Showing posts from July, 2013

July 30, 2013: Okoboji Day 1

Our long anticipated vacation started yesterday. It's all about the Lane's, the Brucker's, and the Brucker. Nine of us in total with seven journeying to Iowa's Lake Okoboji on Tuesday. The remaining two, my eldest and middle, will join after work on Wednesday.

After a noon start with well-rested kids, parents, and grandparent; we were on the road. We did make it over the Mormon Bridge and into Iowa before the first question of "how long until we get there?" The questions on the timing for lunch hit before we even got out of the driveway.

First lesson on vacationing with many teenage kids; they eat often and a lot. Thus our first stop for lunch and our second stop for dessert. But not any ordinary dessert. We treated them to Wells Blue Bunny ice cream at the Ice Cream Capital of the World; LeMars, Iowa. All were happy with our sugary treats and we enjoyed a look around the ice cream museum as well.

Next stop was Remsen, my hometown. In all actuality, it was m…

July 29, 2013: Fashion Flashback

I ran across this picture and had to post. Yes, Zach was a cute baby, but what caught my eye was my outfit. I really loved that outfit and wish I could remember the designer. She was an artist who also designed fun and funky clothes.

I owned two outfits from this unnamed designer. The other outfit was a bright orange shirt with shoulder pads. The shorts were tight like biking shorts and the shirt was full of bright, swimming fish painted across the over-sized top.

The outfit showcased above was complimented with a big pink hair bow and matching hot pink Keds. If only I could have pulled myself away from Baby Grant for a full length picture. The pants were tights and skin tight. the shirt was the look of the early nineties falling untucked below my waist.

Fast forward twenty years and I just smile as I remember this wearable piece of art. How the times have changed. In 1993, I couldn't imagine a world without shoulder pads and large bow barrettes. Today I am feeling styling witho…

July 28, 2013: Guardian Angels

We went to Sacred Heart Church today. I love that church. I always leave with full heart. The people are genuine with the same goal; to share a love for Christ together. We pray. We sing. And we even dance in joyful jubilance.
My aunts sing in the choir. They rock it every Sunday. People greet each other warmly as though all long-time friends. The little girl to my right introduced herself as Diana. After holding my hand during the Our Father, she whispered to me that I had a pretty dress. Larry, my guest from Indiana, sat to my left. He loved this community of Sacred Heart and sang right along.
Although all the sermons are great messages, today’s hit home. The visiting priest talked about prayer. His first remark was in reference to a Tweet from the Pope (yes, the Pope Tweets!). The Tweet asked Christians, regardless of their religion, to find a joyful place to pray and celebrate Christ. And yes, Sacred Heart is a very joyful place. A great Tweet, Pope Francis. I love this humble ma…

July 27, 2013: A Skunk Gift

My skunk identity began in the summer of 2008 in my Aunt Barbara's sun room on Lake Okoboji. My sister-in-law, Robbie, and I were vacationing and stopped over for a coffee. While Barbara brewed the coffee, we noticed the selection of interesting books on her end table. The one that particularly caught our eye was a book called "Medicine Cards" which included a stack of cards with pictures of animals. Hmmm…now that sounded interesting.

Barbara had always been a very spiritual and intuitive person.We were curious as to what this book was all about.It had to be a hit as it sat at the top of the stack and one that Barbara, our resident expert in such matters, surely referred to often. Barbara came back with the coffee and we inquired.

"Well," Barbara told us, "we all have a totem of animals that guides us and represents our inner being. They provide powerful insight and understanding to our unique purpose in life."

Wow! That certainly was something I had nev…

July 26, 2013: Heidi Woodard: Many contenders for title of psycho mom

You’ve all either witnessed one or been one or are one yourself: the psycho, overly-involved, hovering-over-your-child mom. You have good intentions (or so you claim), but your actions tend to speak louder than words. So which division of moms is the most intense? Is it the sports mom? The cheer/dance team mom? What about spelling bee mom? The “My child’s on the honor roll, homecoming court or show choir” mom? I think by watching only two episodes of “Toddlers and Tiaras” I have locked in my vote. If you are forcing your 3-year old to spray tan and whiten teeth, you maaaay want to step back, take a long look at yourself in the mirror and ask, “Why?” This psycho mom thing really started to rear its head as I sat and watched my 8-year-old practice baseball last week. First of all, I felt the need to introduce myself to the coach for the first time upon arriving at the field (my husband had handled practice duty up to this point) by saying I would be willing to help during practice if he ne…

July 25, 2013: Don't Make Mama Mad

A friend once described an upset mother by saying "she's like a mama bear protecting her bear cubs". Yep, been there, done that. As much as I would like to say that I've always kept my cool and been the exception, my mother bear mode has kicked in on many occasions.

