Wednesday, July 30, 2008


It's official. Summer is half over. I can't believe it. Before this week you couldn't have convinced me that this was true. The boys have been off for 5 weeks, and start 5 weeks from today. Five weeks seems like a very long time in some respects. Especially when 3 boys are sitting around with nothing to do. However, the speed of time never ceases to amaze me. I have only been in my bathing suit once this summer. Maybe we need to do that today. Swim team is over on Saturday. Peter and Sam are both swimming in the finals. Then we will have the hazy days of August to play. I hope that we can go to some fun places still before it all comes to an end. June always offers so much promise, but July and August are hard-pressed to deliver on those promises.

Fred's summer is actually over this week. He started skills camp for football, and then 2-a-days start on Friday. Now that he has moved on to JV, they even hold practices on Saturday. Isn't that special! Today he went to lifting this morning and is now out putting hay in the barn and making some hard to come by cash. He will go to skills camp at 4:30 tonight. I worry about that, but Chris tells me, "He's fine. he's young." I hope so! I admire him so much for sticking with this all summer and now into camp. He has pushed himself hard at each lift and will continue to do so through camp. I wish I had that drive and determination.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Toths

Ron and Tammy (see pictures below) are special friends in our lives. Ron actually introduced me to Chris at a track meet way too many years ago. They were friends from church. Ron invited me to church as well. He played the trumpet with me in band and sat next to me for about a year. Because of his family, Chris and I are who we are today. They had a great impact on both of our lives. Ron's father is the minister at the church we went to in Ohio. Many great memories include one or more of the Toth family. I remember watching Haley's comet on Ron's rooftop in the middle of the night. Chris has memories of playing on the rafters in their home that used to be a barn. Ron was in our wedding, Chris was in Ron's. You get the idea.
It has been a privilege to watch their family grow. Tammy just gave birth to their 8th child in April. They lapped us! They now have 4 boys and 4 girls ranging in age from 12 to 3 months now. When we told them we were coming up to visit and wanted to see them, Tammy insisted that we spend the night with them---even with a 2 month old. We did spend a significant amount of our 2 days in Newton Falls with them because our boys didn't want to leave! There were 12 children in that house, but you couldn't tell. They all played so nicely and had a wonderful time. The boys want to move next door so they can play every day. As we were there, we could sense the joy in their home. It's not something you can fake for visitors. They truly enjoy each of their children, and the kids all love each other so much. Tammy said that many days she doesn't get to hold Josiah much because all of the children want to spend time with their baby brother. Love overflows from every room. Their hearts and home belong to Jesus in every way. Tammy is gentle and kind as a mother and a friend. Did I mention she homeschools as well? I learn so much from being with them each time and I'm so encouraged. I hope we get to see them again soon.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Best 4th of July Ever!

Fireworks display in Newton Falls on the 4th
Eagerly anticipating the fireworks

Ben and Nathaniel Toth watching the parade in Newton Falls

Ron and Tamara Toth and baby Josiah
Fred, Tabitha, Hannah, Caleb, Ben and Nathaniel with Lydia and Moriah in the stroller behind
Growing up in Newton Falls had its perks. The 4th of July celebration was always the best around. This year this town of 5,000 drew 50,000 for their fireworks display. It was always a ton of fun. My grandma lived a block away from the park. We would park there and walk downtown to the parade if we weren't in it (which we usually were). The parade lasted about an hour or more with firetrucks from all around, baseball teams, the band, the baton twirlers, etc. Then there would be concerts at the park along with the carnival which lasted for 4 days. We were never aloud to ride any of the rides there, but it was always fun to see who was around and eat the carnival food. Then we would have a picnic at Gram's and walk down to get our places for the fireworks. When I was little didn't like the loud noise, so I stayed with Gram and we would watch from the back porch. As I got older, the lure of the crowd won out. After the fireworks we would walk back to Gram's and eat ice cream and watch the traffic for the next 45 minutes or so. It was the highlight of the year. Many times my cousin from Mississippi was in as well, which made it all the more fun.
Fast-forward to our first year of marriage. It's the 4th of July and we are right outside of Washington D.C. We spent the entire day at our apartment. Chris wasn't feeling well, we didn't know where to go, and I watched the fireworks on T.V. with a box of tissues. I knew the end had come. Since that time, we have done many different things for the 4th. We even spent several years on the mall in D.C. listening to the National Symphony play the 1812 Overture, cannons and all. But they never compare to the 4th of my childhood.
This year we got to spend July 4th in Newton Falls with our dear friends Ron and Tammy Toth and their 8 children. (More about them in another blog). It was just as wonderful as I had remembered. The parade was even longer than an hour with the boys and the Toth children getting way more candy than I thought possible. They loved every minute of it and so did I! The Marine's were even there with all of their cool machines driving down Broad Street. After spending the day visiting old friends and relatives, we were ready for the fireworks. God is so good to me. We even got to park 4 doors down from my Gram's old house and walk past it on the way there. We plowed our way through scores of people jammed into the walk way of the carnival. I only saw one person that I knew growing up, a former band member. But the atmosphere was electric. As we sat and waited for the fireworks and talked and laughed with our children, I remembered all of those good July 4th's of the past. This is what I've been looking for every 4th for 20 years. The boys couldn't believe how good the fireworks were. They lasted 45 minutes. Newton Falls definitely goes all out to bring an amazing show of fireworks. We oohed and aaahed over each amazing light show. When it was over we walked that familiar path back to Gram's, but we had to keep going. I gazed longingly as several people went into my Gram's house for their after the fireworks ice cream. It was bittersweet. We navigated our way through the crowd and were back at the Toth's within 15 minutes because we are locals and we know the back way. As I lay in bed that night I reveled in the fact that I was home again---at least for a day!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Vacation part 2

