As promised, here are some photos from my trip back to Illinois to visit Jamie over the weekend of the 8th:


Here, he laughs himself silly as he test-drives his new Radio Flyer roadster.


Here, Jamie is following in his mama’s footsteps. When Grace was about Jamie’s age, she loved to play with the canned goods. Mom was forever chasing her out of the cabinets….


I think I caught him mid-giggle in this picture — hence the strange expression on his face.


This bead table was a present from me. Jamie really liked it, but one of the wires popped off, presenting a safety hazard, so I have to take it back to the toy store and swap it for a sturdier model.


Here, Jamie is playing The Yelling Game with his mama and his Uncle Oliver. He likes for people to yell, and then he yells back. This is a fun game for about two minutes. After that, the grownups seem to lose interest.


At the end of The Yelling Game, everybody claps, because Jamie wins. He just learned to clap while I was in town.


Clapping gets a big response from the grownups — maybe even a bigger response than The Yelling Game.


Jamie likes to help Uncle Oliver play the piano.


In case you were wondering, Uncle Oliver adores Jamie.


Meanwhile, Jamie adores my old bear, Humphrey, who has withstood hugs and cuddles and slobbers and snuggles from four kids spanning two generations and more than 30 years.

I’ve got plenty more photos where those came from, but I haven’t had dinner yet, so I think I’ll wander into the kitchen and make myself a batch of chicken and dumplings. Hope your evening is good.


Weathering the storm

I left my parents’ house at 10 a.m. Monday and got home roughly 11 hours later, after dipping south through Arkansas to avoid the ice storms and downed power lines along the I-44 corridor.

I came into a dark house, put the dogs out, and wandered out to the backyard to find icicles hanging from every imaginable surface. Amazing how an ice storm can turn ordinary objects into something extraordinary:









When I rolled into town around 9:30 p.m. Monday, the only spot in Red Fork with any lights on was Ollie’s Station Restaurant. My neighborhood was dark and silent, and broken branches littered the streets, some still clinging to trees and scraping the windshield as I passed. The roads themselves were clear, making it hard for me to grasp the magnitude of the storm.

Here at the House of the Lifted Lorax, our woodstove and gas water heater kept us warm and comfortable despite recordbreaking power outages. I got a lot of reading done by the light of an LED headlamp and learned a few things that will help the next time we have an outage.

I’ve got tons of photos of Jamie from my trip home, but Ron just got home from work, and we need to clean the refrigerator and head to the grocery store so we can replace the stuff that got too warm on the deck today, so I guess I’ll get offline now.

Hope you’re warm and comfortable, wherever you are.