Category Archives: Life in general

What do you call a blogger who hasn’t posted in a year?

A slacker….

A busy person…

Someone who definitely should not be called a blogger…

Whatever you want to call me, I will happily answer (unless you call me stupid, in which case I will put you in timeout because you are likely one of my children who disagrees with one of my parenting decisions). Life has been busy of late. But life is always busy because that’s life. I’ll spare you the soliloquy on busy-ness.

Instead, let me regal you with highlights of the past year.

The Wordsmiths is still going strong, though now I am entirely mobile in my work endeavors… working mostly at our kitchen counter (much to Simon’s chagrin because my husband likes things IN THEIR PLACES and my office is downstairs, NOT IN THE KITCHEN – bygones). I also work at Starbucks, local coffee shops and onsite at client’s offices. The joy of writing and designing is that it can be done from anywhere – including kitchen counters.

Shortly after spring break last year I picked up a part time job at our church as the communications coordinator. Not because I needed the work, but more because I love that particular work and it’s nice to be in an office 1.5 days a week with people I really like working with and enjoy spending time with. I have yet to regret picking up the extra hours – even when some weeks are super crazy with both jobs, kids and the rest of life. The church work is a perfect balance to the corporate work.

Last summer was packed with vacations and camps for the kids. We spent a week with my parents at the hilariously named Starvation Lake in northern Michigan. My kids would likely agree that it was like “starving” for them because of the lack of Wi-Fi – truly first world problems for them. We also spent a week with the Sawyer side of the family at a friend’s cottage on Little Whitefish Lake – glorious weather, good food and wonderful company. The kids only spent 5 weeks at daycare, filling the rest of their time around the city and state at various camps and activities. We also joined a neighborhood pool which made up most of our late afternoons and early evenings – we’ll be back again this summer and I can’t wait. They spend HOURS jumping off the diving board and I spend HOURS chatting with my friends and reading – I cannot imagine a better way to spend my time.

We took a break from taekwondo that turned into a permanent hiatus when Liam started flag football in the fall and Jack picked up gymnastics after that. Both boys will be participating in football come August – flag for Jack and full-on tackle for Liam. Should be interesting, or enlightening, or at the very least, entertaining. Jack also discovered last weekend that he might love baseball… declaring that he’s going to be the next Jim Abbott. My children do not lack for confidence in their athletic abilities considering Liam is convinced that the only thing that might keep him from the NFL draft is going to Calvin for college since they do not have a football team. We has assured him that if he gets recruited to a university for his football playing skills then we will let him go there and NOT to Calvin where we get the tuition discount. We’ll have a discussing about balanced expectations sometime in the future. Until then, we keep the hope alive because “nothing is impossible” according to Jack (thanks, Rend Collective and your song, More than Conquerors). I have tried explaining that while nothing is IMPOSSIBLE, some things are IMPROBABLE.

We got a happy visit from Australia with Simon’s niece, Jess, and her boyfriend, Louis, came to visit us just before Christmas. We so enjoy having visitors and a piece of Oz here in the States! So come visit us!

Simon’s still coaching rugby at Calvin and picking up more reffing jobs around the area for the high school games – he loves it and we love that he loves it though we miss him during the dual rugby seasons in fall AND spring. But someone is getting older and won’t be able to be out there forever so he might as well get some runs in while he is still “youngish.”

We still like our neighbors (even the ones who encourage us to workout and eat clean). And very much enjoy our neighborhood – like a whole lot. We really did luck out when we moved here… three years ago on July 1. Talk about God taking care of the details on that one.

We road-tripped once again to Texas, after taking last year off, and had a wonderful two weeks shared between my parents in Corpus Christi and Marty, Lynn and Mitch in Houston. Texas feels like a second home, but one I am happy to give up come summer and humidity. Plus we got to see Mumford & Sons in CONCERT and that ticked something off my life list. SOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOD!

For the summer we’re looking forward to camping (we bought a pop-up camper with friends last year), concerts, pool visits and sports activities, and camp at Portage Lake.

And there you have it – our year all wrapped up. Oh wait, that’s just the nice, scrubbed up version; trust me when I tell you it was also peppered with a whole lot of yelling, frustrations and things that are better left untold. Because at the end of the day, those things, while annoying at the time and certainly not some of our finest moments, are things that don’t make up the memories and stories worth recounting. They just are.

