WHAT CAN YOU DO IN 45 HOURS?

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Beaches are for sunshine and warm breezes and cool drinks and playing in the water…and sunshine.  But, when God sees fit to water his creation, there’s still lots of fun to be had.

First thing…sit in the only spot of sun on the porch and watch as the clouds roll in…

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Ask your Mom to go get doughnuts for breakfast…cause doughnuts can make any disappointment so much easier to bear!

While you wait for your Mom and your Lulu to get ready…why not rearrange the toy shelf?  Everything out…and everything back in again.  But better suited to my liking!  Good job, Levi!

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Mom… Where would you like to go?

Levi...Wal Mart!  Wal Mart!

Mom…But we are not buying any toys…

Levi…I just want to look and see all the things they have in there!

Mom…OK…here we go!

Lulu...Oh, My!  Wal Mart?  Really?

Thank goodness for umbrellas!

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First we look at all the toys…ALL the toys.   Then we find a cooler for our lemonade stand (Coming soon).

Lulu...I need some keys!

And, so we get an up close and personal lesson in key making!

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5 keys later..we set off to find something else interesting…Look at this!  A bicycle just for Lulu!

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Here and there we go…all over the store.  Suzanne found a great way to keep Levi under control!

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Levi and I decide we need some white cheddar popcorn and chocolate chip cookies…you know…rainy day food!

So, we check out and head to the car…popcorn, cookies, m&m’s, and cooler in tow!

Levi...Look!  It’s not raining now!

Suzanne…I think it’s time for a smoothie!

Levi...I think it’s time for McDonald’s.

And, so we go to both.  Suze and I have a smoothie and Levi has a Happy Meal!

We stopped at the paint store and Suzanne did a little touch up painting in the house!  Thanks, Suze!

Back to the Sandcastle to wait for Pa and Uncle Ian…they are dropping in to spend the night on the way to Las Vegas.  Pa likes to fly out of PCB.

And, once we visit a few minutes…it’s off to Boondocks for a great meal!  Levi managed to get Pa’s hat from him and proceeded to wear it all night!  Levi and Uncle Ian having too much fun!

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Levi and Pa and Uncle Ian decide to stop at Pier Park and let Levi ride some of the fun rides there…but Suze and Lulu sit it out in the car.  We’ve had a busy day.  We get tired…but Levi never does!

To tie up the night, we stop for ice cream and sno cones!  YUMMY!

Up the next morning, we wash sheets and towels, tidy up,  and hurry home for an important meeting .

BACK UP A DAY…

A few pics from our first day.   First we went to the Frank Brown Water Park and soaked up lots of sun and fun!  The day was perfect!  Not too hot…cool breeze…a little cloudy.  Just like we ordered.

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After a quick shower back at the Sandcastle, we set out on a search for supper.  Every place was crowded.  Somehow…and I’m still not sure how…we ended up at a little local place.  There was live music, folks dancing and having a ball!  There was even a pool the kids could swim in during dinner!  We sat outside…and laughed and laughed and laughed!  We decided that even though the place was not crowded…and we had to wait over an hour for our food…we’d make the best of it and enjoy being together!  And, we did!  When we finally got out food…it was delicious!

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And, since no one likes to go to bed on time at the beach…Suze and Levi took a few spins on the go-carts.  Me?  I was safer just watching from the sidelines!

Sweet fun on a quick 45 hours at the beach!  A huge amount of fun in a short amount of time!  Hey…you just gotta cram that fun in  in the time you have!  And, we did!

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See you soon, Sancastle!

 

 

FACES UNDER A HAT

Levi finagled Pa’s hat away from him, and found it a perfect fit!  Well, a perfect fit for cute pictures, anyway!

 

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45aLB,FL…7/24/17

BOOGALOO CAMP… 2017

 

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And…once again   Boogaloo Camp is history… for this year.  Oh, but the memories will keep us happy until it’s time to do it again!

