My Dad turned 72, and we had a big family party. We were actually celebrating birthday's for five family members at the same time! We had a potluck at my folk's house, where we usually gather for these things.
I'm so thankful for my big family, and for all the love that fills the room. The cousins enjoy each other so much, even with an age difference from 5 weeks to 15 yrs. I always get a kick out of how excited they are to see each other, even if its only been a day since they were last hanging out!
Dad loved the circle scrapbook I made for him, called "Just Like Poppa", where I listed the qualities he shares with each of his grandchildren. I put a picture of each grandchild, along with the way they are "just like Poppa". It was a fun project.
I didn't really mean to make him cry, but he is such a sweet soft-hearted guy, with a tough-guy exterior. I love that about him.
My Dad is a very special man, and the hero every little girl needs. He has always been my hero, and always will be. He isn't just good to me, he is there for me in every big and small way, from helping me go get hay for my horses, to coming over to help with things when Michael is gone, to babysitting, to running errands, to giving me advice, and the list goes on. He has to be extra stubborn, but he gets through to me! I have so much respect for his wisdom and experience.
We go mushroom hunting together every spring, and tree hunting every december! We share a love of fishing too. He still builds race cars, and races them too! I go to his races, and scream "Go Daddy GO!" from the stands. I'm so proud of him, he is just one of those "cool" guys even at this age. Everyone I know has deep respect for him, and not just for his accomplishments, but for the honest and kind man that he is to everyone. He has so many friends, I cannot keep track at all!
He is never predictable, he surprises us all the time. From winning a boat in a pool game with a buddy (yeah, took us days to really believe him, then he brought the boat home!) to challenging the grandkids to a handstand contest (and Dad won!) to climbing straight up a banana tree to grab some bananas. He has no idea of age. He still climbs mountains after the biggest sheep, still skippers a halibut boat (just bought a new one) and has so many projects planned for the future he better live to be over a hundred.
Last summer I rode on the back of his four-wheeler, with him driving, for forty miles up into the mountains of Denali Park! It was grand fun, and I felt so safe, like a little girl being carefully protected by her Daddy. He is a wild driver, but he's just so good at everything he does, (and is the best driver I know!) that as we splashed through rivers and careened along the cliffs, I just smiled and laughed and felt joy at the adventure of it all. He was having so much fun, I could see the corners of his mouth turn up in a forty mile smile!
Here are a just a few more of my favorite pictures of Dad: