New Years resolution: start getting up early to have my quiet time and listen to the “Thru the Bible” radio program.
We met up with my dad, Roy, Connie, Ben and Samantha, Rob and Susy and Jessica for our annual Christmas get together at Casa Gallardo.
Today we got our first hindquarter of grass fed beef from R Farm in Dow Illinois. Fortunately, the owner’s wife was making a trip that took her by our house, so she saved me a 2 hour round trip. It came out to a little under $4 per pound and was about 83 pounds of meat.
Melodie has been asking her mom to be home schooled with her brother, and Ruth decided she was ready. We set up her office in the living room using an old desk that David had left behind. Melodie was very excited, and had herself set up in no time.
Sean-Daniel is 10 today!! I thought I’d do something special for this two digit occasion, so while he was still in bed I made a breakfast of bacon, hash browns and biscuits. We put all his presents and cards on the kitchen table and called him down. When he entered the kitchen we shouted “Happy Birthday” and sang the birthday song.
Today we had Sean-D’s birthday party at our house with grandma and grandpa Falconnier, and Amber and Holdyn.
We celebrated Valentines partially today. After AWANA club the kids and I bought Ruth a dozen roses and a huge Valentines balloon. When we got home Ruth was not there yet, so we set everything up in the kitchen and surprised her when she got home.
Valentines Day!! I got the kids up early and we presented Ruth with her cards. The kids had made their own and they needed to dry overnight. For supper we had grass fed beef T-bones—very excellent.
Just a quick note that I have successfully kept my New Years resolution of getting up early to have my quiet time and listen to the “Thru the Bible” radio program. However, after about the first week in January Melodie asked if she could get up early and listen with me. She has also been faithful. Also, my boss asked me to start coming it at 0930 so I’ve taken to going to the YMCA and working out before going to work.
Today is Melodies birthday and she’s is 8 years old. Part of the celebration started yesterday when Ruth drove her around and Melodie didn’t have to sit in the car seat. I also snuck in one of her presents early. She’s been using and old desk lamp of mine that’s about 2 feet high. The base is a miniature golf bag and the shade is a golf umbrella—not very girlish. The lamp I replaced it with has a white wooden base and the shade is pink with pink jewels hanging of the ends. The pull chain has a big pink heart-shaped jewel—much more girlish. Melodie noticed almost right away.
Today Melodie and I started our day at 6am with 2 Adrian Rogers sermons, and then, as usual, Melodie went back to bed. When I was sure she was asleep I put the rest of her presents at her place on the kitchen table and started a special breakfast of bacon, hash browns, and biscuits. When everything was ready I called for Melodie and we all sang “Happy Birthday” as she walked in to the kitchen.
This afternoon grandma and grandpa Falconnier came over to have birthday cake and give Melodie her present.
It was such a beautiful day—70F temps, so we went to Long Acre Park to walk and play. Unknown to us Amber and Jon had the same idea and were there when we arrived, so we all played together.
First day of fitness club. It was rainy so we had to go to the YMCA. We rode on the bicycles for 20 minutes and then ran around the indoor track.
Another beautiful day— high of 65F. The kids and I had fitness club over at Laderman park while Ruth went to the chiropractor. After pledges and stretching we ran around the park track (1 mile) and then played basketball until someone reached 20 baskets. Melodie was today’s winner. We then went to IHOP for lunch. Finally we went to Target for film for Melodie’s camera and a new bicycle pump.
Spring is next week, so Ruth and I started doing some garden prep and tree trimming. By the time we finished for the day I was wore out and there still much more to do.
We had probably the worst storm in a long time last night. I don’t usually follow the family to the basement when the tornado warning goes off, but when I heard the howling of the wind and the rain whipping straight left to right, I went down in a hurry. Fortunately, it wasn’t a tornado but what they call straight line winds. After the storm passed Ruth and I went outside and checked the damage. We had a number of broken on limbs, but no damage to the house. Unfortunately a huge limb had landed near the neighbors house and was leaning against her gutter with the smaller branches on her cable. Because it was dark and still lightening we decided to wait until tomorrow.
This morning before I went to work Ruth and I and Kathy and her nephew got the limb off of Kathy’s house. We were happy to see that the only damage was a tear in one of her shingles. After work I tackled the main trunk of the limb with our electric chainsaw. Melodie was very helpful—probably cutting the time in half by stacking the cut logs in a neat pile.
