Of Thanksgiving

“How was your Thanksgiving?” you ask.

We did what everyone else did.
We gathered around the table,
we ate, we talked, we laughed sometimes.
But most of all, deep inside, we hurt.
We cried, we talked about Tris,
we remembered good times
and a few more tears fell.
The sadness of missing him
has settled deep.
His presence was so large, so full of life,
there is a lot about him to miss.
It is just unbelievable what a hole
one person can leave.

We put our best foot forward
since the Holidays give us no choice
but to face life head on.
It wasn’t easy,
sometimes it felt downright unbearable,
but we tried and with the trying,
there was grace, once again sustaining us.

Children crave normalcy
so for their sake, we had to try.

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All Eric had to do was continue reading
and he had a revolving audience of little people.

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Madison had a good time Thursday.
Now guess what they think they “need” around this place.

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Grandpa loaded all the littles up for a ride.
The oversize load behind him followed for back up.

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We spent a lot of time just talking, being together.
The best conversations happen around this island.

Tris is often in our conversations.
Looking through photo albums,
laughing at his jokes,
talking about his likes and dislikes,
the things he did and said.
(all of which were many)

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There was teasing, lots of it from this one.
They may fight with and yell at him,
but they wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Grandma snuggles make little girls feel better.

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We even went out to eat one time because tired minds
have a hard time thinking of something to cook all the time.

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Beside Grandpa’s fireplace is the best place to set up a game.
Their parents don’t play games but the kids seem to like it.

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Saturday mornings at Grandma’s call for pancakes.
Grandma usually makes big ones
but when the favorite aunt comes to visit,
she makes fun size pancakes.
How many silver dollar pancakes can you eat?

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Tris’ shop is a good place for little people
with lots of energy to hang out,
especially on rainy days.

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Anytime spent outside was under an umbrella.
She was happy with that!

Days that are dreary and rainy make
grief-walking even more difficult.
The cloudy winter days in our future look long
but one thing we have learned
is to take one day at a time.
Tomorrow doesn’t matter, only today.

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This little chair was just her thing!
She read one book after another
with her little feet all relaxed.

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Sunday the Master griller fixed a bird for us.
It was delicious.
We hereby proclaim that the women of this family
are done fixing the food.
Have at it guys.

Someone’s sense of humor is still intact
because we found a bag of turkey bones
under Eric’s seat on the way home.
They thought he might need a snack. 🙂


So the questions remains,
“How was the weekend?”
Good and bad.
Good to spend time with family again.
Hard to see what a hole is left in our family.
Good to see the small amount of progress we’ve made.
Sad to think of moving on without him.
To sum up and answer,
“We survived.”




The Tent House

When we were at Grandma’s house for a week,
we wanted something simple to entertain the kids, preferably outside.
Grandma suggested making a tent for them,
I had noticed one along the road just a few days before,
so combining our ideas, the tent house came to life.

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Mom has a 3 stranded wash line so they hung the sheets over the lines
and clothes pins worked great to hold it together.
They even used an extra sheet and added a porch.

We thought we were building it for all the kids,
but the two hippies kind of moved in and took over.
They hauled all kinds of paraphernalia from one house
or the other, and filled the tent!

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The other kids stopped in to take tour of the place.
One tent dweller willingly hopped off her chair to open the door,
the other happily stayed right where she was.

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Their vehicle was usually parked close by
so the walk was not a one strenuous when they left home.

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After awhile they announced, “It’s time for you kids to leave now!”

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“These guys are a little strange!” he thinks.
But they don’t mind being thought of as strange,
life is good.

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Whew, back to relaxing now that the visitors have all gone home.

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Eventually they ventured out to find some food.
This picture sums up their relationship quite well.
One does something strange, while the other watches with interest.

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Unknown to them, when the hippies are away, the mice will play.
While they were out getting food and playing some games,
two visitors sneaked in and took over the tent house.

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These two are the best of friends
and quite enjoy their time together
when we are at Grandma’s house.

Build your gang a tent house,
it creates hours of fun.

