Uncle Santa’s Project

Raw Materials Arrive

  Raw Materials Arrive

Our youngest son, Andrew, came to visit us from Guam for the holiday season. While showing him our backyard, I asked if he would have time to build some swings for his younger nieces and nephews while he was here. It could be his Christmas present, I said–we would pay for the materials if he would design and build it. As a carpenter, Andrew loves designing things and before I knew it, the idea of a simple swing set had morphed into a more complex design. Soon lumber descended from a truck to our driveway and with the addition of some tools borrowed from friends, he began the project. He planned to build something special for those kids he rarely sees but always holds in his heart.

Bigger than I Expected!

Bigger than I Expected!

Within a day or two, cement footings had been prepared and the uprights were in process. It occurred to me that the project was taking on a grander scale than I expected–and also that it was remarkably visible from my living room window. I hadn’t imagined a firepole or a climbing wall, either, but they’re very cool. My husband got into the project, too, since Andrew doesn’t like to paint but he does. Andrew battled some difficulties with the altitude–he lives at sea level and we live at 5,000+ feet–so workdays were sometimes rather short, but the project kept growing, just the same. My sole contribution seemed to be worrying aloud that there weren’t enough safety rails!

Color is Added

Color is Added

We’d hoped to install some sort of fence between the lawn portion of our backyard and the garden/orchard portion, but this project neatly eliminated the necessity for that barrier–the playground establishes the division pretty well.Uncle Santa Adds Swings

Tomorrow night some of the recipients of this amazing gift from “Uncle Santa” will arrive from Colorado. Even the most enthusiastic gift-wrapper would quail at the size of this project, but we do plan to wrap a bit of tinself and a gift tag around a few of the rails for the children. The playground made a lot of work for Andrew–and after all, he’s here on vacation. But it should form a tangible reminder that the children have an uncle who may live on the other side of the globe, but who still loves them very much. It’ll be a Christmas they’ll remember–hopefully not because they fell off and broke an arm or leg (concluding note from Nervous Grandma). Hope your Christmas is safe and memorable, too!

Finished in time for Christmas!

Finished in time for Christmas!

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9 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Ben Boedecker on December 21, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    All I can say is that the playground looks awesome! Good job Andrew!

    Reply

  2. Posted by Jeff Johnson on December 21, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    As usual, wonderful! J.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Karen Hager Ombrello on December 21, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    Can I come and play in your backyard?

    WOW! What a wonderful design and craftmanship, Andrew.
    Someday we hope to meet the Johnson ” kids!” …….
    …This will be a memorable first Christmas for all of you together in Az.
    Christmas blessings to you all, with love.
    Karen & Jim Ombrello

    Reply

  4. Ben, good to hear from you, as always. Yes, Karen, you can come and play next time–and by the way, I hope a next time is being planned soon. Will you be coming to AZ again this year? Thanks, Jeff–your paint job on the project really “makes” it.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Sandi Dutton on December 24, 2012 at 6:51 am

    Blessings on the whole Johnson family! Amazing “swing set” Andrew – so glad you could see your family this Christmas season. Our family had our family Christmas at Lisa and Ron’s on Saturday. Seven grandkids 15 to 25. David flew in from TN and Lesli came from Iowa plus Bob and me – a house full of fun, laughter and great food! It was an awesome day of creating memories. Love to all of you – and hugs too.

    Reply

  6. Sandi–Sure thinking of you with your upcoming surgery and your birthday coming up tomorrow.Liz and family are here now; Matt and Joe and their families will be here for our anniversary on Dec. 29–our 40th. Let’s talk after Christmas, can we? Love you. Mary

    Reply

  7. Posted by Jennifer Kuczora on December 29, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    I’m a little behind, but WOW! I think Andrew outdid himself! I’ll bet the grandkids loved playing on it and trust no one broke any bones!

    Reply

    • No bones broken so far (can a Christian knock on wood?) and they do love it. Unfortunately, they are not inclined to play outside too much in the cold, but we have high hopes for summer use. Happy New Year!

      Reply

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