Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas lights in Des Moines last week

The previous picture was published almost magically by one of the 'orphans', Patrick, who was racing Ron somewhere, and apparently thought across my computer was a shortcut!

This is just a picture I took of a house on the street behind my mom's. (This is the street I used to deliver around 100 Des Moines Tribune newspapers in the afternoons and 75 Register's on Sunday mornings for a year and a half while in junior high.)


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Maybe next year he'll give me a list!

Our college-nephew, Will, got two cats to keep him company in his Chicago apartment and they came to Grandma Walker's in Sac City for Christmas. I got the cats those squares that fold out and Velcro together because our furry crowd has a ball with them. His cats are siblings, Max and Amy, and only about 2 minutes after he opened the squares, Max got in and sat down. He seemed to know it was for him.

Above in the picture (from left) are Claire (our niece, and Ann and Don's daughter), Kathy and Ann, John's sisters from MN.

Below in the picture is Mick, John's sister's hubby, showing off one of the dumb presents I bought for people because they didn't give me a 'list'. It's so easy to shop from a list, and next year maybe he'll remember this and make one! I think boys are just harder to buy for at Christmas anyway (including my dad, my son, my uncle, etc.....).

At least Mick will be able to see what he's doing when he grills in the dark from now on!

Friday, December 26, 2008

" and the stockings were hung"

This is the 'before' picture of Christmas socks in Sac City. Those are hand-made with love by Grandma Walker and Aunt Mary Montag.

This is Izaac's favorite Christmas present (he wants to use the real vacuum, but can't maneuver it). He actually really enjoyed each gift (well, maybe the p.j.'s were skipped) as he and his mom opened them. He was really tired, and he basically didn't let go of it until they went home.

That's (Izaac's aunt) Michelle on the left side of the couch, (Izaac's grandma) Shirley on the right on the couch, (Izaac's mom) Amanda on the floor behind him, Ben Markey (my nephew and Michelle and Amanda's cousin) in front of the t.v. to the right of the Christmas tree. That's my Alex leaning in at the end of the video, when they passed around a pillow sprayed with a fragrance to 'help you go to sleep' that Michelle had gotten.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

"Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow"???

That's Gracey, Lucy and Georgey (looking up at me) from the kitchen/patio door trying to decide if they can walk in the snow like Patrick and Ron. After John used the snowblower on the patio (and driveway), they were a little braver about walking outside (yesterday).

Yesterday we had about 9" of the white stuff, and it's been snowing ALL DAY again. Unfortunately, there's a northerly wind to push the snow to white-out conditions and the drifts on our road are piling up. (There are 3 places on this gravel road where it drifts shut and we only live half a mile from the highway!)

Friday, December 19, 2008

"But the snow is so delightful????"

It's hard to tell how many actual inches of snow we received because of the drifting at our house, but opening the garage door this morning gives you an idea! Hopefully we didn't get the ice underneath (we heard it sleeting briefly last night) the meteorologist predicted. There are over 200 school districts in Iowa that cancelled school today!

This is a short 13-second video of Ron enjoying and scattering a snow drift on our patio. He's the adventurer in the crowd. That's Patrick on the fence at the end of the video, waiting for the birds to show at the feeder.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

"Christmas is Paintin' the Town"

When it was first introduced, I enjoyed the Oakridge Boys Christmas music from 1982, and it doesn't seem like the Christmas season without hearing the music again. When Alex was 2 (1988, he was born 1/20/86) he REALLY liked this particular song, because HE could sing the 'la la la la's' himself.

Every year after that (until we got headphones so he could listen to it himself without the whole house hearing the same song over and over and over....) we had to limit the playing of that song to the day AFTER Thanksgiving (I think he would have listened to it all year 'round that first year he discovered it), until Christmas.

Fortunately, he did learn to sing other songs (he loved to imitate Billy Joel and Huey Lewis--especially "It's Hip to be Square") and then the Disney movie tunes; "Beauty and the Beast" and Aladdin were two of our favorites (his sister's by then, too).

The picture above was taken last weekend in Jewell (IA) in their 'downtown' area. I think the moon added something mystical to this picture (even though it's a little out of focus).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happy Belated Birthday to my friend, KIM!!

This picture says it all for winter in Iowa! The Tropic 'snow' hut in the parking lot at Crossroads Mall in Ft. Dodge (IA), and the pile of snow close by already the 12th of December!

These are the 'orphans' who still love to sleep near each other. From left (bottom of pic) is Georgey and Ron in one box, Lucy above them in her own, and Patrick and Gracey in the box to the right. They look comfy and warm, and that's been a challenge this week, since it was -9 when we all got up yesterday morning.

I've been working on a project for my niece, Rachel Newby, who is still in Paraguay in the Peace Corps (since 5/2007). She has started a little group of girls (like a Girl Scout Troop) and one of the projects is "Postal Petunia". It's a geography lesson without going anywhere. (Here, they call it "Flat Stanley".)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Izaac playing the piano at Camp Stanhope

Izaac seems genuinely interested in music and it might be because his grandmother (Shirley) plays the piano so effortlessly (and played by ear at about 3-4 years of age. She now plays be ear or music, and currently plays for two churches.)

Mine has buttons, (because it's electric) but after he pushes a few of those, he does actually try and play the piano. Will he take after grandma and play anything, any time, any where he wants? We all hope so.
I'll probably be less envious of his talent than hers. (It didn't seem fair we practiced and practiced and still didn't sound anything like she did.)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Well, his teeth are clean!

Izaac would brush his teeth all day as long as you let the water trickle (so I turn the water off after a minute or two). This is the 'during' the brushing process.

This is the 'after' picture. Those are Oreos all over his 'mug' after supper the other night. Izaac at Camp Stanhope this week.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Fun blog about cats.

This is the view from Alex's second floor bedroom window today (he doesn't sleep at home unless he can help it anymore). We got about 2-3 inches of snow, but a layer of ice was underneath, so it made for tricky driving (so I stayed home by choice).

I read this list on the 11/20/08 Tripper's blog and thought it was fairly accurate. The original list is here and this site has a bunch of fun things about cats.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Another snowy Saturday

We had a quiet, nice Thanksgiving Day in Des Moines, without John (who went to work at 9am) and Samantha (who is in Texas with Marty's family visiting his sister, who will be deployed to Iraq in late December).
I didn't take any pictures, so I'll put one of Izaac and his grandmother from Joe's birthday party on, too, since I haven't had one of him in a couple blogs.

Yesterday was calm and sunny (cold, though) and today it's gloomy and snowing. So I'll put a 19-second video of Georgy playing with his tail from yesterday because it's much funner. (I hear Reba and Kenney in the background on the radio...)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I hope it isn't loaded!

Last Saturday evening at a banquet, Samantha's 'significant other' won a new gun. Right before they announced the winner of the door prize, Samantha said to him, 'so if you win it, it's mine, right, because I don't have one?' Apparently, he said yes, not figuring on winning it. He did win, and now this is her tough-guy pose with it!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"A little chaotic" strikes again...

Alex's '96 Taurus wagon was only supposed to last four years after he graduated from high school. Since he's in his fifth year at college, (but will end up with two degrees next spring!!) his car seems to know the timeline.

So I took the little red truck (pictured above in the snow last Saturday) to switch with him in Ames this afternoon. While I was driving the truck, it seemed to get gradually but eerily louder as I got closer to town.

I thought at first I must have been in the wrong gear. No, I was in the right gear. Maybe it's the radio interfering with something. No, it wasn't the radio either. I got to the parking lot and told Alex to look underneath to see if he could identify something wrong.

Yes, he could.... The muffler had fallen away from the exhaust system. Alex said he'd get it fixed tomorrow morning, so I hope he made an appointment. He seemed to like the noise initially, and revved it up for me a couple of times before he left, smiling as he went! BOYS!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

One day sunny, today, SNOWING!!!!

Today was our first 'measurable' snow day this fall, although I thought I heard the weather man saying there wouldn't be any on the ground when it was done!!!

I had to make the trip to Webster City Vet Clinic to retrieve Gracie and Lucy (who had their 'gardenectomy' and final kitten shots yesterday). I went at 10:00, as soon as I got ready after I saw the snow piling up. Highway 17 was slick, and the snow made for white-out conditions so I couldn't see the sides of the road... yikes. I feel lucky only ending up sideways once; fortunately when no one was coming the other way.

This is Noel laying on another new scratching post/cat thing John built this week and put in the Prairie Room in the sunny windows. Noel has a scrape on her left leg from falling (I think we've determined) somewhere outside. She was limping the first day, but seems to have mostly recovered.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Happy Birthday to Ann Walker Smalley in MN!

I think I can show this picture of Ann and her cousin, Maria, on the train ride in Boone in July (in Iowa) here. If not, you can click on the Flickr site and look for her in some of the sets.

I'm guessing Ann is on her day-hunting job, associated with books and learning and curriculum and computers. I couldn't find her picture in a blog she set up for librarians in MN, 23 things on a stick, but I think it used to be there somewhere. Oh well....

It's MONDAY and I think I caught the creeping crud (sore throat, stuffy head) thing Izaac was battling last week.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New Pictures on the Flickr Site!!

I've added a bunch of pictures to the Flickr site, and Samantha has added some recently, too. I haven't finished putting information on all the pictures, or putting them all in sets yet, but they are there if anyone would like to view a slideshow.

Click on this link highlighted or "CampStanhope's Flickr Site" in the right column under the kitty and it should take you there. Thanks.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday Brunch at Granite City in Des Moines

This is my mom and dad (middle and right) looking at my sister, Shirl, holding her grandson, Izaac during breakfast at Granite City for my mom's birthday (which one of her grandchildren thinks has lasted a LONG time for a birthDAY).

After brunch (spectacular cinnamon rolls!) we went back to mom's and got some pictures taken for Christmas, etc, since everybody was in attendance.
This is our 'family'. John and I are on the loveseat, and behind us are Alex and his girlfriend, Allison, and Samantha and her boyfriend, Marty.

Friday, November 7, 2008

"Vishus Deer siting" at Camp Stanhope today

This 31-second video is dedicated to a cat blogger, Skeezix, in California. It's probably far enough away so he isn't too frightened by this siting, but you just never know how desperate one of these things could be, and last time I saw him, he WAS heading WEST!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tuesday, but we already voted!!

On Sunday morning John decided he'd vacuum a little more thoroughly, so he put the cat squares and the scratching table/thing up on the couch so he could accomplish this. Before he got the vacuum out, the orphans were enjoying being off the floor!

That's Pat (Hughes) on top, Lucy looking out from the square, and Ron (Santo) on the couch.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Izaac as "Darth Vader"

Izaac modeled his costume on Sunday at Great Grandma's for those of us who didn't watch him on Halloween. He really liked the idea of going to knock on doors and someone handing him candy! It was warm and pleasant weather, so that helped, too.
He didn't like the hat too well, but left it on long enough for us to get a couple of pictures.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The first Sunday in November...

Izaac got two new teeth this week, so the good thing about it (since it seemed annoying and painful to him) is that he LOVES to brush his teeth! My dentist would be so impressed! (Just ignore the dish drainer-for my sake!)

It's corn harvest time in the central plains, so I was on one road yesterday and could document several phases of this. Below is an old combine working to capacity!

This is a 'corn wagon' for us non-farmer types. When the combine gets full of corn (or soybeans, but they're already long gone around here) it dumps the grain into this, so the corn can go to a storage bin.

Below is a pile of turkey (or could be chicken) poop waiting to be spread onto a field for fertilizer.

This is the last step for most farmers around here. Below the tractor is pulling a disk to combine poop/stocks and soil for winter.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Izaac at Camp Stanhope.

This is Samantha (my daughter) taking her own picture with Izaac on Sunday (before the hair-fixing!). He doesn't look like he's sure about her doing this.

