Sun Kissed :: by guest blogger, Aunt Paula

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Journal Entry 5/19/08

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As the sun peeked over the horizon and made its way through the window, onto my bed; it kissed my face. I thought of our weekend at Dan and Candace’s place. The highlight of our weekend, indeed! And how could it not be when sweet, little sunshiny kisses hit our cheeks on and off through the whole stay? And like the sun rises and sets, each kiss from our precocious little nieces, dampened our faces with moisture like the morning dew.

Upon our arrival we were enticed with a delectable menu creatively prepared by Candace, whose appetite for innovative recipes (influenced by the Confessions of a Pioneer Woman) tantalized our curiosities. She sited the recipes on her fifty’s retro, white enameled, metal cabinets. We gave our invitation of helping hands. She gladly accepted, but with our meager efforts she managed quite well; most of which could have been done without us, including a wonderful conflagration upon her busy stove top. Fireworks wouldn’t have done any justice; the excitement alone was quite exciting and entertaining! She calmly said, “What will put it out?” and I said hastily, “Baking powder! Oh, er…no, I think its baking soda!” Just like I said she could manage well enough without us.

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We enjoyed a Cheese macaroni dish that consisted of green and red peppers, red onions, and…cheese! Brilliant! (That certainly didn’t give credit to the pioneer-lady, sorry about that), anyway, what ever was in it, sure pleased our palates…

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…Along side this “palate-pleaser” was a beautiful, mostly homegrown salad (greens and scallions given by Grandma Brand of course) and arrayed creatively in a striking wooden, teardrop shape bowl was green and red bell peppers and…scallions! My brilliance strikes again, (she still could do better without my help). Let’s just say… you had to be there!

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Oh, I did forget the stuffed jalapeños filled with…yikes; here I go again…cheese!! (Cream cheese…that is) At least they were wrapped with bacon and no doubt, deliciously HOT! I better quit while I’m ahead or am I? Uhgg, I left out the most important thing, dessert! Grasshopper Pie! There that was easy.

All in all it was very entertaining and very complimentary of Candace’s character. She enjoys the “far and outrageous menus” to which everything prepared was a palatal success, indeed!

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Kinsley and Sophie, rug rats of the sort, displayed their precocious characters to the hilt. Crying and whining in a tizzy like manner, probably not even sure what they wanted or why they were fussing. They probably were mimicking what we “big” people tend to do, who knows. Their delectable nuance of character kept them entertaining at all times. Kinsley, in her own little world certainly thought she was the center of attention would carry on a “know-it-all” adult conversation; at least she appeared to have it all figured out, and maybe she did. Sophie on the other hand, puttered around with her two-inch length little legs, going from one thing to another; cloth on her head, ball in hand, examining crumbs and crying for Mama and her “binkster.”

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We had beautiful walks down the city-park sidewalk, which led to the city park.

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Our eyes found animated wild flowers waving their cheerful blossoms in the gentle breeze that tantalized and led them to the bubbling creek that runs through the little town.

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The banks were also adorned with flowing, hair-like, tall grasses which gave a soft continuity against the rocky banks.

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The activities of our stay consisted of basket ball at the park, without a basket ball— hum, “who would-a-thunk” (a Mark Jacobson term)? The only ball available was a soft soccer ball that Dan and Candace had…“Hey, whatever works!” The English family joined us there and all had a wild game of soccer-ball/basket ball game, they didn’t seem to miss the proper ball.

The playground was Kinsley’s and Sophie’s delight other than almost getting plowed on the court and totally oblivious to it all. Sophie found the slide to be thrilling and her face in an almost fright, gave “us” observing more of a thrill! Kinsley gave her Uncle Jared an exhausting time (to his delight of course) with her “peek-a-boo” games.

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We headed to the Huzzah, I think or at least it was an arm of it, to slash on buoy-boards and plastic donut floaters.

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It didn’t last long though, the water was too cold. Kinsley took it upon herself to release the “warm liquid kind” onto the only blanket we had to sit on. She thought what was wrong with that, it’s a normal fact of life!

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Sophie examined the geological finds of ornate rocks though half her time was spent trying to balance on them which set her to get angry and think that it was her Mama’s fault or anyone who was near. My kids shivered and chattered most of the time, they didn’t want their Aunt Candace to get her feelings hurt you know.

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Nathan took it upon himself to use Sophie’s floating ring and had a cute ride down some cute little rapids. He looked like an over-sized spider that found a nice spot to spin its web. Kind of gross with those hairy, spindly legs hanging out over the sides; if I had a fly-swatter I might have used it!

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Gage and Glen, once back at D& C’s home, continued their racer-like bike rides down the sidewalk, dodging each other before a collision took place (I had to resign myself to whatever course it took, luckily nothing happened and they got to enjoy their uninterrupted fun).

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Nathan and Eric took to mowing for Dan. I think they felt sorry for him; poor guy, he needs a break here and there; he’s a busy man you know! Ahh, gee (that’s what the kids would say)!

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Nathan and Natalie were big helps in the kitchen washing dishes and mopping floors and at best helping with their tiny little cousins demanding needs.

