Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fun Time and Not So Fun Poison Ivy

This trip has been a little short as we really haven't helped out around the house as I would like to have done.  The two days to Boston were lots of fun and most interesting and educational.  We have had lots of great conversations with Kristi and Karl and played games with Cordie and Elle.  The newest and exciting activity has been interacting with Kylie.  She is in the process of writing a book.  She let Grandma read it and Grandma was exuberant about it being a great book.  I started reading it and found it intriguing.   I am always amazed how authors can compose books pulling together so many ideas and stories into a book you want to read and Kylie is doing it.  I didn't finish reading all she had written the first day.  When I did finish the rest of the chapters, I was surprised how quickly I was pulled back into the story and how insightful she is into interpersonal relationships.  We then talked with her about the book.  Eileen and I are both looking forward to the finished book and feel it needs to be published.

The only part of the trip I wish I had not taken part in was getting poison ivy.  Kristi was telling me about her experience with it and I was glad I had never had it.  I didn't expect to get it as I wasn't going walking in the woods.  But it appears it is easier to get that one would expect.  The night of the fire for some-mores, I kept feeling bugs were biting me.  The next morning I had several very itchy spots on my legs.  Kristi gave me some anti-itch medication but it didn't help.  Then yesterday I looked at one of the bumps and realized it was not a bug bite.  Kristi said it is poison ivy.  Kristi said it is possible Tracker got it on him and then brushed it off on me while we were sitting around the fire.  Oh well I guess you can't go 67 years without getting it at least once. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Watching for Irene

All day Saturday we kept seeing signs about closings due to hurricane Irene.  The freeway from Boston to Etna had constant signs to prepare for the storm.  On Friday Irene's path was to go through the middle of New Hampshire as a category 1 hurricane.  By Saturday it was still category 1 for Boston but had been downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it was to hit New Hampshire Sunday afternoon.  Kristi was worried we would loose power.  They have a generator for lights but not water so we made sure we were ready to be without water. Sunday morning the projected path had moved westerly so it was over Vermont instead of New Hampshire.  The trip to Church was very rainy and there were limbs down on the roads making them almost impassable.  During the first hour the lights blink three times and then seemed to be fine.  But as the day continued it became obvious Irene passed with minor damage.  The road home had a couple of washed out shoulders but that was it.  Vermont however took the brunt of the storm with the worst flooding in history.  On Monday we watched news reports of old covered bridges being washed away and homes and businesses being destroyed.  It was sad to see these century old bridges being destroyed and businesses lost particularly as we had seen some of them on earlier sightseeing trips with Kristi.
Fire for Some-mores

The pictures are just a reminder of better times.

Monday, August 29, 2011

John Adams Home

Saturday we went to Quincy Massachusetts to tour the birthplaces of John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams.  These two homes are the nation's oldest presidential birthplaces.  (No picture of the two houses as it was raining too hard). From there we toured the home that John and Abigail turned into a Country Estate after he returned from his diplomatic assignments for the new United States of America in 1788.  They retired to this home at the completion of his service as the second President of the United States.

The tour included much of the history of John and Abigail and their participation in the success of the American Revolution and about their son John Quincy Adams the 6th President of the United States.  The tour guides were very, very knowledgeable and provided great insight into the lives of these great people.  Since Kristi was here with Amanda just last month she was able to provide even more that she learned from the tour guide she heard.

The picture to the left is The Stone Library build by one of their descendants next to the house.  It has over 1200 volumes. We were lucky to be able to enjoy these tours, as much of Boston was closing down at the time in preparation for hurricane Irene. 

This is a very fascinating family.  I am looking forward to learning more about them.  There are of course many books written about the Adams family as well as various websites and movies to learn from.

Before arriving in Quincy we stopped at the Boston Temple.  It is a beautiful Temple high on a hill known at Belmont Hill. 

The day was a fun and educational experience we were lucky to enjoy, as much of the Boston area was closing down in preparation for Hurricane Irene.  It rained very hard on the way home but it was well worth it.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Kristi Is 40!

Thursday Kristi turned 40 - OH how to make us feel old!  Elle made a sugar cookie cake and she and Cordie decorated it and then we all enjoyed it - all before lunch.  For dinner Karl took us all out for dinner which was enjoyed by all.  I had scallops cooked in a Vermont Maple Sugar sauce.  It was very different but very delicious.
Elle cutting the cake

Pirates and Patriots Tour

Friday we went to Boston to take several tours we thought we could do.  The first Pirates and Patriots Tour started at 12:30 PM and was to last 1 1/2 hours.  It was a fun tour that took us from the old State House down the original wharf which is no longer a wharf but harbor that has been filled except for the very end.  The guide had all sorts of stories of Pirates and Patriots around the time of the starting of the American Revolution.  The tour was almost 2 hours which put us past the time for the next tour we had planned.  The juxtaposition of the various ages of architecture was most fascinating.  That evening Karl built a bond fire and we enjoyed some-more's .

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Guess Who's 40

We left for Manchester NH this morning at 8:15 and finally arrived in Manchester at about 8:15 PM after two layovers and a plane taken out of service.  Eileen went to the store to buy Over the Hill merchandise before we left but could not find any.  So here we are waiting to be picked up at the airport.  We are looking forward to a fun week.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mower County Fair

A little late on this post - we went to the Mower County Fair on Tuesday August 9 for the kids and then again on Saturday the 13th to hear Zeke play the piano and sing a solo for the Mower County Talent Contest.  The picture is JT milking a cow (artificial one).  We didn't take pictures at the contest as we were all too involved watching and enjoying him play and sing.  He did great and came in 3rd place.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Kanesville Tabernacle

Our last stop on our month long trip was the Kanesville Tabernacle in what is now known as Council Bluff, Iowa. In the Kanesville Tabernacle, built by 200 pioneers in just two and a half weeks, Brigham Young was sustained as the second prophet and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The current log tabernacle is a replica of the original meeting hall.


