I may be two months chocolate free, but I have found a substitute for my sweet cravings. Lynette introduced me to Swedish Fish while in Kansas. I found out I had a craving when I found a very BIG bag in the treats section at Costco. I bought this additional bag and it will soon be on its way to Kansas as payback for teaching me new vices!
Finally, I am a great aunt! I am the oldest of my siblings and had three children before nieces and nephews began to join the clan. My nephew Mark and his wife Ashley recently brought this little cutie into the world.
(I am borrowing these sweet pictures from Ashley's facebook page.)
Congratulations to my sister Becky for entering grandparenthood. The entire Ray family can't get enough of this sweet little girl.
It seems that I have begun another family birthday tradition. My hand smocked birthday dresses are usually delivered about a month or more after the actual birth date. I continue to underestimate the amount of time it takes me to complete things.
Sadie, however, as been most understanding. Her only requirement was that it be "blue" because that is her favorite color. I loved this pattern with the opening in front.
It is smocked on the back as well, just perfect for a little girl with curly, short brown hair!
And, of course, her doll got a matching dress. I had to be creative in making a dress for a Cabbage Patch doll. I had an old dropped waist pattern from Janae's Cabbage Patch doll days that I adapted and added smocking to gather the skirt and sleeves.
Next up - Julianna's birthday dress which will be all white for her special day at the temple. There will also be an all white dress for Heather to wear to the temple and to her baptism. Special times!
Note to Nate: Please come fix my computer. Whatever you did with Word last weekend has left me unable to access my files or use Photo Editor. I love you anyway!
We celebrated Nichelle's birthday this evening. It was a day late, but the birthday girl worked on Saturday afternoon/evening. We have officially indoctrinated her into family birthday traditions. Her birthday dinner was very "Nyborg." I made homemade noodles and chicken over mashed potatoes with chocolate pudding cake and vanilla ice cream for dessert.
This, of course, made her husband very happy! He would have chosen the same thing IF it had been his birthday. Nichelle was, however, very pleased with her birthday dinner. She said that it was just right for a somewhat nauseousprego stomach.
And that is my formal announcement that grandchild number nine is on the way!
The following grandchildren were in attendance at our little birthday celebration.
Sadie, who has her mommy all to herself! Daddy Dave and Ruby are on the houseboat at Lake Powell along with Eric, Susan, TJ, Heather, and Toby.
They left this little munchkin home with grandma who insisted that mobile babies who crawl faster than commuter trains do not belong on houseboats. Julianna loved the attention she received as well as noodles and mashed potatoes and spoonfuls of ice cream provided by Nichelle.
Grandpa Glen asked "Sister Jensen" to offer the blessing on the food. Emelia, Sally, and Nichelle wondered which "Sister Jensen" to whom he might be referring. It was a hard choice, so "Brother Jensen" stepped in. Nathan was the man at this meal and a great help. He single handily peeled every potato!
The Ranes family missed out as they are in California taking care of details for their impending move out of the country.
This means that there was a chair for every guest at the table and fun conversation. Grandpa Glen loves all these women in his life, part of the "1982 Club." We are so happy to have Nichelle as our newest member.
Nichelle, I hope that you had a fabulous birthday weekend!
Don't you just love Julianna's new headband which I picked up in Kansas? We did all three hours at church today, just not always in my usual places. She kicked into high crawl gear when the Sunbeam class passed through the foyer. She definitely wanted to go where they were going and followed them down the hall. She has provided us all with much entertainment!
Established in 1827 First military encampment west of the Mississippi Mustering grounds for the Mormon Battalion
My sister, Lynette, recently followed her husband to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. Since then he has been routinely leaving her behind as he monitors military exercises in such places as Germany and Korea. I took this as my signal to book a flight and go to Kansas to keep Lynette company, sans our husbands. We had a wonderful time exploring, doing projects, and talking (plus a bit of eating.) Now on to the many pictures!
From the Kansas City Airport in Missouri, Lynette drove over the Missouri River and on to the check point to give me a quick tour of Ft. Leavenworth. There were rolling green lawns and neat red brick houses for military families. There were also many monuments honoring soldiers.
A Buffalo Soldier on horseback
General Ulysses S. Grant
After our walking monument tour, we drove toward the watchtower. There were tree lined streets with beautiful homes. It was easy to tell that the homes told a story of different times with architectural styles.
This home stood on an old soldier burying ground. That would give one pause to live in a home with this sign buried in the front lawn.
There are many beautiful, old trees in the Kansas City area. This one was on base and needed a hug.
Autumn was just arriving. The colors should be out in all their glory by mid October. This tree sparkled above the others and we had to leave the main thoroughfare to find it and to take a picture.
The fort was first placed on a hill overlooking a bend in the Missouri River.
It was a great lookout point and a beautiful site.
This is the girlhood home of Harry S. Truman's wife, Bess Wallace, and where he lived his life when not in Washington, D. C. It is also where he died. It was originally built in 1867 with later additions.
Harry and Bess are buried in the courtyard of the Truman Library and Museum.
