Archive | June, 2011

Summer Olympics

30 Jun

It’s been really hot. Summer just jumped out from behind a bush and slapped us. Very rude. I will spare you my complaints about heat induced lethargy, unavoidable sweat pools, and seatbelt burns. Instead, I will focus on the beauty of the intense heat. What? Yep. Beauty. Beauty that I found in watching my two eldest boys frolic like maniacs in the sprinkler. Isn’t it astounding how just a bit of cool water, fresh air, and perceived unsupervision can launch two imaginations into a dervish of creative activity? My boys were the winners of new Olympic events (water relays, sprinkler head stands, and some sort of spinning/running/somersaulting aquatic avoidance dance). They laughed and ran and cheered one another on and lost all trace of any reality based moping. This got me reminiscing. Ah, yes. I’m nothing if not sentimental. You all saw that when I tossed my wedding cake in the weekly trash. It’s difficult to zone in on specific memories of summer playtime because my bitsy brain is flooded with them: rainstorm dancing, ditch swimming, mud puddle racing, Quonset tanning, cow tank swimming, sprinkler pageant-ing. There are so many. I’ve set my mom on a mission to unearth some of the photos of these beautiful events. Alas, the fear of wasting one of those precious 24 allotted photo slots in a film canister has left us with a limited supply of photographic documentation. Be prepared. As the summer continues it is my hope to regale you with details of summer on a farm with my sister. For now, enjoy a picture of the final round of Sprinkler Head Stands:

For those of you who know how much Joe stands on his head you will be shocked to find out that Owen won this particular event - or so the photo conveys.....

Running Away from Home

22 Jun

My sister inspires me.  Two summers ago when we were both running, biking, and dragging our families out into the fresh air she labeled it all “our new active lifestyle.”  Those words stuck with me.  They ring like a blaring alarm clock in my ear as I slog myself out the door in the morning to go for a run.  They justify my desire to buy a used tag-a-long off Craig’s List so we can go for bike rides.  They give me a proverbial high-five as I arrange a schedule with my husband so he can bike on mornings when I don’t run.

Back then we felt great, our families were learning healthy lifestyles, and goodness – she looked hot!  Then struck pregnancies #4 and babies #7, #8 and #9.  (Cue the sound of infants crying and big brothers role playing amplifiied by 279 sleepless nights and a couple dozen extra pounds.)  We wouldn’t trade these super cool kiddos for a seven-minute mile, but we are ready to exchange a half-an-hour of the daily chaos for a little pounding on the pavement.  It’s bound to restore our sanity and physique.  Right?

We both got back out there around 6 weeks ago, and yet the going hasn’t been all that easy, especially for my sister, who is, mind you, only 3 months postpartum. Notice, I waited until the twins were a good 8 months old before attempting to raise my heart rate in ways other than lugging 35 lbs. 13 oz. of baby.  Six-week doctor’s okay?  Um, not okay.

To give us a little jump-start challenge I looked for a race we could run while we were together this summer.  I couldn’t find anything, nor were either of us really up for racing with other people.  So, we had settled on just running together nearish our parents’ house.  I started mapping out some possible routes and the first one I put in came up as exactly 3.1 miles.  Well, that got me thinking.  We simply needed to do our own 5K.  It needed to be a surprise.  And it needed to be awesome.

I’ve been reading Run Like a Mother and couldn’t help but be excited about the great sisterhood of running, so I started by giving her my copy of the book.

I let her know that we would be running the Monday morning after the big family reunion, but I didn’t let her know any of the other details.  I made us matching shirts.

Hey! I know! We should run 3.1 miles!

The shirts came with matching headbands, but we decided not to rock those.  We prefer to get our headaches from boyish antics rather than cotton/spandex blends.

I made our children matching shirts.

They say, "My Mom Ran Away from Home"

I made our husbands matching shirts.

When we invited our dear friend Rachel along on the run I made her a matching shirt.

The plan was to run on the Cowboy Trail starting at our parents’ turn-off and going into town where we would end at the hospital.  It seemed iconic, if not necessary.  The trail used to be railroad tracks, but now it’s just a great place for walking, jogging, biking, oh, and riding horses.

But absolutely, under no circumstances is it for cows.

After determining they didn’t actually mean us, we set off.

We’ll spare you the nitty-gritty details of the walk run.  No statistics to report here, except that we each came in first for our age division.  That’s right, please feel free to take a moment to clap for us in your own locale and time.

Our boys sped out to meet us and then helped us sprint to the finish line.

Our families cheered us on, gave us water and provided one last detail that was a surprise even to me.

Emergency transport to the hospital.  Which was handy, since my mapping skills failed me, and the ER was a good .25 of a mile further than the end of our race.  Nicely played, Mom, nicely played.

But don’t think you’ve had the last laugh, because next year you might be on the Surprise Race Circuit.

The Royal Fathers’ Day Treatment

19 Jun

These are our guys.  We love them.  They’re the best dads in the world (really, we love a lot of you other dad’s out there, but we are partial to these guys.  Surely, you can’t blame us.)

