Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006: The Year in Review

Highlights of the year 2006
  • Matt turned 33!
  • Calli slid down the hill in February, straight into a sign! First concussion!
  • Our basement flooded during a bizarre thunder/wind/hail/snow storm. $6000 later - basement is dry and recarpeted (please God, don't repeat this)
  • Annual Rau Cottage get-a-way for Papa Bob's Birthday and my 34th. Snowmobiling, sledding and all around winter fun!
  • Calli lost her first tooth
  • Brady turned 2!
  • Tyler played baseball and Calli started her first year of t-ball
  • Cheer camp and tennis camp
  • Tyler turned 8!
  • Dance Recital #2
  • Camp Osto! Floated down the river, camped, new pump, 4th of July festivities!
  • Annual Grand Haven vacation at the Upper 10! Sun, swimming, mini-golf, and memories.
  • Rau Cottage Summer vacation - fished, swam on the island, tubed behind the pontoon, caught turtles
  • Calli and Tyler took golf lessons at Elks
  • Papa Dan had 2nd heart surgery at UofM
  • Matt was "Tobacco Free" for one year! Hooray! Celebrated with trip to Cabelas.
  • Lots of trips to Nannie's and Papa's house
  • New School - Tyler started third grader, Calli started first
  • Tyler moves to Bear in CubScouts, Calli started her 3rd year of dance
  • Calli turned 6!
  • Matt ran the 3rd Annual Marshall Run in memory of Trooper Kevin Marshall
  • Papa Bob almost had a heart attack - new stents saved his pipes
  • Halloween - Pirate, Witch and Indian
  • Tyler started basketball
  • Hunting, hunting, hunting - nice buck with the bow
  • Griffin's Game
  • Nana and Papa head to FL and came back for Christmas
  • A wonderful Christmas!

What did I forget!?! What a wonderful year.

Happy New Year!

Wow, 2007! I can remember writing 1987 when I was an 8th grader, now here it is 20 years later. Strange thing is, I still feel like the same person I was in 8th grade, just a lot more tired and without the big hair.

2007 brings with it my 10 year anniversary. We're trying to plan a special vacation to celebrate. That makes my New Years Resolution easy to ID:

Eat better, excercise more, get in shape for the Mexican beach!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas Day Recap

Christmas Day means SANTA! While I was not shy about waking my household at 5:30 am as a child, my children are much better behaved and awoke us at a reasonable 6:50 am. (Sadly, I was lying there awake since 6 resisting the temptation to go wake them myself!) We had so much fun seeing what Santa brought and opening the presents the kids carefully picked out
for us. Matt received an Eagles T-shirt from Tyler and a statue of an eagle on the American flag for his desk at work. Tyler picked out a necklace that spells "MOM" for me (think serious bling) and Calli chose a cute snowman figure for me.

Later in the day, we packed up and headed to BC for Christmas with Nannie, Papa, Gee Gee, Chris, Melissa, Katie, CJ, and Charlie. There we again had great food and too many presents to open. We certainly are blessed with wonderful families, traditions to pass on, and to celebrate with four generations of love!

Christmas Eve Recap

Christmas Eve was the usual get-together with the Osto/Hunter clan.
We eat, get ready for church, take some family photos (usually involving too many chiefs and not enough indians). Then we head to the 4 pm Catholic service to enjoy the jampacked Christmas eve chaos. This involves sending someone early to save a pew to seat 10, control our patience in the parking lot, keep track of Chooch, plan an escape route in case of fire, and all the while remember the Reason for the Season! Not being Catholic, this has become one of my favorite and most bewildering Christmas traditions, especially the part where we get to leave early! On a serious note, we had a great time with the kids, Mike and Kathy and Grandpa H. in addition to Nana, Papa, Mark, Missi, Riley, Hunter and us. Great food and better memories every year.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Christmas Memories

Waking up at 5:30 and shaking my brother awake yelling, "Santa Came, Santa Came!"

Mom saying she just needed a cup of tea first...

Dancerella Doll, Mandy and Jenny dolls, Cabbage Patch Dolls

Christmas at Yellowstone

New Skis

An antique clock from Tootie

The Rau cabin with my 5 cousins, where we all received new Carter's pajamas and a stocking with an orange in the toe, a deck of cards and some cash from Grandma. Galen is crying in every picture!

