Thursday, June 30, 2011

You Capture - Water

Beth's You Capture subject this week is water and that really worked out for me on several levels.

First we went to a birthday party near Coldwater, Michigan where the kids and some of the adults spent a fair amount of time floating and playing in the water.

Then there was all kinds of activity going on in our koi pond this week. There's no accurate way to predict when it will happen, but Monday morning a spawning finally occurred. If you've never seen a koi spawning, you're really missing out because it's spectacular. The fish fly around the pond bumping and jumping and turning the water into a varitable cauldron of water, plants, and fish. You can hear the splashing in the house with the doors and windows closed. You'd probably be hard-pressed to pick the fish out of this picture but, trust me, they're in there.

By late yesterday evening, peace was restored and once again the pond was calm and quiet.

During the day, I wasn't the only one watching the show.

And now the plants with fertilized eggs firmly attached to their roots, float quietly in the small annex pond where no fish can feast on them. (Koi seem to consider their fertilized eggs the ultimate delicacy.)

For more water pictures, visit Beth at I Should Be Folding Laundry.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Walgreens Medicine Cabinet Makeover

Back in April I wrote this post where I talked about a film crew and a gift basket. Here's what it was all about.

After our 6 children were grown and busily producing our 19 and one-on-the-way grandchildren and our 2 and one-on-the-way great grandchildren, we realized that we'd allowed our medicine cabinet to become an entity of its own. It grew and grew and became more and more unmanageable.

We were reluctant to throw anything away because as we all know, emergencies can happen at any time and then who knows what we might need out of there. So whenever we needed anything, we pretty much went and bought it and blissfully avoided getting rid of things that should have been gotten rid of. After all, can I emphasize it enough? You never know what might come in handy in an emergency.
Not surprisingly our medicine cabinet became unorganized and chaotic and we realized it was time to address the problem.

A few months ago, a film crew and Walgreens Pharmacist visited our house to do a medicine cabinet makeover. Here are the results:

How awesome that we were left with lots of good information - like how to dispose of outdated drugs, and why it's not a good idea to hold onto outdated products. On top of that, we scored some great products that empty nesters and full nesters alike shouldn't be without. Here's what we got: A Quick Read Thermometer, Antibiotic Bandages, SPF 55 Sheer Sunscreen, a huge bottle of Liquid (Children's) Ibuprofen, 81 mg Aspirin, a cold pack, Wal Zyr Allergy Tablets, Epsom Salts, a blood pressure monitor, Omeprazole Acid Reducer tablets, and a nighttime sleep aid.

And this is what you can get, too. Walgreens is giving this gift basket to one lucky reader. Leave a comment, tweet about this post, or mention it in Facebook. Any one of these actions will garner an entry. If you do all three, leave three comments telling me so.

This giveaway will end Friday evening, July 1st at 9 p.m.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Happy Birthday, Jeremy

And the third birthday in our trifecta of birthdays on June 26th is Jeremy's. Jeremy is our 9th grandchild and our 6th grandson. I first wrote about him on his birthday last year and you can read it here. Jeremy was born in 1999 so he's 12 years old today. Last night I did a short phone interview with him. Here's how it went.

Are you excited to be turning twelve tomorrow? Yeah, even though it means more responsibility.
How? I mean like more grown up chores like helping moor the boat and stuff.
What do you like best about turning twelve? The fact that I'm getting older.
Do you like school? It's not my favorite thing in the world but some subjects can be fun. I'd rather be out here camping and fishing like we are right now any day though.
What's your favorite subject and why? Science because you're learning about things deeper in the earth like the crust, mantle, and core. Science is actually a hard subject to define.
If you had to decide right now what you'll be when you grow up, what would it be? I'm not sure. Maybe a cook? I like to make general things like macaroni and pizza but I'm not up to the level where I could make a whole turkey or anything.
Are you active in any sports? Yeah. My baseball season just ended but I still have Fall Ball and next year to look forward to. In the meantime I will miss it though.
What's your favorite leisure activity? Fishing and biking in the woods. I haven't been hunting yet but I'm pretty sure that would be kind of fun, too.
I also like to play video games and my favorites are Army games like War.
Do you see yourself joining the military someday? No.
Are you doing anything special for your birthday? We're staying here at the campgrounds and having a party. I'm planning to teach Jack how to fish; and I'll play with my cousins, nephews, and aunts & uncles.
How do you like having so many cousins? I love it! Do you have a favorite? No, I like them all the same.

Do you like being such a young uncle? Yes. Does it seem unusual to you? Honestly, I think it is. It's not the rarest thing in the world but none of my friends are uncles yet. I do have a friend who is an aunt though.
What musical instrument do you play and do you think you might be a musician some day? I play the trumpet. I'm going to play it through high school and maybe join Marching Band or something like that.
What's your favorite holiday and why? The Fourth of July because it's not only the birthday of our country but we are always camping then and we ride around on golf carts and throw candy to anyone waiting for it.
What else is interesting about you that I've forgotten to ask about? I like looking over lakes and water because it's so peaceful and relaxing. Also, I'm more of an outdoorsman. My friend and I go exploring in the woods and bike riding and we even made our own bows once that really worked. Also I love animals - especially dogs.
In conclusion, we want to wish a very happy birthday to one of our most amazing, wonderful grandsons.
Happy Birthday, Jeremy. We hope it's the best one yet!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Happy Birthday, Teresa

Teresa's birthday is Part 2 in our trifecta of birthdays on June 26th. She became part of our family a little over seventeen years ago and we've loved her from the moment we first met her. It had to be somewhat daunting to suddenly become a member of such a large family and we'll find out more about that in the interview that I'm going to post here. But first, I'll point back to the post I did last year about our two daughters-in-law. In reading it over, I realize how much it says about what special women these 'daughters' are. We're truly blessed.

