Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Snowed In

steps bw

John said yesterday the only educational institution open in the area was Calvin College where he works. And so, the kids were happy to have another day off. It was icy, but I made it to work in the morning quicker than usual because of the lesser traffic. Edward was able to write lines and lines of computer code for who knows what, but I see a book sitting out here on Mathematical Fallacies and Paradoxes open to the chapter "Thinking Wrong about Infinity" which may have something to do with it. I should add that this is what he does for fun, like on a snow day.

ed computer

Maria was able to catch up on her rest and her computer relations since her very busy weekend. She has been napping every day after school this week since then.


Bridget, our people person, went to a movie with friends, one of whom had a dad that ventured out by truck to pick everyone up and take them. The other day, I was looking at Bridget and wondering why her hair looked so nice. I discovered that Maria had given her a new haircut since she wasn't totally pleased with the one she had gotten.


The roads weren't too bad in the morning, but later in the day, they became icier. I went to the store and bought this little book for work. You may recall, I work in the mornings at the Family Institute & for a marriage initiative, Healthy Marriages Grand Rapids. In a nutshell, we are all about promoting healthy relationships. Well, I was telling our executive director about this book I saw at the grocery store called, "The Idiot's Guide to Healthy Relationships" and he wanted to see it. I told him I'd pick it up next time I was in the store. So there I was, buying this idiot's guide in the store, and it wouldn't scan! The cashier gave me this knowing glance, stopping just short of yelling over the loudspeaker, "Price check on the Idiot's Guide to Healthy Relationships for the blond woman in the blue coat in aisle 5!" Man, I was glad to get out of there.

So I Got My Hair Cut Yesterday

Oh, it's not as startling as the headline sounds. Just my usual bi-monthly inch. Every 8 weeks, it's inevitable, my hair grows out and I need to get it cut. Thankfully, I have a great stylist, Shari, who will cut it when she's almost 9 months pregnant and then again, 8 weeks later when she has a 7 week old baby so I keep on schedule. She's cut it for probably 10 years and I love that I don't even have to tell her what to do. If I ever even hint that I ought to try something else for a change, she says, no, your hair is best this way. And I know it's true. I always have a very fun, relaxing time at these haircuts - probably because Shari has created such a fun, relaxing environment in her basement as you can see.

Now she's doing it even when she gets a haircut...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Netherlands Nuesday 14

Sign on the door of Men's Restroom in Bedum

I think the Dutch have a sense of humor about their body excrements. This reminds me of the Dutch tile we had on the toilet in our bathroom:
Use me well and keep me clean,
And I'll never tell what I have seen.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Maybe Now You'll Wish You Had Snow, or Trying Really Hard to Find Beauty in the Ugly


Yesterday on my walk, the sun came out for awhile showing off the tread marks on the road. Today the temperatures are above freezing, so we have slush and puddles to see. I'm thinking this is way more fun than being hot somewhere. And staring at blue sky all day long. And smelling flowers and grass. . .


Sunday, January 27, 2008



Photo taken yesterday behind our house

As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children-- with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. Ps.103:15-18

For, "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever." 1 Peter 1:24-25

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Temporary Good-byes


Thursday afternoon, Maria left to work at a weekend retreat. She's been so excited to go, but Bridget was a bit sad and made a very dramatic good-bye scene. Leo stayed home with Bridget and even let Bridge take pictures of him. Woo-hoo!

