Jan 6 1Last Saturday God answered another big prayer request. Deborah was confirmed into the Catholic Church and wee Atlas was baptized. Oh how glorious to see God expand his kingdom and bring more of my loved ones to him. My heart is so incredibly full.

In his kindness, God has been causing me to stumble upon notes and prayers - like this one - asking him for these gifts, as if he is saying, "always keep praying, my daughter. I love to involve you in my work." 

debs is engaged

EngagementThis weekend Deborah and Davis got engaged. We've been expecting it, but it's now really real. Happy engagement, kids. Their courtship has been sweet to watch. They met over Tinder, a dating website that's notorious for one-night stands. Deborah's profile had something to the effect of, "Not looking for a hookup; in it for the long haul."

In Tinder vernacular, they "swiped right." They had their first coffee date and it lasted hours. Davis later told Deborah that he left it thinking, "I'm going to marry her." The next morning, she told her sisters about him and Rachael could hardly contain her excitement because we had a bit of an inside track on Davis. It was an itty bitty bit, but it excited us!!

Very soon after moving to town, I got involved in my church's RCIA program. RCIA stands for Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, and is a catechism class for adults who are exploring coming into the Catholic Church. I'm profoundly grateful to be in the Church and RCIA is a ministry I want to be in as I want to be part of bringing others into the Church. Because, after all, the Catholic Church is the best thing on earth.

I didn't volunteer in RCIA long before my mother needed my help in Arkansas. But during those few classes I attended, I was super encouraged to meet four young men who took their faith seriously. Jesse, Dakota, Devon, and, wait for it, Davis. I learned that they got together regularly to discuss The Summa Theologica, by none other than St. Thomas Aquinas, d. 1274. Not exactly lightweight reading material. I squealed with delight when I learned this, embarrassing myself, but seriously so excited to meet young men who were embracing the depth of the Church. Within a few days I had excitedly told Hannah and Rachael about these guys and how I was so encouraged to meet them. 

So after Deborah and Davis's coffee date, Rachael and I were beside ourselves that Deborah was seeing a Catholic man who took his faith seriously. Ooohlala.

Now, instead of volunteering at RCIA, I'm keeping little Atlas while Deborah and Davis attend. Deborah will be coming into the Church at Easter Vigil 2021, and they will get married the following Saturday, April 10. 

I'm thrilled that they found each other. I'm thrilled that they are committed to purity until marriage; that Davis is helping Deborah grow in her Catholic faith; that Davis has come into Atlas's life at such a young age and is planning to adopt him; that Deborah's life continues to get better and better. Her life hasn't been an easy one and there've been a number of times we didn't know if she'd survive some of her choices, but God has worked so gloriously in her. She radiates joy and recognizes she is a victim of God's amazing grace. Her life is a testimony that the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is His faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

atlas pinches and hides

Rocking atlasI'm a blessed Beppie; I have 14 grandchildren and I'm pretty confident there will be more. Maybe lots more. (I could not contain my smile as I typed that.) With all those blessings, only one grandchild lives nearby. Little Atlas. He is 15 months old. I see him often and am thankful. I wish I could as easily see the other grandkids and have regular sleepovers, tea parties, and dates. My favorite Beppie blessing is rocking them to sleep. Rocking grandkids is a most perfect time to pray for them. And I take every opportunity I get. 

Atlas likes to annoy my dogs, Peewee and Charlie. He likes pulling tails, holding paws hostage, and pinching. Last night, in the mood to pester the dogs, Atlas found the familiar lump under the blanket that the dogs and I were covered with and pinched it. The dog did not react. Disappointed, he pinched again. Still he didn't get the desired reaction. With clinched teeth, he squeezed the lump so hard he shook. He was squeezing my knee. 

