Monday, June 28, 2010

Sailing Camp-2010 Edition-Part 3

For the final installment of the Sailing Camp saga, I'll show what happened after camp was over...
Ian really wanted to go sailing on my dad's boat, a 25' Venture. Unfortunately, there was very little wind. We sailed out to the middle of the lake and the wind died. But that didn't stop us from having fun! The kids jumped overboard and swam in the lake around the boat as we drifted around. Here (from back to front) are Doodle, Ian, Mator and Muffin.

The fender is attached to a line that is attached to the boat. The idea was that if we started to sail off, they should grab the line and hang on! We used to do this all the time when I was a kid and we would sail on Lake Erie and Lake Huron with this boat. When it was really windy, it was the sailors equivalent of tubing, just about 25 MPH slower! :-)
And yes, I actually did get in the lake and swim a bit too. As proof, I can still taste the lake (a day after the event!) There were 8 kids with my dad and I and we played out there for about an hour. We had to cut it short because we had dinner reservations at the Club so we headed in (by motor) and had a terrific dinner. After dinner, the kids weren't done having fun so we spent another couple hours back in the pool. Some of the big boys had fun lifting (and throwing) the littler girls on a raft in the pool. Here is Doodle on her throne.
What a fantastic week capped by an awesome evening. We stumbled back to the car at 8:30 and Mator fell asleep on the way home. I can't blame her, I almost did too!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sailing Camp-2010 Edition-Part 2

While not registered for camp, Doodle came with me on Thursday to watch and was able to get some experience sailing which got her excited to come to camp next year!

Here she is in an Opti with Mattew Davis, an experienced ten-year old who was more than happy to take Doodle out for her first sail. She seemed to love it and didn't stop smiling the whole time.

And here is my adorable niece, Annabelle (7), skippering with her friend Emily in an Opti...The last hour of camp is dedicated to the traditional greased watermelon competition. Yes, a watermelon is greased up and thrown into the lake (it floats) where the girls (who outnumbered the boys about 2:1) tried to get the watermelon to the boys' goal and vice-versa. There are usually tears as someone gets "almost drowned" but it is worth it for the fun. Here is Muffin jumping in the lake before the competition starts:Mator got to watch the action but was definitely more into swimming in the pool. She was especially attached to Daddy since he had been gone for three days this week.
Here are the sailing camp graduates: Muffin, Olivia, Elle and Ian (Olivia's brother) who was named most valuable sailor for all the help he gave to the instructors. That's my dad's boat with the sail up in the background. Just after this picture was taken, we departed for a "three hour tour"...see the next post for more details!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sailing Camp-2010 Edition-Part 1

Muffin completed her second stint of sailing camp at Buckeye Lake this week and had great fun again this year. Here she is (above, center) with her second cousin, Olivia (left) and another camp sailor. They are sailing in a Flying Junior (FJ) which has two sails and races with a skipper and one crew member. As a teenager, I raced as both a crew member of an FJ and skippering a Laser (a much smaller boat-one sail and one person sailing it) on Lake Erie during Jr. Bay Week. I'll just say for the record that I wasn't very good. My most memorable race was at Lake Erie when I was about 13 and sailing a Laser. The wind was gusting to 25 knots and I had very little control over the boat. I constantly capsized and turtled (capsize-the boat is on its side with the mast parallel to the water. Turtle-the boat is upside-down with the top of the mast pointing to the bottom of the lake and the bottom of the boat pointing to the sky so that it looks like a turtle's shell) the boat despite my best efforts. If you want to read about a really awesome teenaged sailor who, at 16, attempted to sail around the world by herself but recently had to give up that quest, read here:

The next picture shows the boat heeling a little. Muffin is on the leeward side so you can't see her. There was a nice little bit of wind this day and the boat continued to heel...

