Lunch with Joey

I had the opportunity today, between morning and afternoon appointments and work, to have lunch with grandson Joey. I set the intention of having lunch with each grandchild within a week, and I successfully did that. I was even able to include my eldest grandchild, by driving to Columbia to visit him on the University of Missouri campus and take him to lunch.

Joey is in 6th grade this year. His school is new, with last year being its first year in operation. I love the openness of the cafeteria and the windows that let ample light in. I arrived a few minutes early and chatted with one of the teachers on lunch duty today while I waited for Joey. Two of my grandsons are 6th graders this year, although they attend different schools. I am grateful that even though they are approaching their teens, they still enjoy having lunch together at their schools.

The kids filed into the room and Joey joined me at a front table, a smile on his face. He requested a roast beef and cheddar sandwich meal from Arby’s. Joey’s friend Connor joined us, sitting across the table from us. Having friends with us is always okay! I love meeting my grandchildren’s friends, classmates and teachers. I just make sure that my focus is on my grandchild, although we include others in our conversations.

Connor, Joey and Yaya

Joey and I chatted about the new school year, his classes, football and my upcoming trip. He would love to have a ball cap from one of the countries I will be visiting, as a souvenir. I am happy to oblige. A counselor and two teachers stopped by our table to introduce themselves and my grandson informed one that I am plant based. I chatted for a few moments about health with the interested counselor, answering his questions. I appreciate that my grandkids understand that I eat differently so that I can be my healthiest self. They encourage me and ask questions as well.

I love the way this week of lunches worked out. It is very important to me to invest time and energy in the lives of my grandkids. They amaze me, inspire me, make me laugh and move me to tears. We are creating precious memories as we talk and play and learn together.

In the last seven days, I’ve had lunch with a Dragon, a Tiger, a Tiger, a Tiger…and a Tiger! Lunches don’t get any more interesting or fun than that!

The Art of Hiding…and Finding…Painted Rocks

Two days ago, my grandchildren Aubrey, Oliver and Joey, and my great niece London, spent the afternoon painting rocks. Rock painting, and hiding them and finding them, is a fun creative activity trending across the US. The humidity was high Wednesday, extending the drying time of the paint.

After thunderstorms rolled through the area last night and early this morning, the weather today was perfect for being outside…mild, sunny, and breezy with low humidity. Sadly, London could not join us this afternoon. The other children and I gathered up the painted rocks and drove to Cunningham Park in Joplin to hide them.

Hiding painted rocks is much like hiding Easter eggs. You want them to be found. Each child carried a bag of rocks to hide around the park, while I followed along, snapping pics. The kids are so used to me documenting everything we do that they often pause for a photo op. I love that!

Included in our stash were two painted rocks the kids had found previously. These were hidden again in this new location.

Found by Aubrey at the Carthage Police Department

Found by Joey in the Joplin Public Library.

Here are pics of the kids hiding rocks:

Aubrey, Oliver and Joey thoroughly enjoyed hiding rocks. Clever Joey even painted one to resemble dog poop. I would love to see that one discovered!

As they hid rocks, tucking them into rock walls, carvings and bushes, and dropping them in easily spotted locations on the ground and atop park benches, the kids also looked for painted rocks. That's part of the appeal of this hobby.

They hid fourteen rocks. They found, and rehid, five!

We had such fun with this creative project this week. From painting the rocks, to hiding them at the park, to finding painted rocks created by others, this was a good way for the kids to express themselves artistically, in a low pressure, non competitive way. The children encouraged each other, when they painted. And today they stayed near each other as they explored the park, looking for hiding places and for hidden rocks. I enjoyed their sense of teamwork and accomplishment.

I will post pics of the rocks we hid and the ones we found, on the Joplin Area Rocks Facebook page. Check out the group, for fun ideas and to catch a glimpse of the craze that is rock painting. And then paint up some river rocks and come find me and my grandchildren in a park. We will hide rocks, and look for rocks, together.

