Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 2010: My Nyquil-fogged narration

Well, no blog would be complete without an accounting of our family's Christmas, so here goes. The weather this year was nothing special. It was cold, but not terribly cold. We had a "dusting" of snow, but it was nothing special.
I confess that photographs are limited because I take most of the photographs in this family (I also do most of the cooking). Suzanne's parents may very well have taken photographs, but they use those cardboard disposable cameras, so if they did in fact take pictures, the pictures will likely materialize sometime around Memorial Day, and will be in print form, needing to be scanned.
Anyway. By Christmas Eve, I knew I was in the grips of a rather nasty cold. But, stoic dutchman that I am, I vowed to carry on, regardless. Suzanne's family was going to come on Christmas Eve and spend the night. We got down to the cottage at some point on the 23rd. I spent the 24th preparing some basic foodstuffs. I made chili, chocolate chip cookies, and I bought cinnamon rolls in a can. I went back to Grand Rapids in the evening, in part, because we'd forgotten a bag of gifts. I also wanted to attend midnight mass, because I LOVE midnight mass. It is my favorite service of the liturgical year. I know lots of clergy who claim that Easter Sunday is the best service of the church year, but that's clergy for you. Because I couldn't bear to go to Grace Church which is still in the midst of a raging power struggle, I attended midnight mass at St. Andrews, on the north side of town, but I was with so many Grace Episcopal Church people, you'd hardly know the difference, except for the friendly, welcoming atmosphere at St. Andrews. And St. Andrews had incense at their Midnight Mass. I LOVE incense, and so I was quite happy, even though I couldn't really smell it.
Anyway, I got back down to Gun Lake well after midnight. By that time, Suzanne's parents had arrived, and were already sleeping in the guest room. I am also told Suzanne's brother Abe was with them, but for reasons which I am about to relay, you'll understand why I don't quite remember.
Anyway, shortly before I went to sleep, I took this picture of the Christmas Tree, surrounded by all the presents. I like a lot of lights on a Christmas Tree.
I finally got into bed around 3am. I had bought a bottle of Nyquil when I was in Grand Rapids, and as I tiptoed into the bedroom (Suzanne and Frances were both sound asleep) I opened the bottle in the dark, but dropped the measuring cup that comes on top. I didn't want to turn on the light and wake them up just to find the cap, so I took a swig from the bottle and crawled into bed.
I was dragged out of bed on Christmas morning. I had to talk Suzanne out of calling poison control because we ascertained that I'd chugged half the bottle of Nyquil (it just seemed like one mouthfull--I really didn't mean to drink that much) and anyway, it became clear that there's a very good reason they give you those little measuring cups that you're not even supposed to fill. But how was I to know that? Anyway. Poison control was not called. My memory of this day is, however, very spotty. I am told I put cinnamon rolls and then the chocolate chip cookies in the oven and put the chili (I had also made this the night before) in the crock pot and turned it on. The cinnamon rolls were fine, the cookies didn't turn out well.
I also suspect that I took these pictures of Frances opening her presents:

Her favorite present this year was bubble wrap. I bought her a whole roll of bubble wrap, and wrapped it up and put it under the tree. This was her favorite present. Shortly after this, I went back to bed. I vaguely remember eating chili downstairs while Suzanne's family was still here. Apparently I went back to bed, because I remember waking up in the evening and finding her family had gone back to Lansing.
Anyway, there were still some presents from Nei-Nei to open, so I took these videos of Frances opening gifts. You can hear me breathing through my mouth quite loudly, this is because I could not breathe through my nose. I hope it doesn't gross you out.
Here is Frances opening the first package from Nei-Nei.

And here we are, opening the big box from Nei-Nei.

And here are two short clips to show how Frances sings Christmas Carols. Here is
"Jingle Bells"

and here is "Santa Claus is Coming to Town:




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Monday, November 29, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving, 2010

We had a very quiet Thanksgiving Day at the cottage, followed by a big gathering of relatives over the weekend. Suzanne's sister Char came in from Wisconsin with her husband and two children; Suzanne's brother Abe brought his new friend Jenny; and Suzanne's cousin Tricia came with her twin boys and daughter who's Frances's age. Suzanne's parents were there too. The men went outside and built a fire and deep fried turkeys in peanut oil, just like the Pilgrims did at the first Thanksgiving.

