Friday, June 29, 2007

Get The Party Started

As I get older, my political views are as ever changing as the seasons. I started really pondering this about a month ago when we were in Europe. Watching the French people frolick around in their very non-chalant way. The Dutch folk were equally the same. We noticed a massive distaste all around us for the American Way. Perhaps it is the war, our President.... but there seems to be a different attitude there that was a bit refreshing. It was almost as if freedom was ringing more there than I feel like it is here on most days. It reminded me that we are a spoiled society that has this horrible entitlement problem. I started to think about what it was like to raise a child in the Netherlands. Seeing those parents riding with their children strapped onto the front of their bicycles, whispering sweet nothings in their ear on the way home from school. The vision of an easier going lifestyle sweeps across my face with an awakening jolt. I love our country, don't get me wrong, but with everything that has happened in recent years; the death, the violence that plagues this country, the terrorism, the economy, the war, it is hard not to wonder how we can make a change on a much smaller scale.

Since we returned, I have questioned my political viewpoints. How do we fit into the global picture as a country? What is right vs. what is wrong. Where do I fit into the political arena?? I have always held to very conservative viewpoints. It was my Christian upbringing some may say, that did that for me. It wasn't until things really started affecting me, a functioning citizen, that I took a step back and re-evaluated. The way I once felt about such things as abortion (eek! Not that word!), the death penalty, all of the issues that plague our elections, that I really started to realize that I don't know where I stand. I have so many feelings on every issue. I am trying to find a happy medium between my religious viewpoints and my social ones. I thought 'At almost 30 years old, I should have this figured out.' The thing I realized is that this will be an ever changing path in my life. What happens when I have a child to think about? I can only imagine how they will evolve once again.

I just so badly want there to be peace on this Earth. I yearn and ache for it. I dislike the politics in politics. The main focus should be peace, a life that is worth living for everyone, a chance at freedom and democracy. But do we have that now? Do we?? I think it's time for me to start my own political party. Anyone wanna join?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Weigh In Day: Week 5

Today I am up .4 pounds. Which doesn't make sense at all when you eat pizza and cake, right?? Yep, that's right, we had a typical summer weekend and we fell off of the wagon a little bit, but we are back on now.

Curtis told me we should cut out the booze. I was like 'um...not unless you want me to poke my eyes out!' Needless to say, the wine stays. End of story.

Monday, June 25, 2007

"Quick! Take a picture while we are all still in the same room!"

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From left: Me, Lana, Megan H (yellow), Liz (the honorable mommy-to-be), Megan B, and Betsy (another mommy-to-be!)
Missing: Shannon, Kera, Brianna and Katie. But, we get to see Shannon and Katie next week! This is so great...I am getting to see all of my girls in one month!

I had a baby shower yesterday for my friend Liz. I think we had more of our friends in one room together since we were in high school!

Liz is 28 weeks pregnant and is looking fantastic! We cannot wait to meet little Emma. I am already trying to devise a way to get out to Phoenix before Christmas.

Yesterday was another welcome opportunity for all of us to get together. What a blast we all had!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Mar-Bear

Today, the little baby in our family is turning 16. I reflect back on the last 16 years of Mary's life, and I am so happy that I have been there for it all.

