find all the information you need HERE. And if you do go to the GRAM, be sure to plan to go visit the 1913 Room, Cygnus (visit here so you can see the sun set, did that with my handsome hubby once...fairytale like, I promise!) or Bentham for some of THE wedding cake...which is on my mom and my's short list of things to do. We didn't have time Monday, we fully intend on getting a piece though!!!

All in all, go see this.....

And thank you ever so much, eightWest, for a beautiful, memorable day.

Fox 17...Pay It Forward

This morning I seen on twitter and facebook chatter on an upcoming story coming up by my friend, Sarah Brodhead.

I never imagined it would be this.

And I never thought that this morning my husband, myself and my oldest son would stand transfixed in the kitchen crying over what Sarah went through...and what a lot more families than ever I would have imagined have gone through.

Here is the story....grab a kleenex.....

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's the Little Details......

Four years ago a great man left this world to wait for us in Heaven. When we get there, he will have undoubtedly helped cook the meal prepared before us.

My father in law died five years ago today. We had found out he had cancer that July after they thought he may have a case of pneumonia, it was lung cancer that spread rapidly and he was gone on a rainy miserable fall day. The day he was buried, it was beautiful, sunny and hot – unusual for Michigan November's.


I will never forget the first day I met my unknown-to-me-one-day-would-be-future-father-in-law. He came in to visit my husband and and I hadn't ever met someone before who seemed so gruff, he was skinny as a rail and as strong as an ox, paid attention to the slightest details, and won me completely over on the spot.


My father in law never told us he loved us. My husband will always remember the day his dad told him he loved him. Nope, he didn't say it but he showed it in a million little details.

My father in law cooked for us. On Sunday's he laid before us a feast. There was never anything fancy, but it there isn't one person in our family who would say it was anything BUT the very best, top quality food. It usually involved stuffing. He made the best most moist stuffing. He made col-slaw, salad with the dressing on it because Western dressing is the only dressing worth eating, I suppose. He made ham or chicken. He made fried potatoes; fried zucchini with tomatoes and squash and mushrooms. He made pickles. He made huge mountains of mashed potatoes. When I would walk in the house in the winter, he would have apple sauce simmering on the stove. When he found out I have a fondness for good bread, he would bring home some loaves from the Hungarian woman at the market and set a bunch of fresh honey in front of me too, I don't think honey had been used in their house much before I showed up to the family.


He knew I loved flowers and would save discarded sunflower bundles from the market, bring them to life again miraculously for me and they would last a week in a vase on the table. He knew I loved peonies and would have big bouquets of them picked and wrapped for me when I would come over. He dug me up some peonie plants, I can't get them to bloom for anything. I feel like that would let him down. He was known in this area for his geraniums, he had a knack for growing top quality, heavy duty geraniums in the greenhouse out back of their house. I still have one. I feel like I have done something to keep his memory alive with that potted geranium.
He had a knack for finding beauty in junk. I'm not sure how he found the stuff he did, but our front porch is decorated with the metal wagon wheels he had found somewhere. The rock garden has the plow he found. I have a garden area with a huge picket fence square he found and saved from the burn pile. Junk turned to beauty, and he cared enough to save it for me and deliver it.
He died when I was pregnant for S4, we had told him his name before he was born. But there is hardly a week where he isn't mentioned, as in, “If Dad could see these boys eat.” “If Dad could see these boys play.” “If Dad could hear these boys talk like this.”

We miss him.

To everyone in the family, my father in law meant something different. I can only write to you from my perspective. It was a true honor to be his daughter in law and I am grateful for every year I was able to know him so I can pass a bit of him down to our four boys.

I've really wrestled with how to write this post. There are so many things I want you to know about him. His humor, his laugh, the way he snapped beans with a knife....

But what I miss the most is the way he paid attention to details. Oh, it could drive you insane don't get me wrong, but it was in the details that I felt loved. Sometimes I don't feel like making a batch of cookies for the boys, oreo's will fill them just the same, but it's the smell, the thought, the experience of the cookies that they love. S1 once wrote a note for me, it was a class project. It said “Love is...” and he had filled in “...Moma's chocolate chip cookies.”.

Don't underestimate the little things.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Over Heard in Our House This Morning.....

We heat with wood. It's a wonderful thing because all winter long the house stays set at 75 degrees.

And because there are lots of people who think we must melt, keep in mind we have an OLD farmhouse and there are STILL parts of it that have NO insulation.

No insulation. In Michigan....you read that right.

Movingrightalong.....

We have an outdoor wood burner that is Hubby's baby, he loves this outdoor wood burner. It also heats all our hot water as well.

We have a few vents that then spill the warm heat into our house. The most popular vent, by far, is the one in the living room. It is the boys favorite place to curl up. It's Moma's favorite place to sit as well if she can ever find it empty.

Today, S4 had apparently had the spot, jumped up to pee and S3 stole the spot. We were all supposed to be sleeping because the time changed but apparently the boys didn't get that memo because they were wide awake.

