Friday, August 28, 2015

state fair, 2015

We did this.

Haven't been there in many years.

The kids remember the trip from 2006. I had eight kids along that time. This time I had only three.

The little one was a trooper. She napped in the pouch, then was carried around, rode in the stroller and when she couldn't hold her head up anymore, was inserted back into the pouch.

Where she was strapped to Heidi's body.

And she is not all that light.

But it worked. Heidi didn't complain.

 The Kiddy Midway was a big hit.

I stupidly thought this was some sort of Flintstones ride.


It was a Wiener Dog roller coaster.

There you go.

 This was a Lady Bug Ride.  The announcer totally made the ride, blasting 80s music and ordering the riders to scream on cue.

(Theme song to Fresh Prince of Bel Air?  Michael Jackson Billie Jean?  It was fine, but very, very loud.)

 We ventured to the barns.

When we were kids and went to the State Fair, we spent time in the barns, admiring animals and so forth.

They did pet a few sheep and watch one being carefully sheared and pet a baby pig, while the pig farmer talked about a hog farm's carbon footprint.

No argument from me.

I have no idea.
 These pictures was taken in the cattle barn.

 As we approached the barns, Julia and Lydia saw this fancy ride and had a bright idea.

 Away they sailed, into the summer sky:

Anyway, it was a great day.

Happy Summer.

Is there anything but?

love, Val

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

happy birthday, heidi

 It was fun tonight, at the end of the night, to go cruising through some old files on the computer looking for pictures of you.

I found some.

 Here you are with Kari at Green Lake.  She was a wild woman back then.

You were patient and a great baby wrangler.

 Here's  you and Kirby when I was sure you were the sweetest, most adorable pair of girls who had ever lived.

(Know that feeling?)

 Then you two grew up:

 Here's you and Dad,

 And you and me,

And this classic birthday photo:

I was thinking about this last night how these two days of the year, August 25 and 26, Dan's birthday and yours, used to be like a National Holiday.  

And you can see what a big night like this could do to a girl's nerves.  It was hotter than hell, no doubt.   We didn't have any air conditioning at all.  It was at that crescendo point of a birthday party where it's getting late, and time for cake.

Pssht.  Get this girl her blanky, a big glass of cold water, and let's go sit in front of the fan.

Here's tonight--you and your most adorable, sweetest girls in the whole world:

I tell this freely to other parents:

Adult children are a pleasure I never imagined.

You muddle along, yelling about shit, and cleaning up weird messes, keeping the bills paid and the laundry from mildewing, and it just feels like Scruffy-ville.

Nobody told me I was growing my best friends.

I should have known.  My mom is an angel who would do anything for me.

My grandma doted on me and I adored her, just like my  mom and her grandmas.

I still didn't get it.

Now I do.


You're something else.  We laugh about how you parent your first kid like she's the third one because of all of my babies you helped me raise.  And it's true.   This is an absurdly rascally situation, but also nothing that can't be summed up by an eye roll.

And you share those babies with me so freely.  No, I don't put her in time out.  But today we did exchange a brief little snappy conversation about her shoes left in the car after grocery shopping.

I said, "Don't forget your shoes."

She said, "Grandma, I only have two hands."

(Yeah, and two feet. Why are your shoes not on them?)

I didn't say that.  I said, as I lugged her sister and car seat across the seat and out the door, "Girl. I got zero hands.  GET YOUR SHOES."

She did.

Oh my goodness, I love her.

Happy Birthday, Heidi.

love forever, Mom and Dad and Everyone

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

happy birthday, dan

Hey, thirty-five is looking pretty good.

It's always fun to go back looking for old pictures of you.  You were such a pretty baby, agreeable and cuddly.
 Who turned into a cute kid:

And now you have your own cute kids:

And when that little one gets a little bigger, you guys go back to Mexico again.  We will watch them while you're gone.

You are hard-working and disciplined, organized and conscientious.  You are practical and yet a little artistic, and completely trustworthy.   One of the nicest compliments anyone ever paid me was a house-cleaning reference, and he had a somewhat sketchy reputation himself.  He said, "You could trust her with your baby, your dog, your car, and all your money."

Thanks, Jim.

But he could have been talking about you as well.

 And you also have a fine, sarcastic sense of humor, astute observations, sometimes a little blunt, but also pretty forgiving.

This is one of my favorite pictures.  Besides all that other stuff, this one cuts right to the pure sweetness of you.

Happy Birthday, Buddy.

Thanks for being our kid.

We're lucky and we know it.

love, Mom and Dad, and Everybody

Sunday, August 23, 2015

the last of last weekend

 Jay took his mom and me on a boat ride.  The loons were close by.

This is a photo of us going through the channel to the sink hole.

 Jay's dad and a friend went scuba diving back there a long time ago. They couldn't see much because the water was so dark and full of minerals.  There is no shoreline, just straight flat walls going 80 feet down.

Even the wake from the motor is a distinctive rusty color.

 Here the gang is, saying good bye
And these squirrels still tossing around on the floor in the morning sun
love alway, Jay and Val and Everybody