strawberry fields for ginny

Ginny has now gone through the basic veggies.

carrots, sweet potatoes, green peas, squash, green beans

all were accepted without a fuss.

She is ready to graduate to fruit next week.  But there is one fruit we will not be starting any time soon: strawberries. Because I don’t want this to happen to Ginny like it happened to Ike.  Also it is recommended not to introduce strawberries till at least a full year, some folks even say two years.

So how do you torture a child on a lovely spring day? A child who at 8 months wants to put everything in her mouth and is enjoying new tastes every day?

I’ll tell you how.

When your mother calls in the middle of the day and says “I want to go strawberry picking” you, the sensitive mom blithely says “sure! and don’t forget to dress Ginny up and get photos of her in the strawberry patch”

Sheesh I am SUCH a goober.

poor kid.  She did have fun though.  Even though she REALLY wanted a strawberry.  She doesn’t even know what it is, but she was certain that she wanted to put it in her mouth.

Here is the photographic evidence of my baby brother Stephen and my mother torturing my sweet little Ginny (kidding)

walkin in the berries

walkin in the berries

mmmmm can I have one?

mmmmm can I have one?

I know her face isn't showing but this shot was just too cute

I know her face isn't showing but this shot was just too cute

if you're happy and you know it......

if you're happy and you know it......

um..can I puhleeeeeeease have one Uncle Steve? please?

um..can I puhleeeeeeease have one Uncle Steve? please?

how many different sweet, yummy, makes you wanna just eat them up cutie-pies can we pack into one photo?

how many different sweet, yummy, makes you wanna just eat them up cutie-pies can we pack into one photo?


morning funnies

My brother doesn’t do mornings.

Frankly neither do I.  Or at least I wouldn’t if I didn’t have to in order to make a living in the real world. *sigh*  Most mornings I would love to have a cup of tea delivered to me, wrap up in a blanket, sit on the porch, read a book (do my devotions?) and then go back to bed for another few hours.

I like sunrise.  I just want more sleep in my life AFTER I watch the sunrise.

Unfortunately work doesn’t leave time for such luxuries.

And I think I’m rubbing off on Ginny.  This morning, my normally sunshine-y, happy, thrilled-to-see-you baby girl  who normally greets me with laughter and smiles just rolled over and tried to hide.  She desperately wanted to go back to sleep.  I had to work at it to wake her up for a diaper change and the ride to Grammy’s house.  When I sang our morning song (This is the day that the Lord has made) to her she looked at me with a slightly offended expression and snuggled her head into my shoulder.  Poor kid.  I know exactly how she feels.

Of course I come by it naturally.  My mom doesn’t get up well either.  She requires at least an hour of sitting up in bed and drinking multiple cups of coffee before she is even remotely coherent.  When I was in grade school my dad used to deliver her coffee and my hot chocolate to our bedsides every morning.

Yes.  I know I was spoiled by that.  When I finally lived alone I had to learn how to get up and make tea in the morning for myself and it was rough let me tell you.


My brother never got coffee, tea or hot chocolate delivered to his bedroom, but still, he doesnt’ wake up well either.

So I was quite a bit surprised to find him wandering down the stairs this morning (6:45 a.m.) when I arrived at my mom’s house to drop off Ginny.  Of course he immediately informed me that he wasn’t REALLY up early…he was up LATE.

Ah that explains it.  mystery solved.

Then he hung around the kitchen chatting with us while we rushed around trying to get everything done in record time.  Nothing wrong with that. I  like my brother.  He is funny.

But he is also big and tall.  And he moves slowly in the morning.  Whether he was up early or late or whatever.  and every where I tried to be – coffee pot, fridge, silverware drawer, microwave – Stephen was always in my way.

I kept having to ask him to move and eventually I just said “Stephen you have a gift of always being where I need to be!”

His response?  “oh please don’t tell me that!  That means I’m just like Daddy.  You know I call him Visa.”

…….quizzical look from me……….

“He’s everywhere you want to be”

I nearly dropped my coffee cup I laughed so hard.

ginny meets uncle steve

it still seems weird to me to spell his name that way. To me he is my little brother Stephen.

But now that he is “all growed up” he wants to be Steve. Actually he prefers Foster, but that’s a whole ‘nother story for another day.

Anyway, he’s been sick off and on for a few weeks and what with that and scheduling conflicts and such he has only just now gotten to meet the new baby in the family.

So for posterities sake, here is the meeting of Ginny and her uncle Steve. and yes, I know. He could get gigs impersonating Hank Williams Jr.

We tell him that all the time. He doesn’t seem interested in impersonations as a career move.

alties-visit-037alties-visit-040alties-visit-041I love the look she is giving him in this last one.

Packing a lifetime into two days

How do you pack a lifetime worth of memories into two days? You get very little rest and you come to work tired on Monday. I am seriously sleepy today.

We went to Kansas to see Mel & Steve again this weekend. We really adore these two and want to spend as much time with them as we can before Ginny is born because we know we will be exhausted after she gets here.

So we stayed up late talking Friday night. On Saturday we borrowed a wheelchair and wheeled Mel around the mall. She hadn’t been able to get out of the house much since she is supposed to be on bed-rest and they had previously been walking everywhere. They have no car you see.

Anyway, while we were at the mall we went to the Build-a-Bear store. We built twin bears and put four hearts in each one. So each bear has a piece of each of us in it. The bears are named using initials. See we think that since Ginny won’t get to meet her brother and sisters very soon that she needed a substitute, so we decided that Ginny’s bear would be a boy. And since the brother and sisters that the bear is standing-in for are named Mekenna, Adrianna and Kannon, we decided to call the brother bear MAK. MAK’s twin sibling is being called VAAR right now, representing Virginia Altie Aspen R..

