Saturday, May 30, 2009

Idea #2 when you plan to go to the beach but it's too cold....

you can go to the PumpkinVine Trail. We took our time getting ready this morning and then headed out with picnic in hand and drove to Goshen.

What was not such a great day for the dunes, ended up being a perfect day for biking the trail.

I think overall we estimated that we went about 4 miles.

It is absolutely beautiful.
It is so fun to be at the stage with our kids that they can withstand long amounts of biking.

The quote of the day comes from Jack just after this picture was taken.
Donovan: "Jack it kinda looks like your dropping a deuce in this picture."
Jack: "Yep, I was... and it came out gold."

I sense the need for retraining coming on....
Man...I love these kids!

Some cool sights we saw along the way....Notice the big monkey in the tree.

We rode until the end of the trail and here we are headed back. What a great family activity if you are in the Goshen area.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

memorial day

Memorial day we spent at the lake- where my Aunt Mary Jane lives. We had originally planned to go to the dunes, but because of the weather we postponed our trip. I'm so glad we did. It's always such a blast to be at the lake with family.

My Aunt Mary Jane is married to my mom's brother, Art. Art died several years ago. There is 18 years difference in age between my mom and her brother Art. I can NOT imagine having babies for over 18 years...I barely made it 6 years. I would have a lot of questions for my Grandma Ida, if she were still living.Here are 2 of Mary Jane's daughters...My cousins...Gerri & Chris with our boys. Jack and William were loving being on the lake. I think it's pretty neat they are growing up doing some of the same things in the same places I did as a little child. We spent lots of time in the summers at Aunt Mary Jane's and Uncle Art's.
And then I took Isabella out on the kayak. The best part was getting to the other side of the lake and meeting up with swans. The fun part was how defensive they got of their water space. This swan couple had a couple of little babies we were trying to get a look at...and papa swan was getting pretty mad at us. He puffed himself up until he looked almost double in size and then swam straight at us, then abruptly stopped about 10 feet in front of the boat. We were so freaked out! But laughing. Isabella and I were boating along with these 2 guys.....

My cousins brother in law, Isaac.
For some reason the swan kept swimming straight for this kayak. Maybe because William was calling the swan names.

And this Laura's husband, Jeremy.
Laura was with us, but started back across the lake before the swan incident. Smart lady.

This lucky guy got to drive the pontoon, with a little help from my cousin Cheryl.

I love these memories. It's so cool to have pictures to take you back to the time and day.

Quote of the day:
Jack: "Dad, I was just wondering, Can I be a hip-hop dancer?"

We have problems over here!

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Last Sunday my older sister, Melissa was admitted into hospital in Kalamazoo. Her blood pressure was way too high and she was being watched in the ICU. On Friday morning at 2:30 a.m. we got a call from my sisters son-in-law that the hospital called. Her blood pressure dropped so low, that she was un-responsive and that the immediate family should come right away. What a heart wrenching call to take. I sat in disbelief that this could actually happen to our family. For that instant after the call I had many regrets about our relationship. Regrets about the lack of time I had spent with her, the lack of relationship I had taken time to develop. How I let distance come between us.
I called and talked to the nurse in charge of Melissa, who had reported that she was stable. I then got to talk to Melissa and she was orientated and knew where she was at, and feeling better. Donovan and I sat for about 2 hours in bed (being fully awake-after a call like that) and thanked God for healing her. Thankful for the chance to invest more time in our relationship.
Later that morning we went to see her in Kalamazoo.

My poor sister went through 2 more blood pressure drops before we got there in the morning. Going down to a blood pressure of 30! But this time not losing consciousness. The Dr.'s are still looking for the cause of the drop.

We got home, ate supper and headed out again....because my baby sister, Michele was graduating from high school.

So proud of her. Michele graduated with High Honors and she was a Nationals Honor Society member.

