Sunday, June 22, 2008


This is my sister Beth and baby Verena. They look so much alike. I know they're both wearing orange, but really, they look just like each other. I thought these were cute pics...

And this is just one nice memory for me. We were taking an evening walk, the whole bunch of us.
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Friday, June 20, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

Once again, it's been too long. I've had some things to blog about, just no time to actually sit down and do it. We'll see how this goes. Gertie is on the loose, so I'm stealing time.

My birthday. I turned 39 this year. My highlights were:
  • I woke up at the crack of dawn and got some cleaning done before my sister and her family arrived. I was actually loving getting things done, them staying done, and the look of an organized, clean home.
  • I took the kids to the park to have a play date with some other kids and see some other moms I miss. It was horribly windy, and a bit rushed, but we had fun catching up. The government has a program going on this summer again where they will provide a sack lunch for any child that shows up to pick one up at a school in our neighborhood. At first, I thought the program was a waste of our tax dollars. ANY child? Some kids don't need a free lunch. But then I started to think that it's my tax money too, and it's so convenient and FREE, so we do that every once in a while. We've been trying to get together on Fridays over lunch and let the kids play. But finally to the birthday highlight: My friend Amy shared her little dill pickles with me. I know that's ridiculous, but I am the only one in my family who likes pickles, I rarely do the shopping, so I rarely get pickles. She just kept them coming, and I just kept eating them. Yummy!
  • John asked me what I wanted for dinner, and I said shishkebobs (no idea how to spell that word). He made them for dinner, they were delicious. We had a delicious watermelon to go with them. I loved my birthday dinner.
  • My sister brought that sweet little new niece of mine to see me.
  • My husband and children gave me chocolate for my birthday. Lots of it. Tons of it.
So those are the things that made my day special. It was a good day.

My mom added to our crew on Saturday, and she brought my nephew Tate, whom I rarely actually saw over the whole weekend. He disappeared with Ethan and they barely popped their heads up for air. They had a great time together. My mom gave me a couple of clematis to plant along our fence for my birthday. I can't wait to watch them grow.

I often found my mama wandering out in the yard early in the mornings and at other various times throughout the weekend. I think she's chomping at the bit to get her hands in the dirt. (At least that's the way I like to look at it!) A friend had dropped off some perennials, and she helped get those in the ground, but the major project was trimming the way-overgrown hedge at the front of our house. I've hated the way that looked for so long. I love it now. We just took those huge hedges down to almost nothing. They are kind of artsy looking now, with bare stems and a little green at the top. Maybe I'll have to get a picture to show you, but it looks so much better. It was a very big job, and Beth was in there too. I love this family of mine that sweeps in and tackles these things for me. I'm very grateful.

We finally got to see Grace in South Pacific. She did great. We had front row seats, the production was over-all very nicely done. Beth had thought it was going to be a school production, but it was a community production. The singing was nice and the show was fun. John wasn't able to go with us (on FATHER'S DAY) because I had completely forgotten to try to line up a sitter. I can't believe I did that. Actually, I can. But I knew Mike wasn't going to go, he was going to stay with Verena. It was on my mental to-do list until then it wasn't. But it turned out that he went with Mike the next night, so it all worked out okay.

John and Ethan went to the college world series in Omaha in the middle of the week, with a quick side trip to see John's mom in South Dakota. We didn't hear hide nor hair of him the whole time (can you ever hear hide or hair? I don't think so.) Anyway, I know he had a great time. I wish I
could get him to blog sometime and give you the highlights.

Now we're already to our anniversary. John and I have been married for sixteen years today. I can still relive that wedding day in my mind, and I love the memories. I'm thankful for this man in my life. He's been kissing me today, and he loves me too, I just know it! We've had a good marriage and a good life. I like knowing how he ticks. I like how he takes care of us, cooking for us and shopping for us. I just love him all around. My man...

Pictures will come. I just don't have it in me right now. I've got to go.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Elephants, Chairs, Baseball, phones

I thought i'd share quickly that Gertie has decided that her favorite animal is now an Elephant, without ever seeing one except in pictures, books, or maybe on TV once or twice.

Today Beth, Mike and Verena go home. Mom is working, so i put Gertie down, and it nearly broke my heart. I followed the usual routine, read a few books, put her in bed, sing a few songs. I got through reading the books, and tried to put her in bed, but she didn't want to. She wanted to sit in the chair and snuggle. it's hard for her without mom or dad (dad and Ethan went to the College World Series). i didn't have a heart to refuse. I sang to her and rocked her for about 15 minutes, till she fell asleep. Then I lifted her into her crib. i love her so much.