Since Ruth will be out of town on her birthday Crystal devised a scheme for her family to come down and give Ruth a surprise birthday party. Using Facebook we conspired to meet at Ruth’s favorite Thai restaurant, and Amber set up an appointment to meet her there for lunch. I had a gluten/dairy free cake made and also bought a vase of flowers. Everything went perfect and before Ruth arrived we had grandma and grandpa Falconnier, Phil and Camie, Amber Jon and Holdyn, and Ruth’s friend Rise. Ruth was very surprised and pleased to see everyone.
Today Sean-Daniel and I went to The Edge to play laser tag with our Churches RA group. We had about 10 kids and 4 adults and we were lumped in together with another group for a total of about 40 players. The whole system is very technologically advanced, and even had a running list to keep track of who shot who. I never played before and it showed – Sean- Daniel did much better. We had a lot of fun. Unfortunately, it was a boys only event, so Melodie couldn’t go. She and I spent some time together at I Hop for breakfast just the two of us to make up for it.
Last night the RA’s had their last event—a lock in at the church. Ugh! I only got about 4 hours of sleep and spent the whole morning today catching up. Sean-Daniel had it worse though. Before the lock in He, Melodie, and Ruth spent the whole day at Six Flags for the Scripture Memorization trip.
Which reminds me. I should mention that Melodie finally got to ride the Superman. She had been too short before, and would wail because she couldn’t go. It was a relief to me because I would “have” stay on the ground with her. Unfortunately, I had to go to work today so I missed my chance to ride.
Tonight Ruth’s cousin Andre Falconnier arrived from Paris, France. He will be visiting the United States and Canada while he’s here for the next 3 weeks.
The weather here is so bizarre. Ruth had told Andre that the temperature has been in the 80’s, so of course the day he arrives it’s down in the 50’s and even in the 40’s first thing in the morning. He packed for hot weather, so Ruth is taking him shopping for warmer clothes.
Another successful year of school, and tonight was the Award Ceremony. Grandma and Grandpa Falconnier, and Andre also came to the ceremony.
Sean-Daniel graduated forth grade. His character trait was Perseverant. He was awarded “A” Honor Roll for achieving a total pace average of 94-100% on all his subjects. He received a certificate of award in recognition of completing 65+ paces. He earned membership into the 2000 club. He also received the Perfect Attendance certificate.
Melodie graduated second grade. Her character trait was Forgiveness. She was awarded “A” Honor Roll for achieving a total pace average of 94-100% on all her subjects. She received a trophy in recognition of completing 75+ paces. She earned membership into the 3000 club.
Ruth and the kids left today for Chicago with Andre to visit Ruth’s sister in Chicago. Unfortunately I need to save my vacation time for when we go on vacation in September. They’ll be gone 4 days—time to catch up on chores and to do’s.
Andre’s vacation to the United States has come to an end and he arrived safely back in Paris France.
I signed up Sean-Daniel for archery class at the Town Hall archery. He’s been a couple of times before with the church RA’s, but there was no real instruction.
Fathers day. Ruth may me a steak dinner. The kids made me cards, and Crystal sent a card with a button that says “Worlds Greatest Papa”.
12 Years of wedded bliss. Ruth and I didn’t remember until a few days before. On Friday Ruth’s mom watched the kids while we had lunch at Chevy’s.
Tournament day at Town Hall Archery. Unfortunately, the bow Sean-Daniel was using the whole time couldn’t be found so he had to use a different one which was harder to draw. His last score was 128, but he only scored 68 today. He needed at least 100. He has had fun though and took it like a man. He wants me to sign him up for the next class in October—so does Melodie. We might also get him his own bow.
Well, that didn’t take long. I took Sean-Daniel to Town Hall Archery to practice and ended up buying him a new bow and arrows. The bow is a 25lb Razor Back Recurve Bow. It’s on order and will hopefully be in soon.
Today Ruth and Sean-D had another yard sale to raise money for water wells in Africa. This time we set up early enough to be ready for customers by 9am. At the end of the day they raised $92.
