Thursday, June 27, 2013

Happy Birthday Papa Joe!

So, today is my dad's birthday and in celebration of this, I decided to take you on a visual tour of his life, his legacy, and things I have learned from him. (Warning: "visual tour" is code for picture overload.)

My dad is a special guy.  He's my dad and I'm his daughter.  There is no one with whom I have to share him; all of his "fatherly" love comes right to me!  I'm a lucky girl:

I get my, ahem, great looks from this guy, too!  He was born a cutie and stayed that way his whole life.  Need proof?

No one with looks like that can avoid being somewhat of a ladies' man:
April 1970 Margie Stephens and Joe Ehl...Dad, those shoes?
Is it me or does she look a little like Kelly Clarkson, too?

I'm just the lucky lady who has stolen his heart for an entire lifetime...

Speaking of looks, let's address one thing immediately.  My dad rocks his 'stache!  He has had a handlebar mustache for at least the past 35 years.  I think the story goes that he was a groomsman in a friend's early 70's wedding when the crazy mother-of-the-bride insisted the groomsmen be clean shaven.  (Dad, if you are reading this, please let me know if some of my details are hazy.)  My dad, being himself, decided to pull an "oh yeah?" and grow a mustache.  He's kept it ever since.
December 1977
ca. 1982
Being the dad that he is, he has taught me a few lessons.  First and foremost he has taught me by example to embrace my own inner charm and just be myself.   That's what he has always done:

May 1976
Okay, seriously he has taught me family values.  Dad is close to his family -- my family.  He is one of seven children.  Unfortunately he lost a brother to a trucking accident in 1971 or 1972 (I need to double check this exact date).  So the picture below is a treasured possession.  It's one of the last photos of all the siblings and both parents. 
August 1971
(L-R) Jessie, Jack "Doc", Bobbie Jean, Jerry, James, Joe, and Joyce -- All J names
seated are my grandmother Laura and grandfather Jack
Furthermore, one of my cousins is "in" the Aunt Joyce is 8 months pregnant with her daughter, my cousin Timberly.

Family is something that means a lot to my dad.  He is very close to his nephews and nieces, brothers and sisters, and his own cousins.  He also likes to take family pictures. 
1996 -- Bobbie, James, Joe, Joyce
1998 -- Joyce, Joe, James, Doc
2000 -- Top from left: Joyce, Joe, James; bottom from left: Bobbie, Doc, Jessie
My dad has also taught me loyalty.  He has friendships that span several decades.  Dad is a social creature.  In fact, he was in a small, local fraternity while in college and he still tells stories of their antics.  I'm sure they were the original "good ol' boys"!
In his own handwriting, dad captioned this photo on the back:
Me, Moose, Sonny Chapman
Easter Weekend 1971, Fort Lauderdale

Another thing Dad has taught me is that love defies geography. Other than friends and family, my dad loves the road.  He's a true ramblin' man. He tried unsuccessfully to find a way to stay in one place, but the road has always called his name.  Yet, he's still my dad.  Wherever in the world he may be, I know that I can pick up the phone, drop an email, and connect with him.  More on geography in a minute...

My dad has taught me a love of Christmas like no other holiday.  I wish I had a picture of his Christmas display.  If I find one, I'll update here.  He used to have a spare bedroom with three of the four walls completely lined with a Christmas village, all intricately wired and staged and animated.  It was so detailed and decisively arranged, that he left it out all year and would cover it with sheets/tarps to prevent dust during the "off" season.  Christmas is an exciting time of the year for villages, presents, trees, etc.  But my dad is a Christian, and by example he has taught me to keep the reason for the season as a forefront of all celebrations.
ca. 1984
ca. 1986
Last but, not least, my dad has taught me to have a love of animals.  He loves all God's creations, but one of his "pets" will remain in my memories forever:  meet AJ the cappucian monkey dad bought at a truck stop!  
Speaking of animals, check out this "party animal" below:
He just thought he was over the hill.  I won't tell you how many years ago this picture was snapped, but let's just say the top of that hill is up there!  Love you!

So, back to geography.  Dad now lives quite far away, in case you didn't know.  In fact, he is 13 clock hours away in Davou City, Philippines.  I don't actually have his mailing address right now to send him a card.  Therefore, I decided to recycle one.  Below is something I apparently created a long time ago.  His handwriting dated it 1987 on the back.  Happy birthday, happy birthday.  I love you!

 originally created in 1987

PS: It occurred to me that I have not posted any pics of Dad and his precious grandchildren.  That is not to say that he is not happy/crazy to be their Papa Joe.  I just don't have any pics on the computer from which this post was drafted.  Papa Joe...Rob, Caroline, and Will all send you big hugs, kisses, and mustache tugs.  Love!!!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

William Joseph is 9 Months Old

On May 21st, William Joseph became 3/4 of a year old!  Slow down, time!