I had to take a picture of President Truman's only daughter's dress which is displayed in the basement of the library and museum. Her name was Margaret. Notice the hand smocking on the shoulders of the garment. There were three smocked garments on display, all Margaret's. It made me wonder if Bess Truman smocked and sewed clothing for her daughter or if they used a favorite dress maker.
Lynette and I had both recently read this book by David McCullough, so our visit was especially meaningful.
I hope that this picture brings back many fond (and not so fond) memories for Dave, Nate, and Janae. It still looks a bit haunted but I didn't see any possums running around with their babies on their back! This was where we stayed in 2001 while on our church history sites after David returned from his mission. Since this was my second visit to the area, we didn't visit LDS church historical sites.
This day found us heading in the opposite direction to Atchison, Kansas northwest of Leavenworth. It is a railroad town but also is the birthplace of Amelia Earhart.
Painting made from photograph of Amelia at 20 years of age
Model of the airplane that she used
She was born in this house, the home of her grandparents on July 24, 1897. She spent much of her childhood in this home and her bedroom window is located behind the tree. Our tour of the house was most interesting. I was amazed to find that I had been the owner of misinformation. It was not until this visit that I realized that Amelia was near the end of her around the world flight in 1937 when she disappeared over the Pacific. I always thought that she had flown west out of Oakland, but she began her journey by flying east.
The house sat on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River. We did not see any watercraft on the river during my visit. We learned that it is considered very dangerous with many whirlpools and undercurrents.
Signs along the road directed us to the Amelia Earhart Earthworks. If you look carefully you can see her face on the hill. The link shows a picture of how it looked 12 years ago when new. There is a movie about Amelia Earhart being released on Oct. 23rd.
Atchison, Kansas has many old homes and a charming downtown area. We ate lunch at a delightful little cafe after shopping at a children's bookstore which also sold hand knitted children's sweaters.
For dessert, Lynette ordered a blueberry lemon scone and I ordered the apple bread pudding with carmal sauce shown above. When the desserts were delivered, the server pointed to Lynette's and then my dessert and said to Lynette, "Why are you having that when you could have had this!"
Good point Lynette. I am still dreaming about how good this dessert tasted!
We spent the morning and early afternoon at home working on our "projects." I had purchased yarn from The Knit Shop next door to the jail, former home to Jesse James, in Independence for a baby afghan. Lynette, my knitting teacher, was "talking" me through the beginning of this project. We also worked on some felted Christmas ornaments, the pattern of which we had found in Utah last summer. We managed to get all the pieces cut out and will have to work on the applique and embroidery part solo.
We picked up Logan from school in the afternoon. I was dropped off in downtown Leavenworth while he took the test to get his driver's permit. They joined me for more antique and quilt shop cruising and then a treat at the soda fountain of the best pharmacy west of the Mississippi in the late 1880's.
Downtown Leavenworth has an abundance of older interesting stores.
This is a large mural on the side wall of a store across the street from this pillared wonder.
Leavenworth has a prosperous past as a river and railroad town with many enterprises. Fred Harvey began feeding the railroad crowd across the west from here and was one of many to live well in Leavenworth.
I took a picture of Lynette in front of her beautiful new home before we left for a tour of Kansas City before my departure late afternoon. We took a self-guided walking tour of a beautiful tree lined neighborhood in south Kansas City, walked through the rose garden at Powell Gardens, and ate lunch in the fun shopping district nearby. We drove through downtown and then on to the airport which is north of Kansas City and just east of Leavenworth. Next stop - Albuquerque!
Glen picked me up from the Albuquerque Airport after a drive from Mesa and business stop in Gallup. TJ had accompanied Grandpa so I had two people to hug when I got off the plane. We made our way to Jolene's home on the west side of town. Her home is on a ridge overlooking Albuquerque. This is the view from her back deck. There are great views from all three levels of her home. She had Glen and I sleep in her master bedroom upstairs "for the view." And what a view it was. Imagine the above view, but add sparkling lights against the backdrop of the mountains.
We woke up at 5 am so that we would be on hand for the "Mass Ascension" of the hot air balloons at the annual Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. It was a bit chilly but a feast for the senses. For more balloon photos (I just couldn't stop clicking!) go here.
TJ had some mini-doughnuts for breakfast. I couldn't stop thinking about Homer Price as I watched this machine. TJ thinks that we should buy one for Christmas Eve doughnut making!
We then walked over to the chainsaw craving competition.
It was very intriguing!
After a long walk back to the car, we returned to Jolene's for some conference watching and visiting. TJ was delighted to have the all day companionship of his second cousins.
First thing Sunday morning found us back on the balcony doing some balloon watching.
This one came closer and closer.
And soon landed in the vacant lot a few houses down the street. The boys took off to see the action and I soon followed. They now could complete their balloon watching cycle from inflation and ascension on Saturday, followed by deflation and packing up on Sunday. The van was a chase vehicle to provide support when the balloon comes down.
The neighbors couldn't recall a balloon ever making its landing on this lot.
Once the balloon was flattened we were on our way home. We had a very important birthday celebration to attend!
Happy, Happy Birthday Raymond!
Many thanks to my sisters and their families for the fine hospitality they extended!