Later I was working in the kitchen when Atlas hugged the back of my legs. I decided to make a game of it. "Where's Atlas?," I sing-songed. He released his hug and I continued the game pretending I didn't know where he was. "Where, oh where, is Atlas?" I slowly began turning around, fully expecting a cackle when our eyes met. Instead of a cackle, I faced a little fellow who upon hearing, "Where's Atlas?" had covered his eyes to hide from me. 

hannah's wisdom

Nothing is as satisfying at seeing your adult children growing in love for Jesus, their Catholic faith, and wisdom. Today I want to share what my daughter, Hannah, just shared on Facebook. She is well spoken, bright, and articulate, but it's the wisdom that makes me smile.

She writes: Flora dawn

This is my daughter, Flora 💐 She is our third child and is already an absolutely delight. Right now she is just over 7 weeks old (on the left is a picture of her today). Just a few weeks ago she was brand new, as weak as you can imagine after being suspended and sustained for nine months in the womb. She was born a few days before her due date and was a little on the light side, weighing 7lbs and 4oz. My oldest, Holly, was 7lbs 11oz and one time, someone even asked me if she was premature! That's just ignorance, but the point is that babies are startlingly small...
Here in Canada, a baby can be aborted up until the moment of birth. We have no abortion legislation. Flora, as well as both of my other kids and many others, were born before their due date. Depending on who you talk to, they may or may not have been people before then. There is no decent or remotely scientific reason why babies like mine are not considered babies, or even human beings, while they are still in the womb. Most people in this country will tout a "woman's right to choose" -- a sterile euphemism for killing a fetus pre-term. What other choices do we have? We all have choices. Every criminal in prison chose to commit a crime. Humans have always had the capacity to make choices, even if those choices are evil. The question is not whether or not women have a choice, because they have always had a choice. But do women have a right? When does another person ever have the right to do something evil just because they have the ability to do it? Having the capacity to kill a fetus in the womb does not translate into the right to do it. Does a criminal have a right to kill someone because they hate them, or do they just have the choice? The answer is obvious. Killing is a choice, not a right.
My newest daughter was herself from the moment she was conceived. Her DNA was her own and she has never been my property because human beings are not property. Her own personal DNA rendered her an inalienable right to life since before she was born. She belongs to me only insofar as I have a responsibility to raise her, love her, and educate her. She was truly herself from that very moment of conception. Flora was never just an extension of me or of my body, she was herself: precious, independent, and valuable because she is her own person. Her personhood is as inherent as her DNA and it was there since the beginning.

pius-vasyl assumptio

PiusMy cup runneth over with goodness.

Rachael and Kyle had their baby last night. Meet Pius-Vasyl Assumptio Wirachowsky. I don’t think he could have a more Catholic Ukrainian name had they tried. Pius is after Popes Pius the 10th and 12th, godly popes they admire. Vasyl is after a Ukrainian priest martyred for his faith. Assumptio is for Mother Mary as August contains the feast day of her assumption. Welcome to our world Lil’ Pius. I think we’ll celebrate tonight by having perogies and sausages for supper.

debs on abortion

My daughter Deborah has been through a lot. Here’s a piece of her story. I’m so incredibly thankful she chose life for our little Atlas and that she didn’t heed all the advice to get an abortion. Our lives will never be the same again; we adore Atlas.
Written by my daughter, Deborah:
Atlas 7moYou know, after years of being an abortion advocate (regrettably) I finally sat myself down, away from the crowd I was following, and did some in depth research on abortion. I have watched the debates, I have watched Planned Parenthood lie repeatedly to appeal to the eyes of its audience, and I can safely say that there is not a single argument in defense of abortion that cannot be refuted. So I recommend to anyone who believes that abortion is "empowering" to rethink your beliefs because it is ultimately setting us back whilst committing mass genocide. The dismemberment and starvation of humans at ANY stage of development is morally and ethically wrong. And to instigate such a radical attack on our own species in the name of empowerment is absolutely ridiculous. I read a post recently that said "telling women that they need to employ their "right to choose" in order to have a successful career is the opposite of empowering", and I could not have said it better. I make this post because I know that many people on my page are pro abortion or pro choice, I know this because I have had many conversations raving about how it is "only my right". I can give you dozens of reasons as to why this "right" will contribute to the collapse of any civil society that we have.
This is my son who would have been starved of his nutrients or ripped apart had I decided that it was within my rights. Luckily, Grace saved him as I was already 8 weeks pregnant when I called the abortion clinic and they told me I would have to get an invasive surgical procedure done. I couldn't go through with that. People said it was within my best interest to abort, even called me an idiot for choosing to keep him, but it was the smartest thing I've ever done and not only was it definitely NOT in my best interest to abort, but more importantly it wasn't in his. And it is our responsibility to care for and protect the innocent and helpless.