Length: 30" (19" at birth, 20 1/2" at 2 wks, 24" at 3 months, 27" at 6 mos)
Weight: 20 1/2 lbs (6.9 lbs at birth, 7.1 lbs at 2 wks, 14 lbs at 3 months, 18 lbs at 6 mos)

How Big You Are: You are currently wearing some 6-9 month, mostly 9 month and some 12 month clothing.  You are still a little butterball!  You have acquired the nickname "Tank" and it seems to be appropriately sticking around!

Sleeping Patterns:  Such an easy sleeper.  You start each day about 6:30 AM.  You take a mid-morning nap at about 10 AM, then an afternoon nap around 1 PM.  You are ready for bed and down-for-the-count by 7:30 PM.

Eating Habits: You start each day with an 8 oz bottle.  Then you will eat a breakfast of a fruit and/or some cereal mid morning just before that nap.  Lately you have been eating real oatmeal sometimes.  You seem to love it, too.  You eat fruits and/or vegetables for lunch and may take a small bottle just before your afternoon nap.  If not, you will drink it as an afternoon bottle.  Dinner is fruits and vegetables, but you have to have your bedtime bottle.  It may be the hardest thing for you to wean, if I'm making predictions.

New Discoveries and Accomplishments:  You babble all the time.  You say "da" for dog, "dada", something for "mama" although it doesn't sound like that.  You say "Hey!", too, which is the cutest thing!  You are mobile, but your crawling looks hilarious!  You have this crazy stance where hands are forward, one leg is back in crawling position, and one leg is kept curled under yourself.  But you definitely get yourself wherever you wish to go.  You are just barely starting to pull up; if you are placed at an object standing you will stand for long periods of time.

Places You Love: You love being in your Go-Pod hanging out in the yard with the family.  We have had some nice evenings and you definitely love being outside.  You love the pool, too!  I worried you would not like the cool water, but you giggle and squeal when you are "swimming".  You still love your bed; you are truly a creature of habit and would rather sleep in your own bed than anywhere else.

Special Friends: You got to spend a couple of days this month with our beloved Ms. Beth, and she said you did great.  I'm not ready for you to be a daycare baby yet (for financial reasons; not because there is anything wrong with daycare).  But I am so relieved to know you are happy and adjust well.  You got to spend the night with Nona once this month and she said you were a perfect gentleman, too.  You are starting to really enjoy hanging with your big brother.
Current Events:  We have had terrible weather.  Mother Nature's fury took its toll on Moore, OK in a very destructive path of tornadoes.  We are also still finding out information regarding the bombing of the Boston Marathon.  The world celebrated the safe return of the "Ohio Three", 3 young women who were kidnapped and held captive for 10+ years.  Thank God they are home with their families and their alleged captor is being prosecuted.  Mommy got completely absorbed by the live coverage of the State of Arizona v. Jodi Arias.  She was convicted of killing her boyfriend.  Unfortunately the jury could not decide on her penalty and will reconvene in July to decide life or death.

What We Did This Day: Today was a slow day.  It's only 2 more days until the official start of summer.  Mommy had to be in Pensacola for a quick business appointment.  I was gone less than 24 hours, but still I missed you like crazy.  You spent the day with your Mimi and Rocky.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Take Me Out To The Ball Game

Here's a recap in pictures and iconic lyrics of this Spring's baseball season.  Rob played 6U Coach-Pitch baseball in Helena.  He did great! He showed real improvement and a maturing understanding of the game.

Coach Carl S and the boys (L-R) Greyson M., Nate F., Andy M., Charlie S., Rob, Hudson P., Holden C., Jeremiah T., and Asher C.

Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd;
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,
I don't care if I never get back.
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win, it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out,
At the old ball game!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Am I A Missing Person?

Am I a missing person?  Well, only if I have actually been "missed", I guess!  Ha!  But seriously, 2 months have gone by.  In these past two months, my home computer died.  I was without any power source at all.  It's kinda hard to blog the paper-pencil way.  That's just journaling. 

In these past two months, my sweet oldest child finished his first year of Kindergarten.  It was a bittersweet day.  I look back to when he started school; it was our last day of being a family of four.  I was an emotional wreck!  But now the school year ended and it was emotional all over again.  Rob's kindergarten teacher set the bar so high for engaging, meaning-based learning.  This should be a warning to all his future teachers.  You have your work cut out for you.
In these past two months my daughter's personality has doubled -- tripled in size.  Is that possible?  She is such a spitfire.  I had the pleasure of meeting Taylor Swift when I was pregnant with C, and Swifty rubbed my belly.  Just last night I was joking with my sister-in-law that TS must have transplanted some of her individualism and spunk into my uterus!  Caroline loves "Ta'er Fwift" and demands that we listen to her music over and over in the car.
In these past two months my wee one has turned into a mobile 9-month old with six -- YES SIX -- teeth.  He is the sweetest, squishiest, happiest baby I have had the pleasure of raising.  More updates on him coming soon.
In these past two months Bobby and I have joined a pool, worked our rumps off at our jobs, done landscaping projects, enjoyed baseball season, traveled to Louisiana, and welcomed summer.
I will try to blog more often.  I would love to recreate our blogging relationship.  But in these past two months I have been living life to the fullest.  I have so much to share with all of you!

Stay tuned,