A Ruth memory: I have this old Panasonic vacuum cleaner I got overseas about 20 years ago. It still runs great, but I couldn’t get the bags. I’ve been getting bags that were close and then modifying them. Well, lately I can’t even find bags that are close, and I was telling Ruth my problem. She went out of her way to find a store that carried the exact bag I needed for my vacuum, and presented it to me with a big smile! I couldn’t believe it.
The Campos family had it’s annual belated Christmas party today. Once again we gather at Casa Gallardo. Afterwards my dad came to the house to visit. We sat and talked outside by a warm chiminea, and he also spent time pitching ball to Sean-Daniel
Yesterday the weather forecasters were predicting a big ice storm. Fortunately the major stuff stayed west of us, and we got a little ice on the trees. However, the weather watch is still for the weekend. The last ice storm, in November, took out our power for few days and the temperature in the house was around 47degrees. So, not wanting to take any chances, I bought a couple of kerosene heaters.
Today the kids started a new session of swimming lessons. We took a break over the holiday. Sean-Daniel is still a Ray and Melodie is a Pike. I told Sean-Daniel that if he made Starfish this time I would buy him new tracks for his cars.
David called from his hotel to let us know he arrived safe. He will be starting Air Force Basic Training in a couple of days.
After many airport delays, due to the winter weather in Texas, David has finally arrived to start his basic training. It will be 6 and a half weeks long. He told us that he just missed the new requirement of 8 weeks.
This morning I woke up early with the tune of my Nintendo 64 game “Banjoe Kazooie” playing in my head. I thought to myself “I need to stop playing that game”. Since I couldn’t get rid of the tune I got up to start my day. Sean-Daniel was just coming out of the bathroom as I walked by, and he told me he had a bad dream and couldn’t get back to sleep. I asked him what he dreamed about, and he said “Ooie Zooie Kablooie” (our name for the game). I promised him we wouldn’t be playing that game for awhile.
Last night we had the first snowfall of the year. Ruth and I watched the beautiful sparkly flakes fall during the night until I fell asleep. This morning there was a half-inch of snow covering everything. Sad to say I had to inform Sean-Daniel that I didn’t think it was enough to build a snowman. Sean-Daniel also asked me if we were going to lose power. He was happy to hear that we probably wouldn’t.
A family moment: While Ruth was making supper, I was reading a book in the living room. Then Sean-Daniel and Melodie brought in their own books. Sean-Daniel sat in his little recliner with his leg draped over the arm, and Melodie laid down of the couch with her head propped on a pillow. After a little while I look up, and saw Sean-D slowly mouthing the words on the page. He was reading! Of course, Melodie was looking at the pictures in her book. I thought is was neat memory of my children
David called from basic training. He’s doing well, but misses everyone. Sounds like the Air Force is keeping him busy with detail duty.
Just wanted to note how wonderful and considerate my children are. This morning, while getting ready for work, Sean-Daniel made me a peanut butter sandwich for lunch. He was so proud. Then, as I was getting into the car, he came out on the deck and told me “I’m going to wave bye and blow you kisses daddy”. Ever since we’ve been married Ruth has a tradition of sending me off to work with a wave until I’m out of site. Since she couldn’t make it today I guess Sean-D decided to take her place.
Melodie has her own way of showing affection. She gets very distraught if she doesn’t give me a hug and kiss before I go to work – sometimes more than once. I’ve had to go back in the house because I either forgot or she had been asleep when I was going out.
Sean-Daniel turned 6 years old today. On the way home from church Sean-D asked “Did you remember that you said you’d buy me a Diesel 10 for my birthday” – Oops. We had the basic birthday at our house with Grandma and Grandpa Falconnier, and Amber over for cake and presents. Ruth made a carrot cake at Sean-D’s request. Afterwards, while the kids were taking their nap, I had to zoom over to Toys R Us for that Diesel 10.
Well, Sean-Daniel’s prayer was answered. We got snow!! This morning started out rainy and cold until about 1100 a.m. Then the rain turned to sleet and snow mix. I took off work early and on my way home it went over to complete snow. After nap time Sean-Daniel and I went out to play – Melodie wouldn’t get up. Unfortunately, the snow wouldn’t pack, so we couldn’t make a snowman. But we had our snowball fight, and I was able to pull him around the yard on the sled, and every once in a while he’d jump off and make a snow angel. About an hour later, Melodie comes outside, and wanted to be pulled on the sled. By the time it started getting dark my back and legs were killing me, and Sean-Daniel had to take over, but it was worth it.
