Sunday, September 14, 2014


I love watching the birds in our backyard.  They're fun, quirky, and some of them are quite beautiful.  I was amused last summer when I heard my nephew refer to the common birds at my sister's bird feeder as junk birds because really that's kind of how we think of them.  Take for example the sparrow.  Not only is it rather unlovely, it's so common.  You just can't get excited about them.
But the colorful birds are another story entirely.  Not only are they eye-catchingly beautiful, but they're not nearly as plentiful so it's always a treat to see them.  For me, a backyard filled with bluebirds, goldfinches, and cardinals would be hard to beat.  But that's not what I want to discuss right now.  I want to talk about the beautiful, perky, brightly colored little goldfinches. 
Even the females who are typically drab, have a certain amout of color and design to them. 
 But a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a different variety at one of our feeders.  This guy looked like the bright and beautiful goldfinch that we're so fond of but his colors were mottled and strange looking.

And after a little investigation, I learned that what I feared was true.  Our goldfinch was donning his winter coat.  It's only September for Pete's sake!!!  Here's how he'll look all too soon. 
 And not long after that we won't be able to tell the males from the females.  And they'll have backgrounds like this.
All too soon.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Really Talented Kids

I'll admit that I've written a lot about our four great-grandchildren in the last few days and maybe enough is enough.  But I'd be remiss if I didn't show their penchant and great talent for taking pictures - a skill that's near and dear to my heart.  I let each of the three older ones have a couple of tries and I did my best to be a good subject as you can see.  The results were...should I say mixed?  Or lots and lots of fun?!!  And the last one that Dane took?  Not bad at all.  Here we go:

I see budding photographers and great family picture takers in our future.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Really Helpful Kids

A few days ago I wrote about our grandson-in-law, Chris, and his amazing working ethic and even more amazing interaction with his children.
But now, in all fairness, I have to talk about how helpful his family really is.  The trim for the mudroom needed to be painted before it was installed and the kids were great helpers in moving it to our paint station.
Then there was the tedious work of sorting all the tiny, little parts for the storage shed.
And drying the table after it was washed.
 Also, someone had to give the four-legged helpers the necessary attention.
 And the smallest two-legged helper needed attention too.
 Dane was ready to do any raking that needed to be done,
Wade's specialty was adjusting the radio,
 And everybody pitched in when it was time to pick up the toys.
Including Gaby who felt someone had to photo bomb my pictures.
Wade helped by encouraging and applauding everybody's efforts.
And then there was one more amazing helper who was that behind-the-scenes person who kept everything going smoothly.  Amber painted almost all of the trim....
took care of the children, helped with the meals, did virtually all the clean-up, changed the diapers, and made sure everything ran smoothly all weekend long.

So you see, the kids are very helpful but those apples didn't fall far from the trees.  I think they not only learned to be helpful from their parents but loved being helpful because of the encouragement and appreciation that they get from their parents.

All in all it was a wonderful weekend because not only did we get to enjoy the company of this wonderful family but they were ALL so doggone HELPFUL!!!!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

What's So Great About Chris?

Chris is Amber's husband so he's our grandson-in-law and we couldn't love him more if he were our own grandson.  He's an amazing young man who has done almost as much for us as our own sons - and that's saying a lot!!!

He's a worker unmatched by any we've ever seen (except Dave and Dan of course) and he can get more done in a weekend than most could do in a month or more.

Last weekend Chris and Amber and their wonderful children were in town so that Chris could build our storage shed, trim out our new mudroom, reconfigure and finish a closet, and do various other projects that needed completing.  And in reviewing the pictures, I can now see how Chris gets so much done.  It's because he has SO MUCH help!!

Just look:

He even got help with the complicated instructions!

And before we knew it, with all this help, here's what he did!
Wow!  Lucky he had all that help because he was able to finish this project in well under 24 hours!  To be fair though, he did have some real help too.  Here are Harry and Chris nearing the end of the project.
And although it's astonishing how quickly he works while never diminishing the high quality of his workmanship, that's not what I'm talking about when I say what's so great about Chris.  I'm talking about what a loving father and husband he is.  I'm talking about his infinite patience when he's trying to get something done in a hurry but always has time to help the kids feel important and useful.  I'm talking about the fact that he stops to explain what they don't understand.  And I'm talking about the fact that he treats his children with respect and love and understanding.

And that's really what's so great about Chris!