Monday, May 30, 2011


and their dads--

These quick weekend pictures of Julia and her dad caught me tonight.

This is me and MY dad, Pam in my lap, back in 1963.

Here's Kirby in 1987.

And Heidi in 1988.

My mom and her dad in 1943.

I have no particular point here, and yet I do. It's easy to take these guys for granted. They're always around, working and stuff, fixing things, making sure there aren't any monsters under the bed. If you're a girl with a dad, you're one lucky woman.

That's me and him, like 45 years ago--the beginning of me taking him for granted since forever. Nothing changed this weekend. He's still the same, and so am I, and maybe that's the beauty of it. Lucky is the only word I can think of. love, Val

oh, photos of a fishing trip

t.c., m.c., and john

This trip extended only to the dock.

Last year we didn't even buy a fishing license. There was no fishing.

But this year we got it done. Joe helped the guys fry fish for supper last night. He knows how to cook it just right, crisp, light, tender, delicious.

Sam was especially fascinated with the whole thing, right on Julia's back watching.

Here's l.c. showing us how it's done.

b.g. was fascinated.

I'm not sure if he ever actually touched this fish or not, but he was happy to be outside, stomping around in the cool, damp air.

Here's m.c., an elegant little fisher-woman, in her ballerina flats and flowered gloves.

Oh gosh, a fish.

Here's Tim, a quick picture with a fish that kept getting away.

Oh, all in all, not a bad Sunday night. love, Val

a peacefully rowdy weekend

We spent Memorial Day weekend together, the whole fam.

This is about the time in a year we have a sleepover with everyone there, and I enjoy it, all their faces at breakfast, the goofing around and dumbness, the amazing mess, the things that go right and go wrong, the kids who act up, the whole rowdy,noisy occasion.

Of course, it's true nothing seriously went wrong, so that's good.

And washing dishes in the middle of a fairly chaotic scene I don't want to exert any control over--that's soothing, the hot water and bubbles, forks and pans, wiping and straightening one little corner.

They apologize that I should have to do all the dishes, but to me it's not even a chore. Jay would always rather be outside, even in rain and wind, than sitting around twiddling his thumbs in the house. Dannell has endless patience for kids and board games. Whew, she can have it. I'd way rather do dishes.

It was cold, but some kids had to swim, please, please, please, please?

Dan laughed, "Go ahead. Freeze your nipples off." Tim's hands went to the front of his life jacket and he frowned.

No, really, go. It's gonna be very cold, and you have to stay near the dock, but be my guest. Just go get it out of your SYSTEM, you guys!

They swam almost an hour--about 55 minutes longer than we expected.

Here's t.c. talking with our neighbors at the lake. They're good to us, and even though we're a big group and can be noisy, in all these years they've been nothing but friendly and kind.

My parents and family rented cabins at the resort next door, and we spent time with them too. Here's my niece cuddling Kirsten's puppy by the fire.

Here's my momma and Heidi with her baby.

We celebrated the 50th birthday of this fine brother in law. He's an unassuming man, an excellent uncle and friend. We love him.

Others played some Frisbee game until it was too dark to see.

Here are some cousins doing crafts and eating shrimp in the middle of the night.

And a game of kickball--think anyone can miss this ball? Are you ready, t.c.? Here comes the pitch.

Oh, yeah. Dan's dog is TOTALLY helpful.

Oh, a pop fly. Out. Darn it anyways.

Jay says this was the best part of the weekend, goofing around on the boat with all these kids.

This is where he told me he's staying 29 forever. Apparently he loses all sense when he puts on skis in water this cold.

And a sweet moment, Kari and l.c.

Oh, summer. Thanks for showing up at last. love, Val

Thursday, May 26, 2011

so much for that

Okay, b.g.'s parents want him to take a nap when he's here. It's a good idea, true.

I personally don't care whether he sleeps or not, but when he doesn't, he runs the risk of becoming a wretch, and we've seen that a few times, and wouldn't wish it on any baby or his parents.

So I try.

The first attempt involves cuddling him with his bottle. (He does a little delighted chortle about it, same sound he makes when eating a Moo Jr.) Sometimes he drinks the bottle, cuddles in and goes to sleep.

Other times he doesn't.

Today he rested in my arms for a few minutes, then told me, "All done." I urged him to rest and soon he was mad.

Sigh. I'm not much of an enforcer, so I let him go.

Dan said in this event, set up the pack and play baby bed, and put him in there, and he'll fall asleep by himself.


So I did it, put in a quilt and a flowered bed pillow, found him and took off his shoes, got his enormous green polka dot blanky, and kissed him good night.

I sat in the living room so I could hear him if he cried, but not be a visible distraction, and opened up a book.

By page three, there he was.


He went through the dining room, gave me a little parade wave as he strolled by in his stocking feet.

He'd climbed out of there and left.

high five

I laughed until I couldn't laugh any more, and finally had to go find him, see what he was doing. Oh my gosh.

Later he pinched his finger in the toy fire truck and while Little Jay was comforting him, fell sound asleep. Little Jay smirked and offered that as a suggestion: "Maybe if you HURT him at naptime?"

Oh, yeah, now there's an idea.

Tonight was a most elaborate and wonderful musical program at Dannell's school, where John actually learned a song on the recorder, that fabulous instrument, and he and m.c. played it together on stage. t.c. sang and danced also, and l.c. squealed in delight at pictures I drew on a piece of paper to amuse him.

Running out of ideas, I drew a toothbrush and toothpaste, and he recognized it immediately, threw his head back, hand on his forehead, "Toof-bwush and toof-paste?!"

Well, I try.

Tomorrow is Friday. Time for a cheer. Or just do a little tiny parade wave as you go past. love, Val

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

a spa to avoid

They asked if they could use the hose on the patio to clean out the toy box. Yeah, that's fine. Don't make a mud mess though.

So a few minutes later, Kirsten and I looked over and they had little lawn chairs and their feet in the toy box. Whaaat? We yelled over to them wasn't that water awfully cold?

"No,it's nice and hot! This is a very relaxing spa!"

Eeeew. Look at that water.

Next they wanted to put on swim suits and I said no, absolutely not. I know what they were thinking of doing, and ish. No.

But a few minutes later when it was time to clean up and come inside, there they were sopping wet head to foot. I said no bathing suits, so apparently they just hopped on in wearing their clothes.

I had to help peel the shirts off them, full of sand. Ei-yi-yi.

But karma got them anyway because they'd used up most of the hot water runnning it out on the patio, so their baths were very lukewarm and yep, that's life.

Na-na-na-na-booo-boo, you guys, probably should have listened. love, Mom

Sunday, May 22, 2011

a funny little wagon ride

It's John. At the end of Saturday evening, there they were wanting wagon rides. Anything to stall baths, right?

A few years ago, my dad gave John this little old tractor and a new trailer for use at the lake.

The riders--t.c. is going to be driving.

John's trying to start the thing behind his back.

But there were other problems. Eventually, he got it going.

These trees buds look like snow or popcorn.

Here's where the deer sleep. This was the most pleasant ride imaginable, t.c. chattering away, "Gram-MAW! Look at this, look at that," every two seconds, and l.c. snuggled against my chest.

Tim's turn.

And the beautiful blue sky--

Julia's turn

in the evening sun.

This child declined to accompany us. She prefers quiet.

Maria was offering her own rides.

Okay, and this is just funny. Julia asked me to roll her hair up and tuck it under the hat, then asked, "Do I look like a boy now?"

Oh my gosh, Jule. We'd have never even KNOWN it was YOU. Happy Sunday. The end of May is looking very fine. love, Val