Monday, May 31, 2010

Some Memorial Day reading

I've just finished reading the seventh in a series of books beginning with "Maisie Dobbs." Maisie is a former nurse who served in France during World War I. We learn about her early life and wartime service in the first novel. The series then follows her life during the years following the war as she recovers from both physical and psychological wounds while creating a career for herself as an investigator for hire. The reader is also immersed into life in England as the country, its veterans, and citizens attempt to recover from the remains of war. The characters are engaging and the plot lines well driven. It's not often that I remain with a series, but after reading seven books, the last being released in 2010, and I'm definitely hoping for more.

Jacqueline Winspear, the author, began this series in part because of her interest in the experiences of her grandfather during wartime and its aftermath. She tells more about that here. As I looked at the picture of Jacqueline's grandfather, I couldn't help thinking of mine.

Andrew Percy Nyborg was also a veteran of WWI. He was an Idaho ranch boy who was wounded in France. In his own words:

The summer of 1917, Rhoda Foote the girl I later married, came up to cook for her two brothers who were farming a ranch of Fred Bailey's 1/2 mile from our ranch. I became acquainted with her that summer. In September of that year I was drafted into the U. S. Army and left St. Anthony October 20th for Camp Lewis which is now known as Fort Lewis. I trained there 9 months with the 91st Division also known as the Eveready or Power River Division. The pine tree was the symbol which stood for eveready as don't change winter or summer. The 91st Division was originated at this time. Starting June 1918 the 91st Division was sent to France and became a major fighting unit of World War I September 1918. We were sent across the states by train on the Great Northern. We were given a great send off. Wherever the train stopped, the home folks showered us with ice cream, candy, tobacco, and about everything else they could think of.

We were moved from St.
Mihiel to the Meuse-Ligomne Sector. This was the first the 91st was given a place in the front line with full command of its Division. Sept. 20th, we suffered a few raids with a few casualties. On Sept. 26th, at 4:30, we went over the top on our first time under fire. The next four days and nights, I never had my shoes or clothes off and lived mostly on hardtack and corn beef. I was a camping scout. Went out in front of troops to locate the main body of the company. It was raining most of the time we were in the front lines. On the night of Sept. 28th, it was raining and the mud was about ankle deep. We were marching in the dark to keep from getting separated to a new point on the front line. The orders was no smoking or lights of any kind. Then we were told that they didn't know which way the enemy was and the lives of the Company depended on us guards. We stood 2 hours guard, and the rest of the Company would get what rest and sleep they could.

When I was relieved from my 2 hour watch, the man that took my place said, "Do you smoke?" and I said, "No." He said, "I wish I could say that." He wasn't afraid of the enemy, but he was afraid of the strain without a smoke. I felt that I was blessed that our Church has standards to live up to, that help you out in some pretty tough places sometimes.

The next afternoon, I was wounded in the neck, a bullet going through my steel helmet, splitting my ear and lodging in the tissue of my lung. Dr. Larsen said he didn't see how it missed the heart. He took a x-ray and located it.
This was one night I could not lay down or stand as it sort of paralysed my body for 3 months. I could not run or carry anything without my legs going out from under me. I could walk around slow, but that was about the size of it.

This night I felt I was blessed again as what I needed most was given me. First I guess I would of bled to death, but Wood Jenkins was next to me and put on my first aid. Though after dark, I got to my feet and started to mosey around. Didn't know where I was or where I was going and along came two solders with a couple of German
prisoners. They helped me to walk and had the Germans pick up a buddy wounded in the leg and pack him back. When we got back to the first aid station, one of the Germans gave me his overcoat, something I surely needed.

In the night, I went to the
sargent in charge as there was no place but the wet ground to lay on and was sure in misery. It was hard to stand and harder to lay down. And I remember him telling me it was a fourth mile back to the next station where they were hauling them back from the front. I thought I started on back, but the next morning about 8:00 o'clock, a buddy came in the German barrack across the little valley from where our first aid station was and told me I had better get out of there as the Germans had started to shell them. I was on a German bunk. I walked on back that morning to the next station. There they redressed my wound, took off my clothes, gave me pajamas and a blanket, put me on a seat with a Red Cross driver, and sent me back to the Hospital. They had to cut my shoes and socks off, as I had had them on for 5 days and nights.