Today we had our annual joint birthday celebration with Ruth’s sister. Melodie is four years old. We started the celebration by going to a McDonald’s play land and letting the kids go wild. Then we all went back to our house for some fun in the snow – we had recently gotten a couple more inches. Ruth and my brother in law did all the pulling on the sleds. After the snow fest we went to Grandpa Falconnier’s house for cake and presents. All three kids got their own little cake from Ruth’s sister in law. The kids opened a lot of cool presents, and Melodie got a Barbie princess dress which she wore all day, and is planning to wear to church.
Ruth just told me that David will be able to graduate as scheduled. We’ll be leaving, on 28 Feb, for Texas?!!
Sean-Daniel has advised me that his new name is now “Blue Crab”, and his nickname will be “Blue”. He came up with this name while going through one of his animal encyclopedias. He was showing me the crabs and asked me which was my favorite. We’ll see how long the name holds.
After hearing about Blue’s new name Melodie has announced that she is to be called “Pink Crab” – Pink for short. Ruth’s new name is “Fiddler Crab”.
San Antonio, Texas Vacation
On March 2nd David graduated from Basic Military Training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.
Packed up the Cadillac rental car, and at 0400 am we headed for Texas. Mapquest estimated the trip would take a little over 15 hours. I estimated 18 to 20 with breaks.
We drove through the states of Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas – arriving at our Days Inn Hotel right at midnight. Along the way we had breakfast at an IHOP in Missouri, and stopped at an Oklahoma rest stop for a picnic of BBQ we picked up. It was a very grueling trip, and we decided that we would take 2 days going back home.
We got to the base around 1030 am, and went to the orientation where the briefer explained the rules and the graduation itinerary. Afterwards, we went to “Smoking Joe’s BBQ” on base, and then walked over to what we thought was a kids play area, but was instead a fitness course – it worked just as well. It was a beautiful day (70’s), but a little windy. We then drove around and found the real kids play area.
At 4pm everyone gathered to watch the airmen perform a retreat ceremony. After that we met with David for the first time. It was difficult to find him at first because all the airmen looked the same. Melodie kept asking David why he cut his hair so short. We went for a bite to eat at subway in the BX, but David could only visit with us for a little while because his flight had to take care of something, and he had to get back.
Today is David’s graduation day. The parade ceremony started at 9 am, and it was over at 1015 am. After the ceremony we found David. He now has 1 stripe because he had prior college. We walked with David over to his barracks for the grand tour. I found that some things had changed since I went to basic training. We had to fold our underclothes in 6 inches – now they roll them. When I was in, my flight-mates all agreed to not using bar soap because it left a film on the shower walls that would be hard to clean – now they use body wash and poofs. Also, my memory isn’t clear, but I don’t remember having as many different types of shoes under my bed. For the most part things are much the same as they were in 1979. Maybe just a little more modern – and safer.
After lunch at at Smoking Joes we went shopping at the BX. David bought Sean-Daniel and Melodie belated birthday presents.
Tonight we all went to see a basketball game (my first) between the San Antonio Spurs and Orlando Majics. We had balcony seats, and maaan we were up there. Heights bother me, and for a while I kept holding on to the seat next to me to keep from teetering over the sheer cliff. Having never been to a game before, it was all strange to me. One thing was that, when the Spurs had the ball, loud rock n roll music would play, but when the Majics had the ball, all they played was a rhythmic drum beat and the audience chanted ” De-Fence”. It must work – the final score was 98 to 74 Spurs.
Today we spent the whole day with David. It was a beautiful, sunny day, so (after breakfast at IHOP) we went to the botanical garden. Since we are members of the St Louis botanical garden we got in free, and were entitled to discounts at the store. After that we spent some time visiting the River Walk.
We went to the base chapel with David. They had contemporary worship service with a band and new songs. This was also the Sunday they observed the Lord’s Supper. The message was on 2 Cor 1: 3-5. After church we did some last minute shopping on base, and around 2pm we said our goodbyes and hit the road. At midnight we stopped, and stayed in a Texas hotel. Texas is a big state.
