Saturday, July 19, 2014

More of Dad's Slides

Back in December 2013, I converted about half of Dad's slide collection. Seven months later, I finished the job.

This batch was primarily of photos taken in the late 1950's when Dad was stationed at Ladd AFB/Fort Wainright in Fairbanks, Alaska.

I liked the old signs in this picture.

Unknown friend with Ladd AFB Sign.

This is my Dad. He had an accounting type job in the army, so I'm wondering if this was where we worked.

Here he is in his dress uniform.

I loved seeing the pictures of the old stores & streets.

Alaskan scenery

Dad at Mount McKinley.

Dad in his old Lizton HS letter jacket.



Soldiers on skis

More scenery

Another street view

Then there were so much pictures from the early 60's too. Here's my Dad's parents with my mom at Tom Sawyer's fence, according to the sign.

My grandfather

There were several pictures of kitties on the farm.

I loved this kitty photo!

And a picture from 1975 when we had our Japanese exchange student, Junko. Junko brought a kimono for mom. Isn't Bethany cute??

I am very happy to be finished with all the slides. I can return them to Dad, now.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Baby Bird

This spring we became aware that the gutter/ledge right above our master bedroom was a popular bird hangout. After a while, we decided that there was probably a nest somewhere up there. Every morning at sunrise, we were awakened to the sounds of chirping birds. Then over Memorial weekend, Chris heard bird chirping in the attic. He pulled down the attic ladder & he found a tiny baby bird sitting on one of the rungs.

Chris grabbed a mostly empty trash can from Hannah's room to put the trespasser inside and brought him to Hannah & me.

Chris went up into the attic to see if he could find the nest or any other birds, but couldn't find any evidence of other birds. This little bird had hiked across nearly the full width of our house over 18 inches of pink insulation to get to the ladder. It was so hot up there, we were sure he was dehydrated, so we carefully gave him some drops of water which he seemed to appreciate.

Then we wanted to see if we could get him back to his family. Since we had been hearing all the noise at the front of the house near our bedroom, we took him out there first.

We set him in a shady spot & left him there for a short while. We didn't think we would have much luck if we stayed there with him. When we came back to check on him, he was still there and very loud. We don't know how long he had been by himself in the attic. Hannah & I did some research & learned that you can feed baby birds a mixture of kitty food (soaked in water), applesauce, & some other ingredients. He LOVED his special food. We also read that baby birds taken to wildlife rescue places are often dehydrated, so we continued to give him water.

From our research, we decided that he was most likely a Starling (house sparrow). Hannah decided to call him Jack (Sparrow). We have no idea if he was a boy a girl, but we referred to him as a male.

Our photographer friend, Eric Washburn was over the day we found him, so he got some nice pictures of Jack.

We kept Jack in a box for his first night, but after that we decided that he would have a better chance of finding his family if he was free. We put him in a bush outside by our patio. We would feed him breakfast & try to encourage him to fly by putting him on the picnic table or hot tub cover.  Over the next few days his wing flapping got stronger & we tried to visit him less frequently. Then after about 1 week from when we first found him, he was gone. We don't know for certain what happened, but we would like to think that he finally got a hang of the flying thing & found some bird friends.

Here's a picture of Jack around day 4 or 5 at our house. It was amazing to see how much he grew in such a short time. Although we miss him, we are glad that he has moved on. We don't need any more animals at this house!

 About a month later, when we were sure that all the baby birds in our nest were gone, Chris put that ladder up outside the front of the house & removed the nest which was inside the attic. He bought some chicken wire to put in place to prevent future nests in our attic. We love birds & nests, but not in our house!!!

Friday, July 11, 2014

What am I Reading? June 2014

And now for June.

My friend, Tanya's newest book came out this month. Sometime it's nice to just get caught up in a fluffy romance book.

I picked up this Katie Fforde book in England. I get frustrated because her books aren't released in the US right away. I took a list of Fforde books with me on our trip so I could try to find one. It also gets confusing because many of the titles change when they are available in the US. She has been one of my favorite authors for a while, but her last few books haven't been as good as her earlier works. I am pleased to say that this one was delightful & as good as her earlier stuff.