One of these occasions occurred on what was to be a casual night of swimming in Arizona. In hindsight, I would label this incident 50% mother bear syndrome and 50% a turf battle with a lifeguard drill sergeant.

The boys and I were visiting Mom & Dad in Kingman, Arizona. Their cousins from Las Vegas joined us for some relaxed family fun. In the heat of the Arizona summer, the decision was made to enjoy some evening swimming at the local public pool.

In my mind, this should have been an everyday occurrence at the Kingman pool; visitors to their pool who weren't local residents with a pool pass. I quickly found that our arrival was outside their radar screen, or at least outside the radar screen of …

July 24, 2013: Kingman Pool with Grandma

Guest blogger is my mom. Love her descriptive portrayal of life history... ______________________________________________________________________
July 21, 2008:  Kylynn, Josh, Brooke, Ben, Grant & Garrett visit Kingman's old downtown pool.  I drove them to & from the pool in installments....our car seats 5 and it was interesting...Even though it is only a 3 mile trip to the pool, I was worried sick something would happen to the kids at the pool or at our house while I transported. Garrett, the youngest, was 8; & Kylynn, the oldest, was a few weeks shy of 14.  Kylynn went with me on the 1st trip (so she could watch the little ones at the pool while I went back for the 2nd batch); Josh watched those left behind at the house.  Later, on the trip back to the house, I followed the same procedure but in reverse.  For what little time Grant & Garrett spent in the water, it was in the shallow end and they pretty much hugged the side of the pool.  Safety first for those tw…

July 23, 2013: Erin Andrews; a Good Pool Day

I blogged yesterday about my favorite summer of public pools. I think Ben may differ in his opinion. Although I know he enjoyed our public pool adventures, his preteen summers at Shadow Ridge Country Club rank high on his list.

We belonged for two summers when Ben was eleven and twelve. His posse of close friends belonged as well. It was a far cry from our summer of playing with random friends at random pools. This was more like an exclusive boys club. They ran in a pack with many in his clan living just blocks away.

For us, it was not a walk. We lived a couple of miles away. Thus Ben's excuse to frequently leave the confines of the pool and run wild through the Shadow Ridge neighborhood. Ben & Co. would start at the pool at opening with many days ending into the night. What happened in between will probably remain one of life's greatest mysteries.

On one particular occasion, I had left the pool with Grant; having enough fun in the sun for a day. Ben was busy showing off …

July 22, 2013: Pool Chronicles: Part One

Grant just came home from the pool. He and his friend, Lucas, walked across the street to neighboring Lifetime Fitness. Three hours later he arrived back home. I asked if he had fun; confident of a positive response based on the time lapsed.

"Mom, we didn't know anyone. And then we played with a random boy. That always happens to us."

After some further probing, Grant reiterated to me that he liked meeting random new friends at the pool. It was fun. I had to agree. Random friends are fun. Our summer of random pools and new friendships eleven years ago was the best. It was our summer of public pools.

In my twenty years of raising kids and enjoying our dog days of summers, we have covered it all in the pool category. We have belonged to about every private pool west of 120th Street. There have been summer memberships to everything from fitness centers to country clubs, and privately owned pools.

But the best summer of swimming was the year I boycotted joining a pool. Inst…

July 21, 2013: Cousins

Ben and Grant spent the night at their cousins' lake home on Friday. With two more cousins in town from Canada, the all-boy entourage took over the lake. When the idea came up over sushi to have all the cousins together, I jumped at the opportunity. Any time my kids can spend time with their cousins, I'm all for it.