Chrismas eve candlelight services

Tinsel all over Gramma Nana's Tree

Laying under the decorated tree because it smelled good and made me happy

Decorating the tree with ornaments my kids have made

My mom's Christmas cookies

My dad putting on Christmas music before we could open presents

Telling my mom what my dad got her (she could always get me to tell)

The year I was the Robot in the Christmas play (yes, Robot!?!) and Dad helped me build a costume out of a cardboard box, a wastebasket for the head, dryer duct for the arms and he even put working lights on it that I could switch on and off!

Cutting down our own tree every year

Singing Christmas carols with my kids

Listening for Santa's sleigh bells and looking for Rudolph's red nose.

Chrismas Eve with Matt's family and going home on Christmas Day.

What are your favorite Christmas Memories?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

O Christmas Tree!

We made our annual tree trek this weekend and found the perfect blue spruce in the "grand valley" area.

I have 8 other pictures of Matt that look exactly like this, one from each year we've cut our own.

Chooch enjoys some snow.

Putting the finishing touches on the tree...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Don't you just love December? All the Christmas and holiday hubbub, the first good snowfall of the year, decorating, finding the perfect tree....

We're in full swing at our house. House is all decorated, the lights are up outside, although they go out everytime I run the hairdryer! And we're heading out this weekend to cut down our tree - one of my all-time favorite holiday traditions. Lists have been made and presents ordered (no insane mall trips for me). Just need to get the tree up and decorated and make some Christmas cookies and then get to the good part - seeing our families and friends.

Remember your blessings and that you don't have to do it all (I'm telling this to myself too!)

Saturday, December 02, 2006


On Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Calli and I had a girls' night out. We got all dressed up and headed downtown to a fancy dinner and then to see the play "Annie." As a kid I loved Annie so much. My friends and I would put on shows in our backyard (and charge admission) and one or two Annie songs were always featured. I played my Annie tape until it broke. To this day my brother says he still cannot stand Annie or Grease (sorry Chris). It was so much fun sharing my memories with Calli, who loves "Hardknock Life" as much as I did and still do!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Back to work

Here's my brother Chris, Matt and my Dad at Deer Camp this year.

With 21 Days off, Matt decided to grow a "beard." Although that's a stretch.

The 'stache is the best in my opinion, shoulda kept it for the first day back at work!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

I am thankful for:

my beautiful children for making me laugh and live
my handsome husband who remembers the little things
my mom and dad who still bless my life in so many ways
my Gramma who is 81
my in-laws who treat me like their own
my friends who remind me that I am more than a mom and wife

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Chicken Bacon Roll ups

By popular demand...Matt's recipe for yummy bacon wrapped chicken.

1 lb. bacon cut into thirds
About 1 lb. boneless chicken breasts - cut into 1 inch pieces
2/3 cup of brown sugar
2 Tablespoons chili powder

Wrap each piece of chicken with a piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick.
Mix the brown sugar with the chili powder.
Dredge each little roll up in the sugar mixture.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-35 minutes. You may want to bake these on a broiler pan or some type of baking rack.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Good Venison Recipe

Matt made this recipe tonight for the family, it was really good...quick and easy too!

Venison Steaks
butter or margarine
worchestershire sauce
potato - sliced into 1/2" slices the long way
onion - sliced into 1/4" rounds
salt and pepper to taste

Take a large square of tinfoil. Plop a pat of butter in the middle. Put one steak on top, season with salt and pepper. Spread about a tablespoon of Worchestershire on top of the steak, then top with a little more butter. Layer a slice or two of potato on top of the venison, then top with a few onion slices. (you could add carrots or any other veggie here too)

Wrap up the foil up into a packet. Matt made individual packets for each steak.
Place the foil packets on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.


Goodbye Hunter

Matt is leaving for his annual hunting trip. Thank God. I am so tired of hearing about all the hoopla leading up to this. Who is going, what food is going to be eaten, where he will put the tree stand for bowhunting, where he will scout for rifle, how many hours he will bowhunt vs. rifle hunt, how he will hunt at Camp Osto for a night, meet my brother and drive to the deer camp, etc. etc. etc.

Good luck, I hope you bag a big one! Maybe like this one?
More news on that next week!

Photo by Roger Johnson

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Gretchen, one of my oldest and dearest friends stopped by today. Even though I hadn't seen her in a while we didn't miss a beat. We've been through a lot together over the past 20+ years, haven't we? A lot of laughs. Talking with her today got me thinking about it all...

