Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Water, water everywhere!

Memorial Day.  A time to remember and reflect, and I do!  With a heartfelt thanks to my grandfather (WWII), my father (Korea) and my son Colin (Operation Iraqi Freedom), among the multitude of others owed a debt of gratitude.

But in a whimsical (exact opposite of the initial intention) and new-traditional bent, it is also the start of summer.  On a personal note, I love spring because it means summer is coming.  I submit to fall's natural air conditioning and I endure winter to get to spring.  Thus, for absolutely personal and trite reasons, I love Memorial weekend that much more - the unofficial start of summer.  Last weekend did not disappoint.  Sunday, the grandboys and girlies and those who I love on up the generational-relational ladder, gathered for a celebration of family.

In addition to "grand" love, hugs and kisses, where was food and laughter and family nonsense - a normal gathering.  Grampa got extra smiles and love from Naomi - and if you zoom in, a trail of liquid love extending from her mouth to his shirt.  Those would be 10-month old brand of kisses!

Elijah shared his water with me after playing in the pool with the "big" kids - and crying foul at their antics.  Well, certainly crying anyway.  He came up to sit on my lap instead.  Thankfully, no pictures exist of Granma's well loved and dampened lap.  Let's just say it didn't remind anyone of a pool.

Then, of course, there are water guns.  Aidan looks like his valiant attempt to hold his own might be waning.  Uncle Corey's self-satisfied look of triumph seems to validate that assumption.

 Eventually water gave way to the park and then whiffle ball (ish) and soccer (ish) and a game of Monopoly (straight up - see the May 10th blog).  This Granma left just after all the aforementioned, except for the conclusion of Monopoly, which as we all know, is endless.

Happy Memorial Day to all!   Bring on the water! And the happiest start to summer!  It is going to be a great one!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Rite of Passage

There are just some things that girls do for no other reason than their chromosome make up.  Actually, make up is one of those things.  Another is giggling uncontrollably for no apparent reason at inappropriate times.  Once Ginger, my sister, and I were sitting in the balcony of the church watching our father perform his minister-ly duties.  We started giggle over the great vantage point we had of the bald spot forming in the back of his head.  Nothing could stop us - not the looks of those sitting beside us or the pointed glance of our father.  Not even the tears running down our faces.  What finally stopped us was the benediction.  Once we didn't have to stifle our laughter, it dissipated.  Girls.  Back to the train of thought at hand.

Another thing girls do is showers: bridal and baby, generally.  In modern times the groom is also extended an invitation to bridal showers.  Poor guy.  The lone bastion of testosterone in an otherwise giggly, made-up room.  It's not exactly like he could refuse the invitation.  So he makes the best of it with a room full of women - one of his former fantasies come to think of it.

This past weekend, we had a shower for Colin (eldest son of mine) and his intended, Emma.  (We can't wait to hear the I do's in July!!!  Awesome choice, son!)  It entailed all the requisite shower material: flowers, food and festivities, giggles, gifts and gabbing.  (I'm a fan of alliteration, can you tell?)  But more to the point, all three of my grandgirlies were in attendance!  That is Bella on the left helping her mom with the gifts.  Christine is standing behind holding Faith, and I am seated with Naomi.  Could be the other way around - Christine with Naomi and me with Faith.  Hard to tell from here.  (Colin looks a bit unfamiliar with the protocol, doesn't he?  It's enough to make me giggle, again!)

Regardless, this is a sign post of an era, I think:  the adult-ish ME doing something with my female relatives of younger generations!  Ah, pink!  To gather with so many women that I love with every fiber of my being - five are with me in this picture alone!

Here's to a new era of showers and the women who attend.  Much love to each and every one!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

And a Good Time was had by ALL

This is not the first blog I've written about going to the zoo.  It's not likely to be my last.  I love the zoo, though I'm not sure exactly why - it's expensive, it smells, the animals are generally either pacing or (more likely) listless, the crowds are daunting and the parking lot endless.  There is also an undeniable magic there - creatures of so many varieties, most of which I do not want to meet in my backyard (or at all) without benefit of separating glass or bars.  But they are a testament to the creator's infinite imagination and biologic prowess.  Go God!

When Bryce and Tyler got in my car the other day to embark on such an adventure, Bryce immediately announced, very sweetly and succinctly, "I don't really like zoos."  I smiled sweetly, too, and then pointed the car toward Brookfield.

How to convince a 10 year old to enjoy the zoo:

1.  It's a 30 minute trip assuming cooperative traffic and a lead foot.  We made it in a record 40 minutes.  Bryce didn't complain once.  That's because he has a very wise Granma who gave him her IPhone to use on the ride.  On the other hand, there were several rounds of are-we-there-yet from younger brother in the back seat.

2.  Promise younger brother seat a piggy back ride at the zoo.  Minimal success with the whining - sigh.  And, yes, he got his ride - double sigh.