Just a little about dad and ethan. first they went to go help my grandma, she's moving into an apartment soon. This morning they left for Omaha. Dad called this morning around 10:00. The conversation went like this:
"Hey Grace"
"Hi daddy"
"Is your mom home"
"no, she's at work"
"oh yeah, that's right, can i have you do me a favor"
"yea sure"
"can you look up Bret and Dawn's phone number, i'm going to stay with them and don't have their number"
i gave him the number
"Thanks, bye"
"Love you dad"
"love you too, Grace"

I would've liked to talk to him a little more, after missing him for a day, but no, get the phone number and go. That's my daddy.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Well, I woke up yesterday morning and looked out the bathroom window to see a pond where the street used to be. We had almost four inches of rain overnight, and we were looking at a flood. The neighbors all said, and I knew previously, that our house has never flooded. It is too high up. But when the water is encroaching your space, you start to worry.

This picture is the part of our yard that borders the lake. The little inlet is a staircase that leads down to a lower level of grass that stretches at least 8 feet before we enter the water on our DOCK. Thankfully, among many blessings, the dock is still there. At least the frame is. The boards actually floated away several days ago. John saw the metal poles coming up out of the water as it has receded quite a bit since this morning. You can see a couple boards of our swing on the left there. That used to be on the right side of the yard. Again, I'm thankful we didn't lose it.

This is the view I woke up to, minus the dump truck. There is usually a big grassy lot on the right of the street that the city maintains where many people come to fish and enjoy the nice summer days. That was completely under, and it spilled out into the street. The city employees worked very hard yesterday morning building up a berm with lots and lots and lots of dirt. The Creek that feeds our lake crested at around 10 a.m., so we felt we were going to be okay. And we were. Praise the Lord.

I have to say, it was a very unsettling feeling. I mean, we started trying to haul things from our basement just in case, and it is a very defeating feeling. What do you grab? It's just very overwhelming.

Austin had a huge flood like this just a few years back. Much of downtown was under water yesterday, and I'm sure they still are today. I know that some businesses had moved after the last big flood, and I'm sure they are thankful today. The ones that didn't were deep under water. One gas station was really buried. If I were a gas tank (and thankfully, I am not), the water would have been up to my neck. And that was around noon. The river flooding that area wasn't supposed to crest until 10 p.m. last night. Very sad situation.

Now on a funnier (definitely not happier) note, I wanted to share this picture of my youngest. Here is how the story goes: It was a laundry day, and we were folding up the laundry and putting it into piles on the couch. We were having a good time and working together, in the way that I had to pick up and fold everything Gertie folded. Andyway, when it came time to carry it upstairs, Gertie wanted to carry her own pile. It had severel things in it, but she is small, and her clothes are small, so I agreed. On the way up the steps she dropped a pair of panties. AND I PICKED THEM UP! That was the beginning of a major meltdown that lasted a good screaming twenty minutes. She finally got to the top of the steps and laid her head down on her pile of laundry, refusing to move--or do anything for that matter.

Well, I know from personal experience that nothing cheers you up more when you are furious than having your picture taken. So I obliged...
And I'm anxious to get my little ball player on the blog as well, but I need to work on some good pictures. He's been doing a great job this year. He is hitting with a bit more power and makes some smart plays out there. I'll get something going here soon.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New Me!!

This is the new me!! For those of you who don't know, i'm in the play South Pacific, and had to look more like a native, so my hair was dyed darker and i'll be wearing makeup and tanning to look darker too. It's not a very good pic, but it's the best angle before my camera ran out of batteries.
Posted by PicasaSorry the pic is sideways, but this is of my old hair.
Just thought all you might want to see.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Can You Smell That?

You all read about my yard project, right? John bought four bags of pine mulch and threw them into the back of the van. They sat there for a while in the sun, and the bags were kind of wet, so there came to be a horrible stench in our van.

He left the back and all the doors open for an afternoon, he sprayed the car with freshener. Still, the van stinks very badly every time you get in.

Finally, the other day he told me he found the source of the smell. It was Gertie's little backpack, which had been in the van for DAYS, and which contained one sippy cup full of milk! (Or should I say cheese?)