Sean-Daniel’s new bow came in yesterday. We quickly went over to Town Hall Archery where they cut the arrows to length and showed us how to put the bow together and string it. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to shoot yesterday, so today we went back and spent a hour on the range. Sean-D loves his new bow and shot very well.
Today’s the day we picked to use the free tickets for Six Flags that Ruth and the kids won for the reading club. We mostly stayed at Hurricane Harbor, but did manage to do the ship ride that goes back and forth and then around. I seem to be disliking those rides in my old age. The kids had gone to Six Flags before the last day of school, so they got there “thrill” fix as far as I was concerned.
This Saturday we used the free tickets for Raging Rivers that the kids won at another reading club. We had a blast. Got there at 1pm and stayed until 5pm. Then we went to the Finn Inn for supper. We didn’t get home until 8:30pm.
Sean-Daniel said he heard on the radio that it was peach picking time at Eckert’s Farm, so that’s what we did today. Ruth also invited her friend Michelle to come along. It was fun getting out in the sun and munching on a few peaches while we picked. After picking we went to the restaurant at Eckert’s. After we ate, Ruth took Michelle back home while the kids and I went to the Eckert’s play area and played some putt-putt and rode the tricycles just like the good old days.
A few weeks ago Sean-Daniel asked me to show him how to play chess. I’m not all that great and I had to check on the rules again, but we managed to get started. So far, Ruth has been teaching him mostly and Melodie has even learned how to play. Tonight Sean-D and I played a match and I was impressed at how far he’s come. If I’m not careful he’s going to start beating me.
Awesome day. Ruth and Melodie had a special mom and daughter day. They got all dressed up and went shopping and ate lunch, and then this evening went to the Secret Keeper Girls conference. Sean-Daniel and I had our Father and Son day out. I showed him how to use the mower and he did a bit of mowing—something he’s been asking me to teach him. Then we went to Park Centerfield for air hockey, putt putt golf, the water bumper boat, and batting cages. Then we went to Smokey Bones for Cream Sodas and food.
This Saturday Ruth went to my niece Samantha’s bridal shower, and my dad asked us to meet him. We met at Cracker Barrel early for lunch and then after dropping off Linda at the shower and picking up my nephew Ben we went over to Silver Lake park in Highland. We played free-style badminton awhile and then walked around until it was time for dad to pick up Linda.
We have not been doing much of our formal Fitness Club exercises because of all the other events or it being too hot. But today being labor day and 58 degrees this morning we went out to Laderman Park and ran about a mile. Then played a little basketball. We play until someone gets 21 baskets.
This afternoon was cool and breezy. I set up the hammock and spent time in it with Melodie. I’ve been reading Dr. Dobson’s book on Raising Girls and find that I have not spent a lot of time with her that I should. We talked about the book and different other things, and just enjoyed each other’s company. After awhile she went off to play and I had one of the best naps I’ve had in a long time.
Grand Canyon Tour 14-27 September 2011
I’ve been to the Grand Canyon twice before. Once, by myself in 1995 and then again with a YMCA group in 1998. We are primarily going to see David in Colorado. He returned from his tour in Afghanistan back in mid-August. We thought we’d go on to the Grand Canyon since Ruth has never been there. On the way home we’ll stop by Crystal and Jon’s who also live in Colorado. As is tradition we rented a Dodge Grand Caravan.
14 Sep— I got out of bed at 6:30 am to find the rest of the family already up and moving. We left at 7:35 am—unfortunately it was raining so I couldn’t get a family picture before leaving. After a few stops (gas, at rest areas, and a picnic) we arrived at our hotel in Salina, KS around 5:30pm. We had supper at Chili’s and then went back to the hotel and the kids swam in the heated indoor pool.
15 Sep—After a continental breakfast the kids and I went to the pool and Jacuzzi. Then about 11am we headed for the Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure. I couldn’t believe it was 50F when just a couple of weeks ago in was over 100F. Fortunately we brought jackets. We first went to the museum hoping it would warm up later. The stuffed animals were very well done (very realistic poses) and the scenes they were in were great. There were even some very lifelike human animatrons that gave brief presentations. The museum took about 1 hour and then we had a picnic—it had not warmed up. After our picnic we bundled up and toured the zoo outside. There were hundreds of wild animals to see. Special note: the orangutans. We were talking with one of the volunteers and he pointed out a female hiding under a bed sheet. She was so cute wearing the sheet like a shawl and walking around like a lady. We stayed until closing time of 5pm.
