August 13, 2019 – Mequon WI to West Liberty IA

We’ve spent a month with daughter Jennifer and grandsons Owen and Cam. We didn’t do as much with the boys as we have in the past. I had a kidney infection when we arrived from Maryland and was feeling a bit lethargic the first two weeks. The big story is that I also arrived with a prescription for physical therapy (for my bad back) from my doctor at home. She thought I was in too bad shape for the therapy to do any good yet. Jennifer had raved about the physical therapy office where she and George both have been – Health In Balance – so I wanted to give them a try.

Maria Kelly was amazing. She listened to all my complaints and poked and prodded all the spots where I regularly have pain. At each session, twice a week, she would give me one or two new exercises to do at home. The exercises are to stretch and strengthen the affected muscles. I could see results immediately and was, therefore, highly motivated to do exercises for the first time in my life. Now, a month later, I am relatively pain-free. When something hurts now, I have an exercise to alleviate it. Yay!!!

Jennifer’s family went on their annual vacation to New York for the first week of August. We stayed at their house to feed the pet axolotl (a salamander). Its name is Otle (rhymes with bottle). Believe it or not, it is very cute and responsive when you approach the tank. I fed it worms and kept bottles of ice floating in the tank to keep the water cold. I didn’t take a picture, but the white one in this Wikipedia article is very similar.

The family returned from New York yesterday and we left for points west this morning. Before taking off though, I asked Jennifer to take some pictures of me with my boys. I was asking for trouble. Both boys were squirming, smooching, and wiggling. Jennifer took dozens of pictures, but many of them were just too hilariously awful to post. Them Cam pulled his underwear down so she could get a picture of him naked. He is very proud of his body parts.

I got a fairly nice shot of Jennifer before the boys came outside.

Owen arrived first; Cam could not tear himself away from the Legos.

Things were not too wild a first.

Cam turned upside down and I did not consider any other alternative than to bite.

Jennifer told them to kiss me.

Cam was right on that.

Then both boys were squishing my cheeks.

The boys went back to their Legos and we had a nice chat with Jennifer, coffee, and biscotti. We finally pulled out of their driveway at 0750 and drove 259 miles to West Liberty, Iowa. We headed south reach Interstate 80 and took it the rest of the way.

Here is Scamp in our campsite for the night.

We are in the shade of a beautiful ash tree.

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July 14, 2018 – That’s a Real Limousine!

Son-in-Love George went to China to visit some suppliers and check on progress for a job they are doing for Milwaukee Tools.  I think the non-stop flight was leaving from Chicago, about two hours away. George was waiting for an airport limo to pick him up and we were all surprised when this one backed into the driveway.

After George’s bags were loaded and he got in the back seat, he lowered the window to wave goodbye to Cam. Cam announced, “That’s a real limo!” And George was off to China.

Later in the day, the boys were using the stair railing as a jungle gym.

July 13, 2018 – Treasure Hunt!

Jennifer and the boys had made a list of summer activities.  Owen was keen on a treasure hunt so Jennifer went online (the mother’s resource) and found some ready-made clues.  All she had to do was write the clues on file cards and hide the treasure.

The boys were beside themselves with excitement when Jennifer announced the treasure hunt.  She had invited Max to come over and join in and told the boys to get dressed in some adventure clothes while waiting for Agnes and Max to arrive. Listening to them decide what to wear for a treasure hunt was entertaining.  Four-year-old Cam asked Mama, “Do I need to take my binoculars?”.  She thought they would be unnecessary in this case. Max arrived in his adventure clothes too.

Andy tried to get in on the excitement and exclaimed, “I’m going to find that treasure!”  Cam looked at him in shock and dismay.  “You would ruin our treasure hunt?” Stunned and broken-hearted, Andy dropped out of the treasure hunt then and there.

Jennifer gave Owen the first clue.

I am a friend to parents who like things neat.  They really like it when you WIPE YOUR FEET.”

Owen found the next clue under the front door mat.  After that, I lost track of the order and my pictures hardly give me a clue what they are looking for so I’ll just fake it from here on out.

Another clue said,

Some people think I’m nasty and yuck.  But without me for your trash, you’d be out of luck!

They found another clue at the garbage can by the driveway.

Max spotted a clue!