The Art of Rock Painting

Rock painting is a thing. Walking in the park, shopping at the mall, strolling down Main Street I can glance down and find a painted rock tucked into a corner or peeking out from beneath a flowering plant. This growing trend of painting, hiding and finding rocks, has swept across the US. Chapters have formed in many cities, including Joplin.

The concept is simple. Paint a rock. You can create a design, an elaborate picture, write out an inspiring quote or go with an abstract painting. On the back of the rock, you write the name of your city's rock painting club, which has a page on Facebook. Joplin Area Rocks is the local chapter. Add the Facebook symbol. And then hide your painted rocks. The rocks are supposed to be easily spotted. Imagine a four year old hunting for these treasures. When you find a painted rock, you hide it again, in a new location, after admiring the artwork.

A rock I found last week at Mercy Park.

Today I spent time with three of my grandchildren…Joey, Oliver and Aubrey…and my great niece London. On our agenda was a first for all of us. We had a pile of river rocks, large flat pieces of shale, tempera paints in vivid colors and an assortment of artists brushes. We created our first painted rocks.

I put tarps down in the garage (thanks Papa Greg) and set up art supplies. The kids selected rocks, squeezed out paint on makeshift artists' palettes, and grabbed a brush. I managed to paint a simple heart on one small rock. I was busy the rest of the time snapping pics, handing out damp paper towels and chasing Carl the dog away from the paint.

I love these kids. They are so willing to try new things and enter into fun adventures. I allowed them complete freedom to paint their rocks as they wished. They all chose different designs and colors and methods of expression.

The kids created works of art. I set the rocks aside to dry while the artists changed into swimsuits and escaped the heat of the day by jumping into the pool. I was proud of them for their enthusiasm and their creativity.

The higher humidity today prevented the paint from drying quickly. We decided not to rush the process. We will hide the rocks on a different day. And while we are hiding painted rocks we will look for those hidden by others before us.

Rock painting is a thing. It is a fun thing!

Joey’s Birthday Lunch

My grandson Joey turned 11 years old Thursday. I have the tradition of taking each of my grandchildren out for a birthday lunch or dinner and shopping, just the two of us. More correctly, I give each child an allotted amount of money that he or she can spend, or save. It is always their choice. 

Today I had the joy of taking Joey to lunch and out shopping. He chose Lambert’s Cafe, near Springfield, MO, for his celebratory meal. I picked him up mid morning and off we went on an adventure. 

Joey's Birthday Lunch
I was as excited as Joey about going to Lambert’s. I have heard about this restaurant, famous for their tradition of throwing rolls to diners, since I moved to Joplin in the early 1980s. And yet, I have never visited it before. 

I looked up the history of this fun cafe. It was launched in 1942, in Sikeston, MO, when Earl and Agnes Lambert borrowed $1500 to open their own cafe. The original building was small, seating only 41 diners, but the couple immediately established the custom of serving wholesome meals consisting of vegetables, meats and desserts. 

Joey's Birthday Lunch
Their son, Norman, inadvertently began what is now a tradition. Passing out freshly made rolls in the cafe, he couldn’t get to a customer tucked into a corner. “Just throw the #%@$ thing!” the diner called out. They are still tossing out rolls at Lambert’s, these many years later. 

The cafe near Springfield is the company’s second location. It opened in 1994. Lambert’s is still owned and operated by the family. 

Joey's Birthday Lunch
Joey expressed a concern as we drove to Springfield. Lambert’s is so popular that there is always a wait time. What if we had a two hour wait? Joey had plans with his family later in the evening. We had a limited amount of time. This thoughtful boy googled to find other dining options, if we needed to go to Plan B.  

I silently put our desire to eat at Lambert’s out there as a request of the Divine. I asked for a short wait time so Joey could eat at his first choice for his special lunch. As we arrived at 11:30, I wondered though. The parking lots, all three of them, were full. A crowd of people milled about about outside. We decided to park in good faith, in the lot down the hill from the restaurant, and inquire about the wait time. 

