Wednesday, August 27, 2008

August Rush

Two thumbs up for the movie "August Rush." My friend Tina loaned it to us and we watched it last night. I very highly recommend this movie!
Here is a description of the movie. This description pretty much tells the whole plot so don't read it if you plan on seeing the movie and like to be surprised!

Twelve years ago, on a moonlit rooftop above Washington Square, Lyla Novacek, a sheltered young cellist, and Louis Connelly, a charismatic Irish singer-songwriter, were drawn together by a street musician's rendition of "Moondance" and fell in love. After the most romantic night of her life, Lyla promised to meet Louis again but, despite her protests, her father rushed her to her next concert--leaving Louis to believe that she didn't care. Disheartened, he found it impossible to continue playing and eventually abandoned his music while Lyla, her own hopes for love lost, was led to believe months later that she had also lost their unborn child in a car accident. Years passed with neither of them knowing the truth. Now, the infant secretly given away by Lyla's father has grown into an unusually gifted child who hears music all around him and can turn the rustling of wind through a wheat field into a beautiful symphony with himself at its center, the composer and conductor. He holds an unwavering belief that his parents are alive and want him as much as he wants them. Determined to search for them, he makes his way to New York City. There, lost and alone, he is beckoned by the guitar music of a street kid playing for change and follows him back to a makeshift shelter in the abandoned Fillmore East Theater, where dozens of children like him live under the protection of the enigmatic Wizard. He picks up a guitar for the first time and unleashes an impromptu performance in his own unique style. Wizard names him August Rush, introduces him to the soul-stirring power of music and begins to draw out his extraordinary talent. Wizard has big plans for the young prodigy but, for August, his music has a more important purpose. He believes that if his parents can hear his music, they will find him. Unbeknownst to August, they have already begun that journey.

This movie is rated PG and in my opinion is family friendly and clean. It really was so good that I want you to go out and rent this movie right now!!!!! We really got into it and we were on the edge of our seats hoping that everything works out in the end!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

We are back in Bloomington and busier than ever! We have been busy catching up with our friends and getting ready for the new semester. Phil's classes start tomorrow (Wed) and today was his last day of on campus interviews. So I guess this all means that the summer is over. I don't know yet if I am happy about or terribly sad. I am so used to having Phil around! I will miss him dearly.

Luke seems like such a big boy in his high chair! He likes feeding himself now. He likes to mash up bananas and get all messy. I added Cheerios to his menu this week and he is an "old pro" now. He likes to knock them off of his tray! Sanibel has a new favorite spot under his high chair waiting for flying scraps.

We have been trying to take advantage of our area pools. Luke seems to like the water! I got him a crab floatie.

Here is a photo of Phil and Luke at the Bloomington Farmers Market. Notice the line behind Phil. It goes on forever and it is a line for corn!!!!!!!!! It must be something special because there were other booths with corn and no lines at all.

Luke and his "lunch buddy"

I flippantly asked Phil to make homemade cinnamon rolls and HE DID!!!!!!!!!!!!

We went to dinner with our friends the Gaynor's at a Japanese steak house and Luke fell asleep in his high chair leaning against the table!!!! So cute!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Luke is 21 lbs. and 6 oz!

We finally made some unpacking progress today! We still have some organizing to do and rearranging but we feel a little more settled and back to "normal." Right now we are kind of mindlessly sitting and watching the Olympics. Really we should just go to bed.

Luke had to go to the doctor today because of a rash that showed up on his arm overnight. I was a little panicked that it was poison ivy but the doctor said that it was just a skin reaction to something he must have come in contact with outside. He prescribed some ointment and I am hoping that it is gone in the morning.

We finally picked out a high chair and car seat for Luke at Target. After Target we went to our neighborhood Kroger. They really remodeled the Kroger this summer when we were gone. The produce area was expanded and they added a gourmet cheese case (yeah!) and a salad bar with all sorts of olives and salads. We are very excited about all of the new amenities! I purchased two "ready to cook" chicken breasts that were stuffed with ham and cheese and wrapped with bacon! Yum yum. They were so very good!

I am so happy to be "home" and I loved cooking dinner in our kitchen! I know that it is small and I dream of the kitchen that I may someday have but no kitchen will ever be as small as our Paris kitchen! It was so heavenly using our microwave and dishwasher!

Our delicious "homecoming" meal and Luke showing off his new high chair! Also the roses that Phil gave me yesterday!!!!!!!!!

