Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What a Wonderfully, Wild, Whirlwind of a Week!

Around Mother's Day this year, my husband Ray told me to find out what it would cost to get my son Jeremy and 8 year old grandson, Alex here from Phoenix. I hadn't seen them in almost 5 years, and missed them terribly. He said he would fly them here for me for a Mother's Day gift!

I did, and found a pretty good deal and bought the tickets! To get this deal though, we had to go with a flight that got in at 10:30pm on a Saturday night.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

My daughter Jessica said she'd drive, so she and I, my daughter Molly and my other grandson, 6 year old Christian, went down to the airport to pick them up. Ray works weekends and has to get up quite early, so we left him home to sleep.

Here's my son Jeremy, at the bottom of the escalator. He hadn't noticed that Alex was a little afraid to get on when he did, but with a nice lady's encouragement, he was on his way down.

In the van, on the way from the airport, I turned around and snapped a picture of these two cousins in the back seat. Since it was totally dark in there, I wasn't even sure what I was taking a picture of. I was thrilled to see that the two of them were hitting it off, like they'd known each other forever. They hadn't seen each other since Christian was a baby. We stopped at Applebee's to get a bite to eat, since they had gotten on the airplane at around 5pm Arizona time. We didn't get back to our house until about 1:30 AM.

My two grandsons in the matching pajamas I'd bought for them. They were instant buddies!

Here they are, acting silly at about 2 am!

And posing here with Grandma

Sunday, June 12th
Sunday afternoon, we decided to drive out to my parents' house so they could see their grandson and great-grandson as well. Jeremy's dad and his wife met out out there too, along with a couple of my sisters and their families. My sister, Kathy has two boys around the same age, and the four of them had a blast together.


Grayson (age 5), Tiegen (age 7), Christian (age 6) and Alex (age 8)


Grayson, Christian, Alex and Tiegen on Grandpa/Great Grandpa's Minneapolis Moline.

Grandpa Jerry (my ex), and his wife came out to say hi too. Here's a picture of a bunch of Ditto's. The littlest ones were pretty tired of posing for pictures by this time.

What could possibly be so interesting to these four little guys?
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Tadpoles!!! Tiegen and Gray had caught them earlier in the day.

My dad, with my two grandsons. I love this pic!

Monday, June 13th
We didn't do anything real exciting, on Monday. Mostly just tried to figure out what we were going to do the rest of the week. Christian had Taekwondo that evening, so we all went to the ice cream shop in town for a nice treat, before he had to be there.

Tuesday, June 14th ~ Edinborough Park!
I had recently heard of this place, and it seemed like a great way to spend a day with the boys, while Jessica was at work. She didn't want us to go to Valley Fair without her, so we took Jeremy, Molly, Alex and Christian down there to play for the afternoon. Ray's daughter, Ruth lives down in that area, so she met us there too. The best thing about this place? The price. It's $6 for children under 12, and adults get in for free with a child. They also have a swimming pool, and if you want to use that, the price goes up to $10 per person, (including adults).

This is what they call "Adventure Peak." I stole this pic off of the Edinborough Park site. I couldn't find the battery charger for my camera that day, and I only had a very blurry one of this incredible structure. It's basically, a McDonald's Play Place on steroids! Jeremy, Molly and Ruth even got in on the action and crawled around in this thing with the little boys!

There is also a huge gym, where the kids can bounce in a "bouncy thing" or ride around on these little scooters, or play basketball like Christian is doing, above. Both of the boys said their favorite thing was the little scooters, like Alex is on, below:





Wednesday, June 15th ~ Moving Day for Jessica
My daughter, Jessica had just gotten a new job in St. Cloud, and signed a lease on an apartment there. She had planned on moving in on July 1, but found out that it was possible for her to move as early as the 15th of June. We were trying to figure out how we could get all of her furniture from her storage unit to the apartment, without a truck or trailer. She had a huge bedroom set and living room furniture in it, as well.