The tabernacle now serves as a visitors' center, where you can learn more about the epic history of the Latter-day Saints' migration westward.  They have a movie about the Mormon Battalion that is only shown there and at the San Diego Mormon Battalion visitors center.  If you are traveling I-80 stop and see it. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The ABC's Fun Evening

Sorry Renee for the poor picture!
We have good friends here in Austin whose last names start with A and C and since ours starts with B every time we got together our kids started calling us the ABCs.  With our missions and traveling to see family the last several years we have not done a lot together in recent years, but Thursday night the Carolan's invited the Anderson's and us to celebrate Renee's birthday at the Chanhassen Dinner Theater.  The show was Hairspray and it was extremely well done.  The voices were fantastic and it was so much fun to watch and listen to the great talent.  Dinner was actually very good too.  We had never been to the Chanhassen so we did not know what to expect.  I thought it would we similar to big events where everyone is served the same thing.  It was actually just like a restaurant with appetizers, soups, salads, entrees and desert selections.  We look forward to enjoying more great shows and dinner with our friends - it was a great night out with long time friends!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hawaiian Luau - Minnesota Style

One of our grandson's friends graduated this year and hopes to go to Hawaii for college.  His Mom decided to throw a Hawaiian Luau for his graduation party.  She said she didn't even like pork but she researched how to cook a full pig in the ground.  The hole alone took many man hours to dig and then the pig went into the pit a little late so it didn't come out until about 8:30 PM which accounts for the poor pictures - at least a little.  The pig turned out so good and the Mom enjoyed it so much she has decided it should be a yearly event - well she at least has the hole ready.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Beautiful Veterans Memorial

While we were in Utah at the beginning of our trip, Cenny was such a help with Randy and Heather's children that they asked us to bring her back on our way home.  Lisa's family was coming to Utah to start Gunnar at BYU so she could then go home with them.  After leaving Utah for home we spent the night in North Platte Nebraska where we saw this beautiful Veterans Memorial.  They had statues for all the military branches and even for the canteen volunters who ran the canteen in North Platte for all the military crossing the country.  It is well worth stopping to see.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Too Hot This Time of Year

Roxie and Cenny
Heidi, Eileen and Zoey

After leaving California we headed to Arizona - not the time of year to visit.  Cenny wanted to see her cousins so we spent a few days enjoying Heidi's family and our swimming pool.  Eileen and the kids went in early in the morning and the kids and I went late afternoon after the sun was behind the trees.  Cenny said the pool is cool in the morning and hot in the afternoon and I would agree it was very warm water.  One of the things Cenny wanted to do was go to Church wearing matching dresses with Roxie.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Great time with our Romanian Missionaries

Six Romanian missionaries and one happy groom!
Lauren and Drew
Next stop on our trip was Newport Beach CA for the wedding of one of the sister missionaries we served with in Romania.  She was married in the Newport Beach Temple.  It is a beautiful temple with a southwest feel that fits the area.  It was a perfect day for a wedding and reception with the temps in the 70's and no humidity.  Two Elders and one sister missionary were at the wedding too so it was fun to catch up with them.  We enjoyed being together again but the traffic is horrendous.  As we arrived in the LA basin we got caught in rush hour traffic and what should have taken an hour took us 3 hours in stop and go traffic.  Then between the wedding and the reception Eileen wanted to go to Oceanside.  Again the traffic was so bad the freeway seemed like a parking lot.  By the time we got to Oceanside we could not stop but had to turn around immediately to make it back to the reception. I don't see going to the LA area on my plans again.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

WOW - This Aquarium Has Some Amazing Sea Life

It may look like plant material but it really is a variety of Sea Horses
We took Eileen's Mom to the Monterey California Aquarium and even though the one in Okinawa is amazing and much bigger this one has some of the most unusual sea life I have ever seen.
Yes we showed you an octopus in the Oregon aquarium too

The pink fish is called a Square fish
Yes it truly is a Sea Horse

Another variety of Sea Horses - there were several more.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Time To Catch Up

Doesn't it look delicious!
Having been on the road over 8000 miles this past month, it's time to try and catch up.  I covered my birthday in Oregon earlier, then our first morning home, I was blessed to enjoy a birthday tradition Amanda started many years ago.  She made me my favorite Belgium Waffles breakfast and probably my last as she is off to college again for her Doctorate.

After leaving the beach we visited a couple of days with my Mom before heading to California to spend several days with Eileen's Mom.  We decided to take the California coast highway so Cenny could see the giant redwood trees - WOW are they impressive even after seeing them many times before.  Back when Steven was a baby we woke up to a baby moose nose on the window of our car while camping in one of the Redwood Parks.  This time we spent a night between the two main parks so we had lots of time to explore them.  From there we headed to Vallejo to show Cenny the first house we bought, where her mother started school and Steven and Randy were born.  The house doesn't look a lot different other than they have changed much of the landscaping (We bought the house before they started building it and we had to do all landscaping.).  A few of the trees are still in place but most everything else has changed.  We put in the pathway to the street of San Francisco cobblestones.  When I was building a bank in San Francisco we discovered a discard pile of cobblestones from the street in front of the bank on the back of the lot.  I took as many as we needed for the path and if they hadn't been so heavy I would have like to have taken more for our patio which we ended up building of bricks from a demolished smokestack.