2011 Birthday Season Day 1

This is Mother’s 90th Birthday Season. David, Diane and Amy Steinhoff came in from Tulsa; Kim Steinhoff-Tidsale and daughters Brynn and Taylor came in from Denver (Casey is due Saturday); Wife Lila and I arrived from WPB (she flew; I drove); Adam, Carly and Graham Steinhoff flew in from West Palm Beach; Matt, Sarah and Malcolm drove up from Palm Beach Gardens. Mark is coming in from St. Louis Saturday.

This is the biggest gathering of Steinhoffs ever. We can no longer hold a family reunion in a phone booth.

Mother had hair appointment

We knew Mother had a hair appointment at 10, so I was given the task of putting out the word as soon as she left the driveway. Within minutes, the whole clan camped out on the porch to surprise her. We waited and waited and waited. Someone suggested that we REALLY surprise her by leaving a message saying that we had all decided to go to lunch. (We carefully noted the name of that person for when it comes time to update the will.)

When the honoree finally arrived, there was much hugging and a few wet eyes. Most of that action was captured in a video for later editing. With the surprise out of the way, there was a general agreement that we were hungry.

A motion to head to Wib’s BBQ in Jackson was made and passed. We took over the joint.

Friendly waitress grabbed camera

A friendly waitress offered to take a photo so I could be in at least one picture. I checked out how close she was to the nearest exit and tried to remember if I had ever stiffed her for a tip, then decided to relinquish my Nikon. She did a pretty good job.

We’re a wired family

Carly and Matt stay connected with the world while Graham exhibits his excitement.

Don’t want to miss anyone

This shot of Amy, Adam, Sarah and the back of Diane’s head insures that everyone is in at least one photo. I want to make sure NOT to offend anyone who might be picking out my Old Folks’ Home in the future.

The fellow in the cap in the background was not part of our gathering.

Missouri Conservation Center great for kids

We decided the kids needed to burn off some energy, so we headed to North County Park, figuring we’d hit the playground.

I suggested we spend a few minutes in the Missouri Conservation Center. The kids and adults loved it.

Malcolm liked building things out of blocks made from tree branches. Then, he and the girls and David were fascinated by a live bee hive with bees flying in and of the hive through a transparent tube in the wall. Malcolm spent 20 minutes trying to spot the queen. David was curious about how long a honey bee lived. (About six weeks per Matt’s Googling.) Since we had seen bees flying around in the butterfly garden out front, Malcolm was able to really made the connection between flowers, bees and honey.

David’s hidden talents

Right next to the block area was a small puppet stage. David started pulling out animal puppets and coming up with an elaborate story about who they were and how they interacted, ending up with a tale about a skunk.

When he finished to a standing ovation (actually, everybody wanted to see another exhibit, so they stood up to leave), I looked behind the stage to see if he had been reading from a script. I am proud to report that he was ad libbing.

Audience was rapt and appreciative

You can tell from the expressions that he did a great job.

We’ll more than likely report on other events. By Sunday, folks will be catching planes and scattering back to their homes.

We’re going to make an effort to get together like this more often. After all, we’d all come together for a funeral. Why not celebrate living instead?