thursday thirteen, arkansas sweetness

Here are a few of the funnies or sweet things from this last trip to Arkansas: Beppie blankets

  1. Once Riley was yelling at me incessantly, but I was distracted in conversation with someone else. Roman got my attention and said, "Beppie, I may be mistaken, but I think Riley wants you."
  2. Remington calls me "Buppy."
  3. Ella wants me to call her Isabella.
  4. Isabella made me cards, welcome banners, and a mug that says, "I love Beppie."
  5. Sydney told me I was a retired tooth fairy
  6. Roman said, "I don’t mean to be cocky, but I kind of consider myself a higher power in this family."
  7. Avery wants me to call her by her full name, Avery Claire.
  8. Landon loves when I tell him how much I love his dimples.
  9. Sydney, who's uncomfortable with affection, lets me hug her. 
  10. On my first day there, at 4:30 when the kids got home from school, I couldn't stop giggling at Stephanie's life. It was absolute chaos. Absolute chaos. Eight children, all hungry, all wanting to tell about their day, and all with backpacks on the kitchen island. I still giggle recalling my initiation into the chaos. Five minutes earlier the house was clean and tidy and then it was like a small bomb exploded. 
  11. Beckem is so gentle and soft spoken. But always smiling and nearly always shirtless.
  12. Christopher's wolf dog, Akeira, came to visit Stephanie's already densely populated home. Akeira was wet and shook off in the house. The dogs started fighting and while Stephanie was trying to get them outside she slipped in the water Akeira had shaken off. It was another moment of intense chaos where I got the awkward giggles.
  13. One of my highlights of this trip was making every child a tie blanket. It started out as my making a blanket with Avery. As we made it she told me she'd like one too. I started making her one the next day, and another child expressed interest. When it was all said and done, each child had a new tie blanket from Beppie. 

lily sweetness

Lily, my goodness, how I love this girl. We're moving back to Alberta and I swear my only reservation about it is leaving her. Lilyb
Thinking about leaving her makes me queasy and sad.

In April I was laid off at work and that has worked wonderfully because I've been able to keep Lily. My last summer on the Sunshine Coast and we are making lots of memories. I'm thankful for this time.

This post is to remember some of her sweetness.

  1. I have a small pink washcloth that was a gift from one of our Japanese exchange students. It's Lily's favorite. She asked if she could have it when I die.
  2. Mike, her dad, accidently spun out of the driveway one day when he dropped her off. She said, "That's the spirit, Dad."
  3. When taking her to Mandy's house for the first weekend after Buddy's birth, she told me to call her if anything went wrong with Buddy.
  4. I bought her a dress that she calls her "special dress." She wants to wear it to special places; the West Sechelt Elementary Carnival, Strong Start preschool days, Buddy's birth, and church.
  5. Soon after Buddy was home from the hospital, I asked if she wanted to hold him. She shyly nodded no and said she was afraid she'd hurt him. "Remember that time I broke that cup?"
  6. One day as we were driving past a bus she said, "I'm glad one of my grandpas is the boss of the buses." That, of course, would be Gordon she's referring to.
  7. One day she was studying my hand with its wrinkly skin, and said, "You're old enough to die, aren't you?"
  8. When she goes to church with me, her genuflect is a curtsy. 

atlas rigel

We have a precious new grandson, born July 16. Buddy (Atlas Rigel) weighed 7.14. Deborah let me watch him gush into our world and then cut the cord. We’re all enchanted and Deborah is doing well. She is madly in love with him and he is madly in love with her. I am very in love with both of them. 