I have to admit that I'm quite partial to the relationship of cousins. It's like brothers and sisters, but not. A close tie, blood that's thicker than water, but without the sibling drama. We all got to part and go to our respective homes after a long weekend at Grandma's. Fights were few and fun was at an abundance. I always looked forward to our many family gatherings. My girl cousins were a perfect replacement for the sisters I never had.

My cousin, Kelly (Kelly the Great), and I wrote our own secret language. Ben and Adam ran wild with my brothers those many summer on the farm. We built tree houses together; a haven for the older boys to teach …

July 20, 2013: Fancy Shoes

I wrote a blog recently about my love for varying accessories and a great pair of shoes. My mom commented that I certainly didn't grow up with an abundance of shoes. Then she pointed out a prized pair I owned; blue saddle shoes.

We chose them for my First Communion. I am quite sure I was the only First Communicant with blue saddle shoes. The other girls wore white patent leather strapped sandals. Theirs were considered traditional church shoes, mine were not. And I was thrilled.

My mom gets credit for all of this. First off, she allowed me to wear the bright shoes on that important day (most moms wouldn't have for the sake of not wanting to be different). It was my mom who instilled in me a desire to pop a wardrobe and dare to be different. Together we created fashion with a sewing machine and a shoestring budget.

This is where my mom gets the most credit. Those cool pieces of purchased clothing were many times bought off of sale racks. Items deemed to too different for other…

July 19, 2013: I Miss my Dog :(

Tonight I unexpectedly ended up home alone. After putzing about the house a bit, I decided to rummage through pictures in basement. My latest quest is to find specific pool pictures from years past. I have a blog series on pool stories on the tip of my mind.

As always, my adventures into my photo album chronicles led to many photos removed (including the ones I was looking for at the pools) for future blog stories. They filled me with ideas on stories I want to write.

I love pictures. I am glad I have always had this love, as I enjoy the many memories and moments in time that have been captured on film. Some pictures remind me of stories, others; of people from my past. Some just bring me back to moments in time. Feelings reminiscent of my age, my kids' age, and adventures in my then daily life. Time stops in a photo.

I found this picture of my beloved dog, Harry. It was taken four years ago when he was still in fairly good health. Check our my Maltese shirt to match my dog :) It…

July 18, 2013: Peace not War

I just spent the last few hours enjoying Blue Sushi happy hour with my previous sisters-in-laws (not sure of the appropriate title) and their husbands. When I try to introduce them to outsiders, it feels awkward. But to us, our relationship feels natural.

What to call them...ex-sister-in-laws? sisters to my ex-husband? aunts to my kids? Whatever I say, the party on the other side is confused. It took me these four years past-divorce to figure out that the other side doesn't matter. Our relationship is our relationship. And it has nothing to do with choosing sides.

When I filed for divorce that painful day in December 2008, I remember the shock and fallout. But I will also always remember the loving text I received from Scott's youngest sister, Jennifer.

"You have been my sister for more of the years in my lifetime than when you weren't in my life."

I choke up each time I think of this comment. Divorce sucks. As difficult as it was for our kids and for Scott and …

July 17, 2013: Let's Go to the Fair!

I want to go to the Iowa State Fair. Really bad. I've never been, but have heard great things about it. I'm unsure how this slipped by me over the course of my forty-five years; especially given twenty years of these in Iowa and the rest in neighboring Nebraska.

I have enjoyed many years of the the Plymouth County Fair, the Clay County Fair and even once, the Nebraska State Fair. But never Iowa. A tragedy. Even Martha Stewart gushes about this show put on by Iowa. And with a mere two hour drive away, I have instead sat back, year after year, with no participation.

I just received my HyVee mailer on great cooking and entertaining tips. They highlighted this coveted Midwestern attraction. I am taking this as my needed push. This will be the year. Time to experience a real fair with my kids.

As a child I eagerly awaited our county fair. The Wurth's were the poster family of everything good the fair portrayed. Each day they represented everything from the ag exhibits to the 4…

July, 16, 2013: I'm Back

I've been busy. Thus the "summer rerun" schedule with my last two blog posts. The good news is the "reruns" did serve a purpose as I would like to incorporate blog stories from a different site unto this site. The other good news is that it has been a good busy for me. The sky is not falling.

