Summer Hiking

Summer Hiking
Mt. Constitution

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Kennedy and Karen in McCall

I think I could live in McCall during the summer.  Karen invited me to spend a few days with her and Kennedy at the Johnson cabin while the parents were white water rafting.  The days were glorious - warm, quiet, filled with delight at the antics of a 16-month old.

We needed no other entertainment - just watching her explore, laugh, and pick huckleberries was enough for us.    She is a little fussy about getting her hands dirty and doesn't like the feeling of sand on her feet.  We filled a little tub with water and she enjoyed dumping water on the ground, but insisted that Grandma Karen keep her feet clean.

We grandmas were impressed she kept her hat on to protect her little face from the sun.  She can say ball and all those balls were a big hit in her little ducky tub.

She has a mouthful of teeth - even a molar!
We filled a baking pan  with pinto beans and dominoes - the beans mostly got spilled on the deck - we thought we could bury the dominoes and she'd have fun finding them, but instead she picked up the beans and put them in other cups or dropped them on the deck.

On Tuesday we loaded the Bob into the back of Zeke's pick up and headed to Ponderosa State Park to do a little hiking.  Karen also loaded buckets and belts just in case we found some huckleberries!

We thought we'd just pick a few along the trail, but we noticed lots of bushes on up the hill so we took Kennedy out of the Bob and sat her on a mossy rock.  She was content as long as Karen gave her a few branches with berries on them.  She'd patiently pick them off and eat them!

We picked enough berries for our dessert on Tuesday night and special huckleberry pancakes this morning.  Kennedy loved the pancakes almost as
much as we did.  I took her for a little walk while Karen did the dishes and she walked right to the center island in their driveway and found some huckleberries growing in her backyard.  We should've asked her first before driving to the State park!

Ann Marie called everyday, but we hoped that she wasn't worried about her sweetheart.  Hopefully she was having way too much fun diving off the rock cliffs along the Salmon River.
I can still hear Kennedy giggle as Karen pushed her in the big swing.  This swing is for big kids, not toddlers, so Grandma had to hold her in, while swinging her.  I wondered if my bungee cord would hold her in tight enough so we could just push her.  It worked and we took turns pushing her in the swing.   The only sad moment happened when we told it was time to quit so we could get her ready for bed!

Karen and I talked long into the night, covered in soft fuzzy blankets, just watching the colors of the sky reflect pinks and blues onto the lake water.  Talks revolved around our childhood, our marriages, our children, life, love, spirituality, positive attitude, heart math, emotional intelligence, and expressing our feelings.  I love being with Karen because she reads a lot and spends hours researching the things that are important to her now and she knows how to share that knowledge.   She's learned how to relax after years of stress working the real estate market in Moscow.  She learned how to smell the roses and no longer feels the need to accomplish something other than noticing creation, expressing gratitude and loving other people.  She's tender with Kennedy, even recognizing how much she misses her Mom and Dad.  She found a picture of them that Kennedy could touch and practice her vocabulary.  Karen and I both suffered many forms of fear over the years and I think she understands why and continues to work on healing that part of her "wiring."  Even though I'm the older sister, I have much to learn from Karen and her outlook on life.  I'm looking forward to hiking with her near Stanley, Idaho, in late August.
I didn't want to leave this morning so Kennedy delighted me with a big wave bye-by.  Karen gets to enjoy her through the weekend when Mom and Dad will be back and Dale and the rest of Johnson boys will be there to enjoy this beautiful place and sweet toddler!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Colin Time

Colin attended Rendezvouz for Kids at East City Park in Moscow this past week and learned how to finger knit and use a sewing machine - the tasks Grandma's are proud of.  Yesterday Duane Anne and Colin drove to Lewiston to meet Anne's sister and brother in law at the Lewiston Airport so Colin spent a little time with me and showed me his long finger knitting creation and the step-by-step process.  We used a flag on a stick to hold the stitches while we created a book bag for use when he goes to the Library.  I have lots of fabric, but Colin spotted the left-ver fleece fabric I used to make his "Perry the Platypus" costume for Halloween last year.

He definite had an idea of the size and he wanted just one strap, not two!  He learned how to safely use a rotary cutter and how to measure the fabric on the cutting grid.  He told he only learned how to push the foot pedal on the sewing machine.  So I told him about ironing the raw edges into the middle of the strap, how to change the stitches to ziz-zag and how to feed the fabric into the machine.  At first he only wanted to push the foot pedal for the strap, but then he wanted to try to feed the fabric for the side stitches of this bag.

