Friday, July 31, 2009

Shelly and I returned this week from a whirlwind trip that took us from St. Louis to Yellowstone to Idaho Falls to Boise to Riggins to Portland to Olympia to Seattle to the San Juan Islands to Spokane and back again. It took 16 days and we drove 5665 miles. And it could not have been better. We left St. Louis with dogs Eli and Oliver in tow at s:00pm central time on Friday July 10th, and returned at 11:30 PM on Sunday July, 26th. All things considered, the trip could not have gone smoother. We throw a futon in the back of our trailblazer, one of us sleeps, the other one drives...Shelly even makes it up with sheets and blankets and pillows.

Honestly I was a bit nervous about going out west and staying and visiting with family, some of whom I barely knew. Every single person we met treated us like royalty. Also, not having every single detail planned out worried Shelly a bit (and me too), but I thought plans would be best left to the locals, and I was right.

We drove staight through to Yellwostone and go there around noon on Saturday. We saw most of the major sites and checked into our cabin which was in Mammoth Hot Springs. Elk sauntered outside our cabin like we were not even there. Eli and Oliver didn't even acknowledge they existed. We grabbed dinner in the town of Gardiner and then came back to the cabin for a long much needed night of rest.

While the cabins are canine friendly at Yellowstone Park, the rest of the park, not so much. No dogs on any trails, which at first I thought might be a detriment. However, there are lots of things there that could hurt them so it was probably a good thing. Right outside our door was the beginning of Old Gardiner Road, an old stage coach road about five miles long that took you from Mammoth to Gardiner and they could hike with us on that. On Sunday we went about 3 miles on the road and then back before doing some more sight seeing. It was beautiful. We then went on a ride to Yellwostone Lake. We started out at 89 degrees. But a thunderstorm was blowing in. By the time we got close to Yellowstone lake, it was 52 degrees and storming hard. We turned around. By the time we got back to our cabin, it had rebounded to 65. We saw herds of bison, elk, and even a black bear with two cubs on the way. We saw a magnificent double rainbow that ended right in front of us. However, there was no pot of gold. We ate dinner again that night in Gardiner, this time at an Italian place called Pedalinos. Shelly knew it had to be good because it was name after shoes. She was right. We went back to the cabin, crawled into bed, and had another sound night of sleep. We were on the road to Idaho Falls the following day....and my 40th birthday...more on that on my next post.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Our Brother Bob's daughter, Sandy, sent photos of her daughter Cassandra from the Miss Teen America Pageant this month. She is quite a beautiful young woman, and we wish we knew this part of our family better.

O.K. I grabbed this lovely photo off Sabrina's Facebook page. Could not resist.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I'll finish the entry I started this morning. I believe Margaret and Norm have been staying in their camper down in the valley. I had a short E-mail from brother Joe that he and Lydia had met Donald and Vita and four of their grandsons at Silver Dollar City this weekend for an outing. Donald and Vita and the four grandsons were going back to Plattsburg this week (where daughters Julie and Jennifer live) and then flying with the boys back to Florida. Joe said the youngest turned one-year-old
on Sunday.
Rose has been picking and weighing tomatoes. There's been a total of a little over 5 pounds so far. It amounts to one and sometimes 2 a day. Our Dad would be proud!

Now for the attendees at girls' weekend. We're all (my being the very oldest) not to be called girls but we still refer to it ourselves as such at least once a year. There were: Suzanne Hollensbe, Rachel Taxman, Julie Nichols, Laura Bedo, Laurie Stallings, Tricia Paschke, Melanie Dobin, Stacey Derrington, and myself. We didn't play any organized sports like the float trip participants did but all had a most enjoyable time. Very little cooking had to be done because they had it all done when they got there. Needless to say, we ate well.

Speaking (or writing) of eating well, Goldman and I went down to the lakehouse on Tuesday and on Wednesday Dave and Judy Meisel treated us to dinner at my favorite nearby restaurant. The place overlooks the lake and has wonderful food. Dave ordered alligator and I'm not sure he liked it. He offered me a taste but I didn't think I would like it.

It's past my bedtime and I'm still waiting for updates from others. Good night and hope to hear from you soon.
I'm behind on my postings but so is everyone else. The annual float trip began on the 17th. I'm not sure what river it happened on but those participating were: Scott, Groves, Scott Kaenter and his girlfriend Annie, Mike and Rachel Lynch, Mad Dog, Goldman, and Chris and Jane Crawford. If I left out anyone it's Goldman to blame because he gave me the list. They had their annual wiffle ball tournament and the Hank Krey All Stars were Goldman and Lynch. Runners up with second place were Mad Dog and Scott and third place was taken by Crawford and Groves. I'll expect someone to give us some pictures and some additional fun they had on the trip. Rose, Shirley I and got to keep Brayden and Jalen which I've already told about in a previous update.

Chris and Shelly didn't go on the float trip because of their trip 'out west'. They returned late last night. and Ding has promised a posting and lots of pictures from their trip. Mark and Karen joined them for the float. Karen has a wonderful camera so we're waiting for pictures and postings.

