Celebrating Red, White, & Blue

The 4th of July came while I was in Texas visiting grandkids. We went to the parade in Wimberly. Here are some small-town-parade scenes.

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And here is who I was with while I was watching:

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The give-aways from parade participants included flags,

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and as much candy as at Halloween.

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Visiting Grandkids

I just spent a week in Texas with my daughter’s family. The kids are 6 months and almost three. Here are some photos.


Kasen is not crawling yet, but almost. Right now you can put him in one place and he doesn’t  get far. I give it about two weeks and he’ll be on the move.


Who needs a pool when a bowl will do? Kirby’s horses are in that bowl too.


Wearing one of her Princess dresses and reading to her baby who is in the shopping cart.


After we built the tallest tower.


Concentrating on making letters using Mommy’s special crayons.


Yummy carrots. Dinner aftermath.


Bath time.


At Jump Wild, an indoor “trampoline park and bounce house”. It didn’t take Kirby long to warm up to the idea of jumping and then, of course, she didn’t want to leave.


The family at the 4th of July parade.

Family Time

My daughter was the surprise for Dan’s retirement/Father’s Day family get-together. She flew in from Texas with one grandbaby just in time for the Central Valley’s big heat wave. We escaped the heat for awhile yesterday by driving  to El Dorado National Forest to hang out with Matt and Kaleena until they got off work at 6 p.m.


Matt and Kaleena both work for the Forest Service and are based at different parts of the same facility. Matt is in charge of the helicopter.


We walked out to the helipad for a tour.


Note the effect of the King Fire from a few years ago.



Kasen seems to be a fan.


Chris was studying the instrument panel to decide if he should move some of the switches around.


I think he restrained himself.


Kasen seemed ready to try.


My three kids and one grandkid. (Kirby stayed home with Dad in Texas.)




Kaleena works on the other side of the compound.IMG_0290

Matt goes to fires in the helicopter and Kaleena drives this truck.




Here is her view from up high.


The official fire danger may have been low but they have been on nearby fires already the day after we were there Kaleena and her crew left for the Angeles National Forest.


Wedding Day Morning

On-site preparations began the day before but there was still plenty to do on the morning of the wedding.


No shoe polish? No problem.


The tables were decorated.IMG_1358

The kids’ table included bubbles,and crayons.


Pictures were hung.


Games were arranged.

While all the preparations were being made outside…IMG_1326

…upstairs in the Bride’s Room there was a bustle of activity. Two professional hairdressers were kept busy…


…while others did their own hair and make-up.


Flower-girl, Tatiana, waited patiently for the time to get dressed.


Meanwhile, downstairs, …


…the guys didn’t seem too concerned about getting ready.


Eventually it was time and they all cleaned up very nicely. There seemed to be some confusion about what to do with the pocket squares, but they mastered the folding technique by watching a YouTube video.IMG_1374

Inspection time for the pocket squares.


Back upstairs, Flower Girl #1 got help with her bow.


Flower Girl #2 skipped the morning activities, staying with Daddy and the other grandma and getting through naptime uneventfully. She showed up in time to get dressed, but took some convincing to participate.


We gave up on the pretty white shoes with the bows in favor of the purple crocs. It was a big step for her to hold the bouquet, however temporarily.


While the women were making their final preparations Kirby found the room set up for photo shoots. She made herself right at home there.


Ready to go!

Getting Ready

Getting ready for a wedding. The kids worked for  for months on this…and that included having to change venues, due to no fault of their own, six weeks prior to the wedding. Then it was the day before.

IMG_1288Chris built one 8-foot and two 10-foot tables for the use of the wedding party. He also made assorted game pieces and a very cool guest sign-in board.DSC_9630Chris getting advice from his sister.DSC_9604More advice. Stout tables.DSC_9578Some of the bridal party who helped the day before. They were all there–what a great group of friends Chris and Meryl share.DSC_9610Table inspection by the resident cat…DSC_9634…who, having done his (her?) job, needed a nap.IMG_1311Wedding rehearsal. I didn’t get all the guys in the photo because I was seated in my mother-of-the-groom chair.DSC_9599The girls minus the bride.

Kirby was there also. She was a bit worried when Uncle Matt put her purple Crocs on his feet, but she recovered quickly once she got them back. Do you know how many more cute photos there are of Kirby? But I’ll restrain myself.IMG_1314Meryl’s parents hosted a dinner the night before the wedding and here are my three beautiful daughters!



A White Christmas

We spent a lovely Christmas Day with my son and other family members. We got there in the morning before everyone else so that we could spend some time in the forest that is their backyard. I am not a snow person, but I can brave it occasionally, especially when the sun is out, and I’ll admit that it was a nice touch to have a beautiful snowy view from inside Matt & Kaleena’s warm house with a fabulous woodstove to back up against. The morning began, however, with us  sliding backwards down Matt’s driveway in our Explorer. (I am planning to sell this before the next smog deadline, so no new tires for us.) That little glitch solved (by rocking the Explorer out of the snowbank and then parking at the bottom of the hill), we geared up with showshoes and foot warmers in our my boots and walked down to Jenkinson Lake. DSC_4315


DSC_4301What time I have spent in the snow has been well after the storms have come through. There is something very different and beautiful about being there immediately after the snowfall…DSC_4310…while the branches are still heavy with snow.DSC_4264


DSC_4283I loved seeing the snow clear to the tops of the trees. As the sun started warming the trees, snow cascaded from the highest branches.DSC_4295I spent the night at M & K’s (Dan came home for chores and dog duty) and the next day Dan came back and brought Chris and Meryl with him. Then we celebrated our private family Christmas.IMG_8003The younger generation helping the older one with digital issues.DSC_4321Chris plays a mini-flute sporting his new Storm Trooper oven mitt.IMG_8019Here are my sheep/barn related Christmas gifts. My wheelbarrows constantly need their tires pumped up so Dan got the fittings to go on an extra air compressor in the barn. There are tubes and tires for my handtruck. Dog treats from Hawaii. Sheep and dog magnets. All the attachments for my new GoPro (birthday present). Footrot Flats is a comic strip series that I think only a sheep farmer would enjoy. Hand and foot warmers packets that I’ll share with Farm Club in the barn. IMG_8013We took another hike that afternoon. This was a great two-day Christmas celebration with family. And it’s not quite over. The kids are taking us to see StarWars in a couple of days. The only thing missing was my granddaughter and her family but at least we spent a week with them not long ago.


Visiting Texas

This is what I did for the last 5 days. These are just my i-phone photos and it was hard to narrow it down. I still have the other photos to go through.IMG_1431 IMG_1433 First taste of yogurt. Not a big fan.IMG_1442 IMG_1464 IMG_1472 Helping in the kitchen while I made cookies.IMG_1480 IMG_1487 Sleeping on Mama’s lap. IMG_1493 IMG_1507 Carrots are better than yogurt.IMG_1513 IMG_1523 IMG_1548 Ready for the Superbowl.IMG_1567 Asleep with me.IMG_1570 IMG_1602Trying to catch a ride home with me.