Thursday, November 26, 2015

Blessings and Babies and Birthdays

On this day of giving thanks for the grace with which God has surrounded us, I am especially grateful for blessings and babies and birthdays, oh my! You see, 33 years ago today, I became a mother when our oldest son, David John, was born.

The story of his birth is a good one, as it didn't really follow our original plan. (And isn't it interesting, that I can't remember what I had for lunch yesterday, but I can remember this? In detail?) We were living in West Lafayette at the time, and I had done my prenatal visits with the father of the fiancé of a sorority sister. Follow that? He was nearing retirement, and when I saw him early the week of Thanksgiving, and asked if it was ok to travel the 2 hours to my parents' home for the holiday, he assured me it was fine, and that it would likely be longer than a week before the baby made his or her appearance. In 1982, we had to wait until the baby was born to learn if we had a boy or girl, since we didn't routinely have ultrasounds.

So we had our Thanksgiving dinner in Greensburg, complete with sugar cream pie. (A decision I would later regret.) As the evening wore on, and I realized that I was, in fact, in labor, my mom called their friend Dr. Hansen, to see if he would see me (for the first time) to deliver the baby. Of course, we now know that we could have made it back to WL in time, but being a first timer, I didn't want to risk having the baby somewhere along I-65. Many accused my mother of slipping me something to start my labor, just so that her first grandchild would be born nearby. When we arrived at the hospital, dear Dr. Hansen asked me where my mother was. When I said, "Oh, she didn't come." He calmly said, "Did you check the rear view mirror?"

By early morning, we were thrilled to welcome David John Stewart to the world! A Thanksgiving blessing. We continued to be blessed, as we took him home to our little house on Evergreen Street, and learned about being parents.
We didn't always get it right, but we made our way together, learning how a tiny little person can make your heart nearly burst with just a little grin or a sweet little hand wrapped tight around your finger.
David was a sweet, easygoing baby, and we treasured those so-short newborn days.
There were lots of smiles,

and a few messes, of course.

David's thoughtful, kind, caring personality was evident from the start. When he was about 4, he told me that he wanted to be a fire fighter when he grew up. That way, he could live next door to me, so in case my house caught on fire, he would be there to save me. My. heart.

 And now, that sweet, kind, compassionate boy is a father himself,
 discovering the joy and wonder that a baby brings.

Aunt Janet made a cross stitch that hung on the wall for many years. It said:

Little boys' pockets hold amazing things -
Fishworms, apple cores, a mess of string, 
But this treasure is nothing to the wealth one finds
In little boys' hearts and little boys' minds.

Happy Birthday to my little boy. I love you, David!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Ode to the Tailgate

On Saturday past, we were again on our way
To watch our beloved Boilers play.

After last week's win in the rain and the cold,
We had sunshine and hope for our dear black and gold.

Here come the Boilers, through the tunnel of cheer,
With the Extra Special signal that game time is near.

But before the game started, there was breakfast to eat,
And these two cute cousins, a first time to meet.

The girls looking good in Purdue gold and black
Were hoping our team would continue on track.

Andrew and Darci, and Matthew too,
Were part of the tunnel for the team to run through.

But first, a few photos of field-level fun,
With the press box behind them, and grateful for sun.

All smiles in the end zone, where touchdowns do score.
We wish that our Boilers had gotten there more.

Then Matthew was in for a really great treat
When he met up with Boiler mascot Purdue Pete.

The band was by far the best part of the game,
And the marching alumni made me happy I came.

There were fireworks and flags as a tribute to one
Whose 43 years of announcing were done.

Back at the tailgate (we couldn't watch more),
Cousin Arden had a sweet babe to adore.

We also had cheering, though not for the team,
But little girls and pom poms are a thing, it would seem.

Great memories were made, and we had lots of fun.
We won't worry (much) that the other team won.

Buddies Matthew and Harper had some football to play,
Here's hoping that they will be Boilers one day.
We share one last thought, when the car's packed up tight,
Happy tailgate to all, and a Boiler good night!

*thanks to Darci for most of the photos

Thursday, November 5, 2015

My Little Girl

Happy 30th Birthday to my little girl, Jennifer. We know that little girls don't stay little, so this mama's heart treasures the memory of a baby who preferred to be held, a toddler on the move, and a sweet middle sister (to four brothers!), who grew up before our eyes, making friends along the way. She is a wife, a mother, a photographer, a vet tech, a sister, a daughter, a friend.