There were also a whole lot of boring, mundane moments, too – because they are part of it all, too. I welcome the boring and mundane along with the fun and the re-tellable moments.

Maybe I’ll come back to blogging, maybe I won’t. Maybe you’ll have read all this and maybe you won’t. Either way… we’ll still be friends. I still love you. God is still good. The world is still going ’round. [And George is still alive – as depicted in illustrated form below. He is, however, arthritic, going blind and on bland dog food due to bladder stones. High maintenance all the way.]





Thursday Musings

ememby_Thursday_Musings_2We could call this a throw back Thursday post – a throw back to when I used to blog regularly. I mean, we could, but let’s not because I don’t know how likely it will be that I’ll post again soon. I would like to but history (and reality) would suggest otherwise. So here’s some random stuff for you.

  • I spent an embarrassing amount of time on the phone yesterday with the tech support people at the bank trying to figure out why I couldn’t log onto our business account online only to discover that I had gone to the website of our old bank and was trying to use the user ID and security keyfob for the NEW bank. I finally figured it out when she asked for a second time, “Are you sure it is for XYZ Bank?” I’m going to have to put you on hold a minute to try and figure this out.” And then I realized I was on the wrong website… so I hung up because why wait for her to come back just to tell her I was an idiot?
  • I was making plans with a friend for our families to get together this summer and I could pretty much tell her which days/weekends were available for the entire summer. So I’m not completely useless.
  • I forgot my phone when meeting with that same friend (which is why I had to pull our schedule out of my memory) and I fretted for a moment about how I was going to pay for my Starbucks coffee since I didn’t have my phone with me (and hence my app for paying for the coffee)… forgetting that while I didn’t have my phone, I still had my wallet and as advanced as my payment options were, the baristas would still accept cash for the coffee.
  • Did you know that as a child I had no idea you could buy plastic silverware in boxes at the store because when we went camping, the plastic silverware we used was stored in a shoe box and had been saved (and washed) from any eating out we did throughout the year. My mom was and is a good, frugal Dutch lady.
  • I mistakenly told my children last week that they only had two weeks of school left… they had three… whoops, my bad.
  • The boys are still enjoying Taekwondo but we are going to take a little break for the summer because Jack is the youngest in the class and we have been going twice a week for the last year and a half (give or take a day here and there) and I think we need a break. Plus Jack would like to try soccer in the fall and I support diversity.
  • I just finished reading “Unbroken” (yes, late to the game I was on that one) and while I still don’t know that I can see the movie because it would likely be too disturbing to experience, I LOVED the book. If you haven’t read it (and you love biographical stories, Keri), you ought to. It was appropriate that I started reading it over Memorial Day weekend… I cannot imagine what the POWs went through during the second world war. I cannot imagine what people go through during any war, for that matter.
  • I planted marigolds around our perennials by the street and this morning Simon saw a deer down munching on them. Apparently marigolds are just snack food for our neighborhood deer, even though I thought I was safe planting them. I guess I should have done more research.
  • Speaking of plants, I bought three hanging baskets and placed them in locations appropriate to their sun tolerance. 2 of the 3 baskets are doing beautifully but the third one is having some issues. One of the three types of plants in the basket (which says “Part Sun to Shade” and that is where it is located) is just dead. So disappointing – it’s like a personal affront on me by my vegitation. At least my mint is flourishing (because that’s soooo difficult to grow). Of any paragraph I have ever written, Simon could care the least about this one – gardening is the last thing on his list of things in the world that matter.
  • I love air conditioning. I admit it and I am not ashamed. One of the best inventions ever – right up there with the cotton gin (Eli Whitney, inventor – thank you 10th grade American History).
  • Liam’s last spelling list of the year had some interesting words on it – the best of which was “paradigmatic.” After performing very well with his spelling tests all year, this particular list proved to be a stumper and he scored 11/20 on the test. Which is not surprising that it included words I have never used in real life. On Facebook I noted I couldn’t wait until he pulled that particular word out in conversation.
  • Something he did drop into conversation today, “Did you know that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction?” Glad to know they are still teaching that one.
  • Tomorrow I have “Sweets with Someone Special” with Jack’s class and if the preview I got tonight of the song they will be singing is any indication, I will be crying tomorrow.
  • My current favorite songs: “Shut Up and Dance” (Walk the Moon); “Thinking Out Loud” (Ed Sheehan); “Sugar” (Maroon 5); “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” (John Legend and Meagan Trainor. Jack’s favorite: “Love Me Like You Do” (Ellie Goulding) and Liam’s is “Centuries” (Fall Out Boy).
  • Speaking of Meagan Trainor – one of our flight attendants coming back from Seattle looked very similar to Ms. Trainor and had a huge chunk of hair backcombed and bouffantted up in the back (she could have been employing a bump-it in there). She was memorable. That was also the flight we had to share the row with the very last person to get on our flight (we thought we were going to get lucky and have the only open seat on the plane); sad for him and us, he was very hung over and pretty much passed out for the entire flight. So that was fun.
  • Songs I DO NOT love: “Chains” (Nick Jonas) and “This Summer” (Maroon 5 – saying that pains me, but really, the lyrics are just crap and NSFW, or children, which is saying something since my office is in my basement) and I still hate-itty hate Kanye (he sucks, people, just sucks).
  • I’m very confused by the winner of The Voice… definitely an example of a voice winning over a complete package. The poor kid (while just a kid who I will not make fun of) looked too much like an emotionless soccer mom, not exactly a soon-to-be singing sensation. Clearly I am not in his target demographic.
  • Oh yes, we went to the Pacific Northwest for our 10 year anniversary – it was marvelous and filled with beautiful sites, delicious food and daily naps. Best. Vacation. Ever.
  • Good friends of ours are currently in Iceland and while it looks gorgeous, she commented that it is the worst food of any place she has ever been to, that makes me so very sad for her. (Also, mark Iceland off the list of places to visit.)
  • Simon, after having two Australian meat pies on our trip, decided he would see if he could make his own meat pies. So, watching a YouTube video, he ventured into making his most-missed Australian food and it was a WIN. Happy day. He can now make pancakes and meat pies (so long as I find the corn starch for him because I keep it in the laundry room for treating oil/grease stains and he would have bought some before he ever found it in our house). I am just fine being the chef in our family; and I am more than fine with him being the cleaner.
  • And keeping with building up my husband while sharing all my embarrassing stories about myself… he also earned the accolade of “Advisor of the Year” for his coaching of the Calvin rugby team… while it came with an unimpressive thin paper award, the acknowledgement of all his hard work and dedication to the team in a volunteer position was such a cool thing. But don’t worry – it didn’t earn him any passes at home – he still has to mow the lawn and take out the garbage (and clean).

