Friday, May 30, 2014

Sleepytime Selfies

When Kenny was out of town a few weeks ago, Riley and I had some fun before he went to sleep (and before I went downstairs to open a bottle of wine).


Riley has been insisting on watching multiple old videos of himself before going to sleep these days, so I had my phone upstairs with us for that purpose.


After a few videos, Riley suggested we take a picture. So we did. And then we took a bunch more, making funnier and funnier faces as we went.


It was pretty dark in his room, so the flash was super bright. But he kept insisting on taking more pictures.


So we did.


And boy did I capture myself making some crazy faces.


I especially like this one. Pretty, right? Pretty scary.


We were both laughing so hard the whole time we were taking the pictures. It was such a fun time with my firstborn. I don’t often put him to bed since he’s preferring Kenny right now, so I cherished this.


All too soon it was time to calm things down so the wonk potatoes could get some rest. All things considered, I think he actually fell asleep reasonably quickly that night.


He pushes my buttons and drives me crazy sometimes, but I sure do love this kid.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Gathering to Remember

Our family flocked to New Orleans once the news of Bop’s passing got around. Jenn McF even flew in to be with us for the weekend. We spent lots of time together over the course of four days, gathering to laugh, gathering to cry, gathering to remember.

Kenny and I hosted everyone for 5 Happiness at our house on Friday night, and we stayed up way too late drinking and telling stories. Then the memorial service was on Saturday. Everyone went back to Nola and Nopsi’s house after leaving the church, and we had a nice afternoon.


Since she was in, Jenn and I decided we needed to go visit our dear friend Kevin at Mr. B’s on Sunday morning and toast Bop with a mimosa (or two). We took Aunt Elena with us, who had never been there before. I think she is now officially hooked on their shrimp and grits. She left a bit early, but Jenn and I made sure to get a pic with Kevin before we left.


A couple of hours after I got home from brunch, the whole fam came back over to our house for a crawfish boil. Kenny and I offered up the option when we were all together on Friday night, and everyone jumped on it. We boiled two sacks of crawfish plus the normal sides and also 5 pounds of shrimp. Everything was super tasty; Kenny is really outdoing himself with the seafood these days.


IMG_5933 IMG_5934


Jenn came back the next morning to hang with the boys and me before her flight home. Riley piled trucks all over her, dragged her upstairs to play for awhile, and did not want her to ever leave. Sweet boy.





Three days later, we officially laid Bop to rest with a very small ceremony at Lakelawn Mausoleum. A two-man military honor guard came out to pay tribute to his service. As our minister finished saying a few words, one of the servicemen began playing a trumpet behind us. (“Taps.” That’s when most of us lost it a bit.) Then the other presented Grammy with an American flag. It was a very touching moment.

Grammy decided to take us all out to lunch at the Blue Crab after the ceremony. She said that’s what Bop would have wanted us to do. It also happened to be Jenn’s birthday, so I ordered a dessert for Riley and had the waitress put a candle in it. UJ made a little sign, and I snapped a pic of the wonk potatoes smiling one of his best smiles and sent it to her. She loved it.


It was a hard few days but it was an important few days. There were lots of emotions flying around for everyone, but being surrounded by so much family helped. And I’d like to think that Bop has been looking down on us and smiling, comforted by the fact that we have each other to lean on.

But one thing is for sure: we will always love him and we will never forget him.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Two weeks ago today, at the age of 94, my grandfather passed away. He was Nola’s dad, and we called him Bop.


I am so grateful that both of my boys were able to meet and spend some time with him. Rory probably won’t remember him, but I think Riley will.


Kenny and I talked with Riley a bit about what had happened to Bop before going to his memorial service at our church the Saturday before last. He knew Bop had been sick and in the hospital. He also knew that I had been sad lately. So we just told him that we wouldn’t see Bop anymore because he went up to Heaven. Riley accepted that explanation pretty well, but I won’t be surprised if he asks every now and then where Bop is. I think he’s actually already asked Nola about him.


Bop was one heck of a good guy. Jeff and I will always remember spending the night at his and Grammy’s house when we younger. He gave us olives in the evenings when he and Grammy had their nightly martinis; he cooked a delicious fried trout dinner; and his breakfasts (including muffin bread!) were famous. He also once demonstrated how to bathe in a birdbath, and he didn’t hesitate to try out my new rollerblades one Christmas Day. At the age of 70.

dad opn Skates

Bop was also always ready with a story, sometimes retelling the same ones over and over and over again. (This will always be a running family joke.) But he experienced so many different things in his life that it was no wonder he had tales to tell.

MD Court Jeff

Bop was born on March 29, 1920, on an army base in Fort Jackson, SC, where his father was stationed after serving as a band leader in World War I. He grew up in Wisconsin, where his love of the outdoors was nurtured. As a young man, he worked for a private phone company, a job he would come to regret years later, at the end of the war. He then moved to Detroit, where he began his long career at Chrysler. He started off on the automotive assembly line, soon moved into administration, and in 1961 was transferred to New Orleans to work on the Apollo space missions as a security administrator.


During World War II, Bop was a sergeant in an armed infantry division under General George Patton. In later years he would tell stories, not of the terror and bloodshed, but rather of the moments of humanity and humor: Camped in 1945 by a river in the German mountains, Bop and his men were tantalized by delicious trout swimming in a deep, clear pool. No matter how hard the men tried, the fish could not be coerced onto a hook. After much frustration, Bop finally threw a grenade in the river. “We had a great trout dinner that night,” he recalled.