For many years, there were frames that hung on the wall in our kitchen, which held the school pictures of each of the five kids. I never removed the old photo, just added a new one in front, keeping a handy mini scrapbook all in one spot. The kids always joked that they were all stuck in their junior year, since their senior photos were displayed in a different spot.

In honor of her birthday, I made a little slide show of the photos I found in Jennifer's frame, plus a few more added at the end to bring it up to date. Years go by, children grow, but no matter how many birthdays she has, she'll always be my little girl.

Click where it says Happy Birthday Jennifer! below to watch Jennifer grow up. Enjoy!

Just for fun, I also put together a collage of the photos, in case you can't view the video. 
A beautiful baby, a beautiful girl, a beautiful woman. Inside and out.

Happy Birthday, Jennifer! I love you!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Hallo'win' Weekend

Since last Saturday's Purdue game against Nebraska fell on Halloween, we thought it would be fun to show our team spirit by creating some Purdue-themed costumes. Of course, many Purdue students wear costumes every game day at Breakfast Club, but our costume wearers were a bit too young for that.

Our inspiration came from the twirlers who perform with the band, including the Golden Girl, the Girl in Black, and the Silver Twins.
Granny put some costumes together, and we had our own little Golden Girl, Alaina, daughter of our friends Kyle and Kristin.
Jennifer and Bryan's little Piper Jayne was our Girl in Black.
Haleigh and Ella, daughters of Andrew and Darci, made our perfect little Silver Twins.
Finishing out the group were the boys, Cayden, son of David and Shylah, as Drew Brees,
 and Noah, son of Jennifer and Bryan, as Purdue Pete. Boiler Up!!

Early in the week, we learned that the first 100 kids in costume were eligible to receive a voucher to go on the field to form the tunnel for the team before the game. We were in line early so that Haleigh and Ella could participate in the fun.

They also got their picture taken with Isaac Haas. A cardboard cutout of him, that is, since the real one wasn't there yet. :)

After we had that taken care of, we took the girls into Mackey Arena to see the band's pep rally, and get a chance to see the real Silver Twins. They invited all band alumni to come to the floor for the singing of the alma mater.
When the band was finished, the Silver Twins were so nice to let us get some photos of Haleigh and Ella with them. The current twins aren't actually twins, or even sisters. When they didn't have any twin twirlers try out, they decided to give the roles to two twirlers who look alike.
From there, we went back to the Boilermaker Crossing activity area, where the basketball team was signing posters. We asked A.J. Hammons if we could get a picture of the girls with him. They were a little apprehensive, so their mama posed with them. We have high hopes for our basketball team this year. Boiler Up!
Back at the tailgate lot, the rest of the gang had arrived, and the girls were glad to see little Purdue Pete Noah.
 Shylah and Drew Brees Cayden.
 David and his professor, mentor, friend, Dave McMillin.
 Kyle and Golden Girl Alaina, all bundled up.
Soon, it was time for Andrew and Darci and the girls to head over to get their field passes and cheer the team onto the field.
They took some pictures while they were waiting for the team.
In front of the scoreboard,
with the world's largest drum,
in front of the press box,
and with the real Purdue Pete.
We watched from the stands, and found them standing under the goalpost while they waited for the signal to form the tunnel for the team.
You can just barely see them to the right of the girl with the white bow, lower center.
Here come the Boilers!

It was definitely a gray October sky, and we were fortunate that it only sprinkled a little bit.
Noah and his mommy watched the pre game show, and he really liked the game, the train, the drum, and the cheering. There was actually cheering!
Piper and her daddy came into the stadium a little later, and she snoozed through her first game.
Cayden Drew Brees and Alaina Golden Girl hung out back at Alaina's house where it was warm and dry.
During the fourth quarter of each game, they show photos called 'Game Faces' that folks email during the game. We pretty much rocked the scoreboard, with three of our photos making the show.
This one, of Jennifer and Noah,
the little Silver Twins, and the tailgate tent photo I posted above of Haleigh, Ella, and Noah (I missed getting a photo of the photo on the scoreboard). So fun!
Also fun, was something we haven't seen much of…. a victory!
I thought maybe the W flag had gotten misplaced. :)
We celebrated back at Kyle and Kristin's, with David and little Drew Brees chillin' after the victory.
Speaking of Drew Brees, the weekend was complete when this guy got hot and the Saints beat the Giants in a touchdown fest on Sunday afternoon. All Hail Who Dat Boiler Up! Amen!