Monday, December 31, 2007

2007: The Year in Review

This New Year's Eve finds me flying solo...hubby is working, kids are at Nana's and Papa's and I'm trying to de-Christmastize my house. It is quiet and sorta sad to be alone on New Year's Eve. As I look back at 2007 (after all isn't that what you are supposed to do on the last day of the year), I think it was a year of personal milestones. A lot of fun and good things happened and were celebrated and a couple of things touched my heart in ways I didn't know possible.

A United States President was buried in our city. We did it right.
I turned 35. (is this possible?)
We celebrated 10 years of marriage in Mexico in Feb.
Geno and Amy got married in a snowstorm.
We had great softball and baseball seasons.
T-bird's art was represented in a school art show and a local pizza parlor (for a year).
We went to Traverse City for Easter with Nan and Pop.
Our baby turned big boy in May. Where does the time go?
Cal rocked the dance recital!
Lots of running and running and running......
We rocked out at Poison!
We had family time at the cottages on Clear Lake and at the Upper 10.
Fun with George and Jen on the 4th!
Bobby Kozminski was killed in the line of duty. Unforgettable. Period.
Hunter family reunion in G.Haven.
Class reunion at the Red Dog!
Tube Fest #1 (hopefully there will be a #2)
We partied at Camp Osto all summer!
Lots of poker games for Osto.
Scored trophies at the Kevin Marshall Memorial Run (again, is this possible?)
Joanne and JD got hitched in style at the Detriot Yacht Club.
Pulaski days (I am now too old for this loud a*s drunk fest).
Chooch started preschool!
Our favorite neighbors moved away (we miss you).
Mustache contest!
Cal soloed in the Christmas program
Ugly Sweater contest!
Merry Christmas (even though the kids were all sick)

Final thoughts...
I think I like contests. I wish I would win one that had a lot of money as a prize. HA!

I'm still wearing a black rubber bracelet on my wrist. All the blue is gone, save for a tiny bit. I did not know Koz. I never met him. I never really recall hearing his name. Somehow still he changed my life. There are moments about this that are etched into me...moments I will never forget...the call out, the waves and waves and waves of officers who came to pay respects, my brother-in-law, the honor guard, the processional lined with people - so silent - in tribute, and finally the cemetary. Proud, sad, strong. I'm still wearing this bracelet for Osto. For Mark. For all my friends in the GRPD. You are the thin blue line. I wear it as a reminder for what you do, and for what I can do. I am the other side of that, the safe haven, the chaos, the kids, the place to forget the bad and live the good.

Ten years is a long time to be married. I think we finally figured it out. It gets better and better. You finally give up on changing the other person and just accept that they will never put the sugar bowl away or clean up the pan they cook their taquitos on. You learn to just get over your damn self and learn that that is the way it is and if you want the laundry picked up then you pick it up yourself. The good is way good and the bad is forgettable. (Life is fun with you Osto! I can't wait for the next 10...)

Kids grow up. They start to learn about people and ask interesting and engaging questions. They learn that sometimes life isn't fair. That people can be mean and cruel. I'm learning that I can't protect them forever. They are cool little people. I want to know them. They are funny, smart, amazing and beautiful. I want Chooch to stay 3 forever. He promises me that he will still kiss me and be my "baby" when he is big enough to give me piggy back rides. But time has a way of ticking...

I will remember 2007 and look forward to 2008.
Thanks for reading my blog and I hope you stick around to enjoy and participate in the frivolity and the fun!

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!


Friday, December 21, 2007

The calm before the storm

Ahhh...Christmas Vacation. I remember that last day of school well before the holiday set in, you could feel the excitement in the air. I spent time with a bunch of fourth graders today and its good to know things haven't changed.

I'm lucky this year that I have some time off too, so I have that "calm before the storm" feeling tonight. The high pitched fever of shopping and buying is over, the presents are wrapped, the work parties are over, school's out and I'm starting to feel the true spirit of Christmas. You know what it is really about...that sense of wonder. In a few fleeting days that will be gone, the gifts will be the stars of the show, the joy (or disappointment) will be written on little faces and the chaos of the clean up will ensue.

But for the next 3 or 4 days it is all about family, baby Jesus, the tree, the spirit of giving, the anticipation, the growing piles of presents and the hope that they will bring our heart's desire or at the very least Guitar Hero III.

