Sunday, August 31, 2008

Niece Karen got married today. It was a beautiful day, a beautiful ceremony and she was a beautiful bride. Happy Wedding Day Karen & Chuck.

Happy Day

Saturday, August 23, 2008


We arrived at the Allstate Arena this morning to wait for the Marines.

We waited

... and waited
...and waited
and then finally they marched in!!!! WOW!!
They stood there as their commander gave a very short speech. As it happened Justin was almost directly in front of us. He didn't realize it at first and you could see his eyes roaming the arena looking and looking. You could tell when he finally spotted Dayna... his face just lit up! And then the command was given... DISMISSED.

First Embrace

Let me look at you.

Together again.

Zak and Caycee didn't go with us; they stayed at home with Nana. When we got there everyone went inside before Justin came in. Dayna was holding Zak, Justin opened the door and the look on Zak's face was priceless. (Sarah has an awesome picture on her blog that captures the moment perfectly.) Dayna said "who's that?" and he softly said "Dada." She set him down and he ran right to Justin. They embraced and then Zak backed up a bit and just looked.
What a day! It was soooo good to see him, to hug him, and to see his family all together again. Thank you Lord for bringing my boy home safe.

Happy Birthday Brother Jim!

I have an "errand" to run this morning :-) or I'd look for a cute kid picture of you to put up.... maybe niece Karen will do that (?) Have a great day!! Looking forward to seeing you and yours soon.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Thursday, August 21, 2008

MCQ Block Turning

I received my quilt blocks from the block exchange I took part in with fellow Marine Comfort Quilters. I can't describe the emotions I felt as I looked through the blocks. They came from all over the country. There were pieced blocks, appliqued blocks, a hand painted block, blocks with embellishments. They were from every relative imaginable of those who have served and are now serving... wives, parents, grandparents, daughters, nieces, cousins, and at least one block from a veteran. Some were simply signed. Others included sentiments.

And there were blocks from Gold Star Families.

At quilt shows they sometimes have a bed turning. They will pile up quilts on a bed and then, one at a time will hold them up and tell about the quilt or about the making of it. So I did a block turning....

As we prepare to welcome Justin home we can't help but think of all those who will not be coming home, including the two men from his Battalion, and of their families. It breaks your heart.

Old Settler's Weekend

We had another fun weekend with the kids and grandkids visiting. This time it was all the grandkids. Cooper brought both his parents and Zak & Caycee brought their mom. (We missed Adam as he had to do a training session at one of his sites. And we missed Justin, he was busy making stops all over the world on his way to California.) Caycee is really walking now and it won't be long before Cooper is walking. You see him standing and think he's going to take a step and then plop, he sits. Soon. I love that the kids love to play with each other and are so happy to see each other in the morning or when they wake up from a nap (not that there were many of those!)

After the parade, Zak enjoyed the rides. The cars were whizzing by so fast it was hard to get a good picture.

In between corndogs & hamburgers & pizza & pop and slushies, the rest of us watched...

We had to watch out for the dangerous lady you see at the left in this picture. Her T-shirt said she was from a church but she kept trying to send a bunny home with us. We had to be very vigilant not to fall prey.

Back at the house Cooper found some entertainment. This window crank fascinates both him and Caycee. We all just wish it wasn't so close to the electrical outlet and cord!

And I got to spend some alone time with Cooper while Mom & Dad slept...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

On US soil

Justin has landed on US soil..... Iraq and back by the Grace of God.

One more week 'til we get to see him, but oh what a relief! He has already called several times; he's been traveling for so many hours and is still unpacking and setting up in California but sounds so up and wired and happy. Just one more week. Zak keeps saying he's going to eat cold pizza with Daddy. One more week.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Party Planning

So we got together last night to discuss and plan mom's 90th!! birthday party. Pizza first, yum, and a you-know-who "ambush" with the pizza bill. You have to do something the day before to get ahead of him on a bill. We divvied up the chores. Col brought the invites that she made - they looked great - and the printed envelopes. While the menus were being poured over, we also stuffed the envelopes. There was much discussion about licking the envelopes. Eww, licking the envelopes?! Who would do that?! In these modern times?! Terry and Jay took care of the problem. They worked together. How many O'Neills does it take to seal an envelope?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

PEACHES!! Pink, and Phew!

We have a peach tree! I don't know how we missed this last year. Scott just discovered it today.

