Monday, February 28, 2011

edith grace's blanky, and just so you know

Okay, I went to the fabric store this afternoon, looking for COLORFUL fabric for her second blanky.

This is what it ended up to be:

This fabric was so plush and buttery and gorgeous. Yeah, it's hers. I bought enough to make one for little Olive too. Forgot all about that colorful thing.

And this: Heidi and Joe are sleeping in their own house tonight, the first night they've slept there since November 19th. On the night of the 20th, they'd been through a fairly traumatic evening, watching their house burn, and guinea pigs and dogs with them, here they were, Joe in Jay's pajamas, and who knew it was the beginning of a three month odyssey of construction mismanagement and stupidity.


But it's done now, and it was a little hard to tell Joe good bye tonight when he left for a night project at work, "I'll see you, when? Not tomorrow. Not Wednesday." We both laughed and he grinned at me and shook his head. I love him very much, more than before.

Heidi stayed for a while though, and Kirsten and I told her about the dreams we've been having about her baby, which are fairly ridiculous.

Later on, Heidi left and took that amazing belly with her and I'm lonesome, but happy. She's at her own house where she needs to be. The baby is due soon and the picture was permitted only if it didn't include her swollen feet or the softness of her very lovely pregnant face.

Okay, fine. That's why God invented cropping.

Anyway, a perfect Monday is approaching bedtime. much love always, Val

Sunday, February 27, 2011

pictures from the weekend

My sweetie came to stay.

His brother is pretty sweet too. He tried to wake up Uncle Tim, but Tim was NOT in the mood for morning. I overheard him telling t.c., "This is the reason I'm keeping the quilt OVER my head--because you are loud and a-noxious." Wow. That's blunt to an overly energetic nephew first thing in the morning.

But t.c. didn't take it too seriously, just groused at him, and then moved on to more awake people.

Yesterday he went along to Tim's basketball game and he cheered with all his might. He had a lot of questions and being there in the bleachers with him made me so happy, just the two of us watching the game together. Who knew life held a HIM?

There were other people sleeping over too. Jay made so many pancakes and so much sausage, and fried so many eggs, it felt like breakfast at the lake.

That little girl in the black shirt was here too, hilarious. I love her.

This is what Jay found last night at midnight, after he started running bath water and came to get his pajamas: A bed full of daughters and one grand-dog. He's a good sport, and they were gone by the time he came back. His face though--that I don't have a picture of.

(Can you see the picture on the wall way up on the right? That's the two of them back in 1987. The green frame on the left is something John and Dan did for us in 1996. It's pictures of the first six kids, each one at age two.)

A bunch of new babies have been born, so I've been sewing blankets tonight. This water lilies one is for a baby girl named Allison.

This is for a baby named Edith Grace. I'm going to sew her a more colorful one too.

This one is for a tiny girl named Olive, born two weeks ago. The fish blanket at the bottom is for a friend of Dannell's who had a baby boy not long ago. We don't know his name, but that's okay. He gets the fish blanket.

And now it's now, and kids are laughing down the hall, not sleeping, though their dad is sprawled out here, sleeping like a rock. Thank goodness for loud, rowdy Saturday nights full of wild kids, and beautiful, quiet, wonderful Sunday nights too. Onward to Monday, and hallelujah for MARCH. February's been great and all, sparkly, brilliant winter. Good. Done that. March is all about spring. Let's go. love, Val

Saturday, February 26, 2011


"It was a January Saturday morning, cold and bright. Darkness would arrive before supper, but the morning was brilliant, reflected sunshine off snow. Basketball season had arrived, so to the gym we went.

My son was given a ball and sent into the herd. I found a spot on the bleachers and sat down with my newspaper to enjoy the peace—nobody asking me for Yo-J, or to put tights on a Barbie, to fix the VCR, or type anything—just a quiet spot on a bench.

The leader of the pack arrived and took charge as I read the editorials. When I looked up moments later it was a vision, a sea of six year olds bouncing big orange balls, shiny wooden floor stretching out wide. Sunshine streamed through checkered windows near the ceiling.