Bop Cooking

And like everyone who fought at the siege of Bastogne, Bop also spoke frequently of the unforgettably bitter cold of that epic battle.


When the war ended, despite having earned the most points in his unit for discharge eligibility, Bop was tapped to stay in Europe for six more months. His phone company experience earned him a post leading a platoon tasked with picking up no-longer-needed copper phone lines laid across the continent by American troops. He once said of that duty, leading a group of recalcitrant GIs who just wanted to be home: "Not exactly fun."

Grams and Bop

In 1963, Bop, a confirmed bachelor at 42, married a young widow with three daughters and moved them from Michigan to New Orleans. He retired from Chrysler in the early 1980s, then immediately began work as a consultant for Martin Marietta (later acquired by Lockheed), working in the space shuttle program. He finally retired for good in the early 1990s.


Throughout his life, Bop was an avid fisher, hunter and golfer. He hunted pheasant in Nebraska, tied flies for trout fishing in Montana and played golf on courses from Louis Prima's in Covington to Indian Lake in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. He also was a crack skeet shooter; in fact, he took his bride to honeymoon at a resort where he could shoot skeet every afternoon.


Aren’t they so cute? It’s been hard for Grams, but she’s doing okay. We’re all doing okay. He lived a great life, and it was simply his time to go.

Bop, I hope you’re up there regaling everyone around you with your stories, fishing for lots of speckled trout, drinking Abita Amber beer, and making hole-in-ones left and right. We love and miss you, and we all feel privileged to have known you.

Note: Much of the background information and stories from Bop’s life came directly from his obituary, which QP had a main hand in writing. Thanks for letting me include those details here, QP.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Swimmin’, Cuttin’, Festin’, Pettin’, and Celebratin’

When the boys were sitting on the “drying off swing” at the conclusion of a swim session last Thursday afternoon, it was extremely obvious that Rory was in need of a trim. He had water dripping off of his bangs and into his eyes. The poor thing.


Riley’s severe shearing had taken place a few days prior, and we finally found time to get Rory’s hair out of his eyes on Saturday morning.


IMG_5949 IMG_5951


He is not nearly as amenable to the process as his big brother is; he screamed almost the entire time. He plumb wore himself out and took a fairly decent nap right afterwards, save for a bit of cuddle time with me on the couch. And he had to try on Daddy’s hat.



I am so glad this tortuous task is over with. Hopefully they can make it all the way until school starts again before needing another cut.


We took Rory’s new short hair out on the town that same afternoon, to Greek Fest. It was his very first Fest, and he wore the same thing that Riley did to his first Fest. Riley even helped Rory put his shoes on before we left. So cute.




Also, speaking of hair, we saw Rob Ryan walking into the grounds just before we did. His hair is even more impressive in person. Plus, we saw his long-lost identical twin in line for beer right in front of him. Amazing.



Cub and Car happened to be in town this weekend, and we met up with them, Uncle Jeff, Aunt E, Kate, Jay, and Katie out at the Fest. Riley still loves him some Car.




A little while later, Riley’s school partner Claire and her family arrived to fest with us. The two PKers picked up right where they left off: holding hands all over the festival grounds and doing everything together. They bounced, they snacked, they canoed, they danced, they hugged.


IMG_5983 IMG_5992


IMG_5986 IMG_5987



They also wanted to have a sleepover that night, but Dana and I drew the line at that. However, we are really hoping they’re in the same class again next year.



Rory, meanwhile, had so much fun playing with Claire’s little brother Colin. He also tried just about everything we offered him, including feta fries, gyro, calamari, and baklava sundae. We kept him up way past his bedtime but he was a champ and had a smile on his face most of the time we were out there.




We finally got the boys into bed just before 9 that night, and the next day was even busier. Emory’s birthday party was that morning: Ashley and Greg’s backyard was transformed into a petting zoo!


Riley didn’t want much to do with the animals (shocking he preferred playing with trucks, right?), but Rory really enjoyed them. There were lots of baby bunnies, chicks, and ducks for the kids to hold, and Rory got the giggles over one of the ducklings. He laughed so much at that little duck. SO. CUTE. (Kenny thought he was taking video of their whole interaction, but it turned out he wasn’t recording. Oops.)


IMAG2342 IMAG2345



There were also pigs, goats, dogs, rabbits, ducks, chickens, a pony, a calf, and a parrot. So much fun. I especially loved when the calf started licking Rory’s shoe.




We sang “Happy Birthday” to Emory and then headed back home to rest. Rory skipped his morning nap to come to the party with us, and he was DONE.


Kenny and I had no time to rest, though. We put the boys down for naps, greeted QP at the front door 20 minutes later, and then we headed out yet again. Josh and Amy’s baby shower was that afternoon, so we went to celebrate with them. The spread was so colorful, the friends were plentiful, and the expectant couple was feeling the love.

IMAG2351 IMAG2352

QP took the boys over to Nola’s when they woke up, and we met everyone there after the shower. It was Cub and Car’s last night in town, so the family gathered for a pre-Memorial Day BBQ and swim. And now when Rory goes in the pool, his hair doesn’t get into his eyes. Yay!


Although his mother did forget to pack a change of clothes so he was forced to wear Kate’s “And though she be but little, she is fierce” pink shirt after his bath. But he totally rocked it. And slept in it all night.

What a weekend. Lots of fun, but it may take me this whole week to recover.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...