So in your hectic days ahead try to enjoy the wonder of Christmas and live in the moment.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

1977 JC Penney Catalog

You may have seen this floating around email, but I thought it was worth another look. Click here to talk a walk down memory lane...circa 1977.

No doubt, you will remember perusing the Penney's catalog if you are my age. Its the funked up styles that are killing me today. What were people thinking? The comments are really funny too.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest

The First (and maybe last) Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest was held Sunday night. The winner didn't have to purchase his/her own beverages, so there was some incentive!

Here are the top finishers...
Awwe, who can resist an adorable teddy bear, especially one outlined in glitter glue or when this hot guy is wearing it?
A classic...reindeer and the north star...lookin' sharp, George!

This sweater resembles one I owned in eigth grade *gasp*, and thd goose and poinsettia combo was an early front runner!

But the clear winners were....Mr. and Mrs. Christmas as shown here...Can you say "cheese"!?!

O Christmas Tree!

We cut down our Christmas Tree on Saturday. Its a beauty! I think I want to own a Christmas Tree farm when I grow up. You know, with the hot chocolate and the crackling fire pit and a horse drawn wagon ride to pick out your tree. (That is NOT the experience I had, but that's what I'd do). Fresh wreaths and an old fashioned tree shaker too.

Cutting down and then trimming the tree is one of my favorite traditions. I know my family loves it too. Seeing our favorite ornaments (and I get a new one every year on this day too!) and hanging them up really is the start of the holiday season for me.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday!
This is circa Oct. 1987.
I'm thinking home coming???
Nice hair...
Love you!

Wake up old man!

Osto was giggling yesterday about his new alarm clock. When I finally saw it last night, I actually gasped. It is HUH-UGE! I've attempted to capture this monstrosity but the photo doesn't really do it justice.

You could also land an airplane by this thing it is so bright.

I think this is a sure sign that he is getting old.

These numbers are 1.5 inches high!


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

We're in the spirit, the holiday spirit

We went to the kid's christmas program tonight. Its hard to see the separation of church and state at a public school that holds its christmas program in a church and sings songs about Christ. Not that I'm complaining...just interesting how things are done a little differently in my ultra-conservative, ultra-religious town. Wonder how long that will last?

After arriving 45 minutes prior to show time, I found there were no - repeat - no seats available. What is this bullsh*t about "saving" a whole row of seats? I mean, I'm no holiday show virgin so I guess I should expect this mayhem but still every year I'm surprised at the gall of these people! I was so tempted to just plop myself down on one of these "reserved" spaces and play dumb just to see the shock & awe. But I trooped upstairs and found surprising good seats in the balcony (shhhhh).

Anyways, the show was great! The kids did cute numbers about puppies, reindeer, fruitcake, and some standards. Baby girl had a little solo part in one of the numbers and she belted it out and wasn't even nervous! She did awesome. Tyler's group did a version of Silent Night with flashlights. Really cool. Osto and I were so proud of them. Definitely put me in the holiday spirit. We took pictures, but from our lovely nosebleed seats its hard to tell anyone apart!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Boys being boys...

My oldest son decided it would be a good idea to "train" my youngest in the fine art of "battling". This involves all types of kicking, punching, wrestling moves, and sometimes weaponry. This has been going on for months and the Chooch is now quite skilled in the art of battling and is quite accomplished with a foam sword as well. As long as they weren't crying, nor propelling themselves off my furniture (at least when I was watching), I really didn't care about said battles.

(You can view the nonsense here).

Well, as of last week all battles have ceased at Camp Osto. My oldest came running up stairs while I was cooking dinner with blood running down his face. (Now you have to understand that this kid cannot stand the mere thought of blood, let alone the sight of his own. I am more afraid that he is going to pass out and that the eggs I was trying to cook were going to burn in the pan in the meantime). Anyways, the Chooch hit him in the head with a toy fishing pole and put a little, but bloody, puncture in his noggin. Ugh, boys. I told Bird it was his own fault that he had trained the Chooch so well...

And the winner is....

