05 Jan
Today was the Campos families traditional January Christmas get together.  Once again we met at Casa Gallardo restaurant.  Unfortunately, Susy’s son David and grandpa and grandma Campos weren’t able to make it this time.

12 Jan
We were able to celebrate Christmas with grandpa and grandma Campos after all.  We met them, along with Susy and her whole family, at the Mills mall.

21 Jan
Sean-Daniel had gone with his class  to the History Museum, in St Louis, a couple of weeks ago on a field trip.  He came home so excited and wanted us all to go, so today we went.  I hadn’t been in a couple of years, and there seemed to be a lot of new exhibits.  We ended up staying 3 hours, and we still didn’t finish.

25 Jan
I was hoping this day would never come, but unfortunately it did.  Sean-Daniel’s class went ice skating today for their field trip, and he fell and broke his right leg.  Fortunately, the doctor said it was a clean break of his tibia and no surgery was required.  By the time I got to the hospital Sean-Daniel already had a full cast on his leg, and was learning how to use crutches.  While we were waiting for his discharge he kept asking me about what things he wouldn’t be able to do now.  One of them just about broke my heart.  He asked “Will I not be able to give you hugs and kisses before I go to bed now?”  I assured him that I would come to him at bedtime.  When we got home I laid him on the couch with a pillow under his cast.  Melodie was so sweet, and even had her own sympathy pains in her leg.  Amber went in together for some balloons, muffins,  and books for him to read.  Amber delivered them tonight.

3 Feb
Sean-Daniel has been progressing very well.  He  no longer seems to be in pain, he sleeps through the night without waking up,  and he’s been getting around the house on his own using the crutches.  He has been struggling with boredom, and he and I have been playing “Battleship” everyday after supper.
Today, while Ruth and Melodie went to church, I stayed home with him, and we had our own service complete with singing.  We both took turns reading from the scripture.  Tonight though, he was able to get out of the house for the first time to go to Awana’s.  The church had a wheelchair that suited him just fine – he was even able to push himself around.

25 Feb
Today Sean-Daniel visited the bone specialist.  He took x-rays, and everything looks good.  Unfortunately he wants Sean-Daniel to remain in the full cast for 3 more weeks.  Not to worry though.  Sean-D has been getting around very well, and at times can be seen speeding across the house on his crutches.

7 Mar
Sean-Daniel finally got his full cast off, and it was replaced with a half-cast.  The new cast was bright red.  I asked him why he chose red, and he said it was because his sister wanted him to get a purple one.  Also, red was his favorite color.  He will be wearing this one for about 4 weeks.

10 Mar
After much prayer, thought, research I finally went and bought a new car – a newer car anyway.  Today I went to Wagner Pontiac, and bought a 2004 Pontiac Vibe for a little under $14,0000.  They gave me $200 for the 1995 Geo Metro.  It was in pretty bad shape, so I imagine it will be retired to the junk yard.  Anyway, I’m pleased with the purchase.  It’s a lot roomier, has 4 doors, and even gets 30 MPG – which will be handy since gas prices just shot up to $3.29 a gallon this week.   The color is fusion orange.

4 Apr
Today Sean-Daniel got his red cast off.  He is free!!!  His poor leg is skinny and hairy.  Ruth said she had to do a lot of scrubbing to get off all the dead skin – Yuck!!  Sean-Daniel now has to exercise his leg to get it in shape, and will have to wear a boot for awhile to support his efforts.

12 Apr
Melodie has continued her swimming lessons even though Sean-Daniel couldn’t.  Today was her last day for this session, and I was encouraging Melodie to do her best, so she could get promoted.  Sean-Daniel wanted to encourage her and promised that if she got promoted he would give her a surprise.  Well she got promoted to Ray today!  ?Sean-Daniel was so proud he eagerly gave her a pixie stick and a glass of strawberry yogurt smoothie for her surprise.

13 Apr
The day is quickly approaching for David and Alana’s wedding – 10 May 08.  David moved in to our house so he could sign up for base housing.