I put the next 3 months in the Hospital and
Convalescent Camp waiting for my outfit to come out of Belgium. My Father passed away while I was in the Hospital on Oct. 2, 1918 in Salt Lake City, Utah; but I didn't get the word till 6 weeks after. It was that long for my mail to catch up with me. I returned to the United States on April 1918 and was discharged from the Army that month at Camp Russel, Wyoming.

My Grandpa Nyborg passed away from a heart attack when I was 7 years old. I remember my mother telling me of the bullet he received in France and then carried for the rest of his life. Three of his children served during World War II, including my mother who joined the Women's Army Air Corp. I am grateful for their service, but I am even more grateful that they all lived and were a part of my life. I will always remember them on Memorial Day when an American flag waves over their grave sites.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Oscar's first visit to grandma's house

Oscar made his way across Mesa today to visit grandma. She was thrilled to see him! He is now ten days old.

He is changing fast and is, oh, so so sweet. He brought his knitted blanket with him. Grandma made it for him, her very first big knitted project.

Grandma was sad to see him leave. Happily Oscar is coming back tomorrow evening while his parents go out to dinner. He is definitely a keeper!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What happens at grandma's doesn't stay at grandma's

Last week ended with some great times with the grandchildren. My health issues in February forced me to cancel the scheduled "grand kids sleepovers." Fortunately I'm up for sleepovers again and we had lots of fun.

The fun began for me when I went to Heather's last softball game of the season on Thursday evening and watched her receive her medal as well as get some great hits.

Friday night was Toby's graduation from pre-school. Next year he will be a kindergartner at the "big" school. True to "Jensen form," it looks like he will be the biggest in his class. That's him at the end of the line waiting to march.

Their cute T-shirts had the hand prints and names of all the other class members.

The graduates were adorable as they came forward to tell us what they want to be when they grow up. Toby wants to be a builder!

They sang us several songs including, "It's a Small World." TJ and Heather quickly plugged their ears because "this song is contagious!"

Sally, Ruby, and Sadie joined us for graduation. Then there was the big parking lot switch as all the grandchildren piled into grandpa's car (boys) and grandma's car (girls) along with their overnight bags. The boys went for pizzas and the girls went to the grocery store for supplies.

Luckily, after pizza and playing, they were more than ready to go to bed. I pointed out that the best time to play outside would be early morning when it would be cool. Ruby was the first one up. Ruby is never the first one up, but she told me that, "My brain said it was time to wake up and go outside and my eyes just popped open!"

Our cul de sac was in the midst of hosting a several family garage sale, so Grandpa was soon leading the troops down the sidewalk, the girls still in their nightgowns. at 6:30 am. They came back with lots of goodies which I am sure their parents were thrilled to see upon their return home. Grandpa was thrilled to show off his CUTE grandchildren to the neighbors!

I hung the net curtains leftover from Ryan and Emilia's wedding on the patio.

They spent some time creating fairy bowers while I baked cinnamon rolls for their breakfast. I also made cookies for Nate's birthday. Toby went with Grandpa Glen on his Saturday Home Depot run. After Home Depot, they went on to Lowe's. While walking through Lowe's with many other customers around Toby blurted out, "This place smells just like Home Depot!"

While they were eating breakfast, we also cooked a few purple beans. I planted two different kinds this year. The purple seed packet said that the beans would turn green when cooked. We popped them in the microwave for 1 minute and viola, green beans!

We packed everyone up and took the cookies and helium tank with balloons and drove over to wish Nate a happy birthday. See more HERE.

On the way back home, we included an art appreciation lesson. We stopped in downtown Mesa to see the "God Bless America" statue based on the above painting "American Gothic" by Grant Wood.

On the way, the children browsed through this book I found about Grant Wood. Heather read them important facts. We also learned who he used for his models for "American Gothic." You'll have to borrow the book to find out!

They all agreed that this art installation was pretty impressive! Poor Sadie is sitting with Grandpa on the bench in the background. She had just cut her finger on Grandma's car door handle (another reason to be upset at Toyota - the fake chrome is peeling off and it was sharp!)

All four of them would have fit in that suitcase!

And they could have lived with Old Mother Hubbard in this shoe!

Finally, they found somebody taller than they are!

Before going home, we made the obligatory trip to MacDonald's for lunch at University and Val Vista. Great place to go to "the park" when it's mid-day and too hot to be at the actual park.

