Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Day at the Zoo

While we were in Kansas for Braylon's birthday, we took advantage of a wonderful fall afternoon and went to the zoo. Braylon loves going to the zoo very much. At just the mention of the idea, he wanted his shoes on.

The zoo has a new bear and we were lucky enough to see it standing on hits back legs. That's pretty cool considering the last bear that was at the zoo was hardly ever out of his cave. Braylon hurried to see the bear!

He liked looking at the birds as well. He liked getting right up next to the cages to see them - kinda made me nervous.

When he saw the little machine that takes a quarter to get bird food, he knew what it was. Apparently somebody else has shelled out quarters for that little boy! We got some feed and tried feeding the ducks. They apparently had been fed not too long before that because they were not interested.

It was a wonderful afternoon at the zoo. We had such a nice time watching Braylon run from one place to the other.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Braylon's 2nd Birthday

This past weekend, we celebrated Braylon's 2nd birthday. The theme of the party was ELMO - as you can see. There was a huge balloon of Elmo and surprisingly, Braylon was not afraid of it at all.
He was just so big - and the afternoon and evening was full of lots of fun activities! He survived it all in pretty good style.
He even sat in his Elmo chair to open his birthday presents.
One of his gifts was a big John Deere tractor that he loved! He didn't want anybody else touching it either. He made sure Uncle Josh knew who it belonged to.
He had been practicing blowing a week earlier in Early Head Start. The timing couldn't have been better because this year, he had two candles to blow out. It was such a fun party and the whole family got to be a part of it! What a great celebration - a little boy who is now 2 years old is one of our family's greatest blessings!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Victim of Circumstance

Here I was, trying hard to drive carefully. I was. I always do. They have this sign that you see around here that says DON'T BLOCK THE BOX! It means, don't block a square area where people turn, don't block the intersection, and don't block a business exit. I understand what it means and I'm very careful about making sure that I'm not a box blocker.

So, back to me minding my own business. I was driving along and I wasn't sure if I needed in the right lane or the middle lane. I finally saw the sign and realized that I needed to scoot over a lane. The cars in that line were moving along and there was nobody behind me so I was able to move over without any problem. The thing is, as soon as I did, the line came to a screeching halt and there I was - right in front of a lane exit for a bank. As I was coming to a stop, there was nobody there - but about 5 seconds after I stopped, a big black pickup came around the corner of the bank and wanted out. He pulled up to my car within about a 1/2" or so I'd say and laid on the horn. He was angry! I was blocking him and he had to wait.

Well there was nothing I could do about it. It truly wasn't my fault that I was blocking him, though I can see how he thought it was my fault. I understand that he was frustrated. But he was mad at me - and for no real good reason. He just laid on the horn until he was blue..... and until I was crying. I hate that.

There I was, stuck. I couldn't move and this guy in the big black truck was about to mow me down and eat me for lunch. I looked at him and mouthed the words "I'm sorry" . A lot of good that did. He continued to lay on the horn. I continued to cry.

Finally the line moved and I was able to get out of His Highness's way. I know he was swearing at me and thought I was an incompetent driver and all - but that time I wasn't.

I cried for about a mile. I hate city drivers. I hate traffic. I hate big black trucks. I hate being a victim of circumstances.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Meeting Uncle Bob in DC

I got an e-mail from my cousin Sandi this past week telling me that my Uncle Bob was going to be flown to Washington DC on a flight called "Honor Flight". It is a free flight for WWII Veterans, most especially for wounded veterans, but I don't believe exclusively for them. My uncle lives in Longmont, CO and couldn't wait to take advantage of this opportunity. When I heard he was going to be here on a Saturday, I too had to take advantage of it. She sent his schedule to me and we ended up meeting him at the WWII Memorial at 11:00 Saturday morning. These pictures are a little out of order - not sure how that happened - but the results are the same. The picture above shows him and some of his friends at the Colorado column.

This is what the WWII Memorial looks like. It was a perfectly beautiful morning and the temperature was perfect. There were a lot of veterans there - it was a great place to be.
This is another picture of the inside of the memorial.
This is me pictured with my Uncle Bob.
Uncle Bob had the honor of carrying the flag to the Colorado site. He was part of that ceremony and it really was an honor for him.
Bob Dole was also there and spent several hours there talking to the veterans. He was taking a picture with Uncle Bob and found out that he was from Colorado. He asked if he brought anybody from Kansas with him and I told him that I was from Kansas. He said "Well get in this picture then!" He was so very nice to all of the men - it was a pleasure to meet him.
As I said - there were so many people. I was milling around waiting for Uncle Bob's bus to arrive and I spotted a woman with a K-State t-shirt on. I went up to her and said that I had to say "Hi" to a woman with a K-State shirt on. I told her that I was from Kansas and she asked where... I told her Clay Center and she said she was from Concordia! Isn't that cool? I loved it! All in all - it was a wonderful day. It was beautiful outside, I got to see Uncle Bob honored and I got in a great walk!

Sunday, October 7, 2007


Today we went to visit Gettysburg. Its a place we both had wanted to visit but just had never taken the time. As it turns out, Gettysburg is only about 85 miles away from our house - so we just took off this morning and headed north. There were lots of cannons around. I can't imagine dragging those heavy things for miles and miles like they did.
All along the 18 mile tour route were monuments to different battles and different army batallions as well as honoring the states that sent troops. They were very pretty.
I don't remember who this guy on the horse was - it was just one of the great monuments along the way.
The battlefields were not just flat. There were lots of rocks and several tall hills that they had to maneuver around. This is a picture of one of the hills that was a prize possession in the battle because you could see the entire battleground.

If you look closely below the two diamonds, you can see a cannonball hole. It was never repaird on this barn because the owners wanted to remember the men who fought so hard.
This is the view from the top of the hill that overlooks the battlefield. It was all a very impressive sight. I loved the monuments. Most of all, I was very impressed that the battle was so well fought, given that they did not have today's modern technology. How did they know where everyone was and how did they communicate so well given their circumstances.
The battle was not long - it took only three days in July of 1863. The Union had 93,921 troops and the Confederates had 71,699 men. I am simply amazed by that fact. I had no idea there were so many men involved. There was a total of 23,000 some odd casualities on each side with 3,155 killed on the Union and 4,708 killed on the Confederate side.
In the end, I read Lincoln's Gettysburg address again - and it had a little more meaning this time.
"Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure."
Some things don't change much, do they.