Monday, June 28, 2010

Motorcycle Duo

Here is another picture I rediscovered recently.  This is from our most recent trip to Pittsburgh, when Isaac finally convinced Elsa to step onto the motorcycle and do two laps around Freedom Village.  These two crazy kids are going to be married in only a few weeks, and will be tearing up the neighborhood for years to come.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Andy and Sarah's Wedding

This post is a little late in coming, but last weekend we had the honor to watch as two of our close friends - Andy and Sarah - were married.  It was a beautiful ceremony and a super fun reception.  I finally downloaded the pictures, and deleted all the blurry ones we tried to capture on the dance floor.  We were moving too fast!

The Happy Couple

My "Read Wine" Book Club ladies!

This one just makes me laugh. You'd think, from our expressions, we were dancing to thriller, but I don't think that was the case.


My turn with the beautiful bride!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saturday Morning at the Races

This morning I accomplished one of my running goals by running both the Reed's Lake Run 5K and 10K back to back.  I started the 5K at 8:00, and the 10K at 8:45.  With barely any training (I've been taking time off from both basketball and running to help my iliotibial band heal), the 10K was fairly difficult.  The heat almost did me in, but I still made it, thanks to Sarah and Emily's cheering, and because I wasn't worried at all about time in the 10K, I was just hoping to keep moving and cross the finish line.  At 63:11, the 10K was easily my slowest ever, but I did finish the 5K in a respectable 24:18 (I held back a little bit because I knew I would need energy for the 10K).  As a special Dutchman bonus, I only paid one fee for both races!  Afterward, we biked home and I cooled off in the kiddie pool, although Emily thought it a little strange that Daddy didn't bother to take off his clothes first.

Grandpa Reads to Emily

I uncovered this photo recently and thought I'd share it.  It's from a recent trip to Dexter, where Emily enjoyed some relaxation while Grandpa read books to her.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer Fun

Emily enjoyed a pretty great summer day for a toddler yesterday; watching the "big trucks" working in our yard, swimming in our friend's pool (she's quite a little fish, and was in the pool for over two hours despite quivering lips and shriveling fingers), a pizza picnic by Reed's Lake, and ice cream at Jersey Junction.  Here's a picture of the happy toddler after her long day.  Oh, and in case you couldn't tell, this photo was taken after eating the superman (red, yellow, and blue) ice cream and before bath time.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

New Sewer Line

Today, we finally had our lateral sewer line replaced.  For several years, we have had minor problems with groundwater backing up in our basement with heavy rain, and recently it had become much worse.  Since the tree roots that were causing the problem were not going to magically go away, we finally decided to just replace the whole line.

Emily and I enjoyed watching the whole process.  Emily spent a long time in the doorway or standing with me on the porch, saying things like "that a big truck!" or "they dig a mud".  Indeed, the workers wasted no time in using their "big truck" to dig a large whole right next to our porch and sidewalk, down to the where the lateral sewer pipe connected to the cast iron pipe coming from the house.  The 55-year-old clay pipe was disturbingly easy to break, which explained how roots got in so easily.  After the pipe was opened up and the hole was cleaned up a bit, a nice young lady from the city of Grand Rapids drove in with another big truck.

The truck contained a large "root saw".  The root saw is essentially the most powerful squirt gun I have ever seen.  The orange hose is inserted into the sewer line, and the pointed nozzle head sprays huge volumes of water at extremely high pressure (thousands of PSI), enough to cut through tree roots.

I was eager to see the devilish snares of roots that had plagued my existence over the last few months, but I soon realized I was to be disappointed, since (a) the sewer gentlemen did not dig up the entire sewer line trench as I had expected, and (b) the root saw pretty much blasted all the roots down the pipe and into the main sewer line. On its way back out, the root saw did snag a darkish bunch of roots the size of a small football. The sewer gentlemen assured me that this was probably only a fraction of what had been in the pipe, and were impressed that we had any water flow at all through the pipe.

After the root saw did its work, the nice lady from the city of Grand Rapids took her leave, and the sewer gentlemen trimmed and cleaned up the old clay pipe. Then, they inserted ten foot sections of new PVC pipe into the old clay pipe and pushed it through, all the way out past our sidewalk and almost to the street.

This resulted in a complete replacement of the lateral sewer line for which we as homeowners are responsible.  The last step was to install a vertical cleanout pipe, fill in the hole, and hide the cleanout opening under a shrub.  Ah, the wonders of modern plumbing.

Finally, the pleasant surprise of the whole job was that none of the sidewalk or porch needed to be removed or replaced as we had originally expected.  Bonus!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

It Brings Joy to a Father's Heart

Tonight I arrived home late after a long day at work.  After saying hi to Sarah (and talking about the USA world cup soccer match, the earthquake, and the epic Wimbledon tennis match), I went upstairs to change clothes.  As I tiptoed towards the bedroom, trying not to wake our hopefully-sleeping toddler, I heard a loud "DADDY!".  Emily was definitely not asleep.  As I changed clothes, I heard another "Daddy!", followed by a pause and: "Oh no, Daddy?  Come on, you give big hug? Daddy, you give big hug me?"  Naturally, I obliged immediately, and was met with a huge Emily-hug. Children truly are a gift from God.  I am also blessed with a wife of noble character and a job that allows me to make a difference in people's lives on a daily basis, but my favorite part of any day is getting one of those hugs, or arriving home from work to find toddler Emily careen full speed through the kitchen yelling "Daddy Daddy Daddy!" and throw herself into my arms.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Toddler Sound Bite

This morning Emily went to the pantry and pulled out the goldfish crackers, then told me that's what she wanted to eat for breakfast.  I told her no, that we don't eat goldfish crackers for breakfast.  She replied, "then I eat lunch" and proceeded to try to open the bag and start chowing down.  Eventually, I convinced her that yogurt and half of a peanut butter and honey sandwich were better options.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Five

For someone who is in a rather busy phase of life (working part-time while raising a two year old with another on the way), I subscribe to a rather comical number of magazines.  I always find myself thinking, wow, I'd only pay .50 cents an issue if I sign up for this deal, and forget that my leisure time is not what it used to be.  But still, relaxing outside in the sun with a cold drink and a magazine to flip through ranks among my favorite activities, especially if I'm next to the ocean.  Here are my top five favorite magazines:

1) Cooking Light.  I don't have nearly enough time to try all the recipes I want that come in each issue, but I have rarely - if ever - been disappointed by one I've tried.  And they are relatively healthy too!  One of my favorite columns is when they ask a reader for a tried and true favorite recipe that is terribly bad for you, and then lighten it up, while still keeping the yummy flavor.

2) Runner's World.  It often inspires me, or gives me the kick I need to get out the door or train for my next race.  Plus, it's full of cool new gear, nutrition ideas, and stories about running.  It's also fun to read about the crazy, CRAZY people who do things like run 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 weeks.

3) Real Simple.  The cover is always so crisp and clean, and so are all the articles inside.  Sometimes I feel like the pieces they run are a bit repetitive, but it's fun to imagine the ways that I could be organized and on top of my life.  I even employ one of their suggestions every once in awhile.

4) Sports Illustrated.  I'm a pretty big sports fan, and can keep up with most conversations about almost any major sport.  As we approach NFL training camp season, my desire to read up on players for my fantasy football teams starts to take over!

5) People.  Everyone needs a little mindless reading in their life, and this is where I choose to get mine.  I don't subscribe, but it's generally the first magazine I pick up when I'm at the airport and need to kill an hour, or I've managed to escape and grab an hour of "me time" at the local bookstore.  Gotta love the Hollywood gossip!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Musical Mashup

I was listening to the radio as I got lunch ready today, and as Emily and I sat down to a lovely spread of crackers and hummus and fruit, a funny thing happened.  Emily was the one who remembered we needed to pray, and I noted to myself that the radio was still on in the background.  I considered getting up to turn it off before we sung our prayer, but I was famished, and decided to forget about it.  What are the odds that as we began to sing our prayer, one of Emily's favorite pop songs would come on?  And so, at lunch today, God heard something like this:

"Heavenly Father - woo hoo! - we thank You, we thank You - tonight gonna be good, good night - for our many blessings - i got my money - Amen!"

I hope that God was laughing as hard as I was.  I think He might have been.