I received copies of this Mary Kay Andrews book for all of my guests at my recent House Party. I had tried to read the book when it first came out & I just couldn't get through it. A lot of bad things happen to the lead character & I couldn't stand to learn of any more bad luck for her. One of my good friends tried reading it on vacation & had the same problem. She stopped & read another book, but then had to give it another go because she didn't have anything else to read. She told me that it finally got better after page 53. So I gave it another try & I finished it in the next day. If you can get past the beginning, it's a fun book. It's about a women who is going through a nasty divorce and everything in the beginning is going against her.

After waiting for months, I finally got Bossypants from the digital library. It was entertaining & easy to read, but it jumped around a lot. There were some very interesting stories, but I wondered if they were all really true.

The book club selection for June was Ender's Game. It actually was published in 1985, but I had never heard of it until this past year. It's a YA Science Fiction book, which although is not my preferred genre, I really enjoyed it. My only issue with the book was that the main character was supposed to be 6 years old for the first half or so. Then he ages to 10 years. It was not believable that he was only 6. Our book club met to see the movie so we could compare and discuss both.

I'm caught up with the books now. Whew!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

What am I Reading? May 2014

May was a slow month for reading. It makes sense because our calendar is always full of end of the year concerts, recitals, and parties, so it's hard to find time to read.

Stephanie Bond's "Baby I'm Back" is a novella in the Southern Roads series. I've loved all of the books set in the fictitious town of Sweetness, Georgia. Of course, I would have preferred a full length book rather than a short novella!

I was selected to have a House Party for Mary Kay Andrews newest book. I got an advance copy  of  Save the Date. It was a typical, fun Mary Kay Andrews book set in Savannah.

Honeymoon for One was either a free Kindle book or a very inexpensive one that I acquired. It was about a jilted bride who goes on her honeymoon by herself and meets a guy. It was very predictable, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

That's all for the month of May!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What I am Reading? April 2014

I can't believe I haven't blogged since May! I blame it on the trip to England! It was so much work to blog about everything, that I must have decided to just take a break from it. But I'm back!

Here's what I read in the month of April.

The Box on the Wooden Box is another HRRB book for the 2014-15 school year. It is the memoir of a man who was one of the youngest Holocaust survivors to be on Oskar Schindler's famous list. Very well written and difficult to put down.

True Love & Other Lies by Whitney Gaskill was a typical chick-lit book. It was a fun, easy read.

Rumour Has It was so cute! It's about a young woman who moves into a small town where there's lots of gossip. Quick paced and fun.

Second Chance Christmas is another book in the Colorado Cades series written by my friend in my book club. Although it is a true paperback romance and follows the standard romance formulas, I enjoyed it. Tanya does a great job of developing her characters.

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton was the April book club selection. I was the one who chose it - I found it on Good Reads as one of the best books from last year. It did not disappoint! The book is set in England in modern times, but goes back to the World War 2 era. I read this right after we returned from England so I was able to visualize the scenery really well. There were also some references to Victory Gardens and Punch & Judy which were both things I had seen on the trip. There's a surprise twist ending which caused me to rethink about the whole book for days after reading it.

Socially Awkward was a little disappointing. It was about woman who develops a fake Facebook profile for her graduate research project. With the popularity of social media, there was the potential to be a really great story, but it fell a little flat.

I am closer to getting caught up!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Hannah Turns 13

Hannah's 13th birthday was yesterday. She LOVES birthdays! She had been talking about party ideas for months and months. Then not too long ago, she made the decision not to have a party. Some of her friends are a bit dramatic & they don't all get along. This was stressing her, so once she made the decision not to have a party this year, she was relieved.

We did tell her that we would spend the money that we would have spent on her party toward redecorating her bedroom. She loved that idea!

Even without a party, I wanted to make her day super special. I told her that I would wake her up at 8am. I woke up before then & noticed that she had "liked" a picture of mine on Instagram at 6:21 am. She couldn't sleep because she was so excited!

