Last Tuesday, we talked about laughing and having fun and playing games. I mentioned that I would be seeing my family during the holiday weekend, which I did do. It was a blast. My daughter and her family were there, and we had a big 1st birthday party for my youngest grandson, Connor.

And at the last minute, my son popped in, after telling us he would be out of town. It was quite the surprise! 

Connor Cake

We had a great time catching up and playing with the kids. My daughter and I did our usual shopping trip and commented that we probably spend half our lives together in the grocery store. But the party came together and it was all worth it.

Besides my son, his girlfriend, and my parents, my godson’s family came as well. His mother, Lisa, and I have 7 children between us…and now 8 grandchildren between us. And three of our kids haven’t even had kids yet! So Saturday, we had 6 kids under the age of 6 in the room. It was crazy! 

One of my favorite pictures from the day is of Lisa’s mom having a very serious conversation with my granddaughter, Cambrie. Cambrie is full of questions so there is no telling what she was saying. But Pat listened and answered and Cambrie has made a new friend.


My mom loves to take pictures too and the she’s always telling us to bunch up together so she can take our picture. This time she told us to be silly in the picture and some of us complied while some of us didn’t.


This picture shows my godson’s sister, Regina, with her boyfriend, Anthony. Then I am between Anthony and my son-in-law, Daniel, who is next to my daughter Rachel. The picture also shows how we expand our family to welcome each new member…whether it’s a new baby or a new boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse.

Of course, we had to play some games. My parents taught us a new game, Qwirkle, which is kind of a cross between Rummikub and Dominioes. We played three games and it quickly dissolved into who could yell Qwirkle the loudest! Three different winners, but I’m not going to tell you who since I wasn’t one of them. Competitive much?

And then this happened…


Anytime a toddler is too quiet, you should be suspicious. This is the handiwork of a nearly-3-year-old and my lipstick, lipgloss, and chapstick. The walls looked worse. But after our shock at finding her and seeing the walls, honestly, all we could do was laugh. I mean look at that face! How could you not laugh?

The testimony is this: walls don’t matter. Lipstick washes off…eventually, and with a lot of magic erasers and elbow grease. There were several ways we could have responded. Ways that could have hurt feelings and damaged relationships. Instead, we all pitched in together to clean up the girl and the walls and we all had a big laugh. Cambrie isn’t laughing yet but she will one day when this episode and picture become part of our family lore.

Because that’s the part that really matters.

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Holly Barrett

Throwing caution to the wind
Let us encourage one another