Izaac on Sunday at his Great-grandmother's house for HER birthday (and after Joe 'fixed' his hair!). Happy belated birthday MOM~!
Since Izaac has lived with 3 women (his mom, grandmother and his Aunt Michelle) for most of his 18 months, he REALLY likes to play with his hair, and their make-up, and the combs and brushes and the lipsticks (apparently he had spread one from ear to ear and squished it down inside the tube before his grandmother realized the bathroom door had gotten left open).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Izaac squealing at the kittens....

This is a new scratching post/toy that John built for the kittens. Izaac seems to think it's a tunnel, so he's having a little fun with it, too.

Izaac's 49-second video of squealing at the kittens! They're not always sure what to think about him.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Izaac at camp this week.

I just haven't gotten the camera out yet and used him as the target. I will do that when he wakes up from his nap. He's gotten taller since he was here a few weeks ago, and now....he climbs!

At almost 18 months he's also become quite a 'mocking' bird, repeating (or attempting) almost everything we say (especially between John and me).

He's funny with the kitties, and usually nice, but once in a while--look out cats!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Figuring out the new computer....

This is the configuration the evening started with Saturday evening.

This is how the evening nap ended.

This is a house I saw in Webster City (IA) last Saturday all decked out for Halloween.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

New computer, new week.

Even though the credit card had to took a hit, I got a new laptop on Thursday. I'm still trying to figure out some things on it, but progressing with the updates, etc., at this point. I do like the space it leaves on the desk to actually do something other than 'compute'.

These are pictures of the lobby in the historic "Hotel Pattee" in Perry (IA), where we ate lunch (wonderful) last week on the way to Winterset.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My computer died today.

So I have no pictures to put on the blog. Luckily I posted a bunch of new ones to the Flickr site last week. I know there are some videos lost, of the kittens and of Izaac. Dang.

I have copies of most everything else, including recipes I had on there. There were some quilt patterns, too, but I think I can re-download some of those (and probably don't need them all anyway, because I have a thousand patterns and I haven't made one 'technical' quilt yet!)

I hate computers and cars when you have to do more than turn them on and 'go'! I'm using John's laptop but can't figure out how to type well on this flat keyboard. And this keyboard travels frequently with its owner, so that means I won't be able to even check my e-mail unless I travel to the library or somewhere there's access to one.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fabric Friday!

Yes, that's Liz Porter on the left and Marianne Fons on the right (with a tourist quilter in between) yesterday (10/10/08) in Winterset, Iowa, at their fabric/quilt store, Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting. Kim and her mom (the actual fabric enthusiast/quilter) and I travelled first to Perry. There we perused around the Antique Mall and Ben Franklin stores and had lunch at the re-opened Hotel Pattee.

This is the Madison County Courthouse on the town square in Winterset. Winterset is the birthplace of John Wayne and inspiration for the book (and movie) "Bridges of Madison County".

This the Fons & Porter storefront, across from the Madison County Courthouse, with a big bunch of quilters waiting for the bus to take them back to Des Moines for a BIG quilt show they had there this week.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Added new Pictures to the Flickr site.

That's Samantha rescuing Izaac Sunday from the 'big boys' while they were solving the world's problems....

Mostly this post is an addendum to the last one because I forgot to mention I added a new batch of pictures to the Camp Stanhope Flickr Site. You can click on the line that says that to the right of this paragraph or click here.
I need to add some of the videos from Sunday, too, and from other days with the orphan kittens, etc. There's some boating ones from Wednesday afternoon (it was REALLY nice on the lake that day and relaxing!) I haven't uploaded to Flickr yet, but I'll get to them one of these days.

It's been a fun week.

This is the line-up of cars at Grandma's on Sunday. That's Allison, Shirl and Grandma Markey debating whether to eat outside or not (we did because it was really nice). A couple of those cars parked on the street belong to our crowd, too.