John got everything out of the bag, washed her clothes three times before they started to smell fresh again.

And even today, as we went to church, my whole family is gagging at the rotten smell that refuses to leave our car.

Ethan, Gertie and I went to Rochester today to watch Hunter play in a baseball tournament. His team took first place, by the way, and they were very pumped up. So was my son, overjoyed for his cousin and the big win. We had a good time.

When the game was over, we decided to go for lunch. Julie wanted to ride with me. I turned on the air conditioner, but she opened the window. I said, "Are you too cold or is there some other reason?" I'm thinking she's avoiding stinking up my car. She says, "It is a smell, but not what you're thinking." It was the sour milk smell again.

It didn't even spill in the car. It just existed in the car. How long is that smell going to linger?

Rain rain go AWAY!!!

It's been raining every day here since last week. I'm supposed to be on summer vacation, but it's not summer if there's no sun. It's been raining so much, all the boards on our dock floated away and it's completely underwater. GRRRRR!! Would give a pic, but it's still raining.... When will it STOP!!!!!!!!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Look, Mom!

Here is a picture of my little guy mowing our very big lawn. Ethan was pretty excited (for about a day) about his newfound responsibilities. He kept telling me things he knows about mowing. I had no idea there were so many things you could know about mowing. As we pulled into the garage, he walked over to the mower telling me, "I know how to turn this on. You push on this and pull up on that. And then you lift this up when you want it to go." Well, this is information I'd like to remain in the dark about. But I'm happy for him...however, John asked him to mow again this week and he said, "No, thanks."

Okay. Are you all sick of park pictures? I just love taking them. I love taking Gertie to the park and she loves going there. This is her little friend Jaylee. I thought this picture was so cute. These girls are just weeks apart in age. Future best friends.

And here is my big project. We've had this section of our smaller, fenced in yard that the grass didn't grow so well under. It is very shaded, and the people that lived here before had a fountain or something back there that killed a bunch of grass.

So one day, I said to John, I'd like to mark that part of the yard off and turn it into a little play area for Gertie. I think it would look cool. Well, John and I historically don't do projects together very well. I think he thinks I get too bossy. i don't know what his problem is.?! Anyway, we tackled a smaller little rock garden a couple weeks ago. did I already blog about that? It turned out pretty nice, and I think it inspired us to go ahead with this one.

The people that lived here before left all kinds of stuff around--some of it was actually garbage--but some of it was this great field stone that I knew we could do something with. Then they also left about 15 or so of those stepping stone patio blocks. I still have other resources to tap into, but I'll need to work on ideas for a bit more.

The landscaping in the front of our house just looks horrible. The bushes are very overgrown, and they squish and bury other bushes that could look so pretty. We had hostas everywhere, but they were horribly placed. I knew I wanted them moved, but I just can't bring myself to dig things up for some reason. I hate that about myself, but I just worry I'll do it wrong, or I'll plant it in the wrong place.

John and I had made the border with field stone and placed the steps and laid down a bunch of mulch, I just needed to do the planting and finish the mulch.

So, enters my hero--my mother! She drove down on Saturday and I gave her a tour of the yard, telling her all my ideas, and she was telling me her ideas. We developed a plan and jumped in with four feet and four hands. I recall a gentleman walking by as we were digging up plant after plant from the front yard saying, "You're going to get rained on." Well, it was about twenty minutes later that we did get rained on. My mom said, "Don't worry about it. We're going to keep digging. " Then it started to hail! We were sopping wet. We ran into the garage. John and Gertie were standing in the doorway watching us. I'm sure she was thinking we were crazy. I know John was. But when the hail stopped after a few minutes, we headed right back out there. We dug holes. I was so happy and excited to see this project come together. I can't believe how happy those things make me.

John made us burgers for dinner. We changed out of our sopping wet clothes, ate quickly, and headed right back to it. We spread more mulch, placed some rocks, cleaned up the entire mess. We were exhausted. We could barely move. Mom read Gertie stories while I raced around trying to get everything settled for bed and then we hit the hot tub. It felt so good. I had such a good time doing that with my mom.

I can hear her saying, "Don't be careful. Don't be careful." I love watching her in the garden, because she isn't careful. She just digs it up, drops it in, steps on it a little, and moves on to the next one. My mom counted like 45 holes, including the digging up and the replanting. We were filthy and laughing and really having a great time. I am learning.

So, thanks, Mom. I love you! And I really appreciate your help.
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