Friday, July 27, 2012

A Baker's Dozen from the First 500

Four summers ago I retired.  With the encouragement of daughters Jennifer and Amanda I began blogging less than a month later.  Amazingly, I find I've posted over 530 blog posts.  And I'm not even tired! Some of you have been readers of my thoughts and escapades for four years, others have joined me more recently.

I thought this was a good time to offer a retrospective with a sampling of my favorite blogs.  A disclaimer: I didn't include the blogs about the births of the four grandchildren, though those were momentous occasions.  These are not ranked, but are representative of the ECLECTIC nature of my blog.  And because it's hard to choose, I didn't do a "Top Ten" or even "Top Dozen."  Please peruse the list and click a link for a taste (first or second) of my "Baker's Dozen."

This was my first post and explains why I call it my Eclectic Blog.

This is one of several about Camp Cherokee, which has been foundational in
my life and career.
This one shows my interest in all things historical, especially if hiking is involved.
Hanging Rock is a sample of our road trips in North Carolina.
This brief essay speaks of the importance of music in my life.
This post is about recent upgrades to the Sandhills Farm Life Nature Trail, which students helped me create back in the 1980's.
Here's a typical post from our out-of-state travels: destination Chattanooga.
A tribute to the teachers that influenced me and others.
About Kitty Cat entering our lives.
Amazing scenes of nature en route to Louisville.
A little background for the single book I've written, "Mystery at the Loyd Homeplace."  The second edition is in the works even now!

We love the mountains, hiking, and waterfalls.  This includes all three.
A little piece about how I utilized "The Hobbit" in my classroom.  I can't wait for the new screen version.

I may fizzle out on blogging, but it won't be from a lack of ideas.  Hope I'll continue to see you around!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Five Fantastic Four Videos

For those few of you who have time for such
things, I'm wrapping up my play-by-play
coverage of our Family Night with four
fantastic videos of the grandkids at their best.

The first one features the kids assisting with
wishing Stephen a happy birthday.  Everyone
should have this much help.

45 seconds is enough for the kids to race
around the whole house twice.  The boys
bring up the rear, including me with the 
camera.  When the race ends the kids are
all gathered around the play kitchen.  
No surprise.

This one could be entitled "The Music Makers."
Adults and kids all experimented with instruments
from the old Fisher-Price music kit.  What fun!

A half-minute demonstration by the boys
on how to "fist bump", also called
"gimme knuckles."

I conclude with 30 seconds of good-natured
old-fashioned hollering.  Led by the boys,
joined by Bri.  Claire was off doing her own thing.
If you persevered to watch all of these
you're an addict.  Like me!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Part 2 of the Fantastic Four Return

Here are more happy moments from 
Family Night at the Loyd house last week.
Part 1 was in the previous blog post.

Hunter can't get too much of seeing himself
on the bulldozer last week.

When I suggested to Hunter that he and Evan
share the chair, this wasn't what I had in mind.

But they worked things out satisfactorily.
As usual.

Evan's dilemma:  to look at the camera or
watch Grandpa grinning like a loon.

Hunter prefers his go-to option: the thumb.

Grandma and her girls.

That's right, Evan.  Sneer for the camera.

Grandma passes out fruit snacks-- a reward
for good behavior.

You gonna eat all of yours?

Look, Evan, it's ME!

The fast camera shutter captures Evan's 
throw the instant it arrives.  Stee-rike!

C'mon, Daddy, show me how to throw
a spitball.

If one is good, two is better.
If I had three, I'd juggle.

Grandpa, let's show 'em how to make a tent!

Now you see it, now you don't!

Is that the "Tent that Ate Chicago"?

When the kids pull out Jennifer and Amanda's
old Fisher-Price music kit, everybody makes
a little music.

Evan, why don't you blow it, not bite it?

With Stephen keeping a firm grip on their chairs
 Evan and Hunter ham it up.  No captions needed.

Think Family Night
 will become a regular event?
You bet!

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Fantastic Four Return

Before I get to the "Fantastic Four" part, 
here are a few pics from regular babysitting
last week.

Evan will stop whatever he's doing to offer a pose.

Hunter examines a vintage Mickey Mouse.
Judy's parents actually brought this back from
 Disney World for Jennifer three decades ago.

A weary Bri is still drying out from pool time, but
 she's always got time to be fashion-conscious.

Evan attempts to defy the laws of physics by
squeezing Mickey into this micro-bus.
Better check with Einstein, Newton, or Daddy.

