Saturday, December 18, 2010

Fish Follow Up

One down, Three to Go...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Eleven Years

More than any other year, I have really gotten to "see" Josh this year.

I have had to rely on him in ways that I haven't in the past.

Lessons have been learned about how awesome he is as a leader, and just how much that man loves me.

The boys adore him, and I sincerely thank God that they have such a wonderful role model to look up to. If both of them turn out just like him, I would consider myself one lucky lady.

Thus far, they both have the basketball part down.

Unofficially titled "Why Josh is the Coolest Ever":

Even when he deserves to be, he is never critical. Never once has he told me my breath stinks, I look fat in a dress, or if I could please not wear my retainers to bed.

This summer, when my brother got married, almost every picture of Josh was of him engaged in an act of service for someone else- holding the door open, moving flowers, helping the minister out. Can you find him? :-)

Last Saturday, I went to Chicago with my mom and sister in law on the Amtrak train. Josh woke me up to make sure I got out of bed on time (with a back rub, none the less). A peeled orange was on my dresser for breakfast when I got out of the shower. When I came downstairs, Josh had my gloves and hat laid out for me, along with GPS directions in my phone for how to get to the train station and where to park.

I am humbled that God chose me to marry this man.

In an effort to lighten up this post, I have included a few pictures from years past. My digital camera only goes back to 2004, but here are a few favorites:

Yes, that is our dogs in a baby stroller. No, he did not take them for a walk.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


This blog has been neglected.
Partly because I have not had much to say.

Christmas concerts,

seeing the trains at Meijer Gardens,

lots of MMBG work,

seeing Santa, and all the other activities surrounding this joyous time of year have kept the Bird household very busy.
Hope your season has been as activity filled and happy as ours.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

My handicapped fish

We have a 20 lb aquarium set up in our kitchen that housed 3 goldfish. We have had it for a few years, and I have found goldfish therapeutic. Sometimes, I put my face next to the tank and watch them scrounge for food or pick at each other's fins.

To my surprise, I noticed we had a handicapped fish. He was missing his left eye. As such, he became my special buddy--the one I consistently dropped food near. He needed an advantage, right?

At the Halloween Hulabaloo this year, my kids came home with 2 new fish to add to the aquarium. There also were about 15 additional fish left over that I took home.

If 3 are good, 20 are better, right?


Every last fish turned up dead within a week of Halloween. The Hulabaloo fish even wiped out my handicapped one.

The dismal sight of the empty tank had the kids begging for a trip to Meijers, but I thought the tank needed a breather. Actually, I needed a breather from netting them out.

Tonight was the night, however, as they were on sale. Marked down from 19 to 17 cents.

Kayden picked his out and quickly lost interest. Bryce, however, would not let that fish bag out of his tight grip. Sloshing the fish around, I think they hit every last aisle display on the way to checkout.

As we headed out to the parking lot, I heard the familiar splat of goldfish hitting cold concrete.

I am sure my fish are secretly calling Bryce Darla tonight.

Let's take bets, shall we? I give them a week.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

When Mom and Dad are away

When Mom and Dad are away at Bible study, and Grandma and Grandpa come to babysit, this is what can happen:
Who would have thought? My kids don't usually "craft" with me, but they did an excellent job on these with my parents.
Now THIS is the kind of turkey I like- adorable and handmade:-)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

I Hate Turkey

UPDATE: I thought it would be fun to update with the finished tree. I loved this idea and plan to make it a yearly thing!

The calendar flips to November, and my countdown to Christmas starts.

In years past, I have sailed right through Thanksgiving without giving it proper prominence. The orange around the house starts to look dusty and I long for the warmth of Christmas decorations to fill each corner and cozy up our home.

As I was reflecting on why I brush off Thanksgiving, a realization dawned on me.

I hate turkey.

I don't like the flavor of it, nor it paired with stuffing, yams, rolls, etc.

Seeing that the day seems to center around that big bird, I have come to detest "the eating holiday". A small annoyance on the route to the bigger and better holiday celebrating Christ's birth.

In an effort to remember the spirit of Thanksgiving, and what it really stands for, we have put up a Thanksgiving Tree. My friend Kirsten had the great idea, and I love creating a leaf each night and placing it on the tree.

It's not pretty, but it's helping me remember the true meaning of Thanksgiving. So far, Kayden has put up "Grandma" as the thing he is most thankful for and Bryce's was Mommy.

Monday, November 01, 2010

For My Birthday

The big talk around here this past month revolved around what Kayden wanted for his birthday.

Tonight, Kayden made a list of my birthday requests. I turn 29 +3 later this month. It just sounds younger, right?

The one and only thing on my list:

No fighting for one full day.

My other request for a new BMW convertible seems more likely.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Oy Vey.

This summer, we took Kayden to the dentist for his third annual visit.

To my surprise, he had his first and only cavity.

I honestly thought there would be more (not that I wanted more:-).

The dental hygienist asked if he ate candy.

Is there such a thing as a mini-Buddy the Elf? I swear K would eat Snickers with spaghetti if I would let him.

Impulsively, I replied, "Oh noooooo. My kid never eats candy, he loves vegetables of all varieties."

Ok, not really. But I wanted to.

He comes by it naturally. I love chocolate, and my dad could eat Good N Plenty's by the bucket. My little brother has been known to eat an entire Oreo cookie package at one sitting.

When I caught Kayden climbing on the dog cage to reach a bag of candy on top of the fridge, I knew we had a problem.

I told him not to touch it, after all.

It was painful for him to watch me eat it as punishment.

Fortunately for him, the last few days has seen a flood of new candy. Trick or treating at papa's work, our church event, my parent's trunk or treat, and good ole trick or treating has filled up our pantry to overflowing.

Yes, there are eight full size candy bars in there.

Oy Vey.

I ended up separating it and putting five Ziploc bags aside.

How about you? Did it seem like your kids got a ton of candy this year?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Malibu Memory

I met Ozzy Osbourne.

Did I ever tell you that?

Probably not, since his ranking on my "Celebrities I Met While Living in California" list was quite low.

It was before the Osbournes had that strange reality show with ten thousand barking dogs and Ozzy calling Shaaaaaron all the time.

I was hired to be a glorified extra for a show called L.A.B.B.. You guessed it, the Los Angeles Beach Bash....filmed in beautiful Malibu with an artificial sun affixed to the house, to be distributed in England.

Regardless of what anyone tells you, it gets cold in California. Sporting a bikini in 65 degree weather confirmed it. And that darn artificial sun did not throw off an ounce of heat.

Various celebrities came and went throughout the day. Green Day played a concert in which they sprayed water over their adoring female fans. I officially sub-title L.A.B.B. as the day I came to hate Green Day.

I touted my celebrity knowledge when the camera man filmed a segment on what we all thought of the Carmen Electra and Dave Navarro nuptials. They forgot to mention she would arrive behind me as I spurted "I can't believe she would marry such a weirdo."

Nice. That will get you hired again.

The final segment airing of the day came when Ozzy shuffled out, presumably to talk about his new show on MTV. I clearly remember thinking how he should be the poster child for staying away from drugs and alcohol.

Tonight as I was walking through Target, I accidentally bumped into Ozzy again, complete with eye liner and black polish.

Forever and a day ago, from that life to now.

Thank you, Ozzy-look-alike, for reminding me of that day in Malibu and how happy I am living the ordinary life.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Get Your Cotton Candy!

I am about to say something profound, that you probably have never heard:

Josh hates to be touched.

Some guys are "huggers", some favor a strong handshake, perhaps even a hardy pat on the back. Josh likes none of the above.

So the fact that he has been checked three times for lice this week is hilarious. Envisioning two moms picking through his hairline as he hunches over in protest gives me a chuckle.

I bet you are scratching your head at this exact moment, huh?

5 fourth graders have come down with the creepy crawlers. I dare say it is an epidemic.

The annual tradition for Kayden's birthday is that we bring our cotton candy maker to the classroom, and each kid consumes as much sugary goodness as their stomach will allow.

Your welcome, parents.

At the forefront of my mind this week is if we should go all out and hope for lice in addition to the parasite we can't kick. Gotta go for broke, right?

In all seriousness, I might just go lunch lady style and don a plastic shower cap.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Costume Suggestion

I love Halloween.

Considering I hate the color orange, it really is surprising.

Plotting which costumes my kids are going to wear starts before the leaves change hue.

Giving birth to Kayden on October 21st only cemented my happiness when the calendar flips to fall.

In truth, I love it because it represents the start of the holidays. Living in California for the first part of our married life, I cherished being with family around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Halloween was the start. Once pumpkins started appearing, I knew I would be flying back to MI to see my family soon. Usually Twice.

Our church has a family themed costume contest at the Halloween Hullabaloo. Winner gets to chose a basket of goodies. Last year, the coveted Snuggie was among raffle prizes.

Any hopes for winning two years in a row were dashed when Kayden foiled my Family Flintstones theme, stating he would rather be a shark than Dino the dinosaur.

How about a Harlem Globetrotter? Nope.

A hot air balloon? Nope.

PacMan? Nope. Mom, I just want to be a shark this year.

Well, do you want to win or do you want to be a shark?

Kidding. I only mustered that internally.

Or maybe externally once.

Sunday, we headed out to Party City to purchase his Scooby Do birthday party invitations. As I was picking out the Number 6 candle, Kayden said excitedly, "I think you should wear this for Halloween!"

"See, Mom! It has a big pumpkin on it!" he said in condolence.

I am sure this is just the ticket for winning the church contest.

The question is, how will I walk in those heels?

Thursday, October 14, 2010


It all started Tuesday.

My little brother and his wife spent Monday night searching used car lots, looking for a good deal. They found a ton of Mini Vans, but Cash for Clunkers has effectively wiped out the used car market.

I had been driving Jan's Mini Van while they were out of town. The added space is undeniably nice. I remember taking Kayden and a friend to the children's museum, and how it took twenty minutes to strap his car seat between my two. Bryce has gotten so big, he cannot fit in between the front passenger seat and his car seat. In order to get him in, I have to fold him in half and carefully hoist between the two seats.

Since there was a plethora of minivans on the lot, my mom suggested selling my brother the Santa Fe and trading to a Mom Ride. Our biggest concern was price. After paying five years and finally receiving that pink title in the mail this summer, I did not want to add a monthly car payment.

Lot after lot was searched, only to find salesman more concerned with showing me the shopping cart hooks or kid viewing mirrors than discuss engine maintenance.

Finally, it was between 2. Josh took a peek at the Red Mom Ride (he did not like the body style of that one), and said NO immediately.

Can you tell we have a thing for the color gray?

my first ride

my "new" ride- a 2003 Chevy Venture

I have joined the clan. If you see me at school, give me the special two horn salute to welcome me to the group.

Oh, and cleaning five years worth of goldfish crackers and french fries out of my Santa Fe was no joke!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

I Deserve This.

I was sitting across a picnic table from her; my age was six or possibly seven.

I cannot remember the conversation.
I visualize the pop-up trailers in the background, and smell the smoke from a campfire.
Recalling her name or the exact location is pretty fuzzy.

Some details are as vivid as they were that day, though. Her hair was a beautiful brown, shoulder length. It was parted down the middle. I can still see the wind grab hold of it and how it danced across her face.

A joke was told, and the group gathered around the table erupted. She was laughing the longest and hardest of all. Scanning her face, I can still see the small lines around her eyes, the spray of freckles on her cheeks.

I stopped dead when I reached her mouth.

In all sincerity, I asked her "Do you know you have a big gap in your two front teeth?"

Tact. Rather, my lack of it.

I can give you a hundred examples, the same as the first.

The time I informed the lady at McDonalds she had a giant mole on her chin. Speech Day in grade school, where I foolishly told a friend that she was the only one receiving a white ribbon. As of this day, I am not sure I have been forgiven for that one.

You see, my mom could not get me to keep my mouth shut. In all sincerity, I wasn't doing it to be mean. That might seem hard to believe, but I legitimately thought they did not know.

Today, we decided to visit Klackles Orchard.

Among other activities, you can ride in a wonderful Enchanted Pumpkin Cart that is pulled behind a tractor. Guiding you past the sprawling pumpkin patch, and into the middle of the apple orchard where you can pick a peck to bring home for apple crisp.

Upon getting back into the cart, the tractor driver peeked into our Pumpkin Carriage and gave the final instruction that we would need to latch the gate before we took off.

As he was turning to walk away, Kayden said "Mom, that guy with the red shirt has really yellow teeth."

Would it be tacky for me to wish he had a hearing problem as well?

My mom, sitting across from me, had a difficult time composing herself. I knew what she was thinking: I deserve this.

A few pictures from today:

Monday, October 04, 2010


Josh is on a road trip, purchasing something that I can honestly not put a price on.

He has to go two separate places to fulfill the order.

It is a specialized thing, you see.

I searched in earnest all afternoon online, just in case there were any Internet companies that had it available for purchase.

I feel awful I waited so long to act on it.

My son certainly shouldn't have had to endure a month without it.

Parasite Medicine.

Giardia has hit the Bird family full force this past month. On top of all the back to school activities and busyness this time of year brings, we have had a never ending stream of bathroom breaks.

Kayden started with it the first full day of school, and it just kept rolling through Bryce then Josh and now me.