He proudly showed off his creation when Mom and Dad returned from a quick trip to Costco.

While we were visiting with Patrick and Mary Pat, Colin busied himself with his finger knitting project and eventually using it as locks of hair!  Then he raided my yarn stash and took several skeins home.  Maybe those projects will occupy him on our long trip to the Oregon Coast.

I didn't get a picture of Mary Pat and Patrick, but Anne borrowed my IPAD so they could hold it up in the airport - just a way to make them smile as they walked into the terminal.  Patrick, a legendary Ohio Blues Musician, seemed eager to play with a local group later in the day at the Palouse Falls Brewing Company.  Mary Pat shared stories of her vacation with expert photographers and the recent challenges donating Mom Katie's house to Habitat for Humanity.

Patrick singing at Palouse Falls Brewing Co.
Colin - Drummer Extraordinaire!
These events are the magic moments of summer that create life-time memories.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Weekend with the Kuhlmanns

Marilyn invited me to Spokane for the weekend to celebrate Jeremy and Amanda's baby boy to be with the Kuhlmann family.  The guys played golf and the girls got to have breakfast at the Rocket Bakery, shop downtown, and have lunch at Madeleine's.  Amanda and her mom, Susan, helped me pick out dress for the SGA reunion in a couple weeks while Marilyn took her traditional weekend nap.  At 5 o'clock we gathered at Comstock Park for a meal and baby shower celebration.
Judy's special ribbons and blankets

Baby Boy due Sept 25

Dan grilled hot dogs and brats, the women visited, and the men played Yard Darts.  We appreciated the shade and the cooler weather.  Marilyn told us they usually celebrated Jeremy's birthday (July 5) with family gatherings at Comstock Park.  Back in those days they still had the wading pool to cool the kids off.  Don and Dena and John and Cathy Porter joined the Kuhlmann family for this special celebration.  There were several special moments during the gift opening.  Marilyn wrapped up Jeremy's baby book and a mystery package for Amanda to open at the same time.  She loved telling the story of finding the exact same baby book at a yard sale recently and to top it off Susan said she bought the same book when Amanda was born!
If you look close enough you'll see the tears in Amanda's eyes!

Cathy Porter's little Converse shoes were a big hit!
Every couple has special nicknames for their sweethearts and Jeremy and Amanda often call each other "Thing."  Cathy found these shirts at a speciality shop in Florida.  Jeremy's holding a Thing 3 shirt that is not really noticeable in this picture!

Marilyn, the expert shopper, found this Precious Moments figurine at a sidewalk sale at the Owl Southway Pharmacy several years ago when we were together in Lewiston.  She's been saving it all these years.  The figurine is a father helping a son learn the golf swing and the caption is "You always stand behind me."  A perfect motto for this new father to be.

Jeremy spent Sunday morning ensuring family pictures were taken at Cannon Hill Park.  The Kuhlmann kids walked to the park in years gone by and spent many hours over there playing with other neighborhood kids.  Jeremy made sure every little group got special pictures taken.  I was touched by the way they included both Susan's and me in the pictures!

Justin, Isaiah, Raya, and her mom, Susan

The Kuhlmann's (Jeremy hopes to photshop Karlee into the picture)
Amanda and Susan.  I think by this time we'd all given Susan our opinion about her Grandma name.  We helped by searching the Internet for trendy grandma names.  He will be her first grandchild.  Baby Boy Kuhlmann might have a different idea, but we liked Granzie and Nona. 

When the kids began to pack the car I wondered
where they would put all the new clothes, blankets,  boppies,
and toys.  The baby and parents not only got blessed with
lots of gifts, but also prayers and best wishes for lots of sleep
between now and the end of September! I'm honored to be part of
the whole village it'll take to raise this precious child. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Bradleigh's birthday

My granddaughter, Bradleigh, is Sweet 16 today.  Sixteen years ago John came out to the waiting room with her and said, "she has red hair and can't be named Jennifer - we'll have to come up with a different name."  When he told us her name would be Bradleigh Susanne O'Shaughnessy Karen said, "Oh, John, she's going to hate you when she's in Kindergarten because that is a long name and a lot of letters to learn to spell."  She was named after John's best man, Brad Kime, and Karen's maid of honor, Jennifer Susanne Uhlorn.

My life changed dramatically when she was born.  I remember my brother Don saying to me, "I can't believe how googely-eyed you are over that baby."  Well he's a grandpa now and I've seen that same look in his eyes when Peyton runs to his arms.