And then it capsized. Again, Muffin was on the leeward side of the boat so you can't see her. Olivia and Austin (the skipper) are trying to right the boat by pulling down on the centerboard. Unfortunately, it is difficult to get up there when you are small and are wearing a bulky life jacket.
So John, the instructor, motored over and helped them right the boat. Muffin was helped in the boat and here she is helping her other two sailors back in. The small boats capsize relatively easily and are made to be easily righted. The only scary things about capsizing a boat like this are:
1-Losing any valuables that sink-don't take anything on the boat that can't get wet or doesn't float.
2-Getting back into the boat-this can be challenging for little people but is not impossible and can be learned (and you develop great upper body strength)
3- Getting caught under the sail while it is capsized. This happens and while not really dangerous, you feel like you might suffocate. Life jackets actually exacerbate the problem because it is harder to got under water and swim out from under the sail. You may even feel like you are tangled up in some of the lines that are attached to the sails making you feel trapped. This happened to Muffin in this incident and she was a little shaken up.
Instructor John sailed with them for a while and allowed Doodle to go with him too!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Doodle is 6

Doodle had a birthday and of course, that is never the end of any story around here. It seems that any holiday (Christmas, birthdays, vacations) must be marked by an accompanying trip to urgent care.
Thankfully, we've never had any broken bones and only once, stitches were required. Rather our result is usually in the form of an antibiotic prescription. Maybe I'm exaggerating. The last time Doodle had a prescription filled for her was 2006. But when I think of the major illnesses my kids have had, they all seem to fall on a holiday / celebration! I suppose I just remember those the most, anyway!

Doodle had her friend party last Saturday. She had asked for a surprise party. Now, keeping a surprise amongst 5 six year olds is like trying to keep all the Polly Pocket pieces from ending up in the sweeper. Or trying to keep the Littlest Pet Shops safe from becoming permanently embedded in your feet. It is impossible. But the parents of these dear girls are wise. They didn't tell their daughters when or where the party was going to be. In fact, Doodle came home from school one day insisting that, "Rachel NEEDS to know when the party is going to be!" But we successfully surprised her and didn't even have to tell any lies to do it!

The theme of the party was "True Beauty" and we based it on "Gigi-God's Little Princess". After Muffin read the story describing how we are all princesses and princes of the King of Kings (God) we talked about how a real princess acts using scripture as the basis. The girls had come to the party all dressed up and then we treated them to a pedicure (compliments of my mom's foot bath and Muffin's artistic abilities), a manicure (Muffin and I shared these duties) and a young lady from the cosmetology school at our local high school did some beautiful hairdos. Here are the resulting princesses...
Almost immediately after the last guest left, Doodle began to complain that her throat hurt. I figured she was just exhausted and put her to bed a little early. I gave her some Ibuprofen in the middle of the night and by the time we got up, she seemed fine. So we skipped Sunday school so that she wouldn't infect anyone else if she was sick. We did make it to church and had the big girls stay with us in the sanctuary. Doodle's meds wore off in the middle of the service though and I had to take her out. In my defense, you would never know she was sick when she had some ibuprofen in her. So we went ahead with the family party that evening at our house. Here is a picture with the cousins. The first picture I said, "Smile!" and then I let them take a couple silly pictures and then I said, "OK, no smiles." I thought it was pretty funny how they were trying so hard to be serious!

The rest of the week was a pattern of this....Give Doodle some meds at bedtime, she acted fine in the AM. Came home from school and had a fever, repeat. I kept her home one day and the nurse finally called me on Thursday whereupon I finally took her to the urgent care convinced that once we had paid the copay, the healing would begin. It turns out she actually has strep throat. This is the first diagnosed case of strep in our house in ten years! I had thought maybe we were immune. Alas, she is home again today and we are waiting to see who else might get it.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mator Swims

