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June 2008
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August 2008

Oh, how the years fly by

    Today is my oldest son's 16th birthday, and I am amazed.  Where did the time go?  He can't be this old!  It seems like just yesterday that I held him for the first time - and fell in love.   Luke was an incredibly easy baby (well, once he was on the outside!), and the thing I remember most about his infancy is how much we laughed.  All those funny baby faces, the cute little noises, how utterly adorable he looked in his little-boy outfits - having a baby was fun!  Who knew?   Of course he still filled his diapers and spit up on everything in sight, but even that was okay.  He was ours, and we loved him. 
    Sixteen years later, that fun, easy baby is a fun, easy teenager with a great sense of humor, a sharp mind, and a big heart.  Luke is a wonderful young man in every way.  I love the conversations we have; he is a deep thinker, very insightful, and frequently surprises me with his observations or opinions on various subjects.  His faith is strong and he's not afraid to show it.  My friends with little children love Luke because he's so very patient and caring with their little ones.   All in all, he's a pretty neat kid!
    So Luke, happy 16th birthday, buddy!  We are so very proud of you and the person you're becoming.  We love you! 
Luke at ballgame  

The pool is UP!!

    Yeeeeee-haw!!!  Yes sirree, we have us a POOL!  Assembled and containing water, even!  Can we declare a national holiday?  (please....we need some rest!)  Jon's sister and her husband and kids came to visit us and in the true spirit of family togetherness, we put them to work.  Between us we got the pool wall up, sand appropriately distributed, liner in and arranged, all the various bits and pieces put where they belong, and started filling the beast.  Mind you, it will be a couple days before it's actually full - we don't want to blow up the well pump - but it's a real pool with water in it.  We thought this day would never come.
     Now, of course, we have to start with all the chemicals and junk, so the water doesn't stay its current peculiar shade of greenish-brown (or worse); hook up the filter/pump/etc.; build a small deck or at the least a little flight of stairs so we can get in the thing; and wait for it to warm up.  I enjoy swimming, but I enjoy it a lot more when I'm not turning a lovely shade of icy blue.  As you almost certainly already know,  well water is COLD, and I'm a wimp.  So it'll be a couple days before I dip my dainty toes in there.  The kids may not be able to wait that long, though. 
    I would love to show pictures, but right now it's not particularly attractive (see earlier reference to water color) and....ummm....I can't find the camera.  I know it's here somewhere, I do, but the specific location eludes me.  So please imagine, if you will, a 27-foot round pool, 52" deep, in a lovely expanse of green lawn.  There are smiling adorable children frolicking in the crystal clear  water, while their lovely and slender mother watches indulgently from the deck of their spotlessly clean house.  Isn't that nice?  Don't you just wish you were there?   Yeah, me too.  (Hey, I did say "imagine"!!)   And now, back to reality....where is that darn camera?!?

Flashbacks and gratitude

     As I've mentioned before (a few dozen times!) my sister is getting married in August.  So early this week I traveled to Ohio for her bridal shower.  As the matron of honor I was technically responsible for the shindig, but fortunately there were other more shower-gifted people involved.  I pretty much showed up with gifts and made chicken salad.  Ta-da!  Everything went off without a hitch, and Melinda was given some pretty wonderful gifts to use in her new life.  She and Mark both love to cook (sick!) so most of the items on their registry list were kitchen-related - and wow, did people come through!  They got one of those monster Kitchen Aid mixers, about a half-dozen different muffin pans, a deep fryer you could put a cat in, an enormous griddle....the list goes on and on.  She was ecstatic, and Mom was just a tad envious!  :-) 
     During the shower I didn't really have time to think about it, but since I've been home I've realized that most of the people there were at my bridal shower, almost 21 years ago.  There was a bit of deja vu to the whole event for me.  I remember specific gifts from various people - some we're still using! - and I also remember the laughter and teasing that went on while I was opening everything.  It was a fun time, and I hope that 20 years from now Melinda has the same fond memories of her shower.     
     One of the things we did at the shower was ask everyone to write a few "words of wisdom" on an index card for Melinda as a new bride.  It was interesting how many commented on the fact that we'd had an excellent example of a good marriage in our parents.  (Mom was in tears at one point.)  It was certainly true - Mom and Dad were married for 43 years and were truly partners.  But it also made me think about just why so many people showed up for our showers and weddings, and were so very generous to Melinda and I.  I'm sure that much of it is simply because these are family and friends who truly love us and want to see us happy, but I think that many people were also motivated by a tremendous love and respect for our parents.  Mom and Dad have been such a blessing to so many people in different ways that I believe those people wanted to return the blessing through us.  Now if Mom reads this, she'll just shake her head and say "Oh, no, they just love you and Melinda, it's nothing to do with us."  Well, sorry, Mom, but I don't agree.  They may love us, but they love and honor you and Dad, and we're just blessed to have had your example all these years.  Melinda may have received some pretty nifty stuff at this shower, but I think we both got the big gift years ago, when God gave us you for parents.  Thank you.

We have level!

    Do you believe it?  And it only took a month!  (cough cough)  It's true!  As of this morning, we have finally completed leveling the pool site and placing the pavers that support the pool wall.  Yay!!  In fact, hubby just checked the whole shebang with the laser level, and across a 27' pool, it's only 1/4" off from one side to the other.  Personally I think that's pretty darn good.  Better than the Leaning Tower of Pisa, right? 
     Jon has been off since last Wednesday afternoon, so we've have a busy, fun and productive few days.  We took the kids to the Detroit Science Center one day, which was really cool.  All sorts of hands-on things to explore, plus a planetarium, an electricity show, and a very neat exhibit about pirates and treasure ships.  On the 4th we went into town to meet some friends for dinner, then hung out and watched fireworks.  Isn't it funny how you never get tired of that?  I've been watching fireworks for years and I still enjoy them.  We've also done a ton of yard work, and - of course - leveled the pool site.  Woohooo!   Jon and I are both sunburned and sore, but very satisfied with our weekend's work. 
     A quick backtrack to the 4th - I do enjoy the fireworks and cookouts and all the rest, but now I appreciate the significance of the holiday much more.  We as Americans are very fortunate - we have rights and privileges that much of the rest of the world will never experience.  Our country is far from perfect - after all, a country is people, and we are far from perfect - but as far as I'm concerned, we've got the best thing going.   I truly am proud to be American!