August 27, 2008

Dinner time

Admittedly, this is kind of boring for those of you who aren't his mother.

Jack's favorite words are tractor, bird, diaper, duck and dad . . . but the most recent addition to his list of favorites is "hot." I think it's adorable when he says it, and he knows exactly what it means.

Jack is getting pretty good, albeit messy, with a spoon. The second clip, however, is of him trying to use his fork. Emphasis on the trying.

So far this week . . .

  • The dentist hurt (financially) as much as I thought it would. That's life, I guess. I still have one more appointment to go. I'd better be cavity free at my next check up or I'll have more fillings than a jelly donut shop.
  • I went for a walk on Monday, sans stroller. I actually ran for about half the time. It felt so good . . . that I decided to run yesterday, too. Today I'm feeling a little sore. My goal is to make it through this week. I'll worry about next week when I get there.
  • Jack does this new thing where we say, "The birdie flies away" and he flaps his hands and moves them upward. His Grandma Wietholter taught him to do it over the weekend. He even tries to say "fly." It's super cute, but a few people at camp have started calling it his interpretive dancing. Hmmm . . . not cool.
  • Kyle's birthday was yesterday . . . . welcome to the last year of your twenties!
  • I hit 200 etsy sales on Monday night! Thanks to the people who encouraged me to open my little shop 9 months ago.

Why does Canon hate me?

You know the camera that I bought back in June? As of October, it will be so outdated.

Stupid technology. I supposed it was bound to happen eventually.

August 26, 2008


Running is not like biking.

Running as fast as you can down a hill does not give you necessary momentum to run up the next hill with ease. Doing so may result in painful cramps.

Also, running for the second time in two years will cause you to have irrational ideas like running as fast as you can down a hill so that you'll have the momentum to get up the next.


I'm headed to the dentist today. It's going to be expensive.


August 25, 2008

One perspective

I've said before that I'm a stay-at-home, work-full-time mom . . . the details of which can only be explained using multiple diagrams and flow charts. While I get the benefits (and the pitfalls) of both scenarios, I know how lucky I am to have a flexible job that allows me to do both.

That said, I read this post by Nicole this morning. My situation is a little different, but there was quite a bit that I could relate to and it was so well-written that I found myself really feeling what (I think) she was feeling. I just thought I'd pass it along.

Like I said, there are benefits and pitfalls to both scenarios, but her post summed up the stay-at-home mom point of view quite nicely. I'd love to read a post about the other end of the spectrum.

That's all for now.

August 23, 2008

Life, post-thesis.

I did very little today.

My parents came last night to stay with us (my dad ran in the half marathon at camp today). My mom and I relaxed with Jack while my dad was running (and Kyle was working at the race). We went out to eat for lunch, and later took Jack to the park to let him burn off some energy.

Pretty boring day, right?

It occurred to me that last year at this time, I was starting back into my school work. I know it's been three months since I finished my thesis, but we were so busy with camp stuff, that I haven't really been able to enjoy it until now. I HAVE FREE TIME! Maybe I should find a way to put that master's degree to work. Or maybe I should catch up on all of the television I missed over the last three years (yes, I realize the irony).

Anyway, I'm ok with the boring days. For now, at least.

August 22, 2008

Problem solved

Those who know me, and most who don't, know that photography has become a hobby of mine. Hmm . . . actually, let's call it picture-taking. I'm not sure I can call it "photography."

Anyway, I got a new camera in June and was thrilled with it . . . for a while. However, over the last month and a half, I've wondered why I was having so much trouble getting the shots I wanted. I haven't been really happy with any of the pictures I've taken since, oh, the end of June.

Last night, I went to take a picture of Jack with spaghetti all over his face and realized my battery was dead. So, I popped it in the charger and grabbed my trusty rebel. I took a peek at the teeny tiny screen (at least it seems that way now) and was amazed out how well the pictures came out.

I started thinking about it and decided I should probably sell my new camera. It must be way beyond my skill level and I'll never be good enough to use it, right?

Well, as true as that might be, but there was another problem.

After a lot of exploring last night, I realized that the "picture style" on the camera had been set to "landscape" for who knows how long! My guess is that when I let one of our staff play with it sometime at the beginning of the summer, it got set and never got set back. It didn't matter that I was using fully manual settings. . . this picture style option was giving me major exposure problems.

Ugh. A month and a half of photos . . . wasted. But at least I figured it out. And seriously, can photos of this face really be "bad?"

August 21, 2008

On marriage

Last year around this time, the marriages of about 4 different couples that we know seemed to be crumbling. We felt like our friends were living in war zones they way their relationships were taking hits. This year, again, it's a second wave of this kind of thing. It always leaves me stunned and asking the question, "How does this happen?"

The more I think about it, the more I realize that there's a naive danger in thinking "that could never happen to us." I think that too often, married couples can develop this false sense of security that keeps us from putting work into our marriages and protecting them from the things that seek to tear them apart.

As dumb as it may sound, sometimes I forget that marriage takes work. Loving someone . . . I mean loving them really well, takes a lot of effort.

I wasn't able to attend Bud's funeral a few weeks ago. When Kyle got home, he told me about some of the tributes people had written.

Bud's first wife died probably close to 20 years ago. I'm not sure, but I don't think Bud would say that his marriage was perfect or that they never had problems. I don't think Bud was a Christian when he married her, and he said himself that he was a little rough around the edges back then.

During Bud's funeral, his son said that when his mom died, the doctor said that she lived 4 - 5 years longer than she should have simply because of how well Bud took care of her. His son told of the sacrifices Bud made to love her and to be there with her. I want to be that kind of spouse.

August 17, 2008

How June Cleaver of me.

When Kyle and I were first married, I baked all the time. Specifically, I baked bread. When we moved into our house, I was so excited that I had such a big kitchen and knew it would get lots of use. Ironically enough, I haven't baked nearly as much since we moved in (and we lived here more than 2 years before Jack was born).

When Kyle and I were shopping on my birthday, I wondered into Williams Sonoma while he was in the bathroom. Almost immediately, I saw a cookbook stand that I loved.

Of course, I don't have money to be spending on things I don't need . . . things like cookbook stands . . . so I moved on. Kyle got back from the bathroom and asked if I was going to spend my gift certificate. My what? And I remembered the Pottery Barn gift certificate I received as a gift for coordinating a wedding in June. Which was perfect.

So, I bought it. I'm pretty sure Kyle thinks it's a magic cookbook stand because since that purchase, I've made cinnamon rolls, chocolate chip bread and I'm working on a batch of pita bread.

If nothing else, it adds to the lends itself to the appearance that I'm domestic, right?

August 16, 2008

Unconventional potty training?

I got out my C & B nesting bowls for Jack to play with yesterday and found this a few minutes later . . .

It is, quite possibly, the worst picture I've ever taken, but it cracks me up. He loves to sit in/on almost anything. Ironically enough, the new kids' poang chair that I bought from IKEA on Monday was a few feet away. He sat in it once or twice but will now have nothing to do with it.

August 15, 2008

White boys can't jump

A week ago, we had our last staff meeting at our house. We have our staff meetings at our house for many reasons . . . one of which is we can stay in our pajamas for them.

Anyway, after the meeting a few people were left sitting in our basement and JD was trying to get Jack to jump. As I was explaining that he was a little too young to do that yet, Jack of course jumped. Just once. I wish I could have had it on video!

I didn't have our video camera, so I grabbed our point and shoot. He couldn't do it again, but it was really fun watching him try.

The video quality is awful, but the kid is super cute. I have a feeling I'll be posting more video over the next week as I sort through what we took this summer.

August 14, 2008

What I'm feeling

Stress. I have a dentist appointment on August 26 to get some work done that I've been putting off for, oh . . . two years. I honestly don't mind having dental work done . . . I mean, it's not how I would choose to spend my day if given options, but I can't feel anything so it's not that bad. The part that I'm stressed about is the bill. I so badly wish I had dental insurance.

Pain. I haven't been feeling well the last few days. Sore throat, upset digestive system, headaches, etc. Also, I've been grinding my teeth at night and my jaw hurts like crazy. The pain is also radiating into my neck and shoulder. On top of that, inexplicable knee pain started when I was walking to the office this morning.

Cabin Fever. Camp is over and while I'm being super productive at camp, I find myself missing having our staff around. I'm in the office ALL DAY now.

Sympathy. I hugged Jack extra tightly this morning when I got him up. I got an e-mail last night about the parents of a one year old whose health issues are serious (and I don't think serious accurately describes it . . . I'm just not sure what else to say). My heart is breaking for them.

A longing. Pastor Mark has been doing a sermon series called "The Kingdom of God is like . . . " and has been examining all of the parables in which Jesus tries to help us understand this concept better. Two Sundays ago, he talked about the Kingdom of God seeming insignificant (mustard seed) and undetectable (yeast). This past weekend, he spoke about Jesus comparing it to a treasure hidden in a field, which a man sells all of his possessions to buy. You know how sometimes sermons are good, but sometimes they're so good that they stay with you all week and make you see everything else in light of what you learned? That's how it was for me the last two weeks. You can listen to them here.

Nervous. I'm taking Jack to have some blood drawn today. Not for anything critical . . . just the normal one-year blood test. That's right. One-year. I've put it off 2 months now because of how nervous I am to see him poked.