My wonderful husband, Ray came up with a fantastic idea! He said we should just rent a U-Haul truck, and get her moved. So...after she was off work that day, we met her U-Haul and then went out to the storage unit. We had also picked up Joel, so with the muscles of her two brothers, her step dad and sister Molly all helping, we got her moved in relatively short order! Wasn't it nice of Jeremy to come thousands of miles, just to help his sister move?

Thursday, June 16th ~ Sarah's 30th Birthday!
While we didn't actually get to see Ray's daughter, Sarah on this special occasion, our thoughts and wishes for a happy birthday were with her that day.

Jeremy, Jessica and I went back to St. Cloud with the boys, while Molly stayed at a friend's house that night. And of course, Ray had to work early in the morning so he stayed home.

We also picked up Joel, and stopped to say hi to my 3 brothers, Dan, Bob and Mike, who were playing in a volleyball tournament, along with Bob's wife Rose and Mike's significant other, Joyce.

(Since my brothers don't take too kindly to have their faces on the internet...I won't point out who's who in the photo below.)
Since it was getting a bit late by the time the vb games were over, I took the grandsons back home with me, and left my kids to party for awhile with their aunts and uncles.

Friday, June 17th ~ Joel's 28th Birthday
Molly helped out with a car wash/ brat sale at Coborn's , as a fundraiser for Cheer leading. Jeremy and Jessica stayed in St. Cloud that night, to help their brother celebrate his birthday.
I got to spend the day with my two sweet grandsons.

Molly and the other Cheerleaders, giving my dirty van a much-needed bath!


Saturday, June 18th ~ Valley Fair!

Jeremy and Alex, Jessica and Christian, Ruth, Molly, Ray and I all went to Valley Fair for the day. Joel was supposed to come to, but wasn't feeling well. I'm not sure if the fact that it was the the day after his birthday contributed to this or not.

I had only been there one other time in my life...when Jeremy was a baby, and I was pushing him around in a stroller! He's now 32 years old. You do the math! The problem was, the weather was not the best on this day. There were supposed to be "scattered showers," but it just kinda turned into one big continuous shower for most of the day, but we tried to make the best of it.

Here are the little boys, just after entering the gates. I took this picture mostly, in case on of them were to get lost or something. That way I'd remember what they were wearing. Alex is into "silly face" pictures, as you can see. At this point, it wasn't raining, but it started to shortly.

We took shelter in the "Peanuts' Playhouse," which is full of all sorts of balls, and guns that shoot balls, and a vacuum cleaner to suck them all up again, etc. It was great fun...but eventually, everyone else decided to come in out of the rain too, and it got a bit crowded in there.

Alex, (in the hat) on the upper level, taking aim with one of the ball shooters.

And now, on the lower level, using one of the big guns!

Between showers, Alex takes a ride in one of Snoopy's airplanes in the "Planet Snoopy" part of the park. We couldn't talk Christian into flying one.

After that, Jeremy and Jessica arrived and it had started to rain again, so we all went back to the "Peanuts' Playhouse."

Jeremy and Jessica, checking it out.

Jeremy, Christian and Alex.

Christian gave Snoopy a hug, but Snoopy's nose is so big it almost covered Christian's face in this picture! I'm not exactly sure where Alex was at the time.

Eventually, it finally quit raining, (pretty much) , and we went to the water park. Ray and I sat and watched the boys (and everyone's shoes and clothing), while the others went on rides.

Here is Christian in the blue tube, and Alex in the background, waving at me. He couldn't quite figure out how to get on one of those things...but had fun walking around in the water.

The grandboyz, taking a shower.

Eventually, Ruth and Molly came and begged Ray to go on some rides with them. They didn't have to twist his arm. Turns out, he loves going on rides. Who knew? Jeremy and Jessica took their boys, and went on a few more rides as well. I was content just to watch. Being as it had finally cleared up around 5 pm, we ended up staying until the park closed at 10 pm.
I believe this is the roller coaster they call "Wild Thing." Ray, Ruth and Molly are all flying down it in this picture. Not this kid. I like to keep my feet firmly planted on the ground, where they belong!


