Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Still in full bore summer mode...

First of all, Tom's Mom's surgery was a success. Arlene came home from the hospital this afternoon.
Thank you for your prayers!
Next, Today is Ralph's 80th birthday... Happy Birthday to him!
It is also my Favorite Son in Law, Stephen's birthday. Happy Birthday, Sven!
The twins made their static line jump this past Saturday, July 5th. Here is my post to a group of friends regarding it.
As I mentioned, my 'babies' turned 18 a couple of weeks ago. They used their birthday money and windfall from an unexpectedly well paying job to go to 'ground school' in preparation for a static line jump from an aircraft. Static line is the one where you jump- no instructor with you, and a line deploys your chute on exit of the plane. This fun little venture involves climbing out of a plane and hanging from the wing struts before dropping from 4,500 feet in the sky. Even with my glasses on, that is too high to see even the CHUTE for several minutes.

The diver is equipped with a two way radio, by which an instructor on the ground gives steering instructions and advice. In event of a radio failure, the diver is to look for "the ground arrow" and follow the directions given by the instructor communicated through this gigantic (about 12 foot long) arrow mounted on a pivot. The diver is to signal he realizes his radio is malfunctioning through a specific series of maneuvers with his chute.

So, Sam, my last born... exited the plane first. The pilot had dropped him much too far to the north of the landing zone, but the ground instructor was able to relay through the radio what Sam was to do. Sam had been apprehensive about the jump, to the point that Mr C told me he was concerned about Sam jumping at all.

The instructor allowed us a special *treat*... we were allowed onto the landing zone, not far from the "ground arrow" to watch the boys descents. Mr C and I, my former DIL Jennifer- mother of my eldest two grandkids, and said grands, Connor and Alana. (Jennifer has known the twins from birth and babysat them long before my DS#1 married her.)

So Sam's chute appears, bright orange and yellow in the partly cloudy blue sky. He follows the instructions and does a PERFECT feather light landing on his feet. We had been told that every diver is instructed to roll on landing... but if he doesn't NEED to roll, he will know it. The instructor helped Sam gather his chute, and he comes over to stand with us while we wait Daniel's jump. Sam said it was fun, but he isn't sure he EVER wants to do it again.

Look, up in the sky! Not one diver, but TWO. The air instructor had also jumped just after Daniel, but had done a freefall, so she was well below him.
Daniel was not responding to radio instructions from the ground instructor.
The jump school personnel all began to gather out on the field. The ground guy starts spinning the ground arrow, Dan's signal to respond with the specific "I see and understand" chute actions.
Dan is not responding.
I can sense the growing apprehension among the school personnel. They are scattering across the landing zone.
Dan's chute is a cloud white and hazy sky blue... it is difficult to see the chute against the sky and clouds.

Dan never gave the "see and understand" signal, but the ground instructor began using the ground arrow to send directional signals. Our family was huddled in our designated area, hands clasped in prayer. I was praying aloud and had tears running down my face. Sam stood with his chute clutched, in tense anticipation, telling Dan what to do... though of course Dan couldn't hear him other than the psychic connection!

Dan gets low enough for the ground crew to all begin to converge, shouting at him. He was still a good 50' feet off the ground, and thought they were telling him to "flare" his chute- which collapses it. (They were shouting at him to bring his legs together into proper landing form.) So he flared his chute WAAAYYY too high. (Sam says it is VERY hard to gauge how high up you still are.)

Dan landed hard but went into the perfect roll.

He had not given the "see and understand" signal because he was too low when he realized his radio was malfunctioning. He couldn't FIND the ground arrow for a long time, and had relied solely on his training and instructions prior to boarding the aircraft, to get to the landing zone, where he did, finally see and respond to the ground arrow.

He had a grand old time. He can't wait to do it again.Eek!

I came home with a sick headache... too much sun and stress. I've had nightmares for two nights now, waking from hot flashes/ cold sweats and feeling pukish.