All right, I have run out of words and time. But hopefully I will do a vacation recap soon because it is worth sharing with the world so perhaps someone else can take notes and follow in our footsteps because I know I researched a bunch of websites and blogs to come up with our loose itinerary. Thanks for reading this throw back blog – please ignore any typos… I’m trying to wrap this up before TKD ends in about 1 minute.

Flirty Forty

The title of this blog post makes me laugh because flirty is not an adjective that I would use to describe Simon in any way – he is just not a flirt (thank goodness) but he is forty and who doesn’t love a little alliteration? I, for one, am a fan, just as I am a fan of my husband, no matter how OLD he is (I suspect, like my dad, he will forever be a child at heart).

Happy Birthday, Simon, so blessed to have known you since before your hair started to gray and your accent started to Americanize.
10672358_10152499477177955_2758441102351196946_nBut 40 is kind of a big deal so commemorate it, here are the top 40 things I appreciate about that hubby of mine…

1. He keeps the driveway clear of snow and ice (if you live in our neighborhood, you know his devotion to clearing the snow runs deep, making it appear like we have a heated driveway).

2. If he doesn’t know how to do something handy around the house, he will research it, find a YouTube video and learn how to do it; seldom do we have to call in outside help – even when it means he frustrates the heck out of himself (usually with a plumbing-related fix).

3. He is a man of his word – if he says he’s going to do it, he does it when he says he’s going to do it.

4. He is very literal (which can be foreign and sometimes maddening to his less-literal wife) but that makes him easy to understand and straightforward, no nuances or gray areas of confusion.

5. He loves entertaining as much as I do.

6. He is dedicated to coaching rugby and his team at Calvin.

7. He wears his CPAP mask even when he doesn’t always want to because it means I sleep better (and he does, too) without hearing his snoring.

8. He loves me no matter what I am doing, what I look like or what I am wearing.

9. He is unapologetic about his love for [bad] 80s and 90s rock.

10. He also loves Phil Collins.

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11. Looking at him, I can see what our kids will look like when they grown up.

