Friday, August 31, 2007

Flash Back Friday 34

The Day Princess Diana Died, or thereabouts, 1997

I'll never forget walking through my mom & dad's house that morning and hearing that Princess Diana had died. We were in town for the weekend and then went to Sunbury for the day. I was a great fan of what she did!


Thursday, August 30, 2007

43!!!!!! You Know Who You Are!

Marianna's 7th birthday
Marianna, 7th birthday, 1971

I guess there's no hiding your age when in the pictures of your 7th birthday you can see things like paneling and a phone with a cord on the wall! Here's wishing a very happy birthday to my sister, Marianna. Have a good one!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I Can't Forget the Middle One!

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Maria Begins Her Sophomore Year, 2007

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A Perfect Student's First Day of Kindergarten, 1997

Thankfully, I did not forget to pick her up this year.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Edward's Last First

Edward, 2007

So this morning I took Edward's last first day of school picture that I will be able to take of him at home. Next year, I'll have to have his college roommate take it like my friend Sharon has her son do. Not to get all weepy and sentimental on you, but here comes his first first day of school picture. He's still pretty much the same happy kid 12 years later.

Edward, 1st day of kindergarten, 1995

Monday, August 27, 2007

Another First

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Bridget's First Day of Seventh Grade

The kids all started school today and I took the obligatory first day of school photo of Bridget. The other 2 started at 10am today and they said I could take their picture tomorrow. This week is a bit like a fake week of school anyway since they have Friday & Monday off for Labor Day. Bridget is trying to get back into the Eastern Time Zone again today. She is used to sleeping till almost noon and today she woke up at 6:30 am, after a false start at 5 am. So anyway, I have woken her up twice this afternoon already so she can get to sleep tonight.

I thought it would be interesting to compare the above picture with Bridget's first day of kindergarten. It truly is a day filled with great hope and potential.

bridget k-garten 1st day
Bridget, First Day of Kindergarten, 2000

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Last Week of Riverfest

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The MCC Band Plays by the River

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PJ Weber does magic by the river

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Skip & Gord show me their face paint by the river

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Origins of Leo, or Dumb Moments in My Life

The other day when Edward & I were walking in front of Ford's Presidential Museum downtown, we saw a kitty on the banks of the Grand River. It was very cute, we started saying stupid things and it reminded us of this comic.

Last night, the girls were talking about how we ended up getting our kitty. As they recalled, Bridget was probably 4 years old and in pre-school. I took her to the pet store, and she said so wistfully, I wish I had a bunny. Who could resist?
I said, without thinking, How about a kitty? It seemed more exciting to me than a stinky bunny in a cage. So we ended up getting a free cat who was born in a barn. The girls wondered aloud how different our life would be without Leo, and they concluded that there would probably be less stupid moments.
kitty 004 sunday 028
christmas 039 sunday 038
edward maria 005 sunday 017
Oh well, he has given us something to do together even if it is to be stupid.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


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Edward, Pioneer Classic, 2007

This morning, I left work for awhile to watch Edward's first official XC race of the year with my trusty camera in hand. I was so excited after he ran by and I turned fully clothed in workwear to run to the one mile marker. I slipped and fell in the mud in front of what felt like thousands of parents! My work clothes and camera were covered with mud, but of course I carried on like I was normal. "Oh really, it was nothing"

I think that's why this model falling on the runway makes me laugh every time I see it. I relate to each little stumble. Been there, done that! Got the t-shirt!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Never Ending Benefits of Caffeine

When I hear of a new perk about caffeine, I'm quick to latch on so I have yet one more excuse to drink coffee. In the past, I have endured numerous caffeine withdrawals for various reasons such as pregnancy or acid reflux. But the other day, Carol came into the office and gave me the best excuse so far - women who drink caffeine hold on to their memories longer! I gave her a "high 5"! It must be true - I think of the old ladies I know who had good memories and one thing is for sure - they were remembering to drink their coffee.