Monday, November 26, 2007

Belated Thanksgiving

This year, I am thankful for:

The great turkey dinner we had at my parent's house.
My kids and husband. They all drive me crazy in their own ways, but my life is definitely enriched by them. I wouldn't trade them for anything (at least not today)!
My extended family and friends.
The health of those I love.
The beautiful weather and seasons of Michigan (and photographers who can capture it, like this one of Tahquamenon lower falls by curlyson (see the link at left)).
I am thankful that my whole family has jobs and homes and love to spare.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Operation Selleck continues...

The cheesiness continues I am planning a stache-off, but everyone else must be too chicken to play. You can manup via

Note the lovely grooming technique...kinda like supertroopers. So sexy!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Deer Hunting 07

Here's my Dad's nice 6 point, taken near Kalkaska. Ryan H. got a nice 6 point with his bow too.

Russ T. took in two huge bucks this week near Fremont. I only have a picture of the first one, but the second is even bigger. Nice job!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

En Garde!

T-Bird is fencing. He is learning to attack with a foil.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veteran's Day


As you may know, I spent 5½ years as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. In the early years of our imprisonment, the NVA kept us in solitary confinement or two or three to a cell. In 1971 the NVA moved us from these conditions of isolation into large rooms with as many as 30 to 40 men to a room. This was, as you can imagine, a wonderful change and was a direct result of the efforts of millions of Americans on behalf of a few hundred POWs 10,000 miles from home.

One of the men who moved into my room was a young man named Mike Christian. Mike came from a small town near Selma, Alabama. He didn't wear a pair of shoes until he was 13 years old. At 17, he enlisted in the US Navy. He later earned a commission by going to Officer Training School. Then he became a Naval Flight Officer and was shot down and captured in 1967.

Mike had a keen and deep appreciation of the opportunities this country, and our military, provide for people who want to work and want to succeed. As part of the change in treatment, the Vietnamese allowed some prisoners to receive packages from home. In some of these packages were handkerchiefs, scarves and other items of clothing. Mike got himself a bamboo needle. Over a period of a couple of months, he created an American flag and sewed it on the inside of his shirt. Every afternoon, before we had a bowl of soup, we would hang Mike's shirt on the wall of the cell and say the Pledge of Allegiance. I know the Pledge of Allegiance may not seem the most important part of our day now, but I can assure you that in that stark cell, it was indeed the most important and meaningful event.

One day the Vietnamese searched our cell, as they did periodically, and discovered Mike's shirt with the flag sewn inside, and removed it. That evening they returned, opened the door of the cell, and for the benefit of all us, beat Mike Christian severely for the next couple of hours.

Then, they opened the door of the cell and threw him in. We cleaned him up as well as we could. The cell in which we lived had a concrete slab in the middle on which we slept. Four naked light bulbs hung in each corner of the room. As I said, we tried to clean up Mike as well as we could. After the excitement died down, I looked in the corner of the room, and sitting there beneath that dim light bulb with a piece of red cloth, another shirt and his bamboo needle, was my friend, Mike Christian. He was sitting there with his eyes almost shut from the beating he had received, making another American flag.

He was not making the flag because it made Mike Christian feel better. He was making that flag because he knew how important it was to us to be able to pledge our allegiance to our flag and country.

So the next time you say the Pledge of Allegiance, you must never forget the sacrifice and courage that thousands of Americans have made to build our nation and promote freedom around the world. You must remember our duty, our honor, and our country.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic, for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

A True Story by John S. McCain

Friday, November 09, 2007

Submit your 'stache

Send your lush moustache photos to the Camp Director at

Progress report

Camp Osto has received two submissions for Operation Tom far the progress is pretty good (and so cheesy)! Please rate them above...

Stache #1

Stache #2

Thursday, November 08, 2007

All things 'stache...

ID your 'stache...

Maybe you should consider attending this event? (Who knew these things existed?)

For those of you who can't grow your own, you may need to purchase a moustache (honey, this one's for you) here....only $25.00 each and they come in a variety of colors and styles! Please note there are no returns on moustaches.

And, for the here...tough calls to be made, but someone has to provide input into the important things in life...

And, let's not forget last year's handsome "winner"!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Operation Tom Selleck

Please submit your photos.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

All Matt Wants for Cabela's Trophy Hunting Property

Anyone want to go in on this with us?