Pointer Story

My mom and my aunt sent me this forward yesterday afternoon. I have no idea if it is a true story or not but reading it left me feeling encouraged and I wanted to share it with all of you.


"Watch out! You nearly broad sided that car!" My father yelled at me.
"Can't you do anything right?" Those words hurt worse than blows. I turned
my head toward the elderly man in the seat beside me, daring me to challenge
him. A lump rose in my throat as I averted my eyes. I wasn't prepared for
another battle.

"I saw the car, Dad. Please don't yell at me when I'm driving." My voice
was measured and steady, sounding far calmer than I really felt. Dad glared
at me, then turned away and settled back.

At home I left Dad in front of the television and went outside to
collect my thoughts. Dark, heavy clouds hung in the air with a promise of
rain. The rumble of distant thunder seemed to echo my inner turmoil. What
could I do about him?

Dad had been a lumberjack in Washington and Oregon. He had enjoyed being
outdoors and had reveled in pitting his strength against the forces of
nature. He had entered grueling lumberjack competitions, and had placed
often. The shelves in his house were filled with trophies that attested to
his prowess.

The years marched on relentlessly. The first time he couldn't lift a
heavy log, he joked about it; but later that same day I saw him outside
alone, straining to lift it. He became irritable whenever anyone teased him
about his advancing age, or when he couldn't do something he had done as a
younger man.

Four days after his sixty-seventh birthday, he had a heart attack. An
ambulance sped him to the hospital while a paramedic administered CPR to
keep blood and oxygen flowing. At the hospital, Dad was rushed into an
operating room. He was lucky; he survived.

But something inside Dad died. His zest for life was gone. He
obstinately refused to follow doctor's orders. Suggestions and offers of
help were turned aside with sarcasm and insults. The number of visitors
thinned, then finally stopped altogether. Dad was left alone.

My husband, Dick, and I asked Dad to come live with us on our small
farm. We hoped the fresh air and rustic atmosphere would help him adjust.
Within a week after he moved in, I regretted the invitation. It seemed
nothing was satisfactory. He criticized everything I did. I became
frustrated and moody. Soon I was taking my pent-up anger out on Dick. We
began to bicker and argue.

Alarmed, Dick sought out our pastor and explained the situation. The
clergyman set up weekly counseling appointments for us. At the close of each
session he prayed, asking God to soothe Dad's troubled mind. But the months
wore on and God was silent.

A raindrop struck my cheek. I looked up into the gray sky. Somewhere up
there was "God." Although I believe a Supreme Being had created the
universe, I had difficulty believing that God cared about the tiny human
being on this earth. I was tired of waiting for a God who didn't answer.
Something had to be done and it was up to me to do it.

The next day I sat down with the phone book and methodically called each
of the mental health clinics listed in the Yellow Pages. I explained my
problem to each of the sympathetic voices that answered. In vain. Just when
I was giving up hope, one of the voices suddenly exclaimed, "I just read
something that might help you! Let me go get the article." I listened as she
read. The article described a remarkable study done at a nursing home.

All of the patients were under treatment for chronic depression. Yet their
attitudes had improved dramatically when they were given responsibility for
a dog. I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon. After I filled out a
questionnaire, a uniformed officer led me to the kennels.

The odor of disinfectant stung my nostrils as I moved down the row of pens.
Each contained five to seven dogs. Long-haired dogs, curly-haired dogs,
black dogs, spotted dogs - all jumped up, trying to reach me.

I studied each one but rejected one after the other for various reasons -
too big, too small, too much hair. As I neared the last pen a dog in the
shadows of the far corner struggled to his feet, walked to the front of the
run and sat down.

It was a pointer, one of the dog world's aristocrats. But this was a
caricature of the breed. Years had etched his face and muzzle with shades of
gray. His hipbones jutted out in lopsided triangles. But it was his eyes
that caught and held my attention. Calm and clear, they beheld me

I pointed to the dog. "Can you tell me about him?" The officer looked,
then shook his head in puzzlement. "He's a funny one. Appeared out of
nowhere and sat in front of the gate. We brought him in, figuring someone
would be right down to claim him. That was two weeks ago and we've heard
nothing. His time is up tomorrow." He gestured helplessly. As the words sank
in I turned to the man in horror.

"You mean you're going to kill him?" "Ma'am," he said gently, "that's our
policy. We don't have room for every unclaimed dog." I looked at the pointer
again. The calm brown eyes awaited my decision. "I'll take him," I said.