18 Apr
This evening Sean-Daniel’s school had “Safari Steve” from The Reptile Experience.  He was hilarious and very informative.  He really played the audience well – some times causing a parent or child to run off screaming.  Unfortunately I didn’t  write all of the specific names down, but he had an alligator, a gopher snake, a tarantula,  a scorpion, some kind of thorny lizard, an anaconda, and a python.  Sean-Daniel (Animal Boy) was very excited, but didn’t seem to want to touch any of the animals except the anaconda.  Melodie, on the other hand, held the tarantula, the scorpion, and the anaconda. I couldn’t believe it.

31 April
Today is Ruth’s 47th Birthday.  It’s hard to believe – and I’m right behind her.  For her birthday party the kids and I went to Schnucks and got her two huge balloons, and two bouquet of flowers.  We also picked up some lemons because Sean-D wanted to make her some lemonade.
After supper Ruth’s parents and Amber came over for cake, and afterwards was the opening of presents.  Sean-D and Melodie had earlier gone with me to ACE hardware and picked up some gardening tools as presents.

3 May
Today we went to the  St Louis zoo.  Ruth couldn’t go because of a previous engagement.  As I was getting ready for my day with the kids Ruth came to me with a little problem.  She had just got off the phone, and It seems that Sean-Daniel and a buddy of his at school had made plans, on their own, to meet at the zoo.  His friend’s dad didn’t know anything about it until he woke this morning, and his son was standing by the bed fully dressed, and ready to go.  Well, he and I made some last minute arrangements, and it all worked out.  As it turns out the dad also had a previous engagement, and could only stay a couple of hours.  We decided to go to the dinosaur exhibit which, along with realistic animatron dinosaurs along the path, there was an enclosed amusement ride that required 3D glasses.  It was excellent.  The idea was you were in a transport on it’s way to capture dinosaurs for relocation – the 3D screen was the windshield.  When you arrived at dinosaur island that’s when the fun began.  The seats would wildly sway and rock as each event unfolded.  Even I had to hold on for dear life because I never knew which way it was going to go.  If Melodie wasn’t screaming because of the seats jerking around she was screaming when a dinosaur would suddenly leap at her.
After Sean-D’s friend left we went on to the Children’s zoo for about an hour then went on a train ride.  Then we walked around looking at the outdoor animals before finally dragging ourselves back to the car.

11 May
Today David and Alana were married at Grace church in Fairview Heights.  David’s dad was the best man, Jon was a groomsman and Crystal was a bridesmaid. Sean-Daniel was the ring bearer, and Melodie was the flower girl.  It was a beautiful wedding.

17 May
For this Saturday’s event the kids had chosen to go to Grants Farm in Missouri.  However, at the breakfast table they changed their mind and decided they wanted to go to Eckert’s Farm.  So I quickly got on the internet to find which of the three had something going on, and the one at Millstadt was having a Strawberry Festival today.  There would be pony rides, petting zoo, tractor rides, carnival rides, inflatable’s, and a play area for the kids – it sounded pretty good.  We left the house at 11:00, had lunch at McDonald’s, and then set out for Millstadt which was about a 20 minute drive of beautiful country scenery.  As we were pulling into the gravel drive  to Eckert’s Farm the first thing I noticed was there were no cars anywhere.  The second thing I noticed was there were no people anywhere.  Finally, I noticed there were no rides to be seen. Ruth and I figured I must have been looking at the June events on the website.  Well, on the way back we discussed what to do, and decided we might as well go to the Belleville Eckert’s and let the kids play there – hopefully they would have everything set up by now.  As we pulled in to the parking lot the first thing I noticed was there were a lot of cars in the parking lot.  The second thing I noticed was there were a lot of people milling around.  And finally, there were activities everywhere.  I had read the website wrong!  The day was saved!!  We did all the events they had, and had a great time.

19 May
At 1045 am on 19 May 2008 Holdyn Jonathan Ryberg was born!!  He weighed in at 8lbs 6oz, and measured 20 inches.  Ruth and I got to see them this evening and Holden is a beautiful healthy boy.  Amber is doing great considering she was in labor for 29 hours, and Jon is none the worse either.