Atlas nb Atlas nb2

welcome ambrose

IMG_1496 IMG_1496We've been blessed again! Hannah and Darian have given us a new grandson. Ambrose Basil joined the family on July 20, 2018, sharing a birthday with his Auntie Rachael. He weighed        . We are so blessed!!

His name, oh my, is his name ever strong! Two saints, Sts Ambrose and Basil, please pray for our little Ambrose Basil. May he become a holy man like you.

St Ambrose, bishop, was St Augustine's mentor. Both men were theologians and left tremendous legacies in the church. I'm believing the same for my little grandson, Ambrose. May he become a mighty man of God.


lily belle

LilyLily, my little no-blood-kin granddaughter, is a great gift that BC has given me. How did she become part of me? It happened so subtly. Before I even got to BC, Hannah and Darian caught a ride into town with someone who knew someone who needed a sitter. Hannah needed a job and had experience working in a daycare. With no interview or anything, Lily showed up at the house to be babysat the next day. She was 18 months old. 

Hannah did a good job babysitting her and told me several times on the phone that I was going to love Lily. When I finally got to BC, I was quite enamored with her. She had huge brown eyes, thick dark hair, and was very beautiful. I would go to the sunroom for prayer time and she'd follow me and climb into my lap and I'd rock her while I prayed. She was enamored with me too. Wherever I went, she was not far behind.

One of my earliest memories of her was her throwing a fit. I can't recall what went wrong, but she wasn't impressed with whatever it was. She threw herself on the floor, and with her face buried in her arm facing the floor, she began to kick and scream. I whispered to Hannah, "ignore her." She screamed and kicked a bit longer and then she lifted her head to peek out at us. Her expression was, "What the heck? I'm throwing a fit, give me what I want." We gave her no attention and she got up and was 100% back to normal. Wow, ignoring a fit sure worked in that instance. 

Well, Lily and I kept getting more attached and I quite adored her. Soon Hannah needed to make more money and needed to quit babysitting. I asked to take the job and presto, I had a little sidekick. I began a free fall into love with her. 

I'm so thankful for my little Lily Belle.

a wee safari adventure

Arkansas safari collage

One of the highlights of our visit in Arkansas was a trip to the Wilderness Safari. Here are some pictures from there. My favorite is the one with Roman covering his eyes. He wasn't comfortable with all the animals traipsing around the car so he covered his eyes. Surely, if he couldn't see them, they couldn't see him!

Avery couldn't get close enough and is standing in the window not wanting to miss a thing. Those two are like night and day.

A funny memory of the day was Roman seeing the gazelle or ibex (or whatever it was) and exclaiming, "What is that freakin' horned animal?"


2010 christmas letter

December 2010

Merry Christmas from the Gordon Dykstra Family! I say this every Christmas, but it bears repeating: I love this time of year. One of the things that make it special is hearing from you and learning how the year was for you. We’re not the greatest at keeping in close contact with all our friends, but I try to connect at least once a year just to communicate that we still think of you and love you. If you’re reading this letter, know you’re thought of and loved.

