(Edit update: Hmmm.... Kaylee thinks this is her hand, and Graham's. She took several photos, some with Tim's hand and some with her own. They've been comparing hand wrinkles and such, and have determined: It's Kaylee's. Do you think so?)
And a really pretty sunset. No particular evening, no particular signifance EXCEPT a reminder to be in awe of the greatness of the Creator.
Our last post was just prior to Christmas... and much has happened since then that we could write about. However, just before then, we spent a lovely Thanksgiving day out at the Parishes, with a relaxing hike up the hill and back (I'd never been up there before. What a view!). Speaking of numbering our days.... one of the bulls that Simon's tending in the photo below (Simon's keeping us from a nasty encounter) DIDN'T number his days. He is no more. Well, actually, he IS -- meat in the freezer.
Sweet girls, Kaylee and Sally. Looking over December and January's calendar: there were choir concerts and orchestra concerts (the kids Connor helps with) and Christmas caroling, a visit to Marta in Santa Cruz (a friend in a mental health facility), and of course there was Christmas itself - a quiet day, where I couldn't help but notice (with a bit of a pang) the fact that there were only 4 of us, which hadn't happened since before Connor brought our number to (at least) 5 (some Christmases have been blessed with Grandparents' arrivals, too).
Connor was one of several soloists in a guys' ensemble that Tim THOROUGHLY enjoys directing! He enjoys all the guys so very much -- and loves great harmonies, meaningful words, rousing renditions, you name it! Anything wonderful that you can think of relating to music is what makes Tim's day!
Marta , whom we met thru her "random" phone call to us several years ago (opened the phone book to "churches," then closed her eyes and pointed), has had a tough life -- part of "the system" (psychiatric) since she was 14. Over the past years, she's come to call us family (she's been completely separated from her actual family - hasn't seen them for about 10 years, I think). She gets moved all over the state, and tho it's easiest to see her when she's in Fresno, we decided to take a drive over to Santa Cruz when she got moved there (we were allowed 45 minutes with her).
Connor, Lori, Marta, Kaylee, Tim
Santa Cruz means..... BEACH! First it's a fun piggy-back ride (cuz Kaylee's feet were freezing). But then - "NO, CONNOR! Don't you DARE!" as he rushes toward the water with his sister on his back! :-()
He resists the temptation ... and brings her safely back to (comparatively) dry ground.
Connor and Tim took a ski/snowboard trip to South Lake Tahoe (a Christmas gift to Connor). They postponed their trip by a week, since blizzards and avalanches were predicted. [:-o] It wasn't just balmy weather the next week, either! But, wanting to take advantage of Simon's willingness to house them (near Placerville, CA) while he was still at his heavy-equipment training school, they decided to go for it! (Their comment during one precariously snowy part of their trip: "Mom would have a COW!") Someday they'll have to go back when they can see more than 10 feet in front of themselves -- and really take in the view!And then, what I hadn't mentioned yet:
Kaylee's sweet little pooch, Molly, was hit by a car and killed a week before Christmas, while we were gone at some friends' house for the evening. Neighbor kids had gotten into our backyard and left the gate open (which Tim had just talked to them about the day before). We came home to the heart-wrenching situation... which left us with a deep sadness. Molly was such a bright spot around here. Everybody loved her -- even the neighbor kids who afterwards seemed rather callous to it all. The days and weeks after that had some really rough moments. We eventually began looking to get another pooch, and that, too, had its tough times (one beautiful, bigger dog that we brought home, a basset hound/lab mix, seemed so sweet but ended up with Cuddles' head in her mouth, ready and willing to go for the kill, we thought. So... we sent her back).
But now... after quite the search, we've got Polly. She's a real cutie - and a real puppy, with all that goes along with puppyhood. She looks so calm and tame in these next photos. Don't be fooled. She can grab laundry and shoes and towels and pillows faster than you can blink - and be gone with them, racing to stay just out of your reach. But for all her nixy-ness (that's my PA Dutch coming out), she's brought a lot of joy and many snuggles. She's a great snuggler - when she's sleepy.One final (almost) note...
We've all been reading a really good book out loud together: "Growing Up Christian -Have You Taken Ownership of Your Relationship to God?" by Karl Graustein with Mark Jacobsen (P&R Publishing, 2005). I won't write a whole book review here, but you could check it out (I believe I first saw it recommended at the Westminster Seminary bookstore).
And then finally (for real, this time) --
This has been looking at me out of our closet. It's Kaylee's oh-so-realistic :-) rendition of her dear daddy, through her 3-yr-old eyes. She painted it on one of his t-shirts the year that Jenny's kindergarten class made shirts for themselves. Kaylee thought daddy should have one, too. It's been hanging/hiding in his closet ever since.
Talk about couting our days.... that little wispy-blonde haired girl turned 19 a couple of weeks ago! (I remember when the kids were little... musing that someday these little ones will be 10,8,and 5.... and someday 13,11, and 8.... or 18,16, and 13.... OR 21,19, and 16! And it happened! And someday they'll be 40, 38, and 35 - and we'll have sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law and a slew of grandchildren making funny little t-shirts for us again, Lord willing. :-) (For starters, for now, you can head over to Max and Jenny's blog and the Parish family blog to catch up on some fun photos of Max, Jenny, and Graham. :-) Or go to facebook to see the CUTEST videos! Grandchildren are wonderful. :-) So are children - and sons-in-law - and daughters-in-law, I'm assuming. (Oh, and husbands. I love you, Tim. Happy Valentine's Day!)