16 Sep—Left the Salina KS hotel at 10am and headed for David and Alana’s at Schriever AFB in Colorado Springs. The trip was fairly uneventful, but we had our picnic in the van because it was so cold. We arrived at the visitors center at 5pm and David met us there to show us how to get to their house. Jason was with him and he was so excited to see us. We got to the house which is quite large and newly built. Their back yard is fenced in and beyond is an open plain as far as the eye can see—very restful.
17 Sep—At 7:30am we got up and had blueberry muffins that Alana made for us. After breakfast everyone piled into our rental van and we drove to the Garden of the Gods park. It was very unique with reddish rock formations that looked like they would collapse and any moment. Some of them looked like upturned faces with big noses. We hiked about an hour or so and then we went to Focus on the Family complex where we bought some books and Adventures in Odyssey CDs, and let Jason play in the kids area. Then we went down the road and had supper at California Pizza—I had the Greek Pizza. By the way, the weather has been much warmer.
18 Sep—Sausage and eggs for breakfast then left at 10:30am for church at Rocky Mountain Calvary. It was a very large facility. Special Note: when we took Jason to the nursery we noticed a large finch enclosure that had about 10 little finches. What was amazing was that there were several newborn chicks poking their heads out of the nests. After dropping off Jason we got to the sanctuary just at the last song before the sermon—it was on Romans 15 about hope. After church we celebrated David’s 25th birthday. David grilled and then we had cake. As a present Ruth gave him the care package she was going to send him while he was in Afghanistan.
19 Sep—Left David’s house a little late—1130am. We headed out for our next stop in Cortez, CO by way of highway 160. It was very scenic. We didn’t get to our hotel until 8:30pm.
20 Sep—A beautiful day for hiking, sunny and warm. We went to Mesa Verde National park. The park is know for it’s cliff dwellings. We decided to visit Spruce Tree House on a self guided tour. It was fascinating to see the houses built under cliff hanging sometime between 600— 1300 AD. After looking around we decided to continue our hike and got on the Petroglyph trail. It was supposed to be 2.5 miles, but it was challenging. After reaching the end of the trail, even though we were exhausted we still managed one last trip to the Far View sites which were the ruins of old Indian homes. We finally headed home at 5:30pm.
21 Sep—We left Cortez at around 10am and continued on highway 160 towards the Grand Canyon. I didn’t realize it but when we got on highway 64 it actually went into the Grand Canyon park, so we got our first view of the canyon today. However, before we got into the park we stopped pulled in to a Scenic View site that charged $2 to get in. It was actually worth it though as a preview to the Grand Canyon. There were also 2 rows of shacks selling Indian crafts. I bought a necklace made up of a goldstone bear, some turquoise rings, and another silver ring for $8. Melodie got some beaded hair clips and Sean-D got an arrow with a wood shaft, lava-glass tip, and rabbit fur. Anyway, we drove on into the park and it was $25 for a 7 day pass. It was still only 4pm, so we were able to see several lookout points before heading to the Grand Canyon Inn.
22 Sep— Grand Canyon Day!! We drove to the visitors center to get acquainted with the area and see where we wanted to hike. We decided on Hermit Trail. To get there we walked 2.5 miles along the South Rim Trail, stopping along the way at lookout points, until we got to Bright Angel lodge. There we caught a shuttle that took us the rest of the 8 miles to Hermits Rest. After looking around, shopping, and snacking we ended up getting to the Hermit Trail head at 5pm. The trail ended up being quite difficult, so we only went down for 45 minutes. We had to start back up at that time because Ruth was told it would twice as long. It didn’t take that long but it was sure a lot harder. We took the shuttle back to the Bright Angel lodge and got there just in time to see the sun set.
23 Sep— We left the hotel and started our journey back home. Since we had to go back through the Grand Canyon park Ruth asked me to drive to the Desert View for a last look and pictures. Then we drove on passing through Utah this time and saw Monument Valley. There were some amazing rock formations there. We stopped for the night at Moab UT in the Riverside Inn.
24 Sep—Left hotel in Moab and drove on to Crystal and Jon’s house in Denver, CO. We had a spaghetti dinner and exchanged belated/early Christmas and birthday gifts.
