Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Vital Veen Information

Here there be banality, beware: For most of the last week, I've only been able to get a 4800 kps connection on my FREAKIN DIAL-UP! And if that weren't bad enough, I've had my connection terminated at least once during each two minutes that it takes to load any screen. (grits teeth and tugs at hair) needless to say, its made blogging more tedious than I can bear.

So that's why there're no new pictures or entries (I'm posting this at work), that, and, the fact that we haven't been doing anything of note.

Friday night, Chantze and I went to a Cadet overnight campout thing, and it was pretty cool. The boys were all good, and they helped build our shelter and our fire and cooked (for themselves, Brian grilled steaks for the counselors, but not until after we got all the boys quieted down for the night, we had dinner at 11:30 pm). Meanwhile Cindy took the twins to Wendy's brand new house, I guess they have a great underground pool, so, they had fun. Saturday was a date night, but we were broke and Cindy caught a headache, so all we did eat at Arby's and rent movies.

I'll stop boring you, nothing's really going on.

Oh, we're closing on our construction loan early next week!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Hailie goes home.

My baby girl is getting so big. Wow, I must've blinked at the wrong time.

Anyway. Today I took her back to her mother's house after having her for eight whole days. It was really nice having her here. She was sweet and helpful and loving and polite the whole time. (Her mother might not believe this.) She never complains and does everything we ask her to do, even when I can tell she doesn't want to, and, she's been a huge help with her little sisters. Hmmm... maybe she'd be interested in being our nanny. (just kidding, Hailie)

Sweetie, I know you missed your Mom while you were here, but thank-you for being such a great part of our family. You know, if you did throw a tantrum or a fit from time to time, that'd be okay with us. We have other children and we're used to it.

We love you so much.

Here she is, violent mood swings and all

L-R: Hailie, Hailie, Hailie...etc.

(um, the 'violent mood swings' thing was sarcastic, Hailie is a sweet and funny young lady)

Monday, June 20, 2005

Valuable hand-crafted greeting cards

L-R: Paige's, Brooke's, (do you notice they each drew a picture of me, my most prominant feature, of course, being my "fat belly"), Chantze's (do you notice his, uh, tonsils?), and Hailie's.

Hailie's writing didn't show up well, so here's what she wrote; under the fart-blasting woman, "You stinkin ROCK!!!", and under the three armed bug/girl thingy, "You are so cool! I love u so much!"

Isn't Hailie adorable?

I luuuuuuuv Father's Day!

L-R: Daddy, Paige, Brooke (after eating, before being disinfected), Chantze, Hailie

We actually didn't do too much on Father's day, you know why? Because I'm a lazy man and I didn't want to do too much -- and it was my day.

We ate at Panda Buffet in the mall (not the best Chinese it town), my Mom met us there (I could've included a picture of her but I'll be merciful and leave her out of the blog for a while), and the kids gave me their cool handmade cards and a nice gift (the hat in the picture, it was actually my fourth Father's Day gift but all the rest got given early - I was actually lucky to still have one gift left on Father's Day).

Father's Day 2005, total loot: cross necklace, Max Lucado book, 'Speed Beetle' yo-yo, trucker's cap stating "social hazard, Romans 12:2", Arby's gift certificates - $15, hand-made cards x4.

It's good to have a family, to know that you're deeply loved and appreciated, and that you make a vital difference in somebody's life. Thank-you, God, for the wonderful, beautiful souls you've surrounded me with.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Grandma makes a mean fire

Chantze and Hunter picked at the fire, threw grass and twigs in, and kicked sand all around a fifteen foot radius of it. They had fun. In the background you can see Cindy and one of the twins starting to attract a group of seagulls. They also had fun. My mother started a nice fire. I don't think she had as much fun. (sorry mom, I know you said you didn't want to end up in my blog, but, well, you kind of 'earned' your place, don't you think?)

Mr. and Mrs. Clarence R. Veen III

What is there to say? We wuv each udder.

there is nothing more beautiful than a Michigan sunset behind an attractive woman



L-R: Hunter, Chantze, Emily, Grace, Hailie, Paige, Brooke, Fisher, Bethany

Think of this as a kind of a juvenile police lineup -- or just a group of children at the beach, whichever you prefer.

Beachfire Fun

L-R: Gullfeeding twins, Pepper emerges from burrow, Gullfeeding Mom and twins, big kids head for the hills.

Like yesterday, the weather today didn't cooperate with our plans for our four day weekend. It was cold (weird little Chantze did brave Lake Michigan). We kept ourselves amused all day and into the evening though, the kids dug in the sand, fed the seagulls, roasted hot dogs and marshmellows, explored the dunes, put on an elaborate 'haunted hills' play, which was cool, but way too far away, and played with sparklers. The dog made a fancy beachsand and grass lodging for itself, and waited for hot dogs to drop in the sand (Cindy, not the kids). The grownups visited, tried to keep track of toys the kids buried, had a few wine-coolers, and . . . evacuated.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Thrill rides! er, half-of them anyway.