I was so jealous of you when I first met you back around 1984??? You had blond feathered hair and you could rollerskate better than anyone I knew. All the boys loved you (probably cause you could skate backwards)! You laughed louder than anyone I had ever heard. Adults and teachers loved you.

You were the one who would write letters to Bryce for me ---"Do you want to go with Amy?" with the convenient YES and NO check boxes to make it really easy for him. (My mom would say, where are you going)? And your parents, who used to let you have parties at your house, and even though I'd sneak behind the bushes with some boy, I'd never let him kiss me!

Our best friend Jill. The Lutheran school dances. The Steves, Troys, Joeys, Adams, Erics, Matts (and the Immanual boys) of legend. Cheerleading and the infamous cartwheel!!! Going to the JGHS football games where you were already famous before you even arrived. Roni P's hairspray bottle of schnapps. The Hot tub parties. You knowing every word to "Rappers Delight." How could you be so loud with your mouth wired shut? Having sleepovers at your house where you always fell asleep first, usually by 9:30! You falling in love with Bill and becoming the unofficial darling/homecoming queen of Central H.S. Your chevette. Different high schools, Milford, Matt, John, Jon, Tom, WMU, MSU, Bronson/Tom/Bronson, Bryce and dave, but always Bill/Bill/Bill/Bill for you. The summer of 1993 in Bay City! First jobs, the Rathskeller pants drop!, the dave fiasco, the Rathskeller fight (almost), blinddate=love at first sight with Matt, the Midland Street police swarm, weddings, Ed, our brothers, first homes, Olivia, Tyler, new friends, the loss of your Mom, Mitchell, Calli, new homes, trip to Vegas, Brady, new jobs, crazy neighbors, and so much more in between. Unbelieveable heartaches mixed in with incredible joy. Its all there...its our lives.

You are my angel on earth, my best friend. Thanks for being you.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Successful Bow Hunt!


Matt shot a 7 point last night in Byron Center. It should be an 8 point, but it broke its antler.
He says, "best part was no tracking in the rain, as I watched it fall 40 yards from my stand."

Monday, October 16, 2006

Hunting Update

Its October 16. Officially mid-bow season.
Matt shot a doe. When he recovered her next morning she was lying in a gross retaining pond. No jerky from her!

We went to Camp Osto for the bow opener. It was actually a lot of fun. I didn't hunt, but was able to clean up camp for the winter. We were able to seal the trailer roof and take down the pump and I fixed a screen, cut down a tree, put up a bird house, and drank a lot of bloody marys! Matt saw two does and her babies, but didn't have a decent shot.

Now he is concentrating on a spot in Byron Center...please God....I am not very patient with this hunting thing.


On another note, I found a really cool photo site that has some great pictures taken in Michigan. If you are a nature/wildlife lover, you will appreciate. Check it out - top link on the right under my favorites!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Tractor Shows

Have you ever been to a tractor show? Its kinda like going to a toy train show, without the pedofiles...

Matt's first excursion was this summer with my dad and the kids to an antique tractor show in West Branch. Mind you, my dad grew up on a farm and sold farm equipment at the family hardware store probably before he could drive, so this is fun stuff for him, but for city slicker Matt...its a different story... here is Matt's photo journal from the tractor show...note the general lack of tractors.

Not sure about this one, but doesn't look much like a tractor.

Granny got all gussied up for the big tractor parade.

Who knew Santa was a tractor enthusiast? Or a hippy for that matter?

Corn dog + elephant ear = amigo sooner or later.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Hunting Thoughts

Matt bought his own Christmas present last week. It is a tree stand. Mind you, he already owns 4! How many tree stands does one man need?

In other hunting related news...
We made a stop at Camp Osto on Sunday so Matt could put out approx. 1000 more pounds of sugar beets, carrots, and corn. He also accidently exposed the film in the trail cam...oops.

Lots of bow practicing going on these days...gotta love the Walker Sportsman Club! Maybe I'll go skeet shooting soon?

Camp is looking great this time of year, I love the fall. It almost makes me wish I was a hunter. Maybe I'll get one more weekend up there this fall.

Speaking of hunting...Tyler caught this small mouth bass with his Papa Bob at our family cottage in August. Its definitely worth posting.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Spider

Thought you might enjoy this awesome spider who graced the sedum plant in my yard last week. She is truly the largest spider I have ever seen in Michigan. It is a Black and Yellow Argiope and her body was about an inch and a half without her legs! Super cool.


