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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Family Fun

Happy Tuesday my friends.  Alex, Jamie and the kids arrived safely on last Thursday.  Please forgive me for not commenting much on blogs but I have been playing with my family.  Since it is rare that we see them, I've stayed off of the computer for the most part and just enjoyed my time with everyone.  

Alex took Caleb to the mall and bought him a brand new "real" skateboard.  I had forgotten just how much those things cost!  Then he gave him a bunch of pointers on skating.  We still had Alex's old board in the garage.  He hadn't skated in years but picked it right up again.  Look at that grin on Caleb's face.  He's planning to go to Japan and live with his Uncle Alex when he's old enough.  Ha!
I guess you never really lose the skills.
Our living room looked like Legoland!  I have kept all of Jamie & Alex's Legos and it's the first thing that  Kyleigh and Caleb go for when they get here for visits.  Alex had a great time building with them.
Then they even got Grandma into a picture.  See the Japanese textbook that Caleb is holding?  It was Alex's very first textbook when he started taking Japanese language.  He has these kids speaking Japanese and writing Konji already!  He's a born teacher and all kids love him.  I think he really misses teaching.  Caleb took the book home with him.  He adores his uncle.
Saturday we went downtown to Riverfront Park and the kids rode the carousel.  I love this little girl.  She's going to middle school next year!!  Tell me it isn't so.
Caleb and Uncle Alex on their mighty steeds.
The falls are roaring right now with the mountain snow melt.  That's my crew down by the falls.  I stayed up top where I wouldn't have to walk back up dozens of stairs, (and I stayed dry!)
Isn't this a pretty view?  That's my bunch in the lower right corner.
There are gondolas that will take you on a ride down over the falls.  Spokane is known as the "Lilac City", hence the purple gondolas.
Here they are at the upper falls.  Grandpa looks worried about something!
A view of the upper falls.  The suspension bridge we were standing on was doing lots of shaking from the force of the water flowing.  You can only imagine the sound of the water roaring by.
Alex took this just before Jamie and the kids left to go home on Sunday.  Kyleigh has one of Alex's old skateboards.  Gosh I miss them so much.  We sure put a lot of fun into three days.
Friday we drove out to Cheney and around the University Campus.  The boys had a great time reliving different things about the college.  Then we had dinner with a friend who lives near the college.  The boys used to stay with him if the winter weather was too bad to get home at night.

Alex had his pre-op appointment yesterday and his foot surgery is today.  We're praying all will go well and his pain in walking will be much relieved, although the doctor said he has arthritis in his heel already from his skiing accident and re-breaking the bones by walking so much around Tokyo.

I'll try to check in again soon.  Meanwhile, I hope you're enjoying a lovely spring, (or fall), depending on where you. live.

"Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty." Psalm 91:1

Blessings,
Betsy











Thursday, April 21, 2016

It's Here! It's Here!

Finally!  It's here!  Today both of my boys and two of our grandchildren will be home.  I must admit to having the "green eyed monster" of jealousy when those of you with grandchildren close by or even in the same house as you are able to share your daily lives with your children and grandchildren.  It is very, very rarely our children are together.  August of 2014 was the last time to be exact.  Over 2 1/2 years.  Even this trip, Mandy, Piper and Brad will be absent.  But I refuse to dwell on that.  My boys will be back home in the nest.  Jamie, Kyleigh and Caleb will begin their trek over the mountains when the kids get out of school today and will stay the weekend.  Alex's flight from Tokyo will arrive around 11:30 pm tonight.  He should be somewhere over the middle of the Pacific Ocean about now.  Oh, I can't wait!  Can you tell I'm excited?

I've been busy grocery shopping, getting beds ready, cleaning and just trying to get everything I can done ahead of time, so we can just have fun together.  Yesterday I did more than I have since last spring, in the before pm (before pacemaker), days.  I trimmed bushes, worked in the yard and generally didn't sit down until dinner time.  Then Dennis mowed while I swept the sidewalks behind him.  We finally sat down, (collapsed), around 8:00.  But, oh my goodness, it felt good to be active.  I was afraid my muscles would protest and I wouldn't be able to get out of bed this morning, but nope!  I jumped right up!  Hallelujah!  Seriously, I'm so thankful to God that I seem to be feeling SO MUCH better.  Dennis even commented last weekend that I seemed to be so much better.  He was right!  The MRI of my brain is still scheduled for next Wednesday, but I'm sure they won't find a thing wrong.  I truly believe my light-headedness is/was a result of adjusting to the medications and my body seems much happier now.  I even walked 3.96 miles at the lake on Tuesday.  Not all at once of course, but over the day I logged that much.  Yippee!