L-R: look close at the back of the first car, another generation enjoys thirty year old ride, why won't they sit by each other?, free flyin freaks

And here we are at Michigan's Adventure...

L-R: water weirdos, Cindy and twins, too cold for anything but candy, Daddy and daughters

On the first day of our four day weekend, we decided to ... hmmm, what was it? Oh yes, we went to Michigan's Adventure! "Ah," you say, "what a surprise." Well, if your sick of hearing about it then just stop reading.

Anyhow, it was too cold for the water park, not the water itself, but the wind when you got out of the water. So instead, after lunch, we made a tour of the whole park, as a family, riding absolutely everything. It really was nice. I mean that. 'Pleasant', or 'pleasurable' might be better adjectives. So... yeah, we'll probably do it again.

Official standings for Jun 16th, 2005:

Rides which rocked - Be-bop boulevard, Corkscrew, Zak's Zoomer, Big Dipper, all kiddie rides (including carousel), Scrambler, Ferris Wheel, Logger's Run, Thunderbolt, Tilt-a-whirl, Flying Trapeze, Wolverine Wildcat, and yes, one or both of the twins rode every one of the rides they were tall enough for. . . they're gonna be thrillseekers.

Rides which sucked - Sea dragon. Brooke and Paige were terrified. We basically had two seats facing each other, Hailie was sitting between the twins, and Cindy, Chantze and I were across from them. All I could do was stare at them helplessly while they huddled in Hailie's lap, hiding their faces, shaking and crying. I tried to speak encouraging words to them, "It's almost over, sweetie, you're okay," BUT, I was sick out of my mind, trying my hardest not to, you know, puke at them. Anyway, Cindy likes this ride and thought it would be fine, given the success of the other big rides we'd all rode together before the Sea Dragon. I was hesitant, but, in Cindy's defense, Hailie and and Chantze also vouched for the ride.

I blame the three of them equally.

And here we are at the top of the Ferris Wheel...

At the top of the ferris wheel, Chantze was saying "I want down, I want down", Hailie and Brooke were saying "Ah, what a pleasant view."

Sunday, June 12, 2005

The new link in town

Check out our family ministry, Kingfish. It's a mobile puppet ministry that we do with our friends, Jon and Erin Anhalt. We haven't done much with it this year, but I just got a hot lead on a good contact; the children's activity director for Unity Christian Music Festival - thus the renewed interest.

None of the places we performed last summer have called us back this year, not cuz we sucked (I don't think), but probably because we were too preachy. I've had some difficulty finding a balance in that area. When Cindy and I began the ministry, we decided that we were going to boldly proclaim the gospel and do some form of 'altar-call' at every show. Now I know that these are not popular things to do at secular events, but the puppets and music are really fun and entertaining, and I thought slipping a little homily in between acts, in a sort of a 'commentary on the story' capacity, would be marginally acceptable. Now, every time I got around to those parts of our show, I could see people in the audience tuning out, starting conversations with each other, making cellular phone calls, leaving... I don't care though, it's sort of the 'medicine in the dog food'.

Anyhow, this new blog is going to be printed on our flyers that we hand out at shows, it advertises the ministry pretty well, but mainly, I want to use it to let the organizers of events know what kind of act we are - to help us gain in popularity until we eventually take over the world. (we've actually put a lot of thought into a Kingfish cable access TV show, all we need is 570 pounds of money and time, mixed thoroughly, and brought to a slight boil).

Dear friends and family, please check this blog out, it is the special thing that God created Cindy and I to do.

I included it here in case it's too much trouble to go all the way to the right of the page to click.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Date Night

It was every bit as good as we hoped it would be, but there was no sun for a sunset. That's what you get for living in Michigan.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

I'm not sick, I'm ugly.

Here's one of me, sort of a self-portrait.

Nothing much to talk about today, except that I've got a hot date tomorrow. That's right, I said a 'date', (please don't tell Cindy). Actually me and the Mrs. get an overnight babysitter (thanks Elaine) every two weeks and do something with just the two of us. Nobody else, that's against the rules, no movies or anything where we pay attention to something other that each other, cuz that's also a foul.

So it's okay if you think we're big stupid dorks now, it's kinda true.

I always really look forward to 'date-night', and this one's no different. Anyway, here's the plan: go out to dinner dressed well, spending very little money, walk on pier, watch sunset over Lake Michigan, go home .............. get up, go to Michigan's Adventure with no kids and actually ride stuff we like (please don't tell the kids), pick up said children, crash violently back into reality.

I love you Cindy.


Monday, June 06, 2005

We came, we saw, we recreated.

This was memorial day, I didn't take any on Saturday because we were totally in the waterpark all day, and the camera stayed in the locker...BAD DAD! BAD!

I love this picture of Chantze and Hailie, ahhhh.... we'll never forget the day Daddy dropped Chantze's brand new supercool 'Yu-Gi-Oh' shirt on the way to the locker, never to be seen again.