Mator is about to finish her 12th week of swim classes and she has made amazing progress. Part of our ritual is for Mator to hide in a locker (she completely shuts the door) and then I find her. This is all well and good if I am in on the game. It's not really funny when I go to the bathroom and return to find her, well, missing!The first few weeks of class all she did was smile the whole time. I can't believe her cheeks weren't tired. She even smiled as she was swimming across the pool. Things got harder and she doesn't smile all the time but still has a great time. She can now jump off the side with no floaties, turn around and swim back to the side without any help. This will make me feel a lot better, especially after last summer's scare. We were at the pool and she took her life jacket off because she needed to go to the bathroom. As is the prerogative of two year olds (at that time), she quickly changed her mind and wanted to swim again. I left her at the edge of the pool while I went to get the life jacket. I gave her strict instructions: Do not move from this spot. Now, these instructions would have gone a long way with my older two children. I would have expected to find them in the same spot and they would have been there. Not this bird. I reached our chair, picked up her life jacket and turned around. She was gone. I surveyed the 25 or so feet between where I was standing and where I had left her. Mostly there was pool. I immediately looked down into the water and there she was, standing on the bottom of the shallow end, eyes as big as saucers looking up. All of 40 seconds passed between the time I left her side and the time I jumped into the pool and picked her out of the water. She started coughing and crying and spent the rest of that afternoon on my lap.

I wish I could say that it scared her so much she obeyed me from that moment on. But, I can't. I can say that I will feel a LOT better when she is old enough to be on the swim team and tread water and oh yeh-obey!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Doodle Donates

Doodle, my almost six year old, came home from school a few weeks ago ready to cut her hair. This is quite significant. Doodle was born with more hair than Mator had when she was two. The picture above was her first Christmas when she was about 8 months old. Doodle has always been known for her long locks. So it was with a heavy heart that I agreed. Her aunt Andrea reminded us that she might be eligible for "Locks for Love" and that definitely softened the blow for me.

I picked her up from school and we headed over to do the deed. She was VERY excited. I was a little less excited. The whole process was very quick. I actually wish they would have taken off more so it would have been more useful. The stylist just said, is this OK? And I said yes but she could have easily taken four more inches.

Before the cut:
Holding her donated locks one last time...Her pretty new do makes her look so much older!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Our Weekend: Part 2

I know you've been waiting on pins and needles for the second installment of our weekend-so here it is....

On Sunday, we went to church minus one child who had spent the night at a friend's house and went to church with her. That was a first (going to someone else's church without us) but yet again, I am reminded that they grow up so fast!

After rushing home and gobbling up lunch, we headed out the door again to see yet another niece and nephew in the local theater's production of "The Little Mermaid". My niece (Justine) was a "toady" and my nephew (Jared) a sailor. So cute! They both did a terrific job and the play was lots of fun, especially for Mator who wanted her picture taken with every character!

Here is Jared looking like a thoughtful sailor...Justine is the "toady" on the left...
After the show there were autographs and Mator was ready to give Justine her flowers...
The sea witch had fantastic makeup and happened to be very good with the kids too...Here is our toady, Justine, up close...
After this production we headed out to dinner and ice cream to celebrate all of our thespians. And then back to church for the final night of our Easter Cantata. This is a mix of music and drama to bring the Easter story to life. And it is very realistic. Last year (Doodle's first) my then five year old had quite a difficult time with the beating and crucifixion of Christ. I debated whether I should take her out of the sanctuary or not but I finally realized that if she missed the ending part-the resurrection-then she would miss the most important part. Lots of people died on crosses during the Roman's rule-but only one was raised from the dead. That's why we worship Him.

This year she was as "prepared" as she could be but it was still hard for her to sit through parts of it. But then again, shouldn't we all be troubled by the sight of our Savior suffering for us? Doodle's response serves to remind me of the purpose of reliving this difficult time in the life of Christ every Easter, and more often than that! We need to be reminded of the price of our sin as both a deterrent and a reminder of God's grace.

Our Weekend: Part 1

What a weekend! Well, it's only halfway done but we are packing in the fun!