"My grandma thinks I'm the most beautiful baby in the world. "  The caption I wrote in her scrapbook.

I treasure our annual together pictures!  It means so much to me that she endures this picture taking time.



Grandma Delores found this great key chain for her and attached a bunch of old keys and told a great story to go with it.  "One day Bradleigh said to me, 'Grandma I hope you are not going to walk into school with all those keys because someone will think you are the janitor.'"

Riley and Bradleigh

Colin picked out a another key chain and Duane gave her some black dice for her 1992 Honda Accord, which she'll be able to drive all by herself on Tuesday when she gets her license!  She's already passed both the written and driving tests.  I think Bradleigh will be a great driver and I'll let her drive anytime she's with me - she laughed at the way I drove in Denver!!

When I was a teenager the Crests had a popular song called, "Sixteen Candles"

The song became the inspiration for my gift to Bradleigh.  I baked a small cake and rolled 16 $10 bills up in pink and black scrapbooking paper and insisted that she listen to the song on my IPAD.  It was better than trying to sing it myself.  I wrote a little poem to go with the gift and I hope that all those wishes I have for her will someday come true.

Happy birthday, happy birthday, Bradleigh 
Oh, I love you so 
Sixteen candles make a lovely light 
But not as bright as your eyes tonight 
Blow out the candles 
Make your wish come true 
For I'll be wishing sixteen things for you, That 

You never have to wear braces again
You always have gas money to go to your favorite places
Your brother becomes one of your best friends
You discover how smart your parents are
You take time to be with your grandmas when they are old
You keep a song in your heart and continue to play the piano
You laugh often and much and win the affection of children
You reach out to the less fortunate in our society
You are fine wearing sweatshirts and your closet can hold all your shoes
You honor and respect God’s creation
You get to go back to Disneyland and on to New York City,
Norway, and Australia
Your family appreciates your expert cooking abilities
You will always enjoy watching the Sound of Music
You are the most outstanding Volleyball Setter in the State
You can always find cinnamon rolls
God blesses you with peace, love, and respect of others

You're only sixteen 
But you're my teenage beauty queen 
You're the prettiest 
Loveliest granddaughter I've ever seen 
Sixteen candles in my heart will glow 
For ever and ever for I love you so

Friday, July 6, 2012

Other things I noticed at the reunion

I've learned how to be a little more observant when I think about taking pictures and writing on my blog.  At my age I need all the help I can get to remember special moments.  Just wanted to recall a few more precious memories...

The lovely view from the Johnson cabin.

Grace and Sharlie the Sea Monster

Upside down fun in the hammock
AnnMarie surfing behind the boat
Playing Foosball with Uncle Allan
Uncle Garry relaxing

Karen and Dale, our hiking leaders

Mr. Fox enjoying his breakfast near Meadow House

PJ's art work

Jake playing Yard Jarts
Everyone took turns working on the mosaic

Kennedy getting ready to play Stomp Rockets with the big kids

Listening to Gus's stories

Levi enjoying the Kayak

Waiting for news of David Kopczynski's Ironman Competition.

Bertha's favorite family meal - Chicken and Noodles, Sauerkraut and spare ribs, Broccoli Salad

We missed Larry and his sweet family and prayed for all of them as they made plans for Holly's mom's funeral.  Margie inspired us all with her devotion to her kids and grandkids.  Our hearts feel so empty without her.  

The finished mosaic project

This is what happens when you leave a  car window open and have banana bread on the back seat of your car.  Dale examined the footprints and decided it was a raccoon!  Mr. Racoon also chewed through the Red Licorice container and got into several boxes of food stored on the Johnson porch!

I always get a little choked up when I begin leaving the Camas Prairie and head down the Winchester hill.  I usually notice the pink flowers that are still in the highway marker that Garry made in honor of our Mother who died on that highway.   I thought as I drove by that Mom would've enjoyed the week in McCall and I think she would've been proud of us - the way we organized the food, the time we took to visit and enjoy each other, and the effort we all made to be there.    Tears flowed as I thought about my Mom and how her devotion to all 10 of us continues to affect us even though she's been gone for almost seven years.  I hope her memory never fades, but remains strong into the next generations.  Perhaps we'll enjoy Kennedy's version of Mom's chicken and noodles someday and who knows what ingredients she might add to the mix?

 Thank you, Zeke and AnnMarie, for hosting our group and honoring the memory of Mom & Dad.