Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Grasshoppers

Three times this summer we headed over to a local park and collected grasshoppers. Whenever we got a new batch, we paroled the old ones by releasing them in the backyard. 

I love grasshoppers by the way. The drink, and the insect. 

Here's Junie releasing the last batch of the year with her friend Tia. 

Afterwards, I took them to the park. I spent most of the time there sitting by the playground reading a book on Jack the Ripper, which I'm sure wasn't alarming to anyone at all. 

Friday, September 30, 2016

The Community Center Food Pantry Walk 2016

Earlier this month Team Slap participated once again in the charity walk for the local food pantry. It's one of the ways we try and give back to the community, and it's become an annual tradition. 

The night before I took the kids to the store and allowed them to each buy five dollars worth of food to donate, in addition to our cash gift. 

Early the next morning, under a cloudy sky threatening rain, we met up with friends at the Community Center. 

Grace's friend Nick walked with us, and very kindly offered his condolences on the loss of Jaspare. 

And then we were off, sticking to the longer 3 mile course. The organizers claim it's only 2.6 miles, but even the map they hand out betrays that white lie. 

For the second year my friend Tre and his family joined us!

Smiley spent much of the walk watching over my Godson. Cutest moment of the day: seeing the two of them skip, hand in hand, near the end of the walk. 

Alas, the skies broke open near the start of the walk and we spent the majority of it wading, undeterred, through a big rainstorm. 

Afterwards, soaked to the bone, we (well, everyone but me) dined on ice cream at the community center before walking home. 

I look forward to participating again next year, and hope to enlist even more people into joining us!

The First Day of School 2016-2017

Friday, September 9, 2016

R.I.P Grandpa Jaspare

I first met my stepfather-in-law when I was 20, on the day I met Lisa. The details are fuzzy, but within minutes of being introduced he either called me a Polack, swore at me in Italian, or otherwise violated social etiquette.

Sensing a kindred spirit, I returned in kind. 

He laughed in reply, and I liked him immediately.

Within a few months our trips for coffee together at George Webb's became routine.Although I didn't realize it, he became the one, in Lisa's words, to vett me for her family. 

A year later he was called in front of my parish priest to vouch for our upcoming marriage. My mother-in-law had already told the priest she dissapproved of the wedding - if my 19 year old daughter said she was engaged, I'd do the same - but Jaspare went to bat for us. According to the priest, he advocated for us in a manner more Perry Mason than retired factory worker. 

I owe you for that Jaspare.

He had his flaw, God knows, just like us all. But when we had kids he became a beloved Grandpa, one especially close to YaYa. 

I owe you for that too Jaspare. 

A few months ago, just after a house fire that drove my in-law's into temporary housing, he was diagnosed with a fatal brain tumor. 

Yesterday Team Slap went to say our goodbyes at his hospice. The kids hugged him and told him they loved him, and broke down in tears. I found myself crying too, and thanking him for being there for the family. 

Shortly after midnight, he passed away. 

Rest in Peace Jaspare. 

We love you, and we'll miss you. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Smiley and Ginger at the Park

There's no significant event behind this post. It's just a random visit to the park after the first day of school. Enjoy. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Grasshopper Hunting to End the Summer

Last Wednesday was the last day of summer vacation for the kids (my two week vacation from classes ended that Monday). We had a  mini-tradition, for a bit, of having a picnic in Whitnall Park during the week Lisa would work at State Fair. It's been a few years, but Ginger brought it up recently and so, for a last hurrah, we did the same. 


We started out with an early dinner at Kopp's Custard. 

Oy, I know YaYa will hate this picture, given it shows her apparently jamming food in her mouth. But of the two I have as options, trust me kiddo - this is the more flattering ;)

 Alas, after dinner we split up. Nothing was wrong, but for some reason I don't even remember I got it into my head to go catch grasshoppers, and that only appealed to Ginger. In an act of sisterly love, LuLu offered to come with. And so the three of us went a'huntin'. 

Ginger was game for the chase. 

LuLu was not, and served as our spotter. An effective one at that. 

 LuLu also became our location photographer. 

 We were very successful, catching enough grasshoppers to fill a gallon pickle jar when we got home.

Ginger's grasshoppers have even mated and laid eggs since they joined our household!