the friendship mating ritual.

In case you haven't had a big dose of stupidly cute today, allow me. And I'm talking about really cute. Almost offensively cute.

See, when we went up to my Aunt and Uncle's for grandpa's day, it gave Lucy and her third cousin Isabela yet another chance to play together. They've met twice before, but apparently, the third date is the one where you buy best friend necklaces at Clair's because these two. Holy, wow. They are like peas and carrots now.

As per the universal code of two kids meeting, we played shy girls at first, but both desperately wanted to swim in the lake.

No one was really going to make much of a move without solid backing from some sort of an adult figure. Isabela, naturally, chose her Dad. Lucy, of course, chose Bubba.

This meant both Chuck and Kyle had the pleasure of swimming with their families watching on the dock. I mean, lucky...

Once we had adequate moral support in the water, it was time for the first event in the friendship mating ritual: showing off.

Lucy showed her skills with an impressive jump off the deck that, given the choice, I wouldn't have done. She, well, she chose to demonstrate what an awesome friend she'd be with her diving skills. Obviously.

Isabela chose her "surfing" skills which were both impressive and adorable. Clearly, she was demonstrating to Lucy that she was trustworthy, steadfast, and wise beyond her years.

There was a transition from lake to hot tub and both girls anxiously awaited to see if their friendship would take flight.

Pins and needles, people. Pins and needles.

Each played the "adorable" card.
Each executed the move flawlessly.

And then we had BFF lift off.

It only snowballed from there. The shear adorable-ness of it all was hard to swallow.
I mean, how cute are they?

If you were in need of a reminder that things can be right with the world, well. Here it is. Because these faces make everything better. And their hair. To die for.

Oh and chew on this face for an extra dose of cute.

Cuteness level: Ridiculous.

we have a 2% success rate here.

So, we had a little gathering in grandpa's honor on Sunday. Nothing much - just the whole family coming together. A miracle in and of itself.

I won't even try to remember when the last time was all six of us cousins were in the same room together. It used to be every holiday, birthday, and days in between, but when you grow up and move out of the "we travel in one car because we live in one house" phase, it get's hard.

Wait! No. I can answer this. I know when we were last together. Cousin Kyle's wedding in 2005. Bam. I am so good at this game. Well, I think that's right. I'm 70/30. If not, I can expect a lengthy comment from my brother with the correct answer.


Seeings how we hadn't been together as one big extended family in YEARS, Fe said this was the only time pictures at a "funeral" were acceptable. Because really, it wasn't a funeral so much as a celebratory gathering. Which is what we were going for and what we nailed.

Obviously with everyone together we decided to take a few family pictures. I mean it is once in a blue moon when my entire family is in a room together. It's an ever bluer moon when there's someone else there to take the picture.

Oh but don't worry. It went really well. So well, it deserved it's own blog post.
I hope you're picking up on my sarcasm, I'm laying it on pretty thick.

Here are the only "usable" pictures. Out of 308. 308 people. Our odds here are about as good as Kim Kardashian's marriage. Reeeeally.

Shell and Me with cousin Kyle's wife Andrea. The Girls.

The relatives: Billy (whose real name is apparently Tyler), Bryant, Uncle Randy, Aunt Shawn, Andrea, Kyle, Isabela and baby Leo. Uncle Randy is Mom's big brother.

See. Siblings.

My siblings. Minus Chuck, obviously.

If she doesn't have her fingers in her mouth, then it's not a family pic. Fingers certify authenticity.
See. It's a miracle. We can lock it up.
For about 5 minutes. I know this because how many pictures are there? 6. Again 6 out of 308. Ok. Compare that to the "unusable" pictures. The "really, this is who I'm related to" group.  The "seriously people" pictures.

In case you're curious, that would be Chuck and Eric's prom picture.

uh huh.
And that's my family.

for my grandpa.

I feel like this is going to come across a little awkward sounding, maybe a little abrupt at first, but oh well.

My grandpa died last week. We're doing OK. I promise. He was my Mom's Dad, he was my last remaining grandparent, and he was my favorite. I was his Susie-Love and that was that.

It wasn't a sudden thing, but it still was. You know how that is.

We decided that rushing a funeral or a service didn't make much sense. We'll do something simple in the fall at the graveside, but for now, instead, all the stars magically aligned to get the entire extended family together in one place. Everyone was free Sunday. This hasn't happened since 2005. Well played Grandpa. Well played.

I have about a bazillion pictures from yesterday (Susie hyperbole translation: I took 308, cut it to 130 and edited 43). I want to share them all because even though we came together because of something so sad, we celebrated him well and we had such a great day together as one big family.

I wanted to post everything tonight. Show every picture and tell every story from yesterday. But it doesn't work that way. You can't say "someone I loved died, look how funny Lucy was" in the same post. It just doesn't work. Trust me. I've been typing for about an hour now and I have no way to make this work.

So. Tomorrow and maybe Wednesday depending on how things come together tomorrow, I've got some great pictures and stories to share which I know Grandpa would've loved.

Tonight. It's the hard facts.
My grandpa died last Tuesday and I already miss him.

I'm decorating him with, I believe, raisins. I'd need a Fe confirmation on that, but it's too late to call.

He made me stilts. Actually, multiple pairs. This was our first prototype. They were bomb (.com).

only someone brave or exhausted would give their camera to a lucy.

I'll admit that I'm pretty loosey goosey with the use of my camera - I mean, who uses my camera. I'm pretty trusting. I'll let just about anyone play around with it. I know it's solid and I don't know - I just trust the people in my life. And by people, I'm mostly talking about my students, my kids. Yes, I let first graders handle my big DSLR and take pictures.

What? I trust them. And they take some pretty bomb pictures (why yes, I did just use bomb in a sentence - would you like me to use hella next?). Some of my favorite pictures have been taken by some of my favorite people.

So, about the time that we had exhausted most of our "play" options with Lucy during vacation purgatory (the hours between check out and take off), I decided that if six year olds could take pictures with my big camera, who's to say Lucy can't?

Ok, so yeah, she's two. And yeah, the kids I've let handle the camera are at least of school age, but Lucy has literally spent her entire life watching me take pictures. She's a built in intern. And lately, she's been really interested in my picture taking.

"Lemme see it." "Oh that a good one." "Oooh, that one is cute!" "Look at little Lucy!"

So, after she'd finished with the etch-a-sketch and the Magna Doodle, I handed over the DSLR. That sounds like a natural progression, right?

I gave her a pretty quick lesson. Look through the viewfinder (interesting concept when using the DSLR), press the silver button. She's now more proficient with a DSLR than most adults I know. What? That's a true statement.

This little life lesson started in the taxi.
Life from Lucy's persepective.

The Taxi.

And then she went on rapid fire for about 10 shots, but I like this one because of the little blue toes peaking in the bottom of the frame.

Finally, we made it to the airport. "Sister's crama" (that's what she calls it) had held her attention for about 10 minutes - exactly what I was hoping to buy us - in the taxi, and then, low and behold, she asked to play with the crama again in the airport.

Her world must look so different than ours. And I have to share the pictures because they are pretty priceless.

Oh and FYI, the reason she didn't take any pictures of her Mommy is because Shelley was off with her iPhone trying sort through the phone calls Lucy had placed when she'd grabbed Shell's cell a few moments before. God love a two year old and the wake they leave behind them.

Our first airport picture where I could really sit across from her and explain how to look through the viewfinder. "Can you see Sister's big mouth? Ok. Take a picture."

Taking a picture of her taking a picture. Classic.

I think she's probably the next Annie Leibovitz, but that's just me.

Oh, and the next picture. I need to be honest that I took this picture because, well. You'll see why. Basically, Lucy had an "accident" during her plane ride long nap, refused to put on her Hawaiian dress as a change of outfit and insisted that she exit the plane dressed as you'll see below.

Diaper. Flip flops. Coat.

Win. Win. Win.
(note the look of pride and obvious strut.)

the end of vacation. big fat ugh.

Today is our last morning here.

We're flying out this afternoon - I'm already a nervous wreck and trying to invent reasons to stay. I don't travel well (you know this) and, without Chuck to explain every bump, screech, and turn, I no like. But anyways, we've talked enough about my "issues".

Last night, we celebrated our girls trip by getting a little fancied up and heading to a real dinner. I say "real dinner" because with Lucy in tow, going to "real restaurants" isn't the easiest. So, usually you go to Hawaii to sample the local fair, we went to Hawaii and had Outback, McDonald's, and Round Table Pizza. Ya, so, we didn't really get the Hawaiian cuisine experience, but who cares? We had a Lu to think about.

But yesterday, we decided to give it a go.
 It was our final night, we wanted to go a little crazy. So, we threw on our matching dresses (you read that right, read it again matching dresses) and went for sushi.

Matching dresses.
Aren't we pretty fabulous?
Yes, we planned that.

The sushi restaurant was actually a great find because they put all the real patrons downstairs and all the families with little kids upstairs. It was a little wild up there, but we loved it.

Especially Lu because she could be at dinner uncensored and without apology.
And about the time she got real comfortable, she started talking about babies and how they have "poop faces".

Say, what?
We're gonna need to see what you're talking about.


This is what we got. And this is what we got for the rest of dinner. It was amazing. Poop faces. I didn't realize the two year old crowd could understand something as sophisticated as the poop face, but there you have it.

And that'll about wrap it up for our Hawaiian vacation. A few last minute pictures that, actually, Shelley requested to have posted. Sounds bueno to me.

Back to Pacific Standard Time and real life. Ugh.
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