Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What it means to be a Rodie

Jody and her crew are over at Grandma Ellen's house right now snapping, cleaning and canning green beans. I usually help out with this job, but since they know I don't like canned green beans, I wasn't invited. I was, however, invited when they gathered to freeze up a bunch of corn.I like corn. It's a long, messy, and HOT job, but it's usually pretty fun when everyone is working together. Our kids, at least the older ones, are getting pretty good at helping out.
They sat outside with Papa Joe for a couple of HOURS shucking the corn and pulling off all the silks.Grandma and Jody still had to clean off quite a bit of silks before they could cook the corn, but hey, look at all the work they didn't have to do.
My job was essentially supervising, not exactly difficult, but sometimes convincing 3 four year olds, a six year old and a seven year old to sit in the same place and pull husks off an entire truck full of ears of corn is a bit of a challenge. And every few minutes I had to carry buckets full of beautiful shucked ears of corn into the house to be cooked.
Grandmother spent a good deal of time working on the corn, too. No one is too old to work in this family. (She's 100 years old by the way.)
Of course, in the midst of all this effort, we did have to feed those kids. Can you guess what we had for lunch?


Are you sure?
Anyway, I don't have a picture of the finished project as I conveniently had other plans, but I'm told that there is plenty of corn for our family to eat for much of the winter. Days like this are long and tiresome, but sometimes they make me think how much fun it would have been to have lived when this type of work was a way of life for so many families.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The final Chapter

Many of you don't actually know Kevin's Uncle John and Aunt Ann, but those of you who do, might have already guessed what he brought home that last weekend we were there.


No Guesses?

An Airplane!! John often flies over here to bring Ann to visit or pick her up in his airplane, but this time he flew it home from his office to give the kids a ride. They were extatic!! We drove over to the airstrip and checked it out. Jadon desperately wanted to fly it himself, sadly, he just wasn't big enough.He sure had a good time playing in the seat. Chloe and Micah even got to go up with Daddy and Uncle John. Jadon was pretty upset that he had to get out, but there is only room for 3 or 4 passengers. Maybe next time. He was really just as perterbed that John taxied down to the other end of the runway. Once they took off, though, he was shouting "airplane, airplane!" for the rest of the day. (photo by Kathy Cooley)

Chloe and Micah had a great time, they were flying for a little over 1/2 hour.

I think Chloe's ears hurt a little on the way back down, but that was definitely overshadowed by the excitement of the trip. After all the fun of the week, and even the airplane, we were pretty worn out from all the excitement. So the next day, we hung around the house most of the day. The kids and Kevin did some fishing and swimming while I got the laundry washed and most of our stuff packed up for the trip home. Sunday afternoon, we decided to get one last boatride in, this time on the skiboat, since we had yet to take it out this trip. We went out to a cove in some very deep water to swim. Very, very fun. But more fun was riding on the tube with the kids. Chloe had been wanting to go out on the tube by herself so off she went. Micah was a little skittish about going by himself so I went with him after I went on the tube with Chloe.Jadon got to go with me, too. Chloe and Micah even went on the tube together. They kept asking to go faster and faster. I think that they were egging each other on because they were really going pretty fast at the end.

All in all we had a great trip! It was so much fun to spend all that time together, just the five of us. And we usually don't get Ann and John all to ourselves, either. It was pretty tough to come home to normal, everyday life. But what a great time we had!
What a great sky for our last night at the lake!

Monday, August 25, 2008

And now for that tale of all tales...

