Friday, August 28, 2009

Another Family Picnic

Family picnics seem to be becoming sort of a family tradition with me and my children and grandchildren. We got together for picnics a couple of times last year, and again this summer. I truly hope that this tradition continues. These times are fun and relaxing, away from the daily grind of our everyday lives. I'm thinking that they are probably more relaxing for me than for those with small children to chase and keep track of, but everyone seemed to enjoy the time spent as a family.

We met last Saturday at a park that has picnic tables and a swimming beach. The picnic area was shaded by large oak trees, and we sat in the shade and visited.

Jacob had a hard time negotiating all of the acorns on the ground.

The kids swam and played in the sand, making sand castles that Jacob destroyed as only Jacob can. I believe I saw him belly-flop onto one of them. Jeri told me that when she and her kids were at this same park earlier this summer, the water out by the swimming area markers was over her head. It has been so dry this summer that the water was only just a little over knee-high on the tallest grandchild. But they still had fun playing and splashing.

Later in the afternoon we all drove to Jon and Jeri's house close by on Prior Lake, where Jon took us all for a ride in his pontoon. It is a beautiful boat with room for everybody. After a tour of the lake, he anchored in a bay and the kids, as well as some of the older, grown-up kids, dived and jumped off the boat to splash and swim. The younger ones don't do much swimming, but mostly jumping and splashing, climbing back on the boat to jump and splash some more. Some of the younger ones were trying out their diving skills, and I would hear a loud slapping sound, followed by a spray of water. Each time I would hear Jon say, "Keep your head down." I think they sort of got the hang of it after a while. It was a gorgeous, sunny summer day...perfect for an afternoon on the lake.

On towards suppertime, we headed back to the house, where David fired up the grill and cooked hamburgers for all while we set out the rest of the food that everyone had brought. If anyone went home hungry, it was their own fault. Seems we had enough food for a small army - potato salad, fruit salad, veggies with dip and a wonderful chocolate cake that Jill made that had cherries baked into it, topped with whipped cream. Kissed my diet good-bye, I did. Even Pooh, the Golden Doodle, got into the act, cruising under the tables looking for food the kids might have dropped. I think she made out pretty well!

After supper we sat and talked for a time, and the kids got a game of "fetch the tennis ball" going with Pooh. Both the kids and the dog have boundless energy. I'm guessing that the kids slept pretty well that night, after a day of swimming and jumping and splashing and running and fresh air and sunshine.

After hugs all around, it was time for me to go home. I downloaded the pictures I had taken from my camera, and looking through them, reflected on what a really nice day I had with my family. Often, when talking to people my age and older, I hear complaints from them that they never spend time with their grown children and grandchildren. Everyone is too busy for them, they say. I feel truly blessed that every now and then, mine will take the time and effort to spend a day like this with me.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Griffon David Puffe

When I met Ashley, she was due to give birth at any moment. That was one reason I was so pleased that she would take the time and trouble to drive all that way meet with us at our family get-together up north. I do remember what the last stages of pregnancy are like, and I don't know about her, but I was ready to do just about anything to to get that whole birthing business over with and be able to see my feet again, or to be able to stand without my back hurting, or any of the other fun things that go along with pregnancy. So I really appreciated the effort on her part to join us that weekend.

Well, here he is. Griffon David Puffe. Weighing in at 7 lbs. 13 oz. and 20 3/4 inches long, born on August 17, 2009. I do believe he is a keeper!

I'm thinking here that Grandpa Kelly sort of likes him as well!!!

I am so grateful to Jackie for emailing me these pictures, as it will be a while before I can get back north again to see him in person. You done good, Ashley.

Update on Family Get-Together Up North

I love surprises in my email, and this morning I received a really nice surprise. Jackie emailed me some pictures she had taken when we had all met a few weeks ago. I was kind of bummed as the pictures I had taken just didn't turn out very well, so I was really happy to get these and be able to share them with you.

This is a much better picture of Dustin and Emily than the one I took. I have so few pictures of my niece and nephew, and now I have this one, and it means so much to me. Thank you, Jackie. I also like the next one of Kelly, Emily, Dustin and David eating lunch on the deck. We all had such a good time that day.

Here we have the two youngest members of the family who, left to their own devices, could probably find all sorts of things to get into! They had so much fun playing together.