***Lots of pics here, but it’s all about the documentation***

Joy and I arrived at The Sandcastle on Monday and spent two days watching the rain pour and pour and pour!  Which wasn’t too bad.  Gave us a great chance to catch up and just spend time together.  We did manage to get to the grocery store.  I had chicken salad to make…which is a tradition at BC….and Joy wanted Potato Salad, too…so we did that, too!  The girls and boys arrived on Wednesday!  Fun was just waiting to happen.

We started off with me explaining to the boys what a Scavenger Hunt was.  And, then I gave them a list of things to be looking for all week…such as a red straw, a throw away cup with writing, a rectangle shaped napkin, a smooth rock, a lea with two colors, a ticket stub, etc.  They did great. They stayed busy everywhere we went looking for those 12 items!

Another continuing project we did was weaving.  I tore up an old canvas and used just the frame.  We tied jute on tip and bottom .  Then we learned about weaving…under, over, under, over….then over, under, over, under.  They caught on pretty quickly.  We even used some palm fronds and drift wood and finished off by tying on some shells they found with holes in them!

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That tropical storm didn’t bother us…we saw a break in the weather and made a beeline for the Panama City Beach Pier!  One of our little campers wasn’t sure if it would be sturdy enough for us to walk on, but soon those fears gave way to fun!  This was probably not the best time to go walking on a pier.  Winds, we found out later were at 40-45 mph!  We were blown sideways by that mighty wind!  The boys had a ball!  But, us girls, had mighty tangles in our hair!  Oh my!

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We stopped at a restaurant just outside the pier, Hook’d, and had delicious fish tacos!  The rain held off, but the wind continued to blow!

Up early the next morning and an art project to start.  We tried to do tie dye last year, but, ran out of time.  But, we got it in this year!  The boys designed their own shirts.  They decided on the design they wanted and picked their own colors.  Us girls all made us one, too.  We had to let them set overnight…so we began another project…String Art.  We had previously hammered nails into a circle on a slab of wood.  The boys then used all different color string to wrap the nails and come up with their version of a beach ball!  Looks pretty good!

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And, here’s how the shirt making turned out…

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We took a little trip over to Destin, because I wanted the boys to  experience the fun of eating at LuLu’s.  (In case you don’t know, this is a restaurant owned by Jimmy Buffett’s sister.  It’s on the water, and all open air.  Their is a big sandy playground for the children complete with water play, and bungee jumping .  The boys loved it!  We all did, actually!

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We stopped and did some very minor shopping…you know…two little boys…not what they wanted to do…whines and “let’s go!”.  Back home the girls took the boys for a walk out on the beach…almost dark.

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Then they stopped for ice cream.  Joy and I stayed home and rested!

Bright and early the next morning…we started another art project…this time we made candles.  We decided on color…and scent…and containers.  John Thomas was the instigator of this fun idea!  The boys were amazed that they could actually make their own candles.   They measured and leveled, added wicks, and leveled again!   And, boy did they ever smell good.

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The sun was out in full force and it would have been terrible not to have enjoyed some sunshine and swimming!  So off we went to the PC Water Park…which has a wonderful facility for younger children!  It’s the boy’s favorite place to go.  We spent several hours there.  And, SURPRISE !!!!…our Lori showed up!  We had missed her, but her work wouldn’t allow her to be with us all week.  But, there were 2 happy boys when she showed up!  She lightens up all our lives!

And, after showers, we all went out to BoonDocks for a delicious meal!

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And with that, we had to begin gathering up supplies…cleaning up…

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…and preparing to leave the next morning!

A FEW MORE PICS…

The boys had a pillow to color and went about their work diligently.

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Levi made a very interesting color choice on his and I complimented him and said, “Levi, I like how you are using your artistic eye!”  He turned and look at me…did this…

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and said, “Actually, Lulu, I have 2 artistic eyes, don’t you know!”  So you do, my Little Man…so you do!

I taught them to play Old Maid…that was lots of fun!

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John Thomas looking cute in his new outfit…

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I bought the boys some cute shorts and painted them a shirt to match…

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Another fun project was a little tedious…on my part.  I made pics of the boys in the same location.  We then had them printed.  I taped the picture to a stack of 6 square Duplo Blocks, then carefully cut apart the picture between each block with an exacto knife.  Then I handed the boys a jumble of pieces and they had to put themselves and their cousin together.  Then is was so funny to put the wrong legs or the wrong arms on the other person!  Picture Blocks!

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They each have a set, and can take each other home and play together whenever they like!  We used one rectangular block on the bottom so they would stand side by side.

John Thomas designed, painted and lettered the Boogaloo Camp sign at top of this post!

PaPa Clyde…we were thinking of you while we were gone…

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Scavenger Hunt went well…they found all on their list and both won prizes!

And, of course, Thomas’ Doughnuts was visited quite often!  

I could go on and on here about the blessings we have and the memories we made on this trip!  But, I’m going to leave it here with just this thought.  Every good thing…every happy thought…every burst of laughter…every sweet hug…every goodnight kiss…and every Good Morning…is a gift from Almighty God.  He causes His favor to rest on us all.  He gives us more than we deserve.  He sends His love to us in so many ways.  I praise Him and honor Him and thank Him for this beautiful week!

“It is God who has given us these times of joy.”  Psalms 81:4

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READY, FREDDY?

“Ready, Freddy?”  “Ready, Betty!”

Levi and I have used these code words since he could buckle his carseat by himself.  It let me know that he was buckled in and ready to ride.  (Course I always double check first.)  He used to think it was so funny.  When he was first learning about rhyming words…we would continue…“Where’s Eddie?”   “Have you seen Letty?”  “I’m feeling sweaty.”  “I want spaghetti.”  And on it would go until something else caught his attention.

Yesterday…4/12/17…after school pickup…

“Ready, Freddy?”  No answer.

“Ready, Freddy?”  Still no answer.

“Levi, are you buckled up and ready to go.”  “I am.”

“Well, why didn’t you answer me?”

“Lulu,…… I just didn’t want to say it.”

“Why not?”

“Well, Lulu…it sounds a little silly to me.  And I am in kindergarten now, you know?”

“Oh, so you think you are too old to play this game anymore?  It always makes me smile when we say it.”

“Don’t be sad, Lulu, I just think I’m too big now to say that.  Can we just not do that anymore?”

“Well, of course, Little Man.  I understand.  When you grow up, some things you thought were funny one time…just seem silly now.  So we don’t have to say that anymore.”

“Will you be sad, Lulu?”

“Of course not!  You can always tell me if you prefer not to do something.  Maybe I’ll agree.  Maybe I won’t.  But, you can be honest with me always.”

“I love you, Lulu!”

“And, I adore you, Levi!  Now are you ready to go!”

“Yes, m’am.  I am!”

And then we both started laughing again…his attempt at becoming grown up had led him to make another rhyming answer!

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He understood the irony of that without me saying anything….another sign of maturing and growing.  I can say I’m sad to see it happen, but that’s not really the truth.  The truth is I will forever miss these little jokes we have had between ourselves.  But, I want him to grow and explore and change.  This is what he was born for…to become a man.  And, even though he has lots of growing left to do…now that he’s 6…some things will be forever different.  As he begins first grade, he will see this world with such different eyes.  My prayer is that God gives him a mind that delights in new information….that he will always nurture his creative side…and that his goal will always be to be more like Jesus everyday!  And, that he can always laugh with his Lulu!

He’s ready, Freddy!

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ON INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY….I AM….

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I am a woman…daughter…sister…wife…mother…daughter-in law…mother-in-law… sister-in-law…cousin…aunt…great aunt…grandmother …friend…teacher…nurse…classmate…church member.  I am a story teller… planner…artist… crafter… a decorator…a musician…writer…a collector.   I am a driver…cook…caregiver…dishwasher.