I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside me. When I reached
the house I honked the horn twice. I was helping my prize out of the car
when Dad shuffled onto the front porch. "Ta-da! Look what I got for you,
Dad!" I said excitedly. Dad looked, then wrinkled his face in disgust. "If I
had wanted a dog I would have gotten one. And I would have picked out a
better specimen than that bag of bones. Keep it! I don't want it" Dad waved
his arm scornfully and turned back toward the house.

Anger rose inside me. It squeezed together my throat muscles and pounded
into my temples. "You'd better get used to him, Dad. He's staying!" Dad
ignored me. "Did you hear me, Dad?" I screamed. At those words Dad whirled
angrily, his hands clenched at his sides, his eyes narrowed and blazing with

We stood glaring at each other like duelists, when suddenly the pointer
pulled free from my grasp. He wobbled toward my dad and sat down in front of
him. Then slowly, carefully, he raised his paw. Dad's lower jaw trembled as
he stared at the uplifted paw. Confusion replaced the anger in his eyes. The
pointer waited patiently. Then Dad was on his knees hugging the animal.

It was the beginning of a warm and intimate friendship. Dad named the
pointer Cheyenne. Together he and Cheyenne explored the community. They
spent long hours walking down dusty lanes. They spent reflective moments on
the banks of streams, angling for tasty trout. They even started to attend
Sunday services together, Dad sitting in a pew and Cheyenne lying quietly at
his feet.

Dad and Cheyenne were inseparable throughout the next three years. Dad's
bitterness faded, and he and Cheyenne made many friends. Then late one night
I was startled to feel Cheyenne's cold nose burrowing through our bed
covers. He had never before come into our bedroom at night. I woke Dick, put
on my robe and ran into my father's room. Dad lay in his bed, his face
serene. But his spirit had left quietly sometime during the night.

Two days later my shock and grief deepened when I discovered Cheyenne
lying dead beside Dad's bed. I wrapped his still form in the rag rug he had
slept on. As Dick and I buried him near a favorite fishing hole, I silently
thanked the dog for the help he had given me in restoring Dad's peace of

The morning of Dad's funeral dawned overcast and dreary. This day looks
like the way I feel, I thought, as I walked down the aisle to the pews
reserved for family. I was surprised to see the many friends Dad and
Cheyenne had made filling the church. The pastor began his eulogy. It was a
tribute to both Dad and the dog who had changed his life. And then the
pastor turned to Hebrews 13:2. "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers."
I've often thanked God for sending that angel," he said.

For me, the past dropped into place, completing a puzzle that I had not
seen before: the sympathetic voice that had just read the right article...
Cheyenne's unexpected appearance at the animal shelter. . .his calm
acceptance and complete devotion to my father. . .and the proximity of their
deaths. And suddenly I understood. I knew that God had answered my prayers
after all.

Sha's Designs

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Home Sweet Home!

We returned safely from Paris last Monday night after a long day of traveling. Luke was fantastic, although much more active than our trip to Paris! The flight attendants on the international flight stopped to talk to him and complimented us on having such a beautiful baby and a good traveler.

Luke helping Daddy pack!

taxi ride - parley vous anglais? non. Charles de Gaulle? wie.

The line to go through security to get on the international flight was long! One of the Air France workers directing people told us it was not their fault - it was the US that required it. Luckily, they saw we had a baby and they took us to another section that did not have a wait. The French are great about babies! We checked our bags and went to the terminal without having to wait another 1 1/2 hours! We were finishing our snack and changing & feeding Luke to prepare to board the plane when the people standing behind us in the original line came rushing up because they had to hurry to get to the gate having just made it through the line!

the longest line ever when you just want to go home!

good-bye France

We had almost two hours in Detroit before our connecting flight to Indy took off, so we got a burger & fries from Max & Erma's and got Luke to fall asleep. We were pretty tired ourselves, and we were looking forward to getting to Indy. The flight from Detroit to Indy was quick, although Luke started crying towards the end. Allison rushed to nurse him, which stopped his crying, but other babies in the plane started crying when they heard him, and they did not stop!

I like my own seat

Allison's mom, aunt, and brother were waiting for us in Indianapolis when we arrived, and they welcomed us home - complete with a welcome home sign! It was good to see them and nice to have them hold Luke while we got our luggage. We loaded up the Rendezvous and headed for Fort Wayne, trying to outrun the storms headed toward us. We saw the lightning most of the drive, but we made it to the southern edge of Fort Wayne before the storms hit - the wind was very strong and the rain was coming down hard. Sanibel was excited to see us when we finally arrived! She flopped on the floor for a belly rub and then ran around.

