Thursday, August 31, 2006

Labor Day Memories...

We are headed up to Grand Rapids for the weekend, so while I'm gone, you can all think about any special Labor Day memories or traditions you have of the holiday.

I'll get it started by remembering all the fun we had in college and the few years right after camping in Manistee, MI with our friends every Labor Day weekend. Good times, Good times...

Enjoy your holiday weekend!

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

How long is too long... knowingly let your kid sit in a dirty diaper?

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Friday, August 25, 2006

Somebody get me some earplugs

Anyone who knows me knows I can't sing. And I don't mean that I'm a just little off key but can fake it somewhat. I can't sing AT ALL! I am completely tone deaf. But, I like to sing along with my favorite songs on the radio, sing praises in church, and sing to Elise while I'm rocking her. I can turn the radio up loud and barely hear myself alone in my car, and the music in our church is so loud no one could hear me even if I wanted them to. And when I sing to Elise no one cares because there is no one around besides a 21 month old to judge and criticize my lack of musical ability, right? WRONG. I can hear me. And I am horrible. Awful. Dreadful. You must be a bad if you can't stand to even listen to yourself sing with no one around.

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Friday, August 18, 2006

Thriftiness: Curse or Blessing? You Decide.

Thrifty: adj 1: careful and diligent in the use of resources 2: mindful of the future in spending money; "careful with money"

I, along with many of you who read this blog, come from a Dutch heritage. There is a stereotype of Dutch people being cheap, or "thrifty" as my husband likes to say. For most of the Dutch people I know, this stereotype is true and it is true for me in many cases.

For my birthday I received some gift cards for clothing. All of them totaled a fairly significant amount so I was pretty excited about going shopping. I went yesterday and my "thriftiness" kicked in. I was not going to worry about the prices of the items because I wanted to get some quality clothing that looked nice on me. But, as I started trying things on and saw the sale prices, I was excited about how much more I could get if I bought the cheap stuff. So, I spent about $120 and ended up with 3 tank tops, 2 t-shirts, 1 nice sleeveless button down, 1 sleeveless knit sweater thing, 1 long tunic-like top, 1 light weight knit hoodie, and 2 pairs of shoes. Not bad for $120, right? I don't think so either, but ask me in a few months after it has all fallen apart in the washing machine.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Picture Day

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Sunday, August 13, 2006


Well, I was fooled again. In my last post you read how my family surprised me with a lovely birthday dinner. I had no clue they were planning it and they completely surprised me. Last night it happened again. Jer and I went out for dinner with some friends and then headed back home at 7:00 because the friends had "a thing" to go to later that evening. Okay with me, I thought. It will be nice to get Elise to bed at a normal hour and Jer and I could enjoy a quiet evening watching a movie and going over our budget (yes, it's a weird thing to do on a Saturday night, but if you knew my husband you wouldn't find it odd). As we are leaving the restaurant, Jer gets a call from our friend James saying their car won't start so they need a jump. (This wasn't weird because they have been having car problems lately, but what was weird is that I know they have jumper cables and a second car so I couldn't figure out why they needed us, but I didn't think much of it.) Jer told him we would be home in about a half hour and we were on our way. We get home and I walk in the house and, "SURPRISE!" Holy cow, I think I wet my pants. They scared the living day lights out of me. Decorations everywhere. Food and drinks spread out over three different tables. And many caring friends all standing there staring at me as I try to recover gracefully and control my shaking hands. I had such a fun time and can't believe that people went to so much trouble for me. My friends Joy and Cookie were the two instigators behind it all and from what saw they put so much time and work into it. Thank you so much, you two, for caring about me enough to put that all together. You both mean so much to me! And thank you to everyone else who came and celebrated with me. This party came at such a perfect time for me. Whenever I go up to Chicago, I get a little sad when we leave because I realize how much I miss my friends and family up there. But this party showed me what great friends and "family" I have down here, too. Thank you for loving me and my family, Memphians!!!

I'm the Birthday Queen!

Joy, Me, & Cookie

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Hello, again! We have returned from our trip up north and are trying to get back into the swing of things here. It was a great trip, but also extremely busy. It's hard when we go to visit because there are several family members and friends we want to see, but only have a limited amount of time. And with a 20 month old it makes it harder yet. But here is a summary of our time spent north of the Mason-Dixon.

Saturday, 7/29 - Woke up at 5:30, got ready, finished up some packing and on the road by 8:00. Getting Elise in the car was difficult since she was perfectly content playing with a football in the driveway. I picked her to put her in her car seat while she screamed at the top of her lungs. Probably woke up half the neighborhood, but finally we wrangled her in and we were off. Five hours later we finally stopped for some lunch at a rest area. They had a playground so we figured it would be a good chance for Elise to blow off some steam. She had a blast until we had to put her back into the car. Once again, she screamed bloody murder. I told Jeremy we had better get her in the car quickly before someone called the cops on us thinking we were kidnapping this child. Fortunately, we made it the rest of the way in peace. We finally got to my sister's house, got a babysitter for all the kids and went out for a nice adult dinner.

Sunday, 7/30 - Got up, got ready, went to church with my sister and her circus. After church, we headed up to Grand Rapids for my Grandpa's wake. When we got to my in-law's house where we were going to be staying, we discovered the air conditioning was broken. My step-mother and my dad offered to let us stay with them at my step-mother's sister's house (i guess that would make her my step-aunt).
After the wake, it was off to the Olive Garden for a nice dinner and to finally relax. When the waitress came to take our drink orders, she reminded us that since it was Sunday, she could not serve us any alcohol (city law) but she would be happy to get us anything else we would like. Total silence. 7 people (all of us except Jer) looking at this women like 7 deer in headlights. Disappointed, we all ordered Diet Coke or Iced Tea.

