Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Green Eggs and Chicken For Christmas

Our children gave us a Christmas present.
It arrived today.
It needed just a bit of assembly after leaving the truck.
Ben had to make sure the entrance was perfect.
He was so happy I thought he was going to dance.
The egg fit easily in the door.
The men had to take off the handle to get it out on the deck.
But they put it back on.  No worries.
Just a little more tweaking.
I am not sure about organic charcoal.  Really?
Unexpectedly, Ben had to leave, and I was on my own.  One quick call to Jeff, and I had the fire going.  Like really, 3 minutes. Maybe 4.
I had to hunt for something to doll up the chicken with.  I chose wisely.
I decided smoked potatoes might be good.  I way, way underestimated how good.
After 4 hours, the bird came out right at 170 degrees. 
Fortunately, Ben was back home by this time.
In a moment of sentimentality, I used my mother's fork and a knife my father gave me in 1994.
I usually only eat chicken to justify Grandma Markham's cranberry sauce, but this time the chicken was good all by itself.
Of course I made a salad.
Am I breaking some secret rule in talking about the sides instead of the meat?
It was delicious. Oh, my.  Heaven.  Thanks.
Next time the kids visit, they can cook!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Photography Lessons

Going to the zoo was not in yesterday's plans, but somehow we all ended up there.
Papa Ben came a little late after taking Cor and BB to the airport.
The zoo idea was Melissa's.  Sammie supported her endeavor.  Despite some resistance, with the most coming from a wiped-out grandmother, within a few minutes all the cars were loaded.
We had the best time!
I like to look at all the faces at the zoo.
I used to take this little boy to the zoo.
This one, too.
These days I don't have to remind them to find shoes that match.
This guy wanted some sunglasses.
That was on his mind, too.
Melanie asked for my camera yesterday, and then she willingly listened to a few pointers.  This picture is hers.
Ella captured this photo of a comfortable white tiger.
With Ella holding the camera, I was able to watch the lion.  He roared and Ella was thrilled to capture this moment.  I honestly wondered if I have ever seen a majestic lion roaring before.  I also wondered if someone combs his mane.
With a large memory capacity and a spare battery, the kids took candid shots of siblings and cousins.  We talked about lighting.
I am not sure how we spent the entire afternoon at the zoo with golden-hour lighting, but we did.
I love this wonderful picture!
Some of their photos were very thoughtful.
It isn't hard to get thoughtful pictures of Matt.
I was impressed with this photo, because in my experience, Luke doesn't usually hold still long ehough for a thoughtful picture.
Melanie took this picture, astutely focusing the camera on Janey and the kangaroo's ears and completely leaving out the two cousins who were holding her in place.
I told Melanie not to bother taking pictures inside the aquarium because it was too dark.  After seeing this photo, I wish I hadn't stopped her.
I found myself in front of the camera instead of behind it.
We traded off the camera, and I was delighted to capture Jane and Jeff in the marvelous light.
Ella was my buddy at the zoo to keep me from getting misplaced.  We only got lost together once, but it turned out ok.
Dave was Papa Ben's buddy.  Neither one got lost at all.

Sammie got lost, but we found him.

I will confess that it cracks me up how much Boo looks like his daddy.
We were all very appreciative of Carolyn's heroic efforts in throwing a quick lunch together before we left.  Considering there were just a few minutes from the decision to the departure, it was amazing.  And delicious.
It always delights me when I see the cousins include each other.
These three have a special bond.
As the oldest grandchild, Will always looks for opportunities to help.
Julia is a joy to be around, always so happy and curious.
Jacob always seemed to know what was around the corner.
The zoo lets people into its parakeet cage.
This was thrilling!
Sometimes parents needed to help a little.
Sometimes cousins and uncles fed the birds side by side.
This is my attempt at a little humor.
The parakeets and the kids both needed to get over their fears.
Will was not too old to have fun.
Neither was Papa Ben, who loves birds.
Watching my kids have fun was as much fun as watching them watch theirs.
Meet Dave, the parakeet whisperer.
We stayed longer than we planned, but we had fun to the very end!
That's because the last thing we did was ride the train.
When we arrived home, to my utter and complete astonishment, the kids all jumped in the pool!
Except for Jacob, who dived in.
Most ended up in the hot tub.  Smart people.
As if our day wasn't long enough, some got all dressed up for the Nutcracker.
Carolyn emailed me this photo to let me know they had a wonderful time.
As our week together comes to an end, I have two suggestions, which I am making public so that maybe someone will help me out.  First, there has not been enough puzzle time.
Second, well, I'd like our group to go one day without needing to turn the couch into an infirmary.  This is what the couch looked like all day Thursday.  All day.  They didn't move.  Maybe there is nothing we can do about this.  I'm encouraged that today will be the day!