Friday, July 8, 2016

The Blankee

Hello, my name is Cathy, I'm 41 years old and I have a blankee.

This blanket was given to me Valentine's Day 2012.  Chris picked out this picture of them that I took right outside our church from the fall prior.  But I put this blanket on my bed, and it stayed there.  When I was on bedrest for 5 months, I had this blanket with me all the time. When my big boys were at school, and I was unable to take care of them, they told me I had them with me on the blankee.   And I did.  And it gave me comfort.  Then Jacob joined our family, and he hated sleeping alone, and we coslept.  I didn't want to cover him with a heavy comforter, so we slept with this blanket.  Now I've become accustomed to sleeping with it every night, even with Jacob not in my bed anymore.  With my big boys gone, I've been snuggling with my sweetboys every night.

When I went to Utah, I took the blanket with me.  In fact, it was the first thing I unpacked when I arrived Wednesday afternoon.  I desperately needed to lay down before we went on the hunt for dinner, and I pulled it out to snuggle it and rest before taking on the evening's festivities.

I didn't get to talk to my boys yesterday either.  It was the first time since they were born that I haven't talked to them.  I cried when the clock struck midnight last night.  And I curled up with my sweetboy blanket, until I  fell asleep.

Today they called me, the phones finally worked.  I got to talk to them for about 10 minutes.  We were all on speaker phone together.  And my heart was full.

Now I'm going to go curl up with my blankee.  My boys come home tomorrow.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Proof of Life

Half my family is at Scout Camp.  
It's weird for Jacob and I to have the house to ourselves.
It's also especially strange for me not to talk to them everyday.

This was my Sweetboys yesterday when we left.  
I left before they did, as I wanted to go to a swim class at the Y.  
Jacob was jealous I wasn't taking pictures of him. 

We were cool.  Jake and I weren't freaking out about anything.  

But it took over 24 hours for this photo to come through.  
The boys made it, and they were at the camp, and most importantly, Happy!
But I miss them. It's weirdly quiet around here. I am so Thankful that I received some sort of proof they were ok.  

Tonight, we had a date with Aunt Lisa, checking out the new Books and Brews in Zionsville.

We sampled some of the brews.  They had great names like Whinnie the Brew and Dubbledore's Magic.  We checked out some of the books. There were so many things just like my bookshelf, down to the textbooks that I had in college.

Meanwhile, it was Kids night, where the kids meals were Free, and they had Games out for a game night!

 and Jacob checked out the Kids Grilled Cheese.  I loved this place. 

Quite good, one and all.  But I miss my boys.  


Monday, June 27, 2016

Vacation, Day 5 Michigan, On Our Way Home

Friday was our Last Day.  :( 
I got up and started loading the car, packing to come home was easier than unpacking.  
I had Lisa help manage all the kitchen stuff, and that was a big burden lifted.  

Meanwhile, all the kids played together outside, there was chalk and bubbles, and moving targets.  
And fun had by all. 
At least they got to play with their cousins a bit before we headed out.  
I wanted to get on the road by 9, it was closer to 9:30.  

I wish Objects in the Mirror were closer than they appear.  
That was my Mom and Seestor as they headed back indoors after waving us off. 

As we pulled out, I noticed there were no cars at the beach, so I pulled in for one last photo.  
The water was still, and the beach was quiet.  

The only noise came from us.  
But I got one last kind of decent picture of the boys before we headed out. 
And, most importantly, no one got sandy.  

I experimented with my phone.  This was my first phone panoramic shot. 
It didn't turn out too bad, there's a skip in the middle that I'd like to fix, I just have no idea how. 
I'd fix it on my own computer, but as that died too during the Great Power Surge of 2016,  but I can't.  So I'll just suffer through an iffy shot.  
Even an iffy shot of a beautiful day at the beach is still kind of pretty. 

Dwarf lilacs at the entrance to the beach were still blooming.  

And they smelled so good. 

I love the smell of fresh lilacs.  I'm gonna miss it.  

And off we went, about a half hour later than I wanted.  Once we got south of Petoskey, Christopher realized he left his Nintendo DS on the charger in the living room in the corner on a charger.  Doh!  I wasn't going to turn around to get it.  I told the story of me losing my blanket that I'd had since birth while on Vacation with my parents, and not realizing until we were half a state away.  This was back before hotels were nice and sometimes would mail stuff like that.   Well, I called Lisa, she found the DS, and a couple other things, like our beach towels that hadn't dried overnight so I'd thrown them in the dryer.  Double Doh.  We'd see her next week.  He melted down.  He melted the hell down!  Not going back meant we had 1 DS (Sam's) and the DVD player, which Chris killed his screen on the way up.  Good Lord, what did we do before traveling with screens?!  Oh yeah, that's right, we unbuckled, laid down on the seat, played cards and games, and tickled each other until we passed out from the inability to breathe.  In exchange for keeping them alive in a seat belt and carseat, they can't Do Anything.  So I pulled over, put Sam in the way back with his DS, and Chris by Jacob to be distributor, and watch movies.  That made for a MUCH easier ride home, and I still didn't turn around.  

