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  • Heard in the Dare House

  • Naomi"Mom, isn't the Charleston that dance on that show Fresh Prince...or....?"
  • Pete"We should all act out a Shakespeare play. Maybe Macbeth?"
    Anna "Oh! I want to play MacMeth!"

  • Josh"Owe! I bit my tongue!"
    Mom "That's not part of dinner, dude."
    Josh"I know. That's why I didn't bite it off, Michael Tyson"

  • Dad "Josh, do you know who Mike Tyson bit?"
    Josh"Uuuhh...yeah...like... Leonard Skimmer?"

  • Anna [When we were all talking about love languages, Dad explains how you can change over your life]"Oh yeah, totally. 'Cause I used to be into drawing."
  • Anna [after falling off her bike]"I'm OK! I don't need the arcade kit!"
  • Dad [Getting ready to give a gift to the girls for their piano recital]"Alright girls, we're going to do something that's long overdue."
    Anna "Ha. Probably taxes..."

  • Josh [After reading Peter's sign that said, "DJ takes requests, and tips] "Hey. I have a tip for you. If people don't like the song you're playing, you should change it."
  • Anna "Sometimes I look around and think, I am Anna...and these are other people..."
  • Josh "Listen. You give me the Simon's Quest code and I'll shop in the women's section!"
  • Josh "You smell like an air freshener, Mom."
    Dad "oh Josh those are kind of cheap so that sounds like you’re kind of insulting Mom when you say that."
    Josh "MMMMmmmm…you smell like a $100 air freshener."

  • Anna "Mom. Where’s the first Bible ever. Like ever."
    Mom "Ummm, I’m not sure. But maybe you could ask Dad about that"
    Anna "Well. I was gonna, but I didn’t want to get a whole sermon…so I asked you"

  • Dad "Hmm. These chips taste stale."
    Mom "They're not stale. They're just from Aldi."

  • Naomi "Look Mom! My foot is bigger than Anna's whole face!"
  • Peter [Interrupting Mom quizzing Naomi on Science by asking, "What's inside the membrane of a cell?"] "...Insane?"
  • Anna [Seeing Almonso Wilder grab Laura Ingles' engagement ring from the kitchen on Little House] "Hmph. He just grabbed a chill pill."
  • Josh "Dad, my grammar book must be in labor. It keeps talking about contractions"
  • Josh [After Dad picked a crumb off Josh's shirt]"Dad, you're like a parasite, cleaning me."
  • Anna[Watching Dorothy's friends break her out of the wicked witch's castle]: "Well. That's why you always keep your axe with ya."
  • Josh: "I wonder if there are any tornadoes at the campground we're going to."
    Anna: "Yes. There are. I know. I checked on E-Bay."

  • Mom: "Mmmm, Josh. You smell really good. Are you wearing cologne?"
    Josh: "Wait. My.....Clone Trooper, you mean?"

  • Mom: "I delivered all four of these kids. The least they can do is let me have the rest of the dill pickle potato chips!"
  • Josh: "You're a weak-aholic!"
    Dad: "A weakaholic?!"
    Josh: "Yeah. You're addicted to being weak!"

  • Dad: [After listening to the long piano intro to Chicago's Does anybody really know what time it is?] "I don't like that dissident music. It's all crazy and off time."
    Anna: "I like it! 'Cuz that's how I play!"

  • Paul: "So according to this book kids, who shot JFK?"
    Josh: "Lee Elvis Hardwell?"

  • Paul: "How Many Kings by Downhere is a perfect running song. The beat is just my pace."
    Jen: "Oh yeah? My song is Canon in D."

  • Anna[while washing herself in the shower]: "Hmmmmm. Arms are helpful."
  • Anna [Seeing Mom running water in the kitchen sink]: "Hey! You want to pay bills?!"
    Mom: "Huh?"
    Anna: "You're wasting!"

  • Josh: "Mom, can I play Mario?"
    Mom: "No Josh. Today is craft day. We're doing stuff for someone."
    Josh: "Yeah. I was gonna beat the game for Dad."

  • Anna: [Laying in bed, in a depressed voice]"Naomi, what do I do with life?"
    Naomi: "Uhh...how about you go to sleep?"

  • Mom: "Weird, I've always heard that song differently. But hey, what am I?"
    Anna: "A human being!"

