Thursday, September 29, 2011

Monkey Business!

Amanda and the kids were out last weekend and made "monkey cupcakes". It was fun, chocolately mess.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


We had lots of fall fun this weekend. A little bit of water (1 and 1/2 cups), 1 teaspoon of Borax and 4 ounces of glue combine to make. . . slime, also known as goop or flubber. We couldn't decide on the color, so each grand put in 2 colors and this is what we ended up with. I broke out the Halloween shirts (clearance from last year) and we purchased a big pumpkin to reside on the oak tree stump. All in all it was a great weekend. The weather was fine and so was the company!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Grandparents Day

I was honored to be invited to the 1st graders Grandparents Day at Maddie's school. After a rather unusual breakfast of sausage pizza, applesauce and milk, we visited the book fair. Maddison selected 2 books for herself (one about dolphins, one about ponys) and a book for her brother. Each teacher had a "wish" list of books they would like to have for their classroom. We picked out "The Interrupting Chicken". This is a great new book that I would recommend to anyone with young children. Maddison presented the book to her teacher, Miss Johnson (is it my imagination, or are teachers getting younger every year?) Last year I blogged about Maddison letting me hold her hand at school. I wondered how long that would last. Fortunately, she led me through the school halls holding my hand again this year. I remember well when my kids no longer wanted to be seen holding their mom's hand. A sad day, but of course a normal part of development. I am going cherish all the hand holding moments I have with Maddie and Mason. I hope there will be many, many more!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Chouwda and Lobster Rolls!

Our first stop in Mass. was in Plymouth. We arrived at the visitor's center and struck up a conversation with one of their staff. This woman was a wonderful representative of the area. She pointed us toward some sights and steered us right on the best places to get a lobster roll and clam chowder. Unfortunately, they were not in the same restaurant! So, we went to the Lobster Hut first (pictured above) and ordered a lobster roll. It was my first such sandwich, and it was delicious! We sat outside and ate it while watching the sail boats come and go. Then we went to the Crabby House, a short distance away, and tried some of their "chouwda". I love clam chowder and can honestly say that I have never tasted any quite this good.
I knew right away that my diet was going to be in big trouble on this trip!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Like a Rock!

Once we hit the Boston area, we headed to Plymouth, Mass. We programed the visitors center in our GPS and landed in the middle of a great, beautiful community. Across the street one of the service organizations was hosting a beer garden/polka festival. The polka music seems a bit out of place in the staunch Americana town. Two of the " chefs" pictured above, enticed us with their brats, but we held strong for more regional delicacies like lobster rolls and chowder. Nevertheless, the group was fun to watch. A quick visit to the tourist area gave us clearer destinations for the afternoon.

One of the first areas we visited was the paved walk by the ocean. Our travel buddies (funky monkey and dino) posed for us on this stone wall. The day was cool, crisp, sunny and downright gorgeous. I will post more in the near future about our food experience at Plymouth.
Day one and I was already loving the East Coast!

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Bucket List

On the way to Boston, we stopped by the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. This has been on Randy's "bucket list" for a long, long time. He thoroughly enjoyed the visit. He is pictured holding a few trinkets he bought there. It is a great place to see if you are a football fan. They are working on adding to the space, a project that will take two years. We might have to go back when they have it completed!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

And the trip begins!

As mentioned in a previous blog, we recently took a road trip to Boston. Barely out of Missouri (about 20 miles into Illinois), an Eagle, feeding on road kill at the side of the road, flew up into the grill of our truck. It was a shock, a hard hit and an emotional experience. I mean, who wants to kill an eagle? The top picture shows the damage to our truck, which will require a new grill and a new bug shield (which we installed right before our Colorado trip). All in all, it should be about the cost of the deductible that we have. We were rather stunned when the bird hit, but did have the sense to call the Conservation Department to report the accident. After spending close to an hour at the scene, the agent called to tell us that we could continue on our way and that he would call us with questions. A few hours down the road, we called him and found out that the bird had expired. I know you may think I am making this up, but the rest of the trip was full of images and reminders of that eagle (John Denver on the radio singing "The Eagle and the Hawk", Eagle Distributers on a truck, the Eagle Inn, and on and on and on). Everywhere we looked there was an eagle!

