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Archive for August, 2009

Aug 31 2009

Sand Dune

Posted by Mugs @ 11:56 am in Family

During family reunion, we visited Warren Dunes State Park on the southeastern shore of Lake Michigan. There are many dunes to climb, but one is massive. Abby was ill, so Dale was thrilled to have an excuse to exchange quality time with his relatives for quality time taking a nap.

My best friend was visiting that day, so she and I took the boys to climb the dune. Conveniently, we departed well before the other families and arrived at the dune early in the morning. Thankfully, there were only a few witnesses watching my slow ascent of the dune. I could not even keep up with Zeke.

I am quite certain I would have had the slowest time, if the time keeper had clocked me. However, since I was the time keeper, I conveniently forgot to time myself. No one else was so lucky. They all were timed from the moment they crossed the road until they tagged the tree on the top.

My favorite climbing  moments were Rob struggling up with Marcus on his shoulders, Jake and Josiah racing each other to the top, and Cami climbing up at almost 7 months pregnant. Everyone (except my parents, Dale, and Abby) made it to the top.

The kids buried each other in the sand, swung on a rope tied to a tree, and attempted to fall off the back of the dune while their parents were not looking. We were having an enjoyable time up there until the football team arrived. They had run a series of sprints up and back on their way to the top and by the time some of them finished, they were quite ill. Nothing ruins the view like a bunch of smelly vomiting high school football players.

We stayed for the Coach’s motivational speech titled “The view from the top only comes with a lot of hard work.” He instructed us all to “remember this moment.” Which, I certainly will.

Aug 28 2009

Yellow Light

Posted by Mugs @ 8:54 am in Family

Every day when I pick up Zeke from Kindergarten, I ask him, “What did you do today?” This question is embedded into the mind of all Mothers and they are unable to fight the compelling urge to ask it. Mothers may alter the wording by asking, “How was your day?” or “Did you have a good day?” or “What happened today?”, but ask they must.

On the first day, Zeke replied “cutting”. On the second day, Zeke replied ‘gluing”. On the third day, the school had a fire drill and  Zeke informed me that the fire drill interrupted coloring. On the fourth day, Zeke stepped into the van and asked me, “What does the yellow light mean?”

Earlier in the day, Zeke’s class of kindergartners was working on a paper with a stoplight on it. The focus of the lesson was top, middle, and bottom. Zeke’s teacher asked the class if they had seen a stoplight before. After their reply, she asked, “What does the red light mean?” All the Kindergarteners answered, “Stop.”

Next, she asked, “What does the yellow light mean?” The rest of the class said, “Go Slowly.” Zeke replied, “Go Faster.” Then, for good measure, he added, “My Mom doesn’t want to get stuck at another red light.”

Aug 27 2009

By the Glow of the DS

Posted by Mugs @ 8:11 am in Family

During Family reunion, Dale lit many a fire in the pit outside our cabin. We collected chairs from various locations and most nights someone was sitting outside by the fire. One late night, Dale and I were watching the fire die down after everyone had gone to bed. A raccoon approached from the other side of the fire and just stopped and stared at us. We watched him for a moment and when he didn’t look like he was leaving, we stood up. He decided to depart quickly. I think he was after the marshmallow skewers.

The Wiitas brought the skewers and Howie and Mike kept busy toasting marshmallows to perfection most nights. Since each family had stocked their pantry with items for Smores, we had marshmallows in abundance.

This fact was very important to my 2 year old nephew Ean. The morning after the first Smore making, Ean walked by our cabin as he traveled to and from the beach, pointed towards the cabin, and asked his parents, “Marshmallow?” Having just turned two, Ean’s vocabulary is a bit limited. However, he had quickly learned which words were beneficial to say at a family reunion.

Another nephew, Marcus (not quite 2 1/2) was learning new words in our cabin also. My sister in law Michelle, Marcus’ mom, eats healthy foods and feeds Marcus healthy foods. So, Marcus was surprised to discover a cracker that tasted a lot sweeter than his cracker. My brother insisted on referring to it as a cookie, but it says ‘Animal Cracker’ right on the bag.

Of course, I couldn’t leave the whole cracker/cookie debate there. Since my brother had now taught Marcus the new word “cookie”, I occasionally handed Marcus oreos instead of animal crackers. I fear Marcus went through sugar detox after a week with his Aunt Mugs.

Our cabin became the place to go not just for marshmallows and cookies, but also for card games, cash cab watching, and DS playing. Somehow, the cousins figured out that the Manry children’s rules were a tad less strict then their own. I’m not sure how.

My favorite scene from the reunion was the kids around the campfire. Long ago, photographers would capture the glow of the campfire on children’s faces. Well, technology has changed things a bit. The children were still sitting around the campfire, but their faces were lit with the glow of the DS.

DS Glow

DS Glow

Aug 25 2009

Skunk

Posted by Mugs @ 9:37 am in Family,Nature

Summer has ended abruptly for the Manry children. No more lazing about with nothing to do; no more wasting time with T.V., Wii, and piles and piles of books. To be truthful, I never think piles and piles of books are a waste of time and Dale never thinks T.V. is a waste of time. However, the piles and piles of books are now textbooks that need to be covered.