And aren't these flowers pretty? They were a surprise last year. There are so many flowers on the end of one thick stalk. They make quite the display with three or four stalks in a tall vase. They also have a scent you'll never forget. Don't even THINK about bringing them inside. It took us a while last year to find out where the cat fecal matter was hidden.... it was the flowers. PHEW, ICK, YUCK! We'll enjoy them outside from now on.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

County Fair

There's something for everyone at the county fair. For us it seemed it was the cows. The sheep, goats, roosters and and pigs all were scary looking and made scary noises. Ok, there were a few moments among the pigs when we screwed up our noses and made indelicate snorting oinky sounds and laughed, but mostly they were scary.

The cows though, wow, they were awesome to behold. We just stood and looked and looked and adored. Then we moved on and looked and looked and adored some more. Of course we discussed the fact that cows say "moo."

Then some ice cream to cool off. You can tell how hot we were.

Then it was time to say goodbye to the cows....

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Apparently Cooper thought Caycee was missing out on something.... he very generously shared a black bean with Caycee.

"Just try this."

"So, what do you think?"

"Didn't I tell you it was good?!"

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Another reward for not weeding

Well, it happened again.... I didn't keep up with the weeding and all of a sudden there were flowers! Right in the middle of my circle of hose. I have no clue what is planted where, and no idea what some of this stuff looks like when it's first starting, so when I do weed (once or twice a season whether the garden needs it or not) I just pull everything that doesn't have a flower attached. I wonder what I have destroyed?!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A summer walk

Today was a Decorative day and I had some things that I needed to give to Sarah so we met for lunch... AND she brought Cooper! He's so cute I don't know how his parents stand it. He had grapes and cheese and watermelon and sweet potato fries and seemed to love it all. Sarah had some new barbeque burger creation (I remember those breastfeeding days when I could eat anything and never gain a pound.... Sarah's still losing (pounds, that is). I had salad (trying to be healthy and calorie concious, don't ya know) and cream of potato soup (mmmm) and Hot Fudge Brownie ala mode (cause you can't go to Baker's Square and not get dessert - it's a rule). I felt so guilty I had to walk tonight. It was a totally typical August evening...

Summer is my very favorite time of year. To me each month of summer is a little different.
June usually starts out hesitant, sometimes warm, sometimes hot, sometimes cool but with promise. By the time it's half over there are warm days, blue blue skies and you can just get lost in there and feel like summer is stretched out in front of you and will last forever. Knee Deep in June is the most relaxing, lazy place to be. (It's also a poem by James Whitcomb Riley and if you want to really experience it, you need to listen to Scott read it.)
July is celebrations and picnics and parades and county fairs. After the Fourth of July you already start talking about how fast summer is going by. All the flowers that you planted in May and June are filling in. The weather turns from very warm to hot.
Then August... this evening was pure August. Scott & I went for a walk after supper (ok, I walked & he scootered). It was near dusk and it was hot and the air was heavy. The sun was almost down, just a last bit of pink spread out in a few layers. You could hear the locusts (or tree toads or whatever - I don't know what they are but it's a totally summer sound). The corn is taller than me and still green. The fields of beans are like deep, deep lush green carpets that seem to stretch so far with a lonely stalk of corn shooting up every now and then. You know that, even though September will have it's hot days, summer is almost over. It usually makes me anxious that fall and winter are not too far away. But this year I'm counting the days... it can't go fast enough.... we can't see Justin 'til it's nearly over. Come on fall!! Hurry!!
Pretty soon we can take down our map of a foreign land. We can change our extra kitchen clock back to Central time instead of "Justin time." We can stop checking the MNF news realeases to see if anything happened as we slept. We'll be able to call him when we want instead of waiting and hoping to hear from him. We'll be able to SEE him and HUG him and I just can't wait!!!!! What a sight it will be to see him and his wife and kids all together again.... And he can take his car home. After our walk we drove his car just to get it moving a bit. We needed a destination and Dairy Queen was convenient. One Peanut Buster Parfait later and I need to walk a whole lot more.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Project Linus Quilt Finished

I finished my quilt to be donated to Project Linus. I thought I'd have time to make two but just finished sewing the binding on this one this morning. I got so involved in the best way to press the seams for less bulk.... what a puzzle. I like puzzles but GEEZ. There's gotta be a better way. I had some time this afternoon, so when I brought the quilt in I stayed for a bit. It sounded like the day was a big success. I think I heard a count of 98 quilts, and that was when there was still an hour or so to go.

Sure is a bright quilt.... guess that's what happens when you use bright fabrics. It was fun... on to the next project. Or maybe I should finish a WIP.