Happy Birthday, Ada!

Our second-youngest little cutie turned 3 today.  Ada is quite the talker and keeps us cracking up with the funny things she says in her sweet little voice.  She’s already an adventurer and wanted to “practice” swimming without her floaties when she was here.  She was hilarious, belly flopping into the pool, swimming under water to Bonnie, coming up sputtering and pushing her hair out of her face only to quickly plunge back in.  Right now she loves Legos and baby dolls and books and playing with her siblings and cousins.  She says she wants a “Doc McStuffins AND a Spiderman” birthday party.  She’s a smartie and a thoughtful, kind little girl.  Happy birthday, Ada! We love you bunches!

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Winding down our full summer of fun

Bonnie and kids left yesterday; I went to my volunteer work and then came home and vegged out on the couch for most of the rest of the day! Now we will have a quiet house for about a week before we head off on our road trip to the left coast.

In the past week, some or all of us:

Swam a lot–at our house, at Sarah’s house, and dinner/swimming at Sarah and Miles’ athletic club

Had a nice family dinner at home with the whole gang, including my ex’s aunt who is full of life at age 90

Celebrated Ada’s 3rd birthday a little bit early

Spent about 10 minutes in the park on a super hot day

Enjoyed Grandpa’s homemade pizza for lunch and had a little picnic on the front porch

Read stories, practiced math and reading

Went to the library

Watched Elle play soccer, score lots of goals, and win a tournament with her team (plus messy ice cream for the rest of the kids)

Made friends with Ajax (but not Kali)  🙂

Had sleepovers

Made ice cream and cookies

Enjoyed lunch with another of my ex’s aunts

Watched movies and played games

Went out for frozen yogurt

Went to Barnes and Noble and Toys R Us

Told stories, reminisced and laughed

Made lots of memories

Can’t believe summer is coming to a close!  The kids are anticipating school starting and son in law David is already back at his campus getting ready to teach.  Seems like it was only May a few days ago–it’s been a packed few months but we’ve loved every minute of it.  So glad the grandkids could spend part of it with us!

 

 

Grandkids

We have three grandkids here in Dallas, three way out in Amarillo (6 hours’ drive away) and two in Clyde, near Abilene (3 hours’ drive).  They range in age from 14  years to two almost-three-year-olds.  As you can imagine, three towns, a wide range of ages and interests and activities, and parents with varying schedules make it very hard for all of us to get together at the same time.  We were thrilled to have a little bit of an overlap on this trip with Aidan and Ally still here when Bonnie and her crew arrived. Even though we didn’t have all of the adults, it was still pretty sweet to have all of the kids.  Bonnie’s husband David is a photographer and Bonnie has assisted him in quite a few photo shoots so I figured she could manage to get a group shot of the kids for me–something I’ve wanted for awhile and haven’t had an opportunity to get.  We were on a tight time frame and I was halfway afraid it would  never happen but I give credit to my girls for making time and taking on the project for their mom.

While Jack was napping, Sarah and Bonnie took the other 7 down the street from Sarah’s house to a wooded area and knocked out quite a few photos of individuals and groups.  By the time Jack woke up, it was getting late and I was thinking they might just blow it off and say it wasn’t gonna happen but they persisted and got all the kids dressed again and went back out.  Imagine trying to corral 8 kids of various ages and temperaments and trying to get all to look in the vicinity of the photographer while putting on a semi-happy face! At this point, Luke was *DONE* with photos and didn’t really want to cooperate.  If you look closely at the group pix of all 8, he is not looking too pleased.  🙂 He also did not want any individual pix taken so we don’t have any of him except a few of him crying, poor boy!  Aidan looks a little bored or “over it” with the later group pix, too.  And some of the little ones didn’t want to stand still or get in line! haha But these photos sure do make Gigi happy.

Bonnie and kids arrive

Monday Bonnie and her three came in from Amarillo by way of Roanoke where they’d already been for a couple of days, visiting David’s sister and her family.  Of course, the cousins love seeing each other and have been having a ball!

Rich and I had tickets to see James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt on Monday night so Aidan and Ally stayed with everyone else at Sarah’s.  Although we love having everyone here, it was kinda nice to have a night off after the busy weekend. 🙂  The concert was fab and both still sound really strong. So nice to see more of our “oldsters” that can carry a tune and rock out at their age!

Tuesday was Aidan and Ally’s last night so Miles cooked out at their house and the kids had one last hurrah.  Elle came home with us to spend the night with Ally and Emery; by then all of Bonnie’s family had moved over to our house.

 

Wednesday we drove the kids halfway to meet their mom and the mood in the car was quite somber.  I’m glad they really enjoy coming to see us (and let’s admit it, probably more to see their cousins!)  Aidan won a new book and a ticket to a Texas Rangers game for reading enough hours in the library’s summer challenge, so that was pretty cool.  I think he was proud, even though he acts like it’s no big deal.  We miss them already and were glad that there were a couple of days’ overlap with all 8 kids here together.  Fun times!

Full Weekend

We had Beck, Jack, Aidan and Ally for the weekend and stayed at Sarah’s house where there’s more room and more for the kids to do.  I managed to come down with a very sore throat and eventually lost my voice almost altogether which the kids thought was quite funny. Thankfully everyone is pretty self sufficient and the older ones helped with the younger ones.

Sunday my niece Missy and four of her five kids were in town from Japan so they and my ex’s Aunt Frankye came over for the afternoon, bringing us all some pizza for lunch.  The second-cousins don’t really know each other very well since they don’t get to see each other often so a happy time was had by all as they swam and played together for several hours.  It’s always good to see Aunt Frankye, who is 90 and still full of vim and vigor.  I aspire to be like her!

