Vacation Update, midway point

July 31, 2014

We’ve been having a nice vacation so far. The weather was cold and rainy the first day or so (we even drove through a hail storm), but it has improved since then.

The Red Cottage is a pretty nice place and we are all finding places to sleep, though maybe not exactly as the owners had planned. Special thanks go to Kathy W for providing a portable crib and small mattress for the grandkids! Gary and I have made the glassed in porch our little spot. The light comes in early in the morning so we are awake pretty early, but going to bed early too.

Gary and I have gone birding twice so far. The Crystal sewer ponds turned out to be a pretty good spot, One of the workers saw us on the outside road with our binoculars and invited us in through the DO NOT TRESPASS sign.

We’ve hung out with Debbie and mom a few times and gone out to eat a time or two, including at the Petticoat Junction. Yesterday we stopped by and saw where Deb works.

David, Sarah, Micah and Emma arrived yesterday safely but exhausted after their overnight flght to Chicago then 4-hour drive here. We kept the kids awake for the afternoon while they slept a few hours. Then we had a BBQ dinner and we all went to bed early. So far only Gary and I have gotten up this morning.

We are awaiting Andrew, Laura and Isabella. Andrew’s flight home to Ithaca yesterday afternoon was delayed, so they got a late start. We hope they made it as far as Erie, PA by car last night we we look for their arrival sometime this afternoon.

We’ve been taking photos and I’ll put the link to the web album below. I will add more photos to this album as the week progresses. Click on the photo below to see the entire album of photos.

14-07-29 Vacation in MI, mom's 80th

The Early Bird

July 26, 2014

is supposed to get the worm, but we got the early birds instead. Yes, we got up at 5:45am so we could go birding–on the day before our trip–in the name of science. That is because there are, at Cedar Hill State Park, some weeks where there is no data about bird populations. Note the column of gray rectangles for the last week of July.

Explore Data - Google Chrome_2014-07-26_12-08-03

And now that we’ve returned home, recovered from the early morning and HOT weather, and entered the 24 bird species that we observed this morning, you can see that now there is one fewer column showing no data.

one less gray

In spite of our early start, it was still pretty hot and it seemed like there weren’t a lot of birds around.



OK, now I need to go pack.

Grandma Judy’s Pottery

July 23, 2014

Rachel and I were at Walmart the other day (or was it Target) and she exclaimed, “Grandma is selling her pottery here!”


Well, of course she wasn’t, but it kinda looked like it:


My stash of Grandma Judy wedding gifts has all but dwindled to nothing, so I’m pretty much resorting to giving gift cards to Bed, Bath, and Beyond these days.

Don’t Eat the Curry!

July 22, 2014

Gary woke up this morning with his throat half swollen shut. It has been a while since he’s had this reaction, but it pretty bad this morning. I made curry two days ago and he ate it two days in a row, and I guess it was just too much for him. We’ve self-analyzed that he is sensitive to salicylates and curry is on the top of the list of spices with them. So he has taken his benedryl and will probably fall asleep during his boss’s staff meeting which started at 8am.

While we’re grumbling about not feeling well, I will say that my broken leg isn’t broken any more but I still keep getting odd pains in my leg and foot. I wish I better understood what really happened when I broke my ankle, because it seems like lots of tendons and ligaments and muscles had to heal as well as the bone. My walking endurance isn’t very high–one lap around the mall with Rachel and I’m ready to call it quits.

In other news, I made two sets of vegan, soy-free cupcakes for a wedding last Saturday. Two sets because the first set collapsed. I tweaked the recipe for the second set and they were much better. I ended up repurposing the failed ones by filling in the cavity with too much icing and taking them to the church potluck! Those kids will eat anything sweet. The second set were ready to take to the wedding with 30 minutes to spare. And it was a lovely wedding, daughter of one of our colleagues.



In the week since my last blog I’ve received a couple cute photos from David and Sarah, but no comments included, so I don’t really know where they were taken. But it looks like they were having some fun with the other grandma.




Lastly, Andrew emailed me and said he was on his way home from Ethiopia. I haven’t heard yet that he made it, but we’be been praying for his safe travels (esp. with all the bad news we’ve been hearing about airplanes these days). I think he barely says hello to his family and then is off to Minnesota for another conference before driving to Michigan for the big upcoming birthday party.

Annual All-Star Game Party

July 16, 2014

where you are allowed to throw the peanut shells on the floor. We had taco salad and turkey BBQ sliders, fruit, veggies, and ice cream for dessert. And peanuts. Lots of them.





God is Still Watching Over Her

July 15, 2014

This isn’t the first time.

A couple days ago Rachel got an email from her mortgage company saying her account had been blocked due to three failed attempts at logging in. Well, she had not tried to log in at all and thus started a bit of detective work to find out why she got this email, who was trying to hack her, was the email an phishing attempt, and so on. An attempt to verify the phone number led to the pile of 2014 receipts where we located only one such paper from her mortgage company. Thinking it was odd that there was only one there, instead of 6 for the six months of payments made this year, we examined the paper more closely. It was dated the middle of March and it was AN ESCROW REFUND CHECK FOR $440! What?? The tiny print said “not valid if cashed over 180 days from date.”

Rachel checked–it was the 127th day! So off to the bank she went, half a mortgage payment richer than she had been a minute before.

As for the rest of the story, she did eventually get a hold of a real human at the mortgage company who said that it looked like there was another person with a very similar username, and that is how the three failed attempts had come about. If some other Rachel out there had not forgotten her username, our Rachel would never had found the check. God works in mysterious ways!

My Cute Grandbabies

July 13, 2014

First of all, how about a cute Emma video, just 45 seconds long. She’s such a cutie!

Second, here is a short video of Micah, painting with a couple marbles. I think we have a marble painting of David’s somewhere in the scrap books.

Last, here is a photo of Isabella sporting a necklace that she made herself.


Cleaning Up

July 10, 2014

Yes, always cleaning up the kitchen and the bedroom. Today’s post, however, is because I’m cleaning up some unorganized photos.

This photo was taken out of the plane window when we were just hitting the tarmac at DFW on our way home from Portland back in April. It was kinda scary to see flames and smoke so close. But then some body clued us in: this is a drill, a training exercise for DFW staff. I wonder how many times they’ve set that old plane on fire?


Time for an Emma Post

July 8, 2014

I’ve gotten a few cute photos of Emma recently. Her hair seems to keep getting redder!




And this might be my favorite photo, since it harkens back to her brother. And her father. And every kid who has a dishwasher in their house.



I also need to report that Emma is walking now. I’ve seen a video with a couple steps, and saw a few more when we were doing a video call with the family. Also, for those of you who know Liam, we’ve seen a video on Facebook of him first taking a few steps, then a second video of him “playing soccer,” doing so right on time for the World Cup.

July 4, 2014

July 4, 2014

Up early to go birding, trying out our new bird song recording toy. 30 species. Then to Cedar Ridge Perserve (aka Greenhills/Dallas Nature Center) for a picnic that Rachel made, including some patriotic strawberries. Then grilling at our house for dinner and some time making a puzzle. No fireworks this year except the ones on PBS. Nice day.










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