I love blue skies…sunshine…kisses from my boys…tenderness from my husband…smiles of pride from my daddy…sweet memories of my mother…hugs from my friends…laughter from my grandson…talks with my daughter-in-love…time with my sister…camp with the family.  I love reading a good book…watching a funny TV show…cooking out in the backyard…and floating in the pool.  I love to be silly…plan surprises…have fun…make people laugh.  I am messy and unorganized.  My mind is always on overdrive…I have ADD.  I have health issues that cause me pain.  I have hope that tomorrow will be better than today.

I love chocolate..sweet tea…bread…Chinese food…Mama’s pound cake…sweet potatoes…broccoli…filet mignon…baked chicken…zipper peas…cheese crackers…graham crackers…peanut butter…eggs over easy with grits and bacon… little white powdered doughnuts…and chocolate.

I like to decorate…plan parties…throw parties.  I like to play inside games…give gifts…read books to my grandson and grand nephew.  I like to travel and explore new places.  I like to dress in style.  I love beautiful jewelry.  And shoes.  And purses.

I love listening to music…all kinds of music.  I love to sing… but only with children….or congregational hymns at churchor in my car when I’m alone.  I like making lists and marking things off…I like to take hot showers.  I love to sit outside in nature and just breathe.  I love to get a good book and get lost in it.  I am truly happy to share everything I own.  Things are not heart possessions...people are.  What I have, I’ll gladly lend to you!

I love to teach children.  It is my life calling, I believe.  It brings me joy to see a little one coming to grasp some new information.  I believe in following rules and having boundaries. I believe children should be immersed in art and music!   I believe children should be listened to and taught when to listen themselves.  I believe children should be taught there is always someone in charge.  I believe they should learn about self control…and empathy.  I believe we should respect a child’s feelings…never telling them ‘they shouldn’t feel that way’…they do.  We should try to understand them..  I believe that they should know that doing the right thing...is its own reward and not expect another! I believe they should be surrounded by Biblical teaching from birth.  There is nothing that matches the look on a child’s face when they ‘get understanding’ about a detail!  It is magical to watch!  There is no love that is so pure or honest and true as the arms of a child begging to wrap you in a bear hug!  I imagine that’s the way my Heavenly Father feels about me, too!

I love a full moon…and the birds that come to the feeder outside my window…especially the redbirds…I love bare trees in the winter with all the branches showing…I love seeing tiny green buds appear on those same trees in spring.  I love swinging in a porch swing.

I totally and unabashedly adore my 3 boys! My boys are strong, and they are weak.  My boys are kind and gracious, but they are selfish and stubborn also.  My boys are full of empathy…they lived through learning that trait.  They ‘re the best parts of their father and I..and their grandparents.  They never followed all our rules…sometimes they went their own way.  They had the opportunity to choose the easy way…some took the hard.  I believe that every single thing you go through in this life is a piece of the puzzle that fits together to make you who you are.  Lessons learned come at a price…we all paid.  We all grew.  They are men who I love to talk with and yes, even still try to reason with and finagle.  They love their Mama.  They hold my heartstrings. We walked through the ravages of disease and sadness and pain together….and we grew through it and are the better for it. Brother helped brother helped brother and still do today.  I weep at the goodness of God to bless me with the total and complete perfect gifts they are to me!

God blessed me with a husband who is a man of God.  He is a deliberate thinker and a fairer man you will never find.  He weighs both sides of a situation and with God’s help makes his decision.  Always, he waits on God.  I admire his peaceful nature and his patient ways.  I rely on his wisdom to reel me in when I go off on some tangent. He is a man after God’s own heart.  He is my anchor in this life we chose to go through together.  (We absolutely argue and fuss.  We absolutely don’t always agree.  He absolutely drives me bonkers at times.  We absolutely are together forever!)

I am a sinner saved by the grace of Jesus.  I am a follower of Jesus Christ.  I love reading my Bible…singing the old hymns…responsive readings.  I am Heaven bound!  The Word of God can bring tears of joy to my eyes as I read it.  He wrote it just for me! He added things that just I need to hear!  It is my personal letter from Him!