12. He is open to suggestions and change – though it doesn’t come naturally – when it is something important to me, he makes the effort.

13. He opted to live here, in the snow and cold, with me rather than return to Oz.

14. He fits in well with my family – in fact, I think my brothers might like him more than me (no, I’m still their baby sister, but we could say equally).

15. He cleans.
16. He almost always takes out the trash.

17. He has never once (since we met) worn his silk shirt or Tasmanian devil tie that he owned when I met him.

18. We share the same entertainment habits – we love live music, watching movies and playing board games.

19. When I cook the food, he does the dishes.

20. He makes Vegemite sandwiches for Jack’s lunch and leaves them for me to put in his lunchbox each morning.

21. He asks my opinion about what he should wear to different events.

22. We have the same vision for the future of our family.

23. He happily signed up for the marriage course with me that our small group is doing all together. And he enjoys it.

24. He brings me coffee whenever he stops to get one for himself.

25. When we have a down weekend, he’ll encourage me to take a couple hours to myself and go to a coffee shop.

26. The transition to first shift – while an adjustment to be sure – has gone much more smoothly for both of us than I thought it would.

27. He is extremely NOT judgmental, of anyone.

28. He gets super excited about trips and vacation plans.

29. He has never met a stranger.

30. He excels at small talk, which is a fine balance because it’s not my strong suit.

31. He rarely wakes me up in the morning when he’s getting ready before the crack of dawn.

32. His favorite dessert is brownies with ice cream and chocolate sauce. While I love baking many things, knowing those simple things will make him happy is kind of nice.

33. He likes to share funny things with others.

34. He loves George as much as I do.

35. Church and having faith is important to him.

36. He values making memories and traditions with our family.

37. He makes pancakes for the boys (which Jack will rarely eat but still somehow enjoys the act of it) nearly every Saturday morning.

38. He’s supportive of my owning my own business.

39. He humors my seasonal decorating efforts.

40. He will always be older than me.

Golden Six

Another golden birthday to celebrate in our family – Jack is 6 on February 6! Six is pretty great – kids are just another thing that gets better with age (those of you waiting to tell me it also gets harder can just keep quiet). Six is also maddening – because stubbornness also seems to increase with age (now is the time the rest of you can tell me it gets easier). But, ups and downs as they are, I wouldn’t have Jack’s personality any other way.

Jack is:
1. spirited
2. witty
3. unapologetic
4. smart
5. tenacious
6. always surprising

From day one, my sweet baby, you have never lacked for personality or gumption. The side-trip to the NICU was hardly a blip on the screen, as was the return three weeks later when you had RSV – where the nurse noted you were quite chatty (still makes me laugh because you and your brother are both such talkers I think that’s one of the main reasons you get on each others’ nerves – both of you wants to be the one talking). Your fighting spirit is truly one of your defining characteristics… much to my joy and chagrin because tenacity cannot be turned on and off and often you direct that spirit at your dad or I and Lord help us, you will wear us down.

And you are so very smart. Always wondering about things, never letting us give a fluff answer to one of your inquiries and forever remembering what we have told you in the past. We had your conference yesterday and the teacher was laughing because she had just sent me an email giving you a glowing review after a visit from a gymnastics place, telling me how you were worried about your little hand and not being able to do things but then you were even able to swing on the bar and you were SO PROUD and realized yet again that you can do things you thought were too hard; but the teacher was laughing because literally seconds after she sent me that email, you were sent inside from recess for punching a female classmate (who also happens to be our neighbor). So that’s awesome. I asked her not to tell me any more good things until the end of the year, but she shared that you were also doing so much better with controlling your bad behaviors and were making excellent social choices (recess punching aside). Your father and I suspect that you – while definitely always instigating things – are also a little bored with kindergarten and would like more challenges (unlike your brother who would like everything to be easy, thank you very much).

You make me so proud, amazed, crazed and happy – I cannot imagine life without you in it – so glad you joined us six golden years ago! Now go eat a slice of cheese, a banana and a pancake – you promised you would start eating those foods now that you are six and I’m going to hold you to it (or not – we’ll see who has enough fight in them). Love you mucho!


Let’s take a quick trip back to December…
During advent we read The Advent Book with the boys and one night I was inspired to start my own advent meditations on Instagram for the rest of the season. I so enjoyed creating these little tidbits of the Christmas story and even though Christmas has passed, we can always use a little reminder, right? Merry Christmas!