Anyway, in the bottom picture is our grandchildren seeing us off the night before the trip. As you can see, each one picked out a little plastic character to accompany us on our trip. They enjoyed the book we put together about "BobbleHead" in Colorado, so we are on the hook to do one for this trip too. I will post more photos in the next few days. My computer is slow and it takes a long time to upload the photos.

I will add that after 3000 + miles, 11 days, 6 different hotels, 9 states and 5 gained pounds later, we are glad to be home!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


This is our second full day in Boston. Our hotel is A few short blocks from Faneuil Hall (rhymes with Daniel), which is a market place/shopping area. It is definitely designed for tourists Lots of sidewalk caves, kiosks, street performers and food! I spent the first day on my own shopping and wandering around. Today I went with a purpose, to sightsee the area. I bought a ticket on the Old Town Trolly and rode it for about two hours. Then I hopped on a cruiser and took an hour tour of the harbor area. The Trolly driver happened to mention the Holocaust Memorial, so after I got off the boat, I walked to that area. it was very moving and the designers tied it in with historic Boston very well (The desire for human rights and dignity). It may be the area I remember most from the trip. I also wandered into the Oldest tavern in the country (Bell in Hand) and peeked inside the oldest restaurant, The Union Oyster House. After a quick lunch at McDonalds ( I know. . . ), I stopped and watched two talented street performers perform some amazing stunts. The atmosphere in this area is amazing and so much fun! Exhausted, I made my way back to the hotel to rest until five,when Randy finishes his class. I will keep posting, and add photos when I get home.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Salem Willows

I think that I may have found my new "Happy Place". Since we arrived in Boston a few days early, we decided to explore the area. We ended u up inSalem, Ma. I thought we might tour some of the area museums. While researching the town on the Internet, I happened upon some reviews on a park area called Salem Willows. It sounded so wonderful that I suggested we stop by. When we got there, the place was mostly empty. The first thing I noticed was huge, beautiful willow trees, lots of them. We decided to take a stroll around. It was a cool, breezy day with a bright sun shining. We stopped at a park bench overlooking the ocean and watched sail boats and small yachts go by. On the pier in front of us a family was fishing, behind us a family was setting up a small shelter house for a birthday party. The sun was sparkling off the water. I could have stayed there all day. It was an amazing place, made even better by the perfect weather. I will long remember this place as one of my favorite spots in the world!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Adventures to the East!

I will have lots of pictures to post next week, but for now, I think I will just blog. On the way to Boston, we took a side trip to Canton, Ohio to see the Pro Football Hall of Fame. My husband has talked about visiting this museum for years. It was a short detour, so we decided to go for it. It was pretty much what I expected it would be. Lots of displays, stories of greatness and videos of memorable moments. I was done in about 60 minutes. I kept going back to gently prod Randy along. I honestly think that he could have stayed all day and then some. It was fun for me to watch him enjoy himself so much. One of the first things he did when we left was call our son and tell him about it. I think I heard a deep sigh of sadness as we drove away. . .but there was just so much more ground to cover. . .

Friday, September 9, 2011

On the Road Again,

I am typing this on an iPad keyboard,so please excuse my errors! Yes, for the third time this summer, we are again traveling. This time it is East, and we are alone. The trip got an unusual start when, only a few hour from home, we hit and killed an eagle. The bird was feeding on road kill at the side of the highway, and flew up in our truck as we passed by. It hit the grill and broke it, then hit the windshield. We stopped and saw that the bird was still alive, but badly wounded. We called a contact (thanks David) and reported the accident. The Conservation Officer asked us to stay at the scene until he could get there. He later called back and said that we could go on our way, which we did. It was so sad to see this majestic bird struggling to live. Later in the day we called the officer back and he told us that when he got to the bird, it was already dead. Then he added that they will send it to a repository, and that it will be donated to Native Americans for use in tribal ceremonies. This is our second encounter with an eagle in a year. (see previous blog regarding how an eagle made us late for an airline flight). Randy was upset about killing the beautiful bird and about the damage to his truck (although it could have been so much worse). I am just thankful that the bird was the only one hurt. I hope today will be less eventful!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Intergenerational Male Bonding