Gordon is in his 13th year with Edmonton Transit and has had a good year in the Business Development Section; he’ll complete his 3rd year there in the spring. Early this year he took an occasional Saturday evening pad-his-wallet job driving a 16-passenger limousine. It turned out to be not so occasional in the summer; but he always has fun stories for us on Sunday. He stays busy, be it as a landlord, our go-to fix-it guy, or loving on all his electronic gadgets. That gadgety love is an area in which I go cross-eyed listening to his exciting tales. As a fix-it guy, he’s the best. He saves us thousands of dollars I’m sure. On more than one occasion I’ve said, “Can’t you please just let it die so I can get something new?” I’m grateful for his ability to fix almost anything – and so are our friends who benefit from his Midas touch. He went camping with friends in the summer and it’s been a long, long time since he’s done something like that without his estrogen-loaded family. He had a great time.

Our summer holiday consisted of camping in Bow Valley Provincial Park with our family friends, the Lozchuks. That was a good time too, as usual. Our kids really enjoyed each other, in spite of all the complications of teen life, and it was delightful for the adults to see. As icing on the cake, Deborah caught a big fat delicious walleye, her first fish ever!  It turned out to be quite tasty, and our girls overcame a bit of their general aversion to fish. It was quite a memory.

Deborah and I went to Arkansas in October. Rachael and Hannah went with me several years ago while Debs stayed home. Deborah finally got her trip this year. While there I saw extended family (cousins, aunts and uncles) that I’ve not seen in 20 years. That was one of my highlights. The main highlight was babysitting my grandkids, Roman and Avery, while Stephanie and John Mark went to Cancun. That was how the trip originated; Steph and John Mark booked a holiday and that seemed a prime opportunity for bonding, and it was. I enjoyed my grand babies so, so much. And, of course, I saw my precious mom, dad, siblings, and my delightful son Christopher. He lives in Tulsa now and starts avionics studies in January. And did I mention I’m going to be grandma again? Stephanie and John Mark will welcome another little lady to the family in March.

Rachael is 15 and in high school. She has two paper routes, loves music, enjoys her friends very much and has a boyfriend who spends way too much time at our house. (Just joking. We like Scott.) She has had three poems published and loves to write. Her musical tastes are drifting seriously toward “hard rock”, which Gordon and I find somewhat hard to handle, and she is going to begin electric guitar lessons in the new year.

Hannah is 14 and in her last year of Junior High. Hannah gave us lots to worry about this year, and as you can imagine, that’s just what we needed. I am happy, very, very happy, to report that she’s back to the Hannah I always enjoyed so incredibly much, but more “grown up.” It seems Gordon and I produced kids that morph into aliens for about a year around their 13th year. Two down, one to go. (If it’s going to happen again before they leave home, please don’t tell me. I can’t bear the idea right now. Ignorance is bliss, I maintain.)

Deborah is in grade 6 and I don’t know how she got that old. She got a lot more freedom this year and it’s been hard letting go. That’s a lie, I’m actually enjoying letting go. Gordon and I have dates whenever we want them and even got away to a marriage retreat this year which we loved. Deborah’s still the sweet and polite child (more often than not) that makes us look like decent parents. I’m glad we got one of those. She took up swimming this year and does lots of that - sometimes three or four times a week. She is growing up a bit earlier than her sisters did since she has them to emulate, oh gaity, bliss, oh joy. Sometimes it gets a bit scary, but we make steady progress in our own character and hopefully theirs too.

I started a new job in March and love it. At this time last year I had just started a new job. That turned out to be a very bad experience and I was “delivered” from it in March when I got this job as an office administrator. I’m incredibly happy to be back in this line of work. I’m working full-time for the first time in 18 years. I paddled again this summer. Although my dragon boat team didn’t do quite as well this past season, it was fun in its own pain-seeking way. I walk lots, read lots, write lots, and in January I start cross country skiing lessons. I published my first book of family memoirs this year and am pleased with my lovely book called Don’t Count the Cows. It was also big highlight of my year.

As I write this, it’s -20 degrees Celsius (-4 F) and a good day to be inside thinking of all the people who’ll read this letter. I love summarizing our year as a family for my own recollection and I love hearing from our friends and family, especially those we don’t hear from all that often. I hope we’ll hear from you.