Early.

The fight broke out, them hollering and whining. Then S3 snuck into the bedroom and tried to "wake me up". But since I was having fun hearing their jabs back and forth I feigned sleep. He gave up and the fight and whining continued. S4 came in to tattle on his brother, seen us, stood there and weighed his options and then marched back out to say THIS to his brother.

"I'm counting and then you have to move....1, 2, 3...4, 5...I am really gonna tell on you this time...6, 7, 8910. MOVE!"

"No," was his calm reply.

"Move because....(and here he used his most authoritative voice) GOD tells you to SHARE."

There was a moment of silence. "Well, I had this spot first."

I was beginning to wonder if we should be worried over that answer when S4 retorted. "Well, you better move or....or I won't tell you any more of my jokes!"

It was shortly after this they began to giggle.

And still they pushed and shoved but it was fun to hear all their brotherness get sorted out. I would have so loved to get it on video.....

Friday, November 5, 2010

Moma Said the "S" Word....and Got Tattled On

We have words we do not say in this house. We just don't want the boys to swear. I've heard that swearing is a lazy man's talk...you need to be able to come with better strong descriptive words.

And there is some slang we let go. Heck, they're boys. Let 'em have slang, I say!

But the "s" words....we don't ever say those.

Except the other morning when I got really mad at the dogs and I said "the s word" at them as I shoved them out the door.

The boys eyes were wide in horror.

But they never said a word.

That evening as the boys were wrestling in the living room, their loud shrieks turned to complete silence and then "Don't tell! Don't tell! Don't tell!" by S3.

S2 told.

S3 had said "The S Word".

Ug.

I took S3 in my arms and gave him a hug. "Sometimes we just make mistakes and we feel so awful for it, like I know you feel now. I said "The S Word" today too...."

"You did?" Apparently, he was the only one who had not heard me say this as I seen the complete shock register on his face.

I shook my head sadly. "I did. And I felt so awful about it. I don't ever want to say that again. Will you forgive me?"

He hugged me. "Yup!"

Suddenly I was being hugged by all the boys and they were all telling me they forgave me.

It really was a beautiful moment.

We had a chat about how awful we feel and we should remember how awful we feel at this moment to help us not say bad words again.

Then I went back to making dinner and they went back to playing until Daddy arrived home.

When Daddy arrived home, the little tattle tails ran full force for their Daddy.

"Guess what? Guess what? Guess what? Moma said a bad word today!" S3 grinned triumphantly.

Where was that beautiful moment we had all shared just recently?

"She did?" he chuckled. "What did she say?"

"The S word," S2 gravely informed him.

Husband's eyes twinkled as he tried to get my attention. "You really said that?"

All the boys stared at me, waiting to admit my awful word swearing.

I nodded. "I did."

"I can't believe you did that!" he declared. He wrapped me in a big bear hug. He was so happy with my saying "the S word" I wondered if he secretly wished I did swear. "What 'S' word did she say?"

S4 shook his head vehmintely. "I don't want to even say."

"S and then H," S2 let him know.

"Moma!" he got on to me, all stern like with a big grin on his face. Then he whispered, "You really said that in front of the boys?"

"I did," I admitted in a quiet whisper. "I was mad at the dogs and told them to shut up when I put them outside."

Husband then nearly fell to the ground laughing but caught himself and said gravely, "Yes, that IS a bad word. I hope you learned your lesson, Moma."

I grinned. And then sent the little tattlers out to set the table.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Carpets Are The Cruel Curse To House Wives

When we bought our house eons and lifetimes ago (it sorta feels like eons when we moved in childless and now have four boys, one of them nearly as tall as me!), it had orange carpet.

My husband thought it was just fine.

I did not.

I asked for wood floors. Throughout the whole house.

He assured me I would indeed want carpeting. Who wants cold hard wood floors?

Even before children, I could see the writing on the wall.

Fast forward twelve years. Because he loves me greatly, husband and a friend put down wood floors in the dining room (where the carpet was a light berber...I'll let you think about THAT color carpet being in your DINING ROOM and also your MAIN ENTRANCE into the house. The house in the country. With mud. And dogs. And four boys. Okay, got a good mental image now?). The floors are seven years old now and scuffed and worn and I love them to pieces! I have never ever once thought "I wish we hadn't put wood floors in here".

But because my husband is so enamored by carpet, the man went out and got a huge roll of carpet for the living room. It's white.

I'll let you think on that a moment.

It's not tan (well, now it kinda is). It's white. Brilliant white.

It was free.

He could not resist.

I have spent the entire day running the carpet cleaner over it to sorta return it to a sorta white tinted carpet again.

And every time I dumped the nasty, full of mud and dog hair and BB riddled water down the drain I thought "All I wanted was wood floors."

At this point, I would be happy with plywood floors.

I hate carpet.

And venting this to all the moms who understand my feelings on this makes me feel we are more bonded now in the sisterhood of housework.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Did You Know I Make Awesome Boats?

