Thursday, May 19th - Saturday, October 29th
We arrived at my brother's place in Ohio on Thursday, May 19th and stayed until Monday, June 6th. We went to my niece's graduation while we were there, the last of all my nieces and nephews. Her Dad, my oldest little brother, is as usual trying to be funny.
My sweet nieces.
Then we went back through Iowa where we visited with friends and family and on to Sioux Falls for a visit with Dawn. Then Brookings for our annual check ups and more visits with friends, including a Coast to Coast reunion. Then we went to North Dakota and spent a few days with my Mom. While we were there we walked over to the park to watch my great-nephew's T-ball game. He is just taking a little break while awaiting his turn to bat.
My gosh, can he see the giant ball with that helmet on. Oh, I guess he can. Way to go Braylon!
And finally, back to our grandkids on Thursday, June 29th.
Let me help you, Dad! There was lots of work to be done for the new storage shed.
You can borrow my shovel, Dad! I'll put the pavers down. Right.
Dad's just about done. Can I help you, Mom?
This kid can never get enough baseball, and I don't mean Grandpa!
Batting is his favorite, but he likes it all, and he's pretty darn good for a two and a half year old.
I'm ready, Grandpa!
When Grandpa gets tired he will settle for whoever he can get. If no one will play with him, he just tosses the ball up in the air, and hits it one-handed a good percentage of the time.
Lookout Carter, it's comin' your way. I think Mom has a rule against baseball in the house, but boys will be boys!
We start 'em early in this family.
Picking up baseballs around here is like an Easter Egg Hunt, but it happens many times every day.
Here's our number one grandson putting the batter out at first base. We've really enjoyed watching him play over the years, but this might have been his last season. He doesn't think he will play again next year.
Our girls at the baseball game are much more interested in running around and socializing than watching the game.
At one of Carter's baseball tournaments, Dallas found a really cool place to sit and totally lost interest in the game.
Forget baseball. The girls just love to perform. Singing, dancing, plays, gymnastics, you name it. Everyday is dress up day here.
Just a little rock star attitude!
Dallas, of course, loves to join in whenever they will allow him to play with them. They usually lock him out of their room, because he wrecks everything they are doing, or so they say.
The sweetheart country star...
greeting her fans.
And here's the mastermind behind most of the productions, writer, composer and director. Here they are performing a part in one of their plays, showing a whole lot of attitude in the dialog of this scene.
Happy Belated 4th of July from my granddaughters!
We attended a very good evening concert and fireworks on the hill side of Carroll College campus, football field in the far right corner.
Another day we took the kids out to a lakeside park at Canyon Ferry Lake.
This is baby K's favorite place to play.
Mama Tierney, she just hates to put her down and let her play on her own.
Everybody gets in on giving Digger a bath.
And they can't wait to play in his bath water as soon as he is done. Yuck!
Not the best picture, but since I'm the camera lady nobody ever takes one of me.
Poor Digger. The kids just use him for a chair, step stool, pillow, bed or whatever they want.
Not enough riders for everybody, but Dallas figured out how to make it work.
We went downtown to watch the Royal Stampede Kiddie Parade during Vigilante Days.
All kinds of little cowboys,
and even Dracula!
Back at home, Dallas wants to hitch a ride, but the going is tough.
So he decides to help out.
Then Tally decides it's her turn to have a ride.
Kids playing in the 1913 Daughters of the Confederacy Fountain while we waited for the Vigilante Days Parade to get started.
Look Dad, here comes the parade.
The usual horses, buggies, bands and Corvettes.
I don't think it was as good as last year's. It had lots more imaginative and entertaining floats.
But they did have the One-Armed Bandit who was riding his horse zigzagging back and forth across the street and almost falling off one side and then almost falling off the other side. But suddenly he jumped his horse on the back of the truck.
Then up the ramp on the front of the trailer and onto the roof.
He dismounted and got his horse to poop on command. Then he got a shovel and scooped it up and walked back and forth on the trailer trying to decide which way to throw it into the crowd of spectators. Pretty funny.
And the parade finished with a clown giving out candy. How does it get any better than that?
We all went up to Glacier the last day in July for three days. Carter brought his friend, Zack, and we dropped them off at Lake McDonald to go kayaking for a couple hours.
Back at the campground, the girls and I went for a little walk.
Monday morning we were up bright and early, hoping to get a parking spot up at Logan's Pass and do some hiking. I think we were there a little before nine, but the parking lot was already full.
Wildflowers everywhere. The light purple ones that look like daisies are Siberian Asters.
These funny looking ones with the white tops are called bear grass, or turkey beard.
Having a look down into the valley below the Going-To-The-Sun Road.
Indian paint brush.
Since we couldn't find a parking spot at Logan's Pass, Jeff just drove around for about 20 minutes, so the rest of us could have a short hike and quick look around.
The kids spotted a little hoary marmot in the grass and that was the extent of our wildlife sighting.
So we went for a drive through other parts of the park and went for a few short hikes.
Let go of me Mom. I do it myself!
Crystal clear water.
And very cold!
