Wednesday, July 31, 2013

a little summer fun

At our start of summer at home (after skipping the last week of school to be out of the country), I made Blake clean his room. Thoroughly. His typical "clean up" routine consists of carefully arranging his LEGO creations along his sills and his dresser, as well as neatly covering every square inch of that black table you see (it's our former coffee table, but made a great flat surface for him to build on). He stacks (neatly, mind) everything else along the walls, under that black table, and along the side of his bed. Nothing is "put away" so much as it is "tidied within an inch of its life." 

I forbade that method this time, brought in plastic tubs and drawers from the garage to go into his closet, and helped him discard, group, and find places for all his little treasures. At first, he cried. 
"Summer vacation is supposed to be relaxing, and so far it's just work, work, work!"

To my credit, I held a straight face as I gently encouraged him. "Let's start on a clean slate, good footing. It's like spring cleaning, but it's summer cleaning! And think of how nice your room will be afterward. You're not in this alone, I promise. I'll help, and I'll help WITHOUT threatening to throw everything away." 

When we were done, I had him vacuum all the nooks and crannies that were suddenly in the light of day, while I dusted. He was so stinking proud of himself that he wanted me to take a picture. For you. Dead serious: "Will you take a picture of my room to put on your blog?"

You betcha.

There is a Cheerio in this picture. 

Can you find it?

Hint: Vesper actually has an innie.

This is what happens when you try to keep an infant's bedtime while in a single hotel room. It was actually MUCH darker than it looks over on her side of the room, and I was trying to stay out of her line of sight as much as possible. She was trying to keep me IN her line of sight as much as possible.

"Hey, there! What... Whatcha doin' down there? Are you SURE you don't want to play?"

We spent a weekend in Great Falls with some of big Blake's family, honoring his Aunt Judy's life. She was a woman of beauty, grace, faith, and fun, and she's sorely missed. This is Margie, Erin, and Vinnie (Judy's son, big Blake's cousin).

These two pretty much like to luxuriate in each other whenever they get to be together. It's pretty sweet.

The rest of the pics are from the hotel hallway, of course. Rob got a bunch of shots of the memorial service, but I don't have those yet. I didn't pull my camera out until we were saying goodbye. In the hotel hallway. So, you know, at least the lighting was terrible.

Grant, Judy's grandson, has been a bit of a hero for Blake from the very beginning. This trip further reinforced the admiration, because that young man is a model of kindness, patience, inclusion, and mischievous fun that Blake can get on board with.

As I was saying...

Grant & Reagan with Dan & Erin, who found out that their Calgary condo was flooding while we were together. They are still cleaning up... such a bummer.

And now... a goofy shot!

And now... photobombing! That's Grant & Reagan's mom, April, in the background. She's pretty.

Vesper was there, too! Blake's still in goofy mode!

Me and Reagan, whom you may remember from this post. This is the first time I've gotten to spend time with her, and I LOVE HER. She has a dear, rumbly low voice, and she would grab my arm just to tell me "I really like your baby." Vesper liked her right back. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

a final bunny tossing extravaganza

Poor, rejected bunny. This is the last time I will subject him to Vesper or Vesper to him. He deserves more care and affection.

"Oh, THIS again?"

"Mother, WHY?"

"I will not stand for this!"

"The bunny is technically still in this picture, but he is swiftly on his way out. I think I'm winning, MOM."

"Gimme that, I can do a better job myself."

"Bitch, please." 

"I'M THIS BIG NOW! Can we please be done?"

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

happy birthday, sweet v!

And now, the party! Grammie and Papaw came up and helped me decorate, I'd thrown some barbeque in the slow cooker and bought a cupcake for the youngest birthday girl, and Reese brought strawberry shortcake to celebrate Mom's birthday. It was loud, it was chaotic, it was perfect. We're so tickled by this sweet girl. Blake wants her to stop growing up because he's loving each stage so very much, and Rob and I couldn't agree more. What a delightful addition to our family and home and hearts!

Fun with balloons!

