Hubcaps To Go

On the way up to her brother’s wedding in upstate Michigan, Kathy snapped this picture, and showed it to me. Apparently it was designed to attract drive-by customers to an enterprising junk yard on some rural highway. For some reason I thought it was very funny … I imagined a drive-thru window with a gum-chewing attendant:

“Welcome-to-Hubcaps-to-Go-how-may-I-help-you?” asks the attendant in a bored monotone.

“Yeah, I’d like … three hubcaps for a 2003 Subaru Outback and a side order of hubcap protectors, please.”

Roadside entrepreneurial spirit
The Entrepreneurial Spirit, alive and well in the MidWest.

“Do you want chrome with that? Super Size?”

“No, thank you.”

“That’ll be $79.84, including tax. Please drive forward to the second window.”

What other kind of hubcaps are there? Are there a kind that you can consume on the premises? Or perhaps there is a program where people can sponsor hubcaps for needy children overseas? Burning questions, all.

Switching subjects, now. There is something very fun about other people’s weddings – or at least there is if you enjoy being married yourself. Kathy and I were talking about our own wedding some 15 years ago, and she mentioned how glad she was that we didn’t have to start over (and ‘all that’ to deal with again.) “Fifteen years of fighting,” she mused.

“Fifteen years of fighting?” I wondered to whom she had been married, all those years, and why he was such a jerk? I don’t remember more than two or three fights a year, which hardly translates to fifteen years of fighting. Mostly we have disagreed about four things: finances, parenting, why Tim doesn’t clean the garage on Saturdays, and whose turn it is to get up and change that late-night diaper. Figure an average of about six hours per argument, conservatively figuring four fights a year, that only adds up to a little over two weeks of conflict over fifteen years. Mind you, that’s a lot by some standards, but … I guess we see things a little differently. I asked her about it, and she wailed, mockingly: “That’s because you weren’t THERE all those years!” She’s a hoot, really.

Kathy read this draft (one of the nice things about WordPress is that she can see what I’m writing, even when we are separated by thousands of miles) and insisted I clarify, so I will. What she probably meant is that she was glad we didn’t have to start all over again, going through some of those difficult issues and learning some of those lessons we all have to learn. But I think my take on it is more amusing.

In all seriousness, one of the delights of our marriage is that we don’t fight much at all, and when we do, we fight fairly. We avoid the use of words like ‘always’ and ‘never’ and we don’t raise our voices or throw things or stomp out, slamming doors. Kathy’s Nana and the scripture agree: “Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath.” Many times we have wrangled late into the night following that principle — it is interesting to see how unimportant some conflicts become when your night’s sleep is at stake and you have to get up for work in a few hours.

We recently had occasion to think about how much we had been apart over the years – I’ve been blessed with a job that doesn’t require me to travel much at all. We figure we’ve not been apart for more than two weeks, and only once or twice at that, when Kathy has gone to visit one or the other of our parents and I didn’t have enough vacation time to go with her. We just plain like to be together – we didn’t get married so that we could lead separate lives, after all. Of course, Kathy would probably say that we just like being together to fight, all those fifteen years. But I’m not bitter. Really. :)

Oh, since this was a picture taken on Thursday, it counts for Project 365.

Project 365, Day 172

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Off the grid

I understand that Kathy and the kids are a bit off the beaten track at the ‘cabin’ where they are staying in upstate Michigan. Nestled in the forest on the coast of Lake Michigan, they are comfortably ensconced in a glorious cedar log home that sleeps 23 people (as long as they’re reasonably friendly). Kathy says she’ll get some pictures uploaded, but until then, you’ll have to do with my feeble attempts to describe what they are experiencing.

Apparently it is quite the family gathering, with aunts and uncles assembling from near and far to honor Phil and his new bride, Emily, as they marry tomorrow.

For me, work rages on, as the quarter comes to an end — happily, my boss lets me work from home much of the time, especially when we are in ‘crunch time’. I have one major project I’d really like to finish before the end of the quarter, so that I can get a good quarterly rating (and a good bonus).

More details will follow as they become available. Kathy apologizes to her faithful readers for the recent lapse in blogging reliability. :)

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Old Friends

Bible Study Fellowship has enriched my life in many ways. It has deepened my knowledge of scripture. It has provided a place for my children to learn about the character of God and His Word. I’ve been blessed by the teaching of wonderful godly women. I’ve had years of excellent small group leaders as well as times with poor ones. I’ve grown and studied and learned under all of them.

One precious treasure BSF has given me is some dear, dear friendships. This week I was able to visit one of these friends. Amy and I met in our BSF class years ago (I’m afraid to add up the years). We lived near each other, had similar backgrounds of growing up in the church, and were both in the beginning of raising our young families. I had two small children and she had one. Now I have five and she has four. Where have the years gone?

amy and kathy

Every year we return to Michigan for a visit, I always carve out the time to see Amy and her sweet family. It is such a joy to be with an old friend (not that either of us are old, of course not). The conversation is natural and nearly without pause. The only interruption comes from the children. After we had been there for some time, Amy’s oldest asked her, “How long have you been talking?” I’m sure in his mind we couldn’t possibly have anything left to say. Silly child. :)

Amy’s new home is beautiful, relaxed and comfortable. Amy is just the same herself. It was delightful spending the afternoon with her. The children played inside, went for a walk to the park, had popsicles, came inside, watched tv, played games, and then went back outside for more fun. I tried to borrow Amy’s set of clippers to do Daniel’s hair. She got it out and then remembered she needed to use them this week. At the last minute (literally the children were all getting into the van) I decided to cut Daniel’s hair. I can’t believe I forgot to ask Rachel to take pictures. We all went to the back yard (except Joshua who thought it would be more fun to wilt, swelter and melt in the van, waiting for us) and I cut Daniel’s hair right there on the patio.

bunch of cute kids

You know it’s a true friend when you can borrow hair clippers and give your son an impromptu hair cut in the back yard. Tim teased me and said we sure like to go a long way for a hair cut. First it was the girls, and now Daniel’s got his Michigan cut. Who’s next?? The only downside is it’s going to be expensive to continue flying to Michigan to keep up with my highlights and the rest of the family’s trims.