So here is one more fountain-of-youth-type benefit: The other day, I was at the store with the girls and I mentioned how I needed some new foundation. We went over to the make-up area and found something called "Age-Rewind." I thought it sounded hopeful. The girls thought it sounded fun. One of its ingredients is caffeine! It sounded good to me so I'm trying it. We'll see.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

It Might Be a Gender Thing

I took the girls yesterday to pick up some school supplies. They also picked out some for Edward. Maria sweetly prepared her notebooks...
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With coaching from Mom and the 2 younger sisters, Edward got his ready...
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Bridget made a wall hanging for her locker which maybe goes to show what school is all about for her!
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Monday, August 20, 2007

Take 1

School starts one week from today!!! I really have to get going on Edward's senior pictures, but today is rainy and cold, and true to Michigan summer, later this week, it's supposed to be 90 degrees. Anyway, we did go downtown and took some last week. I converted this to B&W and I don't know which I like better:
ed7 edbw7
I thought the water had a cool effect in this one:
As you can see in the next one, the seat belt wrinkled his shirt. Next time, he'll put it on when we get there. Live and learn.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Light in the Dark

The Lord is my light and my salvation-- whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

This morning, John & I went to the prayer meeting for the Riverfest this afternoon. The theme this week is "Art in the Park", but as it is a dark, rainy day, we're going to have it in the Warehouse. We prayed this morning with Psalm 27 in mind.

A few years ago, I went to hear Diet Eman, author of the book Things We Couldn't Say
, tell her stories of working with the Dutch Resistance in WWII. I will never forget her and how her faith motivated her during this time. When I asked her to sign the book, she wrote in letters that reminded me of my own Dutch Oma, "To Julia, With Psalm 27, Diet Eman." And now Psalm 27 reminds me of the terrible times the Dutch had to go through in WWII, but how their faith in God sustained them.

I think we shouldn't be afraid of a little rain today.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Early This Morning, Running Through a Dewy Meadow

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John & I headed up to Cedar Springs this morning for a Cross Country scrimmage to see Edward run. The team has been at training camp this past week and they looked good. It's hard to believe their first real race is this week and school starts next Monday. Time sure flies when you're having fun!

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Great Purple Jewel

I know I said I would reveal the secret in the comments, but since you may not remember to go back and look, I'll post the answer here.

purple thing2

The purple round thing is a bowling ball covered by purple glass beads. It's actually garden art made by HRH The Queen Mother, but since she first told me it was a bowling ball, that's what I see when I look at the picture. I'm thinking it will look better when I see it in real life.

Side note: The Queen Mum is not a bowler.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sophisticated Palates

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This week, Maria is gone on vacation with a friend and Edward is at Cross Country Camp. Bridget, being the youngest, loves to have people around, so she had her friend Jessica sleep over last night. This afternoon, I was reading to them about how the new hot lunch program at school takes into account the more sophisticated taste palates of middle schoolers.

edward 010

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Round Purple Thing

purple thing

Any guesses as to what this is? I will reveal the secret in the comments in a couple of days!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Got Milk?

Prince Edward, August, 2007
Or as Aunt Mar calls him, Special Ed

I've been working on getting a good picture of Edward to send in with his college applications and it has been very fun. And Ed has been very patient. As he enters his senior year, I realize how little time is left with him at home and it makes me a little sad...excited for him too, though. On the up side, we will only drink about 5% of the milk we usually go through!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

God of Wonders

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This morning, I awoke before 6 am to a fantastic symphony of rain and thunder. I loved the sound as we have needed the rain. Appropriately enough, Justin used this as a backdrop to our prayer service this morning to remind us who is in control. He read verses from Job 37 & 38:

37:14 "Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God's wonders. 15 Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash? 16 Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who is perfect in knowledge?

38:1 Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm.

4 "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand. 5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? 6 On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone-- 7 while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? 8 "Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, 9 when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, 10 when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, 11 when I said, 'This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt'?

24 What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed, or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth? 25 Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain, and a path for the thunderstorm, 26 to water a land where no man lives, a desert with no one in it, 27 to satisfy a desolate wasteland and make it sprout with grass? 28 Does the rain have a father? Who fathers the drops of dew?