So, as my children attempt to stay awake in class, I’ll take some time to write about this past summer. In June, we attended the Meloch family reunion. It was a hoot and a holler and a real ten dollar. We stayed at a “resort” on Lake Michigan.

Had I considered the many ways to interpret “resort”, I would not have been so shocked by the rustic appearance. Also, had I not been so cheap and stubborn, I would have considered the benefit of being in a cabin closer to the other families with a lovely view of Lake Michigan. I arrived, took a look around, and thought once again…”My sister is always right.” However, I have yet to follow up that realization with the phrase, “Next time I’ll listen to her.”

Blessing for me, (I had originally written ‘Lucky for me,’ but I now attend a church that calls a potluck a pot blessing. Having grown up lucky in cards and dice, I’m finding it difficult to make the adjustment.) there was still a cabin available closer to the other families with a lovely view of Lake Michigan. So, we Manrys moved to the closer cabin. God is gracious to me. When I experience His unmerited favor upon my life, I am grateful. I need to remember, if I am to become more like Him, I must show that kind of grace to others.

I left Dale and the kids to swim in the pool and enjoy the beach.  Mom and I drove to Super Walmart to stock up for the week. We were there a long time. Various family members attempted to call us and draw us back to the cabins, but both our phone batteries died so we took our good old time. When we returned, Dale was able to start the charcoal at 2000 hrs to cook dinner. Everyone was hungry and tired. By midnight, all Manrys had showered and gone to bed.

I was turning off lights when I heard the screen door slide open and saw my brother Rob enter the cabin. “I’ve got kolaches!”, he proclaimed. In the Meloch family, turning away someone holding a pile of polish cookies at your door at midnight is considered rude. So, Rob and I stayed up laughing and talking while Dale attempted to sleep a few feet away. Rob claimed that he had to stay awhile because on his way over he heard a sound and looked over to discover a skunk crossing his path. Rob, then, hightailed it  to our cabin.

The skunk story was believed by no one, primarily because Rob told it. We have all learned to take my brother’s stories with a grain of salt. Many evenings, we saw raccoons and other creatures, but no skunk. As the week progressed, Rob received much ribbing concerning his ”skunk”. As a special gift for the unbirthday party, Rich presented Rob a walking stick with a skunk carved on top. Rob’s skunk story became a source of much amusement.

Skunk Cane

Skunk Cane

Late in the week, we were all outside watching the Meloch reunion soccer game being played till dark. Dale and I both looked up and saw a small skunk running quickly across the road. We yelled for all to look, but it was gone too quickly. I’m not sure if anyone truly believed us that we saw it as well. I think they suspect Rob bribed Dale and I with some kolaches.

Aug 24 2009

Kindergarten to High School

Posted by Mugs @ 8:20 am in Family

Today is Zeke’s first day of Kindergarten and Josiah’s second day of High School.  I called my sister last week to tell her that I was as stressed out the night before his school orientation as I was the night before his first day of preschool.  Marie thought I was talking about Zeke, but I was talking about Josiah.

On orientation day, I followed Josiah to every class and began to add up the hours of work required for each of his classes.  He is taking a full course load in the hopes that by his Senior year, he will take classes that give him college credit.  I always took a heavy course load and so did Dale, but I told Josiah he could drop a course the first week if he thought it was too much.  He then asked me, “Did you ever drop a class?”  To which I replied, “No.  I just suffered through.” (“Do as I say, not as I do, child.”)

As we walked from class to class I pointed out individuals who would make good lab partners and those unfriendly individuals best avoided.  I informed him who King Bob was and pointed out all the cronies that were attempting to gain King Bob’s favor.  The class clown was obvious even to him.  He recognized some kids in his class right away, but failed to notice that a girl from his cross country team was in several of his classes.  She came up to him at one point and he looked at her puzzled and said, “Mary?”  She was wearing her hair down instead of in a pony tail. It was one of those Clark Kent – Superman tricks.

Outside the high school, I attempted to determine in which direction baseball caps are now worn.  Some were worn straight on, some backwards, and some crooked.  It was not a consistent pattern.  I put this question to a friend who reported the following findings from a concert she attended: 7 forward, 1 sideways, 2 backward. Please track the trend in your location and post the results in a comment.  As Josiah followed the conversation between my friend and I, he commented that he thought inside out hats were the best. (As faithful to the rally cap as his Mother) My friend gave him a bit of advice, “It’s probably best if you avoid hats all together.”

Since all my Motherly fretting was taken up by Josiah, I had nothing left for Zeke’s start of Kindergarten.  This did not concern Zeke in the least.  In fact, as we were walking to his Kindergarten orientation together, he informed me, “I wish I could go by myself.” He didn’t need his mother hanging around.  He had it all under control.  I informed his teacher of his comment when we arrived in the class.  She looked at Zeke and said, “Today, all Mommys have to come to class, but on Monday…No Mommys or Daddys allowed.” Zeke looked at his teacher and broke into a big smile.