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Be aware of wonder. Live a balanced life—learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
+ Robert Fulghum

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Winter Fun

Happy Father’s Day

I love this photo of Grandpa Ed and my dad. They look so happy just to be together, don’t they? Edward Valentine is no longer with us, but I’ll always remember what a gentleman he was. A father of eight, he knew how to entertain a crowd. I loved his stories, and he always had a good joke to share. The thing I loved most of all about him was how much love and respect he had for my Grandma Charlotte. They were a wonderful team for more than 50 years, and Tim and I want to be just like them.

This is Great-Grandpa Tony holding Lexie when she was about 9 months old. Grandpa Tony is the hardest-working and most disciplined man I know. At 86 years old, he still rides his bike 10 miles a day! He is a talented woodworker and builder, and we were so lucky to have his help when we built our house. I love looking around my home and seeing his beautiful handiwork. Grandpa’s faith and his devotion to his family and friends are an inspiration and blessing.

This is my dad and me when I was just over a year old. We were living in Oklahoma at the time, where my dad was stationed during the Vietnam War. My mind boggles when I think of how young he was (just 21). My dad and I have always shared a love of architecture and one of my favorite memories is of the drafting table he built for me when I was about 12 years old. He would buy me copies of the real estate magazine Unique Homes so I could design floor plans of the mansions and estates that were featured. You can imagine how happy I was to be able to design our house and then have my dad build it. It was enough to make me forgive him for getting me an erector set for Christmas instead of a Barbie Dream Townhome when I was a little girl.

And last but not least, this is Papaw (as they say in West Virginia, where’s he from) with the kids on our last visit to D.C. We don’t get to see him as often as we’d like, but we manage a few visits a year. He usually comes to see us and gamely reads to kids, gets taken on nature walks by his son, and helps with odd jobs like putting up Christmas lights. When Tim and I were dating, I remember driving through the mountains of Virginia and West Virginia in the back of Ron’s truck as he took us to visit elderly aunts and uncles on farms scattered throughout the countryside. He is dedicated to preserving the history and memories of his family; part of that mission includes planning a family reunion every summer at Hungry Mother State Park in Marion, Virginia. These reunions are happy times, with crawdad huntin’, ice-creaming makin’, and banjo-pickin’.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads in our lives, and especially to Tim, who may still be surprised to find himself a father of four.

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