Frustrated. My camera was doing weird things this morning and I missed some good pictures on my walk. I thought I was going to have to take it in to be repaired, but it started working about two minutes after I got back. Normally, this would fall under the "stressed" category, but thank goodness for ADH warranties.

Hungry. And lunch is still 45 minutes away.

August 13, 2008

Epic Fail

Links to this blog have been popping up all over blogland, but I saw it here first.

My advice is to not stop with just the first page. By the third and fourth pages, I was laughing so hard I couldn't speak and I had tears rolling down my cheeks.

But maybe that's just me.

August 10, 2008

Staff training begins again in 42 weeks.

Tonight is the first non-camp Sunday and it feels weird to be sitting at home.

Even though, I'm celebrating a more relaxed schedule by going to IKEA tomorrow with Jeanette, Joy & Debbie, I was really sad to see everyone leave. I mean, I'm sad at the end of every summer, but I was particularly fond of our staff this year.

Working at camp is more than a job . . . it's a lifestyle. The people there become like family. We eat, work and play together. Jack doesn't know what to do with himself on days like today when we don't go there and see everyone. They've taught him as much this summer as we have. He looks up to these people. He's even beginning to learn who God is through the love that these people show him.

While we have a large camp staff, we have the chance every year to really get to know our program staff. We hire them and supervise them all summer long . . . and while it would sometimes be more practical to keep a boss/employee relationship, the amount of time we spend together and the amount of life we share together doesn't make that entirely possible.

I love these guys and I'm so glad for the opportunity to get to know them this summer!

Um, and don't look at the picture too carefully because I hastily (and poorly) photoshoped in two people so we could have a complete picture.

The birthday recap

I had a great birthday! My parents came to watch Jack for the day, and Kyle and I headed to Ann Arbor for lunch and just hanging out downtown. He surprised me when we were down there with an appointment for a manicure and pedicure to make up for the lost gift certificate!

We stopped by the mall on the way out of town and headed home to put Jack to bed, make sandwiches and watch a movie . . . or so I thought.

On our way home, my parents called to say they were at camp getting my brother packed up to leave camp so we could meet them there. We went to meet them at the field house and there was a surprise party waiting for me! I even had cards from my far away friends who couldn't be there! It was such a fun day!

Thanks to everyone who called, sent messages, came to the party, sent cards and made me feel incredibly loved and appreciated yesterday!

August 8, 2008

Super bummed

My plan for tomorrow had been to get a pedicure first thing in the morning, using the gift certificate Kyle's grandma had given me. I can't find the certificate ANYWHERE. The envelope also contained a golf gift certificate for Kyle.

Oh, well. I guess I'll just have ugly feet for my birthday.

At least I have these pre-birthday flowers from Jack & Kyle that were delivered this morning to cheer me up.

On turning 30. . .

It's true that tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life, but today is the last day of my twenties.

I bought three cases of paintballs on Tuesday and I got carded. The cashier wasn't sure that I was over 18. Which is ridiculous. I asked her if my husband had paid her to ask that and she laughed at me. I'll give you 27 maybe . . . but not 18.

One of our staff this week said that it seems like I'm not much older than her and I was like, just give me time and I'll start talking about cassette tapes and remembering a time before cell phones. That'll change the way she feels.

In reality, I'm not depressed about turning thirty. In fact, I'm looking forward to being in my early thirties rather than my late twenties. I'm just a little sad about saying goodbye to my twenties. This stage of my life has been good to me and I've learned so much. And it flew by incredibly fast.

I wish I could conclude this post with a picture of me when I was twenty, but I didn't have a digital camera back then.

August 7, 2008


10,000 points to anyone who can accurately (and specifically) identify what we found behind the coke machine two days ago:

We named him "Kurt" after one of the VonTrapp children. Look at the feet on this thing:

August 6, 2008


We took our staff on our annual end-of-the-summer, Warren Dunes day trip on Friday and had a great time. It was a hard choice, but we opted to leave Jack with grandma for the day. We knew he would have fun if he came along, but it was nice to get away without a baby in tow. It was a nice change to just pack a bag and towel for myself.

Some of our staff wanted to bring something to float on, so they brought our slip and slide rafts:

I, on the other hand, made Kyle bring this:

We spent a good portion of the afternoon floating around in that and jumping in to cool off when we needed to. Unfortunately, I ended up with a sunburn in very uncomfortable places. I'm pretty sure the sunscreen I was using is expired because it was splotchy and uneven. And painful.

