Saturday, August 29, 2009

He Grew the Tree

I heard this song on the radio as I was driving around town the other day. As I listened to it I began thinking of the "me first" mentality of our society. I know it makes me sound old (and I'm getting there) to say "these days," but it's true. I had experienced 3 times that day someone pulling out in front of me to save a couple of seconds on their trip to wherever they were going, causing great possibility of danger to me and to themselves - and the fact that there was nobody behind me each time only aggravated me more, since they could have safely gone right after me and used only a couple more seconds. But I rant. The thing that struck me in this song was that Jesus thought nothing about Himself when He died for our sins. He even grew the tree that was to become His cross. Please take a few minutes to absorb the idea as this song plays.

Have a wonderful Sunday!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Technology - You Can't Live With It . . .

. . . and you can't live without it. We've had an amazingly ridiculous experience with our tech stuff for the past two weeks. We have a bundled package - cable, internet, and land line phone. It has worked well for a couple of years now. For some reason the t.v. never went out, but we have become very well acquainted with all levels of Comcast guys as the company sent out one techie after another to see if they could figure out what was going on.

It started when I couldn't get my internet to connect. Then I discovered that the phone wasn't working. I sat on my cell phone, with limited minutes, trying to resolve the problem. Little did we know how long this would go on. As it evolved, guys came out and checked out the lines all up and down our neighborhood - finding all sorts of problems which didn't solve ours, but probably prevented some for others.

We got a new modem, thinking that was the issue. We had to use the reset button every time the connection failed. It would work for awhile. Eventually we had to reset both the modem and the router, and it would work for awhile. Then we tried removing one of the wires from the router and plug it in again. Each time the internet would reconnect, the phone would go out.

We had guys here morning, afternoon, evening, Saturday - all frustrated with the inability to figure it out. Finally DC bought a new router and a battery back-up of some sort to prevent surges and ebb and flow of electrical power. We discovered that when we turn on our attic fan, the lights dimmed. So altogether, there were lots of things that went together to create these weird problems.

These tech guys, I have to say, bent over backwards for us. One even gave us his cell phone number so that we could reach him after hours. The final one tried to get my laptop working right, way beyond the call of duty. They helped us with things that weren't their equipment. They didn't charge us. I have to say that, even though it's been very frustrating, we have been treated well. We'll supposedly get a free month's coverage because of our patience. (In the midst of all this, we had another strange thing happening - about 8 times, we got a call from the somebody at the hospital, thinking they were calling a number with just a bit of a different number. Do you know how scary it is to get a call at midnight with the Caller ID saying it's from the hospital?? We never did figure it out, but it stopped, thank goodness).

So, once again, I have to give credit where credit is due. Twice in two months - go figure!!

Friday morning the girls called me just as I got to the gym - on my bike. They wanted me to come over and walk to school with them again. Being the kind of grandma who always tries to make things happen that are do-able, I hopped back on my bike and power pedaled home to hop in the car and rush down to their house, just in time to get to school before the bell rang. I had to catch a shot of them in the other outfits I got them for school - I don't know how much longer they'll be willing to dress alike, so I have to milk it for all it's worth! In fact, Care Bear said, when they got dressed, "Now the teachers will all say how cute we are again."

Saturday I looked over the fence to the yard behind us and saw this gigantic blow-up water slide device. The young mom greeted me over the fence and said they were having a Back to School party for their first grade son, inviting all of his classmates. She asked me to bring the girls over to play and have hot dogs for lunch. So I went down and got them and brought them back here, giving Kristen a bit of a break. It was a super hot day - one of the hottest of the summer - and they had a wonderful time. Care Bear jumped right into the action - it took Feisty a long time to get her courage up to go down a slide, but she finally did and they spent the whole afternoon over there.

Changing the subject drastically -- I found this cartoon the other day and it really gave me a good chuckle. I have had the same hair dresser for years - I have followed her to 12 or 13 different shops. She gives a great perm and we have fun conversations, catching up every few months. But - she never ever cuts the top short enough. I have to go back for a touch-up every time. I think Cathy has the same problem~~~~

(I think you'll have to double click on it to enlarge it, but I hope you can read it!)