Now for the interview:
You first joined our family over 17 years ago and we loved you from the start; but how did you feel about becoming part of such a large family? I was very nervous on the drive up to meet you all for the first time but I'll never forget the huge hug that you and Dad were so nice to greet me with. All of my fears disappeared and from that moment on, I felt like a part of the family. It's been amazing to be a part of such an awesome family ever since.

Do you like being an Army wife? Most of the time yes.

What are some of the pros? I love the traditions and ceremonies in the Army and that it allows us to explore new places and gain new friends. My favorite place was Hawaii (with Colorado a close second). Not only because of its beauty and climate but because Dan and I really had to go it alone for the first time in our married lives. Not to mention I enjoy seeing Dan in that uniform every day. Woohoo!!
And cons? Definitely the deployments. All of them are tough but when he was deployed while we were in Louisiana and Hurricane Katrina hit - that had to be one of the hardest. (Thank God he was on his way home shortly after.) I also miss being close to family sometimes when things get a little overwhelming.

You've definitely gone through some ups and downs over the years, what were the most challenging moments and can you share some of the highlights? The most challenging would be being a new wife and mom at a very young age, being a single mom to three on occasion, going back to school in my thirties, and sending my husband off to war just to name a few. The highlights would have to be meeting and marrying the love of my life, the blessing of experiencing pregnancy three times and having the cutest babies ever, being able to be a part of one of the biggest families I know of, and actually getting to be a part of Army life. It's allowed me to experience so many different things.

Thanks to the Army you've lived in lots of different places while Dan was deployed. Which did you find most conducive to living through a deployment? It's actually a tie between two places. Although not exactly a favorite because I knew what he was going into but I would probably have say his first deployment to Iraq. At that time we lived in Ft. Stewart and so did Dave & Patty and their kids. It was good to have family there and I think it helped the boys to have their cousins right across the playground. It helped me to have Patty and little Katie too! The bonds between neighbors and the support groups were incredible. I'll never forget that. The other would be in Louisiana when he got home from his second deployment to Iraq and we got pregnant with our little girl.

You seem to excel at everything you attempt from school to homemaking to mothering and being a loving and supportive wife. How do you wear so many hats and wear them so well? First of all, thank you! I don't feel like I always have my 'hats' on straight but I think the Army life and the deployments we've been through, give me a good perspective. I want to do the best I can each day that I am given - no matter what might be going on. Dan and the kids are my world and I want to do all that I can for each of them.

What are your favorite family activities? Any time that we can all be together is always such a blessing to me after going through 5 deployment. I would have to say that my favorite activity would be dinner time. We always sit at the table together, share our days and laugh so much it hurts! Sometimes we'll even go downstairs with our food and watch Wipe Out which is always a blast!

So what's your idea of a perfect vacation? Well, this is going to sound silly but my family hasn't had many vacations in our time together. This past April we went to Disney World; and for the first time, we were together and away and did nothing but play for a whole week. It was absolutely perfect.

Grant seems to really embrace the ROTC program and really shines in that domain. How would you feel about him joining the military some day? I'll be honest and say that my worries have kicked in already but I have accepted it. I think it's heartwarming that he has enjoyed this life of ours in the military and that he seems to have a true gift for it just like his dad. Of course I might have to call you from time to time for some advice - it's one thing to have a husband in the Army, it's a whole other thing to have a son there.

Where do you see you and Dan settling some day? Back here in Indiana with us right? lol Lol! You never know! I think we would really like to stay in Colorado. We love our house and the abundance of activities available here. We also don't mind seeing those beautiful mountains right outside our windows everyday.
What do you plan to do on your birthday? Tonight my wonderful husband has made reservations for just the two of us at one of my favorite Italian restaurants, Zios'. Tomorrow we're going to hit the pool, maybe have a picnic and then Dan will grill something fabulous for dinner AND make and decorate a cake for me, which happens to be my favorite part because he's so good at it and it's usually something really funny and cute! I just love that we'll be together this year. :)

What have I failed to ask about that we might find interesting about you? This is a hard one! Hmmm, well I actually love to move every 2 to 3 years because it gives me a chance to experience new things and I love change. I also love to crochet and am currently working on two baby blankets for two very special little babies waiting to come into the family. And I love to run but not outside like everyone else. I am addicted to the treadmill! I should be a professional organizer and maybe someday when I grow up, that's what I'll be. And, I secretly love to cook but don't tell anybody because then my family will expect me to make fancy stuff and that's too much pressure!

Teresa is also looking forward to having a senior and freshman in high school and a kindergartener; having a 'normal' family life since Dan will be home; and she's training to do something called the 'Incline'. It's located in Manitou Springs - just one mile up but it gains 2000 feet of vertical by way of 2800 railroad ties. Then it's a 4 mile stroll (or run) back down the Barr Trail's switchbacks.
And let me add that when it comes to formals and great taste in fashion, Teresa is unsurpassed. She's gorgeous for every military ball and function and I know Dan's always proud to wear her on his arm.
So Happy Birthday, Teresa! I hope it's the best one yet. I could find hundreds more pictures to include and dozens of heartwarming stories but they'll have to wait for next year's post. For now, we're blessed to have you in our family. You're loving, sweet, understanding, kind, and beautiful; and you deserve a birthday extraordinaire!

Happy, Happy Birthday!