Sunday, September 30

Another Wacky Weekend!

We headed back to see Granny Janny and Rick this weekend for many reasons (we'll get to those in a minute). Here, Granny's friend Betsy makes pancakes at the pancake feed put on by Granny's Kiwanis Club. It was a hit! Betsy enjoyed seeing Jack too.
Here, Granny serves a couple. I later learned that the couple here, Dennis and Janis Kisker, are the parents of one of Amy's classmates, Kurt! Didn't know that when I took the pic, so it was very coincidental! Plus, Kurt's wife, Lynette was in Daddy's catechism class in Trenton (many years ago, mind you).
So many fields, so little time! Jack really loved the tractor show at the pancake feed. Dad let him 'drive' several of the tractors! (And don't worry; I had ahold of him the entire time. You know me...)
Can't seem to get these gears right...
Not many tractor operators wear fancy Huskers jumpsuits like this on the job!
What are we going to go tractor now, Mom?
What a great farmer!

Bein' patriotic with Granny at the big Heritage Days parade. Jack was celebrating his Czech, German, Polish, Swedish and American heritage--among a lot of others (we're mutts, us Vrbi).
One of the reasons we went back was for a surprise birthday party for Granny Janny's Rick. His Uncle Marv and Aunt Dixie were the honor family for the weekend's festivities, so that was an added bonus. We went to a celebration for them on Friday night and then saw them in the parade. And, as another bonus, Dixie graduated high school with Jack's Great-Grandma Elaine!
This dog was really enjoying the parade from his perch in the window above D & D Floral. Funny stuff. He was up there through the whole parade.
Peyton, Uncle Joe and Aunt Sarah joined us at the parade, which was quite fun.
Jack just chilling by the curb.

Peyton and Jack enjoy the (windy) parade atmosphere. Jack missed his morning nap for the parade--hence the binky. It was a sacrifice he was willing to make!
Walking back to the car after the parade with Rick and Granny Janny.
Chillin' with Rick at H&R Block after the parade. We love this picture.
Jack ran right over to Rick's aunt Sue and sat on her lap briefly. We were at her house trying to cover for Rick's surprise 50th Birthday party that night in Herndon. He was definitely surprised!
I think we've proven that Jack and Rick were buddies all weekend, but just in case... Rick, at this point, still had no idea he was in for a party that night. He just invited us to have dinner with his mom and dad and thought we just took him up on it!

At the party, we got to meet Rick's brother's puppy, Pebbles. He was soft...
Sunday morning, Jack was hiding Granny's shoes under the waterbed mattress.
Playing on Granny's very soft Alpaca rug that Mommy and Daddy got for her after their wedding four years ago.
Helping Rick dismantle Granny Janny's old waterbed to make room for a new mattress bed.
Before leaving Grandma's, Jack had to play with the kitty, Hugh. The cat did not like that experience as much as Jack did. Good thing he's declawed...

Monday, September 24

A Day At The Park

Jack absolutely loves slides. They're zippy! My hair was a mess from the wind, but Jack appreciated me braving public scorn!
What a fun park!
Whatcha guys doin'?
On a mission to find another slide. (There were 8 of them!)
I scared Mommy and Daddy a lot with my unbridled bravery!
Getting the courage to go it alone...
What a great day!

Thursday, September 20

15 Month Photos

Jack had his 15-month photos taken last week and they turned out pretty good we think.

You're invited to see the gallery online at

When you get to that page, choose "Jack-15 Months" in the dropdown box and press "Click Here To View Your Gallery". Enter the password "jack" and you'll be able to see the photos she took.

He was kind of in a bad mood that day all the way up until we took the photos, then he was showing off for the camera! You can also order from the site if you wish to have photos for yourself!

Let us know which photo numbers are your faves! I think in the last one he looks a lot like his Uncle Dan!

The Management

Sunday, September 16

Pumpkin Patch

Well, I may not have been out in my garden as much as I would have liked this summer, but the pumpkins sure didn't seem to mind!
When I planted these pumpkins, I actually envisioned Jack out there playing in them. What fun!
See what my dad grew, y'all?
This one should make a great jack o' lantern, Dad!