Sorry about the length of the post but Kevin really likes to make sure you get all the details. He's gonna tell you all about his big ol' fishy now.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

My Biggest Fish

OK, here's the scoop on the big fish. If you notice, my name is BankerDad, not BloggerDad, so please be kind. Tuesday night, I made plans to try carp fishing from Ann & John's dock Wednesday morning. Historically, there has been about a half-hour window of time between 6:45-7:15 a.m. that we have had luck catching these behemoths in Michigan, so I asked Becca to set the alarm for 6:00 a.m. After a short night's slumber, I woke up around 6:15. The alarm had not gone off. I tossed & turned for a few minutes, debating with myself if I really wanted to get out of the nice warm bed & face the crispness of a 55-degree Michigan morning. Finally, at 7:00, I woke up again. It won't ever be confirmed for sure, but I think I actually convinced myself to get dressed & go fishing by using the "if-I-leave-now-I-won't-have-to-get-the-kids-breakfast" logic. All you hunters & fishers out there know exactly what I'm talking about! Anyway, I was already running late, so I threw on my sweat pants, a T-shirt, a sweatshirt and my swim shoes. Now, I wish I could say my swim shoes were an incredibly brilliant piece of forward thinking & preparedness, but in all honesty, I just hadn't unpacked anything else!

I finally get out to the dock at around 7:10. I had brought Aunt Ann's can opener with me to open the can of whole kernel corn that we carp fishers just love to use as bait. I started trying to open the can, but didn't think I was getting anywhere, so I switched to the "hack-at-the-dang-thing-with-a-rusty-knife-until-it's-a-piece-of-jagged-tetanus-just-waiting-to-happen" routine. This worked surprisingly well. I baited my hooks (2 poles) and waited.

And waited...

And waited...

Carp fishing tends to be a "thinker's" sport, 'cuz you sure as heck can't do anything else! I have been known to tie rope around my poles & attach it to my arms just for the simple fact that carp fishing can turn into a "sleeper's" sport. This time, however, I took the big plastic slide the kids had been using and turned it on its side. This provided me with a rest that I could prop the rods against without fear of losing one. Remember the part about it being a "thinker's" sport? I have had more times than I care to admit, that, while waiting for the next bite, I've thought "At this point, it would almost be worth losing a rod just to see a giant fish launch it into the water!"

I'm sorry...I tend to ramble when I type. After about half an hour, I hear "Hi, Daddy!" from the house. Micah had come outside & was hurriedly getting together his "Cars" fishing rod, swim shoes (he hadn't unpacked anything either!), and life jacket. No, scratch that. We have photographic evidence that he was not, in fact, wearing his life jacket that morning. Darn cameras.

He came out to the dock & I showed him where my lines were & told him he could cast his rod over in one general direction. He was so excited to be out there! By this time, I knew my best chances of catching a fish were gone. But I figured since Micah was having a good time & somehow not freezing in his short-sleeved pajamas and swim shoes, I might as well let the bait stay in the water. After about 5 minutes, he's squealing with delight as he shouts, "Daddy, I've got one!!" Sure enough, he keeps reeling in his line & brings in a nice sized rock bass. I grabbed the camera & took a couple pictures.
Just a few minutes after returning the rock bass to the water, I was trying to get a small tangle out of Micah's line when I saw one of my rods jerking. I must take a moment to let you understand that, when you're fishing for carp, there's none of the "I think I might have a bite" sort of thinking. When you're fishing for carp, if you don't KNOW you have a bite, you DON'T have a bite. They hit HARD!!! In this instance, my pole was attempting to remove the 30+ pound slide from its sideways slumber & deposit it into the lake. I grabbed the rod, set the hook, & the fish took off. I had fortunately tested my reel earlier to make sure the drag was set well, so he peeled some line off, but I was able to stop him from making it to the thick weedbed that separates the shallow areas from the deeper water. By this time, I knew I had a big fish that was probably going to do whatever he wanted for a little while. Since my other pole was still in the water, & the fish was starting to head that direction, I told Micah that I needed him to help me reel it in so it wouldn't get tangled up.

Now, you all know who Micah is, right? You've met him in person? Well, just imagine him picking up a 7-foot long Medium-Heavy action rod with a reel that's 4 times the size of his hands. Now, he starts trying to crank the reel to make the line come in!

Actually, he did a great job!

