Monday, May 25, 2015

Birthday Cake, and Other Memorial Day Treats

As I mentioned yesterday, we postponed my dad's birthday cake by a day for a very good reason...
...my brother Doug, his wife Lisa, and their son Nicky were in town and could come out to eat a lunch of tacos and watermelon and cake with us today and make our celebration even better!  :)
 We occasionally see Doug as he travels through our area (he's a truck driver who has traveled to all 48 contiguous states and has had many adventures along the way!), but it had been 8 years since Lisa and Nicky had been here.
You can imagine how much my nephew had changed in those 8 years.  He grew up!!  :)
 Moriah got some Aunt Lisa time...

 ...and Josiah and David got to play chess with Nicky.

We're so glad they could be here!  :)

Jumping back in time a day, the boys remembered how we camped out last year in our backyard and were EAGER to repeat that adventure.  I was nearly as eager, and Jeff a little less so, realist that he is.  ;-)  I suppose he was remembering the less-than-optimal sleeping conditions to be found in a tent.  :)  But he was a good sport and put up the tent on Sunday afternoon anyway.  :)
 I didn't take very many photos at all; but when David rushed into the house and told me that the tent was going up and that I'd better come take some pictures if I was going to take any at all, I did grab my camera and strolled outside to document the occasion.  :)
 Of course, Puppy got to sleep in the tent, too; Moriah made sure of that.  :)
 I really do appreciate Jeff's willingness to set up the tent for us--a task which I know nothing about.



When it was completely dark, I realized I'd like to have a picture of all the kids, so I turned the flash on the camera and aimed it in their general direction, unsure of what I'd get.  This is the result, and I was pleased because, hey, they're all in there!  :)
The funniest moment of this particular adventure came after we had been in the tent for a while.  I had read a chapter from By the Shores of Silver Lake to the kids, and David had read Love You Forever ("it's tradition!" he said, remembering how we had read that book in the tent last year; but of course, I couldn't read it aloud because of my propensity to cry!).  The kids were in various stages of settling down (a process which took quite a LONG TIME for certain members of the clan!) when clear as a bell, Josiah asked, "Could you repeat the passage?"  Not having any idea what he was talking about, we asked him what he meant, only to discover that he was sound asleep.  :)  I could hardly believe how distinct his words were; his voice didn't even have that sleepy vagueness to it!  But sure enough, he was talking in his sleep; and when we told him about it this morning, he had no idea that he had said it or what he meant by it!  :)

Another thing that made me smile last night was how Moriah took her glow stick (Jeff had given each of the kids one) and put it down the front of her sleeper.  It illuminated her whole tummy and chest area, and it sure made it easy to spot where she was in the tent.  Not that you could have missed her!  She was a bundle of energy and seemed to think that it was the perfect time to laugh at David and Tobin's antics (I believe they were making funny faces at each other) and to do somersaults on the air mattress that I was trying to sleep on!  I thought at some point, she would surely crash and fall into a deep sleep; but I don't think she ever did.  It was quite a restless night, to say the least.  :)

Around 2:00 a.m., Jeff woke me and said I'd better go in the house so I could take care of Willow--an arrangement we had previously discussed--so I left my cozy nest of blankets and scurried through the chilly air into the house where I then fell asleep on the couch.  At some point, David brought Moriah inside; and I must have taken her up to my bed to lie down with her there and see if she would conk out.  She laid still as long as I did; but as soon as I stirred, her eyes popped open.  Before I got to the stirring stage, however, Shav must have come in because he ended up on the other side of me in my bed.  When I went downstairs in the early morning, I found David on the little couch and Jeff on the big one.  I forget where Tobin was at that particular moment, but I do know that Josiah was the only one who was still in the tent!  He fell asleep first last night and ended up sleeping the longest in the tent which qualifies him for some sort of award, I suppose.  :)

As you can tell, it wasn't a very restful night; but it WAS a special one.  Sometimes making memories means giving up a little sleep.  Or a lot of sleep, as the case may be.  ;-)

Sunday, May 24, 2015

He Told Us Not to Make a Big Fuss...

...but you just can't let your dad turn 75 years old without at least mentioning it!!!  :)

So, in honor of the occasion, how about a walk down Memory Lane?  :)

First up is a photo of my parents on December 3, 1995, at a Victorian Christmas Dinner at Messiah College.  Despite the three hours or so that it took to drive from our home to my college, my parents very faithfully made the trip for a variety of functions I was involved in; and I was always grateful for their presence at such events!  :)
 Next is a photo of my parents on November 29, 1996, at a party they threw to celebrate my engagement to Jeff and my brother David's graduation from college, as well as his then-girlfriend Lori's graduation, also from Messiah College.  Just over a month later, David would propose to Lori; but at this point, they weren't officially engaged.  We were delighted when they did--finally!--become engaged.  :)  Another reason for this occasion was so that our Virginia friends could meet this stranger from California who had stolen my heart and would soon take me away to the West Coast.  ;-)
I'm not sure of the date of this next picture, but I'll tell you the story.  A mysterious odor had invaded my parents' house; and despite their best efforts to locate and eliminate the source, they were unsuccessful for quite a while.  Finally, someone had the bright idea to turn the recliner over to check what might be underneath; and lo and behold, a dead mouse was found.  My dad had the honor of dealing with the varmint, and Mom apparently found the whole thing hysterical.  So did do I.  :)
My dad has a soft side; and in this case, it came out in an unexpected gift of red roses he brought home for my mom one night.  What a sweetie.  :)
You might be wondering if we had a cake for this momentous occasion of 75 years of life, but we did not.  Not yet anyway.  That will come tomorrow when others of the family will be joining us.  :)  We did, however, have meatloaf, by Dad's special request, for lunch after church.

