"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Say Uncle

It seems like just yesterday that I was getting married to the next to the youngest. It felt odd to instantly become an aunt, to have children around me vying for my attention. I look at my youngest siblings (who, by the way, my children think hung the moon) and really just think I'm their age ... or at least I was once, what doesn't feel so long ago. I know my sister-in-laws down at the far end of the line must feel like there is a huge gap but I do look at them and see myself. A young girl, married into a big family full of instant nieces and nephews, feeling a little overwhelmed, doing my best to fit in. They do a good job and I sure do love the way they remind me of those early days of marriage. One of the best things about being the oldest in a family is getting to breathe in the youthfulness of younger sibs. It's a breath of fresh air.

There's nothing like fun aunts and uncles.










Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Family reunions



We've all been begging Mom and Dad for years to organize one and it takes so much more work than you would think. Convenient timing for nine families is a hard thing to pinpoint, especially as grandchildren grow into teenage years and camps, youth conferences and summer jobs set in robbing us of time all together. But do it we did, and though my youngest sister and her husband were sorely missed and my own oldest daughter wouldn't sacrifice her week at girl's camp to accompany me to Bear Lake, UT, our family gathered.


The best part about reuniting with the one's you love, is watching cousin relationships blossom. I have such fond memories of my own gatherings at the farm and nothing could have warmed my heart more than vicariously reliving those times watching my children with my siblings children.


I'll admit, I'm a bit partial to the girls. I love watching their party.




Most especially these two. Boy, are they a flashback to me and my favorite cousin carrying those babies around everywhere they went.



These two who cried at departure. Again, I was reminded of times I tied myself to my favorite cousin and declared us inseparable.


The babies. This one isn't really a baby anymore, but she touches all of the babies on the head so gently and I got a kick out of watching the "soon to be walking" babies come up to her and touch her gently whilst gibbering in falsetto as though she were one.



These three will be a trio of trouble one day.




Not forgetting the boys.








So much fun.


All made possible by this man -- who took his own self portrait.


Love to look back and remember and here's to hoping we'll get to do it again next year.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cousins

We've hardly been home 24 hours and there's more than enough work, laundry and catchup to do. But you've never seen a more mopey bunch of kids then the one's hanging around my house today. They are so missing these folks:


Watson family reunion and nothing like bonding with cousins. More to come ....

Friday, July 23, 2010

Not much left of little


This girl is hitting teenage-hood in a big way. Not a bad way, but a big way. More time in the bathroom, more time on the hair, clothing needs, nail needs, and that certain waft of perfume in the air as she whisks through in the morning. But a more pleasant disposition could not be possessed.

It's killing me.

Recently on a trip to the pool, Celia disappeared to the dressing room to change into one of the two suits she'd brought but not set her mind on wearing yet. (Who does that? Oh yeah, my youngest sister). Upon exiting what seemed like a heck of a long time later, a friend I was with commented, "Wow, not much left that's little about that one, Marlowe." And it's stuck with me ever since.

I knew she meant physique but I've looked at Celia a hundred times since then and thought those thoughts again and again. She's growing up. She's only got five years left in my home. How did that happen? When did she get taller than me? When did she start wanting to email, save money for movies with friends, and rob my closet of clothing and shoes? Boy, that's gone fast and the next five will feel faster. I want to fill it with nights of her sitting on the foot of my bed talking in the dark. I want to fill it with those two and three hugs she still insists on giving me before bed as a stall tactic. I want to fill it with afternoons laying on a blanket in the grass staring up at the clouds. Because five years is nothing and there's not much left that's little.



Sunday, July 18, 2010

Grand Finale on it's way

Just two more weeks to go until our summer Grand Finale and the little tastes we're getting of it here and there are really wetting our appetite. Douglas County Fair time.

Our 26 page fair books on the meat poultry are completed and turned in with their spreadsheets on feed costs, weight gains, non-feed costs, animal purchases, inventory depreciation's, goal setting, mathematical calculations, pictures of the project, story regarding the learning experience, projected outcomes and receipts. Yeah, that's one fair book report per kid, ... blood, sweat and tears.


Chicken check-in, where our birds got their fair bands.


And barn clean up down at the fairgrounds, where we hauled cages out, assembled, and hauled them back in again prepping for setup on the hottest day of the year.


The kids are getting excited.

Joining 4-H itself, has really taught the kids a great deal. There's leadership skills, organization, community service and dedication. But, the Douglas County Fair is the pinnacle. The last week of summer, right before school starts, we have the grandest time of all hauling our birds over, practically living on a barn floor for a week, learning everything we can, taking responsibility for managing the barn, donning our boots and feeling so darn Colorado, you can practically smell it on us -- and I do mean that quite literally.


But who can blame us? Nothing feels better than Americana coursing through your veins. Two more weeks, just two more weeks.