My next concern was the fact that the fish, realizing he couldn't make it to deep water, now started heading left in a giant semi-circle to shallow water, around the neighbor's boat and dock! And there wasn't a blessed thing I could do to stop him. Big carp are known for trying to wrap aroung docks, posts, and anything else available to try to free themselves from fishing line. As he began to flank their pontoon boat, I knew I was in trouble. I made a quick decision to sacrifice my warmth and comfort for the chance to land a big 'un. I slid off the dock into the 3' of water and began making my way "left" towards the other dock. Once I got around the boat, I was looking back towards the shore as the carp continued its run. I could see the last place the fish had swirled, which was about 15 feet away from me and RIGHT NEXT TO A DOCK POST!! I had no idea if it was wrapped around the post or what it would do if I tried to get any closer to it. There were so many places it could wrap the line & then break free without any problem.

Right about this time, since Micah had lost sight of me because I was on the other side of the neighbor's pontoon boat, he yelled out encouragingly, "Daddy, are you catching-g it?!?" Did I mention that Micah's really likes to enunciate his words? (he's so cute!!) I replied, "Well, I'm working on it!" After I had said that, as I'm peering back to the shoreline and the dock, trying to get a read on where the fish is from his last swirl, I notice what appears to be a 3-foot long log starting to surface off to my left. It only took a split second for my brain to realize that:
1) that was a fish, not a log
2) that was the same fish I'd been fighting for the past 10 minutes
3) My line was in his mouth & wrapped around that stupid dock post
4) I'd better do something QUICK!!!

The next few seconds would have been a sight to see. Just try to picture a 29-something young man with a SLIGHTLY receding hair line trying to sprint/wade/hop through 3 feet of water while being dragged down by a flooded sweat suit. I got to the dock just in time to thrust the last foot of my rod beyond the post as the carp made another run to deep water. Had I not done that, the drag would have not worked properly, the line would have been pushed beyond its limit & the fish would have snapped it. I quickly shoved the rest of the rod down under the dock platform & around the post with my right arm (further drenching my flooded sweat suit) and grabbed it with my left arm. After another valiant effort to get to deep water, the fish began to tire. I waded/reeled my way back around the pontoon boat & headed towards our dock. Micah was still standing there, so I made sure he backed away before I climbed the swim ladder & started unflooding my sweat suit onto the dock. I reeled in a couple more lengths of line, grabbed my net with my right hand, and landed my biggest fish ever after a fantastic fight!!

Once it was on the dock, Micah exclaimed, "Oh my goodness, Daddy, that fish is huge!" I had to agree.

Now, you'd think this fish tale was over, but you'd be wrong. I had Micah run inside & tell Mommy that I had caught a big fish & needed some pictures taken. Once she got there & snapped a few photos, I pulled out my fish scale to confirm that it was, in fact, the biggest fish I had ever caught (5 or 6 years ago, I caught a 17-pound carp while in Michigan). I pushed the power button and nothing happened!! I wiped all the condensation from scale and tried again. Still, nothing but a blank screen. All this time, I'm sitting on a dock stradling a fish that wants more than anything to flop into the water & go home. Finally, I dig my multi-tool out of my tackle box, pop the back off the scale, and realize the batteries that have been in there for 3+ years have gone bad. And they weren't just any old Double-A batteries. No, they had to be some fancy-shmancy CR2032 batteries that are used mainly for medical devices, and I had left my spare set in my other pants. I begged Becca to go next door to another fisherman's house to see if he had a scale that worked. Sadly, there was no answer at their door. Becca went back inside Ann & John's house, & I sat there stewing about what bad luck I had run into. Had I been thinking clearly, I would have put the fish on a stringer until I had a working scale. Had I been thinking clearly, I would have gotten a tape measure and at least measured the thing. Had I been thinking clearly, I would have never released the fish back into the lake 30 seconds before Becca came back outside and said Aunt Ann was going to let me use her bathroom scale!!

Sadly, I was NOT thinking clearly. I'll never know exactly how big my "biggest fish ever" is. Until the next one, that is....

Friday, August 22, 2008


Now I know you're all dying to hear about that big ol' fishy, but you're just going to have to wait until Kevin is good and ready to tell his story. In the meantime, how about if I tell you about the rest of our vacay?

