Random Scenes

Other than what I've already written about, this is a recap of the last 30ish days.

Melissa's baby shower was at the end of June, at the Flint Childrens Museum:

We moved! June 30, left for Minnesota vacay the next day.

Two bedroom, two baths- yippee!

We went camping in Newaygo, on the Muskegon River for a weekend.

Practicing our safety drill, if the dam breaks.

Tomatoes started ripening on our porch plants. We ated them all up.

Went to a Christmas in July party at my big sister's house.

Visited the Lansing version of a children's museum, Impression 5 with Artie.

No pictures of those last two because the photographers in question have not sent me any. A-hem!

And we ended July enjoying our new place, the wonderful weather and our clean, organized (mostly) bedroom.


North Woods Vacay

Part two of our Fourth of July vacation was spent at the family place in Wisconsin. Chris's family owns a number of acres on a small private lake about 2 hours from Minneapolis. There are only 4 other homes on the lake. Its very deep- over a 100 feet in someplace, is a loon hang-out and has some pretty nice size bass swimming around in it.

The week was filled with family including Chris's brother James, his fiance Jamie and her 2 daughters, Amber and Aleah (not sure I'm spelling that right) who are 4 and 3.

Upon arriving at the cabin, I took a nap. Shortly after I got up, the girls also got up from their nap. We all sat outside and the girls were kind enough to let me take their photo:

That's Aleah on the left.

Our weekend plans included fireworks both on the ground:

and in the sky

Seems in the sky were more interesting to both Amber and Aleah.

On Friday, Chris and I went for a drive (in search of vodka, as it happens) and visited Crex Meadows where wild rice grows, well wild!

This is also a good place to bird watch and we did seem some geese and small birds but no swans or loons. We also came upon some deer. Deer that did not care how close we were. This photo was from about 10 feet away.

And this one, about 5 feet away (different deer):

On Saturday, we kayaked the St. Croix river. No pictures though- the waterproof case for my camera costs more than all my existing equipment.

After kayaking, we did some sailing:

In case you are wondering, its a model. Chris's dad built this over 20 years ago. It hadn't been sailed in at least 10 years. James took out the old servos and replaced them.



Chris and I are on vacation in Minnesota/Wisconsin this week. Today, we tooled around Minneapolis with Adam. Essentially this trip is a sale pitch from Chris- trying to convince me that we should move to Minneapolis after he finished law school.

We ate lunch at a little seafood place then checked out the waterfall:

Adam took a very nice picture of Chris & I:

Then he borrowed this bike from an oblivious kid renting them out:

Tomorrow is ?? eventually followed by the drive up to Wisconsin.


Traverse City Wedding

Up in Traverse for the weekend wedding of Tim and Alice Retzinger.

The wedding was Sunday afternoon at Ah-ga-ming golf course, just north of Elk Rapids.

The view during the ceremony:

James and mom:

The Schrader Boys, Chris, James and Jon:

Jon & Windy break it down:

James misses Jamie:


Weekend Warriors

This weekend, Chris went sailing...

This was his ship. He hoped to fly 300 kilometers but the weather did not hold up in the afternoon.

While he was flying, I was looking at

at Hidden Lake Gardens in Tipton, MI.

Afterwards, we drove in to Ann Arbor and had dinner, explored, ate some ice cream, etc.



Chris and I went for a walk on the Lansing Rivertrail today. It was in the mid-60s and sunny. We saw a robin. All signs of spring but none so pretty as this:


Same ol' same ol'

I don't really have any new pictures today but I've been cleaning up and editing my stock and decided to post two pictures from last summer.

I recently bought the new edition of Photoshop Elements so I've been tweaking a few things and trying the techniques in my photo magazines.

This is an old iron smelter in Hancock, Michigan. Viewed from the Houghton side of the Portage River, its not much to see but get a little closer and you will feel the pull of your inner explorer. Apparently the city is aware of this desire to explore and they have fenced in the entire complex with warnings of asbestos danger.

Before editing:

After editing:

Just west of Hancock is McLain State Park. I went out there several times during my June trip, hoping to catch an awesome sunset. I took pictures each time but as I was leaving, I felt I'd missed the prime opportunities. The lighting was never where I wanted it, the clouds were too heavy, etc. I may have been wrong- you just have to take a second look sometimes.


After edits:


Finally, I can talk!

Congrats Melissa and Tarik!


Jump for Joy

I went to Flint on Saturday and spent a little time with overly cute family. The kids received a trampoline from Santa this year. Toby assures me he mailed Santa a thank-you note. Jonquil assures me he did not.

Toby also gave me a wonderful tour of the kitchen, explaining the stove, refrigerator and dishwasher. He also showed me Rosa's igloo and her stuffed frog. We tried to turn the frog in to a Prince (or Princess!) but to no avail.

For those that remember, Toby loved his bouncy-chair thing as a baby. I mean LOOOOOVED that thing. And he still likes to jump. He has a whole routine worked out on his trampoline:


Channeling Stevie Wonder (must see in person to truly understand)

At the speed of Light:

Rosa also got in on the bouncing action although a much simpler routine.

Speaking of Rosa, she's not a baby anymore! How did this happen since I saw her the first of January?!?! She'll be 18 months old on February 14 and has definitely moved in to toddler phase. She has also apparently moved in to pinching and biting phase. I was never a victim of this as she prefers family blood.

Welcome to the wonderful world of time-outs:


Videos of Isaac

Goofing around with Isaac:

Fun with toothbrushes, dancing. Oh yeah, and the dog. Hmmm....


You trust me with your kids?

Sooooo, Becky and Brian came for a visit last Friday and left Isaac in my care (with the assistance of Chris) for awhile while they visited Kathy and her new baby.

I immediately felt bad because Isaac figured out my TV in about 10 seconds. And I knew Becky had, early on, been trying to keep Isaac from even knowing what a TV is. Turns out my worrying was for naught since he's already figured out electronics at their house.

The most important lesson Isaac has learned: never give up control of the remote! Take it in the bathroom if necessary.

Turns out Isaac also likes to rock out to the music, really really loud. No surprise since I always figured his parents were a couple of headbangers.

I took some video this night too including some funny stuff involving a toothbrush but it will have to wait for another night.

In other news:
Isaac knows baby signs! Even more surprising, I know baby signs!! Having seen Toby do it, I recognized Isaac signing more after he finished his milk.

We survived the night and my cats survived an entire weekend with the other Spratke child, Mr. Blue.

Don't forget to floss....


Girl's Night with One Special Guy

Becky invited a few of us girls for an overnight visit with promises of wine, warm fire and the attentions of a little cutie with lots of affection. She had me at hello!

The weather threatened to put a damper on things- it was so cold and Dawn had long drive with cruddy roads but we made both made it to Grand Rapids for an afternoon of shopping before returning to the house to start dinner.

I made this tasty dish of Wild Mushroom Cream Sauce over Pasta which we had along with a yummy fresh salad. And, for an appetizer- some addictive guacamole and chips!

Oh and wine. A lot of wine. In front of the fire. It was just like Becky promised. The affectionate cutie even stayed up late to entertain us.

The next morning, Becky, Dawn and I sat around and chit-chatted. Isaac even sat at the table with us and laughed right along almost like he knew what we were saying. Later, we played in the living room.

Don't tell mom what I'm doing:

Kids sure do move fast



As a thank-you gift to Chris's mom, for allowing me to stay in her home over Christmas, I made a scrapbook album. A few samples: