Sunday, August 29, 2010

College Soccer Season Has Once Again Begun

The season has once again started with lots of new faces and Shaun playing in a new (old) position.  Yesterday was the kickoff with a team scrimmage.  The traditional Blue/Orange Scrimmage began at 1:30 & the boys' played the full 90 minutes.  Some of the returning players have switched numbers, and then there are some new freshman & others & so it was a test to figure out who was who.  Then you have the returning players who now have facial hair or let their hair grow longer or buzzed it shorter to confuse me even more!
Shaun has returned to his favorite position - outside midfield.  He loves it!  Last year he was placed in the back of the field, in front of the goalie, he hated it, yet he played to his fullest every game.  Well I guess he did that again yesterday.  He didn't take many shots in the 1st half, but did a lot of passing.  So we think that he may have gotten a little talking to at half time because he came out the 2nd half and scored THREE goals - a hat trick!  His final goal was a bicycle kick shot - awesome!!!
After a beautiful week of cooler temps, the heat had once again returned to Michigan for the weekend.  It was hot on that field!!
After the game the team & families went to the home of one of the team members on Lake Michigan for a potluck picnic.

What a gorgeous day and what a fun time everyone had.  Of course, the food was DE-LISH!  I love potlucks where you can try many different things! 
And as a team tradition - the team shot was taken once again.....
Isn't this a great looking group of guys?  They looked great on the field and they have gelled together so well, old and new, after only one week of training & playing.
So here's to another fun season of Hope College Soccer!
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO  Dutchmen!!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

I Hate To Admit This...

I really hate to say this....to admit this......but summer is winding down.  I have so enjoyed this summer.  The weather has been fantabulous, minus the humidity - but even that never really got to me too bad.  I spent so much time in the water this summer that I managed to keep cool.
Yesterday hubby & I took the day off from home improvements and spent the day playing.  DH took off about 9:30 a.m. for the Kal-Haven Trail about 20 miles from home.  The trail is a bike trail that runs from Kalamazoo to South Haven - the lakeshore.  He wanted to get a 50 mile ride in this summer with his riding buddy, Mark.  The plan was for them to do the ride & the wives to meet them at the lakeshore.  We would spend our time shopping or sitting on the sandy shores.
About 2 weeks ago Mark had an accident while they were on their weekly Saturday morning ride.  He got too close to Steve's back tire & got sucked into the draft, causing him to fall - hard - right into the middle of a very busy two lane highway.  Fortunately there was a sheriff driving right behind them.  He immediately pulled over, blocking traffic & calling in the emergency vehicles.  An ER nurse happened to be driving by at that point and was at Mark's side pronto.  Steve said before he could even help Mark get out of his toe clips & check him out the ambulance & emergency vehicles were on the scene.  Mark fell on his ride side & bounced off his hip, leaving him pretty bruised & sore.  He is okay and very fortunate it wasn't worse.  He was wearing a helmet too, which is a must for any serious bike rider.
Due to his accident, Mark wasn't in condition to ride the 50 mile Kal-Haven trek as planned, but Steve was deteremined to do it, so we decided after listening to the weather earlier this week that Thursday was a great day to go.  The temps would be in the mid 70s with virtually no humidity.
He loaded his mountain bike into the back of my Rendezvous & took of on his road bike.  He had heard that the trail was a little rough from some work they have been doing this summer.  I met him at the Kalamazoo trail head & he switched bikes.
I then headed out to the beach with my chair and book in tote.  I spent a very relaxing 1 1/2 reading before Steve showed up on his bike.  Overall, his trip took him about 2 1/2 hours to complete.
What a beautiful day - but I was in for quite a shock when I went into the water!  The water temps have been in the mid 70s all summer = perfect!  Earlier this week we had a cold front move through & it rolled the lake over.  The temps were back to their usual numbing 60s.......can you say brrrrrrr?  With the air temp only in the 70s it was very, very chilly and very few people were in the water, unlike the rest of the summer where there were more in the water than on the beach.
We took a long walk along the shore and out onto the pier just thoroughly enjoying these last days of summer.  The water was so calm and the sky was so blue.
After Steve had some time to rest & relax from his bike ride, we packed up & headed into town to explore the shops and then find a water side restaurant for a late lunch/early dinner.  I feasted on a "Cali Burger" and Steve thoroughly enjoyed his Perch basket.
It was a wonderful day!  Now we're heading off to the quaintness of Holland, MI to meet our youngest son's girlfriends parents.  Classes are starting next Tuesday at Hope College & so they brought Kylie back to school from their home state of Minnesota.  We are all going out to dinner tonite.
Hope College soccer season starts tomorrow with the annual Blue/Orange Scrimmage and then the team picnic on Lake Michigan at a team mate's summer home.  It's always a great time for everyone to get to know the new players and their families and for us returning families to catch up on each others lives.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hubby's Vacation...