“Left hand!” Blonk, Blonk, Blonk, “Right hand!” Blonk, Blonk, “Now switch!!” Blonk, Blonk. All the laughter, missing teeth, too-long t-shirts made me laugh out loud, and put down my paper. For years I been doin’ this mommy thing, and mornings don’t come any finer than this: golden shiny floors, cute kids, and bouncing basketballs in beams of yellow sunshine."

I wrote that a long time ago, but this morning at kiddy basketball, there it was again, just the same.

A few years ago Tim asked me, "Are there any sports what me and Julia can play?" They were standing by the dryer in the kitchen, and he had his arm around her shoulders. She was little-bitty, wearing only a diaper and socks, and he wasn't very big either. I said I didn't think so. What did he have in mind? He said, "Me and Julia want to play football."

Oh, yeah.

But today really was Julia's first morning at a sign-up sport, and she was soooo excited. (What doesn't excite six year old girls, I guess.) She shrieked and ran to get ready when I told her about it, and when we got there, her eyes were huge when they handed her a t-shirt to put on and told her to grab a ball. And the grin, the huge happy smile never left the whole time she ran up and down, trying to play.

Heidi and Joe are at their house unpacking. What a great Saturday. love, Val

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

oh, heartbreaker

Tonight we went to the JUSTIN BIEBER MOVIE!!!


It was entertaining and very fun. We had a good time.

After observing his wildly intense fans, apparently Julia isn't that abnormal.

The thought occurred though--Wynonna Judd talked about this, how it feels to be responsible for the income and lives of so many people. Concerts are huge, complicated events,lots of people on the payroll, and to know that all hinges on YOU? That's a lot for anyone, and he's only a teenager.

I watched him playing drums, guitar, piano, singing and dancing as vital as air for him, in a way blood has never flowed through my stodgy Norwegian veins, and the awareness was there of the prodigies and stars who have lost their lives to the industry and the cruelty of fame, and it scares me.

Not gonna lie.

When Kirsten was in gymnastics as a little child, airborne magical elf that she was, and her teachers were overly interested in her, and also captivated by the SMALLNESS of her, it creeped me out. No. I have her entire life to consider, not just her ability to to flips and stunts. We left. Obviously, I don't even have the stomach attempt to try. Stage mama? AAAGH, git away. It's frightening to put your kid in situations like that.

And we had this little boy here today:

try getting a picture of a guy like this

okay, there go the cushions

He had on a pair of vintage farmer striped overalls, which made me think of the little squirrel sweater Jay's aunt knitted for Dan when he was born. I found it shortly, and it fit and b.g. looked so darn adorable I could hardly stand it.

He was into dumping things out today, bins we don't normally dump OUT. We gently sift through them, do not throw them out over the floor.

oh coughin' and dumpin'


Then in his investigation of the house, he found some little photo albums and was looking through them. I was reading a National Enquirer my dad left here. Is John Travolta's hair real? What movie star has a chunky butt today?

I glanced over at him and he was staring at a picture of Dan holding t.c. when he was born a few years ago. He had a big frown on his face, and the lip looked a little tragic. I said, "That's Daddy. Is that your dad?"

He crumpled into sobs. Weeping. He turned to my lap and cried sad, sad tears.

I couldn't believe it. Here he's happily playing with his aunts and uncles and cheerily ransacking my house and he's missing his dad?

We hugged a bit and then I brought him in here and pulled up his mom's Facebook page. He looked at pictures of himself and his dog, but then there was a picture of his mom and dad at a wedding, and the lip came out! And he turned himself to my shoulder, arm over my neck and cried.

Okay, no. We need a diversion. Fast. Heidi bought Oreos at Target. Where are those? And what do you think James is doing?

Gosh, babies are smart.

Especially this one.

John's planning on leaving his kids here for the weekend, and l.c. still isn't over the last time they left him when they went to Vail. I told John last night, "You talk to him. Tell him he's staying at Grandma's." John said hadn't mentioned the plan yet, but he'd talk to him. He promised.

You darn babies. I love you so much. love, Grandma

Sunday, February 20, 2011

the weekend

The weekend started with a fine anniversary party--John's idea, take out chow mein.

