Tag Archives: birthdays

A Study in 50 Adjectives.

13 Feb

Tender, patient, careful, loving, generous,
quiet, serious, thrifty, interested, interesting,


conscientious, intelligent, honorable, honest, merciful,
caring, hard-working, efficient, forgiving, resourceful,

Turkey Jerry

devoted, loyal, fair, relaxed, reserved,
faithful, handsome, practical, homey, fruitful,

Jerry Cele Canning

huggable, untiring, motivated, kind, meticulous,
nurturing, economical, warm-blooded, cozy, deep-thinking,

Jerry Birthday Cake Kids

stoic, lovable, attentive, playful, calming,
comfortable, consistent, supportive, self-sacrificing, beloved.

Happy Birthday, Jerry!

Uncheckered Pants, um, Past

18 Feb

Yesterday was a really important day, but it was also sort of a unexpectedly hectic day.  Suffice it to say that the complimentary valet service at Devos Children’s Hospital ER is super awesome, and that all Babies are improving in health.

Still worried?  Here’s a picture I just snapped a few seconds ago to prove to you they are just fine:

Anyway, yesterday was kind of difficult, so I didn’t get a chance to blog about what made it special.  February 17 is our Gramma’s birthday.  91 she turned.

So, in light of Grab Bag Special Saturday, I picked up the nearest old photo album and pulled out this 1976 shot of she, Grappa and myself.

I’m sorry, we need to address Grappa’s pants right away so we can concentrate on what a wonderful woman our grandmother is.


Was that enough?  Does more need to be plaid, um, I mean said about them?  Okay, good.  Let’s groove on, uh, move on.

GG (by the way, that’s what we call her since the birth of our children, G.G. for Great Grandma, get it?), so GG has always looked just like that. Her perfectly coifed hair is the result of her standing Tuesday morning appointment.  Her elegant demeanor is also unchangeable and proves comfortable leaning aside a pick-up, holding babies, volunteering for the Hospital Auxilary, leading Bible Study at the nursing home, washing dishes after family gatherings, folding church bulletins, warning her granddaughter against bossiness, and defending her husband’s choice of clothing.  All things this beautiful nonagenarian still manages to do on a regular basis.

Well, okay, she probably doesn’t have to defend Grappa’s crazy slacks anymore, but who amongst us could?

Gramma, we love you.  Happy Belated Birthday!




My Top Ten

13 Feb

It’s Monday, and even though we’ve done very few Memory Dirt Road posts as of late, I’d like to travel down one today.  But today is not just any old Monday.  Nope, today is February 13.

That doesn’t mean it’s the day to panic because you don’t yet have flowers ordered or reservations placed for tomorrow.  And it’s not just the day you recuperate from partying hardy at Abe Lincoln’s B-day Bash.

In fact, as much as I think the 16th President’s birthday is worth a good hoorah, the birthday that has my eye and heart this day is that of my beloved.

But I think Lincoln would have liked my guy.

Here he is reading the constitution to our kids on the Fourth of July.  He’s not the kind of dad that puts exploding substances in the wee hands of his offspring.  He’s the kind that makes sure they understand why their crazy Mom made them pick color coordinating outfits to wear as they stand on the curb collecting tootsie rolls.

You know what else is all-American about my husband?  Apple Pie.  He doesn’t just eat them.  He makes them.

So you’ve got me on this one, it’s cherry, not apple.  It doesn’t really matter, it’s a Jerry Pie, and that makes it delicious.

And he can can.  He can’t can-can, but that’s okay.

Nope, sorry, you can’t have him.  He’s mine.  All mine.

You see, ten years ago this week we started our whirlwind romance.  It began with a dinner at Arnie’s on Feb. 11, a “Lincoln’s Birthday Present” for him the next day, an Ash Wednesday present for me on his birthday, a 7th/8th grade Valentine’s Day party, topped off with a first kiss on Feb. 15 and Voila!  By February 21 we were talking about wedding dates.

I know, hold on to your hat, right?  We were married just four months later.  It was utterly grand.

And it still is.

So, dear, sweet, husband-of-mine, thank you for the best decade of my life, and may we have many, many more decades together.


Though I Admire Your Angel Eyes . . .*

8 Feb

If you ever viewed the albums we used to post on facebook in days of yore, you might have noticed an ongoing theme in our pictures.  It is simply called:


As best we can tell the origin is our father, and his genes are certainly strong in some of our children.  Today I present to you the Eight-Year-Old Birthday Nose:

*If you’ve never heard this little Sandra Boynton/Neil Sedaka tune there’s a tiny little sniff, um, I mean snippet over here.