Revving up Memories

Childhood memories …
Are there certain things you see or do that sparks a memory?
Maybe something you eat or hear?
Something triggers in there and you start thinking about
all the fun you had doing that when you were a kid.

One weekend in June we were in Indiana to see the family.
The ladies (and all the kids) were off doing their things,
and the guys (with not a child in sight) were off doing theirs.
No, we’re not bitter or anything but let’s just say
maybe next time they can see how that maxi van rides.

Anyway, getting back on track.
We both arrived home about the same time
and there on the back of their truck was a little dirt bike.

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When we were kids we practically lived on
a dirt bike, 3 wheeler, jeep or something like this.
Someone asked Tris when he learned to ride.
“Um, I don’t know. When I learned to walk!”
That’s about when I was thinking too.
I don’t remember learning to ride a dirt bike
or drive a jeep. They were just part of our life.

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(I may or may not have been begging for the first ride)

Now backing up a bit.
The guys were in town and found
a bike on Craig’s list, looked it up,
combined their cash and bought it.
On the way home they stopped to check out another one
that was leaning against a tree with a “For Sale” sign.
“We don’t have the cash right now, but we’ll be back!”
And they were.

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They came home and dropped off one,
asked Grandma for some cash and were off to buy one more.

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So now 3 guys are part owners of one bike
and Grandma is the proud owner of the 2nd one.

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Sat. afternoon and evening were pretty much a race track.
If you didn’t know how to ride before, you quickly learned.

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There were races on the road and laps around Grandma’s house.

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If you weren’t old enough to learn, you hopped on with someone for a ride.

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Sometimes the little bikes were on overload.

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They made a few rounds and stopped for the next guy to take a turn.

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On Sunday Tyson and his boys brought the two they have.
Now there were four, which meant much less time wasted waiting in line.

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Since I grew up riding, I thought my girls should learn also.
They loved it.
Problem is, now they have a short lists of “needs.”

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That Sunday was Father’s Day.
Since the guys took care of the dishes on Mother’s Day,
the ladies were generous and offered to do them for their day.

The guys looked out the door and almost offered to wash the dishes.
Kids of all sizes were waiting to start the bikes.

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But since it was Father’s day and all,
these guys went out and took the first ride.

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It was just a little bit like watching a circus.

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Madison said, “This is like watching all those little
cars in the parade that go in circles!”

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They stopped to line up for a race.

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There may have been some cheating involved
since the smallest bike was the first one off the line.

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They were kind enough to come back after awhile
and give their kids a push start.

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Eric decided Dakota is quite old enough to learn to ride.
And so he did!

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He was one proud little guy.
Only problem was, he learned on Sunday afternoon,
just a few hours before we were ready to leave for home.
Now it’s not just 2 begging, it’s 3.
(or maybe 4)

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Grandma generally has a nice looking lawn.
After that weekend, it was more of packed yard/race track.
We hope it recovered.


Dirt bike riding wasn’t the only thing we did that weekend.
It was just the only thing we did after we bought them.

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They had a lot of rain and the creek was just perfect for playing.
We spent hours playing in this creek when we were kids.
Now when we go back, my kids always hope for a little rain
to make the creek just right for a good splash.

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This gang created a body dam to stop the water …

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… from filling these guy’s bathtub.
One of them yelled,
“We don’t need a bath tonight since we took one in here!”

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We also filled up on ice cream that weekend.

Ice cream was pretty much a staple growing up.
We had home made ice cream parties with the cousins.
We ate it before bedtime, for dessert, a snack and just about any time.

When Tim bought an ice cream machine from a restaurant
going out of business, we had it up and running in no time.
Grandma bought every kind of cone, candy and cookie crumble
you can imagine to pile on it and the kids
thought they were in ice cream heaven.

Suffice to say, a weekend at Grandma’s is never dull.
Lots of memories for the next generation, coming up!

Of Going Home

Recently a Facebook friend and her family moved to another state.
Last week she commented about being excited about going “home” for a visit.
A few people wondered why she is referring to her previous community
as home. My comment to her was,
“It will always be home,
no matter how long you have been gone!”

