Birthday Parties

Nolan Behel birthdayGrandson Capt. Adorable celebrated his first Dragon birthday cakebirthday in style, with even his Grandad John taking a break from sports news to wish him a happy one. In keeping with the whole dragon and little prince theme, the birthday boy got crowns on his T-shirt and bib, a dragon cake and a soft purple crown for his Nolan Behel first birthdayprecious baby head. The hit of the party, however, was Capt. Adorable’s discovery of balloons — or “oons” as we had to call them to avoid Nolan Behel first birthdaysetting off a frenzy. To celebrate the first-birthday occasion, balloons were everywhere — even festively tied on to his high chair. It was the first time he’d ever seen balloons close up and he was fascinated. When his mommy gave him one to hold, he clutched the ribbon tightly and would not turn loose as he spent almost a half hour tracing a joyous route from room to room. The joy stopped, however, when the balloon would drift up to the ceiling and the Capt.’s desperate wails brought the nearest tallest adult running over for retrieval. His smart mommy realized that getting him into his high chair for lunch amidst all the balloon decorations would not work at all, so she took him into another room while the co-conspirators removed all “oons”  and when he came back in distracted him with — what else? — cake. Success! “Oons” forgotten — for the time being, at least.

Family and Friends

One of my new favorite things is taking my almost 1-year-old grandson, Capt. Adorable, to the playground. He’s … well, adorable! Because he’s an early walker, he’s so much smaller than everybody else running around — it’s like his coordination hasn’t caught up yet with his little toddlin’ legs. He mainly stands and solemnly observes with that precious forehead crinkled in deep baby thought. You can just see him processing what he sees and thinking, “Oh, so you’re supposed to go up here and go down there. And move over when somebody else wants a turn. I get it!” He knows and loves the things he can reach — these chiming bells, a giant tic-tac-toe game of revolving x’s and o’s and the baby-sized swings and slides — and seems quite amused at this alien concept of sharing.


Danielle McCann PhotographyThese photos were taken by a young woman who’s starting her photography Danielle McCann Photographybusiness in Florence, Alabama, and I am so impressed both with her and her talent. Danielle McCann was friends with both my daughters when they were all in high school together — she and my older daughter were in the same class and she and my younger daughter shared the same goofy sense of humor. Since then, Danielle has started her professional photography business, gotten married and had a baby daughter who’s about the same age as my older daughter’s son. In fact, the two mommies have decided on an eventual arranged marriage between the kids and prepared the two families to become in-laws. Danielle snapped these shots when the babies had a play date together recently. Even though they’re just casual shots she didn’t set up, her talent and creativity show through. I’m so proud of these young people who have drive and determination and ambition, mixed with strong doses of integrity and optimism. When I look at my daughters and their friends and the stability and values they believe in, I know the future’s in good hands. Go to Danielle’s blog at

Babies and Cell Phones

Motorola MOTO™ W755 in purpleI’m apparently one of those grandmothers who will give their grandchildren anything they Danielle McCann Photographywant. I was not this way with my two daughters — as they’ll happily tell you — but something’s happened in the intervening 20 years or so and I’ve been reduced to a “Whatever you want, sweetiepie” maternal spoiling-machine. But my grandson’s so cute! He’s adorable! How could I resist those sparkling blue eyes, that precious little curl of soft wispy hair at the back of his head and those darling pudgy little fingers? So when it turned out that one of his favorite things was my cell phone, I turned it over to him without a thought. He loved the beeps and chirps. He was delighted with the lights and the colors. It was our thing: He wanted it, so I gave it to him. Other, wiser people were cautious, however. “Are you sure that’s a good idea?” my daughter — his mommy — asked me. “Are you sure you want to do that?” Of course, I assured her. I’m a cool grandma. It’s fine. Until, that is, it wasn’t. Turns out baby slobber has supersonic powers to short out cell-phone speakers. Who knew? Now you do. Read more about it in my column,


baby-day1I love this pic, on the left, of my daughter, her husband and their baby — my baby-day-0031grandson, Capt. Adorable. I took it this past Sunday at their church’s Baby Day, which is a Sunday once a year when the church honors all its babies born in the past 12 months.  That’s not a giant baby head behind my daughter — each baby had its own photo on display, and of course Capt. Adorable’s was the best. In my opinion. This photo clearly shows why everybody says Capt. Adorable and his daddy look so much alike. And I loved my daughter’s outfit. You’d never guess that she’s wearing a maternity sweater — she wisely bought some clothes when she was pregnant she could wear later, too. I’ve seen very unpregnant women wear this same style. During church the honorees sat in the front with family members behind them. Even though I amused myself by trying to catch Capt. Adorable’s eye during the service, but he wisely paid no attention to me. He’ll change his mind, though, when I’m the one who’ll let him eat candy and french fries.

Baby Shoes

baby-shoes-001Who knew that baby shoes could be so cute? Before my grandson baby-shoes-010Capt. Adorable was born, I thought the only cute shoes came in women’s size 8.5. Wrong! I already have raved about Robeez but there’s so much more in baby-shoe world. For instance, my friend Susan gave us this pair of red Goody Goody shoes. How precious are they? I can’t wait for him to wear these — maybe with a cute shortall and a little plaid shirt. And my friend Erika Rosenberg, who raises alpacas and angora rabbits and then sells beautiful items made from their fur, gave us this incredibly soft and cozy pair of baby booties. Check out her business, St. Florian Fiber Farm, at  I’m not sure how long Capt. Adorable will let his grandma buy him darling little shoes, but I’m going to enjoy it while I can!

Family Fun

nolan-jan-2009-021I love these photos of three of the most important people in my life: nolan-jan-2009-0201Older Daughter holding her hands out to her son, Capt. Adorable, who is curious but cautious and unsure but trusting on his first trip down a playground slide, with Younger Daughter in the back being supportive and encouraging. And Grandma — me — is there snapping pictures, as usual. This answers the age-old question, of course, of how many people does it take to get a 9-month-old baby down a slide. I’m sure this same adoring fan club will follow Capt. Adorable around as long as he’ll let us. I mean, what kid wouldn’t want his mom, his grandma and his aunt to applaud and record and document every proud moment???