Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Eighty Years of Dad

My awesome, wonderful, selfless, kind, giving, wise, caring, patient, non-judgmental, honest, smart, faithful, easy-going, loving, hard-working, amazing, still-not-going-gray dad turned 80-years-old in June.

This, of course, called for a celebration!!  And so, in early June we set off for Provo, on our first "adventure" of the summer.  (Eliza has permanently swapped the word "vacation" with "adventure" and i kinda love it.)

 Reid wouldn't be able to join us out there until the weekend.  So my sweet lil' sister-in-law agreed to drive 7 of the 9 hours with me.  After 7 hours though, not even she could hack it.  Okay, i'm kidding.  I just dropped her off in Evanston, where Reid's mom was waiting to take her back home.  And i managed not to get us killed in the last 2 hours of the drive.  Thanks again, Karen, for all your help!

My dad wanted his birthday to be low-key.  He's kinda like that.  So we spent a beautiful Saturday morning hiking around Cascade Springs (a location we frequented growing up).  Then we ate lunch at the Purple Turtle (another location we frequented, and continue to frequent).

All of the granddaughters up at Cascade Springs
The whole crew (minus some of the Swensons) at Cascade Springs
And that evening, with the arrival of my sister Melanie and her kids, we had almost all of my dad's off-spring in one place (Cynthia was greatly missed!) And many of his siblings came to celebrate with him, too.  People literally traveled from both coasts to celebrate with my Dad.  That's how wonderful he is, and how much we love him!

Saturday evening we had a delicious Birthday BBQ.  Out of the kindness of our hearts, we even let Dad make the homemade rootbeer and his famous Peter's Peppermint Ice Cream.  Such altruism has rarely been seen.  :)

It was so fun to look around at all the wonderful people who were all gathered in one place to honor this wonderful man.

My dad, Aunt Vicki, Uncle Dave, Aunt Penny, Uncle Mike, Aunt Elaine, Aunt Sandy and Uncle Steve

The whole crew!

The next day was my dad's actual birthday.  We showered him with gifts--mostly edibles and donations in his name.  My kids even let him open some of them!

 And my niece, Jessica, made the cutest cake.  He loves crosswords, so it was kinda perfect. 

Melanie is gonna love me for posting this.  I couldn't help it! She fell asleep under the piano!
My dad with 6 of his 7 children, and 9 of his 9 grandchildren
"Now, everyone hug Grandpa!"

Dad with all of his grandkids.  Love this picture!!
Of all the gifts that my dad received, the one that he enjoyed the most (a week after we all left) was the one that I enjoyed the least.  Nathan gave him the gift of near-death.  In the form of jumping out of an airplane with him.  I was not in love with the thought of my 80 year old father skydiving.  But he absolutely loved it.  And because I absolutely love him, I watched the video of his jump.  Several times. And I've decided that I'd be okay if he did it again.

In another 80 years.

Though the weekend was consumed with birthday celebrations, the days before it were more like a family reunion.  My dad loved having so many of his grandkids around.  Can you blame him?  i mean, just look at these two little ones for starters.  They were so cute together, poking each other's eyeballs, ripping Grandpa's magazines, falling down the stairs (just Alia, actually.  soooooo sad!!)!

Alia and James
Playing in Grandpa's Amazing Tupperware Drawer
Reid and Jared throwing up their babies.  (there has got to be a better way to say that...)
Aunt Kristie playing games with my kids
Kristie braided all my girls' hair in one morning--something that had never been done, and is unlikely to repeat itself. But it was so cute while it lasted!!
We were there for a full week, which meant that I actually had time to catch up with some of my life-long besties.  So, so fun.  And, with my 13 year old niece Hannah around for that week, I was able to help so much around my dad's house.   

I like to call it "help" but I'm quite sure my dad would call it "why won't Emily just leave me and my stuff alone?"  Bless him for letting me have my way.  After 48 years of being married to my mom, he figured out that with some women, it's just easier to say "anything you'd like, sweetheart."  So we went through his books (1000+ of them) and got rid of most (keeping a few for myself, of course), we rearranged his family room, we sold furniture on craigslist (keeping a few pieces for myself, of course), we took several loads to the second-hand store, and looked through boxes of memories, photos, and treasures (keeping many things for myself...or my kids, of course). It was so much fun!  Of course Reid looked at all the treasures that I'd self-inherited and dared to call me that "H" word.  But I certifiably and vehemently denied it! How could i be when I'm so good at making other people get rid of their stuff!!  Ta Da!  Not a hoarder!

I have no "before" picture of this room.  It had kinda become the dumping place for furniture that didn't have a home. But with a little TLC and muscle from Jared we turned this room and the studio into rooms that were more suited for the two men that live in that house.  And Saturday evening, it was so gratifying to see 8 people comfortably gathered in a room that, 3 days earlier wouldn't have fit them! 

Two Christmases ago I busted my butt to "finish" this quilt for my dad.  It was made out of some of my mom's old p.j.'s.  And though it was all pieced and sewn together just in time for Christmas of 2010, it had been sitting on a cold, lonely shelf in my parents' basement--waiting to be tied, so people could actually snuggle under it's softness.  Finally, only 18 months later, and with much help from my dad, we got the frames set up and the quilt ready to go.  I forced suggested to my siblings that we all help tie the quilt.  They kindly agreed.

This photo is my favorite--4 dudes tying a quilt.  Awesome!

Snuggling under the finished product!
Although sitting together and tying a quilt as a family has happened exactly zero times before, I dare say we all felt oddly familiar and comfortable at it.  Probably because we'd all seen our mom tie quilts on those same frames.  And because we come from a long line of quilt-making super-women  And because it's just kinda awesome when you are creating something together.  We all had so much fun putting the finishing touches on this keepsake.  I know because I kept telling them they were having fun.

Thanks, Dad, for such a fun week.  We love you!!!  All eighty years of you!!

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