Hubby has been on a “staycation” this week. He has been working around the house getting some major projects done. The outside of the house is looking fab – as soon as I dig up a picture of what our house used to look like on the outside, I’ll post it as a before……I have to look through my photo archives for this shot as he got going on the house before I realized what he was doing and could take a picture. It’s amazing what a coat of paint will do!

Since he is working diligently on the outside, I spent some time yesterday working on the porch inside. I spent a whole week about 3 weeks or so ago painting the brick wall. It was a hot, humid week! I ran out of paint & just haven’t had time to go get more, until DH’s staycation. So on Saturday I picked up another gallon of primer & another gallon of paint and got going again yesterday. Everything in the porch needs to be primed and the wood surrounding the front entrance has never been painted before so it was soaking up the primer big time – taking forever to paint!
This is the porch before I started in July.  It was okay - lived with it for the past 18 years, but I really wanted a change!
I then primed the other side wall and DH, bless his heart, had finished with his project outside and came in & rolled the rest of the wall for me. How come I spent so much time doing all the cutting work and he takes the easy job of rolling the paint?
Here is the porch so far - the green on the brick will go on the opposite wall over the white primer....
The wall around the front entrance door and the door going into the garage (left) will be painted in a contrasting yellow color.
We are going to pull up the lovely rust colored indoor/outdoor carpet.  Our intentions were to paint the cement floor underneath & give it one of those cool new treatments for cement, but the carpet was glued down & there is NO easy way to remove the glue & the rubber that is now adhered to the cement floor.  We are back to the drawing board on that one!
The ceiling is going to be redone at some point too - we have a few ideas, but need to really look at all of our options before proceeding.
It catches my eye everytime I'm in the kitchen (door on right) & look out at the porch.  For so many years it seemed so dark out there and now with the green and the white primer I can't believe how much it brightens it up!
I'll be sure to post more pics as the process progresses.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Prizes....

I think I told you a few weeks ago that I was a winner on a blog that I read daily?  It was an All About Family Giveaway.  The author of that blog was going to send me some goodies, including a crown, but I haven't seen it yet.....oh well!
The other part of the giveaway was this
This print was made by Monika Wright & she sells them in several different colors in her Etsy Shop.  She also has a blog called "I Love It All" - there's a link over on the right hand side of her blog to her Etsy Shop.  In fact, Monika just emailed me and is offering a 10% discount to any of my readers!!  If you order something from her Etsy Shop and use the code "Patti" in your message to the seller section, you'll receive 10% off!!  Now you gotta LOVE THAT!
When I found out I won, Monika contacted me & gave me my choice of print & color.  She didn't have this one in espresso - so she made it just for me!!!  Gotta love that!  I received it in the mail last week along with some scrapbooking goodies from her that I have yet to use, but you can better be sure I will!
When my dad died & my sisters & I cleaned out our parents home, I acquired most all of the frames they had hanging in their family room with various family photos.  I found one in there this morning that will work perfectly for this print.....once I repaint it.
 I believe there's a trip to the local hardware store on my schedule to find the right color of spraypaint to spruce up this baby!
I loved the print & all it says and plan on hanging it in our bedroom that is need of a makeover - SOON!  We've lived in this house for almost 19 years and it has only been painted once - white!!!  I think we all went through a white phase once, didn't we?
Well, I have the color scheme all picked out..
 Three of the walls will be in the blue (center) - the walls that have the windows & closet doors.  We have one solid wall in our bedroom, so it will receive the sand color (far left).  The trim will receive the ivory color.  I can picture it in my mind and I hope to be seeing it IRL (in real life) sometime before Christmas!
DH is home on vacation this week doing all kinds of DIY projects to the outside of the house.  We bought more paint Saturday so I can once again get busy on our porch - I've got one wall painted, the brick one.  That took a whole week & will require one more coat of paint.
Today's project for me though is to install the printer onto my laptop and then to install our budgeting software onto our laptop.  The desktop that we use for all our household chores and my scrapbooking & printing has taken a major dump!  It was infected a few weeks ago, I installed & cleaned it up & then last week ran the Windows updates.  It has now decided not to boot up - at all.  I can't even get it to shut down now - all my monitor shows is the BSOD (black screen of death).  My cousin gave me a website to help walk me through how to fix it, but I don't have the time or patience to read through message boards to figure out which problem posted best suits mine.  I even posted my problem on Saturday & all I got was a link back to the message boards with similar postings.  So until I have the time to really sit down - and the sanity - to work through it, the main brain will now be in my kitchen until we can afford a new system for the basement or an upgraded laptop for me!   