Michele with her boyfriend Lucas, and our kids. Michele will be leaving this fall for college and attending Mid America Christian School.
All the way in will be hard to have her so far away!
Quote of the day:
Jack: "When Aunt Michele goes to college she will be in 1st grade college."
Me: "Actually Jack she will be in 1st year of college."
Jack: "And when she graduates she will be a grown up."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

House for sale

Our house is for you want to buy it?

Big news from our home. We have been tossing the idea around of selling and building again. So our house is for sale. We would tweak a couple of things, change the floor plan a bit and start the fun all over again. This of course would only take place if we sell.

And quite honestly some days I am in no rush, because I heart spring so much. I love our backyard so much....There is so much comfort in keeping things the same. There is much I love about our home. I love my laundry room, I love our living room, and I love that we built this. But I also love the idea of being in a cul-de-sac, changing around the kitchen a little and making enough room in our kids' bedrooms so they could be all on the main floor. So far we have had one showing. It was pretty amazing. But no offers yet.

here are some views from the back yard....

SO exciting! About 2 weeks ago we noticed that a neighbor who had moved several weeks prior left their trampoline after they had moved. Donovan had called the realtor that is selling the house and asked if the owners of the house would be interested in selling the left behind trampoline. The realtor said that they did want to sell it and that we could make an offer. Donovan said he was thinking $50-$75. The realtor responded, "$50 will be fine." What a deal! The house is close enough we carried (Donovan and I) the trampoline home down the middle of the road! Talk about a rush! FUN times for our kids. And my hubby. Me...I'm content to have the kids occupied truth be told.

my sister, Holly

Our first cookout of the spring.

So drop me a line and tell me your offer. I'd love to give you a tour.

Monday, May 18, 2009

vacation day

Last Thursday we took a little road trip to Chicago....Our first stop was here....
I had done a customer survey over a year ago from a receipt and for filling out the survey you would receive a $10 off coupon in the mail. I've been counting the hours to redeem that little gift card. :) Love love love The Cheesecake Factory!

Waiting for our lunch. Our 2 youngest are into kissing and hugging big time right now. It's like they try to out-do each other. If we make a comment about how sweet it is to be kissed the other one will kiss all the more. We love it!

Oops - a little late taking this picture. Here is what is left of our appetizer....
there were 3 to choose from and we picked the
SAUSAGE AND RICOTTA - made with Fontina, Parmesan and Romano Cheeses, Garlic Crumbs, and Herbs

ohhhh delish. Oh so very delish!

for lunch Donovan and I split the
which are
4 Corn Tortillas Stuffed with Spicy Chicken, Covered with Melted Cheese, Green Onions and Tomatillo Sauce. Served with Grilled Corn Cakes, Black Beans, Salsa and Sour Cream
I ordered it without the onions.

Yummy, Yummy, Yummy. Every single bite was delightful.

For dessert we ordered one piece of
which is
Layers of Creamy Vanilla Bean Cheesecake, Vanilla Mousse and Whipped Cream.

Oh dear me. It is so good it is sinful I am sure. See how little fingers are going for the plate as I am taking the picture. Trust me cost me a bite just to take the picture.

After there we had a gift card from Ikea to spend (thanks Holly!)

ideas we love...

a treat of 99 cent cones after the shopping.

Quote of the day:
While Donovan was tucking the boys in tonight...

Jack: "Do dogs go to heaven, dad?"
Dad: "no"
Jack: "What if you take them to church every Sunday?"
Dad: "Still no....."
Jack: "What if they sing the songs and all that stuff?"
Dad: "They don't because they do not have souls."
Jack: "What if a dog and a person got in a wreck and the Dr. mixed up some people parts and some dog parts and the dog got a soul?"
Dad: "Uh, maybe then they would..."