Chloe and Micah spent a lot of time in the water. Jadon got to join them at the beach a few times and even float around in his "boat" out by the dock. But the big kids quickly progressed from gingerly wading in the shallows to going off the dock on the slide. By the end of the week, they were even riding on the tube behind the speed boat, begging to go faster and faster.
On Wednesday Chloe and I joined Aunt Ann at the Farmers' Market. Chloe got to pick out some blueberries.
We got several bags of produce and a beautiful bunch of flowers.The colors in the market were so beautiful that I couldn't resist snapping a "few" more pictures. We also got some delicious pumpkin cookies. I'm going to have to try to find a recipe for those.

Micah had a lot of fun fishing with Daddy, but Chloe spent most of her water time swimming. She did, however, spend a little time fishing. Of course, when you fish with a bobber and a worm, you have to first catch the worm. So that's what we did. We didn't have to look far. We headed out to the woods behind Ann and John's house with a shovel, but we really didn't even need it. Chloe and Jadon thought picking up the worms was pretty cool. Micah needed a little more convincing, but he did it!
After all the fun of fishing and swimming, Ann and I decided we needed a little bit of shopping, too. So on Friday, she and I took off to the outlet stores with Chloe. I think Ann had fun spoiling my girl and Chloe definitely had fun being spoiled. She had a fashion show for her Daddy after we got home.
The week was great and full of fun new things, but the most exciting part was still to come. Uncle John brought something very special home on Saturday afternoon... be continued...

Thursday, August 21, 2008


As I said earlier, our family traveled to visit Kevin's Aunt and Uncle just outside Ann Arbor, Michigan last week. We had such a great time there and the kids got to do lots of new and exciting things. Ann and John live on a gorgeous lake in a beautiful house with enough bedrooms that Chloe and Micah didn't even have to share with Jadon. That was really nice considering that he still needed lots of naps and early bedtimes, but we wanted Chloe and Micah to enjoy lots of playtime and later nights, since it was vacation anyway.

The first day we were there was pretty chilly and windy, not so good for swimming in a Michigan lake, but the rest of the week was beautiful.
Chloe and Micah spent everyday in the water with Daddy. The water was pretty cold for swimming,but that really didn't stop them much. They just occasionally came inside to warm up, usually about the time their lips turned purple. Chloe swam around like a fish, while Kevin and Micah spent most of their time catching fish. Kevin rigged up a way to keep little Micah near him while they were fishing out in the lake. Micah sat in the infant float with his life jacket on and Kevin attached the fish stringer to Micahs life jacket and wrapped the other end around his wrist.It worked really well! At one point, Kevin and Micah were out in some deeper water fishing together, and Micah was beating Kevin 8 to 3 in the fish count!! Way to go Micah!

I'll update later with the rest of our vacation and the story of this fish!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Home again

Well, we had a great vacation. But it's also nice to be home. I can't post any pics yet because blogger is being dumb, and well, I'm also too lazy to edit them because I shoot mostly in RAW and you can't see that from here. I know, I know, most of you are going RAW, what's that? Just trust me, I'm being lazy so you can't see 'em. Or blame it on Blogger, yeah, that works.

Anyway, sometime this week, we'll get you some pics of airplanes and fashion shows and a fish as big as Jadon! We had a great time and we're anxious to share. Hope you all had a good week too.

Monday, August 11, 2008

State Softball and a Little Trip

Well this past weekend was once again an attempt by the Rodies to conquer the state softball tournament. Kevin and I had decided to leave on our vacation to Michigan as soon as we were finished with the tournament. Historically speaking, that meant we were leaving after losing the first two games of the weekend.

I decided not to go Friday night because it's a long drive into the Cities and frankly, I'm a little tired of watching them lose and get all upset about how they play so much worse there then any other games. The game was at 5:30 that night and I got a phone call right after supper at 6:36. Now, anyone who knows my husband knows that there is no way on earth he would ever call me immediately following losing a softball game. Evidently the kids and I are not good luck charms because they played very well and won the game 5 to 2 (or 3, I can't remember).