It’s a great time of year. I love, love, love this season. I hope you experience the joy, love, and peace that this Christmas season represents, and remember the greatest reason we celebrate.

God’s blessings to you all.

With Love,

Valerie, for the Gordon Dykstra Family

bragging is what beppies do

Roman at the park

Roman has grown since I saw him. It kind of hurts to look at pictures of the babies. Isn't he losing his baby look and getting all-big-boy looking?

Roman's drawing
And here is his art work. I think his fine motor skills are really good for a two-year-old.

Roman horse and cowboy
He loves his little toys and carries something like this horse and cowboy around most of the time. Christopher did some of this so this is sweet to me not only because it's Romie Boy, but also cause it takes me back to Christopher's young life. He was sweet, just like Roman.

Avery jan 2010 
And here's the little Avery Claire. Doesn't this picture scream, squeeze me?

Avery nov

Valerie baby
And this last picture is of me. Just throwing that out for comparison. . . .

thursday thirteen

Curious cat

 Hello Fine Folks. I've been away. Not really away, just away. You know, here but not here. That's clear enough, eh?

So here's some random info about my being away.

1) Last week I was sicker than a dog. Remember when I was terrifically sick in February and nearly threw up my toenails? We'll I got that "bug" again. Nearly died, was sure it was the end. Even had the kids convinced my liver was shutting down. That was between heaves when I was trying to garner sympathy. I asked if my eyes looked yellow, because it looked like my skin was yellow to me, and Rachael answered that yes, my eyes looked yellow. To which I replied, "Figures. Now my liver is shutting down."

2. This time I had a huge mental breakthrough (you thought I was going to say breakdown, didn't you?) after I got well. I realized, and later confirmed, that this "bug" and the one in February was really a reaction to an antibiotic. Now before you think I'm slow for taking so long to figure that out, let me assure you it crossed my mind. Between heaves, I crawled to the trash can four times to read that list of possible side effects from the antibiotic I was on. Never once did it mention, "may lead to vomitting up one's soul". For that matter, it didn't even say vomiting was a possible side effect. So I dismissed the idea that the antibiotics and the sickness were connected.

3. When I got back to work a couple days later, I looked up when I took those sick days in February and then called the pharmacist to see when I was on those antibiotics last. BINGO! It all lined up. Now I know my body detests the little black and white capsule from hell. You can be darn sure I won't be taking them ever again. Thanks for letting me share that little horror in my life.


4. It's been my busy season at work. Last night was the big FEAST and I'm happy-to-giddy it's over. This is a picture of the big gala last night. It's a $100-a-plate-do, which I'd never attend if I wasn't an employee who actually works at the event. I'm so so so happy it's over. If you listen closely, no doubt, you'll hear me humming a happy tune.

5. Do you see the cat picture up above? I chose that cat specially for this little tidbit. Doesn't the cat look curious? I certainly think so and it reminds me of me and here's why:  You won't believe what/who I met last night. A real live dominatrix. She looked like Morticia Munster, only not nearly as pretty.

6. I'd heard of dominitrixes, but I'd never given their profession much thought, except thinking how dark it is. So last night after learning of this lady's profession, I swear I must have looked like that cat above. I caught myself staring at her with my mouth agape imagining her doing her thing. I just couldn't make the picture in my head work, which probably is a good thing, but that didn't stop me from trying.

7. Now I can't get that profession out of my head and am amazed (in the negative sense) that people actually do this kind of work and people actually pay to get beaten. As Hurley would so accurately say, "That's messed up."

8. And still after points 5,6,&7, I still can't shake it. I'm still looking a bit like that cat. Curious, alarmed, curious, aghast, curious, disturbed, curious, sickened... You get the idea.

9. Lucy is coming home for good. I'm happy to have my favorite mutt home. She'll bring all the fur needed to build a dog every other day. Yep, the shedding is the down-side, but I swear my Lucy has the best personality of any pooch anywhere. I can't wait to hear her groans of ecstasy as I rub behind her ears.

