Visiting Papa

Once in a while, I pack a lunch, load the children into the car (a task requiring no less than three carseats, these days!) and make the seven mile journey to the office where Dan works with my dad, selling kitchen cabinets.

It’s certainly the highlight of our day.

The girls dress up for the event…

Trux, too – though he remains cool and unimpressed, throughout.

The girls work on some difficult floor plans…

mooch the trademark mints and sunflower seeds off of Granddad…

get held by as many aunts and uncles as happen through the doors…

and educe tickling from anyone:

It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.


New beginnings

Because of the lessons which we believe Kinsley has learned, we accepted the offer from my parents and siblings, to purchase a new pet fish for Kinsley.

Allow me to introduce you to…

Stuart Little. Kinsley named him. Sophie calls him Stupid Little.

Kinsley was thrilled when she saw the new fish. Her grieving for Lyle was instantly completed, and she accepted the new fish whole-heartedly.

Though she did tear up while observing “Lyle Junior”.

Then she hugged Marme, and pronounced it “…a very nice fish!”

Lessons learned

With the death of Lyle we would like to think that Kinsley learned that her parents do know what they’re talking about, and that we do tell her not to do things for her own good, since Dan had told her not to touch the fish less than an hour before the accident. We are afraid that lesson may not yet be learned, but we have hope that there were several other important lessons learned.

Lyle’s death showed Kinsley for the first time the permanence of death, and the loss that is felt even from the death of a lowly fish. It’s a loss that transcends the mere physical, even when it’s a pet. Experiencing that death showed the value of life. Seeing the value of life, makes us see that it is infinite, and should be eternal. Kinsley believes us without skepticism when we tell her that people can live again, in a better state, and that it is possible that even their pets will live again with them. We had talked about Heaven with her, and she did not understand why the fish could not come back to life. Now, she knows there is a waiting time, in this life, for all things to be made perfect, and meantime, that these losses cause pain.

We wish the loss of her fish could be her only loss in life, but there are sure to be more and deeper losses for her, as part of being alive in this difficult world, and because of that we shed tears of our own with her as she was weeping in mourning for her beloved fish.

Though Lyle was smaller than other fish which Kinsley has enthusiastically participated in catching, cleaning, and cooking, Kinsley has learned that sometimes it falls to us to protect innocent creatures in our lives.

Life is strange and often painful, but good because it is leading ever onward to perfect, eternal Life, of which we see glimpses now.

A sad day.


Today was a very sad day at Gentlewood Cottage. Through an unfortunate accident, Lyle met his maker today. If fish meet their maker.


The accident involved Kinsley removing Lyle from his comfortable home to examine him – unbeknownst to us. By the time Aunt Paula happened upon the scene, it was too late for Lyle.

It was pretty traumatic once Kinsley had comprehended that Lyle was dead. She wasn’t able to grasp what had happened, until I told her that Lyle had depended on us to feed him everyday, and watch him swimming in his nice bowl. Then she went into the living room and looked into the fishbowl – then began to cry.


She wailed for a long while for him, wishing that she could feed him again, and not wanting to bury him – but after a while, she gave in and led the funeral procession, with Lyle in his tiny casket in her hand.


She chose a spot under the clothesline, and after Glen dug the grave, Papa said a few words about Lyle’s life, and she carefully placed the Altoid casket into the hole.


Then she cried some more.


Then Marme and Grandma both called with their condolences.


As we were headed into the house, she asked Dan if he could read the book Lorenzo the Fish “in honor of Lyle”. Those were her words, by the way.


And so they did. She asked if Lyle had brothers and sisters and a mom and dad. Dan told her that Lyle had been pretty much alone in the world, and she wanted to know if it was because he was a little baby…


Goodbye Lyle. Thanks for being a good fish.



Things around here have been phenomenally crazy for the last few weeks. I can’t believe that it’s been nearly two whole weeks since I last posted.

We have so far:

Visited with my brother (Caleb) and his girlfriend, Alison who came home for a week.

Visited with my brother (Jared) who came home from college two times during the last couple of weeks.

Visited with my sister (Anna) and her family, who came home to participate in all the visiting (see above) and celebrate our mom’s and Bessie’s (my niece, Anna’s daughter) birthdays – (see below).

Started raising cockatiels with my brother (Zion).

Met my uncle from Chicago at a local(ish) campground.



Fished. (Okay, only a little, but as my uncle says… “Fishing requires patience, but fishing with children requires the patience of an angel).

Uploaded and edited roughly 1400 photographs.

Celebrated my mom’s 49th birthday.

Celebrated my sister-in-law’s 46th birthday.

Celebrated my niece’s 3rd birthday.

Celebrated Easter Sunday.

Changed 224 diapers.

Had/have a bad cold and a case of hives (mine!).

Attended a play.

Prepared roughly 42 meals.

Washed around 746 loads of laundry.

Washed 300 loads of dishes in the dishwasher.

Had a picnic.

Did major grocery shopping twice.

Took a mass family picture involving 20 individual and wiggly people.

Played at the park.

Juggled three fussy babies.

Figured taxes. Repeatedly.

Bought two cars.

Cleaned up approximately 29 spills.

Visited the Science Center.

Put out four oven fires.

Had two tires repaired.

Potty trained a two year old.

Mopped the floor. Once.

Learned of two separate and potentially serious car accidents involving my parents and my brother.

Photographed most of the above.