I have some yarny goodness that arrived from KnitPicks yesterday.  I ordered five skeins but only 4 arrived, as one is on back order. Aren't they yummy?  It is all Stroll fingering weight yarn.  The same as I'm using for Dennis' socks.  
This one is my favorite named This "Seashell Tonal".
"Northern Lights Hand Painted"
"Woodland Hand Painted"
"Coffee Shop Hand Painted"
All have 462 yards/100 grams per skein.  Plenty for a pair of socks and then I'm going to start a Memory Blanket making squares with the leftovers of the socks I make.  I wish you could all touch these beautiful yarns.  So soft at 75% Superwash Merino and 25% nylon for durability.

One of Dennis' socks are done and another about 1/3 complete.  These are taking me awhile because the yarn is so dark I can only knit on them during daylight hours.  I've also been very busy in the yard and other things for a few days.  I love the project bag Taci gave me a year or so ago.  It's the perfect size for socks.  
This is after the mowing last night.  Considering how brown everything was just a week ago, the green is almost miraculous and it will continue to green up even more.  I think you could see the difference everyday this week.  With temperatures in the 80's all week it has done wonders for all of the plants and grass.  Tomorrow everything is supposed to change to cool and rainy again.  

See the little tree on the far right.  That's the flowering pear we planted last fall after we lost our previous one in the big windstorm.  I put my birdbath out yesterday and the birds have already found it.  Three robins were playing in the water this morning.  The house you see behind the fence is up for sale.  I'm sad to see them leave.  They were very quiet and good neighbors to have.  I do like their one level floor plan and jokingly told Dennis we should buy it.  The move would be the easiest one ever, just take down a portion of the fence and carry things through the yard!
The rhubarb has tripled in size this week.  I should be able to begin harvesting next week!
My favorite spot to sit with a cup of tea and my Bible in the mornings.  I'm hand-writing the book of Psalms as part of my devotion time.  It's amazing to me how much more I absorb when I write it out instead of just reading it.  Doesn't this look cozy?  The little blue light on the table is a solar light Becky in Portland gave to me last year.  It's so pretty at night.
Okay my friends.  That's enough sitting around for me.  I need to get my ironing done.  It's the last chore on my list before the kids get here.  Then I can play all weekend!  Hurrah!

I hope you all have as lovely a weekend as I plan to.  I'm going to hug and kiss on my boys whether they like it or not.  HA!  HA!  I guarantee neither of them will like it, but they tolerate it because they know how much I love and miss them.  I have to admit, it does seem a bit strange to barely be able to reach up and around enough to hug my 6'4" son!  In my eyes and heart he's still the 3 year old toddler that ran around the house.  Are all Mom's like me?

"Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments." Deuteronomy 7:9

Blessings always sweet friends,
Betsy






Monday, April 18, 2016

Oregon Friends

Well, we made it to Portland and safely back home to Spokane.  Right now I'm snuggled in bed in my trailer at the lake...just for one night.  We have dinner plans with my cousin and his wife tomorrow night back in Spokane.  Dennis had two late meetings after work, so it's just Chloe and I here tonight.

We had a lovely time at Tad's Chic Dump.  Here's the crew.  The back row is Phil, Dennis, Teresa, Dayle. Front row is Becky, me and Gracie.
We laughed, talked and told stories until we really felt we should give up our table since there was a long, long line of people waiting.
The view was gorgeous and they had the window panes open wide.  Truly open air dining.  It was time to leave much too soon.  The food was delicious.
We visited the church Mandy attended for years when she moved to Portland. She and Brad were married there and I always enjoy seeing Mandy's good friends and they seem to like to see us too.

At the last minute Taci was available for lunch on Sunday after church services, so we all met at Elmer's restaurant for a quick lunch before Dennis and I left town.  