Last night we got to see my oldest niece in her school's production of "The Wizard of Oz". Newsflash to me: my 15 year old niece is all grown up! Wow! She was Dorothy and did an awesome job. Everyone said so. Especially after I would open every conversation with, "Dorothy is my niece. Wasn't she awesome?!" Not surprisingly, no one disagreed!

We got home and were in bed at around 11:30! This is crazy for my kids who are usually in bed by 9:00. So it wasn't too surprising that we slept in late. I decided I was going to try and stay in bed until I got hungry. Well, considering we went to this great Greek restaurant for dinner last night, I stayed in bed until after 9!! I justified this by the fact that my kids went to bed about 3 hours after they usually do so I should get up about three hours after I usually do. It worked for me!

This afternoon we went to Giant Eagle because the Easter bunny was visiting and they had some games and hey, I like Giant Eagle! Here are my cuties with the Giant Eagle brand Easter bunny.

After lunch and some sisterly sparring (purportedly a result of lack of sleep-pshaw!), the kids went outside to play a little. About 15 minutes later, Muffin yells, "Look out the window if you want to see Doodle riding a bike!". So I did. And Muffin, my little 9 year old teacher, had filled in for her lazy parents and taught her almost-six-year-old sister how to ride a two wheeler! And she's off...
Riding into the sunset...another step closer to grown up! Before I know it, she'll be in her own high school musical and I'll be wondering where those years went!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mator's Friends

Mator has some best buddies. Well, truth be told, she's her own best friend. She has been playing in her room with her "Little People" for the last twenty minutes totally engaged and having a ball by herself. But, when she wants some company, she loves to play with these guys. Ethan and Bryce are friends from church and they go to preschool on Wednesdays with Mator. So she sees them Sundays and twice on Wednesdays (school and church again). There is another boy, PJ, whom she also adores. She sees him at church too.

These boys are gems. God didn't give me any boys for a reason, but if he had, I would hope they would be like these three little guys. They give me hope that there are nice boys who are respectful and kind but also manly-men (as far as little boys go).

Here are Ethan, Bryce and Mator on their second day of preschool last September (singing, "If you're happy and you know it")After school that day I took them to Rising park to burn off some energy.Here they are this week at our house. I sent them out to the deck to play and gave them some bubbles. Then Mator came inside and asked for some towels so they could have a "beach party". Sure, that sounds like fun. I was sitting just inside the deck door working on my computer and when I looked out at them, I noticed that they were undressing. Hmmmm, what kind of beach is this?? I let them all go topless (it was 65 degrees!) and they seemed to be OK with that. This is why I just love 3 and 4 year olds-aren't they so cute!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Winter Review of Mostly Doodle

Here are those famous Glitter Angels that made our cheerleading season so much fun! And a special mom (Kathy) and special niece (Justine) that helped so much!
And here's the reason I became a cheerleading coach....Here is my Doodle, perfectly perky and cheery before a game....
And this is my wonderful niece who was such an awesome helper-Justine!

Now that the snow is melted, I feel like I can begin to appreciate its beauty again. I am pretty sure that we had snow (a LOT of it) on the ground for every day of February. Now for Vanessa, my friend that lives practically in the arctic circle, that may not be a big deal. But around here, if we do get a big snow, it is usually gone in a week. I will say, we made the most of this snow! Across the street from our house is my dad's pond. We make this our four season resort. The dam of the pond is a nice little sledding hill and also a fun place to build snowmen.

Here's Justine, Doodle and Muffin with our house in the background. Don't be too confused. The lens can fool you. Our house is a good 400 yards away with a road dividing the property.