Mush and Eye Rolls

4 Feb

Today is my oldest nephew’s 8th birthday. And as there are very few things I can do from 12 hours away to aid their family during this difficult time, of blogging I am able. So, Simeon, I hope you don’t mind, but this goofy (his words, not mine) aunt is butting in today.

You know those few really poignant moments that you have in life during which a feeling erupts that you didn’t even know was possible? 8-ish years ago, after a harrowing, snow-blind, 14-hour drive in a compact car with 3 other adults, I lugged my 32 week pregnant self across drifts, through a questionable emergency room, up a sterile elevator into a shocking vision of love and completeness. There, at a little after midnight on February 5th, I witnessed a sleeping family.

A family.

The picture, thankfully, is tattooed into my memory. There were three people in that room. THREE! I can still see that shockingly beautiful bald head silhouetted against his labor-exhausted mother. It was as if he had been dropped magically into existence. And (I’m sorry, Simeon, I’m going to get mushy), I loved him painfully and immediately. That little boy, although my nephew, created the mother in me.

Thank you, my sweet first nephew. And Happy Happy 8th Birthday. I love you. (Okay, buddy, you may proceed to give me that famous eye-roll.)

An Aunt and Her Nephew

On the Tenth Day of Christmas is Gramma Jan’s Birthday

3 Jan

See this beautiful woman doting on her only granddaughter?

Not only is she wearing one of her 45 turtlenecks, it’s her birthday today.

Her birthday calls for the break of our blogging fast.  Also, it calls for blogging fast, before I run out of January 3rd.

She’s a marvelous woman, that Mom of ours.  Trust me, she dotes on her grandsons, too.  All eight of them.  She serves them pudding,

plays War, 

even dons a towel and sock hands.

Don’t worry, we’ll tell you more about that later.

Also, she is our Mommy.  A really good, snuggly, lovey, lovely, cozy, cuddly Mommy.

Happy Birthday, Mom.  We love you, too.

How Do You Spell Happy Birthday?

21 Nov

The November flurry of birthdays comes to a close today as we celebrate Thomas, born on the Monday before Thanksgiving.  Sometimes we falter when asked the actual date of his birth.  Tricky Thanksgiving, always moving around and causing us problems, is at fault.  But this year his actual birthdate reflects the day we always remember.

In a ploy to get my newly minted six-year-old to write this blog post for me, I asked Thomas how he would describe himself to someone who didn’t know him at all.  His answer:

I would just say, “T-H-O-M-A-S.”  But, only to people who can spell.

So much for my plagiarized blog post.  He is a bit much to describe with mere words.  In addition to the words, you need some non-stop singing, rambunctious wiggling, and intense cuddling.

That’d about do it.  We love you, Thomas Thomas.  Happy Birthday.

Hey, Lovebucket. Happy Birthday.

17 Nov

November is a birthday heavy month in these parts. Today’s? My super spectacular husband, A.J. And, lucky for me that his birthday falls on Things I(we) Love Thursday, because GUESS WHAT! I love that guy.


Okay, there are many things about my husband I love. He’s a generous, helpful spouse, an energetic, silly, and loving father. He’s cool & handsome & interesting & weird & and never takes himself too seriously. I love those characteristics. But, today, as I drive to Lincoln to see his choir perform at Nebraska’s Music Educator’s convention I’d like to talk about his talent.

My helpmate is a terrific teacher. I’ve had the privilege to witness him at work innumerable times – a rare gift. Initially in our marriage I served as accompanist to his middle school choirs. What? Gasp. We worked together?!? Unheard of. Preposterous. Wonderful. I’d give anything to work with him again, but alas my piano skills reach only as far as middle school repertoire goes (and he already has a fantastic accompanist that is far less lazy than I). During those years at the middle school I witnessed Adolescent Mind Molding Magic. I honestly thought that AJ had found his niche. When one is able to get a group of fifty 13-year-olds to not only learn and understand, but enjoy the Mystery of Key Signatures, that person can teach. And that was AJ. Through character voices, common interests (he has MANY with middle schoolers), and an overabundance of crazy positive energy, he was able to reach those puberty-addled brains. Daily I was impressed.

Then he went to teach high school and I just wasn’t sure those more mature minds would be forgiving of his level of nutso. Well, they were. They glommed onto the geeky like gangsters to Glocks.

