Monday, August 31, 2009

We are in the last week before school starts and our summer has been full of adventures. Soon the girls will be in first and third grades, which at times seems unbelievable, and then at other times they seem to age right before my eyes. Take for instance, Isabelle, who Jamie affectionately calls "Little Gretchen" sometimes. He calls her that because if you didn't know she looks and often acts much like me (I know, lucky girl) :) But last weekend she surprised me by acting quite opposite of me and growing up in a 60 second galleon ride.

Last weekend we were down in Iowa for a "best of Iowa" weekend, with Iowa pork chops, Iowa sweet corn, The Iowa State Fair, the Des Moines Farmers Market and Adventureland (good times, good times). Adventureland is a small amusement park I grew up going to in the summer. Now Isabelle's typical m.o. with rides is cautious. Tori hits all the big thrills and Ponsi normally stays with me and Macie on the more tame attractions. So we entered the park and after hitting the token train and carousel rides we headed for the main portion of the park. The first ride you come upon is The Galleon. I hate The Galleon. It is one of those pirate ships that swings back and forth going higher and higher each time--your stomach butterflies and the worst part for me is as you go up you look down at the ride motor that would grind you into pieces should that lame little lap bar unexpectedly release (it could happen). Well, Isabelle took off following Tori and her cousins Mack and Gage toward the Galleon. I elected to stay with Macie and just watch. ;) An acquaintance from high school was standing watching her kids on the Galleon, too, so we started chatting. I told her I couldn't believe Isabelle was going to ride it, how she must not have seen it before she decided to go, and that she usually is a big chicken like me. As the words are coming out of my mouth, I turn and look at Isabelle and there she is huge smile (minus one front tooth) and arms raised high- not one ounce of fear on her face. Where in the world this sudden bravery came is a surprise to me. But she continued to hit every thrill ride the park had to offer, even riding in the front row of the roller coasters. I rode with her once on the Tornado. My hands were double clenched around the lame lap bar and she was smiling, laughing and being thrown from one side to the other with each turn. Oh well.

So my "little Gretchen" grew past me that day and became "little Gretchen and then some" I guess. I imagine she will continue to do things I would never dream of and discover a life all her own. Watch out first grade--here she comes.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

My Mom and Dad got me the most wonderful gift for my birthday. At first glance, you would think it was just a decoration for the house- a nice sign with a quaint saying. But for me, it is so much more than that. The sign says, "Come gather at our table" and I hung it (well, my mom hung it) right above our dining room table. I love having my family around the table. I love to hold hands and pray over dinner or Saturday morning monkey bread. But I also love inviting others to share around the table. When you sit at our table you take a seat in our lives. I can't "pretty up" my family around the table. I mean I love them, but sometimes watching the girls eat isn't the most pleasant thing to see (we are working on it). And I can't hide if my meal when I forgot to put yeast in the pizza dough...that was gross (Thanks Chuck for being so gracious and coming back). But I can offer good conversation, maybe some good food, possibly some laughter or tears, and a whole world of other things just from joining at the table. You should try it. :)

Anyway, when I look at the sign it makes me smile and it makes me grateful for the wonderful people who I have come to know as they have come and gathered at our table.

p.s. I would put a picture up but I am having computer issues hence photo posting issues...bummer. Maybe you will just have to come over and see it. :)