Playgrounds and Fountains

Last week, as the Fourth of July approached, we had no plans at all for how we would spend the holiday. When we woke up on Friday, we still had no plans (to my knowledge). So, after Lydia got up, Dan read to her and Abby and then told me his idea for how we would spend the day. As it turned out, the day ended up being full and fun, a perfect holiday and a wonderful start to Dan’s three day weekend.

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After breakfast we packed up the diaper bag and headed out. First stop was just a drive-by of a house we though we might want to take a look at. It turned out to be no good, so we were glad not to waste our time scheduling a real viewing. We stopped at a nearby park where Lydia burned off some energy and practiced hanging from the rings. Abby chilled in the grass and looked super cute while she was at it.

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When we started to get hungry we loaded back into the car and drove by another house and decided not to schedule a viewing for that one either (it was right on the highway and the traffic was just way too loud). Then we pit-stopped for lunch outside. We happened to be right next to a Meijer, and, as watermelons were on sale this week, decided to add watermelon to our dinner menu for later that night. Dan picked out the best melon in the store and Lydia had an exciting ride on Sandy.

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I think it was about this time when Dan changed our plans a little and we spontaneously decided to visit downtown Plymouth. We spent some time there last Labor Day, before Abby was born, and had a good time so we decided to repeat the adventure.

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Something you may or may not know about me is that I’m pretty good at taking selfies of Dan and myself…except when you can see the reflection in the window behind us. 🙂

One of the places you must visit if you’re ever in Plymouth is the fountain. So we did. Lydia loved it and probably couldn’t remember that she had visited the same fountain less than a year ago.

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Maybe we’ll go back every year and take a picture of the kiddos at the fountain.

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After the fountain, we made our way over to a quiet grassy area of downtown Plymouth set aside to celebrate our freedom and remember those who have sacrificed for it. We reviewed our nation’s wars, danced in the grass, made some friends, and showed Lydia the cannon. Abby just smiled and watched with those clear blue eyes of hers.

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The last time we were here I lost and found my camera. This visit someone stole my purse.

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I got it back though.

We wrapped up our outing by another visit to an old favorite playground. Even though we went to this playground almost every day last summer, Lydia didn’t remember it at all. It’s where we took the much beloved “tunnel picture” of Lydia.

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It was almost dinner time and I had to go for a run (to keep up with my 5K training), so we called it a day and headed home. After a successful 20 minute run we had another picnic outside followed up, of course, with Meijer’s best watermelon. It was a full, fun, and wonderful day. As the sun set, Dan and I picked out old patriotic favorites to play on the computer for Lydia, then we really called it a day. No fireworks for this family! Maybe next year.

Sweet Potato Prayers

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This Thursday will mark six weeks of basement living for our family, and, as we don’t have an accepted offer on any houses yet, there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. I daily ask God to provide the right house for us in His timing, but that His timing would be soon. It was during one of these prayers that I realized a change (for the better) that has come over me in these past few weeks. I am more desperately depending on God for help. For me, that looks like lots and lots of praying. It’s not the kind of “close yourself in your closet and get on your knees” praying. It’s the “in the middle of the chaos” sort of praying.

And as I pray, God answers. I don’t want to forget those answers, and I thought it might be fun to share some little answered prayers from this past weekend.

Friday was Lydia’s birthday. We had big plans of spending the whole morning at the playground. We were even going to eat lunch there and come back for a later nap time than usual. Then, as Lydia and Abby napped, I was going to clean up and cook up a Mexican feast which was to include this sauce that Lydia loves. She affectionately refers to this as simply, “Sauce”.

Somewhere in the middle of our morning (pre-playground trip) I realized that I didn’t have a sweet potato for Lydia’s special sauce that I had promised her. And Dan had taken the car to work with the stroller in the back seat. Bummer. I prayed that God would somehow provide me with a sweet potato for Lydia’s sauce. I decided to go to the playground without the stroller and just eat lunch at home. And I went on with the day.