Photo by Bridget

Friday, January 25, 2008

Flash Back Friday 53

The Queen Mother taking pictures, 1984.
Photo by Alan Boyer

For some reason, this one reminds me of Anne Murray.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Morning Has Broken

morning grad copy

This morning, I had to be at a meeting downtown at a church here in the city of churches by 8 am. The highways were very icy so I left early knowing that I if I had extra time I could take some photos during the golden hour of sunrise. This was a bit difficult seeing as I wasn't dressed for the bitter cold, I had coffee and tons of papers and high heels. Duh. (Stay tuned tomorrow for the proper photographic stance one must take.)

morning 016 morning 017
morning 018 morning 019
I took some pictures inside the sanctuary through the glass and when I came home and saw them, I saw that green thing floating by. I think it's cool, do you?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Colorful Snow Day

cat 072

Yesterday, the kids had their long awaited snow day. Bridget looked stunned when she found out at O'dark thirty in the morning. In the afternoon, I went out looking through our still un-plowed neighborhood for color and I found the ever-photogenic berries I photographed last year.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Netherlands Nuesday 13

Doesn't that mean "Don't walk on the grass?" Apparently, the chickens at Het Loo think it means they can't wear their shoes.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Snow Shot

cat 061
I could sneak out of the house with no shoes just long enough to take this one.

We finally got some snow over the weekend which is nicer in January than just plain gray and cold. The 15 degree temperature feels almost balmy to me today since it was only about 8 degrees over the weekend.

I've always had a Flickr account to host the pictures for this blog, but over the weekend, I signed up for a Pro account which has been fun. You can click on any of the pictures in this blog and then click on "jewelsofkent" in the right hand column and then you'll be able to see any of the 1,347 pictures I've uploaded. I've put some into sets, but obviously a lot more could be done. CED2008 is a set for a group I've joined to be creative everyday - it's low pressure, so you don't have to post to it everyday. So anyway, feel free to browse!

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Baptism for new baby in our church this morning - a reminder of God's grace

This morning, we left at about 10:05am for our 10:30 church service. It was about 10 degrees (Farenheit) out and the roads were extremely icy, cars were in the ditch, and Maria was behind the wheel. We got there safely, in one piece, just a little late. I brought my camera in with me because I didn't want to leave it in the cold and so I was able to get the picture above of this young couple with their first baby. Nothing like being in the right place at the right time - with my camera in hand no less. It was amazing when after the baptism, we were standing around praying for the baby and everyone broke out into a most beautiful, a capella, Jesus Loves Me you have ever heard!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Leo Says


My master went meet her friend Annette at Panerra. She better watch it - there's a lot of snow. If she gets snowed in, who will fill my food dish? Oh wait, she never does that anyway.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bridgie's First Exams

You have to say that kind of like you would sing her first day of school all long and drawn out with the emphasis on "first". She has been beside herself with excitement for exams this week, stopping only to watch the first American Idol of the year which also was cause for great excitement. They went well today. She said it was a "nice experience."

b study

Edward & Maria were sitting here yesterday studying for exams and Edward was flicking around a laminated paper. This went on for about 2 minutes till finally Maria cried out like Lucy Van Pelt, "Stop that! What is that and why is it laminated?!" Edward was happy to get her attention and told her it was a thing with stuff on it. Hasn't he learned a lot in school?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Dreaming of Warmer Days

wave paige allie bridget
Paige, Allie & Bridget riding the waves, 2007, OBX

Sometimes when it's very gray and cold around here (aka, January) it's nice to be able to see some pictures from the summer. We have been going to the OBX for vacation for 4 years now, and the first year, I could ride the waves for hours. Now I look at the picture and I think, "Ouch". The last couple years, the ocean has been a bit of an angry fellow the way she has spit us out onto the rough sand like Jonah.

Anyhoo, Edward beat me to the polls yesterday to vote in his first election. When I got there, I noticed his name & John's name crossed off and tried to make conversation with the poll workers who seemed like they would rather not be bothered. In a side note, the candidate that we, the 3 voting Smilde's voted for, did not win in Michigan. We'll try harder next time.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Exam Week

The kids all have exams this week, so they will be getting ready for those. Edward is getting ready to vote in the Michigan Primary. He said if he voted when I was at work, he could act it out for me later so I could take his picture. These kids know me too well. Yesterday, it was difficult to get them to let me take their picture, but I was in the mood to photograph something. I caught Maria studying.

maria looking

Later on, Bridget suggested she make pancakes for supper. She told me I could even take her picture. What a girl!
bridget pancakes

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Gentle Spirit

maria leo square 4

Yesterday afternoon as Maria was quietly working on a painting, Leo was sitting there quietly watching her. The sun even came out for awhile and filtered through the window. I was happy to catch that in a photo.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Snow, Where Are Ye?