Claire can certainly multi-task.  Watch the
tube, surf on her laptop, and chomp blueberries.

Evan, man of 1,000 faces.


Grandma's afghan makes a nice tent.
And a tent makes a nice hiding place.

For some people, an airplane is better than
a blanket or a thumb.

NOW, for the REAL fun!
Friday evening, at Judy's inspiration, we
inaugurated a monthly family meal, which
we'll rotate between our homes.  In this noble
experiment, we placed the six adults in the 
dining room, and arranged a kid-sized table
for the four children in the living room.

The hardest part was getting into a chair.

We knew the kids would get enough to eat, so
didn't care if they mixed in a little playtime.
Hunter seems to be negotiating a swap.

And here, I'll throw in Grandma's flowers
for free.

Miracle # 1.  Everyone seated at once.

Waitress, I'll have the usual.  And make it snappy.

I dunno, guys.  Should we let Amanda
join us or make her eat with the grown-ups?

A bonus of this evening was celebrating
Stephen's birthday.  Then why no pictures
of Stephen?  Well, the kids tend to steal the
show, but I promise ONE picture of birthday
boy. And by the way, it took help from ALL
the kids to get those candles out.

And the cake, which is actually Stephen's
favorite homemade brownies, passes the kid test.
It passed the adult test, too.

Hunter says, "I've got two airplanes.  Wanna
come fly with me?"

Evan thinks we'd better check out Grandma's
potato bin.  Better act quick or lose that arm, Hunter!

Yes, for this one special occasion, there WAS
bouncing on Grandma and Grandpa's bed.
Nobody ended up on the floor.  Just Grandma's
reading lamp (no damage sustained).

Left to right:
Matt, Jennifer, Stephen, and Amanda
Since I was taking the picture, I sure hope
Judy was with the kids . . . .
This isn't the end.  Another post will follow
shortly, with more of the evening's festivities.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Andy Griffith: "Conversation With a Mule" and more

It's my turn to do a brief Andy Griffith
tribute now.  His television success is
familiar to my younger readers who saw
the endless reruns and to those of my age
and older who made Sheriff Taylor's
acquaintance around 1960.

Many folks are also familiar with his
humorous monologue from the '50's
entitled "What it was, was Football."

I have a couple of audio tapes of lesser
known monologues and songs, of which
I'm posting a couple here.  

This comedy monologue is called
"Conversation With a Mule," and is
packed with Griffith's homespun wisdom.
(2 and a half minutes)

The second video is a country-fied version
of "Romeo and Juliet."
(3 minutes)

If you enjoy these, let me know here or on 
Facebook and I'll post some others.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Hunter and the Tractors

Note: If you haven't viewed the previous post,
don't miss it-- four videos of Hunter in action.

"I wonder what fun stuff I'm gonna do with
 Grandpa tonight. Or will it be same old, same old."

"Hey, Hunter, do you want to put down your
angel and go see some big tractors?"

And that's what me and Hunter did Thursday
evening.  Our church parking lot is being paved
and all kinds of heavy equipment was parked
up there.  There were a road scraper, two steam
rollers, a bulldozer, and a brusher.  We tried 'em all.
And to keep it simple, I called 'em all 'tractors.'

Hmm.  How does this thing work?

I love this one.  It's got the bouncy seat.

Grandpa, I'll drive.  If we get pulled over, 
you take over.

What do you mean 'Sit still.' Do I have a choice?

Hint: Look in the rear view mirror to see
who's navigating this dozer.

Even a big machine lover like Hunter couldn't
resist the lure of the church playground.

It's a long way down.  Well, it was a long
way up, too.  (I spent some time clearing
the offending pine straw from his path.)

Hunter does fine on the 'big boy swing' now.

We made our own fun dumping the rain
water out of magnolia leaves (see the video
on previous blog post.)

Not surprisingly, after a few minutes on the
playground, Hunter was eager to get back
to the 'tractors.' He was a little bolder now.

Why is this wheel up in the air?

Are you sure this is an elevator, Grandpa?

In our little made-up game we like to shout
"Ouch" every time we touched these stiff bristles.

Hunter was curious to see what was in the
scoop of this "tractor." Several times.

Dirt.  Dirt.
Well, yeah.

Okay, you guys.  This way.  Follow me.
Another day in the life of Hunter,
construction foreman.

OH, NO!  I've been busted!!
Hope you enjoyed getting to know a little
more about Hunter.  He's quite a guy.