June 19th ~ Father's Day

We went to my parents' house for a potluck dinner to celebrate Father's Day, with most of my siblings and their families. A good time was had by all, with all sorts of activities taking place.

Dad was NOT fooled by my sister's writing "FORD" on the wing of a picture of an old Chevy on his Father's Day card! But he got a kick out of it.

My dad, opening Father's Day gifts.

Farmer Boy, Alex riding the old Ford pedal tractor.

Christian on the newer Ford pedal tractor.

There were 7 kids between the ages of 5 and 8, that were in and out of this pool that day, I just never seemed to be able to catch all 7 of them in there at once!

A little later, the little kids...and the big kids played a rousing game of "wiffle ball!"

Here's Alex at bat.

Because it happens so seldom, I wanted to get a picture of all four of the children I gave birth to... in one place! Left to right; Molly (14), Jeremy (32), Jessica (29) and Joel (28)
And grandsons Alex (8) and Christian (6), in front.


Alex, saying goodbye to Great Grandpa and Grandma, (my parents).

June 20th

The cousins, saying goodbye at the airport. This is Alex's sad face, since he won't see Christian for awhile. It was so much fun while it lasted...can't wait to see them again! Thank you, thank you, thank you to my wonderful husband, for the BEST Mother's Day present ever!!!






Friday, February 25, 2011

Sun Stand Still: What Happens When You Dare To Ask God For The Impossible ~ A Book Review



Have you heard the biblical story of Joshua, where he asks God to make the sun stand still for a day? He did, and God actually heard his prayer and miraculously, made time stand still for 24 hours. Can you imagine having the kind of faith it took to pray that prayer? That's what this book is all about. According to the author, Joshua was not so different than you or me. We also have the ability to ask God for "Sun Stand Still" miracles. We just have to come before Him with "audacious faith" as Mr. Furtick calls it, and ask. This easy to read book is jam-packed with so much biblical wisdom and knowledge about how to pray, and what to pray for, along with inspiring stories of how others' "Sun Stand Still" prayers were answered, that it is honestly hard to put down. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about prayer, having a relationship with Jesus, and living by faith, not just by sight. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and read it not once, but twice. I intend to hang on to it, and read it again...and again...


About This Book

If you're not DARING TO BELIEVE GOD for the impossible,
you may be SLEEPING THROUGH
some of the BEST PARTS of your Christian Life.

"This book is not a Snuggie. The words on these pages will not go down like Ambien. I’
m not writing to calm or coddle you. With God’s help, I intend to incite a riot in your mind. Trip your breakers and turn out the lights in your favorite hiding places of insecurity and fear. Then flip the switch back on so that God’s truth can illuminate the divine destiny that may have been lying dormant inside you for years.
In short, I’m out to activate your audacious faith. To inspire you to ask God for the impossible. And in the process, to reconnect you with your God-sized purpose and potential."
—STEVEN FURTICK, from Sun Stand Still
Steven Furtick is the founder and lead pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, named by Outreach magazine as one of the top 10 fastest growing churches in the nation. In four years, Elevation has grown to more than 6,000 people in regular attendance in three locations. Steven holds a degree in communication from North Greenville University, and a Master of Divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Holly, have two young sons—Elijah and Graham—and make their home in the Charlotte area.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Happy 8th Birthday, Alex!

My grandson Alex is EIGHT years old today! It seems a bit unbelievable to me that I entered grandparenthood that long ago. I really do love this stage of life...just wish that I had the chance to spend a lot more time with our terrific grandkids! Alex lives in Arizona, and with our finances the way they have been lately, we haven't been able to afford to visit. Hopefully, he and his dad will be able to come up to Minnesota this summer.