I’m so glad we did. In spite of the crowds, we only had a 30 minute wait time for a booth for two. 

Joey's Birthday Lunch
Joey's Birthday Lunch
What a bustling restaurant we walked into with a party like atmosphere! There are three dining areas, that combined, hold a surprisingly large number of people. Just before we were seated, a party of 35 strolled by us. The interior of the cafe is warm and homey, with lots of wood. Colorful flags hang from the ceilings and metal signs and car license plates adorn the walls. 

We ordered our lunches, chicken tenders for Joey, a vegetable plate for me, and enjoyed people watching and chatting as we waited for our food. My water and Joey’s Dr Pepper arrived in huge containers. That was foreshadowing. Everything is done in a big way at Lambert’s. 

Joey's Birthday Lunch
Joey's Birthday Lunch
Not only are the meal portions very generous, the servers also bring around additional sides called “pass arounds”. Offered in an all you can eat manner, the extras consist of black eyed peas, fried potatoes and onions, fried okra, macaroni and tomatoes, and those famous rolls. It is a lot of food! It is good we were hungry. 

At last a server came into our dining room with a large basket full of hot rolls, fresh from the oven. You raise your hand if you want a roll, and prepare to catch it as the bread is thrown. This was great fun to watch, and difficult to capture well in a photo. Watch a brief video of roll throwing HERE.   

Joey's Birthday Lunch
Joey's Birthday Lunch Tossed roll circled in the pic above. Joey caught it!

We had a great lunch. I love that after sitting across from me initially, Joey asked if he could sit by me. He’s growing up, but he doesn’t mind being close. We talked about so many topics today. Joey is a great conversationalist. He’s polite, kind and thoughtful. I see him beginning to govern himself, monitoring his own speech and behavior, as he takes responsibility for his words and actions. Those are definite signs that this young man is leaving childhood behind. The teen years are rapidly approaching. 

Joey is artistic, creative and loves music, video games and technology. Later in the car he showed me birthday presents he received, demonstrating how his new gadgets for his iphone worked. Driving home, we listened to Ed Sheeran through a new mini speaker he got. 

Joey boxed up his leftovers and we left Lambert’s, extremely happy with our lunch. Our waiter even secured a birthday discount for us, in honor of Joey’s special day. I look forward to a return visit. 

And I look forward to many more such outings with Joey. We stopped by Toys R Us and the Battlefield Mall on our way out of town, so Joey could spend his birthday money. He scored with sale items today, making his money go even further. 

I am so proud of this gracious young man. He expressed gratitude for the lunch and the shopping trip and the time spent together. I felt gratitude too. I am grateful for him and for the incredible joy he brings. Happy birthday, Joey! Thank you for picking out such a fun place to eat. And thank you for being you, so delightfully. I love you!

Joey's Birthday Lunch

Pickin’ on the Ranch

I love junk shows and I have been excited about a type of show new to the Joplin area that premiered this weekend. On this warm, gorgeous spring day, I collected my daughter-in-law Megan and grandchildren Joey, Oliver and Aubrey to check out the Pickin’ on the Ranch event in Carthage, MO. 

Pickin' on the Ranch
Picking is the act of selecting items for the purpose of reselling them. This profitable hobby has been made popular by the long running reality TV show, American Pickers. Picking is typically done among vast collections of junk and vintage items that people have stored in their houses, garages or barns. 

Today’s spring pickers market kicked off the first such event at the picturesque Civil War Ranch in Carthage. The barns, outbuildings and open grassy areas provided the perfect backdrop for vendors to display their pickings. 

Pickin' on the Ranch
Pickin' on the Ranch
This was a fun show to attend. And apparently we weren’t the only ones curious about a pickers market. The venue was packed. As we wandered through barns and booths I enjoyed looking at the many items for sale. These shows inspire my creativity and ignite my imagination. I am always impressed with how clever people are, as they repurpose vintage finds into new items. 