Once again, on a smaller scale, I have been privy to this wonderful tutelage. Through subbing, after school activities, and a propensity to loiter I have seen his instruction, watched his interactions, and heard the outcome, and I am here to tell you – he’s got it. He is a man who GETS teaching. He is there for the students. He has found a way to empathize with and relate to them that astounds me. And I couldn’t be prouder. Oh, wait – I could. Because here’s the cooler thing – he shares his devotion to his work with us. He lets us in to his teaching world. His students know our boys and me. We know them. He has found a way to not only teach music. He also teaches the importance of family and of giving all of one’s God-given vocations their full worth. He helps kids sing pretty, sure. But more importantly, he gives them a model of familial citizenship that I fear is lost these days. And that is what throws me over the edge of pride.

And so, AJ (if you’re reading this!), I wish you the best of birthdays and congratulations on creating an environment that gives your students opportunities like today’s. Love love love.

3 Cheers for Charles!

14 Nov

Today’s Memory Dirt Road isn’t too far in the past. I’d say it’s about 3 fenceposts back. Or years. You choose. In my memory they’re the same thing. Three fenceposts and 46 minutes ago our Charlie Bear was born.

Happy Birthday, fella. You’re pretty awesome.

Listing the Love

10 Nov

It’s a good thing my birthday fell on a Wednesday so that today could be Things I (We) Love Thursday.  I plan to steal a page right out of my sister’s playbook and list for you some things about my square rootable birthday that made me incredibly happy.

1.  Starbucks.  A long, long time ago I was delighted to receive a Starbucks gift card.  In the corner was a teensy sticker encouraging me to register the card and thereby make myself eligible for a free birthday drink.  Starbucks was true to their promise and so yesterday I loaded up the youngins, explained that Mommy was going to get her birthday present from the Coffee Restaurant, and turned in my cute, little, postcard coupon for a luscious, creamy Eggnog Latte.  Venti.   And as if that weren’t enough to warm my heart and stomach, my receipt was one of the happy print-outs to get a survey option that gives me, yes, another free drink.  When this gift card is all spent and done  I will have scored at least eight beverages off it’s $10 generosity.  And that, my friends, is what I love.  Well, that and Eggnog Latte.

2.  A drama free trip to Walmart*.  A trip to the Big Blue Box was necessary to procure supplies necessary for our Hogwarts House Competition.  What?  You want to hear about how I am tricking my children into cleaning the house this week while we’re on fall break?  Sorry, that’s a post for another day.  This is strictly about the fact that my children were obedient, relatively quiet, and even helpful as we marched our stroller/cart parade all of the way around the store.  A mother of five could not ask for a better present from her offspring.

3.  New Socks.  While at WallyWorld I treated my feet to new socks.  They weren’t even on sale.  Can you say splurge?

4.  Jamma Dresses.  This has nothing to do with my birthday, except that I snapped a picture of it yesterday morning, and I thought this post would be boring without some photographic adornment.  I now present to you our one and only daughter in a nightgown, or as we will call them from now until forever thanks to Abraham, a Jamma Dress:

5.  YakTrax.  This handy-dandy gift from my parents will assure that every time I fall during my runs this winter it will be only as a result of my clumsiness, and not poor traction or slick surfaces.

6.  Stacy’s overkindness.  Did you read her crazy post?  I can’t even link it here it’s so over the top.  Yikes.  As I was reveling in the sap, her children called to remind me that I looked a bit like something one might spot at a zoo.  That dried those tears faster than a Kleenex-brand tissue.

7.  Birthday Greetings.    This is where you come in:  thank you, thank you, thank you!  Whether in the form of phone calls, voice mails, e-mails, or facebook messages I was overwhelmed to receive your well wishes.  On a day when the only humans I encountered face to face that knew it was my birthday were those with whom I share a house, the 14,565 “Happy Birthday”s from the outside world brought joy and celebration into an otherwise solitary and ordinary routine.  To be fair, three of the individuals in my house did give me birthday greetings upon waking and sleeping by command and prodding from their father, two of them seemed to lay on the extra cute for my benefit, and my dear husband showered me with love and best of all, came home from work by 5:00.  I am truly blessed by them, and you.

*That asterisk was not directing you down here.  But thanks for looking.  It’s actually a throwback to the good ol’ days.  You know, when Walmart** used to be Wal*Mart.  Oh, how I miss that Interrupting Asterisk, but I’m thankful my sister developed this new way of typing it which gives us bonus footnotes.

**Gotcha again.