Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fathers Day, Quantity Time!

  Thinking about the dads in my life.  I'm with neither of them today.  Mark has taken M. to his second football camp of the summer, so they are gone for the day.  My own dad lives 800 miles away, but I will see him in two short weeks. 
  When I was little, we lived in the small town that my dad grew up in.  My dad spent time with us.  What I remember most fondly, were Saturday mornings!  It would be just the two of us.  I would run errands with him.  We would bring the trash to the dump.  This was a fascinating adventure!!  A busy place, with mountains of trash, and birds circling overhead.  Then, off to pick up donuts and a newspaper.  I think the name of the place was "Honey~Dew".  Often times we would stop at my grandmothers who lived just across town.  Another busy place!!  My dad had 1 older brother and 5 younger brothers, so something was always going on there!  He'd have a cup of coffee and catch up.  I'd find a cousin, uncle, or neighbor to run off outside with.  In the summer we would spend the afternoon washing the car.  I don't ever remember my dad bringing the car to a car wash!  It cost money, that (at the time) they didn't have a lot of.  Plus, nobody could get a car "shining like new money", like my dad could!!  He worked in auto body for years.  First doing, then teaching.  He had a red, 1970, Cutlass Convertible.   I would scrub white walls, rinse off soapy water and "turtle wax" the chrome.  He'd tell me, "You just ain't cool if your chrome don't shine!"
This wasn't ours, but looks a lot like it.  Ours had a black rag top.
  He often had to work a second job, but it was out of necessity.  If he had painted a car during the week, I would get to go to Morris' shop, (don't even remember the name of the shop, but I remember his bosses name) and help him peel paper and tape off of the car.  I loved this.  He made me feel as if I were really helping.  It smelled of bondo in there.  I love the smell of bondo!  Often times my uncle and cousin would be there.  My cousin and I would explore the shop, and since it was a weekend, nobody would be there.  It was a spooky place to a couple of five year old kids, a rambling old building on the edge of the woods. 
  When I got older, he would often work on a car in our garage at home.  But it was in these everyday activities that a father/daughter relationship grew.  Conversations were had.  It wasn't planned.  We didn't have to "do something".  But in everyday life, he made his children a part of it. 
  These are the qualities that I love in my husband.  We do things together!  It could be as mundane as going to Sam's Club, and Mark would say we go "As a family!"  Obviously, as the kids get older, it gets more challenging.  But we do our best to make it a priority.  I don't buy the "Quality Time" theory.  Try telling that to someone you've just started dating.  Don't you want to spend as much time with them as possible?  It's not about going to an expensive restaurant, it's about being with them.  Sharing life!
Me and my dad! And a little B!  ;)   (A while back!!)
  We are given a very short amount of time with our children, a small window of opportunity to make an impact on their lives.  (And it goes by fast!!)  I'm glad my dad made time for me!
My boys dad!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Strawberry Fields Forever!

  Summer vacation!  Tomorrow is the first full day.  This past year, I have had two of my guys still learning at home. With M. in public school, I'm excited to have a little more of his time now that break is here!  It's a bittersweet summer.  Next September I will be sending B. off to public High School.  I'm going to miss B., so I want to make sure that we make the best of the summer!  (despite all of our crazy schedules)
  Today was a family outing that marks the beginning of summer.  Strawberry picking!!!  I love seeing how different activities have turned into tradition.  The kids expect to kick off the summer this way.  It wouldn't seem right if we didn't do it.  Our first year, M. hated strawberries.  However, he had only tasted the ones in the grocery store, that had been picked green and left to ripen on a shelf.  Sitting in a field full of berries, ripened by the sun was a whole new thing! Sweet, juicy, and he couldn't stop eating them!!  It was warm today, but not too hot, blue skies and a breeze.We spent the afternoon picking way too many strawberries!  The first season we went picking, we had so much fun, (and the weather was similar to today's), that we just kept picking!  (I don't know what I was thinking!)  When we finally had them weighed, I just about choked when he told me my bill came to $75.00 worth of those ripe, red berries!!  It seemed like a good idea at the time!  We are experienced pickers now, and are far more self controlled.  We leave the strawberry fields with red stained lips, fingers, bottoms and knees.  A perfect afternoon made better only by a trip to the local dairy freeze for some soft serve.
The fist step in a successful berry picking trip, is testing the product to ensure it meets standards.