Cuz I do.

With a ton of help....mostly from Montana.

One might wonder how a Michigan mom gets help from a Montana Rancher to make a 1st grade class boat....until I mention Facebook and all of you say "Ah, yes, the power of Facebook."

S1 was asked to make a boat in first grade, as I recall, and he made one of egg cartons. We never really gave it any mind.

S2 made a boat for first grade, of egg cartons again, and we went to the school open house where we gandered at the boats and realized....this was a huge deal we had somehow totally missed out on.

So when S3 came home, note wadded in the bottom of his back pack, about the boat building...well, there were two older brothers and a Moma who were gonna help him make this boat!

There were quite a few dinner discussions about this and we collectively decided that the best way to build this amazing boat would be to use soda bottles.

But when Sunday came around and it was the LAST day of the weekend to make the boat before the weekend was over....no one was home but me and a first grader who wanted a fast boat and a four year old who sacrificially gave up his precious orange soda that he had been slowly sipping out of for the weekend (soda is a luxury here).

The idea we had was simple enough and we finished and even decorated it in less time than i imagined it would take. We set it in the tub and marveled how well it floated. But it was also suppose to hold weight, I had heard, and when we put weight in it, it flipped right over.

So I went to Facebook, begging the two men I knew who could help me to indeed, help me. But Hubs didn't happen to check his phone but W did and thank goodness cuz he was full of ideas to make a boat float.

We went Survivor man Style (two boats, I was forced to drink a Cherry Coke I hadn't opened from the Breathe Writers Conference, thank goodness!) and it floated and it held weight (thank goodness for Duct Tape, but finding some to use that didn't have Red Green's name on it proved a bit tricky) and even when S1 arrived home, he was impressed.

I glowed.


The amazing boat.

We sent it to school the next day, sure it would do wonderful and that's when I found the crinkled up note again...you know, the paper with boat directions?

The boat was supposed to be the size of your fist.

Technically, I mused, the boat would fit in Husband's fists....

But I knew that didn't count so I contacted the teacher - who, May I mention again, is WONDERFUL - and she told me I did do a lovely job on the boat but a smaller one would be nice.

We brainstormed all that night. S3 threw out every single brilliant idea we came up with...not that we had that many brilliant ideas. I may have even pleaded for help on Facebook.

In the end, we sent him to school with a cork. It floats.

But S3 is still raving about the wonderful boat I made him. Or, um, HE made for his FIRST GRADE HOMEWORK.

I guess it'll make an awesome bath toy......

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Just call us Command Center for Weather

On this day last week, Michigan was being bombarded with storms. Very high winds came upon us and we set records as the barometric pressure dropped. The day began with Tornado watches.

It was something else.

Sue and I had planned to get together and then wondered if we should but then reasoned her basement storm shelter was way nicer than my little dunk into Michigan basement (which are icky but can save your life and store your water heater and softener) so we continued with our plans.

I filled every bucket I could find with water in case we lost electricity, locked the dogs in the part of the house that had the least amount of tree limbs around it and prayed for safety as I battled the forty mile per hour winds to the school to drop the boys off for the day.

Upon arriving to Sue's, I took out my computer (as if I would ever leave it home where it I could not protect it!), plugged it into her office and we we went to work....

...being the weather Geeks we never claim to be.

Seriously, we had FOUR computers going! Her daughter stayed home from college classes and we had live chats from the news going and NOAH stations on and we had our emergency radio out for us to grab in an emergency.

We ran from window to window, noting the rain, the change in direction the rain would go, the swirling clouds or the moving fast clouds....

Do you notice how I know NONE of the technical terms of these weather situations?

We recorded all we seen and noticed on the live weather chats on our computers.

When we got the tornado warnings.....well, we had much to inform the public of then.

When suddenly, Jon Shaner (whom we think the world of) messaged us. "Can we call you?"

When the phone rang and Sue chatted with the director and then mentioned having the Morning Mom there and handed me the phone.

To do a weather report.

I like weather. But Sue knows all the techno terms and all that.

I do not.

I learned later that my mom had the phone in her hand to call me and tell me to watch out, Fox 17 was doing live weather so it must certainly be bad out when she heard "And now we have Denise Dykstra our Morning Mom on. Tell us, what you are seeing there?"

And my mom said I did great.

Our little area, where our "command center" was set up, ended up seeing the brunt of the monumental storm (read HERE and a recap HERE ( <--cool pics) ) at that moment. Three of my boys were huddled in a hallway at school...S2 told me he wasn't too scared, he knew S1 was on the other side of the hallway. S1 said it was boring as could be and next time he has an hour long tornado warning he's bringing a book to read. S3 thought it was fun. I credit their amazing teachers for keeping it low key...and for keeping them safe.

All in all, we never lost electricity so we had LOTS of water to dump out. (But not a one of us complained !) And I learned that I can, in fact, sorta give a weather report, which is something I never knew I could do.

Also, if caught in a storm again, there is no better place to be than at my friend Sue's house.