So now it is Tuesday night and it's the first I've really relaxed since the weekend (technically probably since late last week). Breathe, Sandy. <sigh>. Home at 9:30 p.m. with curious boys wondering how my long day went. Good. And home feels good.

What to do? Hmmm. A little catch up with the boys. And then promptly into my swimsuit with a beer out of the garage frig and directly into the hot tub. The moon and stars are spectacular tonight FYI. Happy to relax a bit and enjoy them.

After catching up on world news, social media, and e-mails while hanging with the boys, I asked for suggestions on my blog topic of the night. I am feeling free as a bird, you see, …

July 15, 2013: Swimming Pool Blues

With my many years of running and recent addition of cycling to my repertoire, I am frequently asked the question, "Why don't you do a triathlon?"  My answer has always been, "I'm not a very good swimmer. I would sink."

I have perfected the dog paddle, but past that; my skills are limited.

This statement does seem a bit odd based on my childhood summers spent with endless, parentless hours at the pool. An inquiring mind would wonder how I could have slipped through those many sun-filled years without a whistle twirling around my finger and my butt situated in a lifeguard seat.

I am going to have to blame this one on my mom; the woman who virtually does nothing wrong. But in this case, her snap decision to remedy a wardrobe malfunction with a safety pin totally derailed my swimming future.

My wardrobe was designed and sewn by my talented seamstress mother. Mom had a little Stella McCartney in her and loved the challenge of sewing a piece that was difficult,…

July 14, 2013: Bean Walking

We all know the feelings of summer. Those small reminders that capture the essence of our youth; the feel of the warm sun on our face while laying back with closed eyes or the sound of sprinklers with the lingering smell of freshly cut grass. These are the feelings of my youthful summers that resonate through me each time I encounter them.

Although not a feeling I experience frequently, another memory is the feel of wet plants rubbing against my exposed legs. Yes, this is the memory of bean walking on those many early June and July Iowa mornings in years past. If you grew up in the farm country of the Midwest, you completely understand what I’m talking about.
While my children complain of having to get up early on an occasional summer morning for a camp, job, or sporting event; they haven’t a clue on how the sound of an alarm clock felt to child getting ready to walk beans.

For those inexperienced in the former art of bean walking (machines and chemicals have made this trade obsolete), l…

July 13, 2013: Corn Shucking

I grew up in Iowa, the land of endless corn. Knee high by the Fourth of July; it was always in abundance. I loved this succulent indulgence since a small girl. Corn on the cob was prepared and available at every church picnic and summer family gathering. A side for the special family meals prepared by my mom.

But she warned me against too much of a good thing. Mom often said "Don't eat too much. Remember, corn is what they fatten the pigs with." The phrase has stuck with me for life. But I still love corn. And I eat it. Just not too much.

Memories of sweet corn not only includes biting into a juicy cob, but the less pleasurable job of shucking the corn. This was the part that we did not like. It was a task my brothers and I avoided, although not very successfully.

Prior to a family gathering, we would sit on top of buckets in the back yard, shucking corn into garbage cans. The silks would stick and the husks would fly as we tore them off. Clean up was even less desirabl…

July 12, 2013: Adventure Complete

Grant's week-long camp has been deemed a success. Stefano picked him up from Rivercrest Camp in Fremont yesterday afternoon. Although I have yet to lay eyes on my young camper, I was able to talk to him on he and Stefano's drive home.

My first question..."On a scale from 1 to 10, how would you rank your camp experience?"

Grant "A nine! Actually a ten. It was awesome. I'm going back next year!"

Although I think there are some parental steps that need to occur before next year's registration, I like the enthusiasm.

My second question..."What was the best part?"

Grant "Everything. It was so much fun. Can I go back again next year?"

After some more coaxing, I did get some specifics. The food was good. They didn't sleep much and he did get my letters. But he needs to go to the orthodontist because he broke a brace when a tree branch hit him in the face while running in the dark. Hmmm. Of course.

Grant is with his dad this weekend…

July 11, 2013: Jazzin'

Last night was Jazz on the Green. It was a night full of friends, cheers, and summer relaxation. The jazz music sounded more like blue grass to my naive ear, but enjoyable, nonetheless.