I tell you what I did do, I plotted a visit with a friend who lives about halfway between Grand Rapids and Lansing.  She staked out a McD's with a Playplace, and we met for lunch. We've known our friends Dawn and Tim since 1994 when they were just two young whippersnappers in the Marching Band at Butler.  And I'm ashamed to say we hadn't seen them since about 2004 when they moved north.  I hadn't met 2 of their 4 kids, and they hadn't met any of mine.  Still, through the Blessings of the internet, and facebook, I feel like I know them, and know what's going on in their lives.   I got to meet their 3rd sweetgirl, who is 11 and petitely built just like our boys, and she kept a great eye on all my yahoos in the Playplace, so that I got to catch up with Dawn for like an hour and a half.  Tim works at a school nearby, and it has his last day (teacher day) of school, so he snuck away for lunch with us!   Can you imagine, still being in school?!  We've done like half our summer fun.  So Michigan is strange, but they aren't going back in July either, ugh.  Still, it was Awesome to see them.  It's funny how you can go years without seeing someone, and all the old reasons that you were friends were there.   I wish I'd gotten to see them more often.  I'm so glad I buzzed to see if we could swing something.  These drive by huggings really fill me up!  It makes a long road trip not so boring. 

We made it home safe and sound about 7 pm, a 9ish hour drive, but with our long lunch, that was good timing.  Daddy even had a dinner all made for us when we pulled up, he had grilled up some fish.  I think he missed us.  We had missed him too.   Even though we brought him some Father's Day Fudge.  He decided Next Time he's coming with us.   

This is Jacob's shitty kitty face.  He did not appreciate something.  It was either a. that we were home, or b. that vacation was over, or c. he couldn't have all the fudge he wanted in the world.  

Meanwhile, while we were gone, Daddy did Productive Things. 
He finally got the shower door up in the downstairs bathroom.  Technically, the water works, but the door needs to be caulked into place, which is another project.  Almost there.  

We got shelves!  
Eric put shelving up in the Linen Closet upstairs.  I didn't know we had so many sheet sets, because they've been living in a huge pile in the bottom of that closet for so long.  

My favorite:  The IKEA canvas wave.  
Eric hung this picture up.  It never occurred to us that it would be too big for the space above my bed.   But it still looks really good there.   

I fell asleep that night just staring at it, laying upside down in my bed.  
It's good to be home. 

Vacation, Day 4 Michigan, The Beach

My Happy Place.  
On our last full day, it was cloudy and a little rainy early in the morning, but stopped raining by 9.  We hung out at home, working on the puzzle, and had lunch of Leftovers a little on the early side and then we decided we were going to Play before naps.

After Naps, we decided to head into town.  As we were headed out, the clouds parted, so we postponed our visit Just long enough to dip our tootsies in the water.  It was chilly, but gorgeous.

Our post-lunch Dessert Destination!  
Just listen to the words:  Free Chocolate Tours.  

Here's what Jacob and I think of the concept of free chocolate.
We love it. 

All 5 of the kids watching Chocolates being made.  
It's not a big operation, basically two large rooms, but we watched them through the window as they dipped and created some champagne truffles, and prepared some almond toffee. 

The rainbow crew as we get ready to actually go into the prep room. 
We didn't plan the rainbow theme, the boys and I had dressed in Superhero shirts, we'd just happened to get everyone all sat down and dressed to get booties and hats on when our tour guide offered to take our picture.  There were a couple other folks in our group tour, but mostly, we were it.  And truly, our kids in hairnets and booties was the most hysterical thing ever.  Chris and Jacob were trying to skate across the floor.  Didn't work too well for Jake, if I hadn't held his wrist for dear life, he'd have been falling all over the place.  

Tuttles (they don't call them turtles) ready to be cut and boxed up.  

The Toffee. 
Duuude. Check that out.
So yummy! 


Dipped marshmallows.

The best part of the Chocolate Tour - free samples at the end! 

They gave us samples of nutty fudge things, and we had to sit down to let the kids eat it.  This was one of two places to sit in the whole shop, and it was still within view of the factory.  


In other news, during morning, lunch, naptime and after, we Finally finished the Lip Balm puzzle.

Pickle Lip Balm, what will they think of next?!

After naps, we decided to go to the Beach.  The rain had dried off, the sun was shining, and it was downright gorgeous outside, finally good enough weather to go to the water.  75 is great, downright balmy for up here! 

Three sweetboys take off with pool noodles to the beach. 

Frankly, I was enchanted by the way Jacob took off after his brothers.  I knew he wouldn't go too deep into the water, and even if he tried, it was going to be chilly.  