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Moving Day

I must say - moving back to school for your junior year - a little less seems to be going along???  Well, the futon, refrigerator & a few other larger items are not pictured here.  Son #2 is heading back to Hope College this weekend for his 3rd year.  WOW - where has that time gone?  Soccer practice/tryouts start today & classes start a week from Tuesday.  This coming Saturday is the Blue/Orange scrimmage & time for DH & I to meet the girlfriend's parents!  
DH is on vacation this week at home with plenty of projects to complete around here.  I bought more paint yesterday so that I can put one more coat on the brick wall (a thin one) & then prime & paint the other wall, which is wood.  Hopefully the wood wall will go much easier than the brick - my arms were SO sore after painting that.  It probably didn't help that I was kayaking every morning that week either!
This past Thursday LS (little sister), my nieces & me went to the beach again.  We had a beautiful day!  Can't believe how warm Lake Michigan still is!!!  It has been so nice all summer long!
While walking on the pier this man walked by us with his wife.  I was a bit puzzled by his shoes, so pretending to be taking pics of the lighthouse across the channel, I snapped this shot....
Huh?  
Well,  it's off to get my shower & then start packing up the vehicles to head on off to Holland......I'll leave you with an image of LS and how much she enjoyed the beach on Thursday....
TTFN!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Whatcha Doin Today?

I'm not doing a whole lot of anything.  It's a rainy, gray day in Michigan & so I'm spending time inside.  I've spent the last 1 1/2 hours trying to clean up my contacts in my email.  After downloading a virus 2 weeks ago & the jerks that hijacked my email account, I now have hundreds of "yahoo" email addresses to delete.  There's no easy way to do it!
 I don't understand people who have nothing better to do with their time, but to sit around & invent malware that looks so authentic, to just hack into email addresses & take your money.  Seriously!!  Life is too short in my opinion.
So, I'm still in my jammies at 10:30 am, hubby just made me a delicious omelette for "brunch" seeing as it's so late in the morning.
I'll go get a shower in a bit, but I'm just hanging out at the computer probably most of the day.  The desktop that was infected is still being cranky, so thanks to my cousin I have a website to go to that will hopefully help me clean it out more thoroughly. She says it's great and I'll let you know later how well it works for me!
So I'm off for the day & will be back later - enjoy your weekend everyone!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

New Discovery!