We have had warmer than usual temperatures lately - mid 30's this weekend. The dusting of snow on the ground will be gone as the day goes on. But a January without snow or sun leaves only gray. What a pity. Today then, I will show you some snow from about 50 years ago.

The Queen Mother with Uncle Alan

Friday, January 11, 2008

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Leo Says: Election Edition

"If you won't blog about me, then I will."

So yesterday, Edward shook hands with John McCain at the rally here in GR and then he came home and I made him shake my hand. That's all.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Maria's Second Watercolor

Maria finished this watercolor this past weekend. My contribution to this creative endeavor involved getting her the masking fluid to keep the trees white and a case for her art supplies. She loves to paint. Next up: clean her room!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Monday, January 07, 2008

Self-portrait Challenge

Slightly out of focus, but that must be because I'm excited! I took the self-portrait challenge from this blog.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Grayness with a Little Brown Thrown In

January in Michigan

Sometimes, January and February and March and April, too, can be a bit dreary around here with the lack of blue skies and green growth. Today, it has gotten warm enough for the snow to melt off in a white haze moving up toward the gray skies revealing the brownish dull yellow grass beneath. My eyes are hungry for color.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Shimmering Saturday

kids beach soft

When I was looking through old photos for a flashback yesterday, I came across this one from a Saturday many years ago. I thought some special effects would make it even more special. A shimmering memory indeed!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

My Truest Resolution

I never jumped on the MP3 player bandwagon before, but this Christmas, John gave one to me. So now I'm cool. I put all 10 of my Fernando Ortega cd's on it along with some others of a more classical genre. It has been fun to listen to old favorites on random play as they greet me like old friends. When this old gem of a song by Third Day came on, I just said "ahhhhhhh":

All the Heavens

As Your children gather in peace
All the angels sing in Heaven
In Your temple all that I seek
Is to glimpse Your holy presence
All the heavens COULD NOT hold You, Lord
How much less to dwell in me?
I can only make my one desire
Holding on to Thee.

All the angels exalt You on high
What a kingdom to depart!
But You left Your throne in the sky
Just to live inside my heart
I will always make my one desire
Holding on to Thee

One really awesome thing is when I put it on repeat now, no one gives me a hard time about it.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Home Sweet Home


One of my goals for this year is to get this house whipped into shape. Part of this involves putting pictures up on the wall. The holiday yesterday gave us the perfect opportunity to work on this: John told me it doesn't take a rocket scientist (ie. him) to do it, but yet. I wanted his input. These photos which I took of Edward, Maria & Bridget(above) last summer are now above the computer so I can stare at them whilst I blog. I'm happy with them. It actually looks like someone lives here now.

The Queen Mother has hassled me :) for years about the Picasso we had up in our living room. It is from his Blue period and I have always liked it but she didn't think it was "pretty" enough for a living area. I am glad to say I will continue to like it in my bedroom where we have blue walls. We also put up a print from Cape Cod and other pictures. In all we hung 13 pictures so I guess we're here to stay now.

picasso tulips by queen mother

The sad little blue man was replaced by the tulips painted by HRH.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy 2008!

Last night went out with a bang. The snow finally was useful for something like cleaning out your pores.
julia snow 2
new year 020 maria 155

John & Bridget & I went over to some friends' house at 8pm to watch the ball drop. We had a little time to kill...the kids went in the hot tub first.
bridge hot tub

It was a perfect night for doing this:
bridget snow

The moms had a turn, and then the dads did.
new year 023

Good thing Bridget got a new camera.
julia snow squ
Happy New Year! I hope all your challenges and adventures feel as exhilarating as plopping in a pile of snow!