I hadn't even thought about Jennifer having kept the boys as babies while this was going on. She said yesterday she was a wreck! "

 The garden grows on. Yesterday and today, Sam helped me pick beans. We put up five QUARTS yesterday. Today, we set aside a big batch for supper, and put up another five pints. I got five or six squash from our five squash plants yesterday, and almost as many today. I failed to "deal with" the squash yesterday. This afternoon, I was putting together a squash casserole. I use disposable foil pans, as I generally cook these casseroles out on the grill. I was talking to Sam, and asked whether he thought the pan was about rightly sized for our meals. He agreed it was, but then asked me why I don't just make more than one at a time? I do have all this squash to work with. And I have the pans, as well as other ingredients.
It was an AH HA! moment. Much of the squash already frozen is destined for casseroles. As long as I am making one... how much more trouble is it to make two? (DOH!) Saves clean up later on, deals with the squash all at once.
I sure have smart kids.
And, if I failed to mention it lately, I believe I have KIND kids. THOUGHTFUL kids.
When in town, if one twin stops and buys himself a treat, he buys TWO, so that his brother may partake.
Outside of just the twins, I was thinking of Benjamin and Tommy "translating" thoughtless remarks. "I didn't like what you made for dinner".
Let me (Ben) translate that: "I appreciate you making dinner for us! It was a nice thing to do.  Next time you might try ______ (suggested improvements)." to a budding cook.

Becky and Stephen have been hard at work making improvements to their home. They came down to a choice: Buy a new GOOD vacuum to replace their latest broken 'disposable' (unfixable cheap) vacuum, or rip out the 1970's carpet and put down hard flooring. I didn't ask the price of the flooring, but I know a GOOD vacuum runs almost $350.  They went with the flooring! It is beautiful!

It has been a bit less than a week since the boys skydive, and I am still having nightmares. Maybe a wee bit of PTSD? I've been told I have PTSD from Bill's death, maybe this exacerbated it?

On my "pennies from Heaven"... the last two days I am finding dimes in the oddest places. I told "Bill", If you can drop dimes, maybe you should try leaving me $100 bills to find!!

That's all, thanks for reading!

 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Few minutes for an update...

The garden is still taking  much of my time outside of work. Today, after picking green beans, I decided I had enough to can a couple of jars, as we are about green beaned out on eating fresh cooked ones, and the fresh have surpassed more than we can eat at a time.
My "couple of jars" ended up being SIX pints, which are currently in the pressure canner.
The pea vines were pulled up last night, and the remainder of the peas, Sam shucked while I worked on the beans. I added one half-pint of peas into the lot of canned stuff. I have yet to deal with the squash from today and yesterday. I didn't pick any more blackberries today... I am just worn out, for some reason.
Hopefully I will have nice berry picking weather for my 'long weekend'! I need to freeze some more to make blackberry cobblers and such!
Yesterday, I dealt with the cucumbers a co-worker gave me, and made a batch of bread and butter pickles.  I have been either canning or freezing foods here on a daily basis for the last several weeks.


*****************
One day this last week, while I was the ONLY person at work, I was preparing to get started receiving merchandise. I heard a distinct "tink" and looked down to find a penny at my feet. Like it appeared from out of the sky! My first thought, "Penny from Heaven!" and either Bill or my brother, Roger. Then I realized I had stuck my box knife in my pocket, and the penny may of come from being wedged in its clasp.
Nevertheless, I took it as a sign my family was saying "Hello". I mentioned this to my boss today... He mentioned how he sees a cardinal bird as a Hello from his deceased family. He had never heard of Pennies from Heaven. It was a VERY short time later... I found another penny on the floor. Someplace no one was EVER likely to LOSE a penny. I said, "Hi, Bill!"


