This afternoon we met up with my brother and sister and their families at Chevy’s restaurant for our annual Christmas get together. Susy and Rob now live in North Carolina where Rob took up a new pastorate. Dad and Linda were in Branson again, so we’ll have to get with them later. We had a good time and stayed about 2 hours.
This evening we went to Amber and Jon’s house for a late Christmas get together because they had been in Colorado visiting Crystal. Holdyn did a great job opening his presents. I was impressed by his developing vocabulary—he’s a very smart boy. Strong too. He got one of those classic wooden peg toys that you hammer in the pegs. He would put in the pegs with his fingers and pull them out with his teeth.
Ruth’s mom gave me a backyard project book with plans to make everything from bird feeders to small tool sheds. Sean-Daniel and I decided to start small and picked a bird house to build – specifically and wren/chickadee house. They are similar so we’ll see which bird we get. Anyway, we worked on it on Saturdays and it only took 3 days. Sean-Daniel was very excited to be measuring, sawing, and hammering. I tried to stay away from power tools as much as possible. We finished the house today, because we decided not to paint it, and put it within the lilac bush.
We had a bit of a scare today. I was doing laundry in the basement and checked on Sean-Daniels turtle Alex. He has been in hibernation for a couple of months, and we weren’t exactly sure how to do it. He wasn’t covered up and as I examined him closer it looked like he’d been dead awhile. His eyes were sunken it and he was very light. As much as I dreaded it I told Sean-Daniel and after staring at him awhile he went away sobbing. Fortunately I saw a flicker of movement and I began to hope. I soaked him in the bathtub for about an hour and he slowly started coming around. You can imagine how happy Sean-Daniel was. We’re not sure what to expect yet, so we don’t want to get our hopes up.
I think I should note that Melodie has picked of the habit of calling me “Dan” – I don’t mind I guess, but others think it’s odd. She started a few months ago, and it seems to be a term of endearment. She also gave her mom a middle name. Now it’s Ruth Darling Campos.
Today is Sean-Daniel’s birthday. I can’t believe he’s 9 years old. We celebrated with David and Alana, Amber, and grandma and grandpa Falconnier. Melodie wore her Superman outfit I got her for Christmas.
His turtle is very much improved, but not eating yet. It would have been a sad birthday if his pet had died.
Today is Melodie’s birthday. Wow, 7 years old. We celebrated with Amber, and grandma and grandpa Falconnier, and Alana dropped off Jason. Unfortunately David is in Chicago and Alana had to work. Jon is still in Hawaii.
Sean-Daniel had a book on how to make a Fugu (Puffer Fish) kite. It’s actually only 2 dimensional. Sean-Daniel did most of the work, and I only got the supplies together and helped on the really hard parts. I was surprised at how well he did. Now we just need a dry windy day.
Alex the box turtle is doing very well now. I bought four minnows, because I read they provide vitamin A, and put them in his water tub. Unfortunately they are too fast, and hide under the rock. When I remove the rock they hide under him. The smallest one was missing after the first day though.
Crystal and Jon and the grandkids came over to visit for a few days from Colorado. We all went bowling tonight with Amber and Jon and Holdyn. This is only the 2nd time in many years that I’ve bowled and I stunk – couldn’t break 100.
Today, Crystal, Jon, Josiah, and Nathanael, along with Amber and Holdyn, as well as baby Jason who Amber was baby sitting, went with us to the St Louis Zoo. It was a beautiful cool day. Best of all we had all four grand babies with us at the same time.
Today Lydia, Neil, Langston and Sophia came down from Chicago for a visit while Crystal and Jon were in town. We all went to Long Acre park for a birthday party for Josiah, but all the kids got gifts.
We celebrated Ruth’s birthday this year in sections. David and Alana were leaving the day before, so we went to their house for a birthday cake and presents on Thursday.
On Friday we went out to eat at Chevy’s Fresh Mex with Amber and her family and grandma and grandpa Falconnier. Grandma brought a cake and gifts were given. We also had the staff do their birthday spiel where they put a Mexican hat on Ruth’s head and sang their special song.
On Saturday the kids and I dropped by the florist and got Ruth a special bouquet, and finally, on Sunday my dad came by with a gift. Ruth said that this year was the best birthday she can remember.
The kids each made Ruth beautiful, sparkly Mothers day cards. When they saw how excited she was they made her 2 more.
Grandma and Grandpa Falconnier are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this year. Ruth and Cami got together and invited friends and family for dinner at Nonna’s Restaurant to celebrate. There were gift bags for everyone and a cake after dinner. I think it all went very well.
