Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Girls' Day Out

Today Lily and I met my sister Jamie and her daughter Emmaly for a day of shopping (low budget!), lunching and just being together. Every year we celebrate each other's birthdays, which are only six days apart, by spending a whole day together. It's been a LONG time since we've been completely alone without any small ones crashing the party, but today we actually chose to bring our four-year-old daughters so they could spend some time together, too. They were SO cute together, holding hands, skipping, running, draping arms around each other, like long lost sisters.

Jamie and I both had coupons to a local portrait studio, so we even took the girls in for a photo shoot. Don't they look cute? I've been wanting a portrait of Lily wearing her beautiful silk dress we purchased for her in China, but just haven't gotten it done. We did that today, too. Coaxing a smile out of her was a little torturous, but I was pleased with the final results.

And, the sweetest surprise: while we were looking through our portraits, my best friend Jeny walked in! I was so happy to see her and her three beautiful kids! We were so surprised to see each other. I was supposed to go see her Monday, but I had to cancel, and I hadn't yet rescheduled. We hadn't seen each other for months, maybe it's been longer. We do keep in regular contact, but it's not the same as sitting across from her and hearing her laughter and squeezing her hand and seeing her eyes sparkle. I miss her so. Jeny, I'm about to pop an email over to you to reschedule that visit...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Springtime in Michigan

I know it's officially spring, because literally overnight my weeping cherry trees erupted into full blossom. What a lovely splash of pink they lend to my home! I thought I'd share a few pictures. Sadly this will be my last spring here with my weeping cherry trees. No wonder they're weeping.

My favorite tree

Lily examining the flowers.

"I picked this for you, Mommy!"

The loveliest flowers in the garden. (*Notice Caleb and Gabriel sweetly holding hands. I love their precious innocence and love for each other.)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


So it's not as golden as I thought. Rob's new job is not going to work out. I feel bad that Rob had to put up with very poor business and management in his employer for even one day. He gave it a try, and he could tell right away that the flexibility his new employer promised was hers not his and that it was a bad employment match. His first clue was when he showed up and the owner did not bother to give him any direction or provide tools for the piddly jobs she wanted done. He learned over the course of the day that she is a strong personality who knows what she wants, but her employees must simply read her mind, correctly, or bear the ill consequences.

Minimum wage is not enough to put up with that, that's for certain. Not to mention the long drive and the high gas prices.

So, we keep looking.

Monday, April 21, 2008

New Colors

I gave my little blog a face lift you like it? It took more time than I care to admit, all of which should have been devoted to the landslide of laundry directly behind me. Right now, the computer desk is renting space in the laundry room. You can imagine how easy it is to get distracted when I am supposed to be matching socks. "Oh, I'll just check my email while I wait for the drier to be done." An hour later, the clothes in the drier are dry and cool, and I'm still tapping away. Oops.

I promised you an update on my hair. Remember my last post? The color is...I'm not really sure. The box says "Carmel Glaze" but that sounds yummier than hair is supposed to look. I took a picture for you, but it doesn't look quite this red in real life. The evening sun is shining down on it. Here ya go anyway: I like it well enough. I'm not in love, however. My favorite part: no more grays!

We have some good family news to share with you. First of all, Rob has finished his classes, and after repeated emails to his two professors and the registrar's office personnel, the powers-that-be are allowing his grades to be posted by the earliest posting date: April 26th, and it appears that Rob will be able to pick up his transcripts on April 28th. The professors actually have until something like May 8th to turn graduate grades in, but Rob had to humble himself, explain to them our family's situation, and everyone he spoke with has been understanding and accommodating. Thank-you, Lord!

The second piece of good news is that after only ONE day of looking, Rob has landed a summer job! Yeah, it's pretty amazing. He actually starts TOMORROW! He's only going to be making minimum wage, but if you do the math, it's still a whole lot more than zero! He'll be doing grunt work at a boarding stable that offers an English riding and jumping camp. Unfortunately, he won't be working with the horses too much but doing yard work, clean-up, minor repairs, painting, and so on. He may have to muck some stalls and take care of some of the horses during their busy times, but they have other hired help who take care of the animals. It's a blessing, and the lady did a double-take at Rob's resume (which he actually left many of the academic parts out of!) and offered him the job on the spot. We both feel good about it, knowing that it's temporary. His new boss is also going to be flexible with the hours, guaranteeing him 40 hours a week, but allowing him to take time off if needed. Believe me when I say that any job landed in this part of Michigan is golden.

