Yesterday, allegedly, Ashley gave birth to my new niece, Paisley Laura Bartholomew. Purportedly, they are all doing well. However, since they are in – shall we say – a somewhat rural (pastoral? – no – bucolic) part of Kansas, they get cell phone reception and can send text messages, but picture messages are undeliverable from that area. You see, there are particular service gaps that I like to call “cellular grain voids,” where the corn, being as high as an elephant’s eye, hinders the sending and receiving of images. It’s all very scientific. So, at this point, they might just be FAKING this whole baby birth thing. For one thing, there are conflicting descriptions concerning Paisley’s vital statistics. My Mom reported, “Eight pounds, thirteen ounces, twenty-one inches, full/pouty lips and lots of dark hair.” She also said the Paisley was “soooo beautiful” and a number of analogous sentiments. Charles sent a text message that said simply:

“Eight pounds thirteen ounces. Twenty two inches. Nine tentacles, one laser beam.”

Normally, since they don’t live too far from several larger cities, every once in a while, I get a little batch of pictures from Charles and Ashley while they have access to the cell network in its entirety. Ashley has sent cute pictures of wee infant wares (like, “Which stroller should we buy?”) and such. Charles has sent pictures of animals, mostly (occasionally an awfully cute shot of Ashley’s formerly pregnant belly). Here are three such pictures:
The caption said, 'Hissing, flying cockroach... tasty'
Charles said, 'What i would look like as a rat'
This is evidently a 'Big friendly cockroach'

One may ask why I chose to post such admittedly creepy pictures when discussing such an auspicious occasion. My reasoning is that since we haven’t any pictures of the damn baby, I will simply have to show what she does NOT look like (in all probability).