When you have moved away, you’ll realize
that sometimes you just need to go home.
There is a pull there that you just can’t explain.
I’m always glad to come back to my house and my people,
but occasionally, I just need to go home.

And so it was that we went “home” last weekend.

We rarely get to Indiana for Mother’s day
because there are just so many things happening
around this time of the year
so it was special to be able to be there this year.

Blog 5-12 (1) Madison wanted Grandma to teach her how to make pie crust since her Mother seems to be a failure at such a thing.

Blog 5-12 (2) I watched and listened too, hopefully between the 2 of us we can make something edible next time the pie craving hits.

Blog 5-12 (3) She’s such a good grandma to take the time to teach with patience.

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She was happy with the finished product and it tasted good too!

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Miss Libby and her Mama.

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These 2, were one is you’ll be sure to find the other.
They have so much fun together.

Blog 5-12 (7) ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans’ applies to Grandma’s house.
When at Grandma’s do whatever you want, Grandma will say it’s ok.
As in, let’s all drink a juicie right before lunch.

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Never been happier, this little chip muncher.
Grandma knows her first love, which explains the extra large bag of chips.

Blog 5-12 (9) A perfectly fine Sat night on the back porch.
Family, food, fun and laughter.
In the name of being honest, it included quite a lot of kid fights too.
What else can one expect when there are 7 kids, 4 and under.

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The cutest little stinker ever.

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Bike riding fun.
Try as she might, she could not make this thing go
so “Push me!” was the name of the game.

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Mr Grant, a busier little guy you will not find.
Just watching him makes me tired,
and thinking about chasing him all the time
makes me even more tired.

Blog 5-12 (13) It was each man for himself when the roasting sticks
came out for marshmallows.
And then it was another grabbing mess
when the marshies were opened.
I see my daughter scored 4 when 1 or 2 was the limit.

Blog 5-12 (14) Some like them burnt, some like them cold.

Blog 5-12 (15) I see she managed to eat all 4 too.
Mr D had a lot of trouble with his roasting technique
but the marshie went down the hatch anyway.

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And when all the marshmallows are roasted away,
you just go ahead and roast the carrot your aunt
jammed on the stick when you asked for one more.


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Mother’s day morning with my littles. (or not so littles)
I am blessed.
Many years ago I cried all morning one Mother’s day
because of not having my child to hold.
Today I have 4 and am so thankful for them.

Blog 5-12 (18) It was special to spend the weekend with my lovely mother.
There is so much to be said of her that words cannot describe it all.
For her, I am so very thankful!

Blog 5-12 (19) So glad my girls get to grow up spending time with their Grandma.
They love going to her house.
Madison was scanning the summer calendar
to see when they can go for a whole week.
Get ready Grandma.

Lest one would think we are all happy as pie while smiling so sweetly,
not to be missed is the blurry little foot of the smallest one.
She seems to think swift kicking helps when you are mad.

A Family Weekend…

…and what a weekend it was.
Full of all things fun.
Laughing. Talking. Arguing.
A little crying by the babies.
Kids games. Kids yelling.
Lots of eating.
Did I mention talking?

As it goes in a family
there are siblings that have the same personalities,
and some so very opposite.
In our family, we 4 siblings are split, 2 and 2.
Get us all in public and 2 enjoy it,
visiting with people all night.
The other 2, enjoy themselves
but are a lot more reserved.
(I know you are all dieing to know which one I am. ha)

Now cram us all into a house for a long weekend,
along with the parents, our spouses
and our endless line up of kids,
we all talk, we’re all loud,
and we all have a jolly good time.
Almost makes me cry thinking about our fun together.
Ever feel like that about your family?
You love them so much it almost hurts!

Fam wkend (1)
Tim’s and Mom came on Wed night already.
We wanted to make sure the weekend was long enough.
Mother promptly got started entertaining the grandkids.

Fam wkend (2)The little pirate who couldn’t play the game with the others
played his own game.

