Saturday, February 18, 2017

Up and down weather

Yup, it was cold when we got back to Virginia. We had Schatzi for the weekend and she wanted to go for a walk anyway.

 

 

See James' wooly hat? Yup, winter!

 

 

And when we brought Schatzi back Sunday afternoon we had a few minutes to say hello to these boys.

 

 

 

We also got this lovely photo from Helen. William got his yellow belt.

Ben saw the test and shared with us.

VIDEO William does it

VIDEO William gets his yellow belt

Needless to say we are so proud of him ... and green belt Helen!

 

 

And then on Feb 7 it was suddenly spring. We took right away adventage and went for a hike at the James River.

 

 

I write a weekly letter to William since he is such a great reader. I took these pictures for him. Lots of people enjoyed the weather too. Here a family with baby and dog.

 

 

A young woman working on her Mac.

 

 

A man playing his guitar high on the rocks.

 

 

You can see the guitar player high to the right. That was an interesting sign. Efforts are made to manage invasive non-native plants.

 

 

 

It was muddy though at this spot.

 

 

And then it was bitterly cold again. It's nice if you have something blooming inside.

 

 

The warm weather had woken up my daffodils. Luckily they were not killed by frost.

 

 

On and off when it's so cold I work inside on something. Here is my newest Chrismon: Angel with Trumpet. The pattern is posted on the Chrismon blog site (tab on top).

 

 

Yeah, another flower. They only bloom one day.

 

 

Called to help out. Sarah has to work till midnight and Wade has something work related too. The boys were fun. Caleb likes to help with his brothers and kiss them "good night". The twins are incredibly easy to put to bed. They almost asked to be put to bed. Light out. No peep.

 

 

 

 

 

Besides that ... the usual meetings and things to do. Time flies by.

 

Friday, February 17, 2017

A special gift

It's winter! In winter we spend our evenings upstairs in the loft. Once in a while there is an evening where you have to carry up some snack.

 

I

 

This is what we brought back from Nashville! Three beautiful boards MADE BY Ben for us.

And this is what it looks like when it us empty (which usually doesn't take long). They are smooth as silk and so beautiful.

 

 

A very special gift. Thank you Ben!

 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Helen and Ben's turn ...

.... to have vacation!

24th of January ~ ~ ~ my wonderful daughter Helen arrived xx years ago. She wanted to go away for a few days for her birthday so Papa and Omi volunteered to take care of William.

Tuesday, on her birthday, she has to work. James and I get a "super salad" and a coconut water can from Publix and bring it to her for her 30 minute lunch break. I had something to do with her day of birth after all and wanted my hug too. She has done such a wonderful effort to eat healthy and exercise for several months now (losing about 40 pounds) that we didn't want to sabotage it with a cupcake but brought her a celebratory chocolate covered strawberry. She loved our choices.

 

 

After her work she and Ben packed the car and off they went.

 

We had a list .. when to get William from school and where he had to be when. Tuesday he had Green Machine Club at the school till 5 pm. Uggghhhh, the Nashville traffic at that time. Just something we had to learn to live with.

William wanted to congratulate his Mommy. We took this photo (with my balloon from Sunday) and he threw a kiss. Then we texted the photo to Mommy.

 

 

I must say that it was a pleasure to have William. Papa was responsible for the homework. Helen said Tuesday is the toughest day in the week and it was. He did it willingly though and we were done soon ... after a snack!

He likes healthy food. Salads are always winners. Most of the time he wanted German bread (whole kernels) with Brie. He loves goat cheese and sheep cheese. My Spanish Manchego cheese was always requested. Funny boy.

 

We had to wake William at 6:30 am to have him at school at 8 am. James brought him to school since I was working on the church newsletter and the Cuba blogs. James was pleasantly surprised that the traffic wasn't quite as bad at that time as he had feared. He also took care of granddog Drifter, who of course wanted food and walks too.

Again, William was very good in the mornings too. Always gave me a smile when I woke him. He might have had enough sleep since going to bed also was never an issue.

He would have loved to see the delivery of drywall next door which has had the fire several months ago. But he was in school of course. Took these photos to show him.

 

 

 

Thursday the school celebrated 100th day. Each student supposedly had a bag with 100 treats. I had been signed up to bring mini marshmallows which he took in the morning. No worries, he didn't eat all that. We put most back into the sandwich bag.

 

 

We played Skip-bo, dominoes and battle ship all week, besides building forts/houses, whenever there was a little time left after school and before bedtime.

And, oh yes, we also played with balloons from the Dollar Tree.

VIDEO 1!

VIDEO 2!

 

 

Sunk!

 

 

Friday we both brought him to school because we had to be there at 9 am for the honor ceremony.

 

 

 

Those with certain ribbons had to stand up and pat themselves on the back.

 

 

Well done, William!

 

 

What else? Auntie Sarah called and we did FaceTime.

