-- a blog about enjoying retirement including grandchildren, family, travels, quilting, knitting, and whatever else happens -- Everyday is exciting! -- We are very blessed. ---- And we are Loving Retirement!
It's hard to believe that this decade is now gone. It seems like we were so worried about Y2K last year instead of 10 years ago! Looking back, we have been blessed with family, friends, and our health. In the last decade, both of our sons married and started families. Two daughters-in-law and six grandchildren have joined our family along with spouses of nieces and nephews and a number of great-nieces and great-nephews. We have both retired and been able to do some traveling. We haven't forgotten the hard and sad times - we just try to keep going forward.
We are looking forward to 2010 - a new year and a new decade.
Yesterday at 2 PM, the National Weather Service changed our Winter Storm Warning to a Blizzard Warning. I was in the car on my way home but still an hour away. I made it home fine and we don't plan to go anywhere for a day or so. This morning I took pictures. This shows the first twelve inches. We've had 2 or 3 more inches since then.
I love the trees with the snow on them.
This picture is looking across the street.
Here is Ray cleaning up the sidewalk.
Our neighbor plows our driveway. It took a long time this morning with the deep snow. He just finished clearing it a second time. I think the snow is over. Now we have wind and the temperature is falling.
I wanted to make a black and white string quilt for the baby but then I decided it really did need color. So this string quilt has a few strings of color and then color piping between each log strip.
The back is rather striking!
This quilt has minkee, regular cotton fabric, and chenille - lots of textures. It is just the right color for our newest grandson.
I found the pattern for this animal quilt when we were in northern Wisconsin and I just had to try some variation of the pattern. I'm not sure which is my favorite animal - it was fun to make all them!
I was making a snowman wallhanging and Mack told me it was Frosty the Snowman so this is the Frosty the Snowman wallhanging!
I was at Quilt Day Camp about three weeks ago at Lucky 2 Be Quilting. and saw a snowman apron. So I took the pattern, changed the hat, the mittens, and the placement of the arms, and this is the result. It is hanging in our family room and I like it!
On our recent trip to Tennessee and North Carolina, we enjoyed beautiful fall colors. I was inspired by the colors and also by a quilt that we saw at the Folk Art Center in Asheville, NC. So I decided to make this small wallhanging (10" X 11"). I plan to make a larger one also - it's on my list of things I want to do!
Work with the Census Bureau is going well. My new job has two parts - recruiting people to take the employment test so they can be employed by the Census Bureau and administering the test. The Bureau wants me to work up to 40 hours a week (mostly in my own county) and is extremely accommodating about time off. I should have my 4th quarter for Social Security/Medicare on Tuesday! The job will most likely go into next year so hopefully I'll get one or more quarters in 2010.
We really enjoyed Halloween - lots of trick-or-treaters. I thought I'd share pictures of our precious grandchildren.
Grandson Mack was so wound up that he could hardly contain himself and stand still for a picture! He is the cutest Garden Gnome that we've ever seen:
The Grands in North Carolina had a Wild West theme going. This is Barkeep Jackson with his great mustache, slick hair, and serious expression:
And Grace made a delightful Saloon Girl. I love her left hand in the picture! What a doll!
Sheriff Colter is absolutely adorable!
And Crosby even got into the spirit! What a sweetie!
October 31 holds special memories for me; it was my dad's birthday. It is always fun to watch our grandchildren, "adopted" grandchildren, and many others making their own special memories of Halloween.
We arrived home this afternoon. We are unpacked; the laundry is done; the bills are paid; and we have groceries. I still have more to do before I start work Monday...
We had a great trip. The highlight, of course, was seeing Brad and his family and meeting Crosby. Past that, we are having a hard time picking out our favorite things. We just really loved the entire journey.
The long weekend with Brad, Sheila and the kids was super. We have MANY photos and it is hard to preview them on this little netbook computer so I just chose a few to share!
Crosby is a little doll and a really good baby. Everyone loves to hold him -
Colter spends much of his time talking on his play phone. He makes it ring and then says "Hello. Hi.". He now says " Hello. Hi Mack!" He shared his toys with us...
Ray and I took a walk with Jackson on Friday while Grace was in school; we investigated everything especially dried worms on the sidewalk which made letters - like O, C, L, and S. Using my camera, Jackson took pictures of each one and every other interesting thing we found! On Saturday we repeated the walk with Grace, Jackson, and Colter. We found lots of acorns, leaves, and moss on that trip. Jackson had lots of smiles...
On Saturday, Grace and I got butterfly tattoos while Colter, Jackson, Brad, and Ray got frog tattoos. It turned into quite an event and the children were delighted with them! When we bought the temporary tattoos in Cherokee, we hoped the kids would enjoy them as much as their cousin Mack likes them. We weren't disappointed!
It was cute to see Colter climb up on the couch, get a pillow on his lap, and ask in his Colter-language for his brother. He (and Grace and Jackson) love to hold Crosby.
Grace read a number of books for us. Her reading level is incredible for a kindergartner. We also did a few puzzles. Sheila had a 300-piece puzzle that had big pieces and little pieces - I think she called it a family puzzle. We all (except Grandpa, Crosby, and Colter) did it one night.
Grace and Jackson helped finish some little projects that I began for them.
Grace and I have matching earrings that Ray and I bought in Alaska. They are the Alaskan state flower, the Forget-Me-Knot.