Grammie and Papaw gave V the suit, the hat, the pool, and we've gotten pretty good use out of all three so far. She's still not sure about sitting in the water, but our backs can't take all the assisted walking walking walking!

It's like a bath, but not. I'm outside. I'm not nekkid. WHAT IS GOING ON?!

Splashing. Ok, THIS I know.

Serious faces (Mason, Blake, B's friend Silas, Smith, Sawyer).

Silly faces.

Silly faces.

She was totally uninterested, which Blake did not understand, so he showed her how much icing there was and how tasty it could be when IN her mouth.

I've mostly destroyed this, Papaw. What is it that YOU have?

Getting the hang of it, frosting by the fistful.

And, I'm spent.

Blue-eyed beauties.

Monday, July 8, 2013

exclamation point, personified

A: (something inappropriate that I don't remember)
A: What? Everyone thinks it, the only difference is that I say it out loud.
R: Yeah, you do. You're very enthusiastically inappropriate.
A: I love that description, because BOTH ARE TRUE.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

to canada, and beyond!

I've realized that I use the "Ready? Set. GO!" a lot. I use it in videos, so Blake knows when to start performing. I use it to mentally prepare myself for something like putting on a swimsuit in order to have fun, rather than to feel badly about myself (side note: I was the only adult female actually IN the pool at the hotel I mentioned in a previous post, and I had an absolute blast with Blake and Reagan, a cousin's daughter). I also use it to prepare you. I just finished processing over 60 pics, many of which I'm going to post and talk about so you have context.




Reese featured this on her blog, and I stole it. I am not ashamed. Mom and Dad came for a visit in May, and Grammie snagged some double baby time. It's just a beautiful and unusually GOOD photo of three typically beautiful folks. Vesper has Grammie's iPhone. All she does is hit the home key, but she's dangerously close to figuring out how to unlock Apple devices. Terrifying.

The next story comes BEFORE the photo. Dad asked for some help with his logo. As in, helping him find where he put it on his computer, and possibly some help with the file itself so he could submit to an online list of home experts in Yellowstone County. After finding some pretty low-resolution files and asking about specific file types, he said, "Yeah, I remember one of the scans being REALLY big. It took up a lot of space. Is that what you need?"

"No, Dad. The company that made your logo should have the original .EPS file. Can I contact them?"

"Oh," Dad says. "Mike Mahoney did the original. I have it right here." And he handed me this:

I found the high-resolution version (a scan, as he said) I needed, made the changes HE needed, and proceeded to save it in a few obvious places on his computer so one or both of us could find it again. He proceeded to find me all the examples of how it USED to be done for business cards, envelopes, and letterhead. Cut and paste was a very, ah, analog affair. It is amazing to me the amount of progress that's occurred in my own lifetime that I'm largely unaware of.

Dad gave Blake a very old digital camera (very old digital camera = circa very late 1990s or very early 2000s), since Blake's shown an interest in photography. He owns the copyright on this one.

And now, some context before the next stack of pics. We went to Canada to meet ALL of Rob's family, and that is nothing to sneeze at. First, we were in Peachland for a Bedford family reunion, and lo, there are many Bedfords. I had a cheat sheet (thanks to a long conversation with my immediate in-laws about the family tree a few months ago), which seemed to impress everyone. I volunteered for something that ended up with me putting a ridiculously large marshmallow in my mouth and attempting to name all the people I knew.

There were several "Thing 1" and "Thing 2," but with the enormous marshmallow (I could have used it as a pillow), I don't think anyone could tell. I met scads of folks I'd only previously known through Facebook, and it was overwhelming and wonderful to finally put faces to names. The amount of blending on that side of the family, and of which I'm a direct beneficiary, is incredible to behold. I didn't get many pictures of that time (Vesper and I were fighting, due to her abnormally early waking hours and my desire to put a pillow over my head to drown out her noise). Blake was surrounded with a glory of cousins and was shocked that he had GIRL COUSINS! He got stung by a wasp, jumped on the two trampolines, was flung from the merry-go-round, and pretty much had the best time ever.