25 Sep—Went to church with the Ackers and Jon was preaching the morning sermon—The Bridge of Dedication. David and Alana had come up from Colorado Springs to visit again and met us there. Afterwards we ate at East Moon Bistro and then went to get ice-cream and expressos. Jon also preached the evening service—Must Jesus be Lord to be Savior?
26 Sep—Left the Ackers at 10:30am. Stopped at Salina KS again for the night. Next day home by way of Grandpa and Grandma Campos’ house. We had supper there, and visited until 7:30pm.
Wonderful fall weather all week. This Saturday we all had a fun time working outside in the yard. Sean-Daniel did a great job mowing half of the lawn while I did the other half, and he got paid for the first time. While we mowed, Melodie raked leaves. Then we planted the plum tree by the road next to the burning bushes. I had planted the burning bushes a couple of years ago with the help of Jon Acker to keep folks from using our yard to turn their cars around in.
I’ve always loved to watch the Poison Dart Frogs at zoos, and I suddenly got the urge to see if it was possible to get my own terrarium with these beautiful critters (my favorite is the Dendrobates Azueras). Well it turned out to be too difficult a task, but I was already hooked on getting some type of frog. After several days of research I chose to get Red Eyed Tree Frogs. I bought a 12” x 12” x 18” Exo Terra Terrarium and set it up with a water fall and plastic plants – it looks great. After everything was set up I went to Tie Dyed Iguana and got 3 of them ($39 a piece). The frogs sleep during the day stuck to the glass or background and come out at night. It was fun to watch them as they wake up.
I was so excited about my new found hobby that I helped Sean-D redo his Boxer Turtle terrarium with my leftover soil and bought some heating lamps. I plan to get Melodie a new fish tank for her goldfish.
Happy Thanksgiving! We had the turkey meal at our house. The Ryberg’s and grandma and grandpa Falconnier came over to help us celebrate. In the evening we went to my dad’s in Lake St Louis for turkey supper and a game of Scrabble (I won). Then we watched a Walton’s movie before bed.
Had breakfast at Cracker Barrel with dad and Linda, then headed home. As promised we all went to Pets Mart and got Melodie a 5 gallon tank to upgrade her 2 gallon. Sean-D and Melodie also picked up a companion gold fish.
Titus Elliot Acker is born!! Crystal gave birth to her 3rd son and our 5th grandchild. He came at 12:58 pm weighing 8lbs and was 20 inches long.
Christmas Eve! David, Alana, and Jason spent the night at our house. This morning I went to Panera’s and brought home a baker’s dozen and cinnamon rolls. With a little bacon and coffee it was a cozy breakfast.
This afternoon we Skyped Crystal and Jon and “saw” the baby for the first time. Then this evening we went to the Christmas Eve service at church and then came home to open 1 present. Actually, the kids each opened a box that Aunt Evi had sent which were full of cool new clothes and toys. Finally, we watched The Christmas Carol movie before going to bed. It was the new animated one with Jim Carey. After the movie we were off to bed so Santa could come and do his thing. I hope I can sleep tonight I’m so excited.
Christmas Day! We all got up and headed for the Christmas tree—this year Ruth chopped down one of the 5 foot junipers that were growing in our back yard and set it up with lights and ornaments. Once we were all settled around the tree we all took turns opening our gifts. The kids had saved the last ones that were addressed to both of them, and boy were they surprised. I finally broke down and bought a Wii system after finding out that even my coworkers all had Wii’s. They were shocked because I had basically told them previously that if they wanted a Wii they would have to buy it themselves.
In the afternoon Amber’s and David’s family, and grandma and grandpa Falconnier all came over for turkey lunch and to open presents. The food was delicious and everything went just right. All the presents were great—another Christmas Miracle. Later in the afternoon a friend of Ruth’s from India came over with her brother who was visiting.
New Years Eve! We met Lydia and Neil, Cami, and Amber and all the kids over at the Mastodon State Park. We walked the Wildflower trail, saw the museum, and watched the movie. Then we all headed over to Cami’s to see her chickens, rabbits and guinea pig.
Tonight, back at home, we watched a couple of movies. The last movie finished at 5 minutes till midnight just in time to toast the New Year.