And tomorrow the celebration continues!  :)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Our Favorite Playground

It's God-made, not man-made.

It doesn't have a single swing, slide, seesaw, or other typical playground paraphernalia.

It doesn't cost a cent to go, except for the little bit of gas money for us to drive there.

It isn't owned by us, but you don't have to own something to enjoy it.  And enjoy it, we do--as often as we get a chance each summer.

It's Riven Rock, one of my favorite places on earth!!   And this past Wednesday, we went for the first time this year.  :)



 David was the one who bravely ventured first into the cold, cold mountain stream...
 ...then returned before too long...
 ...to join his brothers on the shore as they searched for the perfect rocks to skip.
 Jeff had bought some fresh strawberries and cherries earlier that day and brought them along...
 ...which was a perfect snack for appetites made hearty by the great outdoors.  :)
 Tobin was the next to venture into the water, followed by Josiah who was in no great hurry to get all wet, knowing from past experiences that once you're wet, you're cold.  ;-)

Shav, wise boy that he is, stayed on dry ground the longest.  ;-)

Tobin looks a little cold here.  ;-)
I just want to kiss her!  :)
I wasn't the only one taking pictures of the kids.  Jeff used his cell phone to snap a few photos, too.  :)

Moriah got to hold Shav's hand...


...and, a little later, Josiah's hand.

The joy on Shav's face puts a smile on mine!  :)


Shav pulled this up, then said, "I thought it was a snake in the water, but it's only a stick!"  Thank goodness for that!!!  :)
Moriah also got to hold her daddy's hand.  It's really rough being the only girl around here.  ;-)


The boys wanted to see what the ideal rock-skipping stone looks like, so Jeff showed them...
...and then proceeded to demonstrate his amazing skill in skipping rocks.


Check out that form!  He might teach you lessons, if you beg him long enough.  ;-)
You probably already guessed this, but I'm endlessly grateful for the privilege of being Jeff's wife!  :)


Moriah wanted to imitate the rock-skippers--OF COURSE, being the little copycat that she is (and that's a good thing. mostly.) ;-) --so she gave it her best shot.  :)
She didn't quite get the same results...
...but she looked cute doing it.  :)




 Because she was with her daddy, Moriah was willing to venture into the water pretty far.




This series of pictures with Jeff and Shav makes me smile because it's obvious Jeff is trying to get Shav into the water, but Shav doesn't want to have anything to do with that craziness!  ;-)  He does love his daddy though.  :)








This was a long pole that Jeff found in the stream and brought out on the shore.  A fitting walking stick--for a giant!  ;-)
 From our first location at Riven Rock, we then moved down to this area where a slab is paved all the way across, which makes it a great location for running through the water.

Of course, some of my adventurers preferred to forge their own path across the slippery rocks.  :)







 Jeff wanted to show Moriah some little fish...
 ...so he poked around in the water...
 ...until they came into view.
 Shav decided...
 ...he wanted to take a look at whatever it was Jeff and Moriah were finding so interesting.  :)

 Safe in Daddy's arms...
 ...is a wonderful place for this little girl.  :)

 Time for a race across the slab!
 It started grandly...



 ...but ended in tears when David and Tobin collided, and Tobin bit the dust, obtaining a substantial scrape in the process.  I didn't take pictures of that!

This is the kind of grin we usually find ourselves sporting when we are at Riven Rock.  :)
 We were nearing our departure, and Josiah STILL hadn't dunked completely in the water, so we were challenging him to do so.  When he sat down in the water, intending to lean back and let it flow all over him, he gave the funniest shriek...
 ...then jumped up as quick as he possibly could.
 The whole thing struck my funny bone so badly that I laughed and laughed until I cried.  I wish I had had a video of that moment because I would have loved to watch again Josiah's reaction to that frigid water!  ;-)

Jeff proved his strength and bravery by going completely underwater...
 ...and then, at long last...
 ...Josiah did, too.  The picture below cracks me up because his legs look like they're about a mile long.  :)
 He didn't stay under long at all...
 but instead, danced himself up as quickly as he could manage to regain his footing.  I'm pretty sure I was still laughing at this point.  ;-)
And with that, our lovely afternoon at our favorite playground came to an end.  We headed home, full of fresh air, laughter, beauty, and new memories of family togetherness, already looking forward to the next time we get to go there.
We hope to see you soon, dear Riven Rock!!  :)