Labor Day Weekend 2006...our first trip from Camp Osto, where we pushed off and ended at the River Country camp ground downstream. Matt and I had no idea how long it would take, so we packed our beer and munchies and set out for the great adventure.

But first...we had to drop the canoe off, drop the truck off, drive back to canoe...and then we were finally on our way! (How did the Indians get their canoe's back upstream?) The weather was gorgeous and sunny, but the water was freezing. It was interesting to see what types of cabins were on the river and what types of yahoos were out and about, drunk in canoes and tubes. It took about two hours to travel to our destination, just about right for me. Lots of fun!

...and much better than our first canoe experience on the Muskegon. . . let me recap for you.

It was June 2005, just getting nice and warm. Me and Matt at Camp Osto, no kids. We headed up to the Old Log Resort (OLR) where they took us upstream for a four hour float back to the OLR. The guide told us it was a very rustic part of the river without a lot of civilization, so we were hoping to see some wildlife - maybe a deer or eagle? He said by the time we reached a cottage, we would have about 45 minutes left in our trip. Great, let's go!

Off we pushed and things were swell. Matt was in the back, I was in the front. We had a cooler, beer, our suits on, plenty of sunscreen and Deep Woods Off. We saw a turtle, a bass, a Kingfisher. Then all of the sudden, we were swarmed by deer flies.

(feel my pain)...According to the Ohio State University Extension..."Female deer flies are vicious, painful biters. They feed on the blood of cattle, horses, mules, hogs, dogs, deer, other warmblooded animals, and even humans. These flies cut through the skin with their knife-like mouthparts and suck the blood for several minutes...Biting deer flies frequently attack humans along summer beaches, near streams, and at the edges of moist, wooded areas.

Needless to say a feeling settled over me that I can only describe as *panic*. We could not escape the divebombing. Matt is in the back paddling so furiously that I am fearing whiplash with every stroke. He was dropping the F bomb right and left. Then the rain came and we hoped that it would shoo them off, instead it made it worse. We were wet, it turned muggy and we were COVERED in even more deer flies. All you could hear was Matt swearing and a sick slapping sound. At one point I dared to turn around and he had at least 50 flies swirling around his head. He did NOT stop paddling one time. Of course, I got the giggles (I think my panic manifested into crazy laughter) which only makes things worse. We continually sprayed the Off and swatted. I must have been bitten 40 times. Stroke, stroke, swat, stroke.

I don't think we looked right or left once on that trip. We were focused on one thing only - getting out of the frickin' canoe. Finally we saw the cottage - we knew we only had 45 minutes left. How long had it been so far? Who knew as we left our watches in the truck, but it seemed like an eternity! Finally the OLR rolls into view and we sprinted to the finish, pulled the canoe up on shore. The guide greets us with a shocked expression and says how quick we were - turns out we made the 4 hour trip in 2! By the way he says, "Were you using Deep Wood's Off? That only seems to attract them!" OF COURSE.

Next day = sore.

Canoe trip #2 was heavenly.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Fall + hunting = lonely wife

Its that time again...well not quite time, but damn close enough. The time I am referring to is hunting season. For me, this year's hunting season began in June. That's when the love of my life and I took our first trip to Dundee. "So what?" you may ask. Dundee just so happens to be home of Cabela's - mecca of the hunter's world. Like the proverbial Kid in the Candy Store (him, not me), we beelined for the gun section where we spent 40 minutes discussing the merits of synthetic vs. wood? Then we volleyed between the guns and then the bows. Quick diversion through the Bargain Cave. Then came the camo section, the gun cases, back to bows for one more scopy thing. We looked at scopes, slings, targets, cases, ammo, range finders (both in the gun section and in the Bargain Cave), feeders, arrows, used guns, mosquito suits. I left him to look upstairs, check out the mounts, and see if there was any women's clothing without camo on it while he discussed the thingamajig he was having installed on his bow. Five hours later, we left as the proud owners (yes, I include myself as co-owner of this thing based soley on my personal time investment) of a new Remington 700 30/06...whew. Ain't he handsome girls? and I mean the man, not the gun!

It was only later that I found out that I never even saw the aquaium, nor the river you could actually fish in! I guess that means we are destined to return another day.