After breakfast at IHOP we hit the road. We, went through Arkansas this time, then through Missouri, and then we were home at 1030 pm. Along the way, Sean-Daniel reminded us that his new name is Blue Crab – I had thought he had forgotten.
~ THE END ~
A Melodie moment: This morning, Ruth and I were laying awake in bed when a voice broke the silence. “It’s daytime” it said. I looked across the bed and saw the top of a little tousled head. It was Melodie. She came over to my side of the bed, and climbed in, stepping on her mommy. “You’re supposed to move over” Melodie said with a smile. Then she snuggled in between, and with big grin, pulled up the covers to her chin. It made me feel good to be a daddy.
My uncle Kelly died on 27 Mar, and I got the call on the 28th that funeral services would be held on the 30th. We rented a car and left on the 29th to go to Anna Illinois (a 2 hour drive) where a friend does our taxes. After we finished our taxes, we set off right away for Nashville Tennessee where we planned to stay in a hotel. The next day we set off for my aunt Ruth’s house in Lake City Tennessee.
We arrived in Lake City at 3pm, and since the funeral service wasn’t until 6pm we had plenty of time to visit with relatives. At the service I met up with many cousins I didn’t even know I had. They recognized me from pictures Aunt Ruth had, and also because “I look like my mom”. The service went until about 9pm, and afterwards we headed back for home. We got back at 0530am the next day, and went right to bed because at noon we had to be at a local McDonald’s Playland for Sean-Daniels belated birthday party.
Ruth and I really wanted Sean-Daniel to have a birthday party where his friends from school could come. We kept getting sidetracked, and Ruth felt that if we didn’t do it before April we wouldn’t be able to do it at all. It was a great success. There were 4 of his friends from school, their parent(s), and siblings. Ruth got a cake from Schnucks, picked out by Sean-D, and he also requested gag candles that relight on their own. The kids got a real kick out of helping him blow them out.
Today is Ruth’s birthday!! While Ruth was at church, the kids and I went gift shopping. Melodie got her some gardening gloves and a telescopic rake. Sean-Daniel got her some lemons to make lemonade. They also got her a Nemo birthday card. When it came time to get the flowers and balloon they couldn’t agree, so I got 2 balloons and 2 bouquets. Shortly after we had the lemonade made, the card signed, and the gifts arranged, Ruth came home to her wonderful surprise.
Awana’s award night. Sean-Daniel and Melodie both completed their first year of the respective program level. Sean-Daniel started in Sparks at the rank of Skipper. Tonight he received his First Book ribbon for finishing the Skipper Handbook. He also received all the jewels available for his bronze crown. Melodie started in Cubbies. She received Year 1 Book Award. She received all her patches for scripture memory. I received my 3 year pin.
Ruth and Melodie left yesterday for South Carolina, and arrived today. They are taking care of Josiah, while Crystal recuperates from her surgery, so it’s just the boys left at home. After I picked up Sean-Daniel from school we went to Long acre park to walk around before the church supper. It was a great time of bonding. After walking awhile, Sean-Daniel confided in me that he really loves animals – just about everyday is spent going through his animal encyclopedia. Eventually he told me that he loved animals so much that he wanted to be called Animal Boy. I said “I thought you wanted to be called Blue Crab”, but he said “No. Animal Boy.” I asked him “Is your nickname going to be Animal or Boy”? He said ” No. Just Animal Boy”.
Ruth and Melodie arrived home safely. Crystal’s surgery went well, and she is expected to rest for 6 weeks.
Sean-Daniel graduated Kindergarten, and the ceremony was today. His character trait for the year was Love, he won the In Your Heart medal for scripture memorization, he achieved 20 100%’s on his paces, and is a member of the 2000 club.
FRANCE TOUR 2007 – Our 2nd trip to France. Our tour lasted from 22 May to 5 June. This time with our 2 children. The following is just an overview of what we did.
Ruth’s mom dropped us off at the Metrolink station where we took the train to the airport. We left St Louis for Chicago at 3:15 pm – almost on time. This is the first flight the kids have ever been on, and Ruth and I were more excited, telling them what to expect than they were. However, when we got over the clouds Sean-Daniel exclaimed: “Wow! It’s like flying in snow!”.