If you know me or you read my blog on a regular basis......(sidenote: if you read my blog on a regular basis, why not become a follower?  Just click over there on the right side under followers - I love to know who's checking my blog out).  Okay - back to the regularly scheduled blog........if you know me, you know that I love, LU-HU-HU-HUVE beach days in the summer!
This summer has been great - the shores of Lake Michigan have been so awesome & the water has been very, very inviting!!!  The temps of the lake have not dropped below the lower 70s.   Beautious I tell ya, just beautious.
Every summer I try to have a beach day with 2 of my favorite former students (who are also family friends that are in our Florida spring break group).  Molly, Amanda & their little sis Sami & I had a beach day scheduled in July, but we woke up that morning to thunderstorms that didn't clear out until early afternoon.  So we rescheduled for yesterday.
We had family from Wisconsin come in on Thursday to my little sis's for the weekend & Taylor & Brittany were along.  They are both around 15, so I thought to myself, "self, I think those 2 girls & Kylie (my niece) would love to go to the beach too" so I called them up & invited them on over.  They were SO excited as neither has ever been to Lake Michigan before!  They live in the central part of Wisconsin & it's about a 3 hour drive one way to the beach.
We pick Amanda up around 10:15 as Molly deserted us for a wedding & Sami was coming up later in the day after volleyball practice.  We went to Tunnel Park in Holland & climbed the stairs..........ALL 700 of them!  JK - it just seemed like 700 - it was a climb to the top of the dune.  Amanda wanted the girls to see Lake Michigan for their very 1st time, in all it's glory!!
They literally gasped when they saw the lake!!  It gave me goosebumps to hear & see their excitement.  It reminded me of how I feel EVERY time I go to the ocean shore, no matter where it is, I gasp & take in a deep breath to smell that salty air!
They stood at the top for a few minutes & just stared!!!  Then Taylor (on the right) asks me, "where does the lake end?"  Amanda, Kylie & I started laughing.  I pointed & said "way, way over there on the other side by Wisconsin!"  Then I held up my Michigan map, my hand, & showed her where Chicago was & then where Mackinac is & said Lake Michigan fills all the space in between there & Wisonsin.
We quickly took some pictures of the girls...
and then began our descent down to the sandy shoreline.  They could hardly wait to get into the water!!!
They were in it most of the day, as was Amanda & I, it was over 90 degrees out & the water felt so, so good!!!
We stayed at the beach until around 3:30.  We had all had enough sun - even though we kept applying the sunscreen, some of our faces were taking on a "sunkissed glow" nonetheless.  But before we left, I was sure to take a few more shots of our Wisconsin girls & my niece Kylie, for their scrapbooks.
Brittany
Taylor
Kylie
Speaking of scrapbooking, we made a quick detour on the way home to one of my favorite stores in Grand Rapids, Scrap, Scribble & Stick .  Brittany & Kylie love to scrapbook & Brittany doesn't have much selection back home, so I made sure to fulfill her wishes of going to a store while here.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

This Is Jake....

Meet Jake.
He's going to be a senior in a few weeks.  He's a quiet kind of guy, yet fiercely loyal to his girlfriend, family & friends.  He's very respectful to his teachers and is nuts about his car!!
We recently went out to do his senior pics.  Shortly after he arrived, it began to pour.  I mean buckets of rain were dropped on us from above.
So we jumped into my car and headed back home, talking about a reschedule.  But by the time we got back home, the rain had stopped & the sun had come out, so we decided to finish it up.
Here are some of my absolute favorites:
 ....and this next one I just lu-hu-hu-ve the way it turned out!!!
I played around some more with editing it in Picnik
The more I play with that editing program, the more fun I have!  You just gotta try it!
Today is my last day of summer school and my summer vacation really begins.  I have 3 weeks off before school starts up again, so I'm going to take advantage of it!!
Hubby is taking a week off to work around the house & so we'll maybe have some play time too!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

CJ Challenge Project

I'm finally caught up on my CJ challenge projects!!  They are done and all mailed.  The latest one for August was for Debbie in California.
Debbie wanted help putting together her album for her  "Big City" trips, so she mailed out the papers she wanted us to use, a few embellishments & some pictures.  She sent me pictures from Chicago and she also included a few maps.
It was a challenge for me to use the panoramic pictures and include the maps she had sent, but once I got going......it just came together.
It also was fun doing these pics as Chicago is so close to me & I'm fairly familiar with the shots she sent along.  This is the river that runs right through the city & out into Lake Michigan.  Every St. Patrick's Day they dye the river green for their annual St. Patty's Day Parade.
Here's a pic of the fountain in Grant Park and on the left is the notorious Water Tower, the only building to survive the historical Chicago Fire.
I made a pocket for her maps to slide into behind the fountain picture.  My creative mojo had seemed to gone missing earlier this summer, but once I started working on this layout - it came back quickly. 
Thanks Debbie for the great challenge!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"Reality Show"