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We all found it a delightful weekend and a break from the monotony of our lonesome hill. Tears ended the stay for the little guys and following the next day, Gage didn’t unpack because it made him sad; he even said he was going to keep his toothbrush in there too, and didn’t see why we couldn’t just go back. He’d be ready if we had a change of mind.

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To sum it up: “If you stay out in the sun long enough, you’re bound to get sun-kissed and better yet, if you stay out in the sun long enough with you nieces, you are bound to get the ultimate sun-kiss… ” — Aunt Paula of course!

Ice cream and Tornados

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On Sunday we spent some time with Dan’s brother and his family after church. We had a great time, listening to music, laughing, admiring the scenery on their beautiful property, going out for ice cream, and avoiding a tornado.

All day it had been stuffy, with about 200% humidity. We all agreed that ice cream would be an appropriate ending for the day. Just as we were about to head into town, a storm began to roll in.

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But once you’ve told six children that you’re going to buy ice cream cones, you don’t let anything deter you. Even the possibility of major, tornadic storm.

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As we were finishing our ice cream, the storm really began to blow in.

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Dan and I had to get gas before heading home, but after two of the gas pumps didn’t work, it took us so long to get out of the gas station that we decided to go South, back to Eric’s house, rather than forging North, into the storm. Little did we know that we were driving right into another bad cell.

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After driving a few miles, we heard on the radio that a tornado had been spotted on the county border (about six miles ahead of us, in the direction we were heading). Behind us, the tornado siren from town was going off. We tried to press on, but the wind was rocking our two vans so violently that we ended up puling off the road.

Unfortunately the people who lived in the house where we stopped have never, ever won any awards for politeness. The woman came to the door and told us we were fine – and that there was no tornado. She then told us we could wait out the storm on her porch, shouting over the roaring winds and tornado siren that “this is no tornado”. She even had the audacity to claim that her dog wouldn’t poop in a tornado. What sort of person would turn down a family with several small and terrified kids in that situation? Poor Gage kept crying “I don’t want to die!”

In retrospect, we were probably not in any eminent danger, but we’d rather be safe than sorry. The story about the family killed over Mother’s Day weekend when their vehicle blew off the road kept flitting through our minds, and we thought we’d play it safe by stopping. So much for Missouri hospitality!

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Circumspection

Kinsley on the other hand, approaches live with much more thought and imagination. Many of her conversations begin with phrases like: “it seems to me…”.

As one uncle puts it, she’s the Dreamy One. Another phrases it “so many phobias, so little time”.

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She preferred to stay closer to the ground on this particular evening, and pretended that she was eating “out”. We were cued into this game when Kinsley told Dan that she “had ordered already”, and was now “waiting”.

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On the few occasions when she chose to slide, she was very careful to hold on to each bar in the railing on her way up the “stairs”.

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Once she had reached the top, she thought carefully about her descent.

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And often had to be coaxed down.

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Once we left the park to walk home, she wanted to sit and “soak up the sun” in a safe place – “are there no ticks here, Papa?”

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Sophie, who had no patience for this, decided to get on with things.

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“Faster! Faster”

That’s pretty much Sophie’s approach to life. She goes and goes and goes, like the energizer bunny on speed.

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The way she took to the slide at the park didn’t surprise us. Actually, the surprising part was how she got to the slide. We were at the basketball court when she decided that the slide looked fun. She took off running toward it, got to the edge of the court, noticed the one inch step down to the grass, stopped about three feet from the edge, sat down, scooted all the way to the edge and carefully scooted over that little lip and onto the grass, where she continued her dead run to the slide. That little bit of caution was the only bit we witnessed for the rest of the evening.

She would climb up to the top of the slide (however she could get there) and essentially hurtle herself down it, in any position. At the bottom she would shriek with laughter and shout “Faster! Faster!”

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Baby Feet

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Baby Feet

Tell me, what is half so sweet
As a baby’s tiny feet,
Pink and dainty as can be,
Like a coral from the sea?

Talk of jewels strung in rows,
Gaze upon those little toes,
Fairer than a diadem,
With the mother kissing them!

It is morning and she lies
Uttering her happy cries,
While her little hands reach out
For the feet that fly about.
Then I go to her and blow
Laughter out of every toe;
Hold her high and let her place
Tiny footprints on my face.

Little feet that do not know
Where the winding roadways go,
Little feet that never tire,
Feel the stones or trudge the mire,
Still too pink and still too small
To do anything but crawl,
Thinking all their wanderings fair,
Filled with wonders everywhere.

Little feet, so rich with charm,
May you never come to harm.
As I bend and proudly blow
Laughter out of every toe,
This pray, that God above
Shall protect you with His love,
And shall guide those little feet
Safely down life’s broader street.

Edgar Allen Guest

From Beauty and the Bath

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Sleeping Beauty

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After “swimming” in the wading pool, Sophie fell asleep in the warm sunshine. As she lay against my chest, I just wanted to inhale her. She smelled of sunshine and sunscreen. Her skin was all rubbery and soft, like a stress ball. Which is good, because she tends to make me need a stress ball.

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After admiring her tangled, strawberry blond curls, and her sweeping eyelashes, Natalie photographed the sweet, sleeping fairy.

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See that chubby little wrinkle on the back of Sophie’s knee? That is Dan’s favorite part. It is pretty gooey, don’t you agree? I think it may be the only bit of chub on either daughter.

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