 

 

 

Friday evening we were supposed to bring him to Taekwondo at 6 pm. OMG that traffic clear across town. We had left so early but just made it with one minute to spare. It was fun watching him. He is very intensely paying attention.

 

 

 

Saturday morning. Finally a little easier schedule. I love it when he helps me. Putting away the silverware from the dishwasher is "his job".

 

 

10 o'clock at the school. Volunteer work. Not sure whether it was Garden Club or Green Machine. He loves it. It was a very cold but sunny day. First I was asked to do some weeding, then photographing, then assembling shelves for the shed. The last was just my thing. James had to take care of something to straighten out or AT&T/wifi situation and then we finished the shelves together. By noon all the work was done. Lunch was provided but William said that hamburgers were not healthy and not good for him. So we went back to the townhouse for lunch. He would have liked to go to Chick-fil-A (not sure why he thinks that is healthier) but there was none on our side of town. We promised we would go for dinner after Taekwondo because there is one close there.

 

 

 

 

4 pm on a Saturday afternoon. The traffic is so much easier today. We were even a bit early. Helen's friend Sarah helped with William's belt. There were less students there today and William got a good workout. It amazes me how intense he watches and tries to learn.

 

 

Dinner. We kept our promise. I think the reason why Chick-fil-A is "healthier" is that here is an indoor playground. We had fun though.

 

 

William is talking about snow for several days now. Saturday night he throws ice cubes into the toilet and goes to bed with his pjs inside out.

 

Sunday morning he is very disappointed. No snow. All the talk about safe roads for Pops and Mommy to come home is no good. Pops has a 4-wheel drive and can handle it. William just couldn't believe that his effort didn't bring the wanted results. We made it to church at 9 am though.

People at church were especially nice and asked him to help with the service a lot. He got to help bring the cross to the altar, help with the offertory, bring part of the communion elements to the front and help carry the cross out at the end. Of course he is not shy giving his opinion during the children's sermon. I told him that it was a good thing that the roads were clear so he could help in church since we don't have a 4-wheel drive.

I took a photo of the banner because it could be an idea for a Chrismon.

 

 

Pops and Mommy had a good drive and came straight to see us. They seemed to have had a great time. They both really had needed these few days of relaxation. We raided the fridge for leftovers for dinner.

 

 

 

Monday

Since Helen had not seen us much we didn't get on the road as early as we usually do. We took our time getting ready and pack the car. She came over after William was in school for a little while. We had a few things to discuss.

We must have left about 10 am but the roads were good and all in all the drive went well. We did see some snow on the Cumberland Plateau though.

 

 

We had to drive some in the dark at the end but then back in Virginia. What a great time we had.

 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Cuba Trip Day 12

OAT Itinerary:

Day 12: Return to USA

Today, we bid Cuba a fond adios as we board our flight to Miami.

Meals included: B

-----

Saturday January 21

We had plenty of time to pack, have breakfast etc. Nice not to have to rush. Migdalia and Raul of course brought us to the airport and she told us exactly what to do and expect. It was all easy and at about 1 pm we can walk to our plane.

 

 

Once again we are at the Sheraton Hotel close to the Miami Airport. Again we took the People Mover and it was very easy. I like that thing.

After checking in we decide to go downstairs to find something to nibble. We didn't really have lunch yet. Or do the airline nuts count?

 

 

 

 

We ordered artichoke and spinach dip to start with and some drinks but we waited and waited. When James went inside to get it himself it got even worse. But the sunset was marvelous! As you can see we did enjoy the dip and drinks too.

 

 

When it got too cold outside we moved inside for dinner. We ordered and then waited one hour, trying to get the servers attention. When finally a manager making her rounds asked us whether we were happy and we said "noooooooo" and explained, she tried to help. But the situation was still almost comical. At least we didn't go to bed hungry. Later than we wanted though.

 

Sunday January 22

We had to get up shortly after 5 am because we had an early flight. Ha-ha, the saga continued. Even after letting the water run for a very long time, hot water for a shower never arrived. In a Sheraton Hotel? When we check out and mention it, the clerk said that nobody reported it. No, because we are in a hurry to get to the airport. Goodness gracious.

At the gate we have a cup of coffee. Surprise, it tasted good.

 

 

The flight was alright. Newark Liberty International Airport at take-off. I like window seats.

 

 

OMG! I had already put the camera away because of the clouds. Then I saw this and hurried. It could have been better, but I still like it. Manhattan.

 

 

Nashville from the air. Percy Priest Lake.

 

 

 

I could pinpoint our townhouse right here.

 

 

 

And this is the bridge we drive under to go to "the kids".

 

 

Helen and William picked us up from the airport. Ben had bought flowers and they cooked dinner. I also got a belated birthday cookie. What a nice welcome!!!

 

 

 

And this really concludes our Cuba trip. What a great time we had. So happy we went.