Saturday, March 16, 2019

Prelude to Spring

During these first weeks of March we've been anticipating
Springtime. Two weeks ago it was chilly and rainy so we
played indoors.
Claire and Evan designed a marble raceway par excellence.

Just don't shake the track!

Meanwhile, Ryan explored The Magic School Bus in Space,
a favorite he hadn't done in months.

Later, Ryan slipped in to design his own marble raceway.
Just a week later things had dried out and temps hit 70.
Out we went!
Evan was the first to request a ride on the bicycle built for two.
Oh what fun! The exercise doesn't hurt, either.

When Evan's a teen he can pay me back by letting ME ride in
the rear.  That'll build up those leg muscles for soccer!

Ryan eagerly agreed to his very FIRST ride! Last November he
wasn't too interested and I wasn't too confident.  But today all
went great.

Rounding the final turn and heading toward the finish line!

"We made it, Grandpa! And I'm not a bit tired!"

Claire and I toured the whole neighborhood. She has the
advantage of the longest legs of the three.

A lady of leisure.

Our backyard cafe' was another hotbed of activity.
Claire is gathering what she needs to prepare today's specials.

Ryan, her sous chef arrives and gets right to work helping.

Customers always appreciate nice hot tea and fresh fruit.
Just enough time remained for the kids to plant our
2019 potato crop.  The frisbees mark locations until
the plants emerge, possibly by early April.
Grandpa failed to color-coordinate the rows.
Maybe next year.

Don't tell our restaurant customers we sometimes dig with soup ladles.

This is serious business to these guys. They're attentive to detail.

Claire removes an offending sprig of Bermuda grass.
It's not a friend of gardeners, but it's hard to get rid of.

In a few months they'll digging the fruits -- er, veggies -- of their
 labors. They'll get to eat them, too. Though Evan doesn't like taters.

Once the potatoes sprout we remove the frisbee rings and spread
pinestraw mulch to keep out the weeks.  The rest of the garden
will be dedicated to tomato plants in about a month.

I regret that I have no pictures of Evan shooting baskets.
He was playing on behalf of an assortment of ACC and
NBA stars from past and present.  Of course, the ACC
tournament and NCAA tournaments are of huge interest
to him.  Especially since he won his bracket last time
Villanova won the championship.  I have a feeling he'll
be predicting Duke and Zion this year!  Good luck, Evan!

That's hard for a UNC fan to say, but easy for a Grandpa!
Ya dig?

Friday, February 8, 2019

Amazing Play Days

Somehow it seems we've been able to keep ourselves 
entertained both indoors and out, regardless of winter
weather. Here are some samples from Jan. and Feb.

Evan designs an indoor tent.  He now has double the
building materials he had before Christmas.

Well, it's all framed up. Ready for furnishings.

An indoor man cave, with skylight for the TV.

Evan is willing to share his man cave.  Ryan is matching
Star Wars cards very adeptly.
Claire and Grandma toil away creating rubbings from kits
Jennifer and Amanda once played with. We have everything from
Barbie to monsters.

A good afternoon's work.

Some of Claire's favorites.

Ryan is quite a design man, too.  You notice, he gravitates toward
most things big bro and sis like. But he's his own man.

Evan and Ryan turn our dormant garden space into a fort.
They use a tarp, two sleeping bags, a quilt, and four blankets
to create impenetrable walls. Or force fields. 

Evan got Grandma into lawn bowling.

He did let her go first. 

Evan shows us how it's done.

Claire is creating a magnetic zoo of animals with a kit I got at . . .
you guessed it -- the Coalition.

Animals with magnetic personalities.
Like Claire.

Ryan and Evan love to wage battle with spinning tops.
They can do some mind-boggling attacks.

I didn't really believe Evan and Ryan could use every piece in
building their balancing tower.  Here's the next-to-last piece.

Ryan gets to add the last piece.  No pressure.

Amazing success!

This is a castle craft kit with working catapult that we gave Claire
for Christmas. She had started painting it the very next day and
her finished product shows great diligence and attention to detail.

The "girls" love to create outfits with our magnetic figures.

Evan and Ryan set the stage for an epic confrontation between
good and evil.  

Naturally, they put me in charge of the evil characters and
proceeded to wipe me out. I mean crushed!

I had wondered if it was time to get rid of the old Fisher-Price
playhouses and people.  No NO NO! That's our VILLAGE!

As long as they like it, it will be here.
Evan had been playing basketball with Grandpa non-stop, but
paused to check out the village.

Not only is Evan more knowledgeable about basketball teams
and players than any second grader I know, his skills are far
advanced for that age.  And I know, because I remember barely
knowing what dribbling was when I was 8.
Here's Evan a.k.a. Zion.

I'll close with this picture of Ryan doing what all
red-blooded American boys always try to do.
Why, dig to China, of course!

Stay tuned for more action!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Holiday Happenings 2018 Part 2: Christmas in Atlanta

Judy and I both come from families where large
gatherings are automatic at Christmas. I remember
going to Mama Loyd's every Christmas Eve of my
life until I moved from Atlanta after college.

As Buddy, Caryn, and I grew up, friends became a
regular part of Christmas get-togethers, often including
a game of RISK or musical revues. 

Whenever possible, we prevail upon a friend to snap
a memory shot of our full family.  Sometimes that wasn't
possible.  In this one from 1998, one important person is
missing.  Judy!  She volunteered to take the picture.
In it are my Mama and Daddy, my sister Caryn, her 
husband Steve, their two daughters Brantley and Lindsey,
my brother Buddy (Ellis), me, and our daughters Jennifer
and Amanda. I won't attempt to tell you which is which.
Either you know them or you don't.

Mama lived another ten wonderful years after that,
passing away the day after Valentine's Day in 2009. 
She parted with us just two months before Brianna,
our first grandchild, was born.  I like to think that they
waved at each other coming and going to and from 
heaven (it's not THAT sacrilegious).  In short order
Claire arrived, and less than two years later came
Hunter and Evan. Daddy was able to see and hold all
four of them before his passing in 2012.

Below: Christmas 2009, Grandpa Loyd meets
Claire and Brianna.  Notice Mama's photo on the
piano, a reminder that she was with us, too.

I wonder what Claire and Grandpa Loyd were talking about.

Christmas 2011.  Hunter and Evan have joined us now.

Grandpa Loyd with his four (first four) grandchildren
and their parents.

 Christmas 2012, Daddy's last Christmas.
My, how the kids have grown!

Here it is Christmas 2018, 20 years after that first photo.
Mama and Daddy are with us in spirit only, but I can
only imagine their joy at how the family has grown.
This is 5 year-old Ryan's first Christmas in Atlanta,
and as for baby Bennett, has just turned five MONTHS
old since this picture was taken. Our number is 19.
And the third grade teacher in me says, 
"And that's a PRIME number!"

 For readers who may not know all of us by sight,
here are Amanda, Stephen, Ken, Judy, Bri, and Hunter.

Here are Jennifer, Judy, Ken, Matt, Ryan, Claire, and Evan.

At Christmas and always, Judy and I count our blessings.
2019 is sure to be overflowing with them once again.