10. Seriously, can you believe people pay to get whipped?

11. I'm working on Baby Avery a quilt, a little quilt and an easy quilt, as far as quilts go. I'm hoping I get it done before I leave for Arkansas. It's 50-50; I may finish it, I may not.

12. My leave of absense at work starts October 1 and I head south to see the southern family on October 2. I'm so, so excited about it.

13. Get whipped and get sexual pleasure? That is so messed up. If there is anyone reading this that "gets" that, I don't even want to know.



I know you're super curious what Avery looks like today. Well, it just so happens that I have a few pictures. I can almost feel her, hear her, and smell her sweetness. Especially when she yawns; I can hear that yawny grunt. Can you hear it?Avery 4 Avery 3 Avery 2 Avery 1

Thanks for oowing and awwhing with me. She's beautiful, isn't she?

thursday thirteen re avery and roman

 Avery claire2 1. I have a new grand-daughter and can hardly wait to meet her. Avery Claire was born on September 1 and weighed 8.4. She is beautiful and perfectly charming -- all babies related to me are.

2. I will be with Avery and Romie Boy all of October. Isn't that special? I can't wait to play I Spy, have a picnic, bake cookies and go for walks with Roman. We will have so much good bonding time, because that's what Beppies do.

3. I can't wait to hold Avery and sit with her in the porch swing. She'll be one month old and plenty old enough to think I'm the softest Beppie going.

4. Roman was traumatized (in Beppie's sense of the word) in a church nursery recently. Not his church's nursery, but another one. Now he's afraid of his old fun, familiar nursery.

5. I'd like to visit the nursery-worker that traumatized him and give her a piece of my mind. Because I'm mature and grandmotherly, I'd weigh my words really carefully. I'd say something like, "I'm Roman's Beppie," and then I'd kick her really hard in the shin.Stephanie and avery  

6. But I won't be visiting her. And she can keep the shin guards at home.

7. Every day I'm getting closer to finishing Roman's I-Spy-With-My-Little-Eye quilt. I have to say it's not very pretty, but I'm hoping it'll be very fun.

8. Hannah's bedroom is right next door to my sewing room. We meet in the sewing room nearly every night to play like we're playing with Roman.

I spy with my little eye a donkey dressed up all snazzy-like.

I spy with my little eye a monkey with an umbrella.

I spy with my little eye a puppy.

If everything goes according to plan, this quilt will be Roman's forever-attachment to Beppie and give him hours and hours of fun. Lordy, I hope. I'll be sorely disappointed if he's not interested in I Spy with My Little Eye.

9. But I would never kick him in the shins.

10. It's been a long time since I saw Roman. The last time I saw him he was in the "whazat?" stage. He's long past that, but in our minds he's still there. In mine and Hannah's evening I Spy game, we always point at something and whisper, "whazat?".

11. Roman is very loved.

12. He talks in his sleep. Isn't that cute?

13.  He loves Madagascar, the movie. He laughs in all the right spots. They went to the zoo on Sunday and instead of calling the zebra a zebra, he called him Marty.

I know I'm going past 13, but it's Roman...

Roman and jm 14. Often when I'm talking to Stephanie on the phone, I'll hear John Mark and Roman playing and laughing in the background. I love John Mark for that. I really, really love him for that.

15. Today at the hospital a nurse took Avery away to take her blood. Roman cried and said, "No, no!" to her.

16. The first time he saw Avery he touched and patted her and rubbed his chubby little fingers on her head and said, "tickle tickle."

17. That sweetness is almost too much for this Beppie to contain in her heart. It makes my eyes leak.

romie boy stole a heart


Let me tell you about Roman.

