Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas Kids

From left to right, top row:
William, Grace, Hailie and Brandie
Chantze and Emily in middle
Brooke and Paige on bottom row.

Santa was good to them this year because they were all on the "NICE" list! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 17, 2006

An Old Fashioned Christmas, Circa 1973

It was Christmas 1973. Grandma Larson sent Ray and Laura these clothes, plus some of the presents behind them. They were excited about Christmas and it was so much fun to see the brightness in their eyes when they looked at the tree and the presents. They weren't too young to figure out that good things come in large packages! The next year, they crawled over my sleeping body to take each and every present from under the tree without waking me up. They opened the presents without waking me up. And they played with the presents without waking me up. Including mine. It's true what they say...when you snooze, you lose! It was incomprehensible to me at the time, how they could sneak across me without making a sound. But funneeeee!!!! And another great Christmas memory. Posted by Picasa

Guess Whose Naughty or Nice?

Well, I guess someone is going to get coal in their stocking this year. Don't know what they did, but it looks like they are both in the pokey for something. Posted by Picasa

Yoobee and Shortensweet Doing Time

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Monday, December 11, 2006

3 More Updates, Starting With.....

This is Grace before and during her concert at White Pines last Thursday. Laura, Chris, Emily and I went and enjoyed very much hearing the fifth grade orchestra. (White Pines had two viola musicians who were given top honors at state recently, only 12 in the whole state are chosen each year.)
Grace's fifth grade orchestra played Christmas carols mostly, and Grace was one of only 3 to play the harmony to "Deck The Halls."

Now scroll down for more updates! Posted by Picasa

More Good Times

The girls made Christmas ornaments to hang on the tree. They turned out great! The next morning we went outside and Brooke, Paige, and Molly scraped the snow away from the dirt and made a "garden." Paige worked on making a pie. Hailie helped me hang onto the saucer so the girls could ride down the slide on the sled. It was a great day! Be sure to check below for more updates. Posted by Picasa

A Great Recipe....Try It

Take three giggly, goofy girls, 1 cup of sugar, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1 cup of peanut butter. Mix them all together at Grandma's house on a Friday night when the giggly girls haven't seen each other in a while. Have the giggly goofy girls make the dough into cookies and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Then let them eat the cookies. Take two aspirin and send them to bed early with lots of hugs and kisses. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Happy 11th Birthday to Chantze Anakin!

Take a good look at the boy third from the left...he sure looks like young Anakin of Star Wars fame! And what do you think he got for his birthday this year? A light saber with 1, 000 different configurations possible. Hmmm....could it be? That Chantze is a Jedi? He has lots of powers. For instance, I almost didn't go to his party because it took place on the snowiest and coldest day yet this winter. But I felt myself so strongly drawn, I just could not resist, in spite of bad roads and the fact that my car is in danger of breaking down at any moment due to a bad thingamajig that goes clunk when I turn. But some power drew me to his party, and I was happy to be there, too. Chantze had a killer Star Wars cake and lots of cool presents, and lots of people there that wouldn't have missed it for the world. He also had the power to re-light the candles on his cake with just one breath. So I am thinking....maybe he is a Jedi! What do you think? Posted by Picasa

Participating in the Arts

When I was a young mother with no dependable means of support (and by support I mean that in every sense of the word) I was prone to think of life as unmitigated hardship. In spite of friends and family that helped, I wondered if there wasn't a constant in the universe that would bring a person a sense that life, no matter what, has a richness and value beyond our struggles.

Philosophy in a tiny blog-space raises more questions that it answers, so let me cut to the chase. I have always found these things to be of great value in life: God, Nature, and the Arts. Who is to say they are not all parts of one big redeeming whole? No need to remind me that love, and especially family, are all-consuming and vital aspects of a rich life. What I am talking about is what can sustain us when those things also bring heartbreak? This question came back to me again when I had to say goodbye to my own beloved Mom, and is on my mind again.

When Grace and Emily came over one day after school, Grace praticing her viola reminded me once again of the richness and wonder that art can bring to our lives. Many of the children and grandchildren in my family have participated in the arts, and so have my brothers and sisters. As my growing collection attests, they all enjoy art projects and are very good at creating. Members of our family are great vocalists, with some of them in choir or other performing arts. And the writers! Every generation in our family has very good writers, and there will come a day when the publishers will sit up and take notice of at least one or two, if not more! As I write this I have several grandchildren that are doing the following: drama club, literary class, orchestra, band, dance class, choir, etc. And I am so happy and proud of all of our family, all of whom are gifted in one way or another. Even if it's only reading a good novel once in a while, or watching an excellent movie, all of us participate in the arts and we are the richer for it.

I am not going to attempt to be eloquent, I think everyone who reads this has their own store of awareness on this subject. I just want to say I am proud of our family and I think you all are really special in your own ways. And that when I remember the life I had as part of a family with a mother and father, I remember how they encouraged our enjoyment of reading and music and nature, and yes, God, too. And I thank them for it.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Picture You've Been Waiting For!

And here it is! Today as I was driving home from my coffee stop, I got a call from their dad telling me they were coming over because they had something to show me. And Wow! Was I ever surprised! I had my eyes covered, and when I opened them, I saw these two beautiful little girls with brand spankin' new glasses that were SO PRETTY! Brooke's are a dark purplish-pinkish color and Paige's are gold-rimmed. They both look so great, and I know they will be happy that they can see things better. Now, they may have a little problem actually keeping them on at all times since they aren't used to them yet. And they do enjoy taking them off and putting them into the fashionable little cases they were provided. However, they look wonderful, and I am sure once they get a chance to get used to them they will just love them! So that is some big change for the girls, and their Dad and Mom were nice enough to let me blog it first. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Another Happy Memory

That's Mom on the left with a hot dog stick. I looks like it, anyway. I am so glad we were able to go to the beach where she loved to kick back in comfortable chair and enjoy family, sunset, water and waves, a cozy fire and once in a while, some awesome illegal fireworks. While it is sad knowing we won't see her again in this life, knowing that Mom enjoyed so many beautiful, simple things in her time is a comfort and a blessing. You can tell just by looking at her how much she enjoyed this. I hope there are hot dogs on the beach in heaven. Posted by Picasa


No explanation is necessary. Posted by Picasa

Last Year

Last Thanksgiving Laura, Grace, and Emily invited Fritz and I over for Thanksgiving dinner. I was told there would be a surprise on the menu, and indeed there was! Grace and Emily were very excited about our trying something so new and unusual. And it was...roast duck! It was excellent. Very succelent, tasty, tender and so different from any Thanksgiving dinner we had ever had. It was so much fun! As you can see, there were a few traditional dishes, too. For Laura and the girls to pull this off in a tiny apartment and a small income to boot was nothing short of amazing. And the very best part is, we got to spend it together. Don't know what is going on this year, but I do hope we get to be with family. Meanwhile, going through my now extensive archives of photos, I remembered this day fondly and thus wanted to share it. Posted by Picasa

Hello!? Who's This?

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Hip Hop Dance Recital

Yes! It's that time again! Emily took center stage with her hiphop classmates as they did their routine this year to the Chris Brown "Gimme That" tune. Laura, Chris, Grace, Hailie and I were there, along with many other parents and friends in the audience. It was fun to watch, but I sure wish I had a video camera to catch all the action. Some of the moves are really neat. Emily is one of the better dancers, if you don't mind me bragging, it just happens to be a fact. Maybe you can get her to do it for you, she has the music on cd. Best of all, she is taking another session, so maybe you can catch her next recital.
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Sunday, November 05, 2006

More Horton Hi-Jinks

I found this in the afore-mentioned old data planner. It was dated 1970 something. That would be Mable on Evvie's lap with Bea making the monkey sign behind her. In case you didn't recognize them.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Perky Debuts on Purple Patch

I found this gem in the basement while looking for Halloween stuff. In an old data planner given to me by Mom I had tucked a number of pictures. The planner was just sitting on a shelf covered with basement dust. Closed, you couldn't tell there was a place to put pictures so I hadn't opened it or even looked at it in years. But something made me thumb through it and I was delighted to find these pictures. There will be more on my blog shortly, so check it, YOU may be in there soon!
The date on some of the photos was 1987. Now who could forget little Perky, the dog that changed Mom's life! We all laughed when she fell in love with Perky because one of her favorite complaints were people who doted on their animals "Like they're HUMAN!" And of course Perky was her darling. I even heard her say more than once, "It's like he's human!" I admit to being jealous of the dog at times. But who could begudge her a baby to love and nurture so far from where she could be with family? He brought her much joy. Posted by Picasa

Who Needs An Assistant When You Have A Cat?