Sleeping Peacefully

Saturday, September 15

Helping Out

I was emptying out the dishwasher this morning and turned away for a minute.
Looking for something?
Hamming it up...

Friday, September 14

Dave Ja Vu Anew

Define Your Own Heaven

As most of you know, Jack and I spent some time in my hometown last weekend, enjoying a first-ever birthday party for my youngest nephew--okay, my youngest nephew so far. He ushered in his second year of life in style and is obviously on the Jack Parker Birthday Diet since he played with his personalized b-day cake but didn't let it cross his lips.

I heard him telling his cousins later that he doesn't 'do carbs'. Kids these days...

Later on, I put Jack to bed in his comfy jammers and tucked him in with his favorite fuzzy blankie at great-grandma's house. Then I joined some folks for another birthday party, this one for an elderly woman. I believe at last count she was 87 or so, but you know those near-centenarians, always fudging on the count. (Gotcha again, Lisa!)

We sat around as most adults do, swigging things out of bottles and discussing at great length the course of the universe in general. After a couple hours of that, a friend of mine made a comment that I've been pondering ever since.

"I've been doing a lot of Bible study lately," she said (which in my younger, more immature days would have made my eyes roll violently into the back of my head). "During one of our studies recently, we discussed Heaven and the fact that our spouses aren't our spouses in Heaven. Our kids aren't even our kids in Heaven."

This thought really bugged her, she confessed, and you can imagine how that went over in my mind--much like gas passed in church. (It lingered.)

MY wife won't be my wife in heaven? MY kid won't be my kid either?
That conversation was great though, because it got me thinking about things.

And I guess it kind of makes sense. We don't actually own people here on Earth. They're ours for this life and this brief life only, so we'd better make the most of our time with them. And of course, our time on Earth is a test. The way we treat our peeps will determine whether we "fly the friendly skies" in the after-life.

And Pastor Dave is done with the sermon, folks. Leave a tithing through PayPal.

Now, I'm no Bible scholar, and I refuse to look this up because I'm just too busy and/or lazy, but I have my own idea of Heaven--as I'm sure many of us do. And I'll find out it's wrong later, which is okay because at that point it won't matter, will it?

Here's a small cross-section of my personal Heaven:

For one, Heaven's grand table--situated in the center of an exact replica of the perennial garden in Stolley Park--will be a smorgasbord of delicious carb-heavy foods. I will spend my days eating brownies, Blizzards, and brownie batter Blizzards between meals consisting mostly of McDonald's Fries, buffalo wings, pizza and pretty much anything from Mac's Drive Inn.

Actually, come to think of it, I'm not fully convinced Mac's Drive Inn isn't a division of Heaven.

Another positive about the perpetual food fest is that I will always be the same size I was at 25 (29-inch waist, 163 pounds) no matter how many hours I spend shoving shrimp into my gullet at the grand table. Yes, in Heaven, I actually like shrimp. The Lord works in mysterious ways.

And I'll have great hair.

On the grand table in Heaven, the soda and ice cream will always be cold, the food warm but not too hot, and the lettuce won't ever be clumpy. Who am I kidding? There's no lettuce in Heaven. Well maybe there is, but only on tacos.

A few feet away from this grand table I speak of--where all my family members from all sides enjoy each other's company and the ongoing feast and no one forgets to save me a deviled egg or two--is a giant volleyball court where the action is always competitive and quick and I can actually block and I'm ALWAYS the best player on the court. Which isn't much different from now, I guess.

(And that, my friends, is what we call a delusion of grandeur--something completely unnecessary in the great sports arena in the clouds. Which should come as a relief to Deon Sanders I'm sure.)

As I play volleyball on this court and take brief breaks for Mountain Dew (none of this diet stuff--and yes, I just glared at the Diet Dew can on my desk) and Bugles with Easy Cheese, my elbow doesn't feel like it's being ripped in half every time I pass or hit the ball and the floor is made of a new substance not yet invented on Earth that feels like falling into a bed of leaves when you dive but incredibly solid when taking flight.