3.  Impress grandson-the-eldest with zoo map reading skills.  We came in the North entrance, so I turned the map upside down to orient myself.  This did not escape Bryce's notice - or friendly, jabbing comments.  It did, however, get us to our lunch spot with much greater efficiency than his own cartography interpretations.  So later in the day when we were by the South gate, Bryce pulled out the map to find the next desired attraction.  Tyler pointed out he had it upside down, to which Bryce replied, "This is how Granma reads it and it works."  I love that kid!  Fortunately, by then I had my bearings.  We didn't get lost even once - a Granma acomplishment.

4. Buy tickets for the Dolphin Show, three hours hence.  Nothing like saving the best for last.  More on that later.

5.  Wander from playground to playground by way of animals.  This pleased both of my personal primates.  Speaking of monkeys, they voted no to Tropic World.  I was only mildly disappointed and hid it well.  Kudos to me.

6.  Dippin Dots.  'Nuff said.

7.  The Dolphin show starts at 2:30, the doors open at 2:00.  In past visits, we have never been there early enough to get a good seat in the Splash Zone.  We were first in line at 1:45 and had our choice of prime seats.  We made it through the whole show without collecting even a drop, which pleased Tyler no end.  His brother - not so much.  As the crowd rose to disassemble, Bryce and I looked at each other to lament our lack of splash, when a rouge dolphin performed just one more trick for the audience.  YES!!!  We got wet!  (Have I mentioned yet that it was 50 degrees outside?)

All good things must come to an end, and they did - right on schedule - five and a half hours later.  As you can see from the photographic evidence, he really doesn't like the zoo.

Yep, that's what I thought...

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Games People Play

 We play games - some of them good, some of them devious, some of them human, and some of them on a board.  Can't help it, we are a normal family.  If you don't do all of the above, you don't meet our definition of "normal", which might or might not actually be normal - if you know what I mean...

Bella has recently discovered Monopoly Junior - I hear she is kicking behinds and taking names.  I also hear she is learning about how to lose - gracefully, I hope.  You win some, you lose some.  That truth cannot be altered - on the board or in life.  (My philosophy for the day.)

Bryce has dropped the Junior moniker for his brand of Monopoly.  He goes for the real stuff.  It was quite the transition, actually:  from a 20 minute game to a 2 hour game - from a wink-wink "sure that's a six" to "yeah, I can count, too".  In the Harris household, if you want to play an adult game, you have to play by adult rules.  Credit to Bryce, he wanted to graduate to the "real" game.  Sometimes he wins, sometimes he loses.  (Though last time I played him, I trounced!  Right, Emma?)

Then there is Tyler with a Simpson's chess set.  He wanted to join in the fun - a grandboy/Granma game.  Tyler has his own set of rules (you get to make those at age 5).  First of all, he got five pieces - Homer, Grandpa, Bart, Bart and Bart - verses my two - Lisa and Marge.  The games was strictly along gender guideline.  I tried to insert Maggie, but it led to the exclusion of Marge.  Tyler rules - go figure.  In the end, Spider Man won.  Again, Tyler rules - go figure.

We also play Tenzi, generally with 10 dice each.  However, some hands are not big enough to hold them all.  They get 5.  Super Man won (read Tyler).  Bryce and I fought it out for second.  I think Bryce won.  The scoring wasn't kept that accurately, but I'll admit defeat.

So if you come to our house for a family gathering, you should be prepared to participate in several things:  food, comradery, noise, chaos and a board game.  Don't expect mercy - once you hit double digits, we offer none.  Just ask Bryce...

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Super Powers!

First a belated public service announcement: last Thursday was National Super Hero Day!  Had I realized that LAST Tuesday, I would have informed you in advance.  As it was, I didn't hear of the opportunity to acknowledge greatness until I was on the way home from work on that momentous day.  I wonder how many sightings of Super Man or Wonder Woman I missed mistakenly expecting a mundane April Thursday.  I almost missed the opportunity - almost, but not entirely!

Some people hear Super Hero and immediately think of the Spider Man or the Green Hornet or Batman and Robin.  For me, one word instantly popped into my head when I heard of the momentous occasion:  Tyler.  You see, Tyler is so super on his own that he doesn't need a two word moniker or a side kick, though he does have Bryce and Bella, so he actually has TWO sidekicks.  Bryce and Bella might offer swift kicks of their own at being dubbed such - siblings!

Tyler is a mighty force with which to be reckoned.  Even after multiple frantic calls and offering assistance to multitudes of damsels in distress, Tyler remains on heightened alert.  He is a perpetual motion machine that will not rest until the whole of the world is breathing easy.  Even then, he is ever vigilant - just in case.  If you doubt me, you should see him at the dinner table.  Fork in one hand and spoon in the other, they twist and twirl non-stop the entire meal.  By that I do not mean that he is eating quickly, if at all.  It's just that the utensils that might otherwise be used for such purposes never stop moving.  Super Tyler has, after all, studied under the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  He would know, though I don't, exactly which Turtle employs which tool of the trade and how to use each effectively.

Perhaps you didn't get to show your gratitude to an actual super hero last Thursday, but I did!  I got to call Tyler and thank him most humbly for his service.  His dad received a smile and a hug for my phone call.  I think I'm jealous!  But you can't hold a defender of justice down - just ask Lois Lane.  I'll collect my hugs later - when my favorite super hero has a rare, spare moment.

I love you, Super Tyler!