Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Our 2009 Christmas Letter

Well, we are again. The year 2009 was so much like 2008, it was hard at times to tell the difference. It all started with January, just like the year before. And before we knew it, February came along, and then March. Our suber-intelligent, gifted and talented children soon recognized the pattern, and predicted April and May would follow. It was all downhill after that, barely even a challenge. Alasdair, who as you know is a mathematician with a PhD and an office all to himself (which actually has TWO desks in it, BOTH for HIM), soon hypothesized that Christmas would fall in December this year, and sure enough, here I am, sitting here, writing to you, and it WILL be Christmas soon (in December).

Our children and grandchildren have excelled at absolutely everything this year, embarrassing themselves (and everyone else) with their extraordinary abilities. Fortunately they have level headed and objective parents who maintain their feet firmly on the ground. The grandchildren do attend elocution and deportment classes in preparation for the various prize and award ceremonies we anticipate they will have to attend over their lifetimes. They have been enrolled in Swedish language classes for some time, because, after all, we would hate for them to be at a disadvantage when they travel to accept their Nobel prizes!

Even our guests have been outstanding. We enjoyed the company of a young exchange student from Denmark for the first three months of this year. He had a simply splendid time here and was impressed that we were able to communicate with him in his native tongue.

We have welcomed a special new addition to our family this year. He is blind in one eye, and has mild hemiplegia, and some dysphasia and dysphagia due to hemiparesis of the tongue, and he has the unnerving habit of urinating on people when he greets them. But as far as rats go, he is one of the most witty and urbane companions we have ever consorted with. The grandchildren look to him for advice on so many aspects of their social and intellectual development, and we are more than happy to delegate this responsibility to our betters and wisers.

Well, I could go on, but I don't want you to feel inadequate at this very special time of the year. I do hope that you have reached at least a few of the objectives and performance indicators you have set for yourselves.

Much love to you all, and do feel free to bask in the glow of our glory.

All done

Saturday I had the two little J grandchildren over and realized I do not have a picture of the two of them and Keira is now 4 months old. Jaren was sitting next to me on the love seat while I held Keira. I grabbed my camera, got the settings set, and placed Keira next to Jaren. He immediately let out a distressed cry, leaned as far away from her as he could and signed "all done." This isn't the best photo, but you get the idea:
Get her away from me!
Okay, this is a little better but I'm still a little uncomfortable. Perhaps move her across the room?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

My own little scrap retreat

I spent my furlough day scrapping and completed some layouts for my 25 days of templates class.

December 2009 Blizzard

As of this morning, the Des Moines airport, which is 1.5 miles directly west of my house, is reporting 14.5 inches of snow. This morning it is blowing and drifting. I tried to open my front door to look outside only to find it was drifted shut.

Luckily I have been opening and closing the back door frequently to let the dogs out, so I've managed to keep it swept open. They plow through the snow on the deck, make their way along the garage
and then Molly, I suppose because she is the larger dog, is the snow plow making a path into the yard to take care of business.

Add Image

Hope Roger can make it home from work.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Newly discovered video

Just came across this video of Luke (about 6-9 months) and Mia from my archives.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My cousin's blog on island life

As we head into winter, snow, and blizzards here in Iowa, here is my cousin's blog http://tjparkerislandlife.blogspot.com/2009/11/more-rain.html. Terri and her husband Blake "retired" to their next profession to St. Thomas a year and a half ago. Her blog is about island Life. For instance, this week around "10:00 a.m. the Governor of the islands announced that everyone should go home. Schools would be closed, government offices shut down. I know this may sound absurd to you but the island just doesn't know what to do when it rains. God forbid it would ever snow! There are some real dangers though- mud and rock slides as well as curvy roads can make driving a challenge. I headed home around 12:30 and there were few cars on the road. I did see a family of pigs having a grand old time rolling in the mud! There was a HUGE mama sow and about 7 or 8 little ones enjoying the rain. The radio announced that everyone should just go home. There is talk of a curfew. The rain is expected to continue into the night and folks are worried about flooding. They also warned people that it would be rather chilly tonight- low may even hit 70. I had to chuckle as I listened to the song that followed this announcement - Winter Wonderland. Ah, island life."

Be sure to check it out.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Traveling back in time -- Beauty and the Beast

I'm trying to free up some room on my hard drive and ran across some videos. The place was Mercy Hospital, two days after Luke was born. This was about the same time that Jeremy was in the leading role of Beauty and the Beast at the Playhouse.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Day 6

Another beautiful day in paradise. We headed south again towards Hattaras Island and the light house to (1) enjoy the beaches and (2) pick up a shirt at the light house that Doug wanted. We spent the day at a couple different beaches. Towards the end of the day Rick started talking to a fisherman who lived nearby. Beth asked for a dinner recommendation for sea food and he recommended the Quarterdeck in Frisco. Enroute to the restaurant we pulled over in a day-use area to enjoy the sunset.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Day 5

Beth, Doug, and Gloria near the Roanoke Marshes Light House on Roanoke Island at Manteo.
Watching the winning game of the World Series
Siblings on the Roanoke waterfront.
Roanoke water front.
Roanoke Marshes Light House.
Elizabeth II.

Today we went to Roanoke Island to visit the Lost Colony, Fort Raleigh, the Elizabethan Gardens, the Elizabeth II at Festival Park, and another light house. Rick stayed back at the house and did some exploring on his own, using one of the bicycles here at the house.

Festival Park is across from the Manteo waterfront. History comes alive, with actors playing the part of the “natives.”. We toured a 16th-century ship called the Elizabeth II.

Twenty-three years before Jamestown (1584), the dream of an English-speaking nation began on the shores of Roanoke Island. This small island was home to the first temporary English settlements in the New World, sponsored by Sir Walter Raleigh during the years 1584 to 1587. Roanoke Island Festival Park celebrates this period of Roanoke Island History through history-made-fun and a passion for the arts.

On Elizabeth II, a representative 16th-century sailing ship, we met sailors like those who sailed across the Atlantic in 1585. They were dressed in period garments and spoke Elizabethan dialect. They brought the history of the voyages to life at the Settlement Site, where we were introduced to the game of Skittles and worked with their k-nives carving tools.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Day 3 and 4 Lighthouses

Monday we went north a few miles to the light house at Currituck.

After we were unable to make the ferry to a couple wineries we went south and visited the Bodie Island lighthouse.

Tuesday we again headed south and stopped and visited the Cape Hatteras Light house.

Next we had to catch a ferry for a 40 minute ride to Ocracoke to visit the Ocracoke lighthouse.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Day 4 Whales

Sunday and Monday were cloudy, windy, and rainy. That didn't stop us from having fun. Yesterday we visited the Currituck Beach Light House in Corolla. Doug and Beth climed to the top while the rest of us looked around down below. We tried to visit some wineries only to realize we had to take a ferry and got there too late and had to wait till the next one so we gave up that idea. We also visited Bodie Island light house. I'll post some of these pictures later.

Roger and I caught the sunrise this morning. After breakfast we drove further south to Cape Hatteras light house and Oracroke Island lighthouse. The ocea was violent near Rodanthe and water and sand were over the road. County crews closed the road right behind us to other travelers while they tried to make the road safer.

After visiting the light house on Oracroke, we pulled off and walked over a sand dune to the ocean. As we got to the top of the dune we caught something off in front of us coming up out of the water. A WHALE!!!! It just kept going back and forth in front of us. I talked to someone who said he had been coming to the Outer Banks for years and had never seen one. It was a great day.

Lighthouse pictures to be posted tomorrow.