Pickin' on the Ranch
Pickin' on the Ranch

Pickin' on the Ranch
There was live music on site, food wagons to ease hunger and thirst, and celebrities from HGTV signing autographs. The atmosphere was friendly and casual. And there was even an animal adoption area where people could hold and pet dogs and puppies and perhaps take home a faithful companion as a found treasure. 

Pickin' on the Ranch
Pickin' on the Ranch
As much as I enjoyed looking at junk and vintage items and crafts, what I cherished most was watching my grandkids take in their first pickers market. They surprised me a couple of weeks ago by showing interest in the event when I mentioned it to them. As the spring pickers market approached, they continued to be excited about it and anticipated attending as well. I was delighted to take them and Megan along this morning. It was a fun outing. 

Pickin' on the Ranch
Pickin' on the Ranch
The kids were great shoppers. They each had an allotted amount to spend and made careful decisions about their purchases. I was proud of how polite they were to vendors and pleased with how interested they were in what was going on. 

Pickin' on the Ranch
Joey helped to keep an eye on his younger siblings, so we didn’t lose anyone in the crowds. He was called a “good man” by a vendor for retrieving an item that had fallen off of a display table and setting it up again correctly. 

Pickin' on the Ranch
Aubrey found lots to capture her interest, including these red lockers. I told her that her daddy had such a set of lockers when he was a boy, and that he stowed his police gear in them, items that he purchased or made in anticipation of his future career. Aubrey wanted to show that she could fit within those lockers too. 

Pickin' on the Ranch
Oliver made me laugh. The others were walking just a bit ahead of us when he asked to walk into a booth. “Sure, go ahead!” I said. “You’d better come in with me and keep an eye on me,” he quipped. “I think my mom would want you to keep an eye on me.” Amused by his honesty, I was happy to follow him around the booth, keeping an eye on him. He didn’t touch a thing! 

Pickin' on the Ranch
This first pickers market was a great success. I anticipate that the event will continue to grow and evolve into a highly anticipated yearly event. We didn’t make any huge purchases, but we all left with something special. I found a metal pendant and love the sentiment engraved on it…”the journey awakens the soul”. 

What a perfect expression of the day, and of my life. 

Pickin' on the Ranch

Wherever the Road May Lead

Kids are so inspiring. I picked up three of my grandchildren from school today, Joey, Oliver and Aubrey, and after our customary stop for drinks and snacks, the kids suggested a game. We would drive away from the house, and at every intersection, the kids would take turns choosing a direction. We would continue with this “pick a direction” game until time to head home, and then find our way back. 

It sounded like an adventure to me! 

Wherever the Road May Lead
After dropping off backpacks at their home, we loaded back into the car. The kids asked if they could each take their pet along. Carl the dog and the cats, Mittens and Nakoma, all well behaved when riding in the car, joined us. And off we went. 

Wherever the Road May Lead
Wherever the Road May Lead
Wherever the Road May Lead

Joey selected our direction at the first intersection…left. Aubrey chose the next course change…right. And Oliver’s choice was straight ahead. At each crossroad, the kids took turns deciding which way to go, and I drove accordingly. 

I added a requirement to the adventure. I asked each child to watch for something interesting, unusual or beautiful that caught their attention, and requested that they take a photo with my iPhone. They were willing participants. 

Wherever the Road May Lead
We drove on country roads, venturing out into areas unknown. The sky was overcast but the countryside, awakening with bursts of colors and tender shades of green, gave us plenty to talk about and ohhhh and ahhhh over. We quite unexpectedly ended up at the rustic gates of Camp Cyokamo. I’ve heard of this remote campground, but I’d never seen it before. I snapped a pic. The gates were open, an invitation to explore, and we circled the camp. 