Fam wkend (3)We had one tree in the back yard that was dead and had the potential to hit the house if it fell. Thursday afternoon Eric and Tim gave it a bit of help falling in the right direction while the kids watched.

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Thanks to our overly zealous dog, nothing is safe outside.
The little lawn chair Madison is oversizing,
got his attention in a not so good way.

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I love to see her all bundled up, not that she loves it or anything.
Right now she is anti camera so looking passed me
was completely intentional.

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We worked and worked that afternoon to take this guy’s 3 year old pictures
with not a smile in sight! Now look at this, a few hours later.

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Dead tree be gone, warm us with your heat!

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Tys and Amanda and company of boys arrived Thursday evening.
Grandma read to the twins while we finished up the food.
They technically aren’t twins since he’s 6 months younger
but he’s a bit taller and probably a bit heavier then she is.

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We sent the kids to the basement to play since almost all the toys are down there. That didn’t stop them from dragging things up stairs to be with us and to make sure we could see their fights and settle them!

If you are counting, we are up to 7 adults and 9 kids here so far
with more coming the next day.

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In the middle of all of this,
Mr D had a birthday!
This year the girls decorated their own cake
and he was bound and determined to decorate his own too.
We traded in a cake for cupcakes and had a little
decorating party on Friday afternoon!
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Use your imagination for how this went.
We may have swept up as many sprinkles as actually stuck on the cupcakes.
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When they were done,
I suddenly had no desire for cupcakes.
Thankfully, there was a nice cake hidden that no one was going to spit upon when blowing out candles. That’s called 2 birds with 1 stone.

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This is a Christmas card winner because the small son is smiling.

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By Friday night we added 3 more adults and 3 more children to the mixture and we were nearly bursting at the seams but having a good time.
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Time for cake and ice cream for a birthday boy!
We haven’t been in this parenting game for 11 years for nothing.
I knew that 1 candle for 1 boy was not going to go over well,
so we pulled out candles and passed out cupcakes
and everyone had a jolly good time blowing out flames!
Lest you think the birthday boy was cheated,
notice that he has 3 cupcakes with candles in each.
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He looked forward to this for the longest time.
It’s not often you have a birthday on a weekend when all the cousins are here to help you celebrate all weekend long.

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opening gifts… wham. bam. and we’re done.
There was help from all sides.
The pieces flew and in no time it was all over!
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He was quite pleased with his loot.
I told him I’m saving our gift for his actual birthday (Sunday).
He was rather concerned that there would be no gift from us because
he knows that Mom did not go to Walmart without him anytime
and he knows there was no gift in the cart when he was along. 🙂
The miracle of the internet and plain brown boxes from UPS.

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Sat morning was more food and chaos.
The chaos was mainly organized
but how well can you keep the noise level down
and the kids all in line with that many people?
Plus it was colder then cold that weekend and the boys couldn’t go out.
Grandpa did usher them out for a bit
and made them run a few laps on the porch to get some energy released.
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Grandpa would lean back and squeeze her and she would squeal so he would sit up. If he didn’t lean back soon enough, she would reach up and pull him back again.

Saturday afternoon we left all the big kids with a very capable babysitter and went to the wedding. We felt a bit bad for her since we only took 3 babies but she claims all was well!

Now one thing you would think we all would have learned, growing up together and all,  is that you don’t pick on Tys, because whatever you do comes back 150%.
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I missed that life lesson I guess, because when an opportunity presented itself, I took it. I do claim this one as a victory because he did not accomplish what he set out to do to me!

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Sunday lunch brought more candle puffing since it was the actual birthday.
Little one loved it too.

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You can’t tell me you don’t eat all the frosting off the cupcake first.
We know you do in secret.
Now what I do in secret is scrape all the frosting off into a pile,
and then eat the cupcake and leave the frosting.
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The promised gift that he had been waiting and waiting for.
Unwrapping was much like a paper shredder,
hands reaching in from all sides
and in less then 2.5 seconds it was over.
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He thinks he has the world by the tail….
And all the mom can think of when she sees Lego’s
is stepping on them in the middle of the night.