The layover at Chicago was brief – time enough for a snack, and then off for France.
We arrived at Charles De Gaulle airport around 9am local time. Ruth’s cousin Jean-Luc met us after we finished customs.
After settling down at Jean-Luc’s apartment, Sean-Daniel and I went with Jean-Luc to see the Argonaut Submarine museum nearby while Ruth and Melodie stayed and rested. Around 1030 pm, after a late supper, we went to the Eiffel Tower to see the light show. Every hour on the hour the tower lights up with thousands of lights that flicker. The show lasts about 15 minutes. Afterwards we drove around Paris, and finally go home at 1:30am the next day.
Went to the Museum National D’ Histoire Naturelle. There was a small zoo with varieties of monkeys, goats, reptiles, and birds. After that, we walked to the Seine river, and bought tickets for the Batobus – a water taxi/ tour boat. We eventually got off at the Louvre stop (we didn’t go in this trip), and walked around the gardens and historical buildings.
Packed up and got the the Gare de Lyon early. Today we were heading to Vichy were we would be picked up by Jean-Francois and his wife Martine who lived in the nearby town of Limons. We would be staying with them for the bulk of our stay in France. It was a 3 hour train ride. We spent the evening having supper and catching up.
After breakfast Jean-Francois took us to the house he grew up, and we strolled along a dirt road – very peaceful and scenic with a small river running by. It was overcast and cool, and had rained earlier.. I made the mistake of pointing out an unual looking slug to the kids, and…well….let’s just say before we could leave it took 10 minutes of scubbing with sand and water to get the slime off. At one point they each had had 5 of them in their hands.
Today we borrowed the car, and went to church in Vichy. At the church were a couple of American missionaries who were old friends of Ruth. Sean-Daniel and Melodie were able to get a sunday school lesson and make crafts.
Martine drove us to the Monday market in the town of Merengue. There was a live-animal section that had mostly duck, geese, and chickens of different varieties. The kids had a lot of fun, but Melodie made it known she didn’t like the smell. Before leaving the market, Martine told the kids they could each pick out one toy at one of the tables. They each picked out a different version of a two-headed dragon.
After luch at the house we started off to visit with Ruth’s Aunt Nany at her house in the town of Sermentizon. On the way we stopped to visit the castle “Chateau d’ Aulteribe”.
Today we visited Ruth’s Uncle Roby and Aunt Jeanette at their house in the town of Orleat. Jeannette had bought Melodie a toy bedroom set, and Sean-Daniel a mini-leggo’s, and that kept them busy while we all talked.
Martine drove us to the Puy De Dome which is a dormant volcano with smaller ones around it. The volcanoes have been dormant long enough for vegetation to grow in the craters – however long that takes. It been built up as a tourist area with safe walkways all around. At the Puy De Dome there was the remains of an old temple to Mercury. On the way back home we stopped in the town of Marais and went in to see the Verrerie d’ Art – a glass blowing shop.
Once again we borrowed a car, and today we visited some of Ruth’s old friends in the town of Theirs. Olivier and Renee Mellesville, and Lucy Notter. Then we went back to Vichy for visit with Hornby and Faith, the two missionaries from church, at their new house.
Today we went back to Theirs to visit the older section. This part of the town is built on the side of a mountain, and walking along the streets was a challenge at times. I really liked coming here again. There’s a rushing river/creek that runs through the town that was once used to power machinery. Ruth had a friend that lived in this part, but unfortunately she had died last year (she was near 80). We visited with the daughter and granddaughter who stilled lived in the house.
Our last full day, so we decided to have lunch with all of Ruth’s relatives at a restaurent near Uncle Roby’s house. Then we all went back to Uncle Roby’s house and spent the day there.
We left for Paris from the Vichy train station and arrived at the Gare de Lyon at 4:30 pm. We were met by another cousin – Andre’, who put us up for the remaining 2 days.
Last day in France. Andre’ took us to the Jardin d’ Acclimatation, a large playground, where we let the kids play for a couple of hours. Then we did our souvenir shopping in Paris.
Ruth’s sister and family came down from Chicago. We all, along with Ruth’s parents, met at Ruth’s sister’s house and then caravan’d over to Council Bluff lake where Phillip had reserved a pavilion. The lake had a beach and a roped off area for swimming. It was an out of the way place, so not crowded.
