Marriage Monday–Camping Edition

*missing camping…

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Just last week, I blogged a Praying In Color entry.

When I started praying, I had no clue it would end up to be a picture of a canoe camping trip, but subconsciously it must have been on my mind. I know that getting Phil to relax was weighing on me. I’d been trying not to nag him so I’d say, “I’m worried you’re not getting enough rest.”

“Got things to do.”

“They can wait, they’re not as important as your health and you need to rest.”

“When I’m done.”

“You’ll keep adding to your list.”

“What do you want me to do? Things got to get done around here.”

“I want you to at least take Sunday off.”

“How about Sunday afternoon?”

So I compromised for a few weeks. Phil works from seven in the morning until nine or ten at night five days a week. Then on the weekend, he’s out mowing the lawn, fixing the cars, and tending to all of the other mishaps that inevitably happen. We’re Murphy’s red-headed step children. Seriously. Ask people who have seen the chaos in action.

For the last few weeks, I haven’t had to beg Phil to relax, he’s taken to enjoying an entire Sunday off. Except cooking. But cooking is one of those activities that bond and solidify our relationship. I’m his perfect sous chef.

We took a two day float trip last summer on the Tippecanoe River. We camped at Tippecanoe State park. I don’t necessarily enjoy the work-out a canoe trip on a windy weekend gives me, but it melted my heart to see Phil truly relax, fish, and enjoy himself.

He doesn’t do well relaxing at home. I think all of the things to do dangle in front of him and taunt him. I know, they do that to me too, but mothers have the ability to tone out frequencies that are annoying. Sure dads tune out things, but typically if they’ve tuned one thing out they’ve tuned everything out. Moms can tune out the irritating stuff. Tell me I’m wrong!

So we go camping.

I love, love, love campfires. Cooking breakfast over a fire brings out the maternal in me. Who knows why. I don’t care why. I know I’m up at the crack of dawn wrapped up in a flannel shirt, throwing another log on the fire. I get the water boiling for the coffee and sip it while I add bacon to the cast iron skillet. Phil gets up, drinks my (by then) cold coffee and I make another steaming cup for myself. We take turns flipping the bacon and Zane yells from the tent, “I smell bacon!” and we sit by the fire waiting.

So I prayed for some extra money and for Phil’s boss to let him have a weekday off and I planned another float trip for our family. Next year, my goal is for more than one camping trip.

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*originally posted August 4, 2008

Hometown Hero–John Masson

UPDATE: Thanks to every single individual who made John’s Homecoming and Benefit a success!!

All of the photos are up. You are free to download and use these pictures to print for yourself. If you are with the media or blogging, please link back if you use a photo! Thanks!

Click here: John Masson Homecoming, Valparaiso, Indiana airport. Friday January 21, 2011

Click here: John Masson Benefit, Lake Station, Indiana American Legion Post 100. Saturday January 22, 2011

* * *

Lake Station, Indiana is small town America.  We grew up knowing each other and loving each other and fighting and making up and all that goes with family.

Sergeant First Class, John Masson is part of that family.  He serves in the Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 20th Special Forces group in our United States Army.  John and his wife, Dusty, went to school with us. John’s brother, Mike, went to school with us and is also serving in our Army.

My heart is so full of love for them.

…but  broken

in spirit

but he’s broken in an unfathomable way.

Last week, John stepped on an IED in Afghanistan.

He has suffered the loss of both legs and his dominant hand.

While we’re over here sitting on our computers, watching our favorite show, arguing with the kids about brushing their teeth. He stepped on a freaking bomb.

His sacrifice for us moves me.

And I want to make you move, too.

We’re having a benefit for John, Dusty and their kids.

How will you be moved to give back to this heroic family who has sacrificed so much?

John Masson Family Benefit–January 22nd, 2011

You can donate time, money, or items for raffle or auction—-but please don’t sit and do nothing.

Alton Brown

Ok. So I might like living near Chicago.

Zane is not so much a city-boy. Chip off the old block. My fiercely independent ten year old boy, the one who chides me for saying “I have to go potty” because “potty” embarrasses him and can’t I just say bathroom or restroom like everyone else? The one who is starting to not want me to kiss him and hug him and love him when people are around (oh my heart.)

This boy clung for dear life to my hand while crossing Michigan Avenue. He grabbed my hand himself. No prompting. Grabbed it and then held it with both of his and said, “This is a lot of traffic.”

And now I want to take him back to Michigan Avenue to play in traffic. I’m only kidding a little. This boy who suckled my breast for his first three years of his life and wouldn’t go to anyone except me now thinks I’m uncool and I might need one of the pretty white jackets and a few strong martinis (lemon drop, thank you) to get through what comes next. Who are you to judge if I take him to play in traffic so he’ll hold on a tighter for awhile longer?

That’s what I thought.

Alton Brown has been a staple in our home for quite some time now. We all love Good Eats and Iron Chef America. When I heard Alton was going to be in Chicago doing a discussion and signing for his newest book <—see the picture and click to see the information at, I knew we had to go. Even though the wait was long and the line was longer, I’m really glad we went.
Dear Alton,
We canceled our trip to Legoland to come see you and it was all Zane’s decision. I think you should feel pretty good considering Zane has three billion Legos in his room and has been bugging me to go to Legoland. Borders bookstore is the suck though. They baited us with hope of hearing your discussion then told us if we weren’t in the first 100 we couldn’t listen. Some crazies waited in line from 1pm til 7pm to see you. Not that you’re not worth it, but, uhm, that’s a long time. So we got there at 6pm and we HAD to buy your current book, otherwise we couldn’t see you either. So we bought it, we would’ve anyway, but they were mean about it. So really, we probably won’t ever go back to Borders (those bullies.)
You, however, redeemed the evening, Mr. Brown.
We sat on the floor of Borders and waited in line, talking to the nicest couple. For hours. Now, Zane is 10 and he’s pretty patient, but he was about ready to bail. Good thing the line moved. It was nearing 10pm and he was getting nervous as we neared the front of the line. The way you stopped and took time to look Zane in the eyes and ask him questions made my heart swell. You are such and admirable man. Thank you.
And then you did something I didn’t expect. Zane was the first kid you signed a book for, I think. When you left your place behind your signing table and went out into the line to sign all the kid’s books so they could go home and get to bed…That was integrity.
Thank you for that display of your character. I’m glad I got to witness it.

I wanted to tell the whole world what a good guy you are Alton Brown!

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Zane’s 10th Birthday–Transformers Cake!

My boy is a decade old.

Remember 10? Mrs. Kaczmarek was my teacher. I was the only one who could spell her name right. It was a bonus word on our first spelling test. And I was also the only one who spelled the bonus word “rendezvous” correct on a different test. We had to write a dictionary that year of something we were interested in. Mine was on car parts. Mrs. Kaczmarek told me I needed to be more of a girl. I told her I was going to sign up for the Army and then I was going to be a truck driver and a writer.

I did sign up for the Army. I was a truck driver. I am a writer.
She didn’t believe me. I don’t know if anyone did.
Zane hasn’t told me yet what he wants to be. Engineering will be a part of it, I imagine.
I want to pay attention to his desires, his goal, his dreams. I wonder what he will do? What he will be?

Happy Birthday my love!

Kudos to Amie from Clemons Cakery!
She bakes the most yummilicious cakes.

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