So I went to her room & helped her set up her own Face Book account. She has been begging for one for years, but I have been telling her that she had to wait until she was 13. After that, I told her to get dressed and that we had to be somewhere at 9am. She had no idea what we were going to do. We drove over to our old neighborhood & picked up her friend Kate. Then we took the girls to IHOP for breakfast.

Then we dropped Kate back at her house & continued with our day. We went shopping next. Hannah had been complaining that she didn't own any cute summer dresses. So that was our mission. In between stores we stopped at Starbucks so she could get her free birthday drink.

After some successful shopping, I told her that we had lunch plans. She said she hoped we were going to Moe's. I knew that's where she would want to go, so that's where we were meeting her next friend. We met Livi for lunch. Notice that Hannah has changed shirts - she found this cute t-shirt that said "#BestDayEver" and had to wear it.

Hannah wanted to go to Five & Below so I took the girls there before we had to take Livi back home.

After dropping Livi off, we went to the Town Center. I took her to Ulta where she got a Laura Geller makeover. 

Since James hadn't gotten her a present yet, I let her purchase this Lauren Geller make up set.

After the makeover, we went & got pedicures. I forgot to take any pictures of our pretty toes! Oh well....

Next we went & picked up one more friend, her "Biffle" - Best friend for life (because life is longer than forever?!)

Here is Hannah with her Biffle, Rachel. Hannah is wearing one of her new dresses. We got this one at Wal-Mart.

And here are the girls at dinner. We went to the Clay Oven which serves yummy Greek food.

Then we went home for birthday cake. Hannah selected an Italian Crème cake.

We were totally exhausted by this time. Hannah went to bed shortly after. We had a great time! I am still in disbelief that I have 2 teenagers now!!!

Monday, April 28, 2014

England Trip {My Sister's Wedding}

The whole purpose of our trip to England was for my sister's wedding!

The Royal Pavilion was the venue for the wedding. The Royal Pavilion was the "pleasure palace" for the regent prince, and later King George IV. It was a beautifully ornate place.

The wedding was in the "red room" of the palace.

Here is Bethany being escorted by our father.

In Brighton (it may be all of England, I'm not sure), weddings not held in churches cannot have any religious aspects. So, Bethany selected an old English poem to be read by her Scottish friend, Kenny. The poem was "The Owl & the Pussy Cat" by Edward Lear. This poem was actually part of the Abeka Curriculum when I taught 3rd grade many years ago at Tabernacle Christian Academy. Students were expected to memorize it. Plus, I remember Mom was fond of it which made it special to Bethany.

Bethany & Warwick

Time for vows

Nothing is final until the paper is signed.
 Bethany's turn to sign.

After everything was signed & dotted, we moved into the "music room" for a few pictures. Here is Beatrix playing with her pink stuffed animal.

The now "Mrs. Stone" chatting with some friends.

Bethany's friend Fran & I took turns caring for Charlotte.

Then it was outside for more pictures.

Here I am with my beautiful niece!

The Stone Family!

This is Warwick's family - his two sisters & brother-in-law.

Bethany's friend Lynda & her beautiful hat.

Bethany & Kenny - they met in Scotland back in 1992 when Bethany was studying abroad and have kept touch over the years.

From the Pavilion, the wedding party walked through the "Lanes" in a promenade. Chris was carrying a sleeping Charlotte and I was pushing the stroller, so we didn't get any photos of that. It was probably a 10 minute walk to get to the Coach House where the reception was held.

The Reception

We were served delicious mojitos upon arrival. For our appetizers, we had little paper cones with fish & chips. I didn't get any pictures of them, but they were so cute! And yummy.

Here is Chris & me with our beautiful niece, Beatrix!

My Aunt Brenda & Uncle Ken from Lizton, Indiana came over for the wedding.

Here is Dad talking with a couple who hosted Bethany on a visit to England back in the early 1990s.

And here I am with my sister!!! My Dad likes numbers. He made the comment that I got married when I was 23 years old. And this year marks my 23rd wedding anniversary and I turned 46 this past January. It was kind of weird to think that I have been married so much longer than my sister who is just 3 1/2 years younger than me. It just took Bethany a little longer to find the right one! I am so happy for her!!!

I can't wait to see all the professional pictures from the wedding!!