Vacation (#1) 2012 – First Half

First a quick life update – I left ADM 3 months ago and am now working for McCormick & Company in South Bend, IN. That is all.

Our summer vacation was pretty fantastic. After swimming at my parents’ place and eating lunch, we drove out to Berlin, PA on Saturday (July 14) and spent the night with Dad’s Aunt Mary Jane at her family’s dairy farm. She treated us to breakfast (and her usual wonderful hospitality) and we visited the calf pens before heading out to Akron, PA. We visited Dad’s recently-widowed Aunt Gladys Sunday evening along with Grandma Stoltzfus after eating dinner with my Aunt Gloria and Uncle Carl in Ephrata. For the 3rd year in a row we stayed at the MCC Welcoming Place in Akron, a most wonderful accommodation.
Monday we headed up to Hazleton to visit our friends Rod and Deborah Logan and their children. Rod’s brother and his family were visiting which made 15 children (with one on the way) in the house. A good time was had by all. We headed back to Akron that evening and crashed.
Tuesday we walked down the street to the Martin’s Pretzel bakery a few blocks from the Welcoming Center and bought our usual allotment of hard pretzels. Then we played a little disc golf at Roland Park before heading over to Landis Homes to eat lunch with my mom’s parents and aunts. It was good to see Aunt Lois, Aunt Dot, and Aunt Rhoda as well as Grandpa and Grandma Burkholder. After lunch we made a quick stop at the Wilbur Chocolate Factory for another requisite purchase, this time mixed Wilbur Buds. Mmmm, Wilbur Buds.
Tuesday evening we hosted the Stoltzfus family at the Welcoming Place and had a nice time with my cousins and their families. It was over too soon and then to bed we went, ready to leave in the morning for Sibley Mansion.
Time for bed now, I’ll finish this trip story some other time!

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Drat and double drat

I thought maybe I could fix it, but it looks like I’ve definitely lost close to 5 years’ worth of posts. So here’s a quick summary of the last 56 or so months: two more children (a boy and a girl) joined our family, we moved from the St. Louis area back to central Illinois, found a really great church, found a great house we love, everybody is 56 months older, etc. On Sunday I’m running in a 5k for the first time in my life.

Maybe I’ll really start blogging again. Or not. Stay tuned. Or not. . .

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Stating the obvious

I am somewhat ashamed to say that I am, in fact, watching the Super Bowl tonight. I’m just not strong enough yet to resist the lure of big time sporting events. That, and there wasn’t much else going on.

So I just saw a beer commercial in which a couple picks up a vagrant who has “brand x” beer as well as an axe. Then they pick up a man who is wearing a mask and carrying a chainsaw who is also carrying “brand x” beer. All I can think of is, “Yes, indeed, beer makes people do really stupid things.” The irony, intended or not, is splendid.

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Total Access

I finally gave in and signed up for a trial version of Blockbuster Total Access. But I don’t think we’ll stick with it. I think that NetFlix would be a better deal for us, just based on cost. We just can’t watch enough movies in a month to justify paying $18 every month. $6 a month, yeah probably.

On the other hand, we’ve taken advantage of the trial membership finally to watch Firefly: The Complete Series. We’re really enjoying it. Good night!

Posted in Fun/Recreation | 5 Comments

The Metamorphosis

For about 6-7 weeks this past Nov-Jan, I cultivated a look that can best be described as “wolfman.” Maybe “cultivated” is a bit too strong of a word — it implies that I made some sort of effort, when in reality it was the result of doing nothing to keep the hair on my head trimmed in any way. However, I recently returned my countenance to its normal state with the help of my barber who just got off maternity leave. :) I give you, The Metamorphosis:

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Note the resemblance to a certain bear of very little brain (or not):
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I didn’t think that Jamie would play along with me once I started getting silly, so I took the rest of these pictures myself. . .
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This is why I usually keep hair on my face. I look like such a baby without it!
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Grace Note

There is very little in my spiritual life that excites me lately. I’ve been “in the desert” for quite some time now. Being faithful more often takes work than it is a natural outflow of the joy of my salvation. I know that it is a way to grow me, but I also long for a return to the joy of my salvation, to the comfort of having my head and heart be in synch. For my heart to love God in the ways that my head knows are good, and right, and holy.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not losing my religion, or my faith, or my convictions (though at my rapidly advancing age I grow more and more gracious and see things less and less in black and white every day, it seems); but the fervor of my youth is somewhat diminished. I’m sure a big part of that is the amount of work and time that being a parent takes. And most of me still rebels at being forced out of myself, forced to be selfless, through marriage and parenthood and a myriad of other ways. In my youth I was selfish, self-centered, self-obsessed — even in my faith.

