Thursday, May 26, 2011


My Grandpa Mills was an amazing man. His own father died when he was 9 years old. He married my Grandmother when he was 21 and she was 18. He was a father of three, and a scout master to his two boys. He could play the piano and the organ. He graduated from USC with a degree in zoology. He then began teaching college courses in biology and human anatomy. He worked extra jobs so that he could provide for his family. My dad recalls that it was a struggle for his folks to pay the mortgage on the house every month, and many of their rooms didn't have any furniture. For a time Grandpa Mills worked at a liquor store and was once robbed at gunpoint. They tied him up in the back room. His story made it into the paper, although they called him Mr. Miles.

My Grandpa had a fascination with planes and flying all his life. He made friends with pilots and got a job washing planes in exchange for flying lessons. By the time I knew my Grandpa he was a certified pilot and he owned a few planes himself. I remember going on a flight with him when I was very young. It was my first experience flying.

My Grandfather used to ride his bike 5 miles a day 6 days a week to keep in shape. He was a hard worker. He was occasionally also hard on his kids, especially when my dad was a long-haired teenager, but Grandpa loved his family. And we loved him. Last Friday I attended my Grandpa's graveside service. This is when I found out that he had been in the army for a while. Some smartly dressed men came to our small family gathering and presided over the service. They gave my Grandma a flag, played taps on the trumpet, and shot some rounds to honor my Grandpa.

Grandpa had not been able to speak for some time, he had Alzheimer's disease. The last time I visited him he couldn't remember the time he gave me a medical picture book (I was about 8) because he noticed I loved to read, or the big family get-togethers, or even that he drew me some Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse replicas a few years ago. But when we sang to him, he would wink at us. And the last time we visited, he kissed my little Gwendolyn.

My Grandma said that there wasn't a thing that Grandpa wanted to do in his life that he didn't do. He is an inspiration to me. And I can't wait to tell him that when we meet again.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Little Joker

Our family still has one car, and Dan takes it to work every day. I needed to go to the store this morning, so I put the kids in the double stroller and walked there. I tried to go early so it wouldn't be so hot, but come on, this is Arizona. When we got home I needed to take a shower. So I did.

Guess which of my little hooligans got into my liquid eyeliner while I was showering?

That's right, this little Joker.

Don't worry, she got a bath right after her photo shoot.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Last Week

Last week I went from being a mom of two to a mom of six, but only for a few days. I was busier than usual and I woke up earlier than I have in years, but it was a pleasure watching my nephew and nieces while their mom was away. They are all really sweet kids. And they were only late to school once. (Tallia inexplicably lost a shoe and didn't have any spares.) They were only a minute late, so I think I did pretty well, considering. I probably messed up some of their homework stuff, but I sure tried. I even baked a pie with Averey for extra credit (pioneer unit). And I got artsy with their paper bags when I made the lunches.

One great thing that came with watching the Footes was the use of a car. We have been a one car family for many months now, and at times it kinda cramps my style. I haven't been going absolutely bonkers or anything, but it was nice to have a car. And the van was much easier to drive than I would have thought.

Another great thing was having built-in babysitters. Dan and I went on an actual date. Outside of the house. It has been a while. We went to see The King's Speech which was an amazing movie. I absolutely loved it. Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter were both fantastic. It might be the most impressive performance I have ever seen either of them give.

And the theater that we went to was AWESOME. An old building... heavy on the neon and the life-size figures of movie characters, both 2D and 3D. I don't even know where they would find 3D figures of Klingons and Spiderman and Jack Sparrow. But they've got 'em. All squished in to one little area.

See that chandelier? This place is super classy.

P.S. The movie cost six dollars. Total. Cheapest date ever. And we could hear the projector as the movie ran. It was awesome. I guess we appreciate old-school ghetto-type stuff.