I "caught" this photo last weekend of my grandson Mason and my nephew Dylan watching a movie together. It made me think of a tradition in my family of older males mentoring younger males. Mason's grandfather (Randy) used to spend a lot of time with Dylan's father (David). There is about 7 years difference in their ages. They would go fishing and camping, attend sport activities and go to an occasional concert together. My son, Josh is about 8 years older than Dylan's brother, Tristan. When they were younger, Tristan and Josh would spend lots of time together. Tristan thought Josh was pretty cool! Time and distance have changed some of these relationships, but they have a great history in the family. Dylan is wonderful with the younger kids. Gabe and Ryan (my great nephews) also have a good relationship with Dylan. On the way home from the weekend, Mason told me that he really liked Dylan because: "he wrestled with me". Dylan was probably just being nice, but it laid the groundwork for a long term friendship that they both will (hopefully) continue through their life.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Day to Remember

My father (pictured above with two of his 7 grandchildren) had a birthday this weekend. He has always taken incredibly good care of himself by eating right and staying physically active. Next year he will celebrate 8 decades on this earth. He overcame poverty, was the first of 11 siblings to graduate from college. He eventually went on to receive a masters degree and an educational specialist diploma. He grew up knowing hard work, valuing savings and making his own way. He remembers being looked down upon during his early school years because he came from a poor family with so many children. I think this helped make him more determined to succeed in life. Some of the many jobs he had in his early years included: short order cook in a small town diner, lab worker at a small appliance factory, railroad laborer, coalmine worker, bread delivery man and probably more that I have forgotten. He worked his way through college with the help of my mom (an elementary school teacher), while they had two small children (that would be my sister and I). His dream was to become a medical doctor. He never realized this dream, in part, because my brother, David, came along. I am sure he wouldn't trade my brother for a medical degree of any designation.
My dad lost two wives to cancer (my mom died of breast cancer in 1986 and his second wife, Rita, to ovarian cancer). He married a third time, to a high school friend of my mothers, Martha. Martha is a very special part of our family and has many similarities to our mom.
My dad values education and learning more than any one else I know. He has never been one to indulge in luxuries or material possessions, but he does like having good shoes and warm jackets! He has a scientific mind, and taught me to be steadfast and diligent in whatever I do. He is a product of a large, poor, rural family during the depression, and the values and work ethic he maintains are a result of that upbringing. My dad has been a major influence in my life, my work, and my family values. With a little bit of luck, he will be celebrating many more birthdays with us! I love you Dad!


It is sort of a family tradition to get cousins together frequently. My sister and I made sure our 4 children knew each other growing up and had the opportunity to play together frequently. The tradition continues as our 6 grandchildren, even though they live far apart, know each other. Last weekend, we met in St. Louis, at my brother's home for a family get together. The kids had a great time playing together. Ryan, the youngest one of the group, wasn't feeling well and slept through this picture. Next year, one more cousin will join us in our reunions. All 6 cousins are within 2 years of each other. It makes it interesting to watch them play and grow!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Musical Halls!

My brother, David and his daughter, Rhiannon are a talented pair. David is quite musically inclined, playing both drums and guitar. And Rhiannon has a wonderful voice. We enjoyed their talent and their company this weekend. David recently loaded an application on his ipad that provides words and chords to an amazing number of songs. Jessica, Scott and Maddison also participated in the singing. It was a fun evening!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mr Woodpecker

You have to look carefully, but if you do, you can see a cute little woodpecker drilling around on our tree. This guy was searching for bugs in the bark of a tree right off our front porch. I had never seen a woodpecker up this close. I had fun watching him, but wouldn't you know it as soon as I got the camera he moved further up in the tree. I really enjoy the gifts that nature sends our way. Last weekend it was geese on our pond and a woodpecker. . . maybe it will be deer or a fox this weekend. I am glad Mr. Woodpecker decided to find a home somewhere else because the tree he is pictured in is right outside our bedroom window. That could make me a little grumpy at nature!