Thursday, October 16, 2014

look who showed up!

 And then the week was not boring anymore.

Fun, fun.  love you girls so,   Val, aka Mom, aka Grandma

Monday, October 13, 2014

a very boring week

It is, totally boring, nothing but work.

The job is finished on the side of the house--good for another twenty years.

The kids helped take down the scaffolding.  This scaffolding was given to Jay by a friend of his parents, quite a long time ago.  It's come in very handy living here.  

There's also something simple and also elegant about it--the way it can be assembled and taken apart again, built and unbuilt on the way up and down.

I don't know much about a lot of things, but this is sweet.

Oh, and here we have the girl home from the university, doing her laundry!

(See what I mean about boring?  Is anything more boring-er than laundry?)

This is one cluttered kitchen.  

On to other problems.
Jay replaced the storm door upstairs.

James was doing basketball tricks shooting from the flat roof and somehow in the process, the door was only closed, not hooked.

Well, the wind caught it and tore it to shreds.  It was barely hanging together by a thread anyway. 

So Jay ordered a new door in a funky size, and installed it, and it's great.  It's not like the battered, tattered old door that was on there.  He also replaced the rotten sill.

We're coming up in the world.  Tonight I did the trim painting, and voila.

It looks like it's always been there.

And then Lydia and I painted the first coat on the front of the garage.  Second coat to follow--didn't even take that long. With two of us it was less than two hours.

And after all that I cleaned up and went to a real estate appointment that was very fun.   While the parents and I talked, their little child made me a special picture with stickers to take home.

She also told me some very important things about princesses, to the point she was jumping in the air.

(I loved it.  Plus they let me cuddle their baby while we toured the house.)

Anyway, it's the end of Monday night, and the week is looking very fine.

(Renee and her daughter are going to be here on Wednesday!)

There's her daughter right there in front, in the black shirt.

There's Renee in the middle in the red scarf, going fast.

See you soon, Girls.

love always, Val

Friday, October 10, 2014

a fine friday night

This was a full Friday.   We drove out to Wisconsin and picked up Maria at the university and brought her home.

Then I went to visit the new baby of a real estate client turned friend. They have a beautiful new baby named Francesca Louise.

She hugged me, and handed me her baby and we went upstairs to the living room and I cuddled that sleeping baby for a whole hour while we talked. Her dads were there, and they are welcoming and friendly, and it was the nicest, companionable thing, snuggling that baby, talking about everything in the news these days.

And then I came home and we got to work.  We made supper and fed the kids.   Then Jay went with me to my sold listing so we could remove the staging elements and then we went shopping and put together a Halloween care package for Maria.

Then I dealt with the dusty, greasy kitchen.  The stove is a gorgeous jewel of an antique, but it has standing pilot lights which are the reason there is dusty grease at all.

It's been since spring since I washed the dishes and shelves up high, so we're due.   The curtains over the stove had goobery dust up high.  Those were washed and ironed and hung back up, faded as they are, almost twenty years old.

This winter I will sew some new ones. But at least these are clean and ironed.

 And all this mess, all these food storage containers infesting my cupboards?   They're not all mine.  Maybe some are?  If any of you recognize your dishes, please claim them.

All those athletic drink bottles in the first picture?  I'm not throwing them away until everyone has had a crack at them, but there are a LOT.

Why more lids than containers?

 Halloween dishes:

Those fancy goblets are incredibly fragile.  I guess you get what you pay for.

Good night.   Love you all so, Val, aka MOM, aka GRANDMA

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

october weekend

On the drive up, it snowed.    The ground isn't frozen, so nothing can stick, but still.

And then up at the highway where 53 and H cross, there was a terrible crash, ambulances, destroyed cars.  I'm sure the glare contributed, made it hard to judge distance and speed.

Saturday afternoon we went for a walk.  Do the dishes?  Go for a walk?

Hmmm.   Tough decision.


Dishes were there when we got back.