This clue,

I make music for you when you’re out in the yard.  I make the most music when the wind blows hard.

led them to the wind chime Jennifer had made with an old coffee pot and spoons. Not well seen behind the bird feeder.

The clue,

I make lots of smoke when I get hot. I make yummy food that you like a lot.  When it’s chilly outside, I can’t be beat.  Light me up to make a toasty treat!

She had drawn a small picture of a fire at the bottom of the clue.  The boys went tearing off to the fire pit at the edge of the woods. Baba Yaga was having a tough time keeping up.

The next clue was on a chair near the fire pit.

Everyone loves me! I’m pretty and smell sweet.  Look down to find me.  I’m near your feet.


They were stumped.  They stood by the fire ring looking down at their feet.  Then they looked around a bit before looking at their feet again.  Jennifer offered a suggestion: “What smells good that grows close to the ground?”  Then, ” Where are some flowers?”  That was enough.  They took off for the front walk which is lined with flowers in pots.  The next clue was tucked under the edge of a pot.

I sit very still when I don’t have a rider. Sit down and learn why I’m called a glider.

Owen was stumped and I got one of my favorite pictures. We enjoyed Owen’s puzzled hand-on-chin expression and then Jennifer gave him another hint. We realized that he did not know the word “glider”.

They found the next clue on the glider on the back deck.

Owen was the leader as he is the only one who could read the clues.

I’m a comfy spot without a doubt.  Though it can be tricky to get in and out.

No problem with that clue.

I’m sort of like sneakers, but for a car. I help it run really fast and far.

They figured out that they should go to the driveway

Jennifer and Agnes were standing in the yard chatting and watching the boys zip around, with me straggling after trying to capture it all.

When I caught up to the boys, they had searched around all the vehicles but had not found the clue.  I suggested that they look again.  They found it resting atop a tire.

I did not know where the clues were and thought this one was too hard.

Climbing me can be quite a lark.  I’m not a dog, but I do have a bark.

Yes, it’s a tree, but they must have a hundred trees on this property. How are they going to find the right one?  No problem; it is their favorite tree that I did not know about.  Not far into the woods is a large fallen tree on top of another fallen tree.  I learned that it is the boys’ favorite place to play in the woods.  When I caught up to them, Cam and Max were working their way up the trunk. Owen was nowhere in sight. He is in this picture.  I can see his hat and a leg just to the right of the skinny tree to the left in the foreground.

I zoomed in to get a picture of him with the treasure. That is the top of Jennifer’s hat, lower right.  She took the treasure bags so Owen could climb back down.

Meanwhile, Cam and Max were stuck and wailing for help.  I lifted Max down and then Cam. (But not before I took this picture of him.)

They dug into their treasure bags on the back deck.  I was thrilled with the bubble-wands, but the boys were much more interested in the candies.

Max’s chipmunk cheeks were stuffed with chocolate-covered coconut almonds.

It was a great treasure hunt.  Owen told his Mama, “It was just the right amount of hard”.

August 29, 2016 – Mequon, Wisconsin to LeRoy, Illinois

On the road again.  Heading back to Tennessee.

We got the dolly and car hooked up yesterday evening.  George has plenty of experience with towing trailers and such and helped us get it right.  George and Jennifer’s vehicles were parked in front of Sao in the driveway so they could leave for work before we took off. We took showers and I washed dishes in the house before we got the motorhome secured for the road.  Every time we stay in one place very long, “stuff” ends up piled everywhere.  I am determined to get rid of the excess – one of these days.

We got underway at 0951 and headed west of Milwaukee and Chicago to avoid the traffic around those cities.  We had smooth sailing (er, driving) all the way with light traffic.  I don’t want to drive near Chicago anymore in a motorhome pulling a car. This route was so much less stressful.

I did not eat or drink anything before we got on the road. We made a quick rest stop and did not make any other stops until we reached the Love’s truck stop in LeRoy, Illinois at 1510.  That was 254 miles. Then we ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the truck stop Arby’s.

We are parked between a row of trucks for the night.

b32 View Forward
http://www.bookwormgardens.org/

b33 View to Port
View to Port before another truck pulled in

b34 View to Port4
View Starboard

b35 Tanker Truck to Port
Tanker Truck to Starboard

It is kinda cool to be in a truck stop for the night, but we can’t slide out the slides.  We are squeezed in between the clutter and can’t spread out!