Near our spot on the beach, a bunch of seagulls had staked out.  
To make the boys laugh, I began to tiptoe toward them. 

Nothing like taking revenge against a pack of seagulls.  

Jacob got down to business playing in the sand with his cousin Charlie.  
Charlie was sporting the mermaid swimsuit we picked out for her for her birthday.   
I love how she loved it! 

Sam rushes into the water. 
Surprise!  It's cold! 

Christopher was very upset by how cold the water was.  
He'd had visions of playing in it, and swimming underwater is his favorite.  Chris is also very sensitive to cold.  Ice cream is generally not his favorite, until it achieves a certain level of soupiness, which is often to my benefit.   But he doesn't do well in extreme hot or cold, because of his sensitivities.  I had to talk him down, he went from this to full meltdown when he realized it was too cold to swim.  I was like, Babe, it was 57 two days ago.  This lake Freezes in winter.  It takes a while to recover from that, and even longer for it to warm up.  And this is a lake people can swim in, no one can swim in Lake Superior. 

We opted to explore instead, and found this cool deer hoofprint. 

I had brought new pool noodles for all the kids, as a treat, for the trip. 

All 5 of them on the beach armed with pool noodles was a pretty awesome sight.

  So our adventure became, pool noodle time on the beach, instead of swimming.  

I like exploring the area around the beach too. 
My Mom loves birch trees, or maybe they are aspens, I'm not sure.  Probably aspens. 
But she has a few paintings of them in her home, and now I find my eyes catching on them every time I see them.  That white bark stands out.  Michigan is full of them.  It's probably a Quaking Aspen, it did look particularly beautiful in the breeze. 

On little Traverse Bay, there is a creek.  We used to play in it when I was there, younger, about 15 years ago.  There's a spring that also feeds into this area, causing sinkholes in that creek, where all three meet the Little Traverse Bay.  The sinkholes would suck our legs in up to our knees.  I remember walking along here with Aunt Debbie, and she dared to step in, got sucked in down her thigh.  Then we all had to try it.  Pants were wet, tears of laughter were falling.  It was Awesome.  Oh it was So Funny.  I still smile thinking of it.  But I didn't let my kids go any deeper than an ankle.  

I got a closeup of the sand in the creek as the crystal clear water was running over. 
My that water was cold, coming up from an underground spring. 

On the bridge.  
I have a picture around here somewhere, of Eric and I on the bridge, from way back before we had kids, when my sis was working on a Black and White photography project for summer school.  She took a lot of great photos that trip.  They're around here somewhere.   These were just with my phone.  

My camera gave out while we were at the beach, a combo of errors.  On Mackinac the batter died, I had the replacement at the condo.  This time, it was a small photo card. I still was able to get a few good pics of our beach and creek time before the card filled up.    

These boys are enchanting! 

This was taken with my new cell phone though, and I was able to play around with filters on it.  

This ending up being my Favorite of the whole bridge series.   

Meanwhile back on the beach, the girls talked Aunt Lisa into the water.  
They had found something in another creek that fed into the bay.

Annie and Charlie found tadpoles!  
They found they could catch them in seashells. 

Aunt Lisa looked so pretty helping her girls find tadpoles.  
Another favorite.  

Fudge Break! 

Her hat cracks me up.  Turns out it was one of the girls, from their day camp that happened to be in the car when she came north.   Looks kind of perfect for us old ladies, fuddy duddies sitting by the lakeshore eating fudge. That's a good way to go. 

Next thing we know, all 5 kids are hunting tadpoles in the creek.  
This creek's water was significantly warmer than the bay or the sinkhole creek.   A little mossy, but we didn't care, the kids were happy, and not drowning.  

Meanwhile, a hummingbird moth came around to entertain us.  

The sun was shining, and it was a good day.  


Jacob was an entirely different kind of entertainment.  

That's my baby.  He got a Rock.  


Then of course, he had to share his rock with his brothers and cousins. 
He went charging down to the creek, yelling "TABO!"  for tadpole, going on a hunt just like the big kids.  He thinks he is one of the big kids. 

At last, it was time to head out.  The kids got a big kick out of the foot washing station.  I wish we'd had one of these at our condo, like we did at the lake in Wisconsin.  Next time, if there is a next time, I'm bringing a foot bucket for the door to the condo!  

Before we knew it, a few of us were starting to get hungry for dinner.  Being that it was our last night, I wanted some good fish.  Lisa had seen a sign for a Mediterranean place, that served Fresh Fried Lake Perch on Thursday nights.  Blammo!  However, by the time we got there, just before 8, when you'd think the dinner rush would be over, there were no seats to be found.  So, the two cars loaded back up with food, with literally a little of everything, and headed back to the condo, and ate on the deck outside.  Turns out that was the best plan, because the kids ate, then went and played, allowing us to finish our food nice and quietly outdoors.  Oy.  

And back we go for a bedtime show.