Last week a friend of mine & I started kayaking at her lake home in the early morning hours.  We are on the lake by 7am & it is so peaceful.  Truly.....the water is like glass & it is so quiet, it's hard to believe we are exercising.
This morning was very foggy - you couldn't see across the lake it was so thick.  DH wasn't sure we'd be able to go it was that dense of a fog.  But we did go & I took my camera with me this morning.  Every time we go out I see all this beauty around me, an honest to goodness "reality show" presented by God!
So to share my morning with you.....
These deer have been coming out the last few mornings after we've crossed to the other side of the lake.  They showed up again today......
Beautiful, just beautiful!
To God be the glory!!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Seriously......

I have always considered ourselves pretty fortunate to say we have never had a virus attack our computer........until this past Saturday.
Ugh.  Talk about messing your head up & sending you into major panic mode.
On Saturday I sat down at our computer downstairs to work on balancing the checkbook & pay bills, blah, blah, blah.
When I opened up my computer I found this alert that my computer was infected with a virus & I needed to download this software to clean it up.  The page was very authentic looking, Windows logo and all!
I tried to open up the internet & it wouldn't go to my home page, but instead it went directly to a Windows page (logo & all) stating I needed to download 1 of 3 choices to clean up the virus that had attacked my computer.  We have some antivirus software on our computer, but I will admit, it's not much.  I talked it over with Steve & we decided to get the full package so we could put it on all 4 of our computers. 
First I shut down my computer & rebooted, hoping this would all go away, but alas, it went straight to the same web page.  So I forged ahead, bought the software & downloaded it.  It was soon working great again.
We went off to a wedding for the night & never gave it another thought.......
After church on Sunday I got back on the computer to print out my bank statement.  Everything was hunky dory.  Printed it out, shut it down & went about my business.  
About 4:30 I decided to get back onto this same computer & catch up on my blog reading.  I 1st went to read my email.  Imagine my shock and horror when I saw that I had over 100 spam messages.  When I checked the listing it was all Mailer-Daemon undeliverable messages.  It hit me - the software I THOUGHT was to protect my computer WAS actually the infection!!!
I immediately called our bank to reassure myself that no suspicious activity had been taking place on my account & then I contacted the company for my Mastercard Debit Card & deactivated my card.  They were very understanding & very reassuring.  They said if there hadn't been any activity with my card to this point, there probably wouldn't be.
I was a total mess.  I couldn't stop crying because I thought I had totally screwed up my family's computers (we're all on the same network in the house) & that our bank account would be emptied in no time.  DH & both of my son's kept reassuring me that it would be okay, that this stuff happens to thousands of people everyday.  My oldest son did some investigating on my laptop & found that the software was in fact a sham, but that even if we had Norton antivirus software on our system, it doesn't pick up this particular virus....yet.   He was blown away when he saw examples of how authentic the website page was that I had gotten stating I needed to download this software!
This morning I checked with our bank & our accounts are still a-okay.  I talked to the computer guru at school & he gave me 2 online legitimate antivirus software versions to download.  He suggested I download them onto a jump drive from my school computer & then take it home & apply to all 4 computers. 
It took over 1 1/2 hours to scan this computer & the infected one downstairs is still going......after 2 hours.  This computer states that all is clean, the computer downstairs - well, it states that it has found harmful product & that when the scan is complete I can review what it found.
So - NEVER trust anything.......always check it out first.  Google it, Bing it, whatever, but know that no matter how real it looks, it might not be.  
Lesson learned!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Family