Thankfully I have good friends that are always ready with an open home and welcome smile.

Thanks for the lovely visit, Amy!!

Project 365 – Day 170

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Family Visits & Blogging Secrets

The problem with visiting family who also happen to read your blog is that they begin to discover your secrets. There you were, happily blogging along, 1000 or so miles away. No one (except your dh and children – hard to get rid of that bunch) knew whether you blog early in the morning (::snort::) or late at night or perhaps, oh I don’t know, let’s say the wee hours of the morning. Readers were ignorant of how many pictures it took to get “just the right shot.” They didn’t know about posing or staging or even the glories of Photoshop Elements. Not that I would ever edit my photos. Much. I don’t even have Photoshop (yet).

Now when I casually walk outside with my camera in hand, the blog is the first thing people mention (or shout). As if a mother wouldn’t want to take a picture of her sweet darlings just because she can. I mean, look at this group.

water balloon crew

This is Joshua’s water balloon crew for VBS.

“Oh, it’s your mother, getting ready for a blog,” my dad said this afternoon when I went outside to capture the water balloon team in action.

Harrumph! I’ll show them. I won’t post the other 8 (totally funny and cute) pictures of them filling up balloons. People will just have to wonder who was in charge, who tied up the balloons, who carried them back and forth between the hose and the bucket. It’s won’t end up in a blog, no sir.

Later in the day my brother Thom and his wife, Jenn (one of those beloved sisters-in-law I mentioned the other day who is WAY better than a kitten) came over for dinner. I casually decided to take a few pictures like this one:

thom and jenn

Uncle Thom and Aunt Jenn

What does the aforementioned sister say, “It’s a blog in action. We’re creating a blog moment.”

Seriously people, I get no blogging respect.

How is an innocent little blogger supposed to handle such harassment? Oh, yes, by by taking lots of pictures and posting them mercilessly. What was I thinking?

thom and jenn and kiddos

I usually just blame it on the relentless pace of the Project 365. Then I do my best to ignore Tim who repeatedly tells me I only committed to taking one, a single picture, each day and I could stop at any time.

happy father's day

If you had such a good looking family, would you stop with just one picture?

Plus, I have an obligation to the rest of the family who are still far away and waiting with bated breath for blogs and pictures. Well, I can dream can’t I?

More family arrives this weekend. No doubt they’ll be prying into my blogging ways as well. Soon they’ll be no mystery left at all.

Get your own blog, I tell them. Or I would tell them if I wasn’t too busy trying to sneak my camera into the scene and then getting everyone to smile pretty. Sometimes I even manage to work myself into the picture.

the girls

Happy Father’s Day!!!

Project 365 – Day 168

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Strawberry Picking and Boating

We were invited to go pick strawberries this weekend at the home of some friends. Mom graciously (waiting to chortle gleefully after we left) agreed to stay home while Dad and I took the children off.

strawberry garden
Oh yeah! We have our ‘official’ strawberry bags and are ready to go!

The children LOVED picking strawberries. They thought it was great fun. One of them even said something like, “This is really fun!”

strawberry pickers
The younger team of strawberry harvesters, working hard to fulfill their quota.

Joshua helped Sarah find berries and, when we realized David’s bag was a little “juicy” we encouraged him to avoid the rotten strawberries. It’s so hard to find good help these days. Have to train, train, train.

joshua and sarah
Joshua’s management style is a bit ‘hands-on’.

Boy, they just LOVED picking strawberries.

For about 20 minutes. Maybe even a full 30 minutes. Then the allure of the little pond in the center of the yard was too great to ignore. The next thing I knew, Dad was the only one picking strawberries and the children were loading up in boats. I was, er, checking on the children.

daniel and rachel
Rachel and Daniel embark on their perilous paddle boat voyage.

The rest of the crew waited for their turn. Dad continued to gather strawberries. He is definitely a man who sticks to the original mission. He wasn’t side-tracked by a little ole paddle boat.

Joshua, David and Sarah
Look at that waiting stance. These kids are ready for their turn.

After a little switching around, everyone found a place in a boat. Except Dad who (yes, you guessed it) continued to pick strawberries.

paddle boat
Look at that protective arm Daniel has around Sarah. He’s not going to let her fall.

rachel and joshua
Lewis and Clark had nothing on these two!

After I dragged the kids away from their boats, and Dad from the strawberry garden, we returned home. (For a ‘small’ berry patch it was LOADED with strawberries!) I think I spent a good part of the rest of the evening coping with the abundance of our harvest. Yum! These strawberries are absolutely delicious and taste just like a little bite of summer.

Table full of strawberries! Not a bad haul for an hour or so of picking. Of course, Dad did most of the work. :)

After freezing several bags of sliced berries, I decided to make up a batch of strawberry muffins. Since I wouldn’t dream of traveling without my handy breakfast recipe folder, I quickly flipped to my mega muffin recipe and called imperiously for an assistant chef. Joshua did all the measuring, mixing, stirring, and tasting (basically Joshua made the muffins). I cut up the strawberries and poured the mix into muffin pans. And so, breakfast is ready for tomorrow morning.

I think Dad should get the first bite.

Project 365 — Day 167

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