My brother got his snowmobiles running too. Here's Andy scaring the life out of Doodle... no wait, she loved it. It was me that was scared. Especially when I hear things like this...
Muffin-"Daddy let me drive the snowmobile and my bottom came OFF the seat when we drove over the driveway."
Doodle-"Daddy only fell off once when it tipped over but I fell off a bunch of times!"
And, to continue the Doodle theme of this post, here she is the night of her school program about dinosaurs. This is her best friend, Faith...
And here she is performing in the program. So stinking cute! And did I mention she had one of the hardest speaking parts? She had words like "evolutionists" and "fossils" and a lot of others that are hard to say in a microphone by yourself. But, after taking a few seconds to adjust the mike, taking a few more to swallow hard, she did an awesome job!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Glitter Angels: Take 2

The Glitter Angels learned a few more cheers and a dance routine! Our last game is this week-it has been a lot of fun to work with these great girls!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Fabulous and 36!

I had a dream birthday last Sunday. It started with being a tad late for church. Now, this is not ideal but I had to print some things to distribute and was a few minutes late for Sunday school. Andy had taken the girls at our regular time and they were already safely perched in their classes. While I was driving to church, Doodle notified her teacher (one of our deacons) that it was my birthday. He took Doodle and her friend on a search for me! He visited every sunday school class informing them that it was my birthday. Needless to say, by the time I arrived, I was greeted with many birthday wishes!

After church I took the girls to visit my father in law in the hospital who is now recovering nicely at home. Andy had a meeting after church. We had a really nice visit as he was feeling much better and the girls were so well behaved.

In the evening, my wonderful husband had managed to independently organize a nice birthday party. Most amazingly, he was able to get the National Football league to play their annual championship game on my birthday-thus allowing the entire country to celebrate my birthday! I enjoyed the great company of my family and the great foods that always includes. Andy even insisted on cleaning the whole place by himself after the party. What a dude!

Here are a couple pictures from the festivities!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Tell me again why honesty is so great?

I was sitting in church and was feeling a little self conscious. I leaned over to my darling nine year old daughter and whispered, "Does my sweater smell funny?" She dutifully took a whiff, looked up at me and whispered back, "No. But your breath does."
It was a rare moment indeed. I found myself alone in the bathroom. And miraculously - there was sudden rush to join me. No one was maimed and bleeding profusely, no one had feelings that were hurt by a sister, no one felt obliged to access the facilities that I was inhabiting (even though we have two other equally lovely facilities in our home). Then, as soon as I had realized the solitude one is entitled to at such times, it was broken. Mator entered the room with one hand full of Polly Pockets and the other full of accessories. She sat down on the floor (because after all, where else would Polly want to hang out?). Then the little angel stands right back up, looks at me accusingly and asks, "Do you want some privacy?". Indeed!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Glitter Angels!

This one is for the Glitter Angels! For those of you who don't know (and will certainly be quite surprised) I am moonlighting as a cheerleading coach. Yes, the pickings were slim for coaches, I know! But I have been blessed with six awesome girls who are so much fun! This video is so that they can practice their cheers at home. It is NOT so that anyone can post funny comments about me being a cheerleader! :-)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Time Keeps on Slippin'...Into the Future

Sometimes it seems that the work around here is never done. Yesterday I was cleaning out our entryway closet where all the shoes congregate. It involves removing three bins of shoes ranging from a child size 9 to a (getting bigger every day) size 4. Next, I sort through them and pull out the shoes that don't fit any more or aren't weather appropriate (crocs are year round though-as far as I'm concerned!). Of those that don't fit, I need to evaluate whether a younger sister will wear them in the future or whether we are done with them. If we are done with them, are they in good enough condition to donate or are they trash? THEN, it's time to sweep out the closet and carefully rearrange the remaining shoes into bins. The picture above shows what the empty, clean closet looks like just after sweeping.

It took 45 seconds for me to vacuum this closet and during that time I experienced a sweeping range of emotions. I started out a little irritated and the thought went through my mind that I had to deal with this mess far more often than I'd like. Then the practical side of me realized that I could probably do this once a month so that it would be cleaner /nicer. And a little bit of prideful indignation started up the back of my throat ("Like I have time for one more commitment!") Then suddenly, I saw that empty floor and a third thought crossed my mind: Someday there won't be any shoes in that closet. Perspective in 45 seconds.