This morning Sean-Daniel slept in, so Melodie and I had our Fitness Club at Laderman Park. We did our stretched and then ran one time around the 1mile track. After playing a little basketball we came home and made fresh fruit slushies with bananas and raspberries from our garden. We started playing basketball last weekend, and hopefully that will be a habit.
This afternoon we all went to Raging Rivers. Sean-Daniel and Ruth won free tickets through a reading club, so we only had to pay for Melodie and me. We decided to go after 3pm because the ticket price is reduced. It has been very hot this year already, and yesterday’s heat index was 106 F. Unfortunately, we had to leave after only an hour because of lightening. The good news is we all got rain check tickets to use anytime we want.
11 years of wedding bliss were celebrated today. David watched the kids while Ruth and I stayed home and had grilled lamb and fixings, and a bottle of apple and pomegranate sparkling cider.
Ruth was going to a Beth Moore conference today, so the kids and I decided to go fishing at Carlyle lake. We decided to go especially early this time and get up at 0400am. At 0415am I was up and dressed and found Melodie already up and in the kitchen getting water—apparently she has my internal clock. Sean-Daniel, on the other hand, was fast asleep with alarm beeping. Anyway, were leave the house at 5am, get to McDonalds at 6am, and by 7am we are at the lake fishing in a quiet, peaceful setting with 78 F, and no one else around. We eventually left at 1100am. I was the only one who caught anything—4 catfish that were too small to keep (although if I had known I was going catch four I might have kept them).
A Sean-Daniel moment: A family eventually showed up to fish nearby, and after a few minutes the dad was chastising one of the kids. I turned to Sean-D and said, “See son. Other dad’s get frustrated with their children. I think God gives mommies and daddies children to help teach them patience”. Sean-D’s response was “Yeah, that’s why I don’t plan on having any children”. “But how will you learn patience then?” I asked. “I have my sister” was his reply.
We decided to use the rain check tickets for Raging Rivers we got on 19 June. It was such a beautiful day and the high was only 83F. We played for about 4 hours, and then went to Outback restaurant before going home. We were so exhausted. I came downstairs at 1am after falling asleep, and found everyone crashed out in the living room with all the lights on.
This Saturday was supposed to be beautiful, so we went to Grant’s Farm. However, as on all Saturdays we first had our Fitness Club time. A couple of weekends ago we started having our program at Laderman Park. We start with stretches, and then run around the 1 mile track. Afterwards we play a little basketball. Today Melodie actually made it around the track without complaining.
Anyway, we had a great time at Grant’s Farm. Then in the evening the kids and I went to Centerfield Park to play some putt putt. I got a little lost as I usually do without Ruth, but after a 30 minute delay I finally found it. Unfortunately, they only took cash or check (I forgot), and all I carry is credit cards. We watched the go cart racing for awhile, which was pretty exciting because they were so competitive, and then went home about an hour later.
Sean-D and Melodie still had free Six Flags tickets they won in a reading club, so we went today. It was so hot—heat index of 105F. We ended up staying at the water park all day and went on most of the water slides. It’s been a long time since I was this sun burnt. The kids somehow just got a little tanned. It was a lot of fun and I didn’t mind a bit they we didn’t go on any rides this time.
Took off today because all my office stuff is being moved to my new building at Green Mount. Been a long time waiting for the move. It’s a nice new building and has a lot restaurants and stores around, and will get some time getting used to—mostly because it’s off base. Sean-Daniel and I decided to spend some manly time together. We were supposed to start last night with a manly campfire cooked hotdogs and bottled cream soda, but Melodie wanted to join us so Sean-D relented. Of course we had to have Ruth too. Anyway, today we spent the morning playing video games, and the afternoon playing putt-putt , batting cage, and air hockey at Centerfield. We were supposed to go to Laser Rock to play laser tag, but they were closed. It was a great time together.
This evening I went over to David and Alana’s house to spend time with them watching The Book of Eli and playing with my grandson Jason. When Jason saw me come in the house he got this huge grin and you could tell he was happy to see me. He’s almost walking now—taking 3-4 steps before coming down. He’s also starting to get into stuff and you can tell by the way he looks over his shoulder that he’s already testing authority.
COLORADO VACATION: 06-16 August 2010
We’re visiting Jon and Crystal at their new home in Westminster. Rather than driving a couple of days we decided to fly for a couple of hours.
06 Aug— We left the house at 1515 right on schedule. Ruth’s mom drove us to the metro link station, and the we took the train all the way to Lambert Airport in St Louis. We had a little trouble checking our bags because the process was all computerized and self service—the human employees were not much help. Finally, the employee lost her patience and did the processing for us. After checking our bags everything else went fine. We got to Denver International Airport at 2015. Jon met us at the baggage claim and took us home.