*************
I don't have to work Saturday. HOORAY!
(At least, not on the paying job.)
I am quite sure garden produce will have me hopping!
************
Dan and Sam did their ground school for a static line jump from an aircraft last weekend, but conditions prevented their jumping. Not sure if that will happen this weekend or not.
***********
And there is my timer on the beans. Have a blessed day/ weekend! Thanks for reading. PS prayers appreciated for 1) MIL having a surgery for a vein stent on Monday, non heart related. Also, a special request concerning something I have desired for YEARS, which must remain unspoken at the moment.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Fruit flies like a banana...

Jasher, 11 months
Perhaps it was said before Groucho Marx... "Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana". Time has certainly flown. Today our little Jasher is ONE year old!
Benjamin, one year

He looks very much like Ben did at this age, but also looks like Paula.
Jasher
A "weezie" of Jasher and I.
This was Ben's first birthday cake. Loved his expression!
********************
Our garden is really going to town on squash, peas, and onions. I have also been taking advantage of the bounty God has blessed us with, harvesting wild chamomile for chamomile tea, and some to possibly be used as soap.  Tom has helped me harvest wild blackberries, and as I recently learned from Becky's friend Sarah, wild raspberries. The raspberries are not ripe, for the most part, but we have picked enough blackberries for two batches of jelly.
 
Daniel and Sam have both been working- FOUR part time jobs. (One is temporary, another is occasional.) Busy boys. Dan really wants to go hiking, but simply hasn't taken the time off to do so.
 
My job has kept me busy as well, along with the garden and trying to do more around the house- inside as well as out.
 
Here is one of my favorite pictures of the week.
Grace and Dakota
 



Monday, June 16, 2014

June

I have been at a loss on what to do for the boys' 18th birthday, which is TOMORROW!
So far, I have posted an open invitation on Facebook for people to call, text, or send cards to the boys.
Mr C and I went to Atwoods yesterday and bought three mixed six packs of a variety of sodas, including their favorite Ale-8-1. We discovered Ale-8-1 a few years back as we traveled through Kentucky after a family reunion. It is a "local" soda, almost unknown outside the borders of the state of Kentucky.
Next door to Atwoods is Family Dollar, where we got them each a helium balloon, as well as a birthday banner, and some paper plates and cups. All these things are currently residing in my bathroom, which is one of the least likely places for them to be discovered.
Mr C is thinking of shopping for them today- maybe this afternoon. At the moment he is out on the weekly grocery shopping trip.
I also ordered the boys each a polo shirt from Think Geek- "Aperture Science Laboratories"- the fictional laboratory of their current favorite computer game Portal. The shirts should arrive today or tomorrow.
The boys both wanted to do a skydive ASAP.

Both boys are working three to four jobs, part time, in addition to doing  their school work. They work for The Wooden Spoon, primarily. Then for our handicapped neighbor, Anthony. Recently, they have begun working for a chicken farmer who needs some hard labor at updating his (currently birdless) facility. And they work for my co-worker John when he needs them. They are industrious young men. (Contrast to one of my co-workers sons, who is about ten months older. This fellow is Army reserve... one weekend a month. And part- time at McDonalds... when he feels like going.)

So tomorrow, ALL of my kids are legally grown up. Pardon me while I go cry for awhile. It isn't like we didn't know this was coming. And both boys are still living at home- Dan at least until he heads off to the Appalachian Trail in March, and who knows what the next few months will bring with Sam?
Today, Dan asked me how one goes about becoming a pilot, short of joining the military. He cited Roy and Julie Zesch as examples of private pilots he knows. I know Tom always wanted to get a private pilots license, yet never has done so.

Our garden is growing well. We had our first fruits of onions, and squash this weekend. This year we are growing pole beans instead of bush beans... and they are way taller than I am right now. The peas are in full bloom, tomatoes are setting, and have several bell peppers that will be eatin' size in a few days. Oh, and the wild blackberries are ripening. I just remembered that I saw some yesterday. I need to get jeans and sleeves on and get out picking before the heat and humidity of the day are too much!
Be blessed!
Call or text (479) 212 1798 tomorrow to wish the boys a happy birthday. (Be sure you leave a name with your text so they know who it is from!)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Don't be sad because it is over, smile because it happened...

and other things to keep oneself going after vacation!
I had a wonderful time visiting in Texas, although I did miss seeing several friends while there. As the family joke goes, it always rains when we visit. And it did.
The year's accumulated rainfall was at .75" before I arrived. In two days, they got 7.75 more inches.
This resulted in some flooding, but I don't think there were too many complaints about that!

