Florida Steinhoff Christmas

It was good to be back in Florida in time to celebrate Christmas with my Florida family. We’re not big on ceremony.

Some of us gathered at Son Matt’s Christmas Eve for takeout Chinese Food, which is becoming a tradition.

Strict cooking instructions

Christmas dinner was equally unstructured. Everybody brought a different dish to share so that no one person got stuck slaving away in the kitchen. Even I got drafted. Wife Lila left me strict instructions: “I may not be back from church by 11 o’clock, so take the ham out of the oven at 11 sharp.” When the alarm went off, I went racing into the kitchen. Even with potholders, that sucker was HOT! I managed to extract it from the oven with minimal damage to ham and me. I don’t think anyone noticed where it bounced off the floor. It’s a good thing the cats don’t shed much; there was minimal cat hair to pick off.

The photo includes Matt and Sarah (standing), Mary Jo and Devon (Sarah’s parents), Carly, Graham and Adam, and Lila. Malcolm’s on the left making it plain that he wants dinner over with so he can go back to his loot. You can click on any photo to make it larger.

“You have to be eight to work on this”

Grandson Malcolm wasn’t hearing it when I looked at the cover of the Soda Can Robug and said, “We can’t work on this. It says it’s suitable for ages 8 and older. You’re just seven.”

“GRANDAD,” he said in an exasperated tone, “I’ve put together stuff that’s for ages 14 and up. My parents don’t care.”

I hope she likes my Nikon D40

Son Adam bid on a Nikon D3100 on eBay last week. I’m trying to convince them that they should take my Nikon D40 and let me pay the difference to take it off their hands. I’m happy with the D40 (I’ve taken about 30,000 pictures with it since 2008), but it would be nice to upgrade. Carly’s shooting 10-month-old Grandson Graham with the D40 to see how she likes it.

Lego Assembly technician for hire

I knew better than to point out to Malcolm that this box says 8+. He’s always had a great eye for detail. When he wasn’t much more than a year old, we gave him a bunch of paper cups to play with on the floor. When we looked over, he had carefully arranged them by size and was putting the smaller ones into the bigger ones. He made the transition from Thomas the Train and track layouts to Legos and major construction projects this year.

When one of Sarah’s friends posted on Facebook, “Does anyone else feel like they work on a Lego assembly line?” Sarah offered, “Malcolm says he charges $1 an hour to assemble Legos, unless it’s something cool. Then he does it for free.”

My old Cub Scout neckerchief

Mother sent Malcolm a special gift. He’s modeling a Cub Scout neckerchief and slide that Brothers Mark and David and I wore when we were Cub Scouts with Pack 8, shortly after the earth’s crust cooled. She asked him to “take care of it and pass it down to Graham” when he’s done with it.

Credit where credit’s due

I took the group shot at the top of the page, but Wife Lila took all the rest of the photos with her trusty iPhone.

Thanksgiving 2011

Family was my Number One Thing to be Thankful for in 2010, and it tops the list again in 2011.

The Steinhoff Family from Florida, Missouri, Colorado and Oklahoma managed to make it back to Cape to celebrate Mother’s 90s Birthday Season. Son Matt shot this group photo. (Click on any image to make it larger.)

He had everything set up earlier in the morning to do the photo in the back yard, but the sun moved and the shadows were bad. He shuffled us over to the side yard where the light was better, but still spotty. He worked fast, mainly because so many of his subjects were young and prone to crankiness and because so many of his subjects were old and he didn’t know how many takes he’d have left.

Matt’s last perfect family portrait

He took much longer to shoot this one of the Florida branch on Easter Sunday 2009. In fact the video I recorded of him arranging everyone, running to get into the photo before the self-timer tripped, checking the camera display, yelling at various of us for minor infractions, then redoing it time and time again, runs 7:46, something that a couple of commenters have complained about. They didn’t get it: it was SUPPOSED to be long. That’s why it’s titled¬†How to Shoot a Family Portrait (In the Real World).

Here’s where you go to see still photos of the extravaganza and / or subject yourself to a 7:46 min video.

They’re both iPad proficient

I’m thankful that my grandsons have had a change to meet and get to know their Great-Grandmother. Malcolm gets to see his great-grandmother only once or twice a year, but they’re close enough that she can kibitz his computer game. There’s not that big a gap between 90 and seven, I suppose, when you both know how to use iPads. Malcolm is Matt and Sarah’s son.

Graham – the newest addition

Mother journeyed to Florida shortly after Graham was born in February (remember our Road Trip back). Graham doesn’t know a stranger. I have a snippet of video right after this still shot was taken that shows him breaking out in a huge grin and reaching for her.

Both of my sons keep in regular contact with their grandmother by phone calls and email. Even though they didn’t grow up in Cape, they feel the same attraction to the area that I do. Graham belongs to Adam and Carly.

Missing from the photo, but not forgotten

Even though Matt wasn’t much older than this when Dad died in 1977 – and Adam hadn’t even been born yet – both boys have heard so many stories and memories that it’s almost like they grew up with him.

Dad may not be in the photograph at the top of the page, but he’s still in the picture for us.