22 May
Today Sean-Daniel reached another milestone by completing the first grade.  This morning was his last day of school, and they had a picnic.   Tonight was the awards ceremony, and we were so proud to hear all the awards and accolades he received. This year his Character Trait was Diligence, and these are the awards he received:
–  In Your Heart Award:  A medallion given to each student who has successfully recited the required Scripture passages for the year.
–  A Honor Roll: Achieved Pace test average of 94-100% while maintaining academic balance.
–  Citizenship Award: Presented to students who went the entire year without receiving a detention slip.
–  85 Plus Pace Award: For completing 90 paces during the academic year.  The requirement is 65 paces, and he accomplished this despite missing 16 days of school mostly because of breaking his leg.
–  Scholarship Award:  A $50 dollar savings bond presented to only one student (1st through 3rd grade) with the highest overall test average.
–  6000 Club Membership Award:   For completing 60 or more paces with test scores of 100%.  He also got a gift certificate for use at one of the local Christian book stores.

24 May
Today we had a pretty full day.  I had promised Sean-Daniel a few months ago that today would be the day I took him fishing for the first time –  he didn’t forget it either. Yesterday he practiced casting into a large planter, and he is a natural.  We also dug up some worms from the garden. This morning we got up at 7am, had breakfast at McDonald’s, and went to the lake at Scott AFB.  I chose an area that I knew had a lot of bluegill, and put on the smallest hook I had and a bobber.  He went through a few worms before he got the hang of it, and his total catch after an hour was 4 bluegill.  We only stopped because he was so excited he wanted to go home and tell his mom and sister about it.
Around 11am we set off for Grant’s Farm in St Louis, and spent the rest of the day there.  It was pretty packed, but we managed to get in all they had to offer.  It’s been awhile since we were there last, and I seem to recall that they were scared of the bigger animals.  This time they pet all the animals they could – even the camel.

30 May
This evening Melodie and I played the Sesame Street matching game, and she beat me 20 to 16.  It wouldn’t have been so bad, but during the game she kept asking me questions like, “do I still have more than you?” and “am I winning?”, when it was fairly obvious.  She also lined up her matches in a straight line to dramatize how many she had.

1 June
Today another great milestone was reached in Sean-Daniel’s life.  At church this morning he went forward to announce publicly that he had accepted Jesus as his savior, and he wanted to be baptized.  He had wanted to do it months ago, but then he had broken his leg and he didn’t want to be baptized with a cast.  He made the decision to go forward after a baptism this morning – I guess that reminded him.

14 Jun
Sean-Daniel wanted to go fishing again this weekend, but he wanted to go where we could bring back the fish – the lake at the base has a policy that you have to release all fish.  I decided that we should go to Carlyle lake because I figured if the fishing was slow we could always go swimming at the beach when the kids got bored.  Well, the plan would have worked better if Sean-Daniel hadn’t gotten bored with fishing after 10 minutes of not catching anything.  I was a little testy with him since we’d driven an hour to get to the lake, so I announced that we were going nowhere until we had caught something.  Fortunately we ended up catching a catfish.  We then went to the beach area of the lake, and the kids swam for a couple of hours.

15 Jun
Fathers Day!!  What a blessing to be a father – I love my children very much.  They have helped me mature and grow in a way that only God can do.  As I woke my son and daughter they rubbed their eyes and said “Happy Father’s Day”.  Melodie, Sean-Daniel, and Ruth all gave me a card – Sean-Daniel hand made his. Melodie made me another one after church.  On one side of Sean-Daniel’s card he wrote “Dad from your cat” – his way of making a joke.  On the other side he drew a stick figure (me), with two hearts on either side, and wrote “Love is all around you.”

29 Jun
Not wanting to delay any longer Sean-Daniel had set his baptism for this morning.  In attendance were Ruth’s sister and her family, grandma and grandpa Falconnier, David and Alana, and Amber with baby Holdyn.  He got a little surprise though.  The heater had not been turned on and the water was a little chilly.