  • Anna: [After being told to eat her dinner]"Mom, I took two bites! You can see the ground!"
  • Josh: "Man, I want to go to a casino."
    Mom: "What?!"
    Josh: "Wait. Is casino the same as gazebo?"

  • Jen to the kids: "Guys, don't forget toppings for your salad. The more colors on your salad, the better it is for you."
    Josh: "Even if it has Superman ice cream on it?!"

  • Anna"Huh? Craig has a list?"
  • Anna"Naomi, can you look at your calendar with your eyes closed?"
    Naomi"No. No one can, silly."
    Anna"Chuck Norris can!!"

  • Mom"Thanks to Naomi, who passed her headache on to me."
    Naomi"Pastor Headache? Who's Pastor Headache?!"

  • Darefamily: “Night, Pete. Night, Naomi. Night, Mom. Night, Dad...”
    Anna: “Night, vision!”

  • Anna: “Dad, do you believe in Santa?”
    Dad: “Sure, St. Nicholas was at the council of Nicea. He punched Arius in the mouth for his heresy…”
    Anna: “Hmmmm…I don’t remember seeing that in the video…”

  • Pete: "Josh, you know what the Pope is, right?"
    Josh: "Yeah. The stuff in the orange juice."

  • Anna: "Yeah! Let's get this starty parted!"
  • Josh"Bummer Mom, you're not ticklish. But I can still hurt you, because your nervous system is working!"
  • Josh"Sorry Grandma, I don't really like antiques...unless they have up to date stuff."
  • Naomi:"I'm not sure what I'm more afraid of, a whale or a shark, 'cuz I know how to fight a shark, 'cuz they're really weak in the eyes..."
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    Road Trip to Scranton!

    On Monday morning, January 2nd, we surprised the kids with an announcement: a road trip to Pennsylvania!!! We woke the kids up at seven and were driving out of the garage by 8:24 am.  Miracles do still happen, I guess.


    The drive out of MI and through a bit of Ohio is pretty boring.  However, once you enter Penn, it’s so beautiful.  I’m sure all of the hills didn’t help our gas mileage but the scenery through the Northern tip of the Appalachians is absolutely amazing; the mountains and huge rock walls were beautiful! We were all wondering if the locals there ever traveled to Canton oohing and ahhing over how flat everything was.

    We drove through Ohio before getting to the State of Independence, but most of the driving was in Pennsylvania itself.


    The kids before they had read the sign.


    …and after we threatened them.


    Soon we were back on the road! Nothing exciting happened for about seven or eight more hours when we finally got to our hotel!  Well, we found our hotel but decided we needed to hit up a gas station before checking in.

    That was a mistake.

    It took several twists and turns in back-roads and neighborhoods through Scranton’s northernly neighboring city Dixon City before finally finding fuel but it was kind of worth it because it was a full-service gas station! Very cool.

    Anyways, we reached the Holiday Inn in Dixon City around 9 pm. There was a POOL. 😀


    swimming in December?



    ^^the view from the kid’s room^^


    The next morning we all enjoyed a breakfast of cold stiff hotel waffles (Naomi didn’t know they were toaster waffles and were meant to be eaten after being toasted) and decent sausage gravy (they taste good together, ask Naomi) After breakfast, we left the hotel and headed to the Steamtown Mall. Right away I (Paul) led Jen to the best part in the mall:



    This is the actual sign that used to be off the freeway just outside Scranton. This sign can be seen in the opening credits of the popular TV show The Office.  For the afternoon we drove around and saw other sites that appear in the show, which none of the kids watch so they couldn’t appreciate and had to sit in the car for half of the time staring at a brick wall waiting for their parents to remember them. But we had fun!


    This was the train yard behind Steamtown mall. It was just a cool looking shot.


    This was Cooper’s Seafood. Another place of interest for Office fans. They had a little gift shop with funny hats that hundreds of people had previously worn.


    Inside Cooper’s.

    We started driving home that afternoon/evening but realized it would be 3 am by the time we’d get to Canton so we took our time on the drive home. We stopped in a neat little town called Clearfield, PA and visited a couple of small shops in their downtown area and then checked into the Hampton. This hotel also had a pool but everyone was too tired to swim except for Josh and Anna.



    Not tired:


    The next morning we stopped at several more places to break up the drive so it didn’t feel like the ten-hour drive it was to get there.drivin2


    The pictures really don’t do it justice. Every bridge we crossed had ridiculously huge mountains and trees surrounding and rivers underneath, it felt like a movie. As obscure as Scranton sounds, it’s actually a great city to vacation in solely because of the scenery.


