Thursday, May 29, 2014

Easing my way into summer

The first two day of summer vacation, I still got up and showered at my usual time.
I, then headed over to my classroom to clean and organize and reflect.
I was not quite ready to start the long, lazy days of summer, but after two days I think I have decided on a schedule that will make me happy.
You see, I even have to schedule my summer because I like routine.  It keeps me focused and on track.
Here are my goals for a typical day.
By posting them, I hope to make myself accountable to some degree so here goes.
I plan to spend at least 30 minutes in a private Bible study/meditation/prayer time.  I want to feel that inner peace that so many blog about.  I want to make God the center in my daily life and take all things that bother or stress me to him for his comfort.
I found two meditation/devotionals online for women, so I am using them along with reading my Bible and another devotional about senior moments.
I love Psalms so that is where I am starting, then hopefully I can work my way through some of my other favorites like Proverbs, Song of Solomon, and Ecclesiastes.
After my time with God, I want to spend time with Leslie Sandstone and her walk away the pounds tape.
I also do the eight minute arms and abs and yes, these are all still VHS tapes and I play them in my bedroom.
I use the walk away weighted balls which Soli and Tiz both use as boobs.
I am not looking to lose lots of weight although a few pounds would be nice, but I am just trying to keep my energy level high and stay in good enough shape to play down and dirty with Soli and Tiz.
I also know that exercise does wonders for stress, so that will be an added bonus.
Now, I am not saying that I have an enormous amount of stress compared to others  because I really do not, but there are a few things coming up this summer which could cause stress so I am trying to manage it.
I also found my I pod from ages ago and charged it up.
I listened to a few of the songs while walking with Leslie today.
I plan on taking an afternoon walks with my old favorites playing in my ear.
There is my plan for the summer.
I am only two days into this plan, but I am hoping by the end of two weeks it will have become a habit for me.
I will, of course, keep you all posted.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Annual Memorial Weekend Bike Trip to Two Rivers/Manitowoc

John and I just returned from another great biking adventure to kick off our summer.
We were both a little worried about this trip since we are both out of shape after a long, cold winter.  We were not sure our old, tired legs would get us to our destination, but the worry was for naught.  Both of us survived and our legs served us well.
We arrived at The Lighthouse Inn in Two Rivers about ten on Satruday.
We rode our bikes from there out to the concession stand at Point Beach, a total of 18 miles when all was said and done.
Here are some highlights of that trip:
Ready to start the trail.
 This trail is always so pretty.
It was a gorgeous day for a bike ride, but still on the cool side.
We were actually cold down by the lake.
 Here is our little cabin.
We always stop here for a photo session on our way to the lake.

 We spotted this deer along the trail.
 Enjoying lunch at the concession stand with the best view ever.

 We, then, ride to the lighthouse and check it out, it has not changed since the last time we visited.

The beautiful beach in Two Rivers that we always stop at.
 This year, we did more than just take a photo at this ice cream shop/museum, we decided to go in for an ice cream treat, but we got so much more.
There were two old ladies and an old man in the museum and the old man immediately started showing us around and explaining items in the museum to us as if we were in the gradeschool groups that come and tour.
He took us upstairs and showed us the old ballroom and some hotel rooms behind the stage.
The personal tour took about 20 minutes.
We, then enjoyed some ice cream that this man served up for us and a few other customers that had arrived during our tour.
After the ice cream, as we were leaving, the old guy looked at us and said, "did you get to see the ballroom and the hotel rooms?"
Hello, sir, you just got done showing them to us.
We just had to get out of there to prevent laughing at him
 This is the ballroom.
 This is the stage in the ballroom.
 This is what used to be a bar.
 And here is one of our sundaes, which really was yummy.

After riding back to the motel, we took a walk our to the lighthouse in Manitowoc.
 Checking in was a bit of  mix up.
First room, we heard voices coming from inside just as John was going to open it.
Explanation for that was that the hotel worker got our name mixed up with other people, named Domman or something like that.
No big deal, she said she would just give us their room which was exactly like the one we were supposed to have.
 But, there was a problem in the second room.
The toilet did not flush at all.
Another call to the front desk and we were given yet another final room.
 This room was the winner and we enjoyed our stay there very much.
We were going to eat in the dining room at the hotel, but when I saw the menu, I saw overpriced, very fancy food which I do not like, so we opted for the Waverly Inn for pizza and beers.  It was not a disappointment.  We will return again.
We had a few more drinks at the hotel lounge and then retired for the night.
 Ready for day number 2.
We decided to park at the wayside along the Mariner bike path so that we would not have to ride all the way back to the motel.
What a great idea that was!
We started by riding back toward Two Rivers for about 3 miles, making a few stops along the way.
 We always stop at these telescopes because it reminds me of how my dad loved these.
He would take the stance, much like mine above and look at whatever it was he had to see.
He never could pass one by and now I am the same way.

 We walked on the beach and I made these for Tiz and Soli.
It was still so cool by the water.
 We so seldom are able to get a picture of the two of us, but lady stopped along the path and asked if we would like her take our picture.

 We turned around and headed to Manitowoc.
We were lucky to see the USS Badger as it docked.
We rode the USS Badger a few years ago with Tiz,Courtney, and Paul.
It was fun to see it up close and personal again.
 We ended up at our favorite ice cream/candy shop in Manitowoc.
We had sandwiches.
 I had a yummy cherry phosphate soda and
we ended with yet another ice cream sundae.
This one was called the opera and had chocolate ice cream, chocolate sauce, marshmellow and crushed nuts.  It was so yummy.
We biked back to our car and took a scenic route home along Highway 67.
I don't think we lost any weight this weekend, in fact, there is a good chance we gained a few pounds even with all the exercise because we ate so well!
It was an excellent way to kick off our summer.
Bring it on...