And my hair looks great the whole game through.

As I mentioned, my family is all there, but we're all young and tan and forgiving of each other's faults since we have none. In fact, we all look, feel and smell like we did at the peak of our youthful beauty and innocence, only better.

My kids will be my kids and my wife will most definitely be my wife, and we will spend our days together in a state of bliss unbeknownst to Earthly beings. And in Heaven, I won't ever forget to take the trash out to the curb on Fridays because there won't be days of the week to worry about and most definitely no trash. And there will never be a toilet seat to fight about ever again.

And every day will be as exciting as the day Amy and I exchanged vows surrounded by friends and family--but without the asinine pastor trying his hardest to ruin it by saying things like 'why buy the cow?' during our counseling sessions. 'Nother story.

And our children, our wonderful children, will have their parents' undivided attention at all times because there are no distractions or obligations--except to enjoy the company of each other. And diapers will be obsolete, praise the Lord.

Of course, in H-Land, no one ever fights about what to watch on the telly either because there isn't one to be found.

There's no country music either because there's no heartache, divorce or NASCAR, but the Dixie Chicks and Johnny Cash often put on impromptu concerts together for us as we eat. Dwight Yoakam stops by for a while to play, but my sister politely arranges another venue for him and puts his greatest hits on an i-Pod for me to listen to...on my own. I'm satisfied.

In Heaven, I will be able to forget about that horrible computer-generated Celine Dion/Elvis 'duet' from "American Idol" this year and the fact that Taylor Hicks ever even made it onto the show, let alone managed to win the whole dang thing. I will also forget about the two hours I spent watching "Catwoman" on DVD and no one will remember the story about how I tried to put motor oil into my car's engine via the dipstick. (It worked...just quite time consuming.)

My house in Heaven will be only a sizeable comfy bedroom, since most of my time will be spent sitting in the shade in an oversized lawn recliner with a cool breeze gently tousling my gorgeous hair as I read Mitch Albom and Mark Haddon novels. We won't need all the other rooms of the house, especially the bathroom since no one pees or poos.

And no one, I repeat no one, EVER says the word 'pertz'.

No one has to drive there, so there are no expensive vehicles in Heaven nor do they worry about retirement planning and bills and money and insurance because there's no one to try to impress anymore. In fact, we won't ever have to work either. Kind of like Paris Hilton, but with moral fiber.

And better hair.

Speaking of cash, Susan will find the winning Powerball ticket in her pocket but it won't matter anyway. The grandparents will have plenty of chocolate and the kids more toys than they know what to do with. They'll ignore the toys and play with boxes and sticks. That won't change.

I'll be greeted in Heaven by Grandpas Pink and Don and my niece Maya, who'll all be the same age. They'll tease me about the condition of the inside of my car and the fact that I just recently figured out the concept of the pivot irrigation system.

Heaven to me will be very much like Earth--only far more simple and with less 'stuff' to complicate things. It's kind of like the theme song to "The Facts of Life" I think. Sing it if you know it: "You take the good, you take the bad, you take 'em both and there you have...The Facts of Life."

Only in Heaven, it'll be more like: "You take the good, you take a nap. You scarf a snack and there you have...Eternal Life."

I could go on and on as I normally do, but I think I've proven my point. I hope my time in Heaven will be spent with those I love both here and there, and experiencing that love on a whole new level. Living simply, as we're told to do here on Earth.

If I'm wrong, I'm wrong.

One thing's for sure: I will not be disappointed.

Tell me what your own idea is of Heaven and what I've missed in the Comments.

Wednesday, September 12

Bein' Jack

This photo frightens and delights me all at once.
He doesn't make that face EVER, but I sure caught a weird look on his mug, huh?
Wearing his pants on his head.
The other night we were playing on the floor and Jackles crawled into his little toy storage tote. It was quite funny and he liked it even more when we pulled him around the floor on it!
What a goof...

Tuesday, September 11

Little Husker Fan

Jack finally fit into the Husker sweatsuit Uncle Dan and Amber bought for him. And just in time for volleyball (and football, yadda yadda) season!
Jack's got spirit, yes he does-y,
Jack's got spirit, his head is fuzz-y!

Monday, September 10

Popular Jacks Through The Ages

Jack Parker
Cuteness Level: 10
Fun Factor: 10
Sweetness Quotient: 10
Huggability Level: 10
Smartness Score: 10
Total Score: A perfect 50

Highway Jack Knife

Cuteness Level: 0 (not at all cute actually, unless you're a lawyer)
Fun Factor: 10 -depending on how you look at it...
Sweetness Quotient: 0
Huggability Level: 0 (if you count hugging the ground afterward, then I'll give it a 1)
Smartness Score: 0
Total Score: 10

Jack Daniels Sour Mash Tennessee Whiskey
Cuteness Level: 0 (have you ever seen someone after they've drunk this junk?)
Fun Factor: 10
Sweetness Quotient: 3 (refer to cuteness level)
Huggability Level: 11 (yeah, 10 just doesn't do it justice)
Smartness Score: -10
Total Score: 14

Jack Bauer, Fox's "24"
Cuteness Level: 4 tops
Fun Factor: 10 (he does have some pretty wild times)
Sweetness Quotient: 0 (Kiefer Sutherland is neither sweet nor huggable)
Huggability Level: 0 (see above)
Smartness Score: 10 (he's a genius)
Total Score: 24 (coincidence?)

Jack White of The White Stripes
Cuteness Level: 1 (unless you're into Creepy McCreepersons)
Fun Factor: 10 (his music is good)
Sweetness Quotient: 3 (kinda lame personality)
Huggability Level: 2 (go ahead! I'm not gonna!)
Smartness Score: 10
Total Score: 26

Jack In The Box

Cuteness Level: 4 (unless you're turning the lever, then it's -4)
Fun Factor: 6 at very best
Sweetness Quotient: 1 (kinda mean really)
Huggability Level: 0
Smartness Score: 7
Total Score: 18

Captain Jack Sparrow

Cuteness Level: 10 (not according to me; I'd give him a .5)
Fun Factor: 10
Sweetness Quotient: 5
Huggability Level: -3
Smartness Score: -6

Total Score: 16

Jack Of Diamonds

Cuteness Level: 0
Fun Factor: 10 (Slap Jack is fun!)
Sweetness Quotient: 0
Huggability Level: 0
Smartness Score: 10 (depending on whether you play it or someone else does)
Total Score: 20

Jack Sprat
Cuteness Level: 0
Fun Factor: 0
Sweetness Quotient: 10 (he and his wife obvs. have an agreement on what to eat...)
Huggability Level: 2 (ehhh...)
Smartness Score: 1 (if he were avoiding carbs, I'd give him another point)
Total Score: 13

Jack And The Beanstalk

Cuteness Level: 6
Fun Factor: 10 (what a magical adventure!)
Sweetness Quotient: 10
Huggability Level: 7
Smartness Score: 0 (The kid trades a cow for magic beans then climbs a beanstalk into the clouds. Idiot!)
Total Score: 33

Airplane Hi-Jack
Cuteness Level: 0
Fun Factor: 0
Sweetness Quotient: 0
Huggability Level: 0
Smartness Score: 0
Total Score: 0 (self explanatory really)

Jack From "Lost"

Cuteness Level: 10
Fun Factor: 0 (stranded on a creepy island; not fun!)
Sweetness Quotient: 10 (pretty nice guy overall)
Huggability Level: 10 (seems huggable from what we've seen so far!)
Smartness Score: 10 (he's a doctor)
Total Score: 40 (pretty good)

Jack from the game jacks
Cuteness Level: 0 (kinda jagged)
Fun Factor: 8
Sweetness Quotient: 0
Huggability Level: 0 (ouch)
Smartness Score: 10 (you do have to have talent to pick them up)
Total Score: 18
Jack Be Nimble
Cuteness Level: 4
Fun Factor: 7 (deducting three points for level of difficulty)
Sweetness Quotient: unknown, estimated at 3
Huggability Level: that outfit puts him at 2
Smartness Score: 3 (how are you going to get noticed by jumping over a candlestick?)
Total Score: 19

