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Good grief! I can’t believe it’s already a week since we went up to Omaha and helped my sister and her family celebrate Max’s second birthday, but there it is…I’m such a SLACKER!

My niece and nephews are such awesome little kids!

Max enjoys an ice-cream-cone cupcake
Here’s the birthday boy himself, enjoying an ice-cream-cone cupcake. The big kids decorated them, and they were extraordinarily colorful. Sis has a great stash of really vibrantly colored sprinkles, and Elizabeth & Alex were very generous with them.

this kid cracks me up so much!
Elizabeth is one of the silliest kids I know, and always a crackup to spend time with. I don’t know that I’ve ever met a kid with as much vim as she has.

Alex is an awesome kid, too. He’s such a thoughtful little guy, always trying to lend a hand. He helped me take Ruby for a walk, helps his little brother with breakfast, and loves to assist his dad with yard work.

Matt, my brother-in-law, had gotten this cardboard barrel that the kids were all extremely taken with. They spent a good, solid hour-and-a-half rolling down the hill in their yard in it. And/or otherwise monkeying around in it.

You know how it is…the simplest stuff, often things that would otherwise be thrown away, end up making the best toys.

On that note, I figured that it would be hard to go wrong with Duplo blocks for Max’s birthday present. I already knew that the big kids liked Legos. Audrey had a stash of Legos that she’d had for years that the kids always played with, and I sent them more at Christmas time (easy present!). When Max opened up his new tub of Duplos, it was instant fun. He commenced to making a very, very long tower out of the four-button blocks, while Alex built a garage and Elizabeth built a one-eyed robot:


Building really cool stuff seems to run in the family. Matt recently re-acquired this AWESOME chair that he’d built many years ago:
Matt's AWESOME chair.
It had been semi-lost/stolen in one of his moves years ago, and via a bit of asking around, he finally tracked it down to an old acquaintance’s storage unit.

Here’s Audrey and her enormous cat who looks like Maru. Boda is such a ridiculously friendly cat that it is hard to photograph him…he wants to run up and rub his big ol’ noggin against the camera.

Mom and I had been going for a bit of metaphotography, but she put her camera down too soon. In our family albums, there are a lot of photos of Grandma taking a picture (or pictures that Grandma took of somebody else taking a picture).

My niece, the shutterbug
I guess it’s family tradition!

Somehow, my dad managed to evade photography, but I did catch him chuckling it up on this video of one of Alex’s many trips down the hill.

Ruby likes my dad's foot
And Ruby decided that she needed to nap on/under/or between Joel’s and Dad’s feet.

She’d spent the afternoon gleefully chasing the kids or fetching a tennis ball that Alex was only too happy to throw for her, and she managed to wear herself out pretty well. That’s always a good thing…it can be a bit of a challenge to get the bulk of the energy out of a young collie/aussie/possibly-golden mix.

It was a pretty awesome visit (if rather short) ’cause it’s always great to get to spend some time with my family.

I also distributed a little bit of sewing. I made a skirt for Mom. We’d gone fabric shopping when they were visiting KC in June and she found this very cool abstract vine-print fabric to make up a skirt from this pattern.
Mom's new skirt (front)
This fabric was such a great choice. Firstly, it hangs and drapes beautifully and was easy to handle with little tendency to fray. It’s also pretty much entirely wrinkle-proof, which makes it a great option for travel-wear. I tried a new-to-me lining fabric which purported to be static-resistant, and while I was handling it, it lived up to its promise. Lets hope that continues during regular wear, too.

Audrey's new skirt (front)
I also made my sister this skirt, which is a copy of one of mine that Audrey had borrowed and liked. It’s a versatile, flared denim skirt with white contrast topstitching. Years ago, I bought a whole bolt of dark denim that has like 1% lycra. I’ve made a couple of pair of jeans and three skirts off that bolt and still have probably 70% of it still around. I’ll be wearing (or sharing) this denim for many years to come, I can tell. At least it’s good fabric.

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