Saturday, May 31, 2008

End of May

Well, in between the rain and wind, the lightning and thunder, we've been trying to get some yard work done this Spring. But much more importantly, Greg's been on the golf course a few times and we spent another evening at the ballpark watching the Cardinals win again (hey, that's 3-for-3 for us so far this year!).

Maybe we're just better at the recreation stuff, because most of the work we put into the yard last week went literally down the drain. Just a couple of hours after planting flowers and putting down grass seed and fertilizer, it started to rain - hard! No, it wasn't in the forecast. But two days of severe storms dropped more than 3" of rain. We watched the water run off the front yard and down the street to the storm drain, taking with it a lot of the seed and fertilizer. Meanwhile, the backyard turned into a lake for more than 24 hours and drowned almost everything that was growing there - everything except the weeds, of course. On the positive side, some of the dead branches and limbs were knocked out of the trees for us. Without hitting anything, thank God.

Oh well, with the latest round of storms came the Summer heat and humidity. Maybe now it will dry out enough that we can try sprucing up the lawn again. Or maybe we'll just go on vacation ...

Monday, May 19, 2008

At Mema and Papa's Home

Will and Ella stayed with us the past four days while Mom and Dad were in Iowa. The kids wanted to spend time at Mema and Papa's home, but we spent as much time going and doing as did hanging out at home. This time was especially good for Greg who usually only gets to be with them for a day or a day-and-a-half at a time. Four days together was enough time to really enjoy the grandkids.

The kids had fun playing on different playgrounds at the church, the Mills, and McDonalds on Thursday and Friday. Will is so sociable, joining in with any group of kids that are around and saying "Hi" to every adult. Ella is a bit more reserved and is just as happy playing her own games or with Will, Mema, or Papa. Both kids are talking so well now, but their best conversations are the ones they have together. We may not always understand them, but they certainly do and they make each other laugh as often as not. It's a riot!

Friday night we all went swimming at the Civic Center indoor pool. Will is trying to swim (alright, dog paddle) already and doesn't mind ending up under water and splashing everyone around him in the process. Ella's not so sure about putting her head or even her face under the water quite yet, and was quick to tell us that she "fell down in the water." The rest of the evening she reminded us that she didn't want to fall down in the water anymore.

Saturday was set aside as a train day – mostly for Will but Ella likes them, too. He was wearing his Thomas the Tank Engine sandals when we visited the National Museum of Transport in western St. Louis County. They have a large collection of train engines, tenders, cars, and cabooses; quite a few of them fully restored and some that you can climb on and walk through. We rode the trolley up and down the length of the train exhibits, got into a few engine cabs, and Will talked with one of the engineers while we ate our lunch. During a ride around the grounds on a one-third size narrow gauge train we spotted geese, red-wing blackbirds, and wild turkeys.

We took a break from the trains and walked through the collection of restored cars and trucks, then left the museum to go for a ride on the MetroLink. Both the kids had fun on this train ride downtown to see the arch and go across the Mississippi River.

Saturday afternoon Kim and Doug returned and we spent the evening talking around the fire pit on our back patio. Of course, the main topic was how great the kids were and how everyone commented on their good behavior and their infectious laughter. Sunday came too soon, and after church and lunch together it was time to say good-bye for now. But we're all excited that by the next time we visit with Will and Ella they will almost certainly have a new brother or sister!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Ballpark Birthday

A weekend celebration of Greg's recent birthday (no, we're not saying how old) included food and games with friends Friday evening, a quiet and relaxing Saturday capped by a dinner at church (for the ladies), then lunch with more friends after church on Sunday ...

... and finished with our second Cardinals baseball game of the season on a beautiful Spring evening. It's always fun at Busch Stadium when those long-time rivals the Chicago Cubs and fans come to town, and always better when the Redbirds win!

We've had great seats, and so far we're 2-for-2 seeing the Cards win this year.

From home plate towards the riverfront

The third base entrance behind the Stan Musial statue

The view from the left field bleachers

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Along the Rivers

When we’re not visiting our grandkids, from time to time we watch a young lady for a friend of ours. Samantha (Sammy) is 4-years old and calls us aunt and uncle. She was with us for a warm, sunny afternoon last Saturday, so we took her for a drive along the river to see the ferry boats. The rivers are high right now, even flooding over some of the banks, which made the drive along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers more exciting. Unfortunately, the high water meant that two of the three nearby ferries were shut down! The Brussell's Ferry was operating, and that was enough for us to experience something really unique about river life.

Sammy was very excited about the ferry boat, even getting out of the car to wave to the boat pilot and to watch the river (and all the debris) flow past us. After crossing over the Illinois River from Grafton we had to make a decision how far to drive, since we’d have to come back to this same ferry to head home. Sammy decided she needed to put her feet in the river, so that made up our minds and we turned off on the first small road that headed back to the river. As it turned out, the river was coming to meet us since it was up over the road. Two teen boys were fishing in the river from their front yards, and we stopped to talk with them about the river and what they were catching.

In a grocery store cart nearly underwater from the rising water they were keeping a large drum fish – about 18” long and maybe 8-10 lbs. Then we turned around to see several good-sized catfish in a flooded ditch. They told us those would be Sunday dinner for their families. Where else can you run into something like that other than along the big rivers? So Sammy got to put her feet in the river, and we all enjoyed this extra surprise.