The Cude family (my lineage anyway) has probably never been accused of being a tightly knit group. Maybe it's the military background and the somewhat nomadic life that goes along with it, but whatever the reason it's a big deal if/when we gather together as an extended family. So it was in October of 2003 that my dad, whom I hadn't seen in at least three years prior to that, gave us a great surprise by calling up out of the blue and asking if he could come over for dinner. Assuming he was kidding, I jokingly said sure, and he promptly asked for directions from the Krispy Kreme in Dothan to my house. True to his word, he showed up not 30 minutes later. He was only able to spend a few days with us but it was nice to have him. The picture with me holding Briggs and my Dad standing behind us is a rare pic of three generations of our Cudes. It had probably been a long time since he fed a baby and that was the first time he had seen his first grandson. As is our Cude way, we haven't been able to get together since. It's mostly my fault for having been so busy since then and for having used my vacation for stays in Alabama for the past 5 years. I promised him we'll be coming out there next year since Max will be at a decent travel age by then and I'll be able to plan the trip, let's hope I'm blogging about that trip a year from now. He's never seen Max and Briggs has always been curious about Texas and where I grew up. Let's just say my dad had better not get rid of the horses, cows, chickens, ducks, cats, dog, llama, ostrich, and whatever other critters he's had; and he'd better make sure we have access to some stocked fishing tanks or else there's gonna be one disappointed little boy :-). The last couple of pics are from Briggs' first birthday a couple of months later. It was one of Leslie's best looking cakes and we were so blessed to have so many friends from work, church, and family to be there. The one of Leslie and Briggs blowing out the candles is one of my all time favorites.