It has been so long since we have been normal, I honestly don't remember a time when Bryce didn't need to be changed 7 or 10 times a day.

Josh had it this past weekend, and lasted for two days.

I am sitting at a week and a half, but mine is getting worse by the day.

I am so thankful, almost giddy to be honest, that my husband is rounding up the Flagyl so we can be on our merry way to recovery.

In the meantime, I am seriously reconsidering this post. I might just have to go back to my original sentiment that camping deserves to be loathed. Even in the most beautiful motor home ever created.

After tonight's purchases, we have officially spent more on Flagyl than we did an entire weekend camping.

But honestly, I am just so happy relief is coming! And soon! Yipppee!

Monday, September 20, 2010


So many moments of my life center around music. Each time I hear the song it transports me back to the significant memory surrounding it, and I am right back in the middle of that moment again.

End of the Road by Boys II Men, circa 1994, instantly transports me back to my sophomore year in high school. I am in the school cafeteria with a fog machine sweeping the floor with gray smoke. One lone spotlight illuminates the room. I am slow dancing, the first time I have ever danced with a boy. Feeling grown up and insecure at the same time, every time I hear End of the Road I flash back to that night and can still feel the butterflies dancing in my stomach as I twirl around the floor.

FootLoose- I am in junior high. I just switched from Christian to public school, and I long for a place to fit in. Reasoning the dance team might be a good fit, I conjure up the nerve to ask Melody if she will try out with me. We buy cheap dollar store poms and come up with a routine to FootLoose. My dance skills were awful. I did not make the team, but I did make a new friend.

Grease Lightening I am 16, driving up to my cottage with three friends. I feel the warm breeze slapping my hair against my face as Grease Lightening plays over the radio. We are doing the motions out the window with our arms. We smoke cigarettes until my parents pull up behind us. I remember tipping my head back and laughing so freely. Not a care in the world.

Freshman by the Verve Pipe. It is ironically my freshman year in college. I just pledged AOII. Our brother fraternity was having a 70s party to celebrate new members, and probably to meet their new sister pledges. The bottom floor of their frat house was void of furniture. This particular night was wall to wall college students, talking and chatting and screaming and shaking. Freshman blared over the speakers, everyone in the room joined a huge circle to sing at the top of our lungs.

Andrea Boccelli and Sarah Brightman, Time to Say Goodbye. Josh and I celebrate Valentines Day in Vegas with a large group of people. The Bellagio fountains sync to my heart at the very moment they dance on beat to Mr. Boccelli. If you have never heard this song, it is haunting and beautiful. I board the plane with large black sunglasses on. I am flying Southwest. Late to board, I am stuck in the front row facing another passenger. I listen to my CD player, on repeat of this song, and cry the whole way home. The man across pretends not to notice, and I am thankful. It would be almost a full year before Josh and I were living in the same spot. Later, it would be the same song I listened on repeat when I missed my mom. That first year in Redlands was horribly difficult without my family.

I Will Be Here, Steven Curtis Chapman. My dress is large, my train is long, and everything sparkles. I watch my brothers walk to the front of the church. I stand in the back foyer searching for my dad. I see the tears in his eyes as he walks towards me. 200 of our closest friends are waiting for me to turn the corner and walk towards my groom. A waive of nervousness falls over me and I tell my dad that I need to run to the bathroom because I am going to be sick. He whispers, "We don't have time, honey. Take a deep breath", grabs my arm, and leads me down the aisle to the love of my life. The person who understands me and I love with all that I am. I have no clue what is ahead of us; I just know that I am walking toward the man I dreamt of since I was 7. Somebody by Depeche Mode is suddenly playing as I dance with him as his wife.

Hallelujah by Handel. Josh is part of a 6 person Barbershop Quartet (I know, 6 people in a quartet? What can I say, I did not pick the name) the Christmas after I had Kayden. We are in a historical chapel on the University of Redlands campus, and there is a shiny black grand piano playing for the singers (Also not a barbershop, right? I digress).
Only 2 months old, Kayden is dressed in a red and green plaid sweater vest with a matching pageboy cap. I look down at his perfectly formed face, ten tiny fingers, sweet little ears. I could not have imagined this love. He makes these wonderful grunting sounds in my ear as I stand and watch Josh sing praises to our Savior. I am reminded of how much God loves me, that he would willingly give up His son. The ultimate sacrifice, the definition of love.