I believe that God is in total control of the universe.  I do not worry about global warming and such…my God is big enough to handle this planet…after all He created it.  If we need more bumblebees, He can handle that!  I believe God uses many things in our world to speak to us.  I believe He speaks to animals…I believe he uses animals to teach us and to guide us and to protect us.  He made them all and they are one of His great gifts.

I love life…and the people in it…I love learning about people groups of other cultures…I think missionaries that spread the gospel in foreign lands are true heroes.  I love seeing the beautiful people who are so different than me, and were raised differently than me and do life differently than me.  And, yet, we can serve the same God!  I so admire and pray for those who give their lives in the winning of people to the Lord…especially in difficult situations.  They deserve my praise.

I know who I am.  I know what I believe.  My belief system was formed from childhood as I was raised around the people and places my parents thought were decent influences.  The friends I grew up with and their parents…the teachers and leaders in my church…my teachers at school and college…all left their lessons on me.  I am strong and resilient.  I have weathered very tough times.  I have been inundated with stress and grief.  These times brought lesson to my soul that stay with me always.  Lessons learned from living through tough times sticks well!   I am a survivor!   I can speak for myself and am not afraid to do so.  I believe it is always possible to be kind.    I believe that you have the same right to your beliefs as I do.    I do not need to belittle your beliefs.

I believe every law abiding citizen should have the same rights…I think our country should welcome any non-criminal  who is willing to become a citizen, and learn the English language.  I believe we should protect ourselves from the evil in the world whenever we can.  I believe we should be knowledgeable and up to date on daily news.  I believe we should never put our full trust in anyone other than God.  I believe we should be discerning about who we follow.  I believe the Bible when it says to “flee from evil”.  I believe we can be kind to everyone, regardless whether they think like we do or not.  But, your rights don’t trump my safety!  I believe no group should have to sacrifice their rights just to make another group happy. I believe in the sanctity of life.  I believe every child deserves the right to life.  I believe those who abuse children and animals are deserving of a hotter hell.

I believe our guiding light should always be the Bible.  I believe it is the perfect Word of God with no mistakes or double meaning.  I believe our lives should be governed by His Word.  I fully believe that God makes NO mistakes.

I believe we should pray for our government leaders.  They are in their positions because God allowed it.  Whether we voted for them are not.  They are leading our nation and need the intervention of the Holy Spirit in all they do!

I believe I am wonderfully made.  I believe God chose me to be who I am…where I am…with whom I am.  I believe He chose the circumstances of my life in order to mold me into what He wants me to be.  I believe He is always good.  I believe He hears and acknowledges every prayer.  I believe His way is always right.  I believe He speaks to me and you.  I believe He sends angels to watch over us.  I believe He created everything just as His Word says and I believe He is in charge of what happens…when it happens…and where it happens.  I believe He is never surprised.  I believe He is all knowing .  I believe Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven.  I believe He always keeps His promises.  I believe He is truth.  I believe God is love.  I believe I will live with Him forever.

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It is for me, then, to speak up when the opportunity is put before me…to speak wisdom when it is the appropriate time to do so…to take every chance God puts in front of me to speak the truth as I know it…to be quiet when silence is the best answer.    I can impact others by living true to God and myself…where He put me…when He tells me.

This is the woman that I am.  These are the ways I live my life with the freedoms that I enjoy…fought for and won by patriots and many wise and wonderful women before me.   I am a woman of value.  I matter in the lives of people I meet.  I matter to my friends.  I have been blessed with the best group of heart friends ever!  Women whom I love and cherish and who continue to teach me!  I matter to my family.  This is what I am grateful for.  I thank God I was born an American.  I thank God that He chose me to belong to Him.  I am blessed beyond measure.

I believe these words with all my heart and soul.  Amen!

3/8/17…International Women’s Day

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You are equally as valuable. You have your own set of values and likes.  You can take some things easily and others turn your stomach.  You are wonderfully made.  I encourage you to take the time to put it all down in an essay such as this.  There is no formula to follow.  Who you are and what you experience works together to make the special woman you are.  I do not feel boastful for sharing with you my heart thoughts.  I feel understood.  Tell someone today….better yet…write it down…just for you…just for posterity…for your great grandchildren to get a glimpse of who you are.   You are important…You are special...You deserve to be known!