Kelly and I spent some time looking at pictures on David's laptop. What memories there are within those pictures. And it was a good way to catch up on what has been happening within the family. I know that I can be a real pain in the whatever to my kids, pestering them for pictures so much, but being able to walk down Memory Lane with my brother is one reason that pictures are so important to me. My memory is not what I would like it to be. I seem to have misplaced entire decades within my memory, and seeing the family pictures serves to remind me of things long since forgotten.

Rarely do I like to have my picture taken. I would much rather be in back of the camera than in front of it. But I like this picture, because it reminds me of a really good day with family - happy and relaxed. I hope we can have more of these times together soon.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Turn Nicki Loose With a Camera

Over the weekend I was fiddling with my new camera, trying to get it set up so I could try it out. I was a bit overwhelmed by all the different settings that I am still learning, but what stumped me was the fact that I needed to do some programming in order to start taking pictures. Now, give me a computer and I will fearlessly forge ahead until I can get it to do what I want it to do. But the camera is a whole new ballgame. So yesterday, fearing that I would mess it up, I called Jeri. who is really good at figuring out things like cameras. She came over and within minutes had it up and running for me. Seems all I would have had to do was set the time and date. DUH!!!

While Jeri was here, she downloaded some pictures from her camera. Nicki had taken these pictures while we were up north a couple of weeks ago. Here is what happens when you turn Nicki loose with a camera, and add two younger cousins. I love it!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Just For the Fun of It

Sometimes ya just gotta do something for the pure fun of it. Hence, this post.

David dropped by my apartment the other day, as he does now and then, to download the latest batch of his pictures onto my computer for me. Among the pictures were these. It seems that David was entertaining Jacob by taking pictures of the two of them. Here are the results. Which I will post as soon as I finish giggling. How fun is this!!!

Poor Charlie

Poor Charlie did not have as fun a weekend at the lake as did the rest of us. By the time David and Staci got to our destination, it was obvious that something was wrong with him. He was just not acting like his usually happy self. At first he would yip in pain now and then, with no cause that we could see, Then later, he seemed to be in pain when bumped or jostled. He slept with me Friday night, and literally screamed when he jumped down off the bed in the morning. He occasionally limped, but there was no one thing we could put a finger on as the source of his discomfort.

My first thought was arthritis, as I see those same symptoms every now and then in the older dogs that come into the grooming shop where I work. I was dead wrong.

David and Staci told me that he cried often on their way home, so after calling their Vet, David took him to the doggie Emergency Room. These photos were taken while he was there. Turns out the poor little guy had a herniated disc in his spine near his neck. No wonder he was crying in pain. David said the Vet prescribed some good doggie drugs to relax his muscles and kill the pain, and I hear he is recovering nicely. I was so relieved to hear that.

After all, Charlie is my Grand-Puppy!

Family Weekend at the Lake

When I first started blogging, it was with the idea of sharing the digital scrapbook pages I make and sharing stories of days gone by, of family and of the events in our lives. And for a time, that worked out pretty well. But things have changed, as they often do. I find that with my work schedule added to the fact that I now live alone and do all of the daily chores myself, there just isn't time to put into digital scrapbooking. It has become a chore rather than a joy. Oh, I still enjoy sitting at my computer and putting together the scrapbook pages, but I have other things that I like to do in my spare time as well. I have a quilt that has sat in a box in pieces for months and I want to finish it for my bedroom. I bought some yarn a while back to see if I remembered how to crochet an afghan for my living room. I have a whopping six granny squares done, and they, too, reside in a box in the closet. So it is time to move on and do some things other than digital scrapbook.

This blog will contain the stories as did the old one, as some of my family members have expressed a desire to read what I write, and it will also contain pictures - just not in scrapbook form. With any kind of luck, this will enable me to keep up with what is going on in our lives and also share some of the stories of the past. It is the scrapbook pages that take so much of my time. Perhaps now, all of those fabric pieces will actually become a quilt!

The first weekend in August, some of my family met for a get-together up north. I had a grand time. I was able to spend time with some of my grown children and their children. There was time to get to know my grandkids a little better. I found that Maddie Mae will talk a blue streak when she has overcome her shyness. Early one morning, I learned from her all I ever want to know about "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." Seems that is one of her favorite movies, and I got a running play-by-play about what was happening on the screen. Delightful.