Poor attempt at self portrait, esp. when I'm not looking at the camera! 
But I thought the reflection in the glasses was cool!

Looking for good ones.

Our job is to fill the box!

Dear Santa, please bring me a REAL camera for Christmas!!

B. lost in the fields.  I had to keep them from whipping the rotten ones at each other!

It's exciting when you find the perfect, plump, red berry!

Our reward!

  Later I will scour the Internet for strawberry recipes.  Breakfast on our first camping trip of the season is already planned.  Pancakes with homemade strawberry syrup!  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  (By the end of the week the kids are begging for scrambled eggs!)  Welcome summer!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Happy Birthday to ME!!!!

  May 20th...
    I've had 3 birthday surprises today and it's not even my birthday yet!!  I'm like a kid!  It's my birthday week.  I don't care that I'm getting older.  I like who I am much more than who I was.  So, let me tell you about the surprises I got today...
  It's always fun to get a surprise in the mail.  I came home from running errands to find that the mailman had dropped off a brown box on the front doorstep.  My mom always sends my gift along with E's at the same time.  Our birthdays are within days of each other.  Inside were 2 gift bags.  Mine was obviously the more "girly" of the two.  Now, really, do you think I can wait over a week to open it?!  Heck no!!  Inside were two books on canning.  These are good things as I've been wanting to learn!  I was a typical suburban kid, raised far from a farm and the canning rituals that went along with it.
  After opening my gift, I left to pick up M. from school.  On the ride home, he announced that he had to give me my birthday gift early for fear the dog might chew it!  Really?!  What on earth could he have gotten me?  Pig ear?  Rawhide?  I'm not Shania Twain, but I think I'm kinda cute!  But, whatever, I get to open another present early!!  When we got home, he pulled a paper bag from his backpack.  Now I'm wondering, when did they start selling rawhide at the school store?  Out of the bag I pulled a carved wooden coyote, decoratively painted in bright colors!  (no coyote comments please!)   Apparently the Mexican artist who creates these wonderful pieces came into his Spanish class today.  Very cool stuff!  M. said he thought it looked "artsy fartsy" enough that I would like it.  (I really don't think the dog would have chewed it, I think he just wanted to give it to me.)
  Later in the evening I got a call from my friend Lena.  She and her husband Mike had just seen a great play at the Purple Rose Theater in Chelsea.  Mark and I were to have joined them but due to budget constraints, had to bow out.  Lena raved about the play, and insisted she take me for my birthday!  Am I lucky to have such good friends, or what???

...Fast forward, Birthday!!!!
   I really did have a great day!  I awoke and went about my usual routine.  After checking emails, I hopped over to fb.  Your birthday really is the most fun day on face book, am I right?  Fun to read through all the well wishes from family and friends.  E. stumbled downstairs and into the office.  I was showered with kisses and lilacs picked fresh from the garden!  (They sit right beside me on my desk in my favorite coffee mug.)  He then headed off to the kitchen to make me breakfast.  B. gave me the gift of a clean room.  (Trust me, this is a treasured gift!)  The boys share a room, and nobody knows how to de-clutter like B.!!
  After breakfast I slipped out of the house for a pedicure.  Really no better way to start any day than to sit in the massage chair and have a stranger rub your feet!  Then headed off to lunch with Lena.  Great, leisurely meal at the Common Grill.  Two glasses of cabernet later, we headed off to The Purple Rose theater to see "Some Couples May".  Great show!!  It would be really nice to do that once a month.  Perfect girls day out.
  When I got home, Mark had a card with a lotto ticket in it.  Apparently, he and E. had watched  a program on lotto winners, and since it was my Birthday, I was sure to win!!  (I think I'm supposed to sleep with it under my pillow!)  Along with a copy of Michigan Blue, with a campfire on the cover.  Does he know me or what!?  Later that evening, my guys took me out to dinner.  To spend the evening uninterrupted, just us, was gift enough. 
My point with this post?  Nothing but to express my thanks and gratitude for family and friends that love me!  I am very fortunate.  Do I have issues with the passing of time?  Nah!  I'm pretty happy with who I've become and the life I have.  Thanks everyone!!  Happy Birthday to me!!

P.S.  I didn't win lotto!!