This was girls' weekend at the lakehouse and I have a great update from our visit but also a doctor's appointment shortly. This one is just my primary care physician and should be nothing so will update on that and more about girls' weekend when we get back.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Here is a link to a slide show of Father-Son [Brother Joe and his son, David] Sailing that is on the Springfield, MO, newpaper website. ENJOY! Be sure to have sound on as Joe is speaking through the slide show.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It's been a quiet few days around here with our boys missing. They spent the night at the Hollensbe's on Friday. I was going to also, but when Rose and I got out there, I had forgotten my medicine. We turned around and came back home, and I went out Saturday morning. Doug and Suzanne and the kids met other kids and parents at Bouncy-U that afternoon for Josie's birthday party and then came back to the Hollensbe house for a barbeque. I chose to wait at home and was glad I did. Brayden and Jalen were exhausted by the time we left that night. Jalen stubbed one of his little toes while he was playing that night and was in terrific pain. They were both so tired on Sunday morning that they were still sleeping when Scott picked them up on his way home from their annual float trip.

Goldman and I are headed to the lake this morning. I'll probably wake him up when I call over there but I'm up and ready to go. I'm feeling good again and really looking forward to some lake time.

The truth is I've been having some minor spells and I believe the neurologist is just as frustrated and puzzled as I am about what's causing them and how to stop them. I'm now in the 'donut hole' medicine-wise in this miserable insurance plan the Republican party concocted. The neurologist, Dr. Hogan (he's the one born in the same hospital that I was, just several years later), wants me to come in for a long visit on the tenth for a more extensive examination to get me into a research program ,in which I would qualify for some free medicines among other things. I'm not sure what the plan entails but the doctor's nurse seemed excited about it and I'll know more on the 10th. Rose has to be in Chicago that day so I am counting on Chris to go with me.

I talked to Margaret briefly this weekend. They were on the way to the Valley and weren't sure when they were coming home. Rose and Shirley have been fighting over who gets to pick our daily tomato. They're taking turns and argue about the degree of ripeness. I have an opinion but try to stay out of it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Here is an e-mail from Brother Joe. His daughter Lisa has been nominated for a national Teacher of the Year award. We may not have all the details exact, but we do know that it is a fabulous honor for this gifted young woman. Joe forwarded information Lisa sent him in his e-mail.

"Now it is time to think about San Diego in November!

'I have received information for the ACTFL convention and they will
give complimentary registration for any family members who will be
with me. The awards will be presented during the Opening General
Session on Friday, November 20th sometime between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00
a.m. They do request that I turn in a registration form with the
names of family.'

Sounds like November is going to be an exciting month for some of our family members!

Love, Bro Joe"
If you have been following recent posts, you know that Chris and Shelly are visiting Pete and Janet in Idaho Falls. Here is an e-mail Janet sent Sue about that visit:

Hi Sue. Just wanted you to know what a great time we had with Chris and Shelly. Had dinner Monday night on the deck of a restaurant on the beautiful green belt of the Snake River. Nancy and Rick joined us and it was a trip down memory lane. Tuesday Nancy had a delicious breakfast for us at her house and then we were tour guides for the rest of the day. Actually, I was only along for part of the day because I wanted to make Chris a belated birhday cake. That night we had a barbecue at our house. We have a lot of people out of town, but we were able to corral Nancy,Rick and Eric, Merri's boy James, her daughter-in-law Angela and our new, beautiful little baby. Merri's Chris is working on the highway in Salmon, Merri was on the road somewhere, and Caitlin is coaching softball at a summer camp in Pennsylvania.

It was a very enjoyable visit and went so fast it seemed to be over before it started. We told them to save some energy for the Boise and Riggins part of their trip, because Kelly never stands still for very long and you just have to try to keep up.

Just thought you'd like to know how much fun it was to have them! Love to all, Janet

Friday, July 17, 2009

It's been a busy week with the boys here. Everyday seems like it was Saturday, and I wondered why Pete hadn't called On Tuesday Goldman and I met Scott halfway to Louisville to get the boys, and luckily I've felt much better these past few days. On Wednesday we got the Hollensbe kids and the seven of us went to City Museum. I mostly sat, but Rose and Shirley managed to keep up with the four kids. When the kids went last time Mark and Karen and two of Karen's grown kids went with them, and they were very helpful in keeping up with the young ones. I didn't go last time, and this time we finally got me a wheelchair to get around a bit quicker. I even went out to the Suburban (which we had borrowed) and took a nap. Suzanne warned us it was like driving a tank but Rose didn't think so. All seven could ride in it so we didn't have to take two cars. After we had dinner that evening the boys talked Aunt Rose into going the park to play basketball.

Yesterday we went to Sky Zone which is just wall-to-wall trampolines. Rose and I got to watch and didn't have to participate. It was still tiring. Again last night they talked Aunt Rose into taking them to the park. Needless to say, no one had to rock her to sleep last night.

