Saturday, June 30, 2007

Welcome to the USA, Alejandra!

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Yesterday, we left at about 10 am for O'Hare International Airport in Chicago to pick up Alejandra who is a 15 year old student from Spain who will be staying with us for the next month. We were connected to her through a professor at Calvin. We arrived at the airport a couple of hours early to be safe. The girls made a sign for her since we had never met her - only through pictures on the internet.
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After Alejandra collected her luggage and made it through customs on her own, she came through the gate. The girls were excited to meet her and it turns out, she is a sweetheart!

We left the airport and went downtown for the best pizza in Chicago at Giordano's.
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The girls hit it off...
... and we all had a good time trying to figure out what we were all talking about.
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And the pizza was good, too.
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Wednesday, June 27, 2007


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You can
die for it --
an idea,
or the world. People

have done so, brilliantly,
letting their small bodies be bound

to the stake,
an unforgettable
fury of light. But

this morning,
climbing the familiar hills
in the familiar fabric of dawn, I thought

of China,
and India
and Europe, and I thought
how the sun

for everyone just
so joyfully
as it rises

under the lashes
of my own eyes, and I thought
I am so many!
What is my name?

What is the name
of the deep breath I would take
over and over
for all of us? Call it

whatever you want, it is
happiness, it is another one
of the ways to enter fire.
-Mary Oliver

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Back to Reality

Today at work we had a little birthday party for Marlene, and Sharon thought up the great idea that we should use the occasion as a photo-op. Don't we look like a fun-loving bunch dedicated to improving family reality in West Michigan?
Today, the Family Institute makes the Blog.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Trouble With the White/Khaki Beach Look

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Here we all are on the last day at the beach. Evidently, the assumption is that everyone brings a white shirt and khaki shorts for the group photo. I did bring one, but since there were very few pure white shirts, I decided to just wear a striped shirt. I look kind of stubborn.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Shenandoah Valley

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On the way home from the OBX, we stopped in Harper's Ferry which is located at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers in the states of West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland. This area is brimming with history which I won't get into here, but suffice it to say, our time there was worthwhile. As we walked around town in the early evening hours, I told John it felt like we were in a Stephen King movie. The golden light of the lowering sun and the folk music of a guitar player added to the scene. I used a restroom alone in a clean, but run down building, and someone started whistling...

We walked over the train bridge and the kids posed for a picture in their comfy traveling clothes.
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Edward, Maria & Bridget

I said, "Good job going over the bridge, Bridge." She loves that saying.
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We arrived home at about 7am this morning after a long journey of 1875 miles round trip. Leo seemed a little mad, but he got over it.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Last Day

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Cousins loving the waves

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Grandma taking pictures

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Our family

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Mom & Dad

I took more pictures, many of them in RAW format, so maybe I can post more in the future when I'm back home on the Good Computer.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Fishing and Fun

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John & Will & Tom like to go surf fishing every day. It makes the beach scene more exciting for them (as if we aren't enough, right?) Here is the catch for the week so far...
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One Speckled Trout

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Pool volleyball is fun because it isn't so painful on the joints. We are all getting older. For instance, when we 4 sisters were getting out of the tub the other day, we all made a sound which maybe doesn't sound quite as bad as making a "groan."

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These 3 little cousins look forward to this vacation every year. Ok, they are maybe the littlest, but they are starting to get bigger than me.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Two Pix

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Trying hard to get a unique shot

For at least the second time on this blog, here comes a restaurant picture. You would think I love to eat or something. I do not know why I take a camera to a restaurant, but it must be normal because the waiter always takes the picture like he has done it countless times before.

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A not-so-unique restaurant shot

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


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Greetings from the OBX where the hardest thing you do all day is take a shower to get all the sand and lotion off. We decided to pose for some original sister shots - the one above includes our dear mother, the one with the biggest hair.