Next up: The Patio Project

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thursday Thoughts

DC is home today - Wednesday is his new Friday and he's pretty happy about that. He's busy, as usual, catching up with yard stuff both here and at Kristen's place. It's another lovely day, but supposed to really warm up for the week-end.

I'm glad you all enjoyed the hummers on my last post - we have never had any luck attracting them to our yard, but I sure had fun watching them last week up in the hills.

So yesterday the big girls joyfully went off to school. I hope it remains that happy of an experience all year. Feisty was literally glowing, as you'll see from the pictures. I wish I had caught a shot of her little feet under the table, swinging because she's too short for her chair. She made it through the day without any "accidents", but didn't make it through the evening. She's making progress, though, and thanks for your prayers.

Feisty's teacher is brand new, right out of college. That always makes for excitement in the classroom. I used to work with her dad and uncle when she was a little girl - makes me feel very, very old! Care Bear's teacher, on the other hand, is someone I worked with years ago when I was the "kitchen lady" in an elementary school. She's a Christian, and a wonderful veteran teacher. This will be good for CB, I think. She was a new teacher back then, so another sign of the aging of me!

I have thoroughly enjoyed this week off from Grandma duty. Kristen has had a great week with some good "one on two" time with the twinnies. I have been able to catch up on lots of stuff that goes undone when there is so much action in the house! It is totally amazing how long the house stays clean when it's just the two of us. Starting next week I'll have the littles two or three days a week, depending on what Kristen and I work out. I'll enjoy that.

The twins had their check-ups last week. They weigh 20 and 18 pounds, and are each close to 30 inches long - Katie is 3/4 inch taller - double their birth length. They are good in every area. However, the doctor was concerned about their "twin language" and their lack of understandable vocabulary. The big girls were each saying around 100 words by the time they were 18 months old - which is way beyond normal. Emma "talks" all the time, and some of it is "real" words. Katie babbles, too, but not as much as Emma. Her favorite thing is "Whatsat?" So I think one of these days she'll come forth with a complete vocabulary, based on the fact that she has asked what everything is and she's storing the knowledge in her hard drive. They do converse with each other, and we know they know exactly what they're saying.

However, they will have an appointment with a speech therapist soon and we'll see what she thinks. I Googled and have been been doing some reading on twin language, and talked to a teacher who is concerned - it is not good, apparently, for them to keep their thoughts to themselves as a pair!

One of the blessings of this summer, though it was incredibly hard work, was getting Kristen and the girls into a smaller, less expensive house, but with a huge back yard in a culdesac so the littles can actually play outside. They were on a very busy corner with a tiny yard. They're making good use of it!

By an interesting mistake of sorts, we have ended up with lots of ripe peaches. I'm not into canning and freezing, but don't want them to go to waste. I went to my friend Google and found out that they can be frozen whole, with skins, and are good to go when they're thawed. Has anyone tried this?

I found this great piece over at Gigi's place, In the Throne Room. I love it and thought I'd pass it along - enjoy! Click below and be sure to play the video.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesday Trivia

The summer has sped by on wings. School starts tomorrow for our girls, but today they have assessment tests at 8:20 a.m. No more sleeping in for Kristen and her kiddoes! She begins school next week as well, so we have to figure out our schedule when I will have the littles.

DC went back to work yesterday. When the six weeks began, I thought it seemed like a long time. It was such a blessing in disguise - he and the big girls had so much fun together. They went to the beach, to a pool, to the pottery shop to make a cup and a plate, bike riding, played soccer and Frisbee, went to Estes Park (where they played mini golf, drove bumper cars, and played tourist). He really bonded with the babies. He got so much done in the yard. This man will have no trouble staying busy in retirement! He is working three day weeks now. However, the company is still in a real slump, so we don't know what will happen next. It is tough to watch a company that has had nothing but upward success suddenly struggling. Especially since the owners are such good friends who have employed so many from our church who were desperate for jobs.

Last Thursday DC and I went on the senior adult monthly get-together - their annual cook-out in the mountains. I have to say that it is hard for me to realize I am eligible for this group. Yet, I have absolutely no problem asking for the senior discount at any given restaurant! One of the hardest parts is being in the social group with my parents. But they are great folks (many of whom I have known since I was a young young adult) and it was enjoyable. One couple invites everyone up to the spot where they park their camper, and they supply the food and do all the work.