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Here is the picture of Hailie that for some reason didn't get published with the story below.

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Three Cheers For Hailie

It was a Wednesday and Emily's hiphop class was cancelled. So we got to go see Hailie and the rest of her cheerleading squad cheer the Junior Varsity football team.

It was a typical cool, windy fall afternoon and the field was vibrant with the gold and navy uniforms of the Grand Haven team. Some of the players were huge, and there were muffled thuds and groans when every few minutes, the two teams collided in a heap with referee whistles and shouts from the crowd. The cheerleaders kept the momentum going, whether it was offense or defense. We got a few smiles and waves from Hailie, but mostly, she watched the game, and with her team, sprang into action when it was time to cheer the team on, or celebrate a good play. Kids who didn't know or care about the game tumbled in the grass, and some of the younger boys pit their strength against the training equipment
, running and slamming hard into the 'tackle' targets. The parking lot was full and those of the crowd lucky enough to have bleacher seats had a great view of the game. The rest of us shuffled from yard line to yard line along the edges, trying to get a good look at the plays. Hailie's Mom, Grandma Parylak, Molly, Uncle Johny and his kids brought lawn chairs. Ray and Cindy, Grace and Emily and I were all there, too. We were all there to proudly support Hailie who is a very promising cheerleader. I can't think of a better way to enjoy a fall afternoon. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Hardest Part Was Deciding Which....Two!

Who could eat just one of these? Margie made sure she brought plenty. Once the coffee was made, and the fire was roaring, and the jokes and the stories were getting pretty thick, these treats were like the whipped cream on the cherry on the frosting!  Posted by Picasa

Our Heartfelt Thanks

We agreed with Valerie that we needed to show our gratitude and appreciation towards the people who went with us to Tulsa. LuWanna and Chris made themselves very useful, quietly and behind the scenes. They never asked for anything for themselves, but were supportive and thoughtful while the rest of us were very worried and sad. The things they did to help us would make too long a list to put here. They were there when most people would have wanted to be very far away from the devastating process of our losing our precious mother and grandmother. We would have hopes, only to be told terrible news we often didn't fully understand, and then there was the long day we knew we were losing her and there was nothing we could do to save her. It was a roller coaster of emotions with our beloved, unconcious, mother at the very center, and for our friends to stick with us through all that so far away from their own support system is just so remarkable. They deserved a very special thanks.

So two weeks ago, Valerie kicked up a huge fire in her backyard, and made it a special occasion by inviting LuWanna and Chris and the rest of the family for a surprise thank you party! It turned out very well as you can see. Our special guests were presented with gifts and many hugs. OH, and did I mention the food? Margie brought a whole wagon of doughnuts, Ken brought his all-time crowd-pleasing lasagne, Val made her heartwarming Fireside Chili, and there were many other goodies and treats. But the best part was the roaring fire, fed by clean pallet wood. Mike brought a mountain of it, precariously balanced on his Jeep, and it not only kept us warm, it burned without noxious smoke or smell. For those of us who were there, it was comforting to be together and I think it helped us all.
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6 Years of Cuteness and Fun

It was a really beautiful day to celebrate the twin's 6th birthday with family and friends. Brooke and Paige each got a cake, they had some friends their age to play with as well as many cousins, and the Polly Pockets marathon began in their bedroom. Meanwhile, the adults watched Alia play in the little red car, and since Aunt Valerie had never seen the property, Ray took us for a walk. He showed us the places where he planned some spooky Halloween fun, out in the darkening, leaf-crackling, deep woods!
Cindy had made some of her great chili, and there were those ice cream treats to go with the cake. The pinata was painless, since it came apart when the kids all pulled the strings. A day of fun and celebration, and a good get-together. Posted by Picasa

Corny Kid

This is Emily, but whose fingers could those be in the background? Hmm....must be some other little ghoul. Posted by Picasa