Heather and TJ joined me later in the afternoon on a trek to the Tempe Center for the Arts. We very much enjoyed Childsplay's version of the "The BFG." These are the scary giants and part of the reason I wasn't sure that the younger ones should tag along. The play was most enjoyable and Heather was fascinated with the costuming, scenery changes, and puppets in addition to the story. TJ had already read the book but Heather had not. I had picked up a copy of the book for them to have and Heather finished it by Sunday morning.

We also had fun exploring the building.

By coincidence, Emilia was photographing a wedding at the same time we were viewing the play. If you look carefully you can see that Heather is waving to her on the far side of the guests. The bride is already late for her ceremony! The guests are looking across the negative edge pool toward Tempe Town Lake. It appears that the water flows together and the view is very beautiful with the bridges and mountains in the background.

Gila Valley Celestial Room

Heather and TJ spent a second night with us so that they could attend the dedication of the Gila Valley Temple via satellite at the stake center with us the next morning. Eric has been very ill, and he and Susan were unable to take them. Later in the day, Dave and Sally dropped off Ruby and Sadie while they went to the second dedication ceremony

The girls spent time in the grand kids room with the playhouse they had created. (I had been instructed to save boxes before the sleepover.)

Heather had brought the nucleus for the mansion with her. No wonder she was so intrigued with the scenery and props at the play.

TJ hung out in the living room where there was a battle going on. These are the bad guys.

Who seem to be taking out the good guys.

TJ tells me that it actually ended with neither side having a clear victory.

I think that I won! I loved having the little ones about again. But it made me tired! I'm writing this post instead of cleaning house :)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Invading Nate on his birthday

The weekend was a busy one. We hosted a grand kids sleepover. More about that in a later post. We decided that we would make Nate cookies and deliver them along with some balloons in honor of his birthday. When one arrives with 5 grand kids, a crazy grandpa, and a helium tank; things can get a bit crazy. We hope that Nichelle, Nate, and Oscar have forgiven us. The cookies were really good, right?!!

All the kids wanted some bonding time with their new cousin. Ruby and Sadie had already met Oscar at the hospital, but TJ, Heather, and Toby were meeting him for the first time.

Thankfully, Nichelle was pretty generous with her sleeping baby boy.

Meanwhile, Grandpa Glen and crew were busy with their balloon bouquet. There was a loud POP! or two.

The grand kids took time to sing Nate the birthday song they had practiced in the car on the way over.

Later that evening, we returned for Nate's birthday dinner (thanks to Nichelle's family, friend Lezlie, and friend & SIL Sally) and helped him blow out his birthday candles.

Nichelle's mom, Denise, had made her the "diaper cake" in the foreground. She had arrived that afternoon from San Diego with her parents, Evelyn and Augie. Oscar is Denise's first grandchild and Evelyn's and Augie's first great grandchild. They thought that Oscar was a most handsome boy! They plan on staying next week and helping out.

Happy Birthday Nate!
You have had quite a week
with the best present ever,
Oscar's birth day!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Oscar and his room (for Janae)

Oscar's new room was the first room repainted in his parents "new to them" home. The room was mostly put together before he was born.

Here are some photos going clockwise from the door and dresser on the east wall. The existing cabinets and counters made for a great changing station.

Unfortunately, his room has the only west facing window in the whole house. His parents may be shopping for a sun screen for this window.

I installed the crib bumper pads just before taking these pictures. Nichelle and I started work on them on Monday as she had regular contractions. I finished the sewing while they were checking out of the hospital yesterday.

Nichelle couldn't find the exact kind of plaid she was looking for, but she likes this one well enough. It made it really easy to cut out the pieces. We just measured and then cut along the lines. We used almost every bit of the 3 yards Nichelle had purchased. It's so convenient that bumper pad inserts can be purchased at JoAnn's.

And now for Oscar. Here he is meeting his Grandpa Glen for the first time.

Grandma Laurel also had some more bonding time the day after his birth.

Isn't he the sweetest, chunky little thing!

Don't you just love his hair?!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My baby has a baby

It's been a very good day. Nichelle & Nate welcomed a beautiful baby boy to the world at 10:00 pm.

His name is Oscar and he is a BIG baby boy.

His mother is crying for joy, I am certain, even though he weighed 9 lbs. 9 oz. and was 22 inches long. Grandpa Glen loves numbers and I'm sure he will be so thrilled that grandchild #9 was 9-9.

It's in his genes. His mother was a 9 lb. + baby and his father was a 22 inch baby. He was destined to be a beautiful, big baby boy.

His parents (and his grandmother) are in love with Oscar already. Nate was so proud of his wife. Well done Nichelle!