The day my parents had told us they were pregnant....again, I turned into a typical 11 year old, and threw a fit. Yes, a fit. How embarrassing to even admit that. After already having two small boys in the house, plus us three girls, my life immediately flashed before me. Or shall I say the lack of a life. I thought it was over. I would never be able to have my friends over, because the baby was sleeping. I would have to deal with MORE poopy diapers, and spit up?? For real?? Pretty soon though, that feeling went away. We were going to have another SISTER! A baby girl! I can remember how exciting it was to think that there would be another baby, but this time a girl. And so starts the story of Mary in all of our lives. I was in Washingtgon, DC with my friend Ashley, on the day she was born. To this day, I wished I was there. I remember the overwhelming excitement I felt to get home to meet her. This tiny little girl. After having Nate and Nick around, it was such a joy to have this little girl to cuddle and love. As she grew she started to develop the most adorable blonde hair and dimples on her cheeks. She was our little Mar-Bear. She still is. It has been one of the greatest delights in this world being a sister to all of my siblings, but something is very special about Mary. She is the baby of the family and in some sense she will always be that to me. Thinking about her getting her license has me feeling like a mother hen again. I cannot believe she is old enough to drive already! She has grown into this beautiful woman, full of life and intelligence. She has unmatched athletic skills far beyond the abilities of her older sisters, her brothers and even her Dad on the golf course. She is a lot like me in many ways. Meticulous, a perfectionist and even maybe a bit of a sore loser. Definitely a woman after my own heart. I love her so much. What a joy to watch her grow, and to continue to be a part of her life. I love you Mar-Bear! Happy Birthday!



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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Dear Ones

Tonight three of my most precious friends came over to have some girly time. We have known each other for so long and it was great to have a few cocktails and chat. Even though Megan and Lana both live here, we still seem to lose touch. Megan H is our NYC buddy who is in town so graciously taking care of her mother after she just had foot surgery. We all love each other so much and it was good to be together again, if only for a short while.

Transition is taking hold as we all move on through our lives. We are getting older, we are having children, but some of our friends are not yet married. Two of them were over last night and the other one just got engaged. As a married woman now for 3 years, it is hard for me to understand the feelings of those that aren't at this point. It came up more than once and it continues to do so with my college friends, my internet friends too. If I slip on their shoes, I see the difficulty there is in seeing all these wonderful things happening around you, you are happy for your friends, but that is still missing in your life. I realize the role that society plays in all of this and it makes me sad and a bit angry. The thing that these friends of mine don't understand is that there is time. We are young. Why do we feel as if we are so old?? We will be having children for a long time, our group of friends. I want to shake them and tell them that there is a man out there for them. We don't choose love, love chooses us. That this journey has no timetable. None of us know what life will bring. For now we just need to keep on loving each other, and supporting one another, and empathizing with each other. I love my friends. They are gifts from God and after a rough week, I feel so refreshed tonight. Thanks girls.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Back to the Playground...

Today there was so much drama in my life. The kind of drama that reminds me again, of the playground days. Compassion was never found on the playground. Kids just being kids. Wanting to see their friends, to get 'their' swing, or 'their' merry-go-round. Never thinking about the person who was left in the corner, sad, unnoticed, with no one to talk to.

I have a lot of internet friends. Friends I met while I was planning my wedding, friendships that have evolved and new ones that have been formed. These women are my 'core group' in many ways. I have Bible study with them, I share in the joys of their children, we get together with our husbands, we walk, we talk, we laugh...but not always. Today something changed. All because of an internet chat board where I have felt now for a long time that the compassion was lacking. It is a group of women with children, women who are pregnant, trying to get pregnant and some that are just there because they want a private place to exist with these women. I have always been the one to ask the kid on the playground, that unnoticed, lonely girl, if she wanted to play. I want people to feel welcome. Where there is seclusion, I fight. I fight for that individual, I try to place them in my shoes. I try to have compassion. These past two weeks I was starting to question that compassion. Is it right?? Is it fair to the women that want a more private atmosphere? Even putting aside my own ideas and thoughts, I still fight. I started to think that what I was fighting for wasn't right. What I came to realize is that it is right to fight for the lonely majority. The majority are the ones that don't feel they can fight, the ones that won't win their battle alone. Yet they are the majority.

Today I felt violated. Violated for doing what I felt was right. How mismatched a statement it is. They don't go together. Violation and what is right. I tried to think of what had gone on the past two weeks. What my part was in all of it. What could I have done differently. The truth is that I wouldn't have changed a thing. Women have reached out to me, thanked me. They still love me just the same. Some love me even more than they did before. The ones that don't, aren't worth my time. What I learned is there is a lot of sense in fighting a battle you may never win. Because you earn respect. Respect from the people that love you, that love what you are doing for them, for the cause. They don't want to see me go. That is humbling to me, but again, I have vowed to leave the playground days for good (see below). Today, my heart ached at the thought of some friendships being displaced. Compassion...indeed I have it. I did learn today that you can fight the good fight and still win. I have won many friendships, even if I won't be a part of the daily chatter of that board anymore. My very wise husband gave me great advice. "Love the ones that love you, and leave the rest" Best advice... Ever.