 The dam:
 This is Kirsten and Jay looking over where the water pours over the dam.

Heidi found this book on the end table.  "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living," by Dale Carnegie, dated 1943.

It has some interesting things to say--like worrying about insomnia causes more problems than insomnia itself.

Meh. I have no opinion on that, would have to see some research.

"If life gives you lemons, make lemonade."

They laughed, "And bring vodka."
 Here's where she's reading how housewives can stay more attractive:  by resting at home.  It also suggests resting at work for others.   There was a fair bit of laughing about that too.  Rest at work?  When?

But the book does actually have some useful things to say too, about how worrying feels like a productive effort, but getting busy and looking for solutions and new ideas will propel things forward better.   I find that to be true.
Anyway, it was cold outside, but warm in the house, and we cooked a lot--made the food for the birthday party on Sunday--and took it easy.

Onward.  The week is looking fine.   love, Val

Sunday, October 5, 2014

maria's 20th birthday

It started out with us up at the lake.  The kids wanted a picture of this.

They'd named this person, "Handgela."

Everyone was here for supper tonight, and it was a great, wild, loud night.

 The only picture of t.c. is him second to the right, in the aqua shirt.

Enjoy that.
They went into the bins of costumes and dressed as Power Rangers, and also a tiger in velour.

 He's just not sure what's wrong with them.

 He's doing Power Ranger growls.

 This cake was baked up at the lake, an innocent chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting, transported safely back to the city.

Then they decided to decorate it.   Moose. Bats.  They claimed they washed all of it first and dried it.

Fine.  Maria?  You're a lucky girl.

 Those two:
 And these two:

 Gifts, blurry, blurry:

 Here's Maria and her buddy, him yawning.

 And now, not yawning, just blurry.

Cake time!

Joe is thirty.  Maria is twenty.

 Julia and Heather:

 After cake, Halloween toys:
 Mist machine:

Maria requested for her birthday supper tater tot casserole or tortellini soup.


Why not both?  We had both.   There was a huge kettle of soup and a huge pan of tater tot, and a giant salad and a big fat chocolate cake, and Dannell brought homemade rolls, and apparently this crowd was hungry tonight.

There's a little left in the fridge, but not much.

Here'a Maria, back in the day with her stuffed dogs.  They took up the entire upper bunk.

 Here she is getting teased by her brothers:

And here's a picture I love mostly because there you are, right in the middle in a beautiful, fancy dress I ordered from a company that no longer exists.   Kari is a baby in this picture, so Tim and Julia weren't even here yet.

But there you have always been, right in the middle.

Today at 2 pm, I teased you about this--on the day you were born, Heidi and Kirsten had to go to a birthday party at 2, so I finally had my baby to myself.

The girls had spent hours unwrapping and re-wrapping you in the bed beside me, brushing your hair, passing you back and forth, looking at your toes, putting socks on and off.

Maria today: "They're not doing that tonight."

When you were about five, there was a magazine cover of a doctor holding a screaming baby upside down. He was wearing a hazmat suit and the baby was naked and very distraught.

You looked at that and said, "When I got born, my dad didn't scare me."

We were in line at the grocery store, and I stared at you.  What could you possibly remember about that morning?  

It's true.  There were no masks or gloves.  Dad was careful.  We didn't hold you upside down.  As I remember, you were all kinds of beautiful and the rest of us ate Halloween candy in bed.

The day you were born was actually a pretty great day.  Little Jay was a tall, lanky, bald-headed toddler, and he didn't know what to think of the situation.

And having you for a girl has been a whole lot of fun.  First of all, you're such a reactor, an over-reactor even.   Get Maria going is a whole lot of entertainment for the rest of us, "Listen to her go."

But not tonight. Tonight you were peaceful and we let the loud party racket all around us.

Maria?   Twenty years now it's been fun being your mom.

I think the next twenty probably won't disappoint either.

Thank you for being my girl.  In this whole world, there is nobody I love more. 

love forever, MOM (and DAD, and everybody)