My brother-in-law Bill gets credit for the deep fried turkeys, which came out wonderfully--very crispy and not nearly as dry as a turkey roasted in the oven. He brought the equipment that we needed, and he did most of the work. We had a fire going in the fire pit, so we didn't all freeze while the turkeys fried. But, it takes about an hour to fry an average turkey, while it would have been in the oven all day.

Oh, thank heaven for little girls! Here I am with my niece Morgan, and Frances. Frances was not exactly thrilled to see her cousin Morgan climbing all over her daddy, but the two of them get along well enough otherwise.
Franny and Morgan watched videos with Grandpa Gary, but Ella thought Franny's toybox was more interesting.


Franny took a nap on Aunty Char's lap. (That sort of rhymes, doesn't it... nap-lap...)
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Monday, November 15, 2010

Her pretty new dress


I got this picture of Frances in her new dress (an early Christmas present from Nei-Nei) at our church group's pre-Christmas party.
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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Playing with her Ohio cousins

Frances's Ohio cousins came to Grand Rapids for a short visit on Sunday morning, and she had a wonderful time playing with them at the McDonalds playplace.
It must have been static electricity, look at how her hair stands on end.

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween Fun

Frances was adamant that she wanted to dress as a bumblebee for Halloween. We will ignore the fact that the costume she selected was a pink and yellow butterfly... she was a bumblebee.
Here she and Mommy are, on the dock at the cottage, feeding stale hamburger buns to the blue gills.
We went trick-or-treating at the mall. I am not sure we will do that again, but as Nei-Nei came down with a touch of the flu, it seemed logical to go someplace climate controlled with comfortable places to sit down.

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

A visit from Nei-Nei

Wilda came and visited us for Halloween, and it was a great opportunity for Frances to get re-acquainted with her Nei-Nei.
Since the weather was sunny (but a bit cold) we went for a walk down the pier at Grand Haven.
Here are Frances and Nei-Nei at a farmer's market in Grand Haven, shopping for apples to make applesauce.
Nei-Nei got some schnazzy new sunglasses in her trademark purple.
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Sunday, October 24, 2010

A sunny weekend in October

We had gloriously warm and sunny weather over the weekend, and decided to go out to Holland and spend some time by the lake before snow falls. I took a bunch of pictures, but I am still stubbornly using my film SLR. At this point, my efforts are self-defeating, because my film is now expired and the colors are kind of funky, but, well, I guess my stubborn dutch and german roots are coming out.
Here's Frances on the walk out to the Holland Harbor Lighthouse, known to most of the locals as "Big Red." It was a beautiful afternoon for a walk.
Suzanne and Frances, on the steps of the lighthouse.

Exploring the beach behind the lighthouse.
We went to Tunnel Park after visiting Big Red. Tunnel Park is known for the big tunnel leading from the parking lot out to the beach.
Here is Frances in the tunnel. She had a blast running through it, back and forth, shouting "ECHO! ECHO! ECHO!" at the top of her lungs, and listening to her voice echo back.
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Henry Ford Museum

Frances's godfather was going to be in Toledo for his class reunion, so we got a hotel in Detroitland, and met up with him at the Henry Ford Museum, where we had a wonderful time.

I thought this was a neat picture of Frances and Suzanne, watching a reproduction of the air show at the museum.
Here's Frances in a replica of an old airplane.
Here's an old Ford.
The Henry Ford Museum has a big tribute to the Oscar Meyer Weiner, so we ate our lunch in the Weinermobile Cafe. Later, Frances got to pretend to be a hot dog, smothered in plastic condiments.
I suppose that being covered in plastic condiments is great fun when you're 2 1/2. We certainly don't have one of those at home.
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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sunday Lunch at McDonalds with the Grandparents

Frances had a nice visit from her grandparents this past weekend. Here they are at the Gun Lake McDonalds after church.


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