07 Aug— This morning Crystal made us delicious breakfast burrito’s. Then we mostly visited, and got a tour of the new house. Sean-D gave his gifts for his nephews that he brought— A hotwheels car that changes color in hot/cold water for Josiah and a cuddly stuffed dog for Nathanael. Later in the day Ruth and I had Enterprise come take us to their office to get the rental. We then all went to a Thai restaurant called “East Moon” and had a delicious lunch. Afterwards we walked around the area of the restaurant and then went on home.
08 Aug– Today is Sunday, so of course we went to church. Jon is the associate pastor at Arvada Baptist. Ruth and I put the kid in their respective age Sunday School class and then we went to our own. The teacher of our class was going through the book of Proverbs and was currently studying chapters 7 and 8. After church the Melodie, Sean-D, and I changed clothes and went to a local playground while everyone else took naps. After playing awhile Sean-Daniel noticed a trail leading off into the field, so we went for a walk.
It was a pleasant and peaceful walk. The trail went on about half a mile and came to another playground that had different activities. The kids liked it better than the first one, so we decided to stay instead of continuing on the trail. After an hour or so the altitude got the best of us, and we headed back to the house. In the evening we went back to church for evening service.
09 Aug— One of the things I wanted to do on this trip was to visit the QWEST Network Operations Center in Denver and meet the people I deal with on the phone all the time for my job. I left the house at 0630 and found a parking spot right in front of their building. I thought it was funny that the parking meter took credit cards, and I still haven’t checked on the charge. I met with Darcy, who I work with most, and she gave me a tour of their area and showed me the computer tools they use to do their job. It was very enlightening and helped me envision what goes on when they are helping me. I only stayed 30 minutes and on the way home I was glad that I had come so early because the traffic coming in to Denver had picked up quite a bit.
Around 1030 we all left for the Georgetown Loop Railroad. It was about a two hour drive. When we got there we found there was about a 45 minute wait for the next train, so we went into town for a quick bite to eat. We boarded our train on time—it was a diesel . It was a beautiful ride through the mountains—although it did rain about a third of the way through. Fortunately we made a 15 minute stop at another station where Ruth bought us rain poncho’s. That made the ride a little more enjoyable.
10 Aug— It was a beautiful day for our trip to Royal Gorge—sunny and high of 86 F. We left early for our 3 hour drive. Just before going in to the gorge area we stopped to have a picnic. The air smell on pine and was very relaxing – we even saw a couple of deer. Later on I found I needed that relaxing time because the whole time we were at the gorge I was in a constant state of terror because of the vastness of the gorge giving me vertigo. No one else seemed to have a problem except Sean-D when we crossed the bridge. We both stayed in the middle and tried to keep looking down at the road. I absolutely refused to ride on the tram that spanned across the gorge, but came very close to riding down the incline train that takes you down to the river. We stayed all day and didn’t get home until 2130.
11 Aug— This morning I got up early to have breakfast at Panera’s and read a book. I brought pastries back for everyone. At 1230 Ruth, Sean-Daniel and I drove to Mt Goliath in Mt Evans (I still haven’t figured that out) for a hike. It was another beautiful day. We decided to take the Pesman trail for our hike and the informational brochure said it was 45 minutes one way. Wow! The trail wound through Bristlecone tree forest and almost every tree looked like a giant bonsai display and the Japanese Festival at MOBOT. Many of the were dead, but still had striped lines of red and brown shades along the branches and trunk. Some were just bleached white from the elements. The trail was somewhat difficult, and Ruth eventually sprained her ankle (she had gotten off the path to take a picture) about 2 thirds of the way. She was a real trooper and continued the hike. At about halfway along Sean-D found a nice flat boulder and we sat for a while and listened to the silence and gazed at the beautiful vistas—there was absolutely no one else on the trail the whole time. At 1600 we headed back home for a delicious supper Crystal had made (all the meals Crystal made were delicious).
12 Aug— Today we decided to stay local and went to the Denver Aquarium. Ruth’s ankle was still sore so we got her a wheel chair. There were a lot of different tanks filled with a lot of different kinds of fish. There were a few that I had never seen before like a little yellowish fish with horns on its head. There was a small tank with flounder in it which was fascinating because I had just read about them in Sean– D’s animal book on the flight over. After we were done looking at fish we went to the aquarium’s restaurant. Our table was next to a huge aquarium big enough for shark and barracuda. The barracuda stared at us the whole time like they didn’t appreciate us eating their brethren.