Well, and lo mein, and sesame chicken, and fried rice, egg rolls, and the eaters ate.
A lot.

kirsten and her nephews

teasing james about his hair

This weekend was also the Jack of Hearts Dance at school. Maria went with some of her friends. Heidi and Kirsten took her shopping for the dress, which was somewhat of an ordeal, but worth it.

She hated all the dresses. (She's not a dress person, really.) And then a complete stranger barged up and told her to put this one back on, "That's the dress, honey! Go put it back on!" When she came out of the dressing room, the woman tugged at the dress and talked to her about what kind of bra to wear with it, and Maria was mortified.

Thank goodness for this fitting room stranger. Heidi and Kirsten were so relieved.

And here she is:

This also involved a Saturday trip to the big mall to get the security tag taken off the hem. Sheeze, don't you hate it when that happens? Jay has taken other tags off to save the trip--things like blue jeans. But not this slippery, delicate fabric. Too risky.

Anyway, now it's Sunday and the snow is pouring down. The dogs have been out racing around and wrestling in it. Predictions are for a foot. I hope they're wrong. Onward to Monday. love, Val

Thursday, February 17, 2011

february 17, 2011

It's our 32nd anniversary.

what is up with this picture? why do we look so excited? i cannot remember.

My parents took us out for dinner, pretty nice. They offered to take the whole family, all the kids.

No. Absolutely not. No children involved.

They've been married almost 50 years.

Only us.

We had a great dinner, and then we bought cheesecake at the grocery store, and a french silk pie, AND a bucket of ice cream and came home to all the kids.

Party on.

What we'd do without my parents, I really do not know.

me and my mother--what a great shot, eh?

Julia wants to have a SLEEPOVER!! A GRANDMA SLEEPOVER! (Yes, she hyperventilates and jumps up and down frantically.)

My mother looks at her out the corner of her eye.

Heidi was sitting there with us at that moment, and I suggested she might be a more suitable candidate for a Grandma sleepover. Her maternity leave starts in a couple days. They could bond.

Plus Heidi would sleep. And then eat toast and jelly. And watch Good Morning America. And then Ellen. And shortly a sandwich for lunch, and then nap time.

Heidi and my mother nodded appreciatively. It'd be fantastic.

Nobody would be giddy, loud, or obnoxious.


Julia, time to get pajamas on. (Or a choir robe, or a wetsuit. Anything that takes you far from our ears at this moment.)


It was a great anniversary.

For fun, here's a video I love. He can afford to watch wheels go round and round. I'm so with him on that. The bills must be paid, but how I love to just let it all go.

Life is awful good. love, Val

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

no particular reason

This morning I was backing up files of photos, and business files, and boring, right?

Yes, quite. Thankfully it didn't even take an hour. But I ran into a few random pictures I didn't expect, ones that made me happy.

Here they are, just for fun:

about a year and a half ago:

and how about NOW:

Oh dear--the sun is shining,and it's nearly 50 degrees out. Happy Wednesday. love, Val

Monday, February 14, 2011

the pay off

This guy turned two yesterday!

We met their family out at an indoor playground, and it was the perfect place to celebrate in February.

The kids ran and climbed until they were red and sweaty. Faces that overheated haven't been seen in months.

When it was time to go home, John invited us over to their house for pizza instead.

That was a pretty nice surprise.

Later, I was sitting sitting at the table on the bench over the radiator in their kitchen, Dan and John, Alicia and Dannell all cutting grapes and bananas and pizza for l.c. and b.g. and I looked up at Jay and thought, "This is the pay off."

All the hard work that goes into raising a kid, all the doubts and dumbness, and things you wish you could do over, the things you know you totally blew, and at the time, you just don't know what the heck you're doing.

And yet here we are, with adults now--superb, conscientious adults who invite us over for pizza and have brought us really darling grandchildren, and whose company I enjoy as much or more than any friend I've ever had.

This truth gets forgotten: We will spend more years with out kids as adults than we did raising them.

My own great-grandma was twenty when my grandma was born. Great-grandma lived to be about 95. So she had 55 years of Grandma's adult company to enjoy. Not too bad of a deal, I have to say.

Happy Birthday, Valentine Baby. We love you like crazy. The whole family is better with you in it. love, Grandma and Grandpa