Gracie, Me, Teresa and Taci.  Goodness! It was hard to leave these girls.  Again, we laughed and talked for two hours!  There is never enough time.
Mt. St. Helens from the interstate.  Does anyone remember the eruption?  It left this beautiful dome.  It's still an active volcano and has steam venting quite often.  Brad took us flying around it a few years ago and even let Dennis take the controls for awhile!
Another of Mt Hood.
A tugboat on the Columbia.
The twin smokestacks at the Steamplant Grill in downtown Spokane welcomed us home with their bright colors.  An unusual sight for sure!
Sorry these last photos are out of order.  I'm blogging on my phone and don't want to try to move everything!

At lunch we had small gifts for each other. Gracie knitted that beautiful washcloth. Taci gave me handmade soup, a facial scrub and hand crocheted facial scrubbies.  Teresa gave the Knit Picks yarn and a gorgeous necklace and charm she made from glass blown in Venice, Italy.
A closer look at the charm andnecklace. 
One of the gifts I gave the girls was one of these sock needle holders.  I love mine. No more worries about stitches falling off of the needles when you set them down for a minute or two.

This is Dennis' sock that just needed the toe kichenered.  It's now done and off of the needles and the second sock started.
We had a fantastic time with these wonderful ladies and their husbands.  Dennis says we can go back anytime.
He's a keeper.  How many husbands would willingly drive 12 hours in 2 days so their wife can see her internet blogging friends?  He is a sweetie and I love him and not just for that reason!  Ha!

Alex will be home Thursday night and Jamie and the kids are driving over from Montana Thursday after school. We'll have two kids and two grandkids here and I can't wait. I just wish Mandy and Pioer could be here.  They have commitments at home they have to attend to though. I'm sure face-time will be busy this weekend.

Have a lovely week everyone!

"I shall mount up with wings like eagles. I shall walk and not grow weary, I shall run and not be faint." Isaiah 40:32

Blessings,
Betsy 




Saturday, April 16, 2016

Portland or Bust!

Happy Saturday.  Dennis and I got up bright and early this morning and he took me out to breakfast.  Then we began the 6 hour drive of 360 miles to Portland Oregon to have dinner tonight with Gracie, Teresa and Becky at Tad's Chick N'Dump.  If you're a reader of Teresa's blog, you know all about Tad's.  The food there is delicious!  

Would you like to join us on our drive?  The first half of the trip is through the high desert of Eastern Washington and is mainly sagebrush and canyons.  Imagine the films of the Wild West...that's Eastern Washington with a few farm fields added in for good measure.  So we won't daudle with those pictures.  Now the part of E. Washington we live in is mountainous and in the foothills of the mountains so it doesn't look like this.

Picking up just after we crossed into eastern Oregon and began our westward journey towards Portland, we saw Mt. Hood about 160 miles away!  Can you see it there very faintly?  It looks as though it has a new blanket of snow on it from storms earlier this week.  Still lots of sagebrush...
Yay!  We made it to the Columbia River.  That's Washington on the right with Mt. Hood just to the left of center.  
Down, down, down into the river gorge.
Still decending from the high plateau of desert to the beautiful river's edge.
Blalock Canyon.  There are even a few dead-end canyons around here. Just like in the movies where they would round up the cattle!
Closer to Mt. Hood.  Gorgeous.  Sorry about the bug splat on the winshield. Yuck!  I made sure to clean the window when we stopped for gas little later.
Notice the green that's appearing along the road instead of sagebrush?  
Ahhhh!  The beautiful part of the drive.  Many people like the wild desert scenery during the drive, but I prefer the trees and green hills and waterfalls.
SO, SO pretty!
Almost there.
Pretty island in the middle of the Columbia.  I'm sure Teresa knows it's name, but I don't.
The best I could do for Vista House.  Sorry about that.  Cars were in the way whenever I tried to snap a picture.  There was also a new sail boat on the river but couldn't get a picture of it either.
The plan was to stop at Multnomah Falls because Dennis and I both love it and stop whenever we have time on our drives here.  However, today is a beautiful, beautiful spring Saturday and there was not one parking place to be had.  Cars were parked up and down the road too.  So we just drove on and waved toward Teresa's house as we went past her road exit!  We should have stopped and taken over her Saturday afternoon! Ha!  

