Hi All--two months in a row . . . I'm on a roll! The past six weeks have been a bit of a roller coaster with Uncle Dennis passing away and Ray having a mild heart attack and a subsequent quadruple bypass. Our sincere condolences go out to Rebecca, Michelle and Ned . . . we think about you all a bunch.
We also think about Ray a bunch and are amazed at how quickly he's bouncing back after having some pretty invasive surgery. While Ray probably came within an inch of the end of his time with us, he's showing signs of being on pace for making the most of his new lease on life.
Mara continues to be the best little girl in the whole world. She has more to say every day and astonishes me with ability to put words together to direct my activities (usually to better assist her to her ends). She's thrilled to have the warm days so that she can enjoy her trips to the park, among other things.
Scroll on down and enjoy the photos!
Mara's friend, Mason's, birthday party in late March.
This is the beginning of the photos from Uncle Dennis' funeral. This is Aunt Rebecca the morning of Dennis' funeral. Talk about an oak of a woman . . . Aunt Rebecca stood firm in her faith and saw her husband of some 36 years laid to rest. It hasn't been easy, but she is a very strong woman.
Mom, Dad and Uncle Tom on the morning of Denis' funeral.
Mom and Uncle Wayne.
Double Trouble . . . cousins Mandy and Molly.
Here's Shannon and her kids . . . I don't know how she keeps it together with four of them.
Aunt Sylvia and Uncle Wayne.
The table of photos and flowers at Uncle Denis' visitation.
Sylvia, Wayne, Mom, Tom, Dad, and Double Trouble.
The Bortons at Rebecca's church after Dennis' funeral. Not only did the church put on a really nice lunch for the family, but Rebecca's friends swamped her house with food and offers of assistance to help her through this difficult time.
Putting on smiles for the camera.
Marais and Wesley.
Uncle Tom and Aunt Evie.
Ned and Michelle.
Okay, I'm tired of captioning these . . .
Michelle and I.
Michelle showing off her in-the-process-of-being-remodeled kitchen.
Most of the clan that went to KC for Uncle Dennis' funeral.
This is Mara playing with her Uncle Brean while we were in Denver for Omah's birthday.
Uncle Brean is leaving in June for a stint with the Peace Corps . . . he's going for the lion look to blend in with the local critters down there.
Great Uncle Peter, Mara and Mommy.
Africa boy and Mara.
Mara and Aunt Lyn-Z.
The birthday girls. Between the two of them, there's a hundred years and several husbands.
The Hillsmans--Steve, Jean, Mary, Rich and Peter.
Josh, Stacey, me, Mary, Lyn-Z and Brean.
After a few more beers . . .
My wife and I during our evening out without Mara.
Mara and Mommy coloring easter eggs. Mmmm, they're good!
Moms and kids.
Little Big Man Bo.
Sara was a wonderful easter egg coloring hostess.
Bo got a kick out of riding on my shoulders.
Easter egg inspection.
Two of Mara's most recent favorites--cell phones and sitting outside in the patio furni that Omah gave us.
Daddy trying to figure out if dealing with the hassle of the tricycle for a walk to the park is worth it.
Mara's logic prevails and the trike comes. Notice the rig we have set up for relatively easy trike pulling.
But it's not a perfect set-up.
Even though we didn't have a whole lot of nice days in April, Mara found the weather pleasant enough to become hooked on the neighbor's trampoline. "Bomp'leeeen," she'd say and point at their house on a daily basis. And she wouldn't stop saying it until we took her over there. That prompted us to start thinking about getting our own bouncer.
Mara likes to help daddy vacum
Mara liked being tossed out of the water went we staid at a motel with a pool for our little "spring break."
She has good form in the air!
And eyes closed for re-entry.
Another toss . . .-
. . . and smiles.
The Easter Bunny visited Mara.
Next thing we knew Ray was in the hospital with a clogged-up heart. Stacey and Mara spent the week in Castle Rock and Denver while Ray was in the hospital and having surgery.
Mara was a good kid at the hospital. She wowed the nurses with her cuteness.
Ray got tired of his old-guy hippie locks, so they were sheared.
I was hoping for a full-on comb-over shot, but this will have to do.
Clean-cut and looking good.
Chest w/o a big, ol' scar down the middle of it.
Al and Brean in the hospital waiting room.
Ray up and walking the day after surgery. Looks like that feels reeeeeal good.
Mara took this shot of the crew outside of the Presbyterian hospital in Denver.
When Ray was out of the woods, but whacked out for visitors, everybody went to the Denver Zoo. Mara loved it!
Mara with Aunt Lyn-Z.
Mara with pig tails!
Great Aunt Roseanne (Ray's sister from Arizona) with Mara.
Brean and Erin.
Nice hair Stacey.
Do you think she's still seeing the "little flashy thing" from this one?
Cousin Kevin and Stacey.
The living room swing has been replaced with a water ski handle!
Mara was mildly amused by the new toy, but Oliver, Mara's little buddy, was thoroughly enamored.
Mom and Mara out for a walk.
So then the day came that we got tired of going to the neighbor's house, once, if not twice, a day. We bit the bullet and got a trampoline of our own. We've been very popular with our daughter ever since.
This actually doesn't show what a little jumper she is, but trust me . . . she can really bounce.
Bobby and I putting up the safety net. Thanks again for your help, Bob . . . that made it go way easier!
There she's airborne.
More tramp' silliness.
And we'll round it out with my cute, long-haired daughter.
That'll about do it for this month. Check out the bounce party photos and as always, we hope you're doing well. Drop us a line, as we'd love to hear from you!