Lots of Love in June

Six years ago, I was given the best birthday gift ever, when our grandson Luke was born on June 13.  It’s fun having a birthday buddy; well, it’s fun for me and he’s just kinda discovering that we share the date. This year when we talked on the phone, after I said, “Happy birthday!” he replied, very enthusiastically, “Happy birthday to YOU, TOO!”  It has been so enjoyable to watch this little guy develop his fun personality and sweet, kind heart. He is smart and cute and friendly, with a big imagination and some killer dance moves. 😃 He tells great stories and makes us laugh out loud at his antics. What a fun and funny kid! We love you, Luke, and we’re so glad you’re ours!

My birthday was low key since Sarah and family were all out of town for a soccer tournament of Elle’s in Denver.  Rich cooked for me and we went out for frozen custard at Andy’s afterwards.  I enjoyed all of the phone, text, and Facebook greetings, as well as a few cards in the mail from some die-hard family and friends who still use the Post Office.  🙂  I have to admit I love birthdays and hearing from loved ones near and far.  I was also spoiled with gifts, some of which are seen below.

Somewhere around this same time, we drove out to Terrell to Ham Orchards, which I’d been reading about.  Their peaches get rave reviews and they also have a blackberry patch where you can pick your own if you’re so inclined. We were not, because it was so hot, but we did buy a bunch of peaches and had some peach ice cream while there. It was a nice little drive and fun to get out and do something different. AND the peaches did not disappoint!

Then there was Father’s Day.  It’s always a little weird for me since my dad died at the young age of 42 and is forever frozen in time in my mind. He would now be 87 and I can’t quite picture him that “old.” During this outrageous political time, I just kept thinking about compassionate dads who are not in favor of ripping kids from their parents’ arms, who stand up against injustice, who love and care unconditionally for their own and other kids, who do their best in trying times to make a difference in the world. And by dads I mean biological dads, step dads, brothers and grandpas and uncles and cousins and foster dads and father figures and let’s face it, any man who is stepping up to show kids how to be a good person. Special love to my guys Rich, Corey, David and Miles, who are the best.  Again, we had no kids around on Father’s Day but greetings came in from all. Rich did not want to go out to eat because “kitchens are really busy on holidays” and he did not want to add to the cooks’ distress.  Spoken like a retired chef, for sure.  His request: Taco Bueno.  So that’s where we went!  

Unlike me, my hubby is not really into celebrating birthdays. When his rolls around 8 days after mine, it’s usually a quiet affair.  This year I left the day before to go to Graham TX to visit my dear friend Susan and to help her continue to pack up her mom’s house.  We had a lovely visit and got a few things accomplished while talking about life and sharing the delicious meals that she cooked.  My contributions were garden tomatoes and peaches from Ham Orchard.  LOL Oh, I did play prep cook a little bit, too.  🙂 It was good to have time together and to talk about this latest phase of our existence. Getting older ain’t all that much fun sometimes but good friends make it more tolerable, that is for sure.

I drove home the next day and my sweet friend Gabriele had brought Rich a pecan pie she’d made for his birthday.  Rich made dinner for Gabriele and her husband a few months ago when she had surgery and was off her feet, and he also made her a pie and some banana bread for her recent birthday celebration at Center of Hope, where we volunteer together, so she wanted to repay the favor. This got me off the hook a little bit since I had not managed to fix anything for his birthday. :O  I offered to take him out for dinner but he chose to stay home and cook.  That should make me feel pretty guilty but hey, I offered, right?!  He also received lots of greetings from everyone and we are both happy we made it to the outrageous age of 64. I am still wondering how that could have possibly happened.

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April Doings

Happy birthday to our son in law David on April 6.  He’s usually behind the camera so it’s hard to find many pictures of him! He’s smart and funny, great at being a dad, a teacher, a photographer, and a human being. We always enjoy our wide ranging conversations and his thoughtful opinions. Even better, he’s a lot of fun! We love you, David!

Beck was in his school talent show last week.  All of the 1st grade boys took part in a song and dance number with a sports theme.  They were super cute and I may be biased but Beck was the best dancer out there and sung his heart out with lots of feeling.  🙂  It was especially cute and funny at the end when all of the boys ran off the stage and Beck stood there looking out at the audience. I don’t think he realized everyone had left. We got a little chuckle out of that.  I didn’t get pix during the show because of the lighting but here are a few that Sarah got later.

And Aidan was busy with his favorite thing: motocross racing.  We weren’t there but Susan sent some pix.  We will get to see him race Memorial Day when we go to visit.

Jack had another soccer game and it was freezing but at least he had fun playing this time!  🙂

March Catch-Up

Yes, it’s April, but I haven’t finished March!

Garden update:

 

Hung out with Jack a few more times and went to his first soccer game. Three year olds are a mess on the soccer field.  No clue!  He loved it till he hated it and sat out most of the second half.  🙂

 

March for our Lives, Dallas! I recently joined the local chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and we were asked to be route monitors at the march while the students took charge.  It was fun and we had a great turnout.  I am inspired by these young people ready to make a change!

 

March birthdays:

First, my daughter Bonnie on the 30th. She’s smart and hilarious and a juggler of multiple responsibilities, a great mom and a friend to many, involved in her community, and concerned for those less fortunate. We always have good talks about lots of issues and topics and she makes me laugh with her funny stories about kids and life. I don’t get to see her as much as I’d like but we never fail to have a lot of fun when we’re together.  We love her much!

 

Then grandson Aidan on the 31st. This kid turned 15! I really cannot believe it! We’ve had so much fun watching him grow up from a smiling, happy baby boy to a smart, kindhearted, talented, funny, awesome young man. He’s great at motocross and basketball and putting things together and beating us at games. His younger cousins adore him and he’s always so kind to them when they see each other. We love it when he comes to visit us and even more when we take road trips together. I always beg him to say that he will still want to hang out with us even when he’s got teenager things to do. Pitiful, I know! We love you, Aidan! Happy birthday!

 

Random: Ajax, thrift store gems, neighborhood walk, Rich spending hours in the Asian store and then making it all worthwhile with a beautiful salad for dinner.

 

March, So Far

We voted in the Democratic primary and took Jack along as he was staying with us that day.  Doing our part to turn Texas blue.  Or at least purplish.  🙂  Stopped by the garden and then came back to our place to play for awhile.

 

I’ve so enjoyed watching Elle play volleyball this season. The whole team has really grown and improved in their skills. We watched her final tournament, in which her team took 2nd place against older, bigger girls and showed a lot of heart and determination, plus some amazing plays. So proud of these Emoji Aces!

 

Workday in the community garden is always fun because we get to visit with more of our fellow gardeners and spruce things up in the common areas.  I worked in the butterfly garden while Rich helped haul wheelbarrows full of mulch.  We were both pretty tired by the time we got home, but hurray for a good workout!

 

My brother Joe, sister in law Denise, daughter Ellie, her husband Blane, and Blane’s dad came through town so we all had a great dinner by Rich at Sarah’s and a lot of laughs with all.

 

Granddaughter Ally turned 11 years old, hard to believe! She is a sweet, chatty girl who is very outgoing and makes friends wherever she may be. She has a kind heart and a big smile for everyone! She’s silly and sassy, smart and funny, great at reading, basketball and softball, not to mention beating us regularly at board games. We love it when she comes to stay with us and she’s one of our best travel partners ever! We love you, Ally!

 

Where did February go?

I have been slacking off, apparently!  Lots going on, as always.  Here’s a little catch-up for February.

First off, our son in law Corey had a birthday on the 2nd.   He’s a great husband and dad and one of the hardest working guys we know. He’s also a lot of fun and can tell some funny stories, which is pretty much a requirement to be in our family.  We have lots of interesting conversations and always enjoy hanging out with him. AND despite leaning toward the metal category, he is surprisingly versatile at Song Pop Party, kicking most of our *&#$%es in many genres.  We love you, Corey!

Next up, granddaughter Elle’s 10th birthday. Yes, another one hits double digits. Man, the time is flying by!  She is sweet and sassy, kind and thoughtful, funny and silly. She is a great reader and writer and I can’t believe the long passages she can memorize and recite! She excels at soccer and volleyball and gets more skilled every year. She still beats us at board games and likes our after-school slushie treats, visiting Ajax, and “arguing” back and forth with Grandpa. We love you, Elle!

We babysat the boys overnight while Elle was in a soccer tournament and while she had a birthday sleepover.  Beck was a little upset because he didn’t get to go to the birthday slumber party so we made our own party at the Studio Movie Grill where we ate pizza and watched “Peter Rabbit.”  Then just the usual fun and games at our house. They are great kids and we always have a good time with them.

Found this little oasis of Philadelphia in Dallas while driving to Elle’s volleyball games.  Tastes pretty darned close to a Philly cheesesteak and we’ve been back one more time when I had an Italian hoagie that was almost perfect.  Hurray for a little bit of home!

Okay, maybe February needs more than one post!  To be continued…

Our shared celebration day

Rich and I had our 13th wedding anniversary on January 18, which was also my mom’s 87th birthday.  We just happened to get married on her birthday because it was my next day off in Jan. 2005 while we were living in Unalaska.  🙂 Kinda makes it easy to remember both and none of us minds sharing the day.  Chatted with Mom on the phone and Rich and I had a nice dinner out at a Mexican restaurant we hadn’t tried before.

Happy birthday to my Mom! We’ve shared too many adventures to count and she’s always up for another one. From her example, I learned the love of reading, music, travel and education, the importance of family, the fun of trying new things and striking up conversations with random strangers, the sense of fulfillment in getting involved wherever we may be, the necessity of laughing at ourselves and not taking life too seriously. She’s always been our champion and biggest supporter. Thanks, Mom, and here’s to many more!

And happy anniversary to Rich!  Since it’s been 13 years now, I am calling this our “lucky” year.  It was a huge leap of faith to move to remote Alaska to be with this guy but I couldn’t be happier about it. He’s smart and funny and talented and feeds me great food every day (witness the pounds I have gained), we share the same ideals and values, he’s a fabulous Grandpa to the kids and my best travel partner. Here’s to 13 more and 13 more after that.  I wouldn’t have anyone else!

Happy Birthday, Emery and Beck

These cute cousins share a birthday one year apart on November 23, which happened to be on Thanksgiving this year.  We are very thankful for them!  Happy 8th birthday to Emery and happy 7th birthday to Beck.  Maybe it’s because they were born on the same day, but they have a lot in common!  Both are really smart, kind, creative, so funny, and talented in many ways. Emery is very crafty and artistic, Beck is musical and great at building things. They both have awesome dance moves.  They are both thinkers and often ponder important questions. Emery loves to write stories and Beck is quite a storyteller himself. They regularly beat us at games! Most of all, they each have a very kind, sweet heart.We are so happy these grandkids are ours!