So, there are five Bedford brothers, all with children, some with grandchildren. This is Dan's family (he is the youngest Bedford brother and has no grandchildren... yet!): I would pretend I could confidently name them all without help from Rob, but that is a lie. I know there's a Ben, a Noah, a Levi, a Linnea (Lynn-EH-ah), and his wife's name is Mary-Ann. Ta da!

The Bedford family has awkward "before" photos, too! I BELONG HERE.
Part of the family reunion involved wearing attire that easily identified which brother's family you were part of. I think the Dan Bedford family skipped that part, and we, the Yankees, opted for a red, white, and blue coordination rather than match-matchy-matchy. I even found a Star Wars shirt for Blake in the correct color scheme.

The much more flattering "after" photo.

This child is just remarkably pretty. I would say that I am biased, but strangers regularly stop me to tell me so, which makes me believe it must simply be true.

It was freezing. I wasn't even tempted to join him, and this was before my pledge, anyway.

He lasted all of 15 minutes in this pool (in a narrow valley, the camp where we were was significantly cooler than the rest of the town - I got a sunburn in mere moments on a deck in town, but the camp was heavily shaded most of the day).

During an informal church service on Sunday, all the family members who had been on any sort of mission trip recently shared about their experiences. Vesper simply lent Bethany moral support, as Bethany shared about her short term stint with an oral surgical team in Guatemala. She was with the pharmacy part of the team, since she is a real, live doctor. Doctor Auntie Bip, that's what we call her.

We got a little bit of one-on-one time with a few of the cousins, including Cherie, her husband Damian, and their sweet boy, Declan. It was their deck that sunburnt me, but I was so happy to just be warm that I did not care! Peachland is a lovely temperate little paradise in the mountains, on a lake, and with weather warm enough to grow - surprise! - peaches, among other fruits that we were there too early to partake in. Rob's not-so-secret hope is that I will fall in love with the area and demand we move the family. I told him I could fall in love with almost anywhere that provided us a living.

Except the deep South. I think I would melt.

My boys, in the lake.

How Blake spent much of the next portion of the drive, where we journeyed to Vancouver to visit the Taylor side of the family. It rained for most of our time there, so we went to Ikea (spent almost nothing!), and did important things like stock up on chocolate Smarties and ketchup chips. I finally got to meet Rob's grandparents (Vesper's middle name honors his grandmother, Eileen), and Blake went from a glory of cousins to one cousin in particular who loved all the same things: Spiderman, Legos, Super Mario Brothers, Star Wars. This might have been his favorite trip of all time, made even better by the fact that he missed the entire last week of school for it!

Sleepless in Canada. This little turd and I were not on ideal terms for most of the trip. Even in the car, she wouldn't really nap. Unfortunately, this makes her just like her mother.

Selfie of the parental units. We look so cool and out of focus.

A snap of the sleeping Blake. When I showed my mother these pics, she exclaimed, "OH! That seat goes back! He could have laid down!" She had very graciously loaned us the van (more comfortable and roomy than either of our cars) for the trip, but had neglected to tell us ALL of the features until we got back.

We had a grand time, and I look forward to getting to know some of the adult cousins even better, for they seem like they could be kindred spirits. Peachland is also home to some impressive vineyards, so I'd like to go back and get to actually tour some. I'm sure Rob won't mind.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

video bonanza - we have a one-year-old!

Warning: editing my photos takes long enough. Editing my videos isn't even on the docket. Rob is embarrassed for me, but I am embarrassed for HIM, because I STILL haven't seen our wedding video. So, here you go! Enjoy.

What we did last week, to prepare for this week:

What we did last month, to prepare for future funsies with an upwardly mobile baby:

What we did in Canada, because it was too rainy to be outside:

What we did at a park in Townsend, because V could not wait any longer to get her diaper changed and eat lunch:

What Grammie & Papaw gave V for her first birthday, because fun in the sun is great, but sunburns are to be avoided:

What we did the day after we spent a week in Canada, because she won't care that we punted on her first birthday, and it was a ton of fun, and who needs rest anyway?!