I got to meet Miss Grace Remington Jones. What a sweet little girl. She weighed 9 lbs. 14 oz at her 4 week appointment.
I also got to go with Pya (Paula) to her midwife appointment. Her gluten free diet has dropped her protein spillage tremendously! Hooray for figuring out the natural way to fix an ailment!

Little Jasher is cruising... not quite ready to let go and actually walk... and not about to let anyone help him! Offer him your hand to help him walk, he turns to jelly legs.

Dakota Rose adores her new baby sister. Pretty much every waking moment is spent by Grace's side. She shares her toys and talks to Grace.

Kimber Ann enjoyed the company of cousin Alana. 
Alana was good with helping with her younger cousins. She helped fix hair, and played house. She helped Tyrel "build a fence" around the playhouse. Becky and I sat cringing in the house while Tyrel hammered a board Alana was holding into the ground. She never even flinched.

Tyrel is getting so big... and smart. And, funny as always. He told someone he was "Jones on the outside, but Coder on the inside."

We had Nickole for this past weekend, picking her up on our way back from Texas. I hope she had a good time. She was sick Saturday, and it rained virtually her entire visit, so we never ventured out. She was good at entertaining herself.
At one point she demanded to play "checkers". We don't have checkers, but she indicated the chess set. So Sam started trying to teach her to play "Chest". He explained the ways each piece could move, their purpose, and names.
Then he told her she could make the opening move. She opened with a CLASSIC defensive move... just the way every family member I know would of opened the game.
Sam's jaw pretty much dropped. he took a step back and says, "I am impressed. I MUST say, I AM IMPRESSED!"
I could hear Bill Joe laughing.

Nickole and I looked at old pictures. She was amazed I knew her daddy, and told me again and again he had died. (I know, sweetie, I know.) She was astonished to see him as a little boy. Funny how we tend to not ever think of our parents as ever being children. I showed her a few of Laura... one she thought was a picture of herself! She told me Laura is her other Mommy, her birth mother.

Today was back to work. I was told repeatedly how glad everyone is that I am back. (Not glad enough to lift 35 batteries for me, though!) None of the planograms were done while I was gone, so today was long... and so will tomorrow be. Today is longer, by a meeting I am required to attend at 8 pm tonight. That's close to my bedtime! Boss assures me it will be brief, but I am required to attend because we have some "shipping and receiving issues to go over." :(

I took a nap as soon as I got home. Had a shower later... but when I laid down to talk on the phone, I stiffened up and almost needed help to get up. MUST look for a less strenuous job... though Mr C seems in favor of me staying where I am.

I was delighted to get to see Chris, after almost 2 years. There are positive things happening in his life there. And things I am hoping he can overcome once he is out.

Tommy was back from Brasil. He had an AMAZING missions trip, and is hoping to go next month to an orphanage in Haiti. Then back to school in August. So far, a 4.0 GPA!

Dan and Sam are one week from 18 years old. Where has the time gone. We haven't made any big birthday plans. Is it too late for a surprise party?

Well, it is time for me to get ready to go back to work for the meeting. Have a blessed night and thank you for reading.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

ALLLLLmost vacation!