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We found a bathtub that was big enough to hold the fully grown sisters. We recalled when we were young and we took baths together, so we jumped in! Maria took these pictures and I asked her if now she now knows why I am like I am, and she said she already knew why.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Eternal Father, Strong to Save

We wandered off the beaten path a bit on our way to the OBX (Outer Banks, NC) to see the US Naval Academy In Annapolis, Maryland. The above picture was taken in the chapel at the academy. They sing the Navy Hymn, "Eternal Father Strong to Save", every week and it is written in stone there above the stained glass window. We ate lunch at the Academy and met a man whose daughter went to Calvin College.

Later that afternoon, we crossed a 21 mile bridge/tunnel over the Chesapeake Bay and arrived at the house at about 8pm. It looks like it's going to be a beautiful week.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Road Trip!


Tonight, we are leaving Michigan for a family vacation at the ocean. We're going to meet my mom & dad & sisters & their families and stay, all 20 of us, in a big house in the Outer Banks. It takes us about 15 hours to get there - this is our 4th year in a row to go! Last year, I wrote about it here, here, and here. This year's trip will undoubtedly provide many new adventures to blog about, so stay tuned. Wishing you a happy summer and safe travel for all of us!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Flash Back Friday 23

1988, The Blogger (before she became a blogger) recuperating at the top of Mt. Monadnock with Uncle Alan

At the end of our honeymoon 19 years ago, John & I stopped to see Uncle Alan & Aunt Judy in New Hampshire. The first great challenge of our marriage was climbing Mt. Monadnok with Uncle Alan. I look wiped, Uncle Alan looks hardly stressed. I remember being sore for a few days.

The Happy Couple

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Isn't He So Cute?

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Would you like fries with that blog post?

Seriously. When I was in high school and had to spend my summers working on the muck farm, I remember thinking what a cool job it would be to work at McDonald's because it didn't seem so dirty. It seemed like a "shiny" job to me. Now, of course, I became older, and I know that even though it's not as dirty as the muck, it's not going to be squeaky clean either. (I had to drop off Ed's social security card to him there and almost died from some smell when I walked to the back.) My wise friend Sharon pointed out to me the really shiny part of this job though when she said, "All kids should get customer service experience." This is a good point. I definitely think those integrals and derivatives that Edward is destined to serve up some day will go down a lot smoother with an order of fries and a Diet Coke.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Here's a Grody Thing

So my lovely children and I were around the house today when we were entertained by a mighty clunk. Alas, as Edward was eating his hot dogs at the table inside, a bird had flown toward him but was stopped by the sliding glass door. (Must be pretty clean?) So the bird flopped on to the deck, dead as a doorknob. I told Edward to get a shovel and scoop it in to the woods.

But I'm eating hot dogs. (Hot dog in mouth, Bird in hand, ick)
But you're a boy.
Okay. Bridget, you like dead stuff, you do it.
Mom, Im a girl.
Let's get Leo. He'll eat it. He'll eat anything. Leo!

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Looking Smug with His Dead Bird

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Grace Through Every Generation

Mom & Dad came up yesterday from Ohio to go to the 150th anniversary of the Christian Reformed Church with John & I down at the Van Andel Arena this afternoon. It was most interesting having the Lord's Supper with 15,000 people! They did the opening and benediction in Dutch, but also in English, Korean, Spanish and Navajo since these languages are spoken in CRC churches in North America.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Blooming 2

Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.
-Rainer Maria Rilke


Friday, June 08, 2007

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Some Good Things

I'm a bit sad that the school year is over, but the kids are happy and content to be home. They're actually reading books. Well, Edward is solving problems, but that's good, too. He starts his job at McDonald's later this week. Here are some more good things:

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Bridget safe at home!

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Free Hugs and Plaid Shorts

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Air Kisses from Maria

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Flowers that remind me of white lace and bunnies in the front yard

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Breyers Mint Chip: I could eat it forever!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


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And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom.
-Anais Nin
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