When Rob and I first got married we really, really wanted to start a therapeutic horseback-riding camp for under-privileged kids. We both find it bizarre that Rob is going to be working at a riding camp now at this time in our lives.

I'll leave you with a couple of fun pictures from this week. The second picture is my mom with all her granddaughters, and the bottom one is my dad with all his grandsons. They have two sons and two daughters, and now they have eight grandsons and eight granddaughters. They're very blessed!

Friday, April 18, 2008

My hair is that bad?

I hate coloring my hair. I hate the thought of all those harsh chemicals soaking mischievously into my scalp while a cloud of toxins fumes about my face...for 35 minutes. But...I really hate the ornery sprouts of gray hairs that are crowding out my youthful-looking brown ones. I guess having four children and turning 33 next week is to account for that.

So here I sit, with my slimy, chemical-infused hair piled up like a heap of toxic waste on top of my head.

I bet you're wondering what color I chose. Have I gone for a summer blond look? How about a strawberry red to match my youngest son? Could it be warm mahogany to match take me back to my old natural state? Or perhaps jet black to make my blue eyes stand out? And what about streaks?

I'll let you know how it turns out.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Such a glorious, warm, sunny, earthy, springy weekend we were given!

The older boys played outside for a while each day, but they kept coming back in for various reasons (wanting to watch a show, play with Legos, transform Transformers, get a drink, have a snack, rest on the couch, etc.) "Outside!" I ordered at least a dozen times.

The little ones happily went outside and were so content out there that I had to keep having "Seth and Lily checks" to make sure they weren't getting into trouble. I forced them inside, with much protesting, for lunch and potty breaks. "Inside!" I ordered at least a dozen times as darkness approached.

But today is also a springy day. The air is dreary, damp, chilly, gloomy. The kids want to play outside, but the 40 degree temperatures that were such a relief three weeks ago are bone-chilling and unpleasant today. Today is just as much a spring day as Saturday and Sunday were. If you want spring, you've gotta take both kinds of days. At least here in the northern region of the Midwest.

Isn't spring such a perfect reflection of life? Beautiful sunny spots that fill us with peace and hope...cold stormy spots that force us to lean on God's comforting strength. And you've gotta take them both. I can make it through this week's cold and gloom because I know that spectacular days of warmth are just around the corner.

And my day lilies are bravely sprouting despite teeter-tottering temperatures.

We do have a few updates for our Navy situation. Last week, Rob took the physical fitness test...and passed! Not only did he meet the requirements for his age bracket (35-44???), but he also met the requirements given to the youngsters (ages 25-34). Yes, he quite the athletic specimen! A year ago, he would have laughed out loud if someone told him that he would be running a mile and half in 13 minutes. He was feeling great, and then he found out he'll have to pass it two more times, once before he leaves for training, and another time at the end of his training. At least it is not looming before him as an unknown. He knows he can do it, and he must simply stay in shape and stay healthy.

We still don't know when he will be leaving, but at this point, I feel that we can safely say that it is a matter of WHEN and not IF.

Last week, the kids and I visited my sister, Jamie, and her kids. We were supposed to see them last Saturday at my grandparent's Easter get-together, but Seth was sick. I was the one in charge of bringing eggs, so I had recycled 117 plastic eggs and much of the kids' Easter candy. Sadly, I live too far away to have been able to take the eggs for the rest of the kids that day. But when I went to my sister's, we took the eggs with us and had our own little post-Easter egg hunt. (I really did NOT want to disassemble the eggs or pack them to use for next year.) Did you know that 117 is not a prime number? I thought that it was, but when we divided it by the number children present--NINE!--it came out to exactly 13 eggs per kid. My 13 year old nephew was quick to correct my mistaken assumption! I'll end with a little picture of Jamie's and my kids digging into their booty. It's a lot of kids for just two families. When all four siblings get together, we have 16 children, ages 13 and under! On Rob's side, we have 14...Rob and I have a total of 22 nieces and nephews! They are each so very precious to us.