Grandmas everywhere think their grandchildren are the cutest. Those poor grandmas haven't met my Roman for if they had, they'd know their folly. My grandson is definitely the cutest, the sweetest, the smartest, cuddliest, etc, etc, etc. (Disclaimer: Everything I just said is in jest and only intended to communicate how charmed I am by Roman. I know your grandchildren are wonderfully amazing too.)

Roman wasn't quite sure what to think of me at the airport. He let me hold him but he stared at me like, "I'm watching you. Don't do anything you'll regret." Mostly he was fine with me if his mommy was close by.

For the first couple days he was Paka's boy. Paka is Gordon. Without his daddy, he seemed to be in need of Gordon's masculine attention. Deborah did that once on a trip to Colorado. She kept pretty close to my nephew Jeffrey. After a couple days of this, I happened to notice that of all the men in the room, Jeff most resembled her dad. Wanting to be near Jeff seemed to be a way of staying connected to Gordon. We think that's why Roman liked Gordon so much. Gordon loved Roman back. He carried him around, spoke soothing words, played with him. Roman and Gordon bonded well. Then Gordon left for Mexico, but that's a different story that I'll tell later.

Not trying to brag (it comes naturally) Roman loves his Beppie. We have so much fun. We read and I give him baths and he loves me for it. He's let me put him to bed three nights and they were all cry-free nights. Beppie has the touch.

I told Roman on the second day that a good education is expensive and it's never too early to work on the college scholarship. He agreed and we went to work. I taught him to pat his head when asked, "Where's Roman?" Being smart, original, and slightly bent toward non-conforming, he insisted it was more clever to point instead of pat. I say, "Where's Roman" and he lifts his index finger to his head and taps it gently. Sometimes when a few minutes pass without him getting adequate attention and praise, he looks at me and taps his head with his pointer. I go berserk with praise and he taps harder and harder like he's yelling, "Here I am. Here I am." Pure charm.

I'm prone to say something silly like "that college scholarship is in the bag." Stephanie asked if they give scholarships to everyone who knows who they are. I responded, "I bet they don't give them to anyone who doesn't know who they are."

Roman still likes the "where's Roman?" game, but there are other things to learn to get the really good scholarships. Anatomy is important. He's not competent at anatomy yet, but sometimes when I ask him where his nose is, he'll shove a finger in a nostril.

Basic zoology is critical as well. This is where the wooden cow on my kitchen shelf comes in handy. "Roman, where's the cow?" To that interrogative (Roman's word, not mine) sentence, he turns his big blue eyes to the cow and I praise, "There's the cow."

I've tried to get him to say Beppie, moo, woof woof, meow and things like that. Roman is a man of few words though. The strong silent type, some might say. Instead of a lot of gabbing, he prefers mathematics and simple physics. We read the story of Daniel in the Lions' Den and count the lions (there were four if Roman's Bible is truly inspired) and discuss the mechanics of a den and the methods God may have used to keep the hungry lions from eating Daniel. Did they suddenly feel very full, too stuffed to eat Daniel?, were their mouths miraculously kept closed, maybe their senses were discombobulated. Roman and I weren't able to extrapolate a simple explanation. We decided to leave it at "1,2,3,4 lions sit by Daniel. 1,2,3,4 lions don't eat Daniel." Amazingly Roman had the faith to believe it without a scientific explanation.

He's very very clever.


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roman 7 months


As you may have noticed, I'm a little behind in posting. You remember I got a job don't you? I've got several stories to tell, but haven't found the time to sit down and write them. However, this new picture of Romie Boy I had the time to post. Oh, isn't he a cutie? Notice that popped open shirt in the middle of his gut. Well, whoever said he looks nothing like me got it all wrong. The proof is right there in the gaping shirt. I miss the little guy more than I can express. There's this country song that says (to a lover, not a baby) "I want to wake up to your sweet face every day." When I hear that song, I remember getting out of bed and walking down their hall every morning and finding Stephanie and Romie Boy on the sofa. He was always so happy and I soooo want to "wake up to his sweet face every day."

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