I get to pick up my Alana Saturday! She and I will drive to Texas... staying Saturday night with my Mom. I learned my brother Robbie may also be there. And on Sunday, we continue down to see Becky and the family. AND as Ben informs me... once again, the timing of our visit is to bring much needed rain to parched Western Texas.
I don't know if we have ever visited when it hasn't rained. And considering it is almost June, and they have just  under .75 inches of recorded rainfall this YEAR... it's high time we brought some rain down.
After my time in Texas.. I get to pick up Miss Nickole for the weekend. This will be her first time to stay with us without her parental units. (Unit?) Last time we saw her for more than a few minutes was with Bill Joe.
Daniel finally got his long awaited backpack. He ordered it some five months ago... and it has been on back order that long. He is so excited and ready to do some shorter hikes before the AP Trail comes up.
Work has had up days, and down days. Mostly, all is caught up. The last few days, regular freight has kept me at least half an hour over every day. I am SOOOOOOO looking forward to being off.
 I talked to a person today about a job... I am supposed to come and see the current person in action before I decide to apply. Then there is that pesky 'give notice' and such. IF I think I can handle the high pressure of Spongebob Squarepants job. Person who hires tells me that others have watched the current person and declined the job.
Tonight, the Individuals dressed as much like twins as they could... to attend a school function at the local Mennonite School that many of their co-workers are affiliated with. (The group that threw them a birthday bash last year!) (MY BABIES are going to be 18 in less than a MONTH!)
Their plan is to not associate with one another all night, and feign surprise if anyone mentions their resemblance. This is a full school function, not just their co-workers!
I love my kids. Quirky, funny, surprisingly individual people... ALL of them. And I get to be their Mom.

Tommy is in Brasil. Continue prayers for him. He is seeing miracles, but facing spiritual warfare as well. I believe he is in his element. This makes me happy... and sad. Sad because Brasil is so far away. Happy because he is doing what he loves, what he is called to do.

Thank you for reading.

Friday, May 16, 2014

We know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him

and are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Yeah, so what was it, a couple of weeks ago that I was raging about my boss arbitrarily cancelling my vacation, so that HE could go away for the weekend?

For some reason, I was thinking that THIS weekend was Memorial Day Weekend. I went to check with the boss child about whether the distribution centers and drivers were working on Monday, because if they are not, then I don't work Tuesday. (No freight.)
Bad news and good news on that.
 Bad news- this is NOT Memorial Weekend, as I am sure you realized about the time you read that sentence. Good news, it is next weekend, AND the distribution center and drivers do not, in fact work. Boss noticed that the 28th was the ONLY day I was having to work that week. And he had previously offered to let me have it off- not realizing it followed hard on Memorial Day. But he went ahead and approved me being off Wednesday. So once I am off work next Saturday, the 24th... I don't have to be back until June 7th. (The day I work a few hours, then get to be off until the following Tuesday, the 11th.)
 I am almost ready to forgive the boss and revoke my mean hopes that his wife would be having her Auntie visit on their anniversary weekend. (Yes, I admit that I was really feeling justified in that wish against him. This is why God has plenty to do in correcting my thinking.)

The plan is now that I can go on ahead early- whether flying or driving- and spend a few more days with the kids. Get to meet Grace Remington a few days earlier. If I get to drive early, I can pick up Alana and we can spend some time together- though I am sure she would have a very grand time being the center of her Grumpaw's attention if he insists that he would rather I fly and he drive. (We need to get that figured out so I can let Jennifer know!)

Meanwhile, I am pretty excited.
The last TWO days have been remarkably light on freight. It was a VERY good thing on Thursday, as I could barely move. I took ibuprofen before work, during my workday, and could tell exactly when that four hour dose wore off every time. Mr C rubbed my back and shoulders with Theragesic.
Most everyone knows how I hate to be rubbed or massaged at all... yet actually asked him to put the stuff on me, on three occasions! Today, I am back to just being normally sore from being 'older' and out of condition. (Notice I didn't say, "out of shape". Round IS a shape.)

Have a blessed evening. Please pray for Tommy and his mission group in Brazil.

Bone Update: No word back from the sheriff's office on the status of the bones I dropped off. But after torrential rains, another, intact, bone washed up. A number of pictures of it are on the Moocrew3 site.