Luke woke up at 3:30 am IN time (9:30 am Paris time), so we went down and watched part of the Cubs replay with Grandpa Fishbaugh and then played before getting tired again at 5:00 am. I was glad to go back to bed when Luke finally got tired!

We spent a few days with Allison's parents, visited her grandparents in Warren, and then headed to LaGrange to see Philip's family. Luke had a fun time playing with everyone, and he surprised all of us by getting another tooth! We finally arrived back in Bloomington Monday night at 10:00 after a long drive - after all our travels, Luke finally decided he had had enough and did not want to be in the car seat! Despite numerous stops, the trip went well and we arrived home safely. It is nice to be home, but there is a lot to do! The living room is covered with luggage and toys and other stuff. Allison is at a playgroup for Kelley Kids, and I am watching my email for interviews (at the law school). Needless to say, we are jumping back into life in Bloomington right away!

Luke, Grandpa, and Grandma at the lake

first time in the lake!

Sanibel loves the water - what a jump!

Grandpa Fishbaugh & Luke

Daddy & Luke

Grandma Wagler & Luke swinging

our niece Sophia - 1 1/2 months young!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Paris: Day 38 - our last day in Paris!

Tomorrow is officially our last day in Paris, but we are heading to the airport at 10:00 am, so today was our last full day to do things in the city before we head home. We tried to do as much as possible and see things that we either had not seen or wanted to see one more time! We visited the Pompidou Center in the morning. It is a modern art museum, and the building itself is modern. It was built with the inside "stuff" on the outside. Thus, it looks quite different from the buildings around it.

Allison & Luke by the Pompidou Center

the escalator to the top

The fifth floor is the modern art from 1905-1960, with Picasso, Matisse, and others. We both enjoyed this floor, but Luke was not a fan. He was pretty fussy - I think he just wanted to move around. The fourth floor had the more recent works of art, and I was not much of a fan of these works of "art" - I think that I, Allison, and maybe even Luke could have done some of those pieces! Luke fell asleep while we were walking around, which helped with the noise. He was laughing and grunting quite a bit through the museum!

Alli in front of a Matisse painting

From the Pompidou Center we went to Saint-Chapelle, a gothic cathedral located near Notre Dame and inside the Palais du Justice. We went through security at the Palais du Justice in order to get to the cathedral. The outside was nothing special, especially being so close to Notre Dame. However, the inside had amazing stained glass windows! This cathedral was originally built to house the crown of thorns that Jesus wore while on the cross. It is said that French crusaders rescued the crown from a church that had been burned/destroyed. The crown of thorns is now held at Notre Dame, and it is brought out on the first Friday of the month and on Easter. Unfortunately we did not know about this and so we missed seeing it!

We got crepes - our last crepes in Paris! - near Notre Dame. We both got the butter and sugar crepes. As you can see, they put a little sugar on it!

Alli with her crepe by Notre Dame

We rode the metro out to the end of the 1 line at La Defense to see the Grand Arch. Apparently, around 30 years ago the government decided that the modern office buildings should not be in the middle of Paris in order to keep the city's historical and cultural feel. Because of this, the modern office buildings are on the outskirt of the city. La Defense has quite a few of these modern office buildings with a large paved courtyard in the middle and a gigantic arch. The square arch is tall enough to fit the Notre Dame cathedral under it! It was neat because it was obviously planned the way it is for a purpose - the Grand Arch is straight in line with the Arc de Triomphe and the Obelisk and the Louvre. It reminds me of the mall in D.C. where the monuments are in a line.

Allison & Luke by the Grand Arch

On the way back to the apartment from La Defense we stopped on Champs-Elysees one last time to walk around. We saw the Arc de Triomphe again and walked down to the Place de la Concorde (where the Obelisk is and the Jardin de Tuilieries begin) and got on the metro. We grabbed dinner from our favorite place - a Greek sandwich with fries and a ham & mushroom pizza! We are almost done packing, so our Paris trip is officially coming to a close. We leave at 2:00 pm Paris time tomorrow and arrive in Detroit at 5:00 pm. We should be to Indy by 8:30, and Allison's mom is picking us up. Tomorrow Luke will finally get to sleep in a bed instead of his pea pod!

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