Happy Birthday, Alex! Grandma loves you very much, and misses you more than you can imagine!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A December to Remember ~ Highlights of 12/2010

There is a relatively new Christmas song that I heard several times during the past month and a half. It's called, "I Need A Silent Night" by Amy Grant. Part of the lyrics of that song, are "December comes, then disappears - faster and faster every year." I had very good intentions, I took a lot of pictures, and planned on blogging about this "most wonderful time of the year." Unfortunately, because of the hustle and bustle of the season, and my computer not cooperating throughout most of it, I didn't get it done. So...here are some highlights of our busy December.

The month started out very cold and snowy...and pretty much stayed that way. Now, I know we live in Minnesota, but this year has been extra specially cold and snowy...in fact, the snowiest December in record! The first Saturday of the month was quite busy, with my daughter Molly's first ever cheer leading competition during the day, and then our church's annual Christmas banquet that night. Coincidentally, both events were brought to you by the letter "C." Champlin's Candy Cane Classic Cheer Competition and A Candlelight Christmas.

Molly's cheer squad did very well, considering it was the first time for all 9 of the girls. It was fun to watch, but all the music was insanely loud.
Above, the girls nervously await their turn. The tallest blonde (behind the coach), is my daughter, Molly.
Below, is a video I took of their entire routine. Like I said, the music was very loud, so it's all distorted. My camera was not made for those kind of decibels.

The girls even ended up with a trophy! They got 4th place in their division. I won't tell you how many squads there WERE in that division, though. ;)

It was a very fun, but very long day for the girls and their mothers. I was extremely thankful to one of the other mothers for driving us down there, in the not-so-great driving conditions. I know she reads my blog now and then...so THANKS, Melissa!

After getting back to town, I had barely enough time to get home, change clothes and get ready for the Christmas banquet. I was hosting a table again this year, and Ray was going to have to meet me there, as he now works on weekends and would not have time to come home first. He actually beat me to church, and had to hide out in his dirty old work clothes for awhile, until I got there with a change of clothes for him.

Above, is the table I decorated. Thankfully, I'd gone the night before and decorated it, because I certainly didn't have time that day! I got the Santa doll from my Grandma Hazel, who used to have a huge doll collection, and also collected Santa's for awhile. I've had the larger doll, "Caroline" for quite a few years, and just added the little girl dolly to my collection. Every time I look at her, she reminds me of my friend, Jody's little girl, "K." I've always wanted to do a table with my dolls as the centerpiece, and it turned out pretty, even though it was a little hard to converse with people across the table from us over it. Here are several of the other beautifully decorated tables:
Above, is the Minnesota table. That's where "Tina and Lena," the evening's entertainment, sat. I'll tell you a little more about them, later.

Some were quite festive, like this "Feliz Navidad" table, and the whimsical tree one, below:

And others were very elegantly decorated:




There was even a motorcycle table!


As I said, "Tina and Lena" were the entertainment for the evening. They're two hilarious ladies, who know just exactly "how to speak Minnesotan" and have a whole lot of fun while entertaining others. As I said, they sat at the "Minnesota Table," which was decorated and hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Beach and their lovely daughter, Jennifer. One of the guests at the table was named Cliff. After the meal, Tina and Lena told us about their experience at the table. One of them got to sit "next to a Cliff," and the other one said it was wonderful to be able to sit across from "three Beaches." After that they walked around the room and introduced us to all the celebrities in the room. I was amazed at how many of them had come out to our humble little church's Christmas celebration! There was Senator Al Franken, (who apparently looks a lot like my husband), and "The Golden Girls" were there, just to name a few.

This is Lena, in the red hat, and Tina is back there with "Cliff," who was laughing so hard I though he was going to fall off of his chair! And of course, who could mistake the lovely "Golden Girls" in the photo on the right?

After that, they asked for some victims/volunteers to help them sing "Jingle Bells." They picked on poor Doug P. and Mike T. Oh, and with Mark C. as Big Ole/the horse. It was pretty funny!

video


We had a great time at the banquet with very good food, great friends and lots of laughter! Now I've got to come up with another idea for next year's table...

