Saturday, August 30, 2008

Could be an interesting semester

I guess it was just a matter of time...

Dan is an MBA student at Wingate, and Pete is teaching an MBA class at Wingate.... so sooner or later they were bound to end up in the same classroom (well, sooner in this case, since Dan planned his schedule out to purposely take Pete's class... probably for the sole purpose of wanting to make Pete nervous while he works.)

So this fall both Pete and Dan head off to Econ class each Wednesday night. Before the first class, Pete said he was going to make an effort to not let the other students know that Dan was his brother-in-law. So I told him I would give him 10 bucks if when he called the role for the first time, he said, "Daniel WARY." (a name we Wray's heard a surprisingly high amount of times at the beginning of each school year in the initial role calls)

So he did it.

Then, after class at home when we was reading through the list he had passed around the class asking for the students' email addresses, he found that Dan had listed his as Thankfully he was the last student to sign the list.

And the next day Pete got an email from him with the subject line, "here's what you look like when you're teaching" and this picture was attached, taken obviously by Dan's cell phone when Pete had no idea:

Pete says it just shows how expertly quick he is with an eraser.

So we'll see how this semester goes... I do know that when it's over Pete plans to head over to Dan's office and just sit and watch him work for a few days. And I'm sure he'll be happy to fill out an evaluation form for him when he's done.

Friday, August 29, 2008

My husband, quoted economist

Pete's been quoted in two of our local papers lately! In one article he was asked about his opinion of the latest tax rebate stimulus checks, and he talked about how they are probably not going to be all that helpful to the economy in the long-term. And for the other newspaper, a reporter called him to ask his opinion about the future of gasoline prices. (And it looks like he was right on both counts. He's so smart!) Over and over both articles use him as the expert, putting in several of his "quotes" that he told the reporters when they called.

All of it reminds me of a time way back in college when one of his good friends wrote a speech for one of his communications classes in which he quoted something Pete said, calling him "noted economist, P. Merritt Frank." It's fun to see how Pete has followed through on that initial dream he had way back then, and now really is that man his friend encouraged him to be! (The other friend quoted in the same speech, B. Alan Stewart, I believe, is also now the "noted theologian" he was said to be then! BKB -- you were prophetic.... and a good friend. :) )

Sunday, August 24, 2008

School is back in session

Last week Poplar Streams Academy swung wide its doors and welcomed the students back for another exciting year of acquiring valuable wisdom and knowledge. Or something like that.

We started off our school year with a field trip (for Strider) to the Charlotte Museum of History where he went to a program about maps and their role in history... something about detective work and investigation... he loved it anyway. And then, at home, we did our annual Treasure Hunt as the kids searched for all the new books and supplies we'll be using this year -- it was a hit again.

The other excitement for this year is that we had t-shirts made for our school, so all the kids (even Colsen) were excited to get to wear their new shirts. :)

If the first week is any indication, we're in for a loud, crazy, spastic -- and hopefully fun -- year!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Rayna's 6th birthday

We celebrated Rayna's birthday last week in Keuka Lake as well. She had insisted ahead of time that she wanted a "Girl Party" so we invited all of her girl cousins to come over for some activities and cake. The girls were all good sports -- even the teenagers! Two of the boys, Strider and Nate, were persuaded (both financially and with the promise of cake) to be the "butlers" for the party -- a responsibility they ended up taking quite seriously. Rayna had a fantastic time and loves to talk about her party. Here are some of the scenes:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fun in the Finger Lakes

Last week we were quite happy to leave the kiln that is North Carolina in August, and head North. Our main destination last week was beautiful Keuka Lake, one of the Finger Lakes in NY, and the site of our Frank Family Reunion. All 22.5 of us trekked in from 5 different states to spend the week on the shores of the lake -- and it was definitely a great place to be. We were amazed by how cool it was -- we actually had to wear sweatshirts at times! -- and Pete was overjoyed by the lack of humidity. We felt not one ounce of air conditioning for the entire time, and loved that.

We enjoyed spending some quality time with all the different family members, and happily embarked on various activties, such as boating, tubing, water skiing (not me -- Pete), swimming (again, not me -- way too cold for me), hiking (on one of the 7 most scenic trails in the Northeastern US!), blueberry picking, lunching at a winery, dining on the lake, playing the Bowl Game and euchre, and washing all our dishes and utensils by hand (no dishwasher -- which is good for the soul once in awhile so we can appreciate the appliance more when we get home). One of the other fun aspects for the kids was seeing Amish carriages everywhere -- the local grocery store even had a parking garage/stable(?) for them! We also ate a LOT of cake over 5 days because we had several different occasions to celebrate, including Jane's 70th birthday and Rayna's 6th. So, that of course made it a good week. :)

Here are some of my favorite pictures from our time there:

Monday, August 18, 2008


Pete's parents, Bud and Jane, celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary on February 10th this year. So to surprise them, we had a big party for them 6 months (exactly) later in Rochester, NY -- the town they lived in for many years. It ended up being a really great afternoon -- I think they were truly surprised and the party was fun. The most amazing part was seeing how many friends of theirs came, many of whom Bud and Jane hadn't even seen for a long time. My in-laws are great examples to me in their capacity for friendships. People love them!

