Grand Lineup

This is my lineup.
They’ve committed no crime, other than being cuter than allowed by law.
They are arranged alphabetically, which is tricky when we get to the “E”s.

Here we go!

#1 – Abel
The youngest and probably the happiest grand in the bunch.
Smiles all day, every day.
Doesn’t mind big sister mauling him with kisses.



#2 – Charlie
Refuses to smile for the camera.
Kind-hearted and thoughtful of others.
Doesn’t like being left alone in the basement.



#3 – Eli
A charmer who knows how to wink and uses it effectively.
Has excellent eye-hand coordination, thanks to Mario Brothers.
Still loves Lightning McQueen.



#4 – Ella
When excited, she talks fast and her voice gets really high.
Capable of putting on one-woman shows that are truly entertaining.
Writes and colors with precision.



#5 – Emma
A little shy but warms up quickly.
Doesn’t like it when her mommy leaves the room.
Giggles are rare, but so worth the wait.



#6 – Evie
A spirited girl who likes to be where the action is.
Most used phrase: “You be the baby and I’ll be the mommy.”
Has been known to go out in the snow in high heels.



#7 – Hudson
The oldest grand; just turned 6 years old.
Can carry a fascinating conversation and uses words I don’t know.
Is a good leader who never loses a Nerf gun war.



#8 – Ruby
Expert hide-and-seek player.
Keeps up with big brothers and talks sweetly to little sister.
Has adorable chipped tooth that makes her smile irresistible.




#9 coming in July!
Team Boy or Team Girl?


Do-over: a new attempt or opportunity to do something after a previous attempt has been unsuccessful or unsatisfactory.

Can we just start 2018 over again, please?

I wasn’t ready.

I stumbled and bumbled into the new year.

Then, half of January disappeared into the oblivion of Influenza A.

It was my most miserable 10 days in recent history,

but I did lose 7 pounds,

which happens when you don’t eat anything but

watermelon sherbet

for a week and a half.

So, I’m calling a do-over.

Let’s try this again.

Happy New Year, everybody!


A Grand Nativity

What do you do when you’ve got eight kids
ages five and under
in your house on Christmas morning?

Dress them up in biblical costumes, of course.

And have them stand in front of the Christmas tree
while ten adults go to great lengths
to have all eight children look at ten cameras
and smile at the same time.

We had a proud Joseph and a lovely “Momma Mary”.

We had two beautiful angels and two handsome shepherds.

We had a precious little lamb.

And we had a sweet baby Jesus. Wearing Pampers.

It was a bit chaotic and unpredictable.


Joseph and Momma Mary kept a close eye on the baby.


The shepherds had to work hard to keep the lamb from crawling away.

Mary was so happy. (And a little surprised.)


The angels rejoiced and played with the baby’s toes.

Baby Jesus cooperated with the whole enterprise.

I don’t imagine it was much different that night in Bethlehem.

Except for the Pampers.


Our kids were big into Legos when they were young.
I mean big.
I’m talking a 30 gallon tote big.

All that plastic goodness took a reprieve from our children’s lives for several years. But thanks to grandchildren, the Lego bucket is back on the scene. One night these dearly beloved mini-bricks reappeared, and the big kids instantly became young again and the little kids were mesmerized by All The Pieces.


For years we threw it all helter-skelter into one big container. The pirates mingled with the Star Wars guys and the soldiers co-existed with the ninjas. “Someday,” I thought, “I will sort all those itsy-bitsy arms and legs and heads and hats into nicely organized piles. Then I will buy a nicely organized organizer with drawers to keep All The Pieces nicely organized.” Well, that day has come.

PB went away for a few days to go fishing up north. He’s having his fun, so I decided to have some fun of my own. Don’t judge me. I’m just acting according to my Enneagram personality type. I’m a One, which means I have a natural tendency to fix, straighten and nicely organize.

“Neatness and order are comforting to Ones.
It makes them feel safe and less anxious.”
(From “The Road Back to You” by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile)

So maybe I miss PB a little bit. And maybe sorting the blues and greens and blacks and reds into separate Macbook Pro boxes gives me a sense of safety, serenity and comfort. All I know is, I’m having the time of my life.

I just have two questions.


 Should I sort the lime green from the army green?

How long will it take our 8 grands to blow this to smithereens?

This Is What Happens

This is what happens when Eli comes to visit.


Every car in the house is lined up just so.

This is what happens when Ella comes to visit.


Every person is set up right where they are supposed to be.

Especially the twin babies.

This is what happens when two dear friends come over and take care of six kiddos for a couple hours so the rest of us can go out for dinner. Bless them. They brought ice-cream.







This is what happens when you have four kids and they grow up to be pretty great adults.


Meet Abel Jacob


Big sister got a peak at her brand-spanking new brother on Saturday.

Abel Jacob made a record breaking entrance into the world.

He was born 8 minutes after mom got to the hospital.

He’s either going to be a sprinter or have a heck of a fastball.


There’s something about seeing my boy holding his boy.

Oh boy. Give me a tissue.

The grand total is now 8.

In 2030, they will all be teenagers —

one 18 year old, two 17 year olds, two 16 year olds, one 15 year old and two 13 year olds.

More tissues, please.

“Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.”

Psalm 34:11

My NCAA Champ

It’s March Madness — that wonderful time of year when the fans of 67 teams get mad because their hoopsters got knocked out of the bracket, while the fans of 1 team get to go completely berserk and set things on fire.

Back in 1941, the NCAA tournament included eight teams and nine non-televised games. There was no bracket, no Clark Kellogg, and no Vegas odds. Ah, the good old days.

Also, the trophy was way cooler than it is now.


Wisconsin won that year.

They beat Washington State 39-34.

It was the last time the Badgers won the NCAA championship.

My uncle was on that team.

Can you pick him out in this picture?


No, he wasn’t number 35 — that’s the big man, Gene Englund.

Nope, my uncle didn’t wear number 36 either. That’s Johnny Kotz, the tournament’s most outstanding player.

Uncle Morris isn’t in the first row or the second row.

He’s not number 26 in the back row.

In fact, he doesn’t have a number.

My uncle is the guy on the far left of the picture in the suit and tie, standing right behind Head Coach Bud Foster.


He was the team manager.

(At least he didn’t have to wear those goofy socks attached to what looks like knee pads. What in the world?)

My uncle, Morris Bradley, was a 22 year old college student and he was having the time of his life.

When the team got back to Madison in the wee hours of a rainy March night, they were greeted by hundreds of fans. The champions were given a ride around the Capitol in a fire engine. Unfortunately, the fire engine caught fire so the parade was cut short. A reporter from the Cap Times newspaper quoted my uncle as saying, “Everybody had to pile off, and we were on our own from then on.” So I guess you could say they started a fire in Madison that night.

This year, as we cheer on our teams, let’s tip our hats to the guys on the bench with the water bottles and clip boards. In honor of my Uncle Morris.