Wherever the Road May Lead
This large glass greenhouse, beautifully lit up, caught the attention of all of us. I pulled over so Aubrey could capture this gorgeous surprise, which sparked our imaginations and initiated animated conversations. 

Wherever the Road May Lead
On one of the roads we wandered down, we came upon a property with row after row of old, rusty tractors. We all exclaimed over the site of so many farm vehicles and speculated about the collectors. Were they farmers? How long had they been buying old tractors? Joey took great photos. 

Wherever the Road May Lead
By now I had no idea where we were. We drove down gravel county roads, turned on paved lanes with names like Nutmeg and Redbud, and crisscrossed over rivers, or the same river many times, on concrete bridges. The pets had all curled up and fallen asleep. 

Wherever the Road May Lead

Wherever the Road May Lead
When my daughter-in-law texted to say she was headed home from work, we knew it was time to find our way back. I allowed each child to choose one more direction. And Oliver photographed an American flag rippling in the breeze. His grin alerted me that he had shifted his focus, sneaking in a close up of Yaya at the wheel!

Wherever the Road May Lead
I am grateful that my phone has a GPS! I not only didn’t know where we were, I didn’t know how to find my way back. As I now drove following Siri’s directions, I was surprised to realize how far north and west we had gone. In a few minutes, however, we crossed a familiar highway and I got my bearings. We arrived home just ahead of Megan. 

What a fun game we played, and what adventurous and innovative grandchildren I have. What I enjoyed the most was that the kids were engaged and we had fun chatting and laughing. There were no electronics going in the car…no YouTube videos playing, no electronic games in use, no apps being downloaded. We talked. And wondered about things. And let random directions guide us to new sights. 

It was fun. It was the adventures of Yaya and Joey and Oliver and Aubrey…and Carl and Nakoma and Mittens. I look forward to playing this game again!

Wherever the Road May Lead

Christmas Shopping with Joey

Today it was grandson Joey’s turn to have a meal with me and go shopping for Christmas gifts for his family. When I talked to Joey earlier in the week, after Oliver and I returned from his excursion, he hoped we could spend a long time together. He didn’t want to have to rush his decision making process, and he sweetly said he wanted the one on one time with me to last all day. 


Joey’s wishes for more time together came true! His school ended up having an early out today. I was able to pick him up and start our Yaya and Grandchild time two hours earlier than we had planned. These are important lessons to experience, that what we sincerely desire with a whole heart can create shifts that birth our hopes into reality. 


Joey was hungry when I picked him up from school, so our first stop was at Chili’s Restaurant in Joplin. While we waited for our lunches to arrive, we played Monopoly on the table top device. Joey loves this board game, and it was fun to try out an electronic version, which moved at a much faster pace than the standard version. 

I did so well rolling the virtual dice, and rolling in pretend money, that Joey and I joked about making our next stop the casino! Truthfully, gambling isn’t something I desire to teach my grandson about. But we laughed over my accumulating stash of electronic funds and discussed what we would do if we had that kind of cash. Joey, who is so compassionate, said he would buy everyone bigger presents for Christmas!



Joey knew exactly what he wanted to purchase for his family, and where he wanted to shop. After a leisurely lunch, we planned our route and began shopping, making stops for the desired purchases and making sure we included a pit stop for a cold drink. 

I enjoy following the kids around as they shop. Each child puts a great deal of thought into the gift selection process. Contary to when I take them out for their birthday dinners and shopping trips, this time of year, it is all about thinking of others and what they like. Not one child asks to buy anything for themselves. The focus is on what would light up a parent or sibling’s face and bring them joy. I am grateful that I can be part of allowing the kids to do something special for their families. 

Shopping completed, Joey made quick work of wrapping the gifts. I was delighted, watching as he wrote on the gift tags. He didn’t just write the typical To: and From:. He added words of love, underlining them for emphasis. 