The following weekend, brought our family's adult, or "grown-up's" Christmas party. My sister, Sue and her significant other, Denny have been hosting this party for about 3 years now. It's nice to be able to relax and have fun without all the little kiddos running around, once in a while. We also eat yummy foods, do a gift exchange and sing Christmas Carols around the piano, while Sue provides the accompaniment.

Below, my niece, Rachel unwraps the first of the lady's gifts. It's a memory foam pillow!


This may come in handy for Rachel, as she goes through the next few months, while she tries to stay comfortable, awaiting the arrival of a very precious gift next summer!

The gift exchange is always a lot of fun, and one of the silliest fad-type toys I saw this year were "Sing-a-ma-jigs," below. Funny little creatures that sing, and harmonize with each other.


After the women were done exchanging gifts, it was the guys' turn.

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These are my parents, all dress in red.

Nate B. ended up with the size 2x hoodie that Ray bought from his company store. It was a bit big. That's because Ray wanted to make sure that if no one else wanted it, he could keep it and it would fit him. I heard Nate made a "side deal" with my brother Dan, who had opted out of the gift exchange this year. Oh well, as long as somebody gets to wear it.


My sister, Connie was about to hit a milestone this year too! Although she doesn't look it, she was heading right straight up over the hill that we call, "The Big 5-0!"

To make it a bit less painful, we threw her a "Hawaii 5-0" birthday party on the 17th of the month. That way, we could pretend we were on some tropical island...at least until we walked back outside, into the snow and cold...

Here's the cake I decorated for her.

Connie's actual birthday would not be for another 4 days, but our sister Patty, who passed away from breast cancer in 2003, would have turned 50 a year ago on December 17th. Connie, who shared EVERYTHING with Patty throughout their childhood, wanted to share this birthday with her too. Happy Birthday, Connie and Patty!


While shopping for a gift for her, my daughter and I came across this "Gumby" DVD. We used to watch this old cartoon as kids, and it made me laugh, so I bought it for her. We wrapped it up, along with a gift certificate at a nail salon.

Fast forward with me, just a few days....and we're almost to Christmas already!


Below, is my grandson, Christian, with his reindeer antlers on.
Since his mother, Jessica had to work the weekend of Christmas, she let him open a few presents on "Christmas Eve Eve." He got a Paper Jamz guitar that he loves to "rock out" with.



We decided to let Molly open our "family gift" early, so we could all play with it that day. She opened our new red Wii game console!

The red Wii came with the new Mario Brothers game too...which is fun, I guess...but I've never tried it. Jessica generously got us a few more games to go with it, too.



Molly got "America's Next Top Model, which she absolutely loves, I got "Wheel of Fortune" and Ray got "Who wants to be a Millionaire?" We've had a lot of fun with both of ours, too.

Later that night, after our candlelight service at church, we all piled in the van and headed to my parents' house, which is a little over an hour away from ours.

Above, Christian got some Nerf guns from the cousin that picked his name.


My sister-in-law, Lori, holding her granddaughter, Lauren.



Shelby, taking "close-up" pictures of her cousin, Molly.

It was a very Merry night, indeed. Then, on Christmas Day, I hadn't really planned on a big meal, since Ray's daughter's and their husband's were coming the following weekend, and I was feeling a bit under the weather. My son Joel was planning on coming for supper though, and since we had to eat something, I put a beef roast with potatoes and carrots into the crock pot...and crawled back into bed. However...I forgot to turn the stupid thing ON! Thankfully, Jessica noticed this when she came home from work, and transferred it into a roaster and put it in the oven. Whew! Christmas was saved once again!


While we waited for the roast to be done, we played with our new Wii. Above, is daughter, Molly and son, Joel. Grandson, Christian got a new game for his Wii too.


Molly got to open one more gift, which was a game that included a second Wii-mote. Now we're all set.

We ended the night with a surprise FREE concert, by an up-and-coming new artist who goes by the name of C.J. Ditto! You may want to keep an eye out for him in the near future.