Opa: King of the Family

Jerry: this one deserves some sort of Royal Title to be sure.

A.J.: the Jester and some of his Apprentices

Happy Day, Guys!

A Challenge

17 Jun

One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn’t belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?

Did you guess which thing was not like the others?
Did you guess which thing just doesn’t belong?
If you guessed this one is not like the others,
Then you’re absolutely…right!

Lions, Elephants, Zebras, Hippos and . . . Penguins?
Someone got their continents mixed up.

Freezer-burned by love

14 Jun

Oh, am I an excited blogger today! My life is a brilliant compliment to my sister’s last two posts (the one where she discusses my parents’ anniversary and their lack of need to celebrate and the one where she has surprising and maybe inappropriate things in her trash can).

We are currently defrosting our deep-freezer. We’ve never done it before. Don’t judge us. We’re just not very good at those mundane “upkeepy” things in life. It’s a point that needs improvement to be sure, but I digress. Back to the freezer. We’re finding a lot of neat old stuff in there: neat old round steak, neat old popsicles, neat old casseroles (from when Charlie was born…), you get the gist. The neatest (and OLDEST)???????? Our wedding cake top. Yep. Here it is on our garage floor:

Ah, so beautiful.

We’ve been married 8 1/2 years. Guess we missed the boat on the whole “celebrate your first anniversary by eating the top of your wedding cake” thing. Really, as my sister pointed out before, I wasn’t raised to make a big deal out of such events. Don’t get me wrong – we PRETEND to. One of the reasons we got married on New Year’s Eve was so that we could pretend to have anniversary plans and therefore ignore other traditionally New Year’s Eve-y social events. Anti-social??? Yes. Yes, we are.

So, how did we celebrate such a momentous thing as finding a bit of our wedding cake preserved like Mr. Disney? We considered reenacting the cutting of the cake where traditional couples lovingly shove the confection into one another’s mugs (which, by the way, we so gracefully refused to do at our wedding), but fear of dental damage to the bride prevented that act. So I’ll show you what we did:

This defines romance.

Yes, we laid on our garage floor and sucked face.

Then we chucked the thing.

A Trashy Excuse

13 Jun

I’m so sorry we’ve been negligent bloggers lately.  There’s been a lot going on – you know, just taking care of the children and the daily chores around the house eats up huge portions of our days.  But I think after the garbage gets picked up this morning I should have some extra free time on my hands.

I don’t know what’s more horrifying:  that they were in the garbage bin, or that I let them remain there for the sake of blogging.

Day by Day by Day . . .

2 Jun

Today is our parents’ wedding anniversary.  They were never huge celebrators.  Every once in a while Stacy and I would get some hair-brained idea to do something for them, which usually turned out pretty lame.  One year we took an old bread basket we found in the basement and embroidered their wedding date into the woven surface.  The term ’embroidered’ here is about as loose as the stitches in the project.  It was pretty special.  Mom probably still has it hanging up somewhere near her desk downstairs.  So Mom, please feel free to toss it any time you like.

Don’t you love their wedding photo?  Mom’s all white with just the right amount of black accent on the super trendy glasses and Dad’s got that completely groovy Bang Shwoop.  Love it.

Also, look closely at the candelabras.  Do you see it?  Look again.  Yup.  Bulbs.  Real, live, electric candles.

Mom and Gramma made the wedding dress.  I think she told me it cost $12.  That was so smart.  I cannot tell you how many times my sister and I have talked about the stupidity of spending hundreds of dollars on a wedding dress that we would only wear once when we could have had something beautiful, and simple, and white for much less.  So, in order to take down the cost-per-wear on ours we have each donned them at least one other time.

On our fourth anniversary I was cleaning out the cedar closet (I know, romantic, right?) when I saw mine hanging in the back.  I had just lost some of the baby weight from Thomas’ birth and so I decided to see if it still fit.  I was so excited when it zipped all the way up that I ran through the basement toward the backyard where Jerry was mowing (much like my parents, we seriously know how to live it up on our anniversary) and I knocked our poor seven month old son right over with my train.  And that, my friends, is one of the reasons you should wait until after you are married to have children.

Stacy put on her gown at our house last summer while Mom and Jerry were out building a retaining wall.  We were so excited by its ginormousness and her teeniness that we ran out side to show them.  That’s when our new neighbor across the street finally came to introduce herself.  And to warn us never to come near her or her family.  No, not really, but seriously, can you imagine having us as neighbors?

It’s safe to say that our love of everyday joys comes from our parents.  It wasn’t the wedding itself that was important.  They didn’t focus on the dress, or flowers, or cake and punch reception in the church basement, but in Christ joining them as one in heart, body and mind.  Mom and Dad’s anniversary always reminds me that marriage is about the everyday.  Their marriage is no different on June 2 than it is on the other 364 days of the year.   I don’t know if that’s why they don’t make a big deal about their anniversary, but it seems like a valid rationale to me.

Happy 14,244th day of marriage, Mom and Dad!