One more thing before I end this ridiculously long caption -- you see that red Jeep Paige is driving on the bottom left? I drove this sucker almost 30 years ago, when I was a kid. Yep. Used to call the place 'Deer Park Funland' in those days. Yep. I told the operater girl that, too. Yep. But she still wouldn't let me ride it. Dag nab it.

Help Wanted: Overnight Nanny

What a rotten night. Cindy and I went to bed early last night, and then, every time we fell asleep, one of the twins would come in and wake us up to kiss an 'owie' or tell on the other one, and, uh, I think Cindy had to wipe somebody's butt. The fourth time it happened, I tried growling and barking and scaring Paige into going to bed and staying in bed. (It backfired a little, though, she was coming in to give me hugs and kisses and tell me how much she loved me, then blow more kisses on the way out. It's hard to be firm at times like that.) So I put her back in bed, and being wide awake, watched about four hours of crappy nothing on TV while eating Cindy's 'not part of our diet' ice cream. Anyway, about midnight, I heard one of them struggling with the door handle to their bedroom. I finally got up to see what she wanted this time, and realized her door handle was mechanically frozen. Then I hear Brooke's sweet little voice, "Daddy I need to go potty." A half hour later, I had a power drill with an extension cord running down the hall, screwdrivers, pliers, and a hammer, both handles off, but nowhere near getting her out. (For those of you who don't know me, my home improvement projects usually end up with something getting smashed by a hammer.) I was thinking I was going to have to change from my robe into some clothes, go outside, take off her screen, and shimmy through the window, but then I still wouldn't know how to get that last stubborn part of the latch mechanism out and I wouldn't have any tools where I could get to them. So I called 911 and they sent a SWAT demolitions team who blew the door off, made an aggresive, fully armed entry with machine guns into the room and apprehended the twins POW style.

Actually I figured the thing out and got the door open, but that's a lame ending to the story, so I embellished.

Anyway, I said all that to say this; I didn't get much sleep last night and today I'm really tired.

vital Veen information.

On Saturday we went back to Michigan's Adventure, with suits this time - it rocked! We all had lots and lots and lots of fun. The twins weren't too interested in the rides, though, they mainly wanted to be in the kiddie pools; a little of the cave and rocks pool, a little of the pirate ship pool, but mostly the 'mushroom' pool. This was the least interesting of all the three kiddie pools, it's only adornment were two big umbrella-shaped things with water streaming off from them, but, it was the deepest of the kiddie pools and got about up to their necks, and they just danced and pranced and splashed around. Yes the water was a little chilly, but only the first time you got in the first watery amusement. It's about like being at the lake -- hard to get used to at first, but then your skin gets firm and clammy and each successive entry is easier than the last. Chantze and Hailie, and Cindy, all decided that the coolest ride in the water park was the 'Funnel of Fear', their newest and most crowded attraction, which they only rode once, and I didn't ride at all, because I was in the kiddie pool getting splashed and dunked by the 'Cinderella water-fairy princesses'. Check it out.

Parents: has this ever happened to you?
We got Subway sandwiches and kept them in the van in a cooler until we were all starving. Then, as we were leaving the waterpark, we tried to get everybody to use the bathroom and nobody had to go. Do you see where this is going? So we all walk all the way out of the park, to the parking lot, stopping to get our hands stamped so we could get back in after lunch. We all get settled in the van with our sandwiches, take about two bites, and, you guessed it, both of the 'Cinderella water-fairy princesses' had to pee really really bad! I'll tell you what, I was almost hungry enough to let them pee on the leather seats and rinse back off in the pool -- almost. Being a Dad is about doing the right thing, even when it hurts.

So, to wrap up this entry that only a Grandma would care to read, we spent a few more hours in the water park, until it actually closed, then went back to our locker to get dried off and dressed. As we were getting the twins situated, Chantze and Hailie begged to go on 'just one more ride', so we let them.

They rode four.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Vital Veen Information

There is nothing interesting to read beyond this point: So... Memorial day was cool. We finally blew our tax return and got our season passes to Michigan's Adventure. (That's what we're doing instead of taking a family trip this summer, the kids were given a choice, and who'dve thunk it, they chose a summer of unlimited water park and amusement park rides) We only went for two hours, but in that time, Chantze and Hailie rode Zak's Zoomer 15 or so times and the twins amused other parents by fighting over who got to control Dumbo's altitude. Yeah, for most of the ride, Brooke was turned around holding Paige's control stick down so she couldn't make the flying elephant rise, talk about your reasons for going to war. There were no real good pictures but we're going back on saturday, if it doesn't thunderstorm (like it was supposed to and didn't on Memorial Day) Then Mom had a small barbecue which blew our diet out of the water. Potato salad, pasta salad, and a long chain of hot dogs -- food like that makes a man reconsider his desire to be thinner. Thanks Mom, you always put on the best spread, and, um, sorry about not picking up the hot dog buns sooner, you'd think at least one store in town would have some left on the shelf at 4 pm on Memorial Day. We all enjoyed the 'ham-doggers' anyway.