Tuesday, May 22, 2018

On the way home

Firstborn grandson is 8 (eight)? Really? When did all this happen?
We celebrated and had as always a great time. You know all about it if you read the previous blog.
He is all week in school so Tuesday morning we left. Alarm went off at 5 am.

We were ready and in the car before 6 am and did our usual routine. First say a prayer, drive for 2 1/2 hours, stop at Strawberry Plains for a senior coffee and a sausage muffin from the value menu (don't laugh we usually don't eat breakfast at all).

The trip back this time was a bit complicated because we were not going all the way, but wanted to see good friends the next day who had moved away to be closer to their children, which was “kind off” on the way. I would have liked to end the driving day by visiting the Virginia Quilt Museum. Always wanted to go there. Good thing I decided suddenly to call and make sure we have enough time to see all exhibited. Oh dear, they were closed this week. Change of plans ... we stopped at the Natural Bridge State Park.

We were very surprised about the park and how nice it was. Not what we had expected.

The walk continues past the bridge and there is more to see. But we did not get far. As soon as we reached the native village we heard thunder grumble ... and grumble ... and grumble ... getting louder and the sky darker.

We decided to save it for another time (since we now knew it was well worth it to stop) and retreated. Saw these socks in the gift shop though. It said socks shouldn't match. But if you bought 2 pairs you could change them and have two matching pairs, ha-ha.

We continued the drive and then stopped in Winchester for the night. James found an excellent place with hotels.com and now we have a free night next time we need a hotel.

We walked across the street to an Outback. We have not been in one in a long time. The coconut shrimps were very nice ... as was the beer ...

... and the whole evening.

Next morning we visited our friends in Leesburg. Barbara and Rob are so dear to us. But of course we totally understand that being closer to their son, his wife and their granddaughter is a big improvement. They found a wonderful house with much less yard maintenance. We wish them all the happiness possible. Thanks for lunch in the clubhouse!

On our way home we did well to avoid the terrible DC traffic gridlock but were inundated by terrible downpours. Oh well. We arrived home safely.

PS: This blog was a trial because I have to find a way how to do it on my iPhone or iPad in anticipation of our upcoming vacation. Not taking the computer with me. I was delighted when I figured out that I finally could add photos into a blog on those gadgets. But ... I can't scroll the screen afterwards to add the writing. Lots of complaining about that on the internet and no solution.
???? And so the testing continues (I finished this one finally on the computer).

Monday, May 14, 2018

William's birthday weekend

His birthday is on Monday the 14th. But it was difficult to celebrate then so there was a bonfire party planned on the Saturday before.

On Thursday Helen invited James and me for supper. William was eager to show us their new tenants. Ben and Helen built a chicken coop and they have now 6 chickens with the hope for eggs in the future. If I remember right the names are: Goldie, Cookie, Hawk, Patsy, Red and Clover.

On Friday I baked and delivered an undecorated chocolate chip birthday cookie and we picked up William to spend two nights with us. Of course we had to have an ice cream at a paletas place first.

No homework so we had lots of time to play games. Board games or Wii. The Wii is actually great exercise. You move a lot. William's coordination playing baseball and tennis can not be matched by James or me. Lots of fun.

Saturday: Finally it is time to drive to the Farm for the bonfire party. Yeah! We found it with the GPS without any problems.

William inspects and is impressed with his mother's cake decorating skills. A bonfire cake with 8 yellow and red candles ready to be the fire.

We were early but couldn't help much. Ben and Helen had everything under control. 

Lawn games were assembled. William was waiting for his guests. It was lovely sitting on the porch. He and I were fascinated watching the inch worm.

Family friend Larry was the first to play badminton with William. I think William applied his Wii tennis skills to it.

Helen called this the selfie station. Two of her friends she knows longer then Ben and definitely BW (before William).

Ben's homemade strawberry ice cream was a great hit. Food was just inside the house to be enjoyed whenever. 

And then it was time for the fire. And s'mores eating!

And more fire, ha-ha.

He was very fast blowing it out.

And, of course, some gift-opening (I "stole" some photos from the internet).

Altogether a really great time. We enjoyed playing games and talking to the other guests. They have such nice friends.
It was dark when we were driving home and late, but a bath is always calming at the end of a busy day. I had written I love William with bathtub crayons but William had erased his name and wrote ours.

Sunday - Mother's Day

Helen had made sure to tell me their church's custom so we were prepared with 8 pennies he needed for his Sunday school class after the service. We were out in the hallway and I heard the counting so I peaked in to take this photo.

We took him back to the townhouse because we had things to do. He helped to bake the 24 Choco Pumpkin cupcakes he needed for his 2nd grade class on Monday. The recipe makes 30. He had chosen this recipe but then he was concerned because he wanted to give one to his next door friend (same age) even so Freddy is not in his class. Freddy doesn't like chocolate. We solved it by filling two cupcakes before stirring the chips in and then doing the rest. Everybody happy!

Helen came for taco salad dinner. William surprised us with cards for his mother and me. James told us that he had picked them out all be himself at the Dollar Tree store which the boy loves. 
Here is mine. So cool!

And then they left. School day tomorrow. It was a lovely Mother's Day for me. Sarah called several times too. What else can a mother wish for?

Monday - THE day!

Helen told us that when she brought William to school (they live too near and can't ride the bus) his teacher welcomed him dancing and singing "Happy Birthday to you, we are going to the zoo".
Yes, it happened that this was the day when his class went on a field trip to the zoo. After they returned they celebrated with William's cup cakes. He came home with several handmade cards from his class friends. The cards were so very cute. Very special.

James and I were invited for dinner and on the way we bought a # 8 candle.

And then it was time to say good-bye. After all, it is a school night.

A short visit this time but since he is a school boy we hardly see him during the week and it is more difficult. So we have to come back soon.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

It's still time In Easter

... and I found an egg. But first things first.

Getting the new annuals and everything else watered. Leaving for Nashville. 
Out rhododendron will be in its most beautiful state while we are gone. Oh well, small price to pay to see Helen, Ben and William. I should have asked my friend Julie to take a photo. And now as I am thinking of it ... the peonies will do the same. They were loaded with buds. They are a bit hidden in the yard (planted by the former owners) and last year I took single flowers into my kitchen and I so enjoyed their beauty.

The azaleas in the front seemed dead to us after that awful winter but look at them now.

Ok, on the road. We packed a picnic and enjoyed it at the first Tennessee Visitor Center.

It seemed to be tourist day (or week, or month) and we each were given a little snack bag. The previous salads wanted to be joined by these cheese crackers - laid out for the driver to grab.

After arrival on Wednesday Ben and William came over in the evening (when the traffic allowed) and ate supper at the Mexican restaurant close to us. We used to enjoy it but it is not the same any more and we might have to find something else. It was so loud that we hardly could talk and "fled" to have dessert at the townhouse.

Ha-ha, William would have enjoyed seeing what I saw this morning on my walk. 
Yes, about the egg I found!

I walked from our neighborhood to the next. The golf course is in-between and ducks keep wandering. When I passed a row of townhouses with lots of parking in front, there was a commotion of several ducks. Could the lost egg be the reason? 

I walked to the end of a dead end street and all the way back and the egg was still there. I picked it up with a hanky. Now I am having plans. I am all about memories and what a fun memory this would be. I am making what James calls a négligée for it. One of my eggs I am hanging up between Easter and Pentecost. 

This old blog shows some of those eggs. 2015 but some are as old as from 1982 or so.