I love family time with my sisters and our families.  I wish we would do it more often than just holidays.  Oh wait, we did last night!!
Our Aunt Nancy & Uncle Jack from Arizona are home for a month.  They stay with their daughters, but we always make a point of getting together.  Last night we all got together for a summer supper.  I was so excited when ALL of us, that means both my boys & my sisters 2 boys were there too!  It's so hard to get them to these types of gatherings now that they are older & living their own lives.  Seriously, my tummy is all a flutter right now as I right this post - I'm still excited over the fact that the boys all made it last night!
Uncle Jack is the only surviving brother in my dad's family.  They had 3 girls & 3 boys.  Uncle Jack is the middle of the boys.  Our Aunt & Uncle have always been near & dear to us, they have 3 girls just like our family, Uncle Jack has the same warped sense of humor that our dad did & they are strong Christians & so ready to be there for us when we need them.  I, for one, cherish these times with them.
We enjoyed a supper of grilled pizzas.  It's one of my new favorite summer meals!  We made 6 different pizzas & one garlic bread stick pizza.  My DH kept asking how many more we were making?  Do we need that many pizzas????  Then he saw how little was leftover & realized that yes, we did need that many pizzas!  I think the favorite of the night was the bar-b-que chicken pizza!
We spent time on the patio just chatting & laughing with each other.  Then the boys started getting antsy as time for their other evening plans started to encroach.  So as usual, whenever we are together, I got everyone to move in for a family photo op!  Aunt Nancy & Uncle Jack seemed surprised when we told them to get in the middle!  Well why wouldn't we include them?  They are family after all!!!
As everyone is getting in position I need to test my remote.....
 Yep, it's working.........now to get the family ready for a shot....
 Yes Pam, I'm taking pictures right now......
 Aren't we a grand looking bunch???
I love how Libbi is in the background - she really is such a ham when the camera is around and she thinks you don't know she's there........watch how she moves to get in the shot....
We were all laughing afterward when we realized she was on the hill behind us getting into the picture.  When we looked back at the pics on my camera & saw how she had moved around, we found it quite hilarious.  We compared her to the guy you always see on the professional golf matches that always shows up in the background with the John 3:16 sign!!!
 Even though the kids are getting bigger, Uncle Steve still thinks he can get a round of "biddy-biddy-boom-boom" in on Kylie, since she's the youngest.  It's a little game he always played with the kids' when they were wee little ones.  In fact, for the longest time, Scott, my oldest nephew, called him Uncle Boom Boom!
Last night was a wonderful family time.  I love our times together.  I really think we need to make more of a point of getting together on a more regular basis...........life just goes by way too quickly!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Humbled....

This past Monday I was doing my daily blog reading.  I don't remember who's I was on, but I saw this reference to a non-profit organization, called "The Littlest Heroes Project" or now referred to as "Inspiration Through Art".  They accept *professional* photographers who are willing to donate time and talent to taking pictures of children who are seriously ill with things such as cancer, down's syndrome, birth defects, etc.  So I thought about it & checked out the application.  I then decided to go for it and apply.  I haven't told anyone that I had done this.
This morning when I opened my email I found a notice from them and was told "I'm IN!"  They have accepted my application. 
Let me tell you, I am very humbled......very, very humbled.  I love photography, and while I consider myself still somewhat of a novice, I believe I'm at an intermediate level.  I really wasn't sure what to expect when I sent in the application, but I am pleased that they feel my work is acceptable for this honor.  My hope and prayer is that my work is pleasing to these families.  I truly am looking forward to this challenge and pray that I can grow from it and that through it I can help families preserve a piece of their lives

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Great Giveaway Over At A Soft Place to Land....

One of my favorite blogs to follow is A Soft Place To Land.  It just has some really cool stuff on it all the time!!!
And right now if you click on this link you can find out about an awesome giveaway that Kimba has going on over there!
Now why am I telling you about it?  To increase MY chances of winning this awesome giveaway.  But alas, it seems like every time I do that - someone else wins it.
But I have to give it a shot, don't I?  So head on over to A Soft Place To Land
and check out this great giveaway and the other cool stuff she has going on all the time!!