Apple Bottom Jeans, Single Ladies, Cecilia, Come on Eileen- I pull them up on You Tube. Both kids high tail it from wherever they are. Little boys dancing their tushes off. Swinging each other around, running and jumping on the couch, forgetting they hated each other two minutes ago. They dance like their mother, and will also never make a dance team. Thank God.

The song that represents the past year is I am Waiting by John Waller (from the Fireproof movie). The lyrics that most speak to me: "I am waiting, waiting on you Lord. And I am hopeful. Though it's not easy, faithfully I will wait. Though it is painful....patiently, I will wait." It is no secret to those that know us that this has been a difficult and emotional year. This song has been a stronghold and almost a mantra to me that I will serve You while I am waiting.

So what about you. What is on your soundtrack?

Special thanks to Cheryl from Mommypants for giving me the framework and idea for this post. I love her blog, so check it out!

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Good Sport

The garden hose hung off the side as we approached, dripping water to the pavement below. Any dreams of balmy water filling the dunk tank was wishful thinking on Josh's part.

For the memory books, the temperature tonight was 65 degrees.

Still, he was a good sport and the dunk tank raised a lot of money for the school. $3 would buy you three throws, $5 an automatic button push. The line to dunk teachers, principals, and coaches was always at least ten deep. Wildly successful, said the board member taking the money.

Walking the plank to towards the dunk tank.

Getting ready for the first official dunk.

by his firstborn son, who took great pleasure in dunking his dad.

So much so, that he got in line to do it again!

Taping the seat back together after it split right in half


This is what I love so much about my husband. He loathes being the center of attention, but gladly hopped in to help out.

Although I must admit, I think he was starting to enjoy heckling the throwers.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Kid Love, 2

Josh had to go downtown for grad class; I was bored and decided to tag along.

After dropping him off at GVSU, I pushed the double stroller a mile uphill to the Children's Museum...only to find it was closed.

Much whining and grumbling ensued. The kids weren't all that happy, either.

Peeking in every last window didn't achieve the magical result of a door popping open, so we moved along. The window cleaner was thankful.

My brilliant plan was hatched to take a few pictures of the boys, seeing how much they love each other and all.

Can't you tell?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Kid Love:

Kid Love: when you are so excited to see your dad, that you take off at full speed when you see him come around the corner.

Goodbye Summer

So long, Summer 2010.

It's been fun.

Here are my top five favorite things about Kayden going back to school:

1. Bryce and him won't fight as much. I am tempted to list this as all five, since I am SO sick of them fighting. For some reason, they have to be right on top of each other. God forbid one of them goes to another part of the house.

2. The Target Social. One stroll through Target yesterday revealed what all the moms do while kids are in preschool/kindergarten. It was fun catching up with a bunch of people I have not seen in a while.

3. Fall weather. Don't get me wrong, I love the heat of summer. However, I am looking forward to football games, pumpkin patches, and playing outside without needing shade and gatorade.

Fall would be my absolute favorite time of the year if it didn't lead directly into winter. The temperature is perfect!

4. Kayden learning fresh and new information every day. My favorite part of a school day is during the car ride home, asking him about his school day. I love hearing how the day went from his perspective. 5 years old=brutal honesty.

5. Spending some one on one with Bryce. Getting to do all the things with him that I did with Kayden before he was born. I cherish the quiet and alone time we have, just the two of us.

Because Josh is home all summer, it is always a bittersweet time when school rolls around. It has been a great summer, and I am sad to see it go!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Camping, Revisited

After last year's camping trip, Josh and I vowed to never camp again.


As we shared our experience (the non-stop rain, 50 degree temperatures, and a son on the verge of anemia and wanting to be held all.the.time), more and more people explained that had the weather been beautiful, our entire trip would be a different experience entirely.

Last year, a friend graciously offered her pop-up after the trailer we had booked fell through. This year, the Hulst family offered their motorhome. Let me tell you- if there ever is a way to camp, this is it:

A nice size bathroom, three TVs, Queen and King size bed, enough room to lounge around....a hotel room on wheels.

Wednesday, we loaded our goods and headed to Gun Lake.
The weather was beautiful. My kids learned they loved fishing. We had a chance to take a few great bike rides. The s'mores were delicious. The company was delightful. All in all, we had a great time.

I can't say Josh and I have changed our mind about buying a trailer (it's probably never going to happen), but we did have a great time with friends.

LOVED fishing
Josh and Dan cooking supper.
The whole gang-Jelsemas, Van Dams, Dieleman's, and Birds.
Nice, shallow water.
My kid the filthiest I have ever seen him.