We were finally able to make our first trip out to the Missouri Botanical Garden. It was a beautiful day and around 83 degrees. We had just gotten started when we met up with a couple of kids in Sean-Daniel’s class and their parents, so we stayed together for a little while.
Today Amber and Jon Ryberg were married at the courthouse in Belleville. Witnesses of the event were Ruth’s mom and dad, here sister and family from Chicago, Cammie, Jon’s brother, and of course, Ruth and I and the kids. Amber and Jon are planning for their formal wedding in November.
Sean-Daniel started his first day of first grade at Berean Christian School. He had a fun day catching up with his friends. He said his teacher is the same one he had for kindergarten.
In preparation for Melodie going to kindergarten, I got her started on the Blues Clues ABC computer program. She has been watching Sean-Daniel, and she pretty much knew what to do. She got a little frustrated with the mouse, but quickly adapted.
Sean-Daniel and Melodie started another season of Awana’s. Sean-Daniel is now a Sparks Hiker, and Melodie will be on her second year as a Cubbies. I will be a Cubbies leader again this year.
Today the church’s Royal Ambassador program season started. Since Sean-Daniel is in the 1st grade he was able to join up. I’m not very familiar with it, but it is apparently mission oriented. Prior to this the kids have been going to a program called Mission Friends which Melodie will continue to go to.
A Sean-Daniel moment: When Ruth was putting the kids to bed, and it was time to say their prayers, Sean-Daniel said “The reason I bow down is so I can boot up to believe on God, so when I wake up in the morning I’ll still be believing on Him”.
Today was the the first day of the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Japanese Festival. I think we’ve managed to go every year since Sean-Daniel was born. This year we decided to take the metro link to the festival. I had extra metro tickets, and the parking at the garden is always so bad. Grandma and Grandpa Falconnier, and David went along with us. David was assigned to Scott AFB, and arrived just this week.
At the garden (around 0930am), before we went outside, we went to an origami demonstration, and everyone got to make something. Then we went outside where the first event we saw was the Candy man, Masaji Terasawa. He is great. He does Japanese street theater: makes spun sugar sculptures, lion dancing, and he always gets audience participation. Sean-Daniel and Melodie were in the closing act.
Then we did some walking around the garden where there were some displays to see and items to buy. At 1100am we headed to the food area. I asked Sean-Daniel what he wanted, and he said “Meat”. So we all got Shish kabobs. By the way, Sean-Daniel (Animal Boy) is still highly addicted to his animal book, and continues to role-play as an animal. Today he was a meat-eating bear.
After our delicious meat, Ruth said she wanted to see the ice sculpture, so we headed over there. The featured artist was Naomi Hamamura (a guy). When he was all set, his assistant asked the crowd what they wanted to see sculpted. The audience yelled out their ideas, and it was finally settled on a penguin. Naomi went a step further, and announced he would sculpt a mother and her baby. It only took about 15 minutes, using a chainsaw, chisel, and drills. The finished sculpture was amazing.
At this point Grandma and Grandpa were getting tired, so we left them at the English garden to sit in the shade, and we went on to feed the fish at the bridge. When we were done, we went back to pick up Grandma and Grandpa, and then headed out for home.
We got back late last night from my Uncle Clyde’s funeral in Tennessee. He was my mom’s brother. He was 79 and had cancer, but ended up with pneumonia and died of that on 18 September. We drove 11 hours down on Wednesday, and got to the funeral home 30 minutes before the service started. We also went to the burial on Thursday, and left Friday around 1100am.
While we were packing to go to Tennessee, Sean-Daniel asked if he could bring the plastic camera that belonged to David when he was around 12. I didn’t know if it worked, but I loaded it with film anyway. Sean-Daniel took all the pictures, and only needed a few cautionary rules about not opening the camera with film in it, and to keep his finger off the lens – which he only did once. They all came out great, and Sean-D couldn’t be prouder.
This weekend the church RA’s went camping at Pere Marquette State Park. We arrived Friday at 7pm in time to set up our tent before it got too dark. After everyone was setup we had hamburgers, hotdogs, and smores. Then the kids played games. We all got to bed around 11pm and everyone was up for breakfast at 7am. We went hiking on the park trails, came back to the campsite for a lunch of mystery soup, and were back home by 4pm.