One evening, we had a bonfire, toasted marshmallows and made Smores. Boston burns the heck out of marshmallows, which is just the way I like them. Zach takes his time and makes them toasty brown on the outside, which is also just the way I like them. They did a good job of keeping Grandma supplied with toasted marshmallows.

Boston gathered a whole sack full of pine cones for me. I brought them home, baked them in a low-heat oven for an hour to kill any creepy crawlers that might be in them, and they now reside in a basket in my living room, a nice reminder of a lovely weekend and of the granddaughter who gathered them for me.

Jacob makes me tired. He is so busy and everything is done at a dead run. I just love sitting back and watching to see what he will do next. He can go from a world class tantrum to smiling and happy with astounding speed. He is a joy.

I love being with Zach. He will, out of the blue, come up to me and give me a hug. Hugs are good, especially when given by grandsons. He told me about the fish he caught and threw back to give them a chance to grow up. He has a sense of humor second to none, and I really like hearing what he will come up with next.

It was so fun to have Nicki along on this trip. Her sense of humor tickles my funny bone. She traveled in the back seat of the van, and remarked that we didn't need to worry about her as she was just part of the luggage back there. She is so good with the younger kids and did a great job of keeping them entertained. Seems like just yesterday she was a little kid herself, but she has grown into nearly a young lady, and even though I love her, I like her as well.

On Saturday Kelly and some of his family came to spend the day with us. I always love it when I can see my brother. We have a bond that has weathered time, and even though we don't see each other very often, the times that we do are very special for me. We talk of times past, of our parents and our families. It is good to do that from time to time. We had a potluck lunch with more food than could be eaten at a couple of meals. Kelly reminded me of a time when Dad lived in an apartment complex where the residents got together for a potluck meal every so often. Now, Dad was not known as a spendthrift. I believe the word "cheap" would apply. At any rate, his idea of a contribution to the dinners, where others brought casseroles, cakes, pies, salads and other goodies, was a jar of olives. And if the jar remained unopened, he took it home and brought it the next time. This has resulted in a standing family joke about who will bring the olives.

Jackie was there with Kelly, and I was so glad to see her. She is such a sweet lady, more of a sister than a sister-in-law. She is fun to be with and I so enjoy her company. Her daughter, Ashley, came later in the afternoon because Jackie said she wanted to meet all of us. That took some effort on her part, as she is due to have her baby any minute now. She reminded me of her mother, and I like her very much.

I was also happy to meet Dustin and his daughter, Desiree (am not sure of the spelling), who is nearly two years old. How fortunate I am to have another nephew and grand-niece. Dustin reminds me of his dad - not so much in looks, but in his way of talking and his sense of humor. He races at the Bemidji Speedway, and I asked him about that. Apparently he is not having the best racing season this year, because his answer was, "You had to ask about that, didn't you!" But then he showed me some pictures of his car, which is really cool. When he got ready to leave, he gave me a hug, and that made me feel like I really did have another member of my family. I hope I can spend more time with them again soon.

Desiree is a little doll-baby. She is just so cute, and once she got over being shy around so many new people, she and Jacob had a good old time, running and playing together. When they started dancing, we found that Desiree can "shake her booty" with the best of them. She adores her grandma, and it was fun to watch them together.

Emily was there as well, and she is the reason for this reunion of sorts. Some of us have been chatting with her on Facebook, and when she told me that she was coming home from Hawaii for a time while her husband was off for the military, and to have her baby here in Minnesota, I knew that we just had to get together. It had been way too long since I had seen her. Thanks to my kids who organized this outing, I was able to see her and hug her and spend some time with her. It is fun to chat online, but nothing compares to seeing her in person. I am so excited for her having this baby, and the ultrasound pictures she brought with show that it is a boy. I am so happy for her and her husband. I am planning a trip north in November after my grand-nephew is born. I mean, after all, how many times is one lucky enough to have grand-nieces and nephews!

As I am an early riser, I had some alone time as well. I was able to take my morning coffee outside and sit and look at the lake, the towering pines and listen to the loons call. Now that is my idea of heaven. Jill took this photo that reminds me of the quiet and beauty of the lake. I often wish aloud that I could live again in the north country, for that has always seemed like home to me. I am not a city girl, but a country girl at heart. But I know that this is just not practical, and I am getting to the age where practical will probably win over wanting to live among the pines again. But, oh, how lovely it was to be there again with my family. Life is good.