My knitting during the trip.  I didn't knit as much as I planned to because I was watching the pretty view most of the time.
This is the view from our hotel room window.  Isn't it pretty?  It's at the edge of the river gorge in Troutdale, Oregon.  They let us check in an hour early and we're resting up for our wild night with the girls tonight.  Teresa and Becky are bringing their husbands too, so it's sure to be a grand time,
For those of you who have asked, our son is just fine after the recent earthquakes in Japan.  They were mostly in the southern part of the country.  Right now he is up in Hirosaki in the northern part where he just bought a house yesterday!

This is NOT our son, but his business partner Michael. We were face-timing last night and I took some screen shots as Alex and Michael were showing us around.  He will continue to live and work in Tokyo for a few months until he gets some work done on the house.  It is a historical house with the tatami mat floors.  SIX bedrooms!  He's determined that we will move to Japan with him when Dennis retires.  He's not giving up although we keep telling him it's unlikely at best.  :-). There is a lot of land with the house.
This is equivalent of our grain bins.  They stored rice and other grains here in years gone by.  Michael is playing "Vanna White" for me in the picture.  Dennis, Mandy and I have actually visited this little town a few years ago for the cherry blossom festival at the castle.  It's a very quiet little town in the countryside.  A far cry from Tokyo and I think Alex will like it much more.  (Do you see me in the bottom of the screenshot?)
Another hour or so and we'll be off to meet the girls.  I'm so excited!  I'm sure there will be pictures to share.  I hope you're having a lovely Saturday.

Blessings,
Betsy














Friday, April 15, 2016

Busy Friday

Hello and happy Friday everyone.  Not much to show you today.  Some mittens were finished this week. Five and 1/2 pair in this picture.  Another pair and 1/2 finished last night so 7 pairs this week.  Not too bad!  The light was very poor here, it was about 10:00 at night when I tried to take this picture.
We got a package from Amazon today.  It was one of those sound machines to mask traffic and neighborhood noises.  It got here very fast, only three days.  Unfortunately it doesn't work at all.  It won't even turn on.  So, here it is with a new label and I'll ship it back later today.  I was excited to listen to the ocean tonight too!  :-)
Miss Piper posing as E.T.!  Actually I don't think she has a clue who E.T. is.  She just likes to wrap up in the blanket.  I made her this flannel train blanket last year.  It's big enough for her big bed and she loves to play with it.  She asked for trains.  She's an equal opportunity child when it comes to trains, cars and princesses.  
Because I have absolutely nothing else to show you I found a picture from the archives of my phone.  Here is Piper over 3 years ago wearing a sweater I made her.  It was a magical sweater that she wore for a very long time.  It just seemed to grow with her.  Oh. My. Goodness.  She is the most precious thing.
It's been a crazy day.  I had to be at the doctors for an 8:00 am blood draw.  Then I had to eat lots of sugary food, (donuts, sweet tea) and have blood drawn again 2 hours later.  It is to check for my glucose tolerance to see if that's why I've been light headed.  In that two hour window I saw the doctor who diagnosed me with allergies, (probably pine pollen, everything's yellow here,) and a sinus infection.  Off to the pharmacy I went, just to find out that our insurance isn't carried over for medicines in the computer yet.  A wait of over an hour there while they figured it out.  I had to pay for it even though we've more than reached our out of pocket expenses for the year.  I came home and spent over an hour and a half on the phone with the insurance company.  Nothing has been done on our carry-overs yet, so we have to pay for everything all over again and then MAYBE get reimbursed.  You've gotta love insurance companies.  

Then the package from Amazon arrived and I spent an hour on the phone with them trying to get a return label and refund from someone who didn't speak very much English at all.  All in all, it was a frustrating morning.  I'm still waiting for callbacks from both doctors offices because they have to send in new prescriptions for all of our meds to the new insurance company and we both only have a weeks worth of meds.  Has anyone else had these crazy things with insurance or am I just lucky?

Tomorrow is the big day!  Dennis and I are off to Portland for a dinner with the girls and their husbands tomorrow night.  I'm so excited to see them all.  Here we come...Oregon or bust!  Ha!

Sorry this is so disjointed.  Not a lot to blog about in the last few days.  I hope you've all had a wonderful week and have great plans for the weekend.

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is, His good, pleasing and perfect will.  Romans 12:2

Blessings always my friends,
Betsy