I didn't take any scenery pictures this time, but had a great time watching the hummingbirds. I've never had any success photographing them before, but these little guys were very cooperative. Please indulge me - I couldn't decide which ones to eliminate, so am sharing quite a few. If you double click, you can see amazing detail and coloring.

This one was taken with just the regular setting, before I changed it to the setting for children in action. Children and hummingbirds have a lot in common, I guess - constant motion!

The rest were taken with the action setting.

I have this entire week without children. I made a rather long list of all the things that I've neglected this summer when I've had them every day. I knocked off quite a few today and it feels good. But I have left the worst to last - getting my banking caught up. I do it on line and you'd think I could do it daily, wouldn't you? But I procrastinate terribly - something I never did when I was employed. But - tomorrow, tomorrow.

You know those magazines that come with the week-end newspapers? I always enjoy reading the question/answer portions the most. There was one this week that I had never thought of before, but it is fascinating. Have you ever thought of the fact that the last boy to live in the White House with his father, the president, was John-John Kennedy? Think about it - every president after JFK has had only daughters (Johnson, Nixon, Clinton, George W. Bush, Obama) or sons who were already grown (Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush). Interesting!

Please keep praying for Feisty - she has her ups and downs, but is mostly very proud of herself.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Thursday Thoughts

I want to thank all of you for your prayers for Feisty. Your prayers are having an affect on the situation. School starts one week from today and, if all things continue as they have the last few days, Feisty is going to be ready! Praise the Lord - and all of you who are such faithful prayer warriors.

Thanks also for your concern about the dog incident. I want to talk to the young father who is not doing the right thing with this rottweiler puppy. As much as I was angry at the dog, I do realize that it is the fault of the owner that the dog is not under control. I am just amazed at how calm Care Bear was shortly after the incident. Feisty has always had an unhealthy fear of dogs, and I'm sure this has not helped.

Yesterday was a great day for me. I know I have written before about my four high school friends - we used to get together every 3 months for lunch. One has moved back to Nebraska, and we have lost track of one. The one who moved back to Nebraska has bought a cabin here in Colorado, not too far from here. The three of us were at her cabin yesterday, and we spent 5 hours catching up (well, two of us had 7 hours, because we rode together up and back). Our jaws were tired, but it was wonderful.

I love the way the rocks come up out of the water in this lake.

Today DC and I took a trip up to the Social Security office to start the process of my hopefully getting some benefits when I turn 62. I am quite confused, but supposedly I can get something, or maybe not. We'll see! But the thing that really blew my mind - we stood in front of a window with a hole cut in it to talk through - in a large room full of others waiting for their turn. There were about 8 windows, and we were at the very first one - the thing that blew my mind was when they asked us for our SS numbers - we had to verbally tell them our number and other personal information to ensure that we were who we said we were. They wanted our birth dates, our mothers' maiden names, and I can't remember what else. But I kept thinking - I sure hope nobody's listening closely or can read lips! With all the commotion about identity theft, I found it quite inappropriate to have to say these things out loud in an open area. What do you think?

I had a strange realization today - how often we can accomplish what we want to do with technology that would amaze our grandparents, if they were still alive. I went into a bathroom where the light was off - suddenly it came on without any help from me. Of course, the flusher went off by itself, the water faucet came on when I waved my hand underneath it, and the hand dryer started by itself (other places of course have the "wave" towel dispensers).
I go to the grocery store, buy my things, check them out by myself, pay by swiping a card, put them in bags (that if you forget to do, you get reminded by a disembodied bossy voice!), grab the receipt, and go home. Then, of course, there's the GPS telling me where to go and how to get there - and getting really upset if I choose to go a slightly different way. Isn't it amazing when you think of it? I know that there are many other examples of things that we can do now without the aid of a "real live person." Can you think of some?

I have been studying Ecclesiastes with Chuck Swindoll's study guide for the last few months. I have found many verses that I really like. These two have struck me this week:

Ecclesiastes 7:14: When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future.

Ecclesiastes 7:29: This only have I found: God made man upright, but men have gone in search of many schemes.

Oh, my - timeless words, apropos to today.