Here's the Birthday girl herself (Michelle on the right, her roommate/buddy from high school, Ngu, on the left) with her laundry! Shocking! She's REALLY growing up!

This is Izaac last Sunday enjoying jello with bananas during Michelle's birthday party at Grandma Markey's house.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Happy Birthday Grandma Jean Walker

This picture is part of our 'crowd' at the Watermelon Day Parade in Stanhope, 7/19/08.
From left (front): Pat 'Dix' Montag, Mary Montag (Jean's sister), Kathy Hutchinson (Jean's daughter), and Mick (Kathy's hubby). Behind this crowd, Brad Montag (Pat 'Dix' & David Montag's son), Peggy (Brad's wife), Seth (Brad & Peggy's son), Pat Montag (Jean's brother), David Montag (seated, Jean's brother, and Pat 'Dix' hubby), and Ann Weber (Pat & David's daughter).

Happy 19th Birthday, Michelle (on 10/6)!!!

That's Michelle with Izaac during HIS birthday pictures taken (by Samantha) at Sears earlier this year. Michelle is now a coed on the campus of Simpson College, Indianola, (IA) and is making the most of campus life.
She has already joined a couple of committees, etc. and LOVES college life. GO MICHELLE!!!!!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

"You know you live in a small town when....."

I don't usually leave the house without my wallet, but I did two weeks ago going to handbell choir practice in town. I don't usually stop for milk on the way home, but I did.

The reason I went out of the house without my wallet is because Izaac was with John and wasn't too happy with me leaving to go to bell practice, so when I discovered the missing wallet, I didn't go back in the house. The reason I was stopping for milk was because Izaac was there and John had a couple days off, so we were almost out of milk.

Here's the interesting part. I stopped at Sparky's (our local gas/convenience store in Stanhope) and didn't remember about the missing wallet until I'd picked up the gallon of milk and got it on the counter. There, a fellow cheerleader buddy of my daughter's was working the cash register.

I rarely know the person behind the counter, but this night, I did. It was Nikki. I fumbled in my purse and said, "Oh, man, I forgot my wallet!". Nikki said, "that it was okay, and to take the milk home".

I could have gone the 10-mile round-trip home to get it, but I didn't have to. I offered to get money from the ATM (in Sparky's), but, of course, my ATM card was in my wallet, too. (It always is, but I was not used to being in this position, without wallet or money!)

John was planning on going to Sparky's the next morning to buy gas for the mower and the little red pickup anyway, and I told Nikki this. She said that would be fine, and in this small town, it was. Thanks, Nikki (and Sparky's).

Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday fun.

Here's a picture of Ron (Santo) taking a tour of a tree.

Playing in the yard is fun. Playing in the trees is fun. Chasing your siblings on a fall afternoon is FUN! This is a 12-second video of Lucy stalking her brother, Patrick. She may be the runt, but she's no wimp! She's getting fluffy, but still not as big as the other orphans.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thursday Thoughts...

This is a picture of 4 of the 5 'orphans' on Sunday morning when it got so chilly (in the morning, it got nicer in the afternoon) they didn't want to stay outside for more than a couple of minutes.

At one point, they just looked at me and said, 'entertain us', so I threw some toys up the staircase and thought they would chase them or push them down so I could throw them back up to them, but they didn't figure out the game at first.

Georgey is at the top, Ron is the ginger tuxie, Lucy (runt) is to the right of Ron, and that's Gracie at the bottom of the crowd. You can tell George & Gracie apart now because Gracie is getting 'rounder' and larger than George.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Happy Belated Birthday, Mary!!! 9/28

This is (John's aunt) Mary's cabin in Lake View, Iowa, where she lives across the road from Black Hawk Lake. We were there (including Izaac) on Friday, 9/19, to go boating on a bigger lake (than in Jewell) and John installed a new screen door on the house.

It was a warm, sunny day, but a little breezy. Mary, Izaac and I went boating for a couple of hours, avoiding splashing water (from the wind) when possible!

That's John's sister's cabin in the left side of the picture (Ann Smalley, who lives in Apple Valley, MN).

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