 

A NEW GAME

I love my grandson.  I adore my grandson.  Since he was an infant we have shared our days together (along with other grandmother).  We have enjoyed wonderful days together as I’ve watched him grow.

I’ve watched as the toys have changed  signaling new skills or interests.  We’ve gone from rattles and chewy things to pull toys and toys that easily amuse.  We’ve gone through big fat Legos to millions of teeny tiny ones that hurt like OUCH!!! when you step on them.  We progressed from Play Doh to Mr. Potato Head…along with his missus!  He fell in love with the movie CARS…and we have no less than 75 of the delightful people/cars to inhabit my our studio.  Of course they have an entire city consisting of pastures, and drive ins and car shops and tire stores and a junk yard for Mater!  We have progressed from stuffed animals to the Disney characters to the Monsters, Inc family to the whole gang from the Toy Story conglomerate.  We have colored in books, on paper, on cardboard, on canvas.  We have painted on easels, on canvas on rocks on leaves, on the table.  We have cut reams of paper and glued the results to other reams of paper…only colored.  And, for the last little while..we have been inundated …and converged on…enveloped even, by Star Wars.

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Now the thing about Star Wars is that I’ve already gone through this Invasion twice in my lifetime…about 40 years ago and again 7 years later  with the instigators being boys named Adam (Levi’s daddy) and Alex (Levi’s Uncle).  Alex was actually the more enamored one and when he was 16, insisted that we pack up the brightest and best of his collected dynasty to save for posterity.  And it all sat in a big plastic bag at the top of his closet just waiting for another little man child to have the love and vision for what could be in a galaxy far, far away.  And, one such devotee was birthed into our family.  And, may I just add…the young one plays with those toys for all he’s worth.  The ones from 39 some odd years ago are not even made anymore.  He has some special pieces.  And, they mix together just fine.  He makes sounds for each separate spaceship and people mover.  He engages in battles and wars that extend out of my studio into the foyer and down the hall.  There is nothing…NOTHING…he loves better than for his Uncle Alex, who knows the finest details about Star Wars and has lived with these people for 33 years, to engage in battle warfare with him to save our very existence here on Planet Earth…or some such place.  And, his daddy is becoming about as crazed as he is about collecting the various good guys and bad guys and good space ships and bad space ships…which is great by Levi!

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So, my point her being…that Dear. darling Levi has a plethora of toys and books and art supplies to keep his healthy little mind occupied with plenty to do.  That’s why this was particularly hard to take………

LEVI…Lulu, I’m thinking of another game for us to play.

LULU….OK, I’m a little tired of blowing up planets and sailing spaceships through the universe.  How do you play?

LEVI…First, you go sit on the couch.  But don’t lean on the back of it… sit at the edge of it.

LULU…OK, I can do that.   And so I did!  He proceeded to take himself all the way to the other side of the room.  He then placed his body in a position reminescent of a runner beginning a big race. ” Something is amiss”, my clever brain told me.

LULU...Can you tell me the name of this game before we start?

LEVI…Sure…It’s called KNOCK DOWN THE GRANDMA !!!!????****!!!!

LULU…Well little man, there is one thing I need to tell you before we start.

LEVI…What, LULU?

LULU..You’ve picked up some tragic space sickness and it is lodged in your brain and is making you think about crazy things if you think I’m playing this game.

LEVI…AW, come on Lulu, it will be fun!

LULU…NO!  NO!  just no!

And, I destroyed the light in a little boys eyes who had such high hopes that his new game would be a delightful change of pace for all involved.  But, I’ve seen that particular light in years past…and I never forgot it   Hard history lessons only repeat because some one didn’t remember.

And, because I am a wise and clever grandmother, I was out the door and into the yard before he could blink.  I grabbed the basket ball and threw it into his arms as he rounded the garage door.  And we then spent half an hour shooting baskets.

And, that’s the way I saved my life on 2/22/17!

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