Friday, August 07, 2009

The Week in Review

How can it be? The "summer" is almost over - in the sense that school starts in 12 days. Care Bear will be in second grade and Feisty will be in kindergarten. I have a prayer request in this regard - many of you have prayed for Feisty over the last couple of years because of her frequent UTIs - caused from constipation for the most part. She is still struggling with consistency, is on a medicine to prevent infection, and large doses of Miralax. Nobody wants to keep her out of kindergarten, but this is a huge blockade. Please pray for her little mind and body as she prays about it every night!


August is a busy time in our town. There are three major events to promote community togetherness. Interestingly enough, I don't participate in any of them. I'm not much into crowds on hot summer Saturdays.

The first one was last week-end when the county fair hit the scene. The big girls got to go with great Aunt Grace to see some of it last week. It was before the rides were set up, and they hoped all week that someone would take them back out there for some more fun. But all of a sudden it was over and we never got out there. Well, maybe next year!

This week-end is huge. I've mentioned before that our town has become a huge center for the arts - particularly bronze sculptures. This week-end is Sculpture in the Park - an event that brings people from all over the world to enjoy sculptures - and buy - and spend lots of money in town while they're here. It's less than a mile from our house, but we've never attended.

Across the street in another park is
Art in the Park where dozens of artisans set up their wares. We usually try to make it to this one - it's free! But the north end of town is a massive mess of traffic for the week-end. If we do go, we'll walk or ride our bikes.

Then in two more weeks is the annual Corn Roast - an event that was held for years, then stopped, and reprised about 6 years ago. There is a parade, a corn shucking contest, a corn recipe contest, and lots and lots of corn eating. The committee gets 10,000 ears from Sakata Farms. This year Sakata was hit by a horrendous hail storm and there was great fear that there would not be 10,000 ears of corn available. But, happily, tonight's paper told us that there were enough ears salvaged for the event. Whew!!

A couple of weeks ago the downtown association hosted a large bar-b-que contest, and a cherry pie contest. We went last year, but decided not to go back - too many people. We're kind of party poopers, I guess. But I'm glad so many people do attend.


So - as I mentioned - school starts very soon. Care Bear arrived the other morning and said, "Can we go school clothes shopping, Grandma? There are three good places to go school clothes shopping - Target, Wal Mart, and K-Mart. I think K-Mart is the best."

"Why do you think K-Mart is best?"

"Because I saw a commercial and they said they're the best place for school clothes. And I know they wouldn't lie."

I really thought I should tell her the truth about commercials!


One of the best things about this blogging world is the sharing we do of our good and bad days, prayer requests, answers to prayer, just plain things we need to talk about. I have a question -- Lately I have been having some numbness in my feet, especially when I've been sitting, sometimes when I wake up in the morning. It is kind of a band around the middle of my foot. Now I do plan, of course, to mention this to my doctor whenever I find the time to get in for my annual physical, but I just wondered if any of you had any experience with something like this.


When I showed the picture of the babies playing on the old couch cushions, someone asked me to show the new furniture. So I gladly oblige --


Has anybody found the teeny tiny Popsicles that are out this year? At least I've never seen them before - they had them one night for VBS snacks, and I found them at the store last week-end. They are just the right size for the littles - supposedly they don't melt as quickly, but that's not really true. But they are just so cute!


We had an amazing, traumatic experience yesterday afternoon, and proof to me that we have angels watching over us! I decided we'd walk to the mailbox, which is at the end of the cul de sac. Care Bear was wondering if her friend was home, and was about to go to her door and knock when suddenly the garage door opened and their two huge dogs came lunging out into the yard - straight at the 4 girls. All of us began screaming - the rotweiller was all over Care Bear - I was in such a state of shock. I was holding Emma, and Katie was standing innocently on the sidewalk. Feisty, who is already afraid of dogs, was hiding behind me, I think. I was trying to rescue Care Bear and keep the stupid dog from knocking Katie over. I have to say, and hope it doesn't offend anyone, that I am not a fan of large dogs - and particularly ones that aren't well behaved. I have watched enough episodes of Judge Judy to know what can happen when uncontrolled animals are allowed to be loose.

Suddenly, the neighbor guy came to the rescue. I didn't even know who it was at the moment. Care Bear was so "freaked out" as she says, that she went literally sprinting, screaming, back to our house, holding her head, her glasses lost somewhere, and one flip flop left behind. I found that she did have a large bump on the back of her head, with a bit of an abrasion.