 

 

Happy Birthday, Sarah!

Yesterday was my first-born’s birthday.  My life was sweetly changed when I became a mother to a little girl so full of life and joy and sassiness. I am proud to be her mom, proud of all she’s done through the years, and proud to watch her parent her own kids on an almost daily basis. She is loving and compassionate, kind and caring, lots of fun, and a wonderful example to her little ones about how to treat others. We have great talks about all kinds of interesting and sometimes hard stuff; she is hilarious and regularly cracks me up with her stories; I have a big time hanging out with her and I couldn’t be more grateful that we live in the same town where I get to be involved in life with her, Miles and the kids. It’s really been a blessing to be close by and to make up for lost time after all those years far away in Alaska.  Now if we could only get her sisters and their families to join us in Dallas, life would be complete!  Happy birthday, Sarah! We love you!

 

Earlier in the day, I took Ally, Aidan and Elle to “Altitude,” one of those trampoline jumping places and they had a good time wearing themselves out.  We then brought Elle back home because her family was going to Beck’s closing ceremonies for the day camp he’s been attending all week.  Ally was invited to go with them so Aidan and I headed back home.

Later, Rich, Aidan and I met Sarah, Miles and the rest of the kids for dinner at Ida Claire (cute southern name for a restaurant, huh?) to celebrate Sarah’s birthday.  We enjoyed our meal and had a great time visiting with everyone.  Miles left early to take Elle to soccer practice with Ally in tow; he later called back to say practice had apparently been cancelled and they were going home.  Ally then spent the night with Elle and Beck came home with us for the night.

 

Aidan and Beck swam and then watched “The BFG” before bedtime.  This morning I picked up Ally and Jack at Sarah’s house and brought them over to ours.  Sarah and Miles are having a little weekend getaway for her birthday and Elle has gone to her other grandparents’ for a visit so Rich and I will have Beck and Jack along with Aidan and Ally for a couple of days. We are staying at Sarah’s since there’s more room and all of the boys’ stuff is more handy here.

Bonnie and her three kids arrive either tomorrow night or Monday morning, so we will have all 8 grandkids here for a couple of days overlap. That should be a blast for all and I am hoping against hope I might get a group photo since those are very hard to come by!

How’s your weekend going?

Movie, Library, Book Store, Swim

As promised, Ally and I picked Elle up a little after 11 AM and set out for the movie theater to see “Despicable Me 3.”  The girls enjoyed it and I think I might have dozed off a couple of times. LOL

After the movie we drove to the library to get some books.  This brought up many happy memories of my own times spent in libraries as a kid. When we lived on an Air Force base in Germany, our family regularly went to the library after church every Sunday to check out our books for the week.  I can remember walking up and down the rows in the kids’ section, seeing so many titles or cover art that caught my eye and having a hard time narrowing it down to decide which ones to check out.  I can still picture myself with a huge stack of books in my arms and my mom telling me to “put some back for next time!”

My mom loved to read and we inherited old Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books from my grandparents; we read books of poetry and fairy tales, biographies and story books; my mom had us recite poems to her and write our own stories.  The headboard on my parents’ bed contained a bookcase,  full of interesting volumes that I was not yet old enough to browse (except for The Lives of the Saints, which I did get to read cover to cover).  I would sometimes nap or rest in their bed, staring at all of the titles and wondering what the books were about.  Funny, I can still remember some of them, this many years later:  Profiles in Courage, PT109 (They were Catholics and thus JFK fans), one called Below the Salt, (I always wondered what that meant…now I know), and some James Bond novels.  🙂 We also had a huge set of encyclopedia, which I loved looking through and was grateful to have when I was older and had to write reports for school.  But going to the library and finding something new and different was always such a joy.

When my own girls were young, we often went to the downtown library to find books to bring home, even though we had more books than we knew what to do with.  I loved passing that tradition along to them and they all loved books when they were little, being read to before they could read and then reading on their own. We were also premium members of the Overdue Club.  I am not sure why we could never seem to return our books on time but we were always in arrears.  🙂   Once they started school and began using the library there, alas, our trips to the public library slowed down quite a bit.

Needless to say, I feel that libraries are so important for all of us but especially for people who cannot afford to buy books of their own.  These days libraries also provide computer services and classes and free lunches for kids and after school activities and more. I even read about librarians in Philadelphia who are trained to administer Narcan because so many people are overdosing on opioids on their grounds or even inside the library itself. Now that is probably something they never imagined they’d have to do when they were studying library science.  And here in Dallas, people who are homeless are welcomed into the central library instead of being treated as a nuisance. As a former social worker,  I was happy to see that some libraries are now employing social workers to assist patrons who may need services beyond the library’s offerings.  Libraries have been on the forefront of meeting the challenges of a changing society.  I hope they will always be with us.

Back to our day!

We found a couple of books that Ally wanted and looked around the library a bit.  Both girls were searching for a graphic novel which was not available so we decided to stop in at Half Price Books.  Unfortunately, they did not have the particular book that Elle was looking for, either, so our next stop was Barnes and Noble, which (of course) has everything imaginable and both girls were allowed to find one book for Gigi to buy.  By then we were all parched so we got smoothies and iced tea from the Starbucks inside.

Back to our house afterwards, where the girls swam for an hour till Sarah came to get Elle.   These cousins are so cute and I enjoyed listening to them talk about the books they are reading, school starting back up, friends, things they like to do.  What a fun day we had!