Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The stay-ers

Being part of a college community means that we encounter turnover every year.

We get attached to wonderful student babysitters, and then they graduate. We get close to co-workers, so close that we consider many of them our "family" here, and then most of them move away after a few years. Though we still love living in this place, we are one of the few remaining "originals" in our circle of friends, which is why I nicknamed us "the stay-ers" above.

We've had many hard goodbyes in our years here, but one of the hardest occurs today . . .

I met Jody when I was a college sophomore, and though there is an age difference of 20 years between us, we instantly hit it off, and have been close friends ever since. Jody's husband, Dave, was Eric's boss and mentor long before Eric and I were even friends. I used to babysit Dave and Jody's kids; now their daughter babysits mine. =) Dave and Jody played a role when Eric and I started dating, at our engagement, and they even hosted our rehearsal dinner. We've been through a lot together over the past 13 years, so needless to say, it was a blow when they announced that they would be re-locating this summer.

I took a literature class several years ago that focused on the ways that people shape places, and the ways that places shape us. I think one of the things that has shaped us personally is that Eric and I have been the stay-ers. Moving away is obviously full of its own difficulties. But sometimes staying is, too. When I think about these dear friends leaving, and about some of the other dear ones who've already gone, it makes my heart ache. We wish you the best, Dave and Jody, but we will sure miss you around here!

What has been your experience--have you more often been the mover or the stay-er?

The photo shows Jody meeting newborn Natalie!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Vacation, part 6: the 4th of July

Whew, I had to put together one final vacation post to highlight the 4th of July. The weather was perfect this year, and we had a wonderful day.

We started the day with these flag waffles, inspired be a feature on MSM. Cute!
In addition to all of the usual lake activities, one of the families on the lake was selling elephant ears and sno cones as a fundraiser for a ministry in Africa. It was hard to turn down such yummy treats, especially for such a good cause! The kids also enjoyed an ice cream cone:Later in the day, we took part in the annual boat parade, and of course we watched fireworks. It was a wonderful day to celebrate freedom, faith and family!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Vacation, part 5: the lake

Eric's parents have a cottage on a lake, and they spend every summer there. We are blessed to go for a couple of weeks each year. Our kids love the lake, and all the fun activities we get to do there. Here is just a sampling: Boating, fishing, trampoline, and tubing! Nathan even tried to water ski--he did a great job, but he was not happy. We'll try again next year!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Vacation, part 4: anniversary!

Eric and I have celebrated all but one of our anniversaries in Michigan. It's been wonderful having grandparents who are willing to watch our children while we get away, and it's fun to explore new places together!

This year, we headed to two different beach towns on Lake Michigan, and our first stop was this:
Eric talked me into going on a sand dune schooner ride. I wasn't so sure about it at first, but it was really fun, and definitely unlike anything I've done before!

We walked around the towns a little bit, and I couldn't resist snapping this photo since it was pretty close to being accurate for us =):
We borrowed bikes from Eric's parents, and enjoyed riding along a shady trail. Because we were in the blueberry capital of the world, we had to stop and pick some berries to bring home with us. They were sweet and delicious, and just $1.25 a pound! The stand was also selling blueberry hand pies, which made for another tasty treat.
After all the walking and riding, it was nice to have some downtime at the beach. I only braved getting my feet wet, but Eric dove in! We had a nice dinner outside at a little Italian restaurant, and ended the evening by attending an outdoor concert on the harbor. The weather was perfect, and it was fun to watch the boats going in and out.
Thanks to our family for giving us a fun day away! Happy anniversary, Eric. I love you!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Vacation, part 3: family

We definitely missed our California cousins this summer, but Nathan, Addison and Natalie had a great time together! Here are a couple pix of them enjoying one another's company:I insisted that we get a family photo while we were at the lake. In dozens of shots, we never had all 4 of us smiling nicely and not blinking. This was the best one--and while it's not bad, I wish Nathan wouldn't have been pouting!The kids loved playing with baby Brylee--what a sweetie!Here's a fun shot of the group gearing up for fireworks on the 4th--this includes Eric's parents, brother and sister, and two (wonderful!) aunts.I have two more vacation posts to go--one about our anniversary getaway, and the other about our lake activities.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Vacation, part 2: Grandpa

I'm sure many of you will remember that Eric's grandma passed away in January. Well, 3 weeks ago, the day we left for Michigan, Eric's grandfather also went to be with Jesus. We rejoice that he is in heaven, but of course it is sad to say goodbye to him here on earth.

Here is a picture that Eric and his siblings took with Grandpa when we were together in January:And here's a shot from when Nathan met his Great-Grandpa:
The funeral was a wonderful testament to Grandpa's faith, generosity and many professional accomplishments. Once again, Eric's cousin put together a beautiful photo slideshow set to Steve Green's song, "Find Us Faithful," and I don't think there was a dry eye. We are grateful for a heritage of faith!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Vacation, part 1: friends

Whew--we've traveled many miles in the last couple of weeks. And while it was very good to have a change of pace and scenery, it's true that there's no place like home!

I have tons of pictures to share, and if you can stand it =), I've organized them into 5 different posts, which I'll share over the next couple of weeks.

First up, it was great to see three wonderful friends along the way. En route to Michigan, we stopped in Chicago to have a delicious breakfast with my beloved friend Mandi. (Monkey bread with a side of berries, woot woot!) The time was short but sweet. Love you, girl!While we were in MI, it was fun to meet up with my blog friend Tracy for the second time. We had a nice lunch outside--and just in time--as we got caught in torrential rain! We made quite the memory together, didn't we, Tracy?! Eric's mom had told me about a kids' consignment shop near our lunch spot that was having a one-day sale, so we had our picture taken in there due to the rainstorm.Finally, it was really fun to stay overnight with my friend, Rachael, on our way home. She was a very gracious hostess, giving up her bed, playing with our kiddos, serving up cinnamon rolls, and catering to my desire for an insider's tour of this huge campus where she works.
If you've read my blog for any amount of time, you know our family is spread from coast to coast. Our friends are, as well, and it's always a treat to spend time with those we don't see regularly.