So the next morning we packed up the kids and the car and headed off to the Cities for another ball game at 11am. They started off very well, spending much of the game ahead by 1 or 2 runs. In the end, they had 2 injuries and lost by 1 run. I swear there were several times during that game that I almost peed my pants. I am definitely not made for such nail-biting excitement.

Since they lost at 11, they had to play again at 2pm. Hoping that the kids and I weren't completely bad luck, we headed off to Mickey D's and back just in time for that game which happened to be the first team that they lost to last year.

This time they started off very well again. By the start of the 7th inning, the score was tied 6 to 6. I'm telling you, I had about 3 heart attacks and peed my pants twice that day. Shelly and I spent the 7th inning silently telling our guys exactly where to hit the ball and would you believe, they actually listened! Kevin and Todd (and I think Scott, although I wouldn't swear to it) all got base hits just in time for BJ to come up to the plate. Of course that is a great time for a home run, don't you think? They also scored 2 more runs to bring the score to 12 to 6. Winning this game should be a piece of cake.

Unfortunately, the other team also hit 2 homeruns that inning. 9 to 12 with 2 outs and I have absolutely no idea what the next out was, but they got it and the Rodies won another game!!

Their next game was another close one, but they didn't manage to pull it out. So we all cheered for our guys who played really well and finally pulled themselves out of a winless State Tournament streak. Kevin and I took off on a LONNNNGGGGG drive for vacation and here we are. Sorry I didn't take any photos at the games, but you'll survive. I'll be sure to take a bunch this week (I've already filled one memory card) and post them up here sometime the end of next week.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

5 years later

Everyone knows Kevin's family is ridiculously huge. But 5 years ago there was an explosion. Remember this?
This weekend marked 5 years since Ilese was born and the baby explosion began. Look how big she is now. So grown up and ready to start kindergarten. Over the next couple of months, I'm sure we'll have fun looking back on the last 5 years with these 5 beautiful troublemakers. Aren't cousins fun?!

When Daddy Comes Along

We have a really great park about half a block from our house and the kids love it. That's the first place they really know how to get to, other than Grandma's house. We take lots of trips over there during the spring and fall, and we try to get there in the summer, but it's not as much fun when it's 95 degrees outside. They love the swings and slides and they really like the horse swings. Jadon's pretty fond of the chicken and the really tall slide that makes Mommy's heart do little flips in her chest. But they don't often do a lot with the monkey bars. Saturday afternoon, all of that changed.

First of all, the really fun/scary tall slide was missing something.
Jadon was nearly traumatized over that. He really likes that slide.

He eventually had to settle for trying to swing like the big kids, although that didn't work so well.

Also, Daddy came along. That was pretty fun, because Chloe and Micah got to seesaw together with Daddy and JJ on the other side.

After the seesaw, Chloe wandered over to the monkey bars where Daddy was more than happy to do some encouraging. You see, Mommy likes to see the kids try new things. I always try to encourage them. But I think that I must not be very reassuring because they always wind up scared or crying that they can't do it. Somehow, with Daddy there, they never have that problem. No matter how scared they are, Daddy makes it all worth doing.

Even Micah got into the act.

He was so proud of the fact that he made it up to the top. He wasn't very happy about the prospect of getting down by himself, but he and Daddy made it home shortly after Chloe and Jadon and I so I guess he got down somehow.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Message from the Sun

I do have pictures from our trip to the park the other day, and I'll be sure to post them up here soon. But as I was going through the pics on my camera, I came across this one. I was playing around with the exposure and taking pictures of this tree with no particular purpose in mine. I thought there was something so cool about the flare from the sun in this picture. It's like a glipse at Christ watching over us from above.

Friday, August 1, 2008

A ray of hope for the world

After waking up to your car being spray painted, it's rather difficult to think the best of people. But then last night I found this on my windshield while shopping with my MIL. I think the crayon is a particularly nice touch.
Mom to four beautiful blessings including a brand new little guy. Laugh and cry with me as I navigate the joys and perils of motherhood and homeschooling.