Since that day, Matt also purchased a nice new 200 lb. deer feeder which he and Tyler recently installed at CampOsto. This is one of those fancy shmancy ones with the automatic timer that releases a specified amount of food at times during the day. Here bambi, bambi, bambi.

He has also commenced with the bow target shooting in my back yard. Now next to my lovely flower bed filled with gladiolas, cosmos and dahlia's sits "Bucky" and the bean bag target. Why???

He has also started Tivo-ing all the hunting specials from the Hunting Channel (another favorite of mine) to watch and prepare? I TRY to tell him that these are tame deer that someone is luring to the kill with a nice juicy sugar beet and by calling the deer by name, but he doesn't believe me.

With all of these "investments" as Matt calls them, he better get a stinking deer this year. Otherwise I'm afraid of the new things we will have to purchase to get ourselves a buck with a bow or a gun! (or a duck for that matter)

I love you honey, I'm glad you have a hobby...I just wish it only lasted two months, instead of all year!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Photos from July 4th

Nannie Pat, Papa Bob, Brady, Calli and Tyler.

A view of the Sandpiper, new canoe and shed!

Hunter & TJ sport the official uniform of Camp Osto - the mosquito suit!

Calli brings the motorola in case a swarm carries her away!

Putting the finishing touches on the new shed.

I suppose Ice Mountain will be calling us now.

Chooch tests the new pump and loves that he can make mud.

The gang hits the river.

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Fourth of July

Camp Osto! 10 acres on the bank of the lush and sometimes wild Muskegon River. Our respite, our permanent vacation, our break from the hectic day-to-day grind. Kids - they love it. Parents - we love it. What more can you ask for? Only a few less mosquitos maybe!

The weekend is July 4th, 2006...the cast is composed of the Osto family and the Rau's for a couple of days of R&R cleverly disguised as "work." The plan...paint the new shed, dig a new well (complete with old fashioned pitcher pump complements of Papa Bob) and most important ~ have a great time! Lots of work must be followed by lots of fun - that means fitting in tubing and canoeing on the Muskegon, a couple of cold dips at Crawford Park, fishing in Koczak's pond - where Hunter caught a whopper Bass, great food and drink and a perfect campfire.

The kids - Calli, Tyler, Hunter and Riley - braved the woods in the "mosquitos suits" to catch leopard frogs, baby frogs and anything they could catch. They had the most fun and the most mosquito bites to prove it!

Missi pitched her new tent, too bad Mark wasn't man enough to brave the elements with her! Calli and Mya stepped up though. Papa Dan pitched another tent and blew up the Serta Perfect Sleeper style two foot high mattress (does this really qualify as "roughing it")?. Nana Nancy decided "camping" wasn't so bad and decided to join him, while Hunter and Tyler stayed in the second room of the tent. Papa Bob and Nannie Pat had already set up their condo on wheels and of course, there is the Sand Piper - home away from home for me and my better half, Matt. Chooch, Mark and Riley bunked with us. Who knew (okay - Papa Dan warned us) that a thunder storm would roll through at about 1 am? The tenters braved the storm and all kids slept, save Riley who was sleeping in the bunk a foot away from the roof. Her quote, "Dad, this is not safe!" Too bad her first experience sleeping in a trailer included a thunder storm! The campers in the trailers were more worried than those in the tents!

Let's talk about the new well. Papa Bob decided we could do it and we always need an enabler! He was the brains, and he and Matt were the brawn! 18 or so feet later, we struck water - crystal clear, freezing cold, beautiful water. Until you go without running water for a weekend, you don't know how great this is! I am so excited!!! The pounding (Matt's shoulder's are still sore) took a few hours but the reward will last for a long time. THANK YOU!!!!

The shed looks great complete with the "Camp Osto" sign I made last summer. The board washed up in Cedarville in the U.P. and is complements of Nannie and Papa Bob who found it on another camping trip. It is probably from some old logging camp or maybe washed ashore from a shipwreck? It looks great on the freshly painted shed - thanks to Dan for helping me paint the trim.

Our cruises down the river were relaxing, cool and fun. The weather was perfect and the water was refreshing! We seemed to travel in a pack of tubers mixed in with the new canoe. The canoe is awesome - we love this addition which will be a lot of fun on future expeditions! Next time we are taking the 3 hour excursion to the 50th street bridge!

Thanks for all the fun and especially the hard work. Camp Osto has never looked so great.