Monday, 7/31 - Up early to get ready for the funeral. It wasn't the happiest occasion, but it was nice to see some family members that I haven't seen in a while. After a nice luncheon back at my Grandpa's house, we headed back to Chicago.

Tuesday, 8/1 - Did nothing. Well, that's not entirely true. I took a nap! A whole 2 HOUR nap! Elise slept for 2 1/2 hours which never happens! It might have had something to do with the small dose of Benedryl I gave her. Oh well, so I'm not "Mother of the Year."

Wednesday, 8/2 - Went over to BFFW's house for coffee and stayed all morning and through lunch. Elise had a fun time playing with her 3 girls, but got banished to the kitchen with us because she kept turning off the TV while the other girls were trying to watch cartoons. In the afternoon, I went to babysit my nieces while my sis and bro-in-law went to a funeral. Elise and I ended up spending the night out there.

Thursday, 8/3 - Went straight from sis's to my Grandma's house to have lunch with her. This is always nice. I love spending time with my Grandma and we had a very nice meal and visit. Then it was off to the Blogging Girlfriends Get-Together. This turned more into the "Some Blogging Girlfriends, Non-Blogging Girlfriends and a Few Stray Husbands Get-Together." We had a good time and it was nice to meet some of these girls for the first time. I wasn't able to stay for all of the festivities (which involved pizza and cases of beer) because I had to pick up Jer from work. Even so, we had fun going out to dinner with just the three of us. It turned out to be a lovely evening.

Friday, 8/4 - I went over to BFFW's house again for coffee and of course stayed all afternoon. We sat at her kitchen table and talked and talked and talked and talked. It was great. I miss her so much and wish we could do that every week with each other. And once again, Elise was banished to the kitchen because she wasn't making any friends turning off the TV on poor Nora and Ryann. Anyways, since we couldn't stay in one place for too many nights in a row, we were off once again to spend the weekend at my sister's. We spent the evening trying to get the kids in bed and then got greasy take out from the local joint down the road in Cedartucky.

Saturday, 8/5 - On Saturday morning we were off to see my step-brother, Josh, and his girlfriend, Sara, for breakfast. They were in town for Lollapalooza and were willing to get up early to spend some time with us. We enjoyed our time with them and then it was back to sis's. Jen, Caroline, and I were able to escape in the afternoon for a little lunch and shopping trip. Our first stop was for an oil change and car wash on my car since we were planning on selling it to my sister-in-law the following day. Then, on to lunch. And no shopping trip with my sister is complete until we go to at least one second hand baby clothing store. We did make it to Target too, which is always fun. We bought ourselves some cute new clothes.
Back to the house to get ready for what I thought was going to be a normal dinner at the Country Club with my family. We got to the restaurant and were told there was a private party in the regular dining room so we needed to head another direction when we got into the building. Once we entered the room, I saw my entire family gathered there along with my step-brother, Joel, his wife, Liz, and BFFW and her husband (and my good friend from high school/college), Dave. Surprise!! It was a nice surprise birthday dinner for me. Liz and Joel had driven down from Grand Rapids and Dave and Jana had subjected themselves to an evening of my family, all for me. I was so honored that everyone there wanted to celebrate my birthday with me. Thank you Dad, Judy, Grandma, Jen, Tim, Jeff, Seana, Joel, Liz, Jana, Dave, and of course Jeremy for putting that together and spending the evening with me. I love you all!!!!

**don't worry - I only have one more day left**

Sunday, 8/6 - Happy Birthday, Caroline!!
Our final day was probably the craziest of them all. Jer and I got up early to drive from Cedar Lake, IN to O'Hare airport to pick up a rental car for the drive home. On the way back, Jer picked up his sister Megan and her boyfriend, Kyle, from the train station downtown. We drove back to Cedar Lake, got all packed up and then went for lunch with Megan and Kyle. I had to say goodbye to my cute little '99 Grand Am. Sold it to Megan. Jer and I will be getting a new car soon. For now, we are a one car family. Anyways, after lunch we finally got on the road to head back to Memphis. We didn't get started until almost 2:30 and it's at least an eight hour drive. Let's just say that after our drive home, I'm not sure how soon we will be coming back up to visit again. Elise was fine most of the way until we stopped at a rest area. We wanted to let her run around a little to burn off some energy and stretch her legs. We didn't stop for any food because Jer and I were still full from lunch so I figured I could get Elise some crackers from the vending machine. Lesson learned - Do not feed beef jerky from a vending machine to a toddler. After she played and ate her "dinner" we once again had to hurry getting out of there for fear of being reported as kidnappers taking a screaming child. About 20 minutes after we left, Elise puked all over herself in her car seat (see "lesson learned" above). I did manage to clean it up fairly well with two bibs so we didn't need to stop, but it didn't smell so good the rest of the way home. Oh well, it was a rental car. After the puking debacle, she screamed most of the way home unless I read books to her out loud from the front seat. We finally made it home about 11:15, but still needed to unpack the car and return it to the rental place at the airport by midnight. Jeremy offered to go do it alone and take a cab home. I got Elise to bed and started unpacking but got a little worried when Jer still wasn't home at 1:00. He had gotten a cab with a few other people at the airport and they had been over-charged by the cabbie so Jer hopped out early and walked to final 2 miles home. But, the good news is, we didn't have to pay for an extra day for the rental car!!

Phew...that was long. If you are still reading at this point, thank you for staying with me and reading all about our exciting trip. I apologize for the length, but wanted to give you all the highlights. I've posted some pictures below. Hope you have enjoyed my essay about what I did on my summer vacation.

Enjoying lunch at the rest area

This picture speaks for itself

Reading books with Nana

This is what becomes of your manners when you spend too much time in Indiana...

Enjoying a drink after the birthday dinner

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