After Cincinnati, we headed north to Berea to spend a couple of days with my brother and his family. Phil and JoAnn have a 6 year old, Lily, and 2 year old twins, Rose and Tom. We had so much fun with them. Chris and Tommy bonded very quickly over "Baby Einstein" and the DVD shelf. When Chris wasn't available, then Tommy would recruit Fred. Their home is full of laughter and fun.

We took the boys to Cedar Point on Monday. Chris and I used to go there when I was in high school, but it's been 20 years since we've been there. Phil and Lily went with us. What a great day! Everyone got along, everyone wanted to ride pretty much the same rides. It was one of the best days of our vacation. When we got there, it was cold and wet. It rained on us twice, but we ducked into a shop for a few minutes and then it would pass. Because it was in the upper 60's and overcast all day the lines were short and the crowds were minimal. That was great for us! Lily wanted to ride EVERYTHING before we got there. Phil doesn't really do the huge roller coasters, so he had been preparing her that they wouldn't be riding everything. The first ride we road was an old wooden coaster called the Blue Streak. It's jerky and hilly and fun. That coaster did Lily in and she no longer wanted to ride the huge rides. Phil breathed a sigh of relief. Peter the daring and Chris rode the Demon Drop and the Millennium Force (way too big for me), but other than those, we all stuck together. One of the last rides we rode was the Gemini. It used to be one of the largest coasters before the days of stupidly high coasters. I remember the first time I rode it. It was the tallest thing in the park. We all ran up the ramp and jumped right in the waiting cars (how great is that?) It's a wooden coaster as well, with two trains that race each other. As we rounded the last curve the car suddenly jerked to the left, taking my head with it. That pretty much did it for me! The chiropractor fixed me yesterday!
The next day we visited our great friends, the Bocka's, in Mansfield. Liz and Joe lived in Maryland while Chris and I were there. We had our babies 9 months apart and spent a good deal of time together. They moved back to Ohio about 14 years ago, but we stay in touch by visiting when we can. They have a basement that resembles an arcade, so the boys were in heaven. We enjoyed relaxing, eating, and catching up for a couple of days. Fred, Ben, Sam and Peter all want to move there now. It certainly was a nice break.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Vacation at last

We are so glad to be home, but what a trip we had! We took a "2 night" tour through Ohio. We spent two nights in Cincinnati, Berea, Mansfield, and Newton Falls. Then we had 2 nights at home before we all went our separate ways for camps, etc. It was great fun, but Chris commented Thursday evening that he was ready to get back to work so he could get some rest. Two weeks is a long vacation! Chris's cousin died tragically and unexpectedly in early January, but only Chris could make it up to the funeral. He promised his family that the rest of us would be up for a visit this summer. It had been at least several years since we were in Ohio, so I was ready to return.
Our first stop was my Aunt Martha's and Uncle John's home. They live in Cincinnati, which is where the new Creation Museum was built last year. We wanted to visit with them and take the boys to the museum. It was such fun. The museum is incredible. The figures are very life-like. Someone on the trip told me that a man from Disney helped with the animation, etc., and students from our friends' church helped to build some of the museum. Our children generally do not do well at museums and are ready to go within about 2 hours. But here, we ended up spending about 6 hours looking at everything. The incredible planetarium show about the size of the universe was the hands-down favorite. The chairs were so comfortable that some in our group slept through much of it---but the boys loved it. It is well worth the trip if you ever get a chance to go.

This is a scale model of Noah's ark. They had another model that was 1% of the actual size. It was massive! The exibit said that the ark pushed the limits of a wooden vessel, but it was designed so well that it would withstand the wind and waves without tipping.

We enjoyed a quiet evening and delicious watermelon at Aunt Martha's and Uncle John's after a long day at the museum.
And the rest will have to wait for another day. We need groceries desperately.......
Posted by Picasa