A Bostonian's View of Grand Rapids

Click the link:
A Bostonian's View of Grand Rapids

Pretty neat, huh?

6 Sticks of Butter

I stepped on the scale today, and I am down 1.5 pounds! Every Wednesday is weigh-in day in our house and today we had a good result. Curtis is down 2 pounds....8 sticks of butter.

In an effort to provide a visual aid, Weight Watchers has come up with everyday items that serve as comparisons to the pounds that you lose. Sticks of butter, a sack of potatoes, even cantaloupes!
Today, I am down 7.1 pounds in my first month which is 1 sack of potatoes plus 8 sticks of butter, and I am more than half-way to getting rid of 8 medium cantaloupes! Alright!! Cantaloupe shedding is a good thing!

Now the real celebration will come when all 32 cantaloupes have said their good-byes...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Wanna be on my team??

Myspace....oh Myspace. One thing I never quite understood was the "ranking of the friends". For those of you that don't know, Myspace has a function where you have to rank your friend's list. It is then broadcasted on the title page of your Myspace. As if the rite of passage we all took on the elementary school playground wasn't enough. Now we have to rank our friends on Myspace?? The most hysterical part about this is that you can change your friends' rankings. If someone stole your boyfriend, or didn't go out with you on Saturday night, you can drop them hard in the rankings. I love it when I come upon someone's page and they have rearranged their entire friend's list. I think to myself, "wow, there must have been a real shake-up in that person's life." Even still, it is somehow hurtful to see yourself drop in rankings. Like what, are we not friend's anymore?? Reminds me a bit of high school and makes me think of the days where we all gathered in the hallways between classes hoping to see our best friend or the significant boy in our lives. One would think we would be past the juvenile days of yore, but nah...we are still here, acting like little kids. I can't help but let out a chuckle when I think of this. So, from now on, I vow to never change my friend's list for the sake of not giving back into the 'highschool days' or those ever so distant 'playground days'. It's time to move forward.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Dads' Day

"Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4

Yesterday we went over to my parents house for a spaghetti dinner and a little bit of the US Open. We eat, laugh, and watch golf. I myself have never cared much for the game, but over the years, thanks to Dad, I am an avid golf watcher. I told him yesterday that I am going to learn. Right away he started on about going to Callaway's website and getting myself a set of refurbished clubs. He always has a an 'internet answer' for every need. I love that about him. He is a 'techy' even in his older age. Most men his age have no clue how many gigs of RAM their hard drive has, or how fast their processor runs, but Dad knows. He knows it well and he prides himself on that knowledge.

He is very good at what he does. He is a great doctor, a loving husband and a wonderful father. He has been through those rough patches that this family has endured. The death of my mother, the challenge that was brought on him and Nancy by having three motherless girls. Until yesterday, I had never really tried to place myself in HIS shoes. I did that yesterday and I thought about what it was like to have all of his kids around him on this day. What is it like to see all of your children grow into wonderful (most of the time) people? I thought long and hard last night about what it was like to walk in those well-travelled shoes. They are worn, but they are worth it. To see 80+ patients per day, to take care of this family. Even to get in a round of golf or two. He is our Dad. He is our caretaker. He is our family's rock. He keeps things in place. We respect him, we respect his opinion (to much sometimes!), we respect his challenges, mostly though, we love him. We love him a lot. He is one of the most outstanding, dedicated, driven and spiritual men I have ever met. I feel so blessed to have him as my Dad!