So I appreciated a glimmer of joy today, an insight given to me by my Father as I sat in church this morning with a squirming almost-2yo on my lap. My almost-2yo was upset with me for making him sit still, and be quiet, and because I wouldn’t read out loud to him the board book he had on his lap, caring nothing for the words of the Gospel being preached from the pulpit. As I held him tightly and tried to keep him quiet (successfully, as it turned out) with a combination of not-quite-tickling and not-quite-bouncing, it hit me — this is my relationship with God.

I am the rebellious child, half-heartedly following rules I don’t understand, upset at not getting what I want or expect, restrained only by the love of a Father who wants nothing more than to hold me in His arms while I listen to His wisdom. I fight and I fight, and what I am fighting for is to be left alone in my sin, to do what I want, to be less than what I am called to be. Thank God He doesn’t let me go. Ever. Thank God He holds me tightly, even when I can’t feel Him. Thank God.

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Die Nachricht

Ho hum, another year gone by. Now it’s my favorite time of year — when the guvmint gives me rebates for having babies. I guess if the tax code has to be screwed up, it might as well be in my favor. :)

We have a little situation going on involving our family and the interweb. Prayer for wisdom would be appreciated — without going into details, suffice to say that the issue is related to the reason Jamie stopped blogging and had her archives deleted. Don’t worry, nothing like that will happen here. :)

Asher will be one month old tomorrow ALREADY. Bother time flying. We haven’t gotten into a groove yet as we have had numerous visitors and houseguests and will through the end of next week. However he is a rather pleasant baby all in all and not too much trouble. I’m sure I’ll get around to posting some more pictures sometime in the near future.

The mayo plant is up and running. It still keeps me busy, but the project management phase is done and my transition back to being production-oriented is nearing completion.

I have yet to purchase a portable MP3 player. I am strongly leaning toward the Zen Vision:M at the moment.

Jamie is talking on the phone right now and I overheard the following snippet: “I’m taking another vitamin supplement. It’s supposed to be good for your memory but I can’t remember what it’s called.” And that’s a good way to end this post.

Posted in Miscellany | 7 Comments

What’s growing on

Ahh, lots of stuff going on. It’s been a fun week, though. I have joined Bricklink. I haven’t listed anything in my store yet but you can be sure I’ll let you know when I do.

I freecycled a piano today. My garage is so much emptier now! I got the whole garage organized for the first time since moving down here — it’s much easier without a piano in the way, you know.

My mother-in-law has been her usual productive self — mending my son’s blanket that he inherited from me, fitting and hanging curtains in the bedroom, etc.

It is another 3-day weekend for me — I can get used to this. Asher had already gained a pound at his 2-week checkup! He also already holds his head up when he’s on his tummy. Amazing. Pretty soon he’ll be walking and talking. . .crazy.

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This little piggy went to market

Today we made a trip to Soulard Market for the first time since moving into the area over a year ago. It was a good time and now that we know how great it is, we will be making regular visits — though maybe not as a whole family. Jamie carried Asher in the Mei Tai, I carried the almost 2yo in the Ergo, the 5yo walked, and the 4yo and 3yo were in the double stroller.

We had a fun time overall and picked up some yummy produce. It was very busy — of course, it helped that it was 65 degrees or so today. At any rate, I think that I will probably make a trip once every other week or so and take one child with me for special daddy time.

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More Time Off

I didn’t end up taking the whole day off on Tuesday, and I worked full days on Wed/Thu. But I’m taking today off. Jamie’s mom is on her way here and will be here almost until the end of the year. I am looking forward to seeing her again. And then my mom will be coming out for parts of the first and second weeks in January to help out around the house (and meet her new grandson!).

There are never enough ways to say thank-you to the all the people who care enough about you to help out when you have needs. Our church family and our neighbors and our friends have been blessings to us as they have provided meals the past 2 weeks. Thanks to everyone for prayers and for sharing in our joy.

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