Saturday, July 29, 2006

Niece Memories

Last night my family spent the evening at my oldest sister’s house. The dinner of cinnamon chicken and rice was delicious, and the company was even better. I cuddled with my five and four year old nieces while I read a Raggedy Andy book. Then they used their grandpa as a trampoline and ladder for a while, hehe.

My youngest niece, Baby E, will be a year old in just a few days. She took her first step tonight, walking toward me! She said several new words, too, like her name…well her very cute version of it. Her mommy took some pictures of her on the digital camera and she wanted to see the little picture. “See! See! Who dat?” and then crowed her version of her name.

I taught my older two nieces how to do a wheelbarrow (I held their feet and they walked on their hands). Here’s a pic of my middle niece playing it with her dad.

We had fun reading, too. Hehe, my middle sister read out loud and I practiced interpreting sign language and the girls looked back and forth, enjoying it.

Once I pulled out my lap top to look something we were talking about up on the internet. Baby E came over and began deliberately licking her finger and smearing it on my computer, over and over. It took me a while to figure out what in the world she was doing (besides painting with slobber). Finally we realized--she uses a modified sign for food to indicate “want”. She was trying to tell me she wanted to play a game on the computer!

My middle niece, four-year-old MM, has created her own good night routine. She hugs, then kisses the left cheek, then right cheek, rubs noses, then whispers "I love you" in your right ear and "God loves you" in your left ear.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

This and That

I have a Monday Memory all written for this last Monday--but as I was writing it, I suddenly realized that it would be perfect for that week’s FaithWriters’ weekly writing challenge topic. So I entered it there instead. I guess ya’ll will have to wait a couple of weeks for it. LOL! So in the mean time, I’ll update you on a few things I’ve mentioned in the past.

The Peculiar People group novel is coming along marvelously. It’s hard to believe that I will have the rough draft of all the chapters in my email in-box by the end of the month. This project is flying along! Everyone is being so cooperative and thoroughly enjoying it.

A while back I mentioned a new web site I am a part of--Truth. Like Hammer. When I first posted, the theology statement was not yet up on the site. It is there now, so be sure to check it out if you have not already. If you have some articles you think would go nicely on the site, submit them there or send them to me and we will put them up for consideration.

I had an appointment with my naturopath doctor this week. My physical health continues to slowly-but-surely improve. PTL! I am being desensitized to some of my food allergies, and that is coming along much faster and better than expected and soon I will be able to eat wheat. Yay!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Monday Memories: Family Reunions

Well, a Monday Memory on Tuesday is better than no Monday Memory, right? :-D

This weekend we had a family reunion on my mom’s maternal side of the family. Mom’s an only child, so I have no aunts, uncles, or first cousins, but Grandma is one of ten, so I have lots of extended family. The reunion brought back lots of good memories.

Two of my second-cousins are more like first cousins, in that our families spent a lot of time together in my growing years. My two sisters and the two of them and I had tons of fun. Our favorite game was Fruit Basket Upset and we would play until we were screaming hilariously and my cousin’s dad would pop his head in for us to calm down.

The annual family reunions provide a lot of memories, too. I love listening to the stories my grandparents and great aunts and uncles tell, as well as playing with my second-cousins, when I was younger. I remember one time when we were taking turns jumping on a giant trampoline. Then two older cousins from out of town (whom I didn’t know) started hogging the trampoline and wouldn’t let us younger ones have a turn.

After a bit, my dad came over and gave the older boys a scolding and made them give us a turn. Dad returned to chatting with the adults, and the two sets of cousins stared at me.

The older ones scowled. “Tattletale.”

I grinned. “I didn’t say a word! He saw it himself and came over.”

The younger cousins stared at me with admiration. “Your dad is awesome.”

I agreed.

Another thing I never fail to enjoy at the reunions, is my Great-Uncle Cliff’s music. He plays the accordion, piano, harmonica, and I’m sure several other instruments. He generally brings his accordion and harmonica to the reunions, and brings it out to play hymns while we listen or sing along. He even taught my oldest sister how to play the accordion.

This year Uncle Cliff’s carpel tunnel syndrome won’t let him play the accordion, so he brought a keyboard. He played it and his son played a harmonica for a while, and then I heard, “Amy! Where’s Amy? I want her to come sing with us.”

I hid behind Grandma.

Later Uncle Cliff looked at me sadly. “I wish you would have sung.”

Awww. I suppose next year I’ll sing. ;-)

Monday, July 03, 2006

Monday Memories: Six Cousins

My dad is the second-youngest of six children. A little under a quarter of a century ago, all of the sisters and sisters-in-law had a child within eight months of each other. So I have a cousin my age in each family. There are twenty cousins in all, and we are all good friends, but the six of us have a special bond.

I wish I had a better picture, or that I could have fixed this one, but it'll have to do. Ketzia, Jared, Jennie, Me, Hannah, Jon.

Most of my growing-up years, three of us lived in my town, and the other three were scattered over the world. But even for those not here, letters and the summer-long furloughs provided opportunities to bond and form special memories.

Ketzia and I used to play train in the backward double seat of our station wagon, using the door latch for petals, and our voices for other necessities. “Whoo! Whoo! Chuga-chuga. Whoo! Whoo!” I’m sure the rest of the car-full was thankful we were in the far back.

Jennie and I loved to have sleepovers, or any day time play date, and would cry bitterly when it came time to go. When we were playing doctor, we used to use my aunt and uncle’s toothbrushes for medicine (run them under the faucet and then suck the water out of the bristles--don’t ask, I have no idea how that started). Of course, that got stopped pretty quickly one day when we couldn’t get the faucet turned on and Jennie decided to use toilet water. (For the record, the only part I had in that idea was tattling, hence the quick stop to the game!)

I remember how inseparable Hannah and I were when she was visiting on furlough. We would get our moms to put our hair in matching ponytails, then spend the day playing puppies. Or we’d throw a sheet over our shoulders and play squirrels (I don’t recall why sheets = squirrels…maybe they were flying squirrels?? Super-Squirrels with a cape??)

I regret that I don’t have more memories of Jon, but I do recall him hollering dramatically as he jumped of the “cliff” in my backyard, his quiet smile, and brilliant blue eyes.

It seems like yesterday that Jared and I went searching for the best patch of blackberries, and indeed, found a tiny patch with particularly succulent berries. They looked different than all the other surrounding berries and we joked, “What if they’re poisonous?” “Oh well, then we’ll just get to go to heaven. Quick, eat more!”

When whole groups of cousins got together, we played a tag-like game, unique to my grandma’s front yard. Two runners would arrange a secret signal (the whispered arranging of this sometimes took longer than the game itself). One runner would stand on the front porch, and the other on a raised planter around a nearby tree. The rest of the group had to stand a certain distance away, waiting them to start running. After much winking and twitching and otherwise false signals, one of the runners would finally give the real signal and they would both race desperately for the other’s post, trying not to get tagged by another cousin on the way.

Next summer I’d like to plan a six-cousin’s retreat. I can’t wait to make more memories!!