Right now they're waiting for Suzanne to pick our boys up, and they're spending the night at their house (so am I) and going to Bouncie-U for Josie's 6th birthday party. I'm going to spend the night but not going to Bouncie-U. I've enjoyed about all of kind of thing I can stand this week. I told Suzanne I didn't want to go to Bouncie-U and she said she doesn't blame me cause she doesn't want to either but has to. The boys are both outside waiting for Suzanne's car to pull up.

I have an update from Pete and Janet to post about Ding and Shelly's visit, and I think Mark and Karen got to Boise on Wednesday. I don't know who's chicken sITting but I must warn Mark that Chris, having spent some time with Uncle Pete, has brushed up on his bullshiPPing.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

It't been some time since I updated the blog so I thought it was time I updated my faithful readers. I've been under the weather for thr past few days and hope I'm on the mend now. My doctors sorta say 'use your own judgement,' and Rose and I have started doing that. I sleep a lot and just give in to it. Rose and I are both up up extra early this morning. She usually goes out and counts the tomatoes on our plant but hasn't done that yet this morning. She had to add an extra stake yesterday because it's so heavy with little ones turning into big ones - thanks to advice from around the country.

Chris's 40th birthday was yesterday. He and Shelly spent the weekend in Yellowstone and called me yesterday from West Yellowstone on their way to Uncle Pete and Aunt Janet's. They didn't have service in Yellowstone. They were going to spend a couple days in Idaho Falls and then meet Kelly and Mark and Karen and white water raft for a few days.

If I'm feeling up to it, Goldman I are meeting Scott halfway to Louisville this afternoon and getting Jalen and Brayden for a few days. Goldman, bless his heart, will go alone if necessary. Tomorrow we're going to City Museum with the boys and the Hollensbe kids, Josie and Lukas. That is, if I feel like it. We'll decide from then what we'll do the rest of their stay. Josie's sixth birthday is Saturday, and our boys are invited to her birthday swimming party. Our plan is to take Josie to Art Mart so she can select her own gift. Art Mart is a place Jalen loves to visit when he come to St. Louis. Both Josie and Jalen are fine young artists.

I'm also waiting for other people to update this blog, and I know I've forgotten a lot. Remind me of what is left out or update it yourself!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The Schmitt and King Families have turned into fine gardeners. Here is an e-mail Catrina sent us:

"Hey - wanted to make sure you saw my comment on the tomatoes plants...make sure you pinch and remove suckers that develop in the crotch joint of two branches. They won’t bear fruit and will take energy away from the rest of the plant. Also, put about a 1/2 cup to 1 cup of Epsom Salt around the base. We did that with our tomato plants and each one of our 44 tomato plants has so many tomatoes we're having a hard time keeping them staked well.

Love ya!"

We have one tomato plant in a container in our back yard. We have consulted with Margaret, Norm, Stephanie, Catrina, Joe, Pete, and Google over its care and have done everything they advised--including the Epsom Salt around the base. For a while the thing stopped turning blooms into tiny tomatoes, and we thought something was wrong. Both Joe and Pete told us it was the hot weather, and it would make new tomatoes again when the heat broke. Well, they were right. It is weighed down with small and large tomatoes now. Not quite like Catrina's perhaps but nice. All three of us are taking an inordinate amount of interest in this plant. We actually had our first tomato off it at dinner last evening.

So, here is a photo of our garden:

Monday, July 06, 2009

Will do a quick post about the 4th of July weekend. The weekend at the lake was great. We had a fireworks display that overshadowed some of those of the resorts around us that we could see from our back deck. It's Doug's second favorite holiday, only bested by Christmas and nearly as costly if she'd let him go, says Suzanne. We were all eager for dark. The little kids got to shoot off some of theirs before dark, so that helped pass the time for them. We had some intermittent rainshowers, but they really didn't delay our show or get our supplies wet. At one point the guys needed a break so didn't mind the short shower. The guys had a tarp set up below the deck for a possible downpour, but it didn't rain that hard and they were glad they didn't need it. Doug and his helpers lit the rounds off on a piece of plywood they set up,, on the swimdock. The swimdock is far enough away to keep the little kids from getting too near and the plywood protected the surface of the swimdock. Needless to say, Doug is extremely cautious.

The weekend attendees were Scott, Jalen, Brayden, Doug, Suzanne, Josie, Lukas, Mad Dog, Groves, Goldman, Suzanne {Goldman's girlfriend}, Mike Lynch, Mike Lundry and his family and myself. If I've left anyone off the list, I apologize. Mike Lynch nor Mike Lundry and family couldn't be there for the fireworks display so they missed a great show. Lots of the neighbors appreciated the show and some chipped in to cover the costs. We heard great cheers joining in after Doug set off any huge display - which most of them were.

I went to bed about eleven that night, which is late for me, expecting to find a mess when I got up. But these young people had already done most of the cleanup and burned the trash from the evening. I really knew they would have things done. Most of them slept as late as they were allowed next morning. Even the little ones slept late. The boat ran fine and the guys put some time on it. We're having our woes with the waverunner but Doug thinks he can probably fix it. He'll just have to bring it to St. Louis and will probably do so next weekend. What would we do without Doug??