The boy does have a sense of humor too. While helping me pick out extra gift bags at a store, he found the perfect one for his brother’s present. I suddenly noticed that the bag was flawed…the word JOY was upside down. When I pointed out the mistake and reached for another bag, Joey claimed the misprinted one instead. “It’s perfect for my brother,” he laughed. He defended the bag to the clerk who rang us out, and wanted to replace it. And grinned as he slipped Oliver’s gift inside and made sure the name tag hung in such a way to call attention to the upside down JOY. 

His joy, upside down or right side up, was obvious…and contagious. I’m still smiling about it, and my day of shopping with Joey. 

Saturday Night at Roller City

I’ve definitely had a roller skating theme going on this weekend. Last night’s high school musical, Xanadu, had roller skating as a key element of the story. And this evening I ended up at Joplin’s Roller City with three of my grandchildren while my son and his wife had a date night. 

Roller City was the place to be tonight. There was a happy crowd of kids and teens, parents with youngsters and a few grandparents watching from the safety of the sidelines. After a quick dinner at Chick-Fil-A we arrived ready to join the roller party. 




The kids had a blast. The boys soon switched to in-line skates, eager to give them a try. And Aubrey started off with a trainer to help her keep her balance, but she quickly abandoned that skating aid and was zooming around the floor without it. 

I watched from the comfy bench on the sidelines, content to cheer kids on, offer drinks of cold water and snap pics. In typical fashion, Aubrey made a new friend before she even stepped onto the shiny wooden floor. She and Bella were inseparable until Bella had to leave, and then amazingly, two of Aubrey’s classmates appeared to keep her company. 


The boys were adventurous as they mastered the in-line skates. They kept a watchful eye on their little sister and perfected their techniques. I timed them as they made loops around the floor and gave them frequent thumbs up signs as they beamed at me on their way by. 

All three kids fearlessly participated in every event and game. I was very proud of their efforts and determination. Oliver explained that even if he didn’t win a race, it was good practice. What a great attitude. 


Watching them, listening to the pop songs blaring overhead and the whirring sound of skate wheels on the wooden floor, I was transported back to my childhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where my sisters and I spent Saturday afternoons or evenings at Skateland. I loved skating. 

I realized tonight that skating, like swimming, was a form of meditation to me. No matter how crowded the pool or the rink, I created my own solitary bubble around me, finding a way to be alone amid so many people. The almost hypnotic act of skating around and around the rink freed my mind to think and ponder while my body settled into a rhythm. 


I miss skating, having given it up after the car accident 21 years ago. I feel so good now, so healthy and fit, that I was tempted tonight to pull on a pair of skates. 

Soon. Soon I will. The kids and I agreed that we need to visit Roller City often, and bring their cousins Jonathan and London with us next time. I’ll let the whir and swoosh of the skates keep calling to me, until I am ready to answer. And then watch out kids, Yaya is going to take to the floor. 

Jump, Jump, JUMP

I enjoyed an afternoon and evening with grandsons Joey and Oliver. After picking them up from school, we discussed possible activities for our time together. Checking the movie theater, we didn’t find a film that we wanted to see. And the boys had recently played miniature golf. Our quest for fun ultimately took us to Northpark Mall, in Joplin. 



At the mall we visited the remote control shop, and watched the sales clerk fly a drone over our heads. The boys tried on masks at the recently opened Halloween store and discussed ideas for costumes. 

It was while we were leaving that store that the boys spied the jumping trampolines and harnesses at the end of the corridor. Their eyes lit up as they turned eager faces to me. 

It looked fun to me. Of course I said yes! 



It was fun! Joey and Oliver harnessed up and I snapped pics and shot video while Papa Greg held our stuff. We laughed as we watched our grandsons jumping, spinning and flipping, 30 feet up in the air. We were envious. Twenty five years ago, Greg and I would have harnessed up as well. I was impressed with the acrobatic maneuvers that the boys executed. 