    Unfortunately, we don’t have photos, but Scranton was very appropriately named the Electric City because of the way the whole city just lights up like a million Christmas lights at night. The view is INCREDIBLE when driving on the highway.


    ^^grabbing lunch at Pizza Hut in Ohio!^^



    I asked the kids when the trip was coming to a close, “So do you guys like to plan out a vacation and then look forward to it or did you like doing this one spontaneously?”

    They all exclaimed: “Spontaneously!”


    My Staycation 2011

    I can’t begin to express how much fun I had last week.  Following my wife’s great suggestion, I took the whole week off to just stay home and get stuff done around the house.  I had never done something like this, so I have to be honest and say that I really didn’t know what to expect.  We started the 9 days (Saturday the 3rd through Sunday the 11th) by going out to my Mom’s house for a full frontal assault on her “to do” list.  I think we made some pretty significant progress, but she’ll have to comment to confirm that. 🙂  I know that I at least learned how to do some new things!

    On Sunday the 4th, we had church in the morning and then spent the afternoon home with each other, just hanging out.  The main focus was our bedroom for a few days.  Jen spot cleaned the carpet with her green machine, as she’s shared on Facebook a few times.  I went to work on a cornice board she got from my Mom a few weeks ago and worked toward getting it ready to be hung above the window.  Done –

    We hung up some other things in the bedroom too, but you can read this post to see the details there.

    The next day ( not really sure as it all runs together ) we picked away at some more things.  Took the basement stairwell handrail down, sanded, re-painted and re-hung it back up.  Nice job, Jen!

    I tightened the dining room table and added the stability legs so it’s less wobbly –

    I finished the install of the office door.  After about 7 years of telling the kids to be quiet when I was on the phone for work, I can now shut a door. 🙂

    Probably the biggest thing I attacked was the laundry room.  No, I didn’t wash a single shirt.  I vacuumed it top to bottom, took the vent and panels off the furnace and vacuumed it and replaced the filter, then I reorganized it to make it more functional.

    I also installed the water heater blanket that I bought three months ago.

    The last few days of the ‘trip’ around Honey-do Lane, I hung a rack for the girls in their room, fixed two screens on the basement glass block windows and finally installed the kick plates on the lower kitchen cabinets.

    I’m sure I’m forgetting more stuff, but it doesn’t really matter.  I read some things, wrote some product reviews on the blog and Amazon and closed the loop on a few other administrative things.  Jen rocked the staining of the breakfast bar –

    All in all, it was a great week.  I really enjoyed time with Jen and the kids, working together with everyone and being able to hang out and do things in between projects and other activities.  We had a few folks over and made some great memories together.

    Our Pastor just finished a mini summer preaching series on the book of Ecclesiastes.  One theme that emerged as ‘new’ to me was the concept of taking pleasure in our work and toil.  Remember that work was part of the “very good” creation before man sinned and fell into a ground-cursed creation.  Solomon is clear that chasing the things of the world for eternal satisfaction is empty and foolish, but finding joy in working hard for the glory of the God who designed us to do so is not.  I felt so gratified each time I completed one of the items on our long list.  It brought me so much joy to make my wife smile.  We’ll have to do another staycation again sometime.  It was a lot of fun.

    We also saw a cool bug on the tire of my car.


    What you’re really thinking during vacation

    Sadly, I’ve found this to be very true —

    The West Side of Michigan

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    It’s been said, by more than one person, that there lies an invisible line running north and south and intersecting I-94 right around Jackson.  Once an Easterner crosses this line, heading due West, he has been transported into another dimension.  A slower, calmer, quieter dimension.  No, not the Twilight Zone (as cool as that would be).  It’s the West side of our great state of Michigan.  Ever since my first trip over to visit my Dad about 10 years ago, my wife and I have have become more and more enamored with Western Michigan.  We just came home this past Saturday after spending six days over there.

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    We had a fantastic time.  Rented a three-bedroom cabin at a little “resort” that Jen and I have stayed at before.  Lots of space to run and play, a pool and even some bikes for the kids, made this a very fun trip.

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    I couldn’t have asked for a better vacation.  We’re thankful for the chance to go and also glad to be home.  The name of the place is Victoria Resort and we highly recommend staying with them.

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