13 Aug— Started off the morning with Jon and all the kids on a hike back to the playground we found next to a local trail. Ruth’s ankle is still hurting her so she stayed behind with Crystal. The kids all played awhile on the playground then we decided to continue on the trail to see where it led. It didn’t go much farther, but Jon know the area well and took us through a neighborhood and we picked up another trail. We eventually got back on a sidewalk that led us home. Today was the last full day we’ll have the rental car, so we wanted to finish up on a couple of sites. First we went to the Focus on The Family campus. We browsed in their book store and then went to Witt’s End area where the kids played and we looked at all the displays. In the evening we went to the Flying W Ranch which of course had a cowboy theme. We went to some of the shops and I bought Sean-D a leather wallet and Melodie a straw hat. We watched a Native American hoop dance and Melodie went down with some other children for a children’s dance. We also stopped at a blacksmith shopped and watched a horse getting re-shoed. At 7pm we had supper chuck wagon style. I was amazed that all us folks were able to get our food and sit down so quick. The food was delicious. After supper we were entertained by an outstanding country band with a little slapstick humor that even made the kids laugh. We didn’t get back home until 2300.
14 Aug—Jon and I rode bikes to a Bald Eagle nesting preserve and relaxed awhile—I didn’t see any eagles unfortunately. I hadn’t ridden a bike in awhile but did pretty well—by the time I got back home my legs were pretty sore. In the afternoon, after I recovered, Jon and I took all the kids in the church van to North Table Mountain. The hike to get to the top was excruciatingly steep. Jon had planned to drive to the top but the road had been closed. When we got to the top we hiked on one trail that took us to a view of the city of Denver then came back to the starting point and took another trail that was a little more scenic and had some flowers. Somehow the kids had all regained their energy on the second trail and had a more enjoyable hike.
15 Aug— Went to church and then packed for our flight back to Illinois tomorrow morning.
16 Aug— Time to fly home. Fortunately Ruth was still not able to walk to well so we hired an airport wheelchair attendant named Valerie. It was a good thing that we did because we were late getting to the airport because of the traffic and Valerie knew all the tricks to bypass the long lines and get us to our gate just as they were boarding. We got to Lambert on time and hired another wheelchair attendant to take Ruth to the baggage claim and then to the metrolink train. When we got off on our stop Ruth’s mom was waiting to take us home. ~The End~
Ironically, David and Alana just arrived at Colorado Springs where he’s now stationed. Jason will follow later on.
A proud day for the Fitness Club. This morning Sean-D, Melodie, and I were all able to run 2 laps at Laderman Park. Each lap is 1 mile.
Sean-Daniel had asked me to go with him and Ruth on his field trip to Grants Farm, so I decided to take off today and make it a 4 day Labor Day weekend. Unfortunately, Melodie didn’t make privilege so she had to stay at school.
Another great day for the Fitness Club. Ruth came out with us to play basketball.
Sean-Daniel has been saying that he misses his grandpa and grandma Campos, so we spent the entire day with them. We met at the St Louis Mills, stayed a couple of hours playing, then went over to their house in Lake St Louis. We stayed for a delicious supper and didn’t get home until 9:00pm.
This weekend we went to Klondike Park in Missouri to camp out with grandpa Campos– Linda was in California. I took off work on Friday to prepare and to get to the park before it got dark. The park was established in 2004 and still looks new and well kept. The Katy trail runs near the area so there were a lot of folks using the campsites with bicycles. Friday we set up our tent and chatted with grandpa. Ruth made mystery soup (at Sean-Daniel’s request) and we cooked hotdogs over the fire. On Saturday the weather was wonderful—75 degrees and clear skies— a perfect day for bike riding. We brought the kids bikes and my dad brought his two bikes. Ruth was not able to go with us on the Katy trail. She had to leave early to pick up her mom and dad at the airport—they were visiting Crystal and Jon in Colorado and Ruth’s dad had gotten an infection in his leg and had to be hospitalized. He stayed in the hospital a few days for tests and so had to change their flight out a few days.
We decided to pack up the campsite first and go to Defiance for lunch just down the road from park. After lunch we said goodbye to Ruth and then got on Katy trail. On the trail my dad had a bit of a scary accident. He was trying to show the kids the rules of the road—one of which was that when someone is passing you the will say “on your left” and you’re supposed the get over to the right to give room. Well poor Melodie didn’t understand, so when dad said “on your left” she swerved left right in front of him, and he braked so hard his back tire came off the ground and he almost flipped over. He came down hard on his bike seat and broke it hurting his own “seat”. He seemed to be ok later on, but was still very sore. At around 3pm we said farewell to grandpa and headed home.