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This Father's Day was also the first Father's Day without Grandaddy....our dear Grandfather. It was so very bittersweet to not have him there. His jovial laugh, that adorable grin, his loving spirit. However, he received the greatest gift this year. The gift of celebrating Father's day with his heavenly Father and for that we feel very blessed.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Garden Party

Today I had the pleasure of attending Tara's bridal shower in Lilo's Garden. As many of you know, any home that is located on the Thornapple River is gorgeous. I have yet to see a bad view of the river. It was a hot afternoon and by the end of the day, we were all wishing we could dive off the dock and go for a swim!

For those of you that don't know, Tara is one of my dear friends from high school and college. We were roommates at Michigan State and we have shared many fun times. Her and her fiancee live in Denver, Colorado. It was such a blessing to see her, Sarah, Lara and Robin on Saturday. We all miss each other very much and it was a welcome opportunity to reconnect.


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Kenny on the Mound

Last night, we hurried over to Fifth Third Ballpark to see Kenny Rogers (no, not the singer, silly!) pitch for the Whitecaps. "Wait a minute," you ask. "He doesn't play for the West Michigan Whitecaps!" Yes, our little sleepy town had a big star pass through while rehabbing for the beloved Detroit Tigers. It was a neat experience and a bit unfitting to see him wearing a Whitecaps jersey, but we needed to see him throw that pitch we have longed to see for 3 months. He pitched 5 innings, started out a bit rough, but overall he threw some good pitches. He seemed overtly frustrated with himself while on the practice mound, but he still had that shimmer in his eye that we know he still carries.

Here are some pictures from our 'ballpark Friday night':

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Friday, June 15, 2007

The Incredible Shrinking (and Expanding) Woman

Everywhere I look, it seems the ideals have shifted. What was once acceptable, somehow seems a meager representation of what NOW exists.

For the last month, I have delved myself fully back into my weight loss journey. Baring it all and coming to terms with the fact that there is an innate sense of animosity about looking the way I do. I can't stop thinking about it, or talking about it. It has consumed me. But in a weird way, I like it. It reminds me I am back on the journey that I took 3 years ago. The journey to feel good about myself on my wedding day. It brings me back to that summer where we worked so hard to shed our pounds. Everyday, walking. Making lunches in the evening. Planning out meals. There is organization, a sense of accomplishment that comes with the territory. Getting on the scale every week to see a loss, or not. It doesn't always go as planned. We keep going and before we know it we are back to feeling good about ourselves again.

Then we let it go, again. Why did I do this to myself?? I had three years to sustain that goal and I ruined that. I never wanted to be here again and I am. The frustration of watching that accomplishment dancing around in the past. I just want to be that way again. Now.

The reality is that weight loss brings along with it a true sense of patience. The understanding of what it really means to be patient. I want to be thin again, right now. It doesn't work that way. I have to make an effort; make it mine again and I will reap those benefits again. It also brings with it a chance to fall back in love, with myself. To see that it isn't all about how thin you are, how well you dress. That it doesn't matter that you let yourself go (hey, at least we had fun doing it!). What matters is that you are back on track. Heading in the right direction again. People still see you for what you are, not what you look like. It brings reminders that what might hold as idealistic in our society doesn't always mean everything. That realization alone makes me glad I let myself go again. Perhaps I needed to be brought back around. To see that it's about feeling good about yourself, not worrying about what others think. More is learned with each passing day on a weight loss journey. It will likely remain a journey for my entire life. And for that, I am thankful.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

This Blog Thingy

I have decided to bite the bullet and consolidate all of my blurbs into one place. Here. The Queen of the King's speaks. I am not really sure where this will all lead....how open I will make this, but I wanted a place for our friends and family to see the goings on of US. The Kings.

So, here goes nothin'!

Last night we had dinner at my sister's house with everyone sans Mary. It was so nice to have the group together again. It felt like 1990 except we were all grown up. Eating under the same roof. At the same table....well, almost. We can't all quite fit around one table anymore.

Here are some pictures from last night's events

Dad and the boys
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Anna and Chad

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Elizabeth, Tom and Lily

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Pretty lady

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It's hard to believe how much this family has evolved.