The kids had fun wading and throwing rocks.
Then we headed back to camp for some grill time and relaxation.
Our camper was parked right next to the playground.
So the kids could come and go as much as they wanted and they were never out of our sight.
"Let's see how far I can get up this tree before someone spoils my fun."
After lunch we drove back into the park and stopped for pictures in this big chair right near the entrance to the park.
Come on boys, you're not to big or cool to be part of the fun. In fact, you look very tiny and cute up there. Isn't that the look you were going for?
A little more hiking was in order, so ....
"We're off the see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz...."
Just a few views along the Rocky Point Trail, overlooking the west side of Lake McDonald.
About time you guys got her. What took you so long?
Jeff, Zack and Carter.
This way guys.
Look at the awesome view!
This little girl hiked the whole trail with no complaints at all. The map said it was 4 miles long.
"Over hill, over dale, as we hit the dusty trail...."
Next we decided to stop at Lake McDonald beach and let the kids play in the water for a bit.
I thought it was icy cold.
But I guess they didn't mind.
"I take a break, Momma?" "Yes, and next time you do what I say." "Okay, Momma."
I think they were starting to get a little cold.
A born hiker with her two walking sticks.
Why is everyone in such a hurry? Why don't you slow down and enjoy the moment?
Boo! Gotcha, Daddy!
Avalanche Creek coming from Avalanche Lake.
Everyone trying to spot a bird that we could hear. We did the short Trail of the Cedars before we headed back to camp. On our way home the next day, we all stopped for huckleberry shakes.
Our favorite parking spot.
Love my little sister.
I think they must be cooking up a feast for Mardi Gras.
Happy Birthday, Kira!
All cleaned up.
Sunday, August 14th we headed back to North Dakota to help Mom move into her new apartment. We spent the weekend at Claude and Jodi's brand new beautiful lake home.
My Mom with her smiley great-granddaughter, Miss Kenna.
My baby brother and his family all relaxing in the new lake home.
The boss with Mama and Benson.
After we got Mom all moved in and arranged and rearranged a couple times, we took her with us and headed back to Montana on Monday, August 29th. We stayed overnight in Billings so we could visit with Mom's brother and a neice. Then we drove up north through Lewistown to visit her sister-in-law and nephew.
We arrived in Helena Wednesday. Great-grandma with Baby Kira.
Dawn drove out to join us for a week while Grandma was here and so she could drive her back home.
These girls love to pretend they are twins. It's not a stretch for them at all.
Digger, you are the most patient dog in the world.
Aww, but the hugs make it all worth it, don't they?
We all picked out our pumpkins from the pumpkin patch at Harvest Festival and then went to see the goats and horses and fire and rescue equipment.
Then we trooped around the farm to check out all the games and see how many prizes we could win. Dallas didn't really care about prizes at all. He just wanted to keep on tossing balls at targets.
Smiley faces back at home.
Sometimes for free fun we go to the pet store and watch the mice and gerbils run in their wheels and see all the fish, birds, snakes, turtles, lizards, ferrets, cats, dogs, etc.
All ready for church.
Now we're home and ready for pancakes and sausage, our usual Sunday brunch, with lots of syrup.
Baby's first steps.
Aww, the illusive teenager. Don't blink or you'll miss him. Such a busy social life!
"Look Grandma, quick. I did it!" I had been trying to teach them how to stand on their heads and Tierney finally go it.
"Me too, Grandma!"
Sept. 16 - 19 (4 days) Hilary and Jeff left us with the kids to go on a trip to Oregon to celebrate their 20th anniversary. It was busy, but great fun. Grandpa knows how to settle the kids down, just break out the videos. That's a special treat, as Mom and Dad don't let them watch stuff very often.
Another of Grandpa's clever babysitting tricks. At least it slows her down a little bit.
Playing at the park.
Saturday, Sept. 25th we all went to the Museum of the Rockies in Boseman, all but that illusive teenager.
Lots of dinosaur stuff here.
In the children's play area they could try on costumes, pan in the sandbox for gems, go fishing, play in the kitchen or watch the geysers erupt.