The ladies wore hats and sundresses with the guys dragging our blankets, pop-up chairs, and coolers to the designated grassy knoll. Surprisingly the summer humidity avoided us with the unexpected shade, a welcomed retreat.

The Omaha World Herald reported an audience count of 10,000. Seems right by my visual accounting. I ran into many friends during walks around the perimeter. Lots of smiling faces and dancing legs came out to Midtown Crossing last night. Fun times.

The guys talked Senior Open and the women; kids and upcoming excursions. After a great sunset and an ending fireworks show, we reflected on our great night together. In typical fashion, we planned our next couples outing. Doobie Brothers at Stir Cove was the final decision. The invitation is open...who's in????

July 10, 2013: A Trip Home from Lincoln

I was talking to Garrett on the phone Saturday night, telling him about my upcoming Sunday plans.

"I'm going for a bike ride in Lincoln in the morning," I told him.

"Did you run out of places to ride in Omaha?" was his response.

Hmmmmm. I didn't know the answer. Why were we riding in Lincoln? Perhaps I am too eager to join the fun without asking questions. Earlier in the day, I put out a post looking for someone to ride with on Sunday. I received an invitation to join two for a ride in Lincoln. It never crossed my mind to ask, why were we going to Lincoln? All I knew was that a van was involved to transport bikes.

As I pulled into my friend's driveway, I was anxious to get resolution to my question. Why Lincoln? Scott quickly apprised me of the situation. A rental car that Kerri had rented for a family vacation needed to be returned to Lincoln. So the idea was to drop off the rental van and ride our bikes home. Of course. A biking adventure. And I do l…

July 9, 2013: It's All in the Accessories

I'm a believer in great accessories. A simple black dress can be made into twenty different outfits with the right add-on's. From patterned shoes to a belt with a pop; a new outfit is had. The add of a cardigan or tights can make a previous spring dress, a new fall number.

I bought a hat this weekend. It was inexpensive, but a fun addition to my wardrobe. A great add to a black dress with wedges. Jewelry? So many possibilities. Perhaps my new orange necklace and earring purchase shown below. For a girl who doesn't like to shop, I sure do like my closet.

And the orange necklace and earrings....even more options. With my green dress or hot pink chiffon shirt? The best "new" outfit is one with a throwback old piece. The classic high-waisted black pencil skirt is a staple in my closet. Like my mother, it doesn't age. With a pop of red jewelry or a leopard skin belt, the options seem endless.

I used to love the show "What Not to Wear". I always thought …

July 8, 2013: Sunscreen

It's my mom's birthday tomorrow. In light of the fact that she doesn't like me eulogizing her, I decided to write a blog about sunscreen in her honor.

Everything sunscreen reminds me of my mom and why we should follow the advice of our parents. You see, my mom has beautiful skin. As you can see in the picture above, her soon-to-be 69 year old skin is that of a 30 year-old. In the seventies, she swore by sunscreen and floppy hats. We thought she was crazy. Obviously she was the smart one.

So I asked mom to locate a past "floppy hat" picture for me. After an exchange of e-mails and my broadening my request to a "picture of her when I was a kid", I received not only great pictures, But in Mary Wagner fashion, I got awesome narrative descriptions for the pictures sent.

This is where I stopped. No blog is necessary. A picture is worth a thousand words, and regardless of the time lapsed; my mom will remember every word. I thought her response and photos were…

July 7, 2013: Are You Ready for the Summer?

"Are you ready for the good times? Are you ready for the birds and bees, the apple trees, and a whole lot of fooling around..."

It's Meatballs time. Summer camp has begun. Grant is the first of the Lane boys to attend sleep-over-all-week summer camp. Personally, I'm jealous.

Laurie and I drove the boys to Rivercrest Camp in Fremont today. Brendon went last year and enthusiastically convinced Grant into join him this year. They have been talking about it for days with great anticipation.

What I have gathered is that camp includes little sleep and lots of fun. There is a pool, a river, paint ball guns, air boats, a snack shack, cafeteria style food and activities galore. And although in different cabins, there are girls. Hmmmm.

Last year Brendon was introduced to coffee and per his mother, slept for two days straight after returning home. Bags were packed and included stamps and envelopes for letters home and a Bible for daily mass. Left at home were the un-allowed ce…