Who is this Teacher and what ever happend to her?

One of my former students, David Duddeck, circa 1976 posted this to FB.
It is me, in my second year of teaching Kindergarten at St. John's and David after his graduation.
I have had all four of David's children, Elli (12), Logan (10), Markus (7), and Leya (5), in my Preschool classes at St. John's.
What a blessing all around and what a precious picture.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Remembering my Dad

My dad would have been 86 years old today.
He has been gone for 24 years.
In ways, it seems like only yesterday and in other ways it seems like ages ago that we lost him.
I know he is celebrating in the best place ever today with so many of his friends and family.
He is with us everyday..
He left us with so many happy, crazy memories that his name comes up very often.
I miss him, but I would never wish him back.
What a great reunion it will be when I join him one day.\
Today, I will spend some time remembering things like this:

Good times with a great man.
See you soon.
Happy Birthday Dad.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Five years ago tomorrow, May 21, 2009 we saw our granddaughter Tizita Desta Van Auken for the very first time.
It was not on an ultrasound picture or in a bassinet at a hospital nursery as most grandparents meet their grandchildren.
It came instead on a photo in an email that looked like this:
Yep, that is the first photo we saw of our sweet Tizita and it was love at first sight.
In adoption much is unknown, but one thing is certain and that is the love and joy one feels for that long awaited grandchild when you see their face for the first time.
Suddenly, we knew that all the long waiting and anticipation would be so worth it.
We knew that God had chosen this child long ago to be part of our family and that it would all play out in His perfect timing.
Looking back, we can see how it all did, indeed play out perfectly.
So, began a long wait, but so also began shopping for all things pink, finding the perfect toys and books, and learning all we could about Ethiopia and adoption.
I joined an Ethiopian Adoption forum where I met another grandma who I still stay in touch with today.
I became obsessed with checking on the waiting list status often going to the list hourly to see if :"we" had moved up.
Now, five years later, Tizita is seven years old.
She is a beauty.
She loves to spend time at our house.
She loves to make concoctions while she is here, never following a recipe, just throwing things in as she goes along.
She loves to fix my hair often creating some crazy styles.
She also does manicures, pedicures, and make overs.
She loves making forts.
She sleeps between John and I in our king bed and never moves all night long.
She loves to hear stories of her mama and Auntie Lissy when they were little before we go to sleep.
She loves to sing and has a beautiful voice.
She loves being outdoors.
She is a great teacher and loves helping me in  my classroom.
We like to do so many things together, we:
ride bikes,
read books,
watch TV,
play games,
just to name a few.
John and I love to take Tizita places.
We have taken her to:
the zoo,
the Art Museum,
Discovery Zone,
The Milwaukee Museum,
Monkey Joe's,
Chuck E. Cheese,
numerous children's museums,
Circus World Museum,
The Shrine Circus,
Amusement parks,
Mini golf,
just to name a few.
She is always well behaved for us and thoroughly enjoys the time we spend together.
We love making memories with her.
Tizita is truly the joy of our lives and we are so thankful for that day five years ago when we first laid eyes on this beautiful little girl who has become such an important part of our lives.
We love you so much Tizita Desta Van Auken!

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Belated Mother's day and other weekend events

This past weekend was another fun filled, great weekend.
Seems like a broken record with these great weekends, but I am not complaining.
The fun started on Friday night when Alissa and Nathan arrived.
John, Lis, Nathan, my mom, and I went to Elias for one of their world famous fish fries.
So worth the hour and a half wait.
After the fry, we went over to the Firecracker for a few beers and some great conversation.
Mallory joined us for a few.
On Saturday, Courtney, Paul, and the girls joined us.
Courtney, Tiz and I took in the city wide rummage and found many treasures.
We, (Mom, Mallory, Lissa, Courtney, Soli, Tiz, and I) went to Applebee's for a ladies lunch.
I was less than happy with my summer salad and not just because it was covered in blue cheese after I asked not to put any on the salad, but for other reasons, too.
Summer salad has now become a joke among all of us.
After lunch, which everyone seemed to enjoy except for me, we went to Kohl's to help Marge spend her Mother's Day money from us.
Lis was in charge of a purse, Courtney was in charge of capris, Mallory was in charge of underwear, and I took charge of walking shoes.
Marge was more than happy with all the choices and had a successful shopping trip.
We all came home and had brats for dinner followed by a fire and s'mores in our fire pit.
Tizita led us in some fun games around the fire.
All retired early for the night to get a good night's sleep before Nic's confirmation the next day.

 Before church we had some time to pose for a few photos.
 Fun with Uncle Cheddah and Aunty Lissy.
 Nic, the confirmand.
 Enjoying a kiddie cocktail on the patio at the Watertown Country Club where Nic's party was held.

 Tizita set up a photo shoot and here are a few of the results.
 Nic and his cake
 The girls with "their" Nic.
Our family minus Alissa and Nathan who had already left for home.
After the yummy brunch at the Country Club, Paul, Courtney, Tiz, and I took a walk down to the park to explore the creek, Island, and river.  It was a beautiful day and a nice way to end our Sunday.
Soli took her nap with Gigi and John had a church meeting.
I just wanted to include these two photos, but forgot to put them above:

On Saturday, there was some hair stylin' going on.
Tiz and Soli love to style our hair.
The funny part was that both of them had to crawl on their clients to complete the style.
Quite an unusual practice for stylists, I would say.
So, there you have it, another memorable weekend for all of us.
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