War and Peace  

Dennis, the former neighborhood foster teen, stayed with us overnight a few weeks ago.  He expressed interest in coming back to help with Vacation Bible School with his foster parents, Shawn and Bob.  Plans were not finalized until two days before it started.  We were halfway to Brevard after church, so we picked him up.  Dennis and our grandsons quickly resumed their friendship from previous visits.

It wasn’t long before they pulled out the Nerf guns, a favorite pastime.  I’m quite sure David and Nathaniel never played with them this much when they were boys.  With age came more sophisticated play.  Surprisingly, there was less noise and more strategy.  The one most appropriately dressed was Dennis.  Somewhere they found a never-worn camouflage outfit that belonged to David.  The label said it was a small size, but it fit Dennis perfectly.  Children might have resented being asked to pose, but these young men pandered to the wishes of the toy camera.

062916 N Dennis D pose with guns.JPG

Digging trenches was the other war front.  Dennis was at Bible School every morning, and David worked four days.  That left Nathaniel and John to attack the waterfall project.  John was very thankful for N’s young back.  The two of them moved earth and dug out rocks.  Since our garden was inhabited by inherited plants, I forgot the terrain would be rocky.  They found plenty of evidence that we live in the mountains.

063016 N digs waterfall pools.JPG

Shawn and I agreed that having potluck dinners would be an efficient way to feed everyone  It was a lovely, if slightly frenetic, way for all eight of us to visit.  The photo shows the transition from war to peace.

063016 Potluck after VBS.JPG

One evening Logan was particularly restive when the rest of us wanted to settle in our chairs to visit.  We had an unopened Lego engine that kept him occupied.  Luckily, he was sitting next to the Lego enthusiast, David.  The toy was not easy to assemble, and they hit a snag when one of the pieces broke.  Someone searched the big box of Legos and found a replacement.

063016 D Logan Lego engine.JPG

Several days later the big fellows were playing at the table, waiting for everyone to finish eating.  I told them Logan would have been envious.  Dennis and Nathaniel completed the engine.  Ta da!!

070216 Dennis N Lego engine.JPG

Although the days were quite warm, the air cooled in the evening.  Someone noticed flashes of light in the sky which never did develop into a thunderstorm, but we went to the front porch to watch.  I laughed at the way we settled in, because John just bought two more chairs to accommodate more people.  He placed the new chairs and the rockers in two conversation groups.  When I went out to look, I said our house looked like an old folks’ home.  Guess it is, at that.  David and Dennis promptly perched on the railing while looking at their phones.

063016 Dennis David on the rails.JPG

After a day with rain showers, the fellows burned all the garden debris in the burn pit.  Logan was attracted to the activity, and soon Dennis and David were throwing the glider with him.  The day wasn’t complete until the plane got hung up in the evergreen tree.  David and Dennis ended the day peacefully sitting by the dying embers.

070116 Glider rescue and fire pit.JPG

Guns and Shots in the House!

Having been the first to bed, Wesley (10 months old) was the first to be up. Christine let him loose while I was getting out things for breakfast. As you might imagine, he made a beeline for the Nerf guns on the porch. The toy camera couldn’t resist a series of shots. The first is my favorite. You know how speed is portrayed in comics with dust balls in the air? Wesley’s speed was shown by the feet of his sleeper. He was going so fast he left his feet behind!

082315 Wesley made a bee line for guns

He was a little surprised when he realized I had caught him, but he quickly settled down for serious play.

082315 Wesley caught!

I suspect, as any true gunman would, he was inspecting the firearm before taking it apart. Like a Glock, this one had a surprising amount of plastic.

082315 Wesley settles down to business

It got dangerous only when the adults began to shoot.

082315 Keith and I exchange shots

16,000 – 27 Steps Tell the Tale

Grandson Nathaniel told me about a pedometer app he used, so I put it on my phone. He helped measure my stride, and I was set. Having read that one should take 10,000 steps a day, I was pleased that I always made that goal on the days I walked. Two days ago I logged 16,736 steps without any special effort. Then I got one of those awful 24-hour things in the middle of the night. Yesterday the phone registered 27 steps for the whole day! Luckily, I was able to get up and cook dinner before our friends came.

We had these days blocked off on the calendar for months, ever since Christine and Keith began planning their long holiday from England. Yesterday they spent most of the day on the Blue Ridge Parkway, enjoying the mountain scenery. John is taking them to Cherokee today to see the presentation there of Indian dances and crafts. Tomorrow they plan to go to the Smokey Mountain visitors’ center so that Charlie can get another junior ranger badge. He has a marvelous collection of these badges from national parks. You get them by filling out sheets to show that you have seen and understand things about the park. I wondered what the age cut-off was for the program. There isn’t any! Christine said she’s seen many adults participating.

Charlie (11) hadn’t been in the house very long before he found the Nerf guns. I hope there will be time for him and his dad to have a war. Judging by the noise level, a war is far better than a lone sniper. When Charlie came in the room with a Nerf bullet stuck to his forehead, I knew we had to have a photo. He posed nicely for the first and made a funny face for the second. I’ll include both, knowing Charlie would prefer the silly one.

We don’t have toys for a 10-month-old, but that doesn’t bother Wesley. Everything within reach is a potential plaything, some appropriate and most not. It’s amazing how quickly he can scoot across the floor