As part of the "program" for the party, the grandkids reprised a song they worked on last year, called "If I weren't a Grandkid." I'll put a short clip of it below.... Since you probably won't understand most of the words, the basic idea is that each verse is about something Bud or Jane like to do (volunteer, ski, drive the tractor, etc).

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Home again, home again

lWe arrived home last night from our 10-day trip to Upstate New York, thankful for a very good trip, and thankful to be home. Of the 10 days we were gone, 5 of them were spent traveling to multiple locations, giving us many opportunities to reflect on the "joy of the journey" -- and to try to convince the kids that this was possible. We drove over 1800 miles, and according to Pete's new GPS toy, with all of our stops along the way, we averaged 46 miles per hour, so you can do the math to calculate how many hours that meant in the car. I'll just say it was a LOT.

It was also a lot of snacks -- I think I need to schedule a special chiropractor appointment this week to get the crick out of my neck from swiveling to the left 4,654 times to hand someone some food or drink in the car. It was also WAY too many stops at nasty restrooms to take kids to the bathroom. The trip also afforded time for multiple games of Car Bingo and the Alphabet game, as well plenty of time to listen to some books on CD (interrupted about every 20 seconds by someone), as well as several rounds of singing songs.

There were many moments of aggravation -- such as when Colsen would get mad at us for not letting him do something (such as wiggle his way out of the car seat), and to punish us, he would throw his pacifier to a spot in the car no one could reach. Then we would all get to hear him cry in anger as if we did it. There were also moments of frustration, such as when we were trying to help Rayna achieve one of her "summer goals" which is to memorize the books of the New Testament. I wanted to pull my hair out on several occasions.... like when she kept insisting "July" comes after "Jude." And there were some moments of amusement, like when Strider announced to us, after a conversation with one of his cousins, "Did you know that Barry Bonds takes Asteroids???" And for the last 20 minutes of yesterday's 8 hour trip, we all ended up having a major laughing fest -- mostly to ward off a crying fest.

One of our favorite stops to break up long days of driving has become the New River Gorge in West Virginia. We stop to see a huge bridge that is something like the world's largest single arch steel bridge or something. It's 847 feet above the river -- a fact I try to forget when we have to drive over it -- and it looks like really cool from the little park that we stop at. Some of us ventured down 181 steps to an overlook with a beautiful view of the river and bridge... This place definitely beats stopping at a yucky rest area or McDonalds!

I'll write later about our adventures at our actual destinations, but for now will just say we're thankful the journeying went well, and it was good to stop and see family, friends and attractions, and attractive friends and family, along the way. Now that we are home again, though, I have to agree, "East, West, home's best." And I'll be happy to not get into car again with squirmy kids, juice boxes and trail mix, for at least a few weeks. :)

(Strider just read this and says he disagrees. He's been walking around chanting, "Vacation's best! Vacation's best!" But he made me laugh last night when we came home and he was trying to find something and, after spending over a week in very small quarters, said, "Man, this house seems so big now!")

A visit to the 'ol "hometown"

One of the memorable stops for me on our big trip was the partial-day we spent in the town I grew up in, Spencerport. I couldn't believe it had been almost 8 years since I had been back for a visit -- way too long. So it was wonderful to go around and see everything that had changed -- or stayed the same. We also loved going to my old church -- everyone there seemed the same! Definitely felt like coming "home." I took a bunch of pictures that I will post below for the viewing pleasure of my family who may enjoy seeing some of the developments...

And we also spent the night in Buffalo, visiting some very good Spencerport friends who have relocated there. It was soooo nice to see Melanie, one of my favoritest people ever, and to visit her home and her office at UB, and we also enjoyed an all-too-brief visit with Mark and Rebecca Lenz and their adorable kids. Seeing these old friends always makes me miss them more.... and always makes so grateful for the decades-long friendships we've kept.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Summer accomplishment

lEach of our kids had "goals" this summer to accomplish.... a lot of them are still "in progress." But one big one has been achieved by Strider:
I am particularly proud of him because I was just about his age when I learned how to do this, courtesy of the very patient teaching of my Uncle Mark. So we're keeping the cubism in the family.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

From "Ding-Dong-Buzz" to a Perfect Square

With the advent of Peter's birthday yesterday, he passed from the very popular age of 35, also known in our house as "Ding-Dong-Buzz" based on this game*, to 36, a perfect square number (6*6). The last time he was a perfect square, we were engaged to be married, and the next time he'll be a perfect square, he'll be 49 -- which is definitely old! (As my nerdy siblings pointed out last night, this is a really exciting year because at the same time Pete is a perfect square, brother-in-law Graham is a perfect cube!)

ANYWAY, we had a fun time celebrating with both immediate and extended family. After a fun day with our kids, we left them with 3 wonderful kids/teens who are friends of ours (and babysat for FREE -- thank you Michael, Meagan and Maddie!) and enjoyed a night "out" -- a fun dinner with Katie and Graham, and then dessert at Dan and Amy's. Pete, of course, declared this his best birthday ever, as he does every year.

