Wednesday, October 29, 2014

oh yes, the pumpkins

These guys are so advanced they can carve pumpkins without me now.

Look out, People.

Your kids will grow up on you.

So then we put them outside again where it is cold for refrigeration purposes.  Julia's pumpkin was so rotten it was nasty and slimy.  We threw it away and she chose another.  (We bought extras.)

Anyway, October reaches the end.


love, Val

a lovely occasion

Lydia, aka Kari, was Confirmed this weekend.  In some circles it's called Affirmation of Baptism--where a child who received infant baptism is now old enough to say, "Yeah, I'm in."

So this was the day.

There were numerous ceremonial gestures at church, which were sweet and important, and our family was all there, and it was lovely.

Then we all came back to eat and celebrate.

Those two people--Julie in the blue shirt, and Oly with his back facing the camera are not family members.    

The associate pastor from a few years ago resurrected an old ministry tradition at the church called Prayer Partners.  An adult and a child team up to be prayer partners.    There are no rules.  Prayer partners and the child are required to do nothing in particular.

Oly and Julie are Prayer Partners for Kari and Tim.   Maria's prayer partner is the woman she was nanny for all summer.  Her husband is James' prayer partner.   I asked him if he ever bothered to pray for Andy? 

He looked at me for a couple seconds and said, "Yes, I do.  Why would you think I don't?"

No, I didn't think that.  Just wondering.

(James is so chill he gives that impression, but it's usually not true.)

Anyway, prayer partners is a surprisingly powerful little ministry.  Our young associate pastor who resurrected the program called people who'd been involved with it in the past and asked them if they wanted to participate.

"Oh, I already have a prayer partner. She's in Florida now, works for Wells Fargo, has three children."

???  She was so astonished at the continuing of the connection.

Me too.

 Anyway, they took the day to spend with us, at church and back at home.

 Here she is:

 Jay's parents were there:

 My sister and her husband stood in as godparents.

(Thank you.  This means the world to us.)

 All in all, a perfect day.   love always, Val aka Mom

Saturday, October 25, 2014

too funny

My friend Renee is a fairly talented photographer and she took so many pictures while she was here, of trees and plants and things around this house like the doorknobs and clutter and trinkets, and then last was this one.

I laughed right out loud.

That's me conducting some kind of real estate business the first morning she was at our house.  In my pajamas, sitting on Jay's side of the bed, there's some serious conversation going on.

Why Sidney is so intrigued I can't imagine.

Real estate has been not easy the last few weeks. Getting these houses to closing has been lumpy and difficult, with unexpected turns and probably more than a dozen addendums.   A bunch of times I've had my hands in two fists, bonking myself on the head, "Aaaaagh."

And here Renee captured it all,  what working from home really looks like.

Oh my goodness.

Renee, thank you.  I love you very much, Val

Friday, October 24, 2014

kirby's birthday

Yeah, it's today.  We started out with a little, "Let's have supper," get together, that bloomed into a huge family thing with rowdy kids in costumes with laser swords and unbelievable racket.

That's her above, in my sister's lap, Heidi on her knee.   I love how Pam's own baby is swimming over to them.  

That's her too, kicking it up.  The doll baby on John's lap is that same nephew.
This is one of the things I have always admired about you so much Kirsten:  You are your own person.  Tongue out, feet in the air, full of energy and sass.   Of course I always loved you, but I also admire that unapologetic independent streak.

This tiny little girl grew up to be a kid so scrappy and bold, a talented athlete, a top student, a natural leader.  

Who now is a beautiful woman.   Still adventurous and wild, still scrappy and bold, just kind of hides it better now.   (Some of the time.)

Here are some pictures from the party:

I know you're all grown up, your own person, an accomplished professional woman--a SENIOR business analyst now, for heaven's sakes.

But different from the other kids, (except probably Julia too) there's a place in my heart where you are still that girl who twirled my hair and lived in my arms.

And then you got down and took on the world.
Thanks for everything you have taught me and showed me, for being your own self and loving all of us the way you do.

In this whole world, there's no one else like YOU and I could not love you more.

Happy Birthday Sweetheart.    love Mom and Dad and Everybody

Thursday, October 23, 2014


James was invited last year as a junior in high school, but that bout with mono took him out and messed up the whole thing.

As a senior? He's well.

He chose his closest friend's mother as his mentor.  
She works hard for numerous causes and people, all of them working to bring people together and make life better in significant, practical ways.

She has continued on and recently completed her own advanced education, so she knows the struggle of students first hand.

Here we are, the two of us with those children of ours and each others that we both adore. I never realized before that she's taller than I am.

And this was a gift to James tonight in the photo below, and it's pretty hilarious.

After James' comments we read, introducing her as his NHS mentor, I whispered to Joseph, his friend's dad:  "He knows your wife pretty well."

His eyes met mine and we nodded. She squeezed my hand.

We never know when we're being observed.

Well, this gift?  She's been observing them as well.

Ann?  Much love always.  Thank you for inspiring my kid and loving and caring about him.

James?  We are proud of you.

love, Mom and Dad, aka Val and Jay

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

the dock is out

One card poker--the child is so good at this game, and loved it so much.  Dannell's grandparents are where this originated.  It's one of the few games that adults and kids are on equal ground.

 The dock came out and the young guys put on the waders and did the job.

We're really to the end of this beautiful summer.

Thanks for being there, Renee and JJ.   We loved having you.

love, Val and Everybody