Jack Skellington
Cuteness Level: 2
Fun Factor: 10 (that movie was fun)
Sweetness Quotient: 6
Huggability Level: Yikes!
Smartness Score: 6
Total Score: 24
Jack McFarland
Cuteness Level: 6 (and funny as heck)
Fun Factor: 10
Sweetness Quotient: 4 (kind of a self-centered jerk)
Huggability Level: 8 (seems huggable)
Smartness Score: 2.1
Total Score: 30.1
Jack A Lope
Cuteness Level: 2 (it's the antlers)
Fun Factor: 8
Sweetness Quotient: 7 (looks kinda Evil McPsycho)
Huggability Level: 2 (those antlers would hurt)

Smartness Score: 7
Total Score: 22

Jack Black
Cuteness Level: 4
Fun Factor: 15
Sweetness Quotient: 9
Huggability Level: 6
Smartness Score: 5 (he would have been at a 10 without "Nacho Libre"
Total Score: 39

Jack Frost

Cuteness Level: 2
Fun Factor: 10 (snow angels, sledding, ice!)
Sweetness Quotient: 4
Huggability Level: 0 ( frigid as Ann Coulter)
Smartness Score: unknown
Total Score: 16

Jill's Brother Jack
Cuteness Level: 6 (I love coloring!)
Fun Factor: 0
Sweetness Quotient: 10 (going up the hill to fetch water? atta boy!)
Huggability Level: 5
Smartness Score: 0 ('specially AFTER he broke his crown!)

Total Score: 21

Jack Lemmon
Cuteness Level: 8 (especially since Walter Matthau is a -8)
Fun Factor: 8

Sweetness Quotient: 0 (going by "Grumpy Old Men" alone obvs.)
Huggability Level: 8
Smartness Score: 9

Total Score: 33

Jack O' Lantern
Cuteness Level: 10
Fun Factor: 10
Sweetness Quotient: 10 (when made into pumpkin pie of course)
Huggability Level: 0 (who hugs pumpkins?)
Smartness Score: 0 (no brains)
Total Score: 30

Jack Russell Terrier
Cuteness Level: 9
Fun Factor: 9
Sweetness Quotient: 10
Huggability Level: 9
Smartness Score: 10
Total Score: 47 (so close!)

"Jumpin' Jack Flash"
Cuteness Level: 2
Fun Factor: 10 (good music)
Sweetness Quotient: 2
Huggability Level: uh...can you say Keith Richards?...1
Smartness Score: 10 (not deducting for years of drug abuse obviously)
Total Score: 25Jack Kennedy (JFK)
Cuteness Level: 10
Fun Factor: 8 (he worked an awful lot)
Sweetness Quotient: 0 (cheated on Jackie with Marilyn)
Huggability Level: 10
Smartness Score: 10 (very smart man)
Total Score: 38

Scissors Jack
Cuteness Level: 0
Fun Factor: 0
Sweetness Quotient: 0
Huggability Level: 0
Smartness Score: 10 (quite handy)
Total Score: 10
Union Jack

Cuteness Level: 3
Fun Factor: 7 (Brits do have fun!)
Sweetness Quotient: 6
Huggability Level: 10
Smartness Score: 10 (I'm overcompensating them for the accents, aren't I?)
Total Score: 36

Jack Nicholson
Cuteness Level: 3 (eek); -3 in this picture
Fun Factor: 10 (Jack is a fun actor)
Sweetness Quotient: 5 (have you seen "The Shining?"
Huggability Level: 7 (ewww...)
Smartness Score: 10
Total Score: 29 at best

"Hit The Road Jack"

Cuteness Level: 8 (cute song)
Fun Factor: 10 (quite swinging actually)
Sweetness Quotient: 2 (kinda mean song really)
Huggability Level: 1 ("dontcha come back no more?" so rude!)
Smartness Score: 10
Total Score: 31

So, I think we've presented overwhelming evidence here that our Jack is the best Jack ever!