04 July
We celebrated this Independence Day at our house with grandpa and grandma Falconnier, and David and Alana.  I barbequed pork steaks and chicken.

5 July
This Saturday’s event was to go to Meramec Caverns in Missouri.  I haven’t been in years.  We had a great time, and everyone survived.  It took about an hour, and it was quite an interesting tour.  Afterwards we went down by the river and the kids playing in the water.

26 July
Among the awards Sean-Daniel had won at his school was a free ticket to Six-Flags, and we decided to go today.  I’d been dragging my feet because as I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten comfortably “quiet” and excitement free.  I’m ashamed to say that even Melodie went on most of the rides fearlessly while I suffered through them with closed eyes and gritted teeth.  The first ride was the Ferris wheel which Melodie and Ruth rode – Sean-D and I were too scared.  The second ride was the Superman, and Melodie was a quarter inch too short.  She cried, but I was secretly relieved.  Next was the Rush Street Elevated Rail – my first ride.  Then the Screaming Eagle – which Ruth and I had been on as teenagers, and we both agreed that this was our last time.  After a couple of kids rides we went on the Log Flume, and I actually kept my eyes open.  We loved this ride so much we went through twice. Next the kids and I went on the River King Mine Train.  I liked this one because it cracked my back. Then, after Ruth and the kids went on a swing ride, we went on the Tidal Wave.  Last ride was some kind of spinning thing that also rotated – I knew if I rode that thing I would be sick.  Anyway, there were some other things we did, but I’m just too tired to go on.

10 Aug
Sean-Daniel and Melodie have been fascinated by my whistling for quite a while. Not because it’s so wonderful, but because they couldn’t do it.  The best they could do was a kind of high pitched hum with their throat.  Well, today Melodie proudly showed me that she has learned to whistle by whistling Jingle Bells.. Sean-Daniel is not pleased that his little sister can whistle, and he can’t – especially as her repertoire keeps growing.

30 Aug
Today we went to the annual Japanese Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden.  This year it was just Ruth and I and the kids.  We didn’t have an agenda on what we wanted to see – we’ve pretty much seen all the events over the years.  We just strolled around the garden – relaxing and taking breaks along the way in the shade.  One of our breaks was in the English Garden by one of the little bridges with a creek running under it.  The kids got a kick out of throwing a leaf on one side of the bridge and running to the other, and waiting for their leaf to come out.
Instead of having lunch at the garden we stayed late and had supper.  On the way to eat we came across a man who had a prosthetic leg.  Sean-Daniel was fascinated, and asked the man a lot of questions about it.  At first I thought it awkward, but the man was friendly and didn’t take offense.  After supper we headed on home.

31 Aug
Today was Labor Day, and we had David and Alana, Grandma and pa Falconnier, and Amber and baby Holdyn over for grilled steaks and hotdogs.  It was a quiet, relaxing time full of conversation and joking around.

13 Sep
The kids have been into making paper airplanes lately.  They’ve been making them out of 3 ring binder paper, and they don’t fly very well, so there are plane carcasses all over the house.  This Friday I went to the thrift store on base, and came across the Klutz Book of Paper Airplanes.  I bought it, and today we made the Spy plane and the Ninja.  The kids got a kick out of flying these “professionally” made airplanes – Ruth and I got a kick out of watching them.

27 Sep
This weekend Sean-Daniel and I went to the RA camping trip at Pere Marquette State Park.  The weather was beautiful and the moonless night was clear so you could see the stars well.  We got there Friday as the sun was going down, and set up the tents.  Then we had a supper of brats, hotdogs, and hamburgers followed by smores – we always eat good.  Afterwards there was a bible lesson on how Christians are to be the salt of the world, and then the kids played capture the flag the rest of the night. Since there was no moon, and all they had were flashlights, it made for an interesting game.  Sean-Daniel was exhausted, and went right to sleep.
In the morning we had breakfast of pancakes, eggs, sausage, bacon, and then most of the kids went off on their own hike nearby.  You could hear them yelling to each other in the distance.   When they all finally made their way back we told them to get ready for the official hike which was about an hour on pretty steep trails.  I was impressed with all the energy the kids had.
When we got home I found out that Melodie was sad that she couldn’t go camping with us, so Ruth had set up our other tent in our bedroom for her own camp out.

