Monday, September 7, 2015

What I did last summer, part 2

I guess I shouldn't write at night. When I posted yesterday, I forgot two major highlights of the summer! It turns out that turning 60 really isn't that bad.

Okay, a little background here: Dwight's birthday is in May, as is Mother's Day and our anniversary. My birthday and Father's Day is in June. Our poor kids - those are expensive months for them. So this year, we were asked to give them a few dates in May to keep open. We didn't know why. They chose May 17, and the only hint given us was that further instructions would arrive at noon. So my imagination was running wild. I knew the pregnant girl wouldn't be traveling that close to her due date, but I thought maybe a party? Like when they threw us a surprise 25th anniversary party and I didn't show up due to a little heat exhaustion. There were other even crazier thoughts running through my head - poor Dwight. He'll attest. Anyway, I woke up early, put on makeup, got dressed, and waited. Shortly before noon we got an email thanking us for being such good parents and grandparents (okay, maybe I cried when I read the email), and treating us to a lovely dinner downtown. And they encouraged us to have cocktails since a night at the Embassy Suites (walking distance from the restaurant) was included as well. Seriously, do we have the best kids ever or what? Thank you thank you thank you to Emily, Alex, Aly, Erin, and Tim.

it started with a little patio drinking in the Old Market

our dinner total

this was waiting for us in our hotel room when we got back from dinner

Then for surprise #2: about a month after that, Dwight asked if I'd like to go out for breakfast on Saturday. We actually do that fairly often in the winter (yes, we're THOSE people), but never in the summer because golf. They he suggested Summer Kitchen, a restaurant we like but don't go to for breakfast hardly ever anymore. I STILL wasn't suspicious. Tell me anything. I'll believe it. 

He was kind of poking around in the morning, and I - being the person who eats right away when I get up - was hungry. Finally he was ready to leave. Now we have going-out-for-breakfast guidelines: because we usually go so early, it's no makeup, no contacts, and really casual. Not jammy pants casual, but close. That day it was the shorts and t-shirt I had worn the day before, because I figured I'd be coming home, cleaning house and working in the garden, and then showering before our neighbors would be coming over for dinner. And we're really not alone in our casualness; as a matter of fact, I remarked to Dwight that very morning that if you brush your teeth, you're ahead of the breakfast game. 

We sat down, ordered, and while waiting for our food to arrive I was looking out the window at some people walking up and thought, "That guy looks like Tom" (our brother-in-law). Then I saw who he was with and realized that guy WAS Tom! Right then I'm pretty sure Dwight thought I was having a stroke because I literally could not talk - just stare and point. Tom and Jeanie from Chicago, and Gail from Minneapolis were walking into the restaurant! They had driven to Omaha the night before to surprise me for my birthday! They had stayed at a hotel right by the restaurant and had planned the whole thing with Dwight. Not only were Amy and Dennis coming over for dinner, but a few other friends as well. Dwight had bought all the liquor and snacks and hidden them from me, being glad that I never look in the basement fridge. So an impromptu (for me!) party happened! Jeanie's 60th is in a few years, so Gail and I have some time to plan.

LOVE these girls!!!!

 I'll close on a sad note, to say good-bye to our Ernie. We got him and his brother, Pete, in March of 2000 from the Humane Society. When I took them to the vet for their initial check-up, he figured they were around 3 months old, so we chose January 1, 2000 as their birthday. Our millennial kitties

Poor sweet Ernie had renal insufficiency and inflammatory bowel disease, and after several months we knew it was time. As hard as the decision was, I am so glad we can do that for our pets. It was a really peaceful end to a good kitty. We've had to do this before so we knew we would be with him at the end, but I saw this on PostSecret and it cemented that decision:

always stay

RIP, sweet Ernie
 That's it for now.

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Sunday, September 6, 2015

I have a blog???

I have a blog? Well, not really, apparently, since it's been over seven months since I've posted. So here I am, dropping in, promising to write more regularly.

This year has really flown by, and I really have been writing all along - in my head. In case your ESP skills are a bit rusty, here are some highlights:

We have a new grandson, Sawyer Drake, born June 8th! He joins big brother Brody and dog Ella. We were so fortunate to be in Grand Rapids when the little peanut was born, and we got to meet Sawyer when he was only three hours old. The last baby I held who was that new was our youngest, Erin, in 1988! Sawyer is a beautiful blue-eyed redhead (like his Auntie Erin), and THIS redhead doesn't mind another one in the family. There is red hair on Aly's side of the family also, but I'm pretending it came from me.

three hours old 

stolen from Aly's instagram so you can see Sawyer's red hair
 A funny story on the day Sawyer was born: we were staying at the house taking care of Brody, and Alex texted us right away with a picture, which we showed to Brody. Dwight said, "Here's your baby brother," and Brody said, "Uh oh". No kidding. It's like he knew! He actually says "uh oh" quite a bit, but the timing was impeccable here!

uh oh
Brody and Papa - two buddies
In addition to our Michigan kids, we also got to see our Iowa kids several times, as Erin and Tim used us as a way-station to and from Colorado where they had a much-needed vacation. Our hotel is always open!

After ten years in Des Moines (fourteen if you count college), Emily is no longer one of our Iowa kids, as she moved to St. Paul this summer. Erin and I helped her clean her old apartment, for which she got a whopping $59 of her deposit back. For as long and as hard as we all worked, well, let's just say that a few choice words were spoken. 

So we've been traveling: a few trips to Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota. We've had bunches of company, played some golf (one of us more than the other, but the other is totally okay with that!), and I've been practicing calligraphy pretty much every day.

I was looking back at previous posts, and last June 4 I made a list of personal goals: 

1) Learn camera, take pictures. Let's just say that's a work in progress, but I'm having fun.

2) Finish Erin's and Tim's wedding album. Take my word for it - all done!

3) Practice calligraphy:

Practicing capital letters

Dixie Chicks song lyrics

for my favorite little boys
I love it when I can check things off my list! If you are on Instagram, follow me (cathyboll) if you're interested in more calligraphy. I have been learning so much from the calligraphy community there! I won't post a lot here. Maybe.

4) Blog regularly. Oops. Maybe this will be the start.

That's it for now. Talk to you later!

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