(Praise Note) I thank God for getting us home safe. I mistakenly thought I had enough gas to make it home, but we ran into a serious traffic back up on the interstate in St Louis. Fortunately, there was a detour around the construction that took us off the interstate and right by a gas station before getting back on to a different interstate. I am not familiar with St Louis and had no idea where a gas station would be, so I was beginning to fret just a little.
Tonight Ruth went to a women’s conference at St Louis, and I took the kids to their friend Logan’s house for his birthday party. We had hot dog and hamburgers, and Logan got his presents. Afterwards Logan’s dad made a bonfire for marshmallows and then did a devotional. The kids were attentive and after the devotional we sang a couple of songs.
09 Oct 10
Ruth went to the 2nd day of the her women’s conference. In the morning the kids and I watched the E. T. movie and then went hiking at Cahokia Mounds. It was a beautiful day and temp was around 80F. The kids had a great time, and even seemed to enjoy nature for a change. Everyone took their binoculars for animal watching. We didn’t see any deer, but there were a lot of butterflies and birds. After our hike we went to Outback for supper.
16 Oct 10
I am 49 years old today. I spent the day with the family hiking at Pere Marquette with some of the folks in my Sunday School class. They all sang “Happy Birthday” on the mountain top. Afterwards we went to Little Italy for supper.
17 Oct 10
Dad and Linda came to our church and afterwards treated me to a birthday lunch at Outback. I also got a card, a tropical island calendar and a table top grill for camping.
21 Oct 10
I took off work early to go to a friends house to help out with cleanup. Her back yard had gotten overgrown and she really needed help. I cleared a lot of brush with Melodie’s help, and Ruth cleared out some saplings. Unfortunately Sean-D had to work on his homework.
22 Oct 10
Sean-D was disappointed that he had not earned enough money to buy my birthday present in time. For months he has had his eye on an electric soap dispenser that he saw at the BX on base. Today he called me at work to proudly announce I was getting a special surprise when I got home. He was bursting with excitement as I set up the dispenser. Everyone got in line to try out me birthday present – it works great.
A Sean-Daniel moment. Sean-Daniel has been calling me at work to talk. Usually it’s to find out when I’m coming home, but sometimes to tell me something good he’s done or to ask me a question. Yesterday he called me on my way home, and he wanted to know if it was ok for him to set out my work clothes for tomorrow. He wanted to pick out “something that matches”. I told him that was cool, and this morning after my shower I found my clothes for work laid out on the bed.
Melodie started a couple of weeks ago working hard on piano lessons. Her main song is “It’s me, it’s me, it’s me oh Lord”. She said she has to play 20 times a session. In just the 2 weeks I can hear a lot of improvement and I thinks she’s going to stick with it.
Had Thanksgiving at our house with grandma and grandpa Falconnier, Amber and her family , and Amber’s friend Mandy.
19 Dec 10
Melodie was pretty busy this weekend. She sang in the kids choir for our church Christmas musical “The Promise of Christmas” on Friday and Saturday. On Saturday Alana came with Jason to watch the musical. When Jason got just a little fussy I used the opportunity to take him out to the foyer to spend time with him. He’s such a cutie—and smart too. Of course we went back in briefly when Melodie’s part came up.
Tonight she played the part of Katie in her school’s Christmas program “God’s Gifts” adapted from the Real 12 Days of Christmas by Helen Haidle. She had a part all through the program and did a great job.
23 Dec 10
Alana brought Jason over for Ruth to watch while she got things ready for Christmas. He’s such a good boy and a pleasure to have.
24 Dec 10
Christmas Eve! And it started snowing first thing this morning. We went over to Amber’s house to meet up with all of Ruth’s family—Phillip and Cami, Lydia and Neal, Langston and Safronia, David and Alana and Jason, and grandma and grandpa Falconnier. Phil’s daughter was also here. There was a lot of delicious food and treats. Cami had a craft as always, and this year she read the Christmas story from the bible
25 Dec 10
Christmas morning we opened all the presents—just Ruth and I and the kids. Then, this afternoon Ruth’s family came over, and everyone opened their gifts. Ruth’s sister Evi was also here today. Before everyone showed up though the kids and I had an outstanding snow ball fight.
31 Dec 10
Ruth and I and the kids stayed up until midnight watching movies. The Grinch who stole Christmas, Faith Like Potatoes, and one of Sean-D’s new Bible Man movies.