After very entertaining performances from Joey and Oliver, our little group settled into a booth at Garfield’s off of the mall food court. The boys dined on quesadillas and nachos while I had a plain baked potato with a side of steamed broccoli and Greg enjoyed fish. Garfield’s, with their white paper tablecloths and cups of crayons, provided the perfect opportunity for a fun game that we play. 

Joey started us off by drawing a crackling fire. Each of us then took turns drawing more objects, contributing to the picture and expanding the story, round and round, until we were all giggling over the result. Our food arrived and in our excitement I failed to get a picture of our finished masterpiece. This activity is a great way to express creativity on several levels, laugh together and engage in conversation. 

I loved spending time with two of my grandkids. I listened to their stories, and laughed over their antics. My grandchildren are all adept at going with the flow and seeing what unfolds. And when a fun opportunity presents itself, well….they jump right in.

Watch Joey and Oliver JUMP


Hooray for (Grand)Kids Day

What a happy, serendipitous conjunction that today was Hooray for Kids Day, and I got to spend it with three of my grandchildren. My son and daughter-in-law both had to work today, and it just so happened that this was the only day that I did not have appointments. Another beautiful concurrence. 


I love children and spending time with them. They have such fresh perspectives on the world and share so sincerely from their open hearts. I am truly blessed that my children and grandchildren all live nearby and I get to see them often. 

Today Joey, Oliver, Aubrey and I played at their house, had lunch at Chick Fil A, toured my garden, watched the newest Ice Age movie at the theater and shopped at Toys R Us, before returning home in time to meet Megan. 

These kids, who are 10, 8, and 7 (Aubrey and Oliver have birthdays yet this year so that they will then be 10, 9 and 8), were wonderful companions today. They were kind, smart, funny and intuitive. Their affection for each other was obvious and they treated one another with respect. This is a big deal because they are a blended family. It can be challenging to find ones place in a new family dynamic. And yet Joey was the big brother in all ways today, helping me with the other two, and helping Oliver and Aubrey. Oliver is definitely the go between, spending time with Joey and Aubrey, joining in their favorite activities, while also exploring his own interests. And Aubrey is the sister, compassionate and nurturing, seeking out guidance from the older boys while also being confident enough in herself to do her own thing. 



On this hooray for kids day, these are the special moments that stood out:

Joey – I could see the teen lurking in the boy today. Joey has grown so much this year. He doesn’t wait for me to ask him for help. He anticipates the need and takes care of it, keeping toys picked up, caring for the animals and offering assistance. When we piled into the car to head to lunch, Joey ran ahead to open car doors, making entry easy and allowing the heat trapped within to escape before we entered. Conversations with this young man are thoughtful and interesting. 

Oliver – It’s not easy being the younger brother, trying to figure out who you are apart from an older brother. Yet I see this boy discovering who he is. The kids had money they had saved to spend at the toy store today. I added to their stash. Joey had the most saved up, with Oliver and Aubrey having about the same amount. Oliver appeared before me with a wooden box he had purchased at a yard sale. He asked if I liked it. When I said yes, he offered to sell it to me…for $5. I love that he thought of a way to increase his spending money! He possesses a great entrepreneurial spirit. Of course I bought the box. 

Aubrey – And I purchsed a craft that Aubrey had made, for the same amount. She saw an opportunity, and seized it. This girl was the first child awake this morning, giving us time for girl talk. She noted my haircut and that I’ve lost weight. After she inquired about my age, she quipped, “Wow Yaya, you looked really young for being so old!” Aubrey keeps me humble…and laughing. She is a keen observer of life and I appreciate her insights. At the beginning of the Ice Age movie she whispered that a father mastodon had issues letting go of his daughter as she prepared to marry. She nailed it. That was indeed a predominant theme that developed in the movie. 

This was a special day. School is beginning soon and the grandkids will all be busy with studies and friends and extracurricular activities. I cherish these last lingering days of summer. I cherish these kids.