Monday, May 11, 2009

how we did mother's day

To celebrate Mother's Day my sisters and I took my parents out to Carrabba's for supper on Friday night.
My favorite dish from Carrabba's is something not on the menu.....but is a special they sometimes have and they allow you to order at any time. Mezzaluna Carrabba. It is half moon ravioli stuffed with chicken, ricotta and spinach served with grilled chicken and sautéed peas. YUMMY! We also enjoyed a bowl of Spicy Sausage Lentil Soup. Donovan and I split the meal and it was more than enough when you throw in all the free bread you can eat. Hot and fresh out of the oven. Ahhh.....

There was not a table big enough for us the kiddos had a table all to their own just about 5 feet from us. Scary sight...isn't it?

Look at these 2...they are quite the pair. They make each other happy. And you know what?That makes me happy. These are my parents.
I am embarrassed a little to admit that it has taken almost a full 20 years to accept my plight in life. My mom died when I was 13 and my dad remarried. It took so much time to accept all of these changes. None of that was gracefully accepted as a teenager. Some acceptance came as I grew out of my teens and into my 20's. And now I feel I can fully accept (now in my 30's) my step mom for who she is as my dad's wife, to me as a mother figure, and to who she is as my children's grandmother. She is wonderful to us. She loves that we love her cooking. She loves when we come to visit. She loves to come to our house and bring dinner. She is a sweet friend to me and very accepting of our family. I have learned a great deal by God's grace. I think #1 would be that none of this life has a fairy tale ending. I see this as I grow older. I have always looked onto mother/daughter relationships with rose colored glasses. Thinking....." if only".......
Have you ever done that? Thinking that if only this would have turned out differently I would be happier? But changing my perspective and God changing my heart has turned this step-mom/step-daughter relationship around.
Saturday morning my girls and I went to a Mother/Daughter banquet at our church. I invited my mother-in-law to come with us.
We were joined by some other family that we there. I talked them into sitting with us, and it was fun. Aunt Dot is always full of spice and sugar. I love it.

My mother in law, Elsie.

You know what I love? I love how Elsie loves my kids. During the time that the speaker was talking Suzy was getting a little I sent her over to Grandma. Grandma was delighted. Drawing for her animals and pictures. Elsie is so into her grand kids, and it blesses me so richly to see them interact. Thank you mom, for loving them like you do.

Saturday night we celebrated mothers day with our little zoo by going out to dinner. As you can tell my favorite past time is to eat out.
We went to Mishawaka and picked up a chicken burrito from Chipotle. Complete with lime flavored tortilla chips. We got that to go and walked next door to Chick-Fil-A. Yep. Mexican for us. American for them. Because.....

I had to take a picture. This is the sign inside Chick-Fil-A. :) The kids all made me homemade cards and it was so very sweet to see their hard work and energy go into making something special for me. Each of them have different levels of spelling and different skills when it comes to drawing. So very sweet to have 4 little cards. I also was given a rose bush, some chocolates, and a plump new body pillow. Which they did not bring to the restaurant....but had waiting on my bed when I got home. was a replacement for the one Cindy gave me from 9 years ago, and it was getting kinda flat.

Later Saturday night we went over to my friend Julie's house. She was having an informal birthday party for her 4 year old, and asked our small group over. What a fun fun time. It was so relaxed and fun to be together. Carla in our group brought over some clothes she wanted to put on a garage sale. So we got to look through those clothes.

I promptly changed into the clothes I bought from her. Comfy cozy!! How fun. These girls make my life so much fuller! Love ya Rose, Carla, and Julie.

Here are all the kids from our group including Ryan - the birthday boy in the green and white stripes.
Sunday....the actual day to celebrate Mother's day...we celebrated my nieces 16th birthday. I forgot my camera! So very sorry. She has turned into such a beautiful young lady. I can't wait to show her to you. I will post pictures of that day..when she emails the pictures to me. Hope your weekend was well and spent with the woman who gave you life.

Quote of the day:
Suzy: "Do I need a coat to go outside?"
Me: "No, just a shirt."
Suzy: "Why? Because God made a beautiful day?"