Nawakwa Hunt and Gun Club
Price: $5,700,000

This rare large tract of Michigan's northern lower peninsula is truly a sportsmen's paradise. After passing the gated entrance, the 5,000 foot air strip, professionally designed skeet and trap fields, sporting clays course and many food plots you can only wonder what will be next. Traveling miles of trails and groomed road ways the mature hardwood forest and rolling terrain is met with a beautiful ending at a secluded Lake front lodge. The lodge offers all the comforts of home with casual living space and massive decking for entertaining, numerous stone fireplaces, central air and lake views that cannot be described. Invite the family, with accommodations for up to 30 guests and a commercial grade kitchen the Nawakwa lodge will not disappoint. Turtle Lake, completely surrounded by private ranch property has through a strict catch and release program, produces some of the best bass fishing the state has to offer. The property offers almost 1,600 acres, that has for years, been professionally managed for whitetail habitat and quality buck sightings are to many to count. With professional forest harvest management and conservation efforts in place this deer population is insured for years to come. The attached garage, 9 stall storage building, maintenance building with all required grounds care implements and equipment and completely tooled work shop leave nothing to need. The unobtrusive, below grade gas well sites double as managed food plots and produce royalties averaging approximately $100,000 annually. When combined with the forest harvest management plan this sporting property is truly an investment worth looking at. Buy it for yourself, as a corporate retreat or with friends, and own a one of a kind property in Michigan.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Happy Halloween 2007

This show is some images of the festivites from last Saturday's neighborhood party and Halloween. Put your cursor over the photo for the captions.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Angela is my hero...

(shut off the music first)

Here's a funny interview too.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Men in uniform alert!

These guys should pose for a calendar.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Do you know what a Hobley is?

(shut off the music first)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pumpkin Pickin' and other fall festivities

We hit our favorite pumpkin patch to load up on the autumnal goodies!

Also some treestand shots of the hunters...


Monday, October 08, 2007

Last Campout

Two weekends ago we headed up for an impromptu last campout with the kids. It was awesome. The trees were just starting to turn and the weather was perfect. We took a long walk down the trails, put out some feed, checked the tree stands, visited the river and the beaver pond. We saw lots of pretty trees and some wild grapes which were very sour!

We headed to our favorite bar up there where they have awesome pizza and some video games for the kids. We've always experienced true redneck hospitality at this smokey little hole in the wall. The waitresses are lifers who take their smoke brakes at the bar. The patrons are a little on the wild side and could double as bikers or 80's hair models. The hospitality part is no joke. Everyone is so nice and always gives our kids quarters or the animals from the crane claw game. This time one guy told us the secret to winning at that quarter sucker! Anyways, looks can be decieving and the people are always very nice and friendly.

In the morning we saw deer feeding at the corn we put out. We all laid in bed and watched them through the window. Three kids make a lot of noise, but the deer stayed put.

On the way back home we took a different route down a great road. We saw lots of deer and a bald eagle. We found a state forest camp ground on a cool little lake. It was a perfect overnighter! I'll miss Camp Osto until next summer (unless I get up there one last time with the hunter)!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Baby Girl is 7!

Our baby girl turned seven Saturday. The time has sure flown by! We celebrated with her friends yesterday and our families today. Here are some cute shots of her throughout her seven years.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Business Trip

I think every woman, especially with smallish children, gets to a point in her life when the thought of being sent away on a business trip for a week sounds like pure heaven. A quiet hotel room, a nice big comfy bed all to one's self...not to mention dinner out every night - that you had no hand in preparing, nor shopping for...and all in the guise of "work" - which means they are paying you to do this! Am I the lucky one transported off to mid-town America for a benign compensation conference?

Alas, no. I am the one at home juggling work and three kids, begging my mom to come stay, shuttling off to Papa & Nana's babysitting service (thanks by the way to all of you!), dance, scouts, religion classes, etc. while my better half gets to lounge in the lap of perceived conference luxury. Am I jealous? see, he has to share a room with his boss!

(But I do miss him!) (And its really not that bad, it just makes for a better story!)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

September 11, 2007

It was on September 11, 2001 that my oldest son went to his first day of preschool. Ironically, on September 11, 2007, my youngest son also went to his first day of preschool. Hard to believe it has been six years already since 9/11. I still cry at that footage.
Chooch had a great time and is definitely ready for all the excitement of preschool. His favorite part of the day? The playground! Of course. My baby is growing up.