Saturday, December 22, 2018

Christmas Visitors

Meet Eugene.  He's one of the visitors who is joining us for Christmas this year.

I have an advent calendar which helps little boys know exactly what day Christmas is.

I had saved this for Ben, who wanted to know if we could put all the numbers on today.  I am a liberal grandmother, but I made him stop at 22.

You are looking at my Christmas present from Papa Ben.  It's my first train set. I had a lot of help playing with it this afternoon.

Earlier this month, I baked quite a selection of treats for my many widowed friends.  I shared just a few with family this afternoon.  You are looking at peanut butter frosting on the cupcake, a 7-layer cookie, which is stunningly delicious, and a decadent brownie.
Ben revisited the train several times this afternoon.

Papa Ben has modified his bird-feeding system.  Ben helped.

The birds wait patiently in the trees while we refill the feeders, as if staring at us will speed things up.

There is no way to say this nicely, but I made everyone walk around the block with me this afternoon.  I'm not sure I can explain the balloon.  It was a remnant from last month's visitors.

Fortunately, we had a great time.

It's been cold, and today was no exception.  Ben found a patch of snow that is a month old.

He insisted on washing off the snow when we came in the house.  The warm water helped.

I had set out all the ingredients for instapot brownies long before Ben came.  He helped me put them together.

He and I caught some fish while they cooked.

Ben has enjoyed becoming reacquainted with my toy closet.  Matt taught me a new word yesterday.  Do you know the plural of octopus?  Because the word is Greek, not Latin, it's octopodes.  To my surprise, Corinne already knew this.

I do know the plural for brownie.  We just had the one, but it cut up nicely.

Before fading off to bed, Ben and I had a magnet-fest in front of the fire.  We built garages for our cars.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

I Forgot to Pay My Gravity Tax

Jeff blessed Joseph today.  At the end, while Jeff was holding him up, Joseph lifted up his right hand as though he was waving.  I was delighted and waved back.  About 10 other people did the same thing.  Maybe you had to be there, but it was pretty cute.

This was a lovely sacrament meeting.  Ben sat next to Luke, who then spent the next hour helping Ben be reverent.  All the things we used to say to Luke were not wasted.

After Joseph was back in the pew, he seemed to float down and over and across the rows.  Cousin passed to sibling passed to uncle passed to grandmother.  Not this grandmother -- I was on the very end.  But this was adorable.  Sort of like a mosh pit for an infant.

Kate and Ella sang with the ward choir.  I went through most of my tissues and loaned out a few, too.
For the record, we are all nuts about this baby.



After church, I came across people in the backyard taking pictures.  I joined in the fun.

I love these people.

At this point, Jeff's Ben, Jacob, Melanie, Hank, Sirius and I went for a walk.  I'm going to skip the story and get to the bottom line:  This cormorant got me.  Ben, too.  It was pretty gross.  We cleaned up and moved on.

I taught a few grandchildren today that mistletoe is a parasite and grows in trees in Texas.  The mistletoe is easy to see when all the leaves are off the tree.  I was almost but not quite tall enough to reach this clump.  Jacob harvested it for me.  Ben took the picture, as I had Hank's leash.

We put the mistletoe to good use when we got home.

Turns out, Ben and I are not the only people to have been hit by birds.  Dave had a fantastic, almost unbelievable story.  You'll have to ask him about it because I could not begin to do this story justice.

Or maybe you could ask any of these people.  We were all engrossed, a perfect word for the occasion.

Jeff prepared and cooked food all day long to a lot of people.  This was only a small part of lunch.

Joseph did not get a burger for lunch.

Julia did.

So did Ben.

Have you ever been 100% certain you were right, and yet you were wrong?  That happened to me today.  The kids and I had a discussion about straws floating in soda.  You can google it if you want.  Maybe because I don't drink soda, I simply don't have the experience base I thought I had. I had never seen a straw float in water, so I assumed straws didn't float at all.

The kids were so certain I was wrong that they made a deal.  If I was wrong, I had to write I was wrong five times on my blog.  But they couldn't make a straw float, even in soda. 
Luke's evil eye did not convince me.  But a few experienced Coke drinkers in the room did.  I was wrong, I was wrong, and I now have greater respect for my adorable grandchildren.  Please don't feel sorry for me.  This turned out to be pretty funny.

Dessert was next.  It seemed to appear out of nowhere.  Carolyn made lemon bars like I have never had before.  Those who didn't come when called missed out completely.

Joseph did not get a lemon bar.

Jane invited me to put together a puzzle with her.  I did not have to be asked twice.

Then, she asked me if I knew how to play Go Fish!  She did not know this is a major, critical component of my life.

Kate joined us.  Until she had to leave.

Fortunately, Corinne knows how to play Go Fish!  She creamed us both.

Luke taught Ben how to play Sorry!  This melted my heart.  Luke is so good to Ben.

Not to be outdone, Ben invited me to play Scrabble with him.  But first, I had to teach him, he requested.  I said I could do that.  Ella asked if I could teach her how to play Scrabble, too.  I'm a very serious Go Fish! player.  But Scrabble?  We played off each other's tile trays and had a wonderful time.

In the meantime, Jeff got Shabu Shabu going.  This family makes this meal so often that the kids cooked my dinner for me.

Joseph did not get any Shabu Shabu, but he was hungry.  I know what it looks like, but Karin did not feed him any Coke.

Do you know the best way to eat noodles?  Whistle backwards.

1965-1967 Pictures from Ben's Japanese Mission

Nineteen-year-old Ben received his mission call to the Northern Far East Mission in early 1965.  Included in the call were flight instruct...