They had a big exhibit from Oplontis B, a village near Pompeii, that was also buried by lava when Vesuvius erupted. A strongbox was required to secure proceeds and records of all Roman commercial operations. This one was found at Oplontis B and is about the size of a coffin. On the lid two dogs face each other. Near their heads are two small rectangular bases, on one of which a bronze duck perches, the other duck is missing. In the center of the lid a female head emerges from a tondo (circle). The feet of the chest are decorated with two griffins in relief facing a wine vessel. In the middle of the front is a square panel inlaid with a silver and copper head of Silenus, a follower of the god Bacchus, god of wine. Above that panel is a bronze lion's head with a ring in its mouth between two bronze busts of cupid. Above the lion is a Greek inscription meaning "Pythonymas, Pytheas and Nikrates, the workers of Heracleides made this". Imagine craftsmen still receiving credit for their work done over 2,000 years ago. It has a complicated locking mechanism. The dog and duck sculptures on the lid hid the bolt that was used to close the chest. To open it, one first had to pull out the female tondo, which covered the keyhole. Internal bolts were then moved by pulling the lion's head and rotating the cupid's head. Seems like an awful lot of thought and work went into making a box just to store money and records. Jewelry and coins were found in 1984 along with 54 skeletons of men and women who had sought shelter from the eruption in one of the vaulted storerooms. Among them a young woman 20 to 25 years of age may have been the wealthiest. She wore or carried expensive jewelry, including a pair of double pendant pearl earrings, the single most valuable item of jewelry discovered with skeletons in the Vesuvian area. She also carried two hoards of gold and silver coins, one in a purse and the other in a box, 313 coins total. Much of the jewelry and coins found is on display in the museum. Another woman 25 to 35 was carrying a cloth bag containing a large amount of jewelry made of precious materials, including an emerald and pearl crescent-shaped pendant and silver spoons. A third woman 41 to 50 was carrying a cloth bag with six gold rings and wearing two gold and emerald bracelets. Two were wearing gold foil bracelets with the image of Venus and Cupid, representing Venus as patron goddess of Pompeii. She must have been off duty the day of the eruption. Wouldn't the Antiques Road Show have a heyday with this stuff?
The floors were paved with imported marble cut to create geometric patterns, some from Tunisia in North Africa, some from Turkey and some from the island of Chios in the Aegean Sea, all a part of the Roman Empire. Marble was also used in the columns and walls and some were produced around 50 B.C. This is a reconstruction of a part of a room with wall paintings, frescoes, mosaics and stucco molding. The paintings were over a century old when Vesuvius erupted. This elegant dining space, or triclinium, was designed to hold three couches along the side and rear walls for reclining in the Greek manner. A small marble table would have been in the center for a variety of small dishes and vessels. Delicacies the host might have served to impress would have been lobster, oysters, wild boar, roasted peacock and stuffed dormice. Yum, Yum. The themes were of gods, heroes, athletes and victory. There were 14 sculptures along the 60 meter swimming pool in Villa A's east garden. Wine was shipped from Villa B. Bottling and exporting of wine was a major seasonal activity. The Bay of Naples has a long history of grape cultivation and wine consumption traced to the arrival of the Greek colonists in 8th century B.C. Roman poet "Martial" wrote of how saddened he was by the loss of the spectacular vineyards that once stretched over the slopes of Vesuvius. It drastically
disrupted the wine making tradition when they were all wiped out by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. The empty containers they found would have held the equivalent of 3,333 cases of wine.
Another great family day.
Finally, the big day has arrived! Their birthdays are two days apart, so they always celebrate together. They had 17 little girls over on Tally's birthday and did the family party on Tierney's birthday.
Just what I wanted, matching outfits for me and my doll. Too bad Tally didn't get one, too.
Exactly what I wanted. I'm in charge now. Get out of my way. This was the start of a big problem for Dallas. When he saw that fireman outfit, he wanted it so bad, he just didn't know what to do. Every morning when he got up, he asked, "I get fireman?" Every time he woke up from his nap he asked again. This went on for several days and they decided to order one for him and give it to him for Christmas, or maybe Halloween. One day when he was asking, Hilary tried to explain to him that it was Tally's birthday present and that's why she got it. So he said, "I get fireman for my birthday?" At that point I think she was relieved that he finally seemed to understand and she said, "Yes! You can definitely have one for your birthday." Unfortunately, that just changed his several times daily questions to "It my birthday? I have cake? Blow candles? Get fireman?" He was willing to jump through whatever hoops he had to in order to get that fireman outfit. He just wanted to know when and he wanted it to be now, so he just kept on asking and asking and asking.
One day the package came in the mail and Mom said I can't take it anymore, so she ran out to Walmart and bought a little bundt cake, brought it home and let him decorate it himself and blow out the candles. I'm sure he was thinking best birthday ever!
He got his fireman outfit (with hatchet, fire extinguisher and hose) and that's the story of how the second 2nd birthday party came about.
Bonus, everybody got to eat two pieces of cake, so it was all over and done with and we didn't have to hear about it anymore!
What? Oh no! What's all this white stuff? Oh my gosh, it's only October 9th. We were supposed to be long gone before it snowed. We are totally allergic to the white stuff.
Oh, but the kids loved it! Yummy!
Wanna try some? Fortunately, it was all gone in a couple days and the weather was beautiful for a few more weeks.
The kids just love it when Jeff gets out his guitar and sings for them.
We all went to see the play Peter and the Star Catcher, except Grandpa and the illusive teenager. It was written by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, a prequel to Peter Pan, explaining how he ended up in Neverland.
We saw three movies while we were here, Sully, The Magnificant Seven and Deep Water Horizon. They were all good. We also took the little kids to Finding Dory and The Secret Life of Pets.
Jeff's folks were here for a week for the girls birthdays and we took that opportunity to do a little traveling, visiting some friends and seeing a few museums. More about that in my next blog. We left on Saturday, Oct. 29th heading south.
Hilary sent us pictures of our little goblins out trick or treating on Halloween. The snow queen, shark, princess, and fireman.