After breakfast I asked Lydia to go to the bathroom so I could brush her teeth. She scurried off and I took care of a couple of things before heading off to join her. When I got to the bathroom, the door was shut. And locked. And Lydia didn’t know how to unlock it. After messing with the lock for a while myself I went upstairs to get RJ (the real homeowner) to ask for help. He graciously came down and we spent the next twenty minutes trying to explain to Lydia how to unlock the door while he tried various tools in the lock.

She had been in the bathroom for almost half an hour when RJ went upstairs to look for some different tools. I had been praying silently all along, but after unsuccessfully trying to explain one more time to Lydia how to unlock the door I decided to pray out loud. We asked God to help us get the door unlocked and within minutes RJ tried the right tool and Lydia was free.

I had been on and off the phone with Dan all along and called him once more to tell him the emergency was over. Then we got ready to go to the playground. Just then, the door opened and there was Dan! He had been sent home to work for the day because they didn’t have the internet working at the office. And Dan brought home the stroller and the sweet potato.

Lydia enjoyed the rest of her birthday with a long-awaited visit to the playground, a necessary nap, and a Mexican feast, including her special sauce.

God gave us a sweet potato, an unlocked door, and even a stroller (an unvoiced prayer) all in one short morning. These are just a few examples of the daily ways God hears our calls for help and gives us what we need. One of these days I believe He will give us the house we’ve been praying for, but in the meantime (and long after) we will be thankful for answers to our “sweet potato prayers”.

Labor Day Adventures

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Dan had the day off for Labor Day on Monday, and we were able to enjoy our first day-off as a family without traveling since Dan graduated! The day started with some sleeping in, a late breakfast, and then plan-making for the rest of the afternoon.

We decided to check out downtown Plymouth, since we’re planning on moving soon and had never gotten around to spending some time down there. It’s a lot like downtown Traverse City (where we grew up), but bigger.

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We walked the streets, looked in the windows, and pushed Lydia in her stroller. Eventually we came to the fountain, and took a nice break there sitting in the shade and watching kids walk around the edge of the fountain and then sneak in when their parents weren’t looking.

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After a while, we continued our walk, touring all the streets of downtown Plymouth. We ended up in a historic area, where we gave Lydia a history lesson on the American wars. Dan and I remembered an embarrassingly small amount of information about any of the wars. So much for straight A’s. Dan’s side of the family is somehow related to Abraham Lincoln (17th cousins or something like that) so we were sure to get a shot of Lydia with Abe. See any resemblance?

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It was pressing in on nap time and we still hadn’t eaten lunch, but we made another stop at Starbucks to get some free drinks (story to come later…). Dan got an iced coffee and Lydia and I shared a smoothie as we headed back to the fountain one last time. However, just as I was about to take a picture of our smoothie-sharing, I realized my camera was gone!

We retraced our steps back to Starbucks. No camera. Then we went all the way back to Abe, where I thought I may have forgotten it on a bench. But there was the bench, and no camera. Just than a tall man ran up and asked us if we had lost our camera! This kind gentleman (Jerry) had turned it in to the police station. So after a while of knocking on doors and snooping around the station (which was pretty deserted), Jerry found us an officer who located our missing camera. That ended the trip on a very happy note and we headed back home for lunch and naps.

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The weather was absolutely perfect, so Dan worked on his computer outside and, after a long nap myself, I joined him. When Lydia woke up we all headed to the playground, where Lydia mastered the tunnel-slide, and then went down it 13 times, insisting that Dan follow her down every single time. We spent a good long while at the playground and, when everyone was satisfied, made our way back home for dinner. After a couple innings of baseball (our current Monday night tradition while Lydia gets ready for bed), we tucked Lydia in.

Then I gave Dan his first violin lesson, which went really well. I’m thinking of giving violin lessons from home starting sometime after Baby is born, but I’ve never taught before. Dan has very little music education, so he is a perfect first student. And so far, he does great. We’ve had two lessons in a row and he’s been practicing in the mornings.

So, after mastering the “D string”, we watched a little more baseball, and stayed up far too late talking. (Dan really is a happy camper on his days off) Eventually we had to call it a night. I can’t remember ever having a more full and happy Labor Day.