The portion of the day that was not spent in the water, was spent on the beach relaxing. The sun was so intense, but we were comfortable under our umbrella. The group sitting next to us included a grandma, her daughters and their scantily clad daughters sitting and reading the tabloids with, um, explicit commentary about what they were reading. On the other side of us, we had an amish family . . . complete with long sleeves, skirts, pants, hats and 142 children. It was an interesting contrast, to say the least.

We enjoyed the relaxation and the company and commented on the way home that we need to do that more often. But we probably won't do it again until next year.

August 3, 2008

Dear Jack, Month 14

Dear Jack,

During Family Camp, we left you in the nursery to play with kids your own age. We were excited to see how you'd do, but since you were just getting over being sick, you were clingy and cried every time we left you. It was worth the tears that came with leaving you to see the look on your face when we returned. Upon seeing us, you would turn and wave to everyone and say "bu-bye, bu-bye." Then you turned back toward us and ran into our arms while giggles escaped from the overflow of your excitement to see us. It was, by far, the best part of my day.

Things aren't always as perfect as those moments, though. A week or two ago, we were standing outside and you looked at me and pouted. I looked down at you and said, perhaps a little too harshly, "Get that grumpy look off your face." Your eyes got wide and your lip started going in and out. You were slowly blinking and were breathing heavily. I realized that you were trying to keep your composure. You were trying so hard to not cry. I had hurt your feelings.

I wasn't trying to scold you, I was trying to be playful and to make you laugh, but it came across much differently. It broke my heart to know that I had hurt you and though it will probably happen again, I'll never do it on purpose.

Hurt feelings are not fun, but they're a part of life here on earth. The truth is that the closer you allow yourself to come to people, the more risk there is that you might get hurt. There might be times in your life that you wonder if it's worth it, but I assure you that it is. Relationship comes with both risk and reward.

Tonight I gave you your usual bedtime snack of graham crackers and milk, and you tossed it to the floor and pointed to the kitchen counter where I had a slice of pizza that I was going to reheat. This is not good. I didn't realize until now how much I enjoyed the total oblivion you had to the difference between what I'm eating and what you're eating. We've noticed that you've had your eye on our Doritos and corndogs as you're putting broccoli and carrots into your mouth, but now you're taking action. I guess something will to have to change, huh?

You love to sit on things. Not staying seated, necessarily, but the act of sitting on things. You bend over, with your bum in the air, and just start backing up until you hit your desired target . . . whether it be my lap, a chair or Murphy. You also love to climb things . . . stairs, on and off of couches and beds, playscapes. Because of this, the rate of injury in our house has skyrocketed.

Perhaps the most significant change this month has come over the last week or two. You try and repeat most of the things that we say. It's so much fun and you delight in being able to make the sounds that we make. Your vocabulary (literally) expands daily.

Aunt Kristen came over this month to do a practice assessment of you for her job. She played games and did activities to see how well you're developing. She confirmed what we already knew . . . you're a very smart boy. While your dad and I are so proud of your capabilities, we want you to know that we don't love you because of them. We love you because you are our son. We love you because . . . well, because we don't know how to not love you. We love you when you're behaving and when you're misbehaving. We love you when you succeed and when you fail. Our love is never based on what you do or how you preform. We just love you because you're you.

And don't worry . . . we'll always be here remind you in case you ever forget.


A dying wish

My brother was able to fulfill a man's dying wish last week.

Seven years ago, one of our retired volunteers was hospitalized for serious heart issues and wasn't expected to live very long.

Then back in March, he was told that he had a week or two left to live. Bud was older and his heart was weak, but it was still sad for all of us to hear. He kept saying, "I think they're wrong. I feel fine." He lived longer than the doctor's expected, but this time it was the beginning of a slow decline.

When April came and he was still alive, he and his wife started talking about how they might actually have time to do the things that he wanted to do before he died. He got back on the tractor at camp again, he saw all of his kids . . . but he really wanted to fly. He started taking flying lessons when he was a teenager, but never had a chance to finish. His dream was to fly again.

Is it a coincidence that one of our lifeguards is also a licensed pilot?

Last week, in a most fragile state, Bud was granted his wish. Kyle and my brother drove to Willow Run, picked up a plane and flew to Hillsdale. Jeff picked Bud up at the airport there and flew him to Coldwater, over camp and all around. There wasn't a dry eye on the ground as we watched the plane circle over the camp.

About two months ago, he was using his walker to make his way over to the Trading Post. As I passed him I jokingly said, "Hey Bud . . . are you trying to make a getaway?" He responded by saying, "For over a month now!"

Bud went to be with Jesus on Thursday . . . having taken advantage of every last minute life on earth that God gave him.

The daily click

I'm on the daily click again for one of my older pictures. I'm just as excited as I was the first time!