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These 2 just go ’round and ’round.
Relentless arguing and teasing.

And when lunch was over, came the sad part.
They all packed up and went home.
Following a few tears, the kids dumped the Legos
and the Mother passed out in her bed.

What a weekend it was!

Good memories make for good dreams of the next time together.

A Sweet New Bebe

When a sweet new niece is born,
it calls for a trip to go see her.
And the rest of the gang too, of course.

We had a good weekend,
stacked to the brim with things happening.

IN 2

There was the meet and greet of the little one herself.
And a lot of time was spent saving her from other small people.

IN 1

There were swing rides with the new big brother.


And sand box time.
Kennedy tasted it, of course.

IN 3

Big cousin met little cousin.
He loved her.
And Miss Little eats M&Ms after a nap.

IN 4

There were swing rides and buzzing bees.

IN 5

There was fresh corn on the cob…
with more then one way to eat it.
Left to right? Right to left?
Around and around?
Or with no hands?

IN 6

There were golf cart rides and jeep rides.

IN 7

The Clampett’s came to town.
They had the wave down pat and everything.
Someday we’ll go visit them in Hollywood.

IN 8

There were tractor rides and ice cream bars.

IN 9

There was more baby holding
and cousin love.
He is 6 months younger
but a little bigger all around then she is.

IN 10

And there were pictures of the sweet bebe.
She peaked open an eye to say hello
and then went back to snoozing.

In between all these things,
there was just a lot of action,
just like it always is at Grandma’s.

It’s a good life.

Family Days

A new nephew was born a few weeks ago
and was in need of meeting his favorite Aunt
so the 2 Littles and I made a trip to Grandma’s.

It was a relaxing few days,
a little cooking,
a lot of chatting,
a lot of kid care
some baby holding
coffee drinking
and I enjoyed it all.

When you don’t live close to your family,
things like this take on a new meaning.
You appreciate time spent with them
in a different light then if you live close by them.

IN 1

Mr D made the most of his time there.
Since they moved to the new house
there is a trampoline and a swing right outside the back door.
He had tractor rides,  golf cart drives,
played with the cousins,
went to an “awesome” ball game
and wasn’t ready to come home.

IN 2

 Mr Bryce came every day.
He loves hats and will wear Grandpa’s
every chance he gets.

IN 3

These guys went to pick flowers for their moms.
We all got many, many handfuls.
Max let me know that his aren’t for me,
they are for his mom even if she isn’t here!

IN 5

You have to know this child
to understand what an amazing thing this is.
He is unbelievably scared of dogs.
I had to force him to let Willie come lick his hand
and he was shaking all over.
I made him rub Willie’s head a little
and he decided it feels like a teddy bear.
It seemed to do the trick for this dog,
but not the bigger one.
He still skirted way around Molly
and only took that chance when she was sleeping.

IN 6

This was just the greatest.
Grandpa puttered around the field with them
and they thought they were really working.
Dakota got a thrill out of watching the
tractors, disks and planters on the way out.
Good entertainment for a “city” boy.

IN 7

The little man we went to meet…
He is 5 weeks old and
he started to roll over while I was there.
He reminds me so much of
Dakota as a baby, a hefty little guy!
Little One is to be feared and for good reasons.
Eyes! Poke. Poke. Squeeze. Squish. Lay. Lift!

IN 8

I went down and got the Little Man’s
2 sisters for a little evening shoot.
We had fun.
I think Katelyn missed Madison and Reagan
as much as anyone.
Her and Dakota played together one day
and actually enjoyed it.
I don’t think they have ever played together before
because Katelyn and Reagan are always off somewhere.

IN 9

We tried for a little shoot with Nick but…
it started out badly,
there were only a few small smiles for his Dad in the middle
and then it ended just like it started.
So we quit.

Early the next morning we loaded up and headed home.
When we picked the girls up at school that afternoon
one of them announced,
“I had no idea you do so much!”

hmmm, maybe I need to leave a little more often. 🙂