Today Melodie got her first haircut. Unfortunately, she did it herself. Melodie had decided that her bangs were too long, cut them off, and threw her hair in the trash. Ruth had to dig for the hair, so she could put it in an envelope.
Today we spent the afternoon at Delma and Bob’s house in the country. We all had a blast. There were 3 sporting events that took place off and on throughout the day – Frisbee toss, baseball, and soccer. Bob took us around the property on his new 4 wheeler, and we got to see their new lakes (unfortunately there were very low because of this year’s drought. We also had some quiet time chatting out on the deck where there was a beautiful view of the lake, and when the sun started getting in our eyes we went down and sat in the shade. The kids were thoroughly exhausted when we left, and fell asleep about 15 minutes into our drive back.
Tonight the RA’s met at the Town Hall Archery for archery lessons. There were 15 boys ages 6 to 13. It was Sean-Daniel’s first time with a bow and arrow, and he did real good. The most important part was everyone was safe, and had a good time.
BRANSON VACATION 10 thru 15 November – Grandma and Grandpa Campos offered us their “Escapes” timeshare at Stonebridge Village in Branson Missouri. The last time we were there was about 3 years ago. Here’s the highlights of our trip.
10 Nov – We stayed over at Grandpa and Grandma Campos’ house overnight.
11 Nov – Headed out for Branson in our rental car – a 2008 Chrysler 300. We left at 9:00am and arrived at 4:30pm. The reason it took so long was our stop for breakfast at a restaurant, and the obligatory rest stops to play. It was a beautiful fall day, and warm too. The kids had fun rolling around in the leaves at the rest stops. After arriving at our apartment we unpacked and went to the Wal-Mart Superstore for provisions.
12 Nov – Our main event for the day was the Talking Rocks Caverns. Unfortunately, I met two of the warning signs for not going down – afraid of heights and claustrophobic. Ruth and the kids went down though on the 50 minute tour, and Ruth said it was awesome. I stayed topside and hobnobbed with the employees, and looked around the store.
13 Nov – Today’s main event was the Animal Predator Zoo. It was a lot of fun. We spent a lot of time at the petting area where we saw goats, a donkey, a llama, pot bellied pigs, and sheep. There was one goat that kept escaping the fenced in area by jumping on the donkey’s back to get over the fence. Another cool thing was the pot bellied pig had some cute little piglets. We also spent some time in the aquarium where we fed the sharks and rays.
14 Nov – It was much colder today, and rainy. We ended up going to the IMAX and watched “Deep Sea”. After the movie we shopped around the stores in the same building.
15 Nov – Time to check out, but we weren’t ready to leave yet. It was still cold, but the sky was clear. It was a perfect day for the Butterfly Palace because, apparently, the butterflies are more active when it’s sunny. We ended up not leaving Branson until about 2:00pm, and finally got to Grandma and Grandpa Campos’ around 10:30pm.
Grandma and Grandpa Campos had us over for an early thanksgiving at their house.
We had thanksgiving at our house. This year we had Amber and John, Crystal, Jon and Josiah, David and his girlfriend Alana, and Grandma and Grandpa Falconnier.
Today was Amber and Jon’s wedding rehearsal at the Conservatory in Missouri – a beautiful tropical glass garden-house located in the historic district of St Charles. Afterwards we had dinner at Maggio’s. It was quite a fancy feast with several courses.
It was a beautiful wedding. The weather was cool and clear – it had been predicted, yesterday, to storm, but God took care of even that detail. No one fainted, and Sean-Daniel and Melodie performed their parts admirably. Their job was to walk down the aisle with Melodie handing out roses to the ladies in the audience.
Since the Ruth’s whole family was in town for the wedding we had a little gift exchange yesterday at our house for those who couldn’t make it down for Christmas. Today was grandma Falconnier’s birthday, so the family was also able to celebrate that while they were here.
We celebrated Christmas Eve at the Villa Hills Gospel Chapel, and on Christmas day we celebrated at our house with Ruth’s sister’s family, David and his girlfriend Alana, Amber and Jon, and grandma and grandpa Falconnier.
Amber emailed that the ultrasound shows she will be having a baby boy! The baby is due on 20 May. She and Jon will now be working on a name.