11 Oct
This weekend’s weather was supposed to be beautiful, so we planned on a camping trip at Washington County State Park.  We arrived on Friday just before sunset, and with everyone pulling together, we had everything pretty much set up by dark.   It took me  awhile to remember how to work the propane lantern – I forgot you have to pre-burn the mantles, and had a smoky mess.  That night we cooked hotdogs, and later on Ruth and I sat around the fire while the kids played around.  It was a windless night, with a clear sky so you could see the stars.  We were fortunate that we got a campsite with no one on either side of us.  It was strange because the whole camping site was packed.
Saturday morning we had my favorite sweet Italian sausages and cheese bagels for breakfast.  Then we took a path to the lake, and fished for a few hours.  Sean-Daniel caught 4 Bass and 1 Catfish, and Melodie caught 1 bass.  Unfortunately none of them were keepers.  In the afternoon we packed up and headed home.

27 Nov
We had Thanksgiving at our house.  Amber, Jon and Holdyn, Grandpa and ma Falconnier, and David all came over to help us celebrate.  Melodie made some napkin rings to give the table a festive look.  We had a wonderful feast.

28 Nov
Today was forecast to be a beautiful day, so after breakfast at IHOP we all went to the Cahokia Mounds.  It was a little cool (upper 40’s), but it was a sunny day with no wind.  Ruth stayed in the car, to catch up on her reading, while the kids and I went hiking.  We were prepared for any contingency.  I had packed a backpack with a blanket, an extra jacket, a first aid kit, and some lollipops.  Sean-Daniel’s back-pack had a sleeping bag, his big box of animal cards (in case we saw something we didn’t recognize), and some candy.  Melodie brought some candy.  I had so much fun on the hike, and it was very relaxing.  The birds were singing, and we saw about 12 deer running across the path.  The kids were so funny, and for the first time they didn’t complain once about being thirsty or tired. Sean-Daniel insisted that he should lead the way because of his keen abilities like laser vision, and sharp sense of smell.  Melodie got to choose the direction when we came to a fork.  I picked the rest stops, and at each Sean-Daniel would pull out his sleeping bag for a quick break.  Of course, at each break, we dipped into the candy rations.  After about 2 and a half hours of hiking we came back for Ruth and went up Monks Mound.

12 Dec 08
Today the RA’s went to the archery range, and this time Sean-Daniel much better.  He even hit the target a couple of times – he was so excited.  They all had so much fun.  I might even join them next time.

19 Dec 08
Nathanael Shane Acker was born today!!  We are third time grandparents, and Sean-Daniel and Melodie have another nephew.  He was born around 10:22 am.  He weighed 7lbs and 9oz. and was 18 inches long.  Jon says he’s healthy and kicking, and is even already eating.  We are praising God that everything went well.  We will be heading out to see them on 26 Dec.

22 Dec 08
Ruth called me at work because Melodie had exciting news!  She lost her first tooth!  I remembered that when Sean-Daniel lost his first one that she was very concerned about a tooth falling out of someone’s head.  I guess she’s gotten over it.

25 Dec 08
Christmas Day!  We celebrated Christmas Day at Grandpa and Grandma Falconnier’s.  To help us celebrate, Lydia came with her family, Amber with her family, and David and Alana came too. The kids all got great presents.  Ironically Ruth and Lydia both gave their nephews these fancy science kits – kind of spooky.  This year I asked my kids what two presents they were hoping to get.  Melodie hoped to get a tiara and a scooter.  Sean-Daniel hoped for a super-soaker and a dinosaur book.  Melodie got her tiara and Sean-Daniel got his super-soaker.
We had to get home a little early to finish getting ready for our trip to South Carolina to see our newest grandson Nathanael.



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