On Sunday, Sheila stayed home with Crosby (who seemed to be going through a growth spurt and wanted to eat almost constantly) while Brad took the rest of us to the North Carolina Zoo. Grace and Jackson were able to feed one of the young giraffes and we saw a baby baboon. Grace loved the ocelot and Jackson liked the cougars. Brad made sure we were at the sea lions and seals in time to see their feeding and watch their tricks. The zoo is extremely kid-friendly and Sunday was also a Halloween celebration so the kids collected candy by playing various games. It was a cloudy, cool day but a great day.
We crossed Illinois today and are in Davenport, Iowa tonight! There is a quilt shop, The Quiltmaker's Shoppe, that I need to stop at in Manchester, Iowa, and since I won't have time next week, we'll go there tomorrow. It is now almost on our way home!
We started out this morning in sunshine. Shortly after we got into Illinois, the rain began. It is still pouring out. It would be nice to see the sun again tomorrow!
We are staying at the lodge in Brown County State Park near Nashville, Indiana. It was raining when we arrived yesterday and has been overcast all day today. We spent most of today shopping in Nashville. We did take time to tour For Bare Feet, a sock company here. It was really interesting! One of their stores is opening in Galena soon.
On both Monday and Tuesday, I got calls from the Census Bureau. Looks like I will be going back to work for a while. My training starts on Monday in Rockford. This time I guess I'll be testing and perhaps training people. So we will be home this weekend for sure!
Our Internet connection isn't great but the indoor waterpark here is...so more later!
The desk clerk recommended that we eat at Angelo's, a local Italian place in Princeton, WV tonight. The pizza was good. Before we ordered, I asked the waitress (super nice, cute little blond high-schooler) if they had bacon - she said they didn't have regular bacon because the guys running the place were Greek. When she came back to take our order, we talked about the bacon again and her part of the conversation went something like this: the guys are Arabs or whatever you call them; oh yeah, they are gypsies! We got laughing. Then she said they were from Egypt. So I suggested Egyptians. She agreed; she had no idea what gypsies were. I felt like I really had a good laugh today and the best part was that we shared it with her!
We are heading north toward Nashville, IN and then home. We had a great time with Brad's family. I'll catch you up on our visit eventually!
Today, as usual, there is beautiful scenery everywhere. The trees are gorgeous. We are in Princeton, WV tonight. We mostly drove today. Did manage to stop at one quilt shop, Sew Original, in Winston-Salem, NC. This is a sister store with the one we stopped at last Wednesday! We had lunch at River Birch Lodge. It was recommended by the quilt shop and very good!
What a gorgeous day! It was cool when we got up but ended up in the 70s! We drove north on the Blue Ridge Parkway and had beautiful scenery. We stopped, hiked, and had lunch at Linville Falls.
Here we are near the end of the hike.
Shortly after lunch, we got off of the Parkway and went to The Original Mast General Store and Annex in Valle Crucis, NC. Ray wanted to go to one of the stores so we decided on the original one - it was very interesting with nice merchandise! We couldn't check everything out because there were lots of people.
We stopped in Boone at a quilt shop, Sew Original. I bought some fabric for a wallhanging to remind us of this trip. We saw a quilt in Asheville and it really served as a great inspiration. Golds, yellows, greens, browns, and reds - the colors of the leaves! Maybe I'll have it done for next fall!
We decided to head for Hickory because it was some place new to us. Lots of traffic - there was an accident on I-40 so we couldn't go directly to our motel. The last 2 miles of our detour took almost an hour.
We are excited and looking forward to seeing Brad, Sheila, Grace, Jackson, Colter, and meeting Crosby tomorrow.
We have had a gorgeous day - sunny blue sky! We planned to drive the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway starting in Cherokee. As luck would have it, that section (closed from snow and ice for a few days) opened this morning! So we headed north through beautiful scenery.
The clouds were below us and beautiful!
After a short hike, about 1/4 mile on the very steep Waterrock Knob Trail, we got back on the road. Thirty miles after getting on the Parkway, we had to exit due to ice in some tunnels. So we drove into Waynesville right to the quilt shop! Quilter's Quarters is a nice shop. They directed us to a place just a minute away for lunch - Nico's Cafe - great soup and sandwiches! You can always trust a quilt shop to know where to eat!
We drove through the historical part of Waynesville and would have stopped if we could have found a parking place - it looked like a really neat area but was packed with people. We finally got back on the Parkway and saw Mt. Pisgah and then we had to exit due to a mud and rock slide! So we got off and eventually got back on near Asheville. After seeing the Folk Art Center and finding out that all of the Parkway north of us is open again, we found a place to stay. We drove, took pictures, took a very short hike, shopped at a quilt shop, ate lunch and got 90 miles further down the road in 7 hours!
The front desk clerk sent us to Okie Dokie Smokehouse for dinner. When we arrived and saw 8 squad cars in the parking lot, we decided it must be good if the cops ate there. Actually it was the City of Asheville SWAT team. The Brunswick stew, hush puppies, and red coleslaw were very good!
I forgot to mention the schools in Cherokee yesterday. They opened a new school complex on the reservation this fall for K-12. It is huge - at least 8 - 10 buildings each 3-stories tall arranged in a oval. A huge football stadium, lots of playing fields, and a number of out buildings. We saw a class on one of the fields practicing fly fishing - they had poles and were casting. The complex is pretty awesome - it was larger than many community colleges!