33 Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up God's dominion over the earth? 34 "Can you raise your voice to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water? 35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, 'Here we are'? 36 Who endowed the heart with wisdom or gave understanding to the mind? 37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?


Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Space Between Her Teeth

edward 002

Bridget has an expander on the roof of her mouth which we have been "cranking" twice a day. This splits the roof of her mouth and temporarily creates a space between her front teeth and just thinking of this gives me shooting pains up my legs! She told me I could title this "Down on the Farm". Here's a sweet one of her:


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Hi From the Library

Our internet connection is failing us again, so I took the kids to the library to get some books and check e-mail. This is weird because you have to do it right in the open where everyone can see you, so I will not be staying long...

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Like Grandmother, Like Grandaughter

Last week I took Maria to the fabric store to get her material and a pattern to make this:

edward 005

I called the Queen Mother to tell her all about it since it was from her that Maria inherited the sewing gene. What do you know, she has just finished this jacket out of scraps of fabric from an upholstery store. Martha Stewart, eat your heart out!

Summer projects 001

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


I was talking to a friend of mine after church Sunday and somehow this conversation innocently came up:

Me: I was Salutatorian of my class. That means I was second, you know?
Heather: I know, I was Valedictorian.

This was so funny. The greatest thing, I have found, about being the Salutatorian is that you can say, I was the Salutatorian of my class.

Me with the Principal, 1981

Monday, August 06, 2007

Alejandra Rewind

Bridget, Maria & Alejandra, Chicago, July 2007

Last week, John brought the girls to downtown Chicago on the way to take Alejandra to the airport to give her one last big taste of American life. I think she had a good time during her stay here. As I was doing her bed after she left, I found a note under her pillow. In it she wrote that we were the BEST family in Michigan! Should I also mention that we are the only family in Michigan she knows?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Psalm 8

John & Maria, 1999, Florida

This morning we went to our prayer service in preparation for the Riverfest Sunday. The theme this week is Green Sunday, so we prayed with Psalm 8 in mind.

God, brilliant Lord, yours is a household name. 2 Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you; toddlers shout the songs That drown out enemy talk, and silence atheist babble.

3 I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous, your handmade sky-jewelry, Moon and stars mounted in their settings. 4 Then I look at my micro-self and wonder, Why do you bother with us? Why take a second look our way? 5 Yet we've so narrowly missed being gods, bright with Eden's dawn light. 6 You put us in charge of your handcrafted world, repeated to us your Genesis-charge, 7 Made us lords of sheep and cattle, even animals out in the wild, 8 Birds flying and fish swimming, whales singing in the ocean deeps. 9 God, brilliant Lord, your name echoes around the world. Psalm 8, The Message

Saturday, August 04, 2007


Last week at work, I was given some different responsibilities that are in line with my "skill set" and I am excited about this. Our new executive director said he heard that I had an aptitude with numbers. Actually, it's more than an aptitude, it's more like a relationship with numbers. I love them all, they're like my little friends with their properties and their good looks. I like to watch them find their place in spreadsheets.

So Sharon & I started talking about some of the financial worksheets and soon I said something like, it doesn't even seem like money anymore. (I don't mean to suggest that we don't make any of our decisions at work without being good stewards of our resources.) This reminded me of when I was in my first week of actuarial training in my new job after college. My boss at the time was explaining accrued liabilities and present value of benefits and temporary annuity factors all to come up with a contribution amount, and I said naively, And is that money? I remember many times sitting in my cubicle playing with my little number friends to put these contribution amounts together and often times, when I saw the number that I would finally come up with, it would be a moment of instant recognition - "Hey, I know you!"- because it was a number of such beautiful properties or patterns like 123,321 or it rolled off the tongue like 88,878 and I knew I would then be able to call the accountant or CFO with this beautiful news.

Galileo said that mathematics is the language in which God has written the universe. I think it is our way of understanding or describing or explaining the order He has created out of the chaos which existed before creation. It's just another way to see beauty in the world He has made.