The grandma, who was caring for the girls, came running down to our house carrying the glasses. She was in tears and we hugged as she apologized over and over - she felt responsible, because she thought the dogs were in the back yard, not in the garage. She just opened the garage so that the girls could get their bikes out. She told me she has been after her son to get the dog trained, "fixed", and to spend more time with him. The other dog is older and gentle, and didn't cause a problem.

I have to tell you, when I awoke early this morning, the whole episode kept playing itself over and over in my head. I believe it was the most afraid I've ever been. I am just so thankful that it was not worse. Thank you, Lord!


I'm going to close with a quote from the book I'm reading right now. Have you discovered the "No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" series by Alexander McCall Smith? I love these books - they give me somewhat the same feeling as the Mitford series as I read them - peaceful, but in a totally different way, as life in Botswana comes to life. I find myself smiling as I enjoy the author's way with words. I love this passage:

"Nothing was forever; not her, not Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, not the house, not even Botswana. She had recently read that scientists could work out exactly when everything would come to an end and the earth would be swallowed up by the sun - or was it some other planet? - and there would be nothing left of any of us. That had made her think, and she had raised the issue with her friend, Bishop Trevor Mwamba, over tea outside the Anglican Cathedral, one Sunday morning . . . 'Is it true?' she had asked, 'that the sun will swallow up the earth and that will be that?'

"Trevor had smiled. 'I do not think that this is going to happen in the near future, Mma Ramotswe,' he had replied. 'Certainly not by next Tuesday . . . And, frankly, I don't think that we should worry too much about that. Our concern should be what is happening right now. There is plenty of work for love to do, you know.' "

"There is plenty of work for love to do. That was a wonderful way of putting it, and she had told him that this could be the best possible motive for anybody to have."

Check these books out, if you haven't. Let me know what you think.

Well, I'd better hit the sack. Have a wonderful week-end!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Monday Musings

Wow, it's been almost a week since I wrote anything (except silly little things on Facebook). Somebody turned on the furnace today, and I'm not thrilled. It got to 92F this afternoon, and a laptop on the lap doesn't feel good at this temp!

We had a wonderful service yesterday morning, and a good time with loved ones for lunch and the afternoon - one of those serendipitous occasions - I had nothing in the house to eat and didn't get to the store because - Kristen moved Saturday, I had the babies and did Kristen's laundry, and waited for some new furniture to arrive. I have to say I think I got the best end of the deal! But I didn't sleep well last night and am quite tired and wishing I could just sit here. But I wanted to go to church, because I needed another shot of blessing!

The reason I didn't sleep well - I couldn't get the sight of Kristen's new garage out of my mind, and my brain wanted to solve the problem of where in the world she's going to put all of this stuff in a house much smaller than the one she's moving from. She thought that was pretty silly of me, but I ask you, can you tell your mind what to think about and make it shut down so you can go to sleep??

The new furniture has been needed for a long time. Remember all the times the big girls "played cushions" with the old couch? Well, the littles only got to do it one time, but they made the most of being the only ones here before Grandpa moved the couch out of the house and delivered it to ARC or Good Will. Oh, the giggles!!

One really good thing about this six-week "furlough" (read shutdown) is that Grandpa has been home, and is a really good entertainer to the bigger girls especially. They are just all over him!

But then he has his own days where he gets to do what he loves almost as much as being with the girls --

The twins are learning early - and it is a good thing they are learning. Kristen heard some commotion in the kitchen the other morning and caught them (on her phone camera) in the act - of cleaning the floor! Feisty's little toy broom and mop were being put to good use.

The beds were in their new place, but who could find the sheets? And Kristen was totally wiped out. So they stayed one more night with us. There is absolutely nothing more precious than the sight of sleeping grandgirls - especially in their mommy's old room.

Kristen just sent me this shot of the first picnic in the new back yard - one of the very good things about the new spot --

Changing the subject drastically -- last Thursday was the anniversary of Dan's death. The first grandbaby was due on July 16. My friend really did not want the baby to come on the anniversary, but God had other ideas. The little girl was born at almost the exact time our friends were being told of the death of their precious son. Now they have a happy connotation to counter the sadness. I think God knew what he was doing!