For those who have been paying attention you will notice that Ginny’s name has gotten a little addition. That was at Mel’s request. She really likes the name Aspen and requested that we use it. Martin and I were happy to oblige.

The other reason for the bears is that Martin and I will be stealing an idea from a friend of mine and taking a photo of Ginny next to MAK every week and sending it to Mel & Steve. They can use the twin bear to compare to the photos and see how much Ginny has grown.

Before anyone jumps on me, yes, we KNOW that a teddy bear is not a substitute for a baby or for siblings. We are just being sentimental, silly and cute. But it is a fun connection and gave us all a chance to have something concrete to hold onto.

After the mall we went swimming. Actually I’m not sure you can call it swimming. Mel and I floated on pool noodles and the boys spent all their time jumping in and out of the water, splashing each other (and us) and in general acting like total cut-ups. We loved it. Watching our men have fun together was a real blessing. We should have gotten photos of that, but when everybody is dripping wet and having a great time it’s hard to remember to stop and go get the camera!

Steve cooked dinner, we looked photos of their families (really cute kids by the way), and then we all went to sleep. Swimming really makes me sleepy.

Sunday morning the guys went to play frisbee golf before church!!!! Steve & Mel call it “Discin” which is a term Martin and I are still getting used to. I am very glad that I slept in because apparently Martin had to go swimming in a local pond to retrieve a disc at one point. Ick!

Just a note, we really love the church out there. If we lived in Wichita I would SO being joining at Metro East. Their pastor, Todd Pruitt preaches from God word and God’s heart.

After church we got back together for lunch, then some quick shopping for a few nice things for their apartment and then Martin and I had to go get on a plane. I can’t believe we’ve only had two weekends with them. They are such a huge part of our lives now. Oh and let me tell you we LOVE Wichita. It is such a JOY to arrive late at an airport and have the security guy take one look at your boarding card and say “here, go through this gate, I’ll get someone to put you through quickly since your flight is ready to leave” WOW. In Atlanta we would have been doomed to miss the flight, but Wichita is such a small airport that they can afford to care. It is totally spoiling us. 😉

Here are just a few photos from the weekend.

MAK & VAAR at the Mexican restaurant

MAK & VAAR at the Mexican restaurant

Mel (and Ginny) & Steve

Mel (and Ginny) & Steve

camera happy crazy people

camera happy crazy people

Martin, Deirdre, MAK, Mel (Ginny), VAAR and Steve at a really good Mexican place just around the corner from their house

Martin, Deirdre, MAK, Mel (Ginny), VAAR and Steve at a really good Mexican place just around the corner from their house

gratitude (a sigh of relief)

Ginny is staying put for now.

That is what I am profoundly grateful for this week.

At only 31 weeks and a day old it was still too early for Ginny to consider being born yet, but for some reason she wanted to have an argument about it.

She insisted that she really did want to come early and the doctors insisted that she really needs to sit still a little while longer. Children don’t like to sit still apparently.

I don’t know if she is pouting or not about it, but Martin and I are very very grateful.

So thank you Lord, for the doctor’s that did right by mama-Mel and baby Ginny.

Thank you for sending her a doctor that is treating her with respect and tenderness.

Please be with mama-Mel as she learns to stay off her feet in the coming weeks. Send friends to her doorstep and give her sweet hubby Steve the patience to help her without making her feel helpless. Bless all the members of our weird, extended, crazy family as we wait for “the time to be accomplished” for Ginny to be delivered to us. Healthy, whole and happy.

I am so blessed

Martin and I were reading a devotional on grief. One of the questions we were supposed to think about was of the “record your feelings from a time when you lost someone dear to you” order. And that’s when it occurred to me:

I’ve never had someone I’m really really close to die.

I’ve never been in a serious accident.

I’ve never had a life threatening illness.

I’ve never been robbed.

I’ve never been hit or physically abused.

I’ve never gone hungry or without shelter.

Is my life perfect? no of course not.

Yes, okay, I’ve had a few surgeries. I’ve lost Grandparents and an Uncle (but I hadn’t seen him in years and never really knew him very well) and few friends (but never anyone I was really really close to at the time).   The last time I remember being grieved enough to howl out my pain was a boy-friend dumping me in my early 20s.  But that outpouring of grief frightened my mother so badly I’ve never let go that way again.

I’ve had a few pets die, but I was too young to really be attached to them the way I am to the pets I have now. Alright, I’ve been through divorce.  But that was a slow, quiet pain.

No I don’t have kids yet. And will probably never have a child of my own body.  and that is it’s own kind of slow creeping grief process.

But, comparatively speaking, I have had an incredibly good, low stress existence.

The rest of my family is another story.   Last week I got a call from my brother who, amongst his other myriad difficulties, now has developed Bell’s Palsy. This is where one side of your face stops working. Your eye doesn’t blink, you don’t control anything on one side of your face. If there is any traceable cause they don’t call it Bell’s Palsy, it’s something else. If the doctor’s can’t figure it out, they call it Bell’s Palsy. *sigh* It sometimes goes away and sometimes stays with you for life. You just have to wait and see which way it’s going to go.

Why Lord? Why on top of everything else that has happened to my brother (in addition to his less than stellar life decisions) why did this have to happen?

Why am I so blessed?