And his favorite story of the day centered around the cake I made him. I used the "square" theme on it as well, and when we sang and brought it out to him, he read it aloud: "Happy Birthday Pete: A PICTURE square!" I quickly corrected him saying, "No, it says a PERFECT square." But he pointed to it and I was forced to see... it really did say a Picture square. As it turns out, while I was frosting the cake, I had been talking on the phone about the subject of emailing someone a picture. So, proving that my feeble brain really can't do 2 things (well) after all, I wrote the wrong word. It's not often you get to see evidence of your own feeblemindedness written in frosting.

So, Pete's the one who's older.... but I'm the one who's losing it.

*Ding Dong Buzz is a counting game we play where everyone goes around and says the next number. But if your number is a multiple of 3 or has a 3 in it, you have to say Ding. And if it's a 5 number, you say Dong, and if it's a 7 number you say Buzz. So 35 is awesome because you get to say all 3. :)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Partying all night long

Well, not exactly partying, but we were UP all night long.... does that make us young again?? (Judging from the way I feel this morning, I'd say not)

Pete and I have gotten quite spoiled the last several months now that everyone sleeps all night long and rarely do we ever get woken up by any of the kids. But last night was a different story. Here's how it went.

From 10 pm until midnight, Colsen woke up crying approximately 228 times. Even after we got him out of his crib, carried him around and held him, he kept waking up. Even after we brought him in our bed with us, he kept waking up. He's come down with a cold and hasn't mastered the art of breathing while also sucking on a pacifier, so we think he just kept getting frustrated. But after the first hour of all this carrying on, of course the parenting worry starts to set in and we were wondering if there was more going on. Could his ears be bothering him -- should we give him tylenol? Could he be too congested and he won't be able to sleep all night -- should we give him benadryl? Of course we couldn't find any infant-strength medications in the house anyway, so it was becoming a moot point. Finally he asked for some water and after we gave him that, he smiled, calmed down and went to sleep.

So an hour later I finally fell back asleep.

Then, not long afterwards, the power went out. We've been having these "rolling blackouts" all summer long where the power will go out randomly for a few hours at a time. During the day, it tends to feel like a fun adventure -- and sometimes even results in a reason to eat a meal out. But when they happen at night, they cause far more scrambling at our house than we'd like. We immediately jolt awake when the power goes out because it suddenly becomes very quiet. At night we always run a noisemaker.... (As I was lying in bed thinking about this fact last night, I thought how very strange it seems that we purposely went out and paid money for something called a "noisemaker" that we then added to our household. Don't we already have plenty of living noisemakers around?? But the fact is our house has no quiet corners in it -- any noise made in any room can be heard in all the others. So if anyone is ever going to sleep in this house, we need that noisemaker to drown out the other noises.)

Anyway, the noisemaker has become the big cue for our kids to go to sleep, and stay that way. And when the noisemaker goes off in the morning, it takes approximately 2.3 seconds for them all to wake up and hit the ground running. So when it goes off in the middle of the night, we instantly start worrying that all 3 are going to wake up and be ready to party. We (and by "we" sometimes I mean just Pete) leap out of bed and start the scramble to find some batteries to put in the thing. But first we have to start scrambling for a flashlight. Now that this has happened several times, we have finally realized we should keep a flashlight somewhere in the house. But since we're rarely prepared enough to have new batteries in an easy-to-find location, Pete ends up having to find our camera so he can take the batteries out of it.

Eventually Pete gets the battier ins and the noise resumes and we start to breathe, relieved. But as I lie in bed not sleeping for the next half-hour, I start thinking about the fire alarms and what would happen if a fire broke out but the alarms didn't work because we haven't changed those batteries in forever, and we wouldn't hear anything because the noisemaker is running!
Anyway, just as I'm finally drifting off to sleep, Rayna shows up in our room. And Pete puts her back in her room. And then she comes back about 10 minutes later. Lather, Rinse, Repeat. This happens about 5 times. Finally Pete gives up, lets her have his spot in our bed and goes to make a bed for himself on the couch downstairs, ensuring that none of the 3 of us will get back to sleep for at least an hour.

And just after that hour has ended and I'm just about to drift off again.... suddenly 2 piercing high-pitched noises start going off intermittently (which was a vocab word for one of my SAT students yesterday!), about every 10 seconds. Now the smoke alarms are telling us very clearly that no, they might not be working anymore after all. So here goes Pete with the very dim flashlight and me with my tiny booklight (which is not much help for illuminating what is in front of oneself... but it's all I had), to try to find a way to disconnect the smoke alarms. We got the upstairs one done, and then decided against lugging out a ladder to reach the downstairs one. So Pete just came back upstairs, we turned up the noisemaker to drown out the beeping, and finally, around 5:45 am, went back to bed.

I know this is a generally boring post for people to read, but thinking about writing about it was the therapy I needed last night to keep me from going crazy. :)