December 20, 2015 – Year in Review

I was inspired by oy30’s drawing Summary of the Year on oy30’s Blog – A Mexican Boy’s Site

I can’t draw that well, so I went to the pictures folder and picked one out for each month.  It was really hard to do! There are so many to choose from and just one does not represent a whole month. Then, there are eleven more days in December.  What if something earth shaking happens and is left out of the Review?  Oh well, here goes:

We were here in Marathon, Florida for the month of January. This is our view of the Atlantic Ocean at the end of the road in our RV park. Those yellow things floating on the water are designed to keep sea grass from floating into the canal.  There are bubblers under the water to make little waves to keep the grass from floating in the smaller entrance. It works well.

2015 01
Atlantic Ocean from Key RV, Marathon, Florida

This was my favorite picture in the February folder.  It is of red mangrove blossoms. Red mangroves are the ones that grow in the water and have those gnarly prop roots that make a mangrove forest impassable. The blossoms are small and not usually noticeable.

2015 02
Red Mangrove Blossoms

One memorable thing that represents March 2015 was inviting a number of friends to the Marathon Yacht Club to eat French dip sandwiches for lunch about once a week. We called ourselves The French Dippers and it was always a good time.

2015 03

We hit the road for our summer trip in April.  Here is Sao, our motorhome, parked for the night in a vineyard in Fort Pierce, Florida.  That was our first night out.

2015 04
Endless Summer Vineyard, Fort Pierce, Florida

May was our first month in Big Creek in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This is the swimming hole in the picnic area.  We walked out onto that pedestrian bridge several times a day to look at the creek and to watch picnickers, campers, and hikers cooling off in Big Creek. We also regularly saw fish in the pool under the bridge.

2015 05
Big Creek Picnic Area Swimming Hole

We were in Big Creek for June as well. This view is up the creek from the pedestrian bridge.

2015 06
Big Creek

We moved on to Maryland in July and parked in my sister Barbara’s driveway.  I only got one picture of the three grandchildren, but their beautiful faces are not showing.  I still like the picture. We took them for a hike on Sugarloaf Mountain, about an hour northwest of Washington, DC

2015 07
Andrew, Elizabeth, and George Misovec on Sugarloaf Mountain

In July, we moved on to Mequon, Wisconsin, just north of Milwaukee. That’s grandma heaven.  Owen and Cam have just turned four and two in November and December. They would come out to the motorhome every morning to wake me up and push me out of bed. I took so many pictures of them, it was tough to choose. They call me Baba Yaga because my house moves, though not on chicken feet.

2015 08
Owen and Cam with Baba Yaga

September was full of sights with visits to seven national parks: Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Grand Staircase Escalante, Bryce Canyon, Zion.  It could be overwhelming to pick a picture from there, but this one is of me with my son Christopher on the north rim of the Grand Canyon.

2015 09
Dinata and Christopher at the Grand Canyon North Rim

We headed back home in October, stopping to visit friends Paul and Sheri Brindle in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. We visited the beautiful beaches of the Florida panhandle. We also visited friends: Cissy Betz in Palm Harbor, Bill and Pam in The Villages, and Joe and Linda Coffey in Port Charlotte, Florida. I can’t leave out our stop at Alliance Coach, the RV repair shop in Wildwood, Florida. We seem to spend a lot of time there.

2015 10
Andy on beach in Topsail Hill Preserve State Park

We were back on our RV site in Key RV in Marathon in November. We set up our screen room and I planted my garden.  Then I got to work on my book about Big Creek.

2015 11
Sao in Key RV, Marathon, Florida

Andy has been busy straightening up the space behind our storage shed in December.  We had “stuff” piled up back there.  He put the kayaks up against the shed, got a bike rack for the bikes (in the lower right corner) and set up a table and two chairs overlooking our little mangrove forest.  We like to sit out there with our coffee and gaze into the swamp when the no-see-ums are not biting.

20150 12
Behind the Shed

Owen and Cam in Action

Sunday, August 23, 2015 – Mequon, Wisconsin

 

Andy wanted to go to Duluth Trading Company in Port Washington.  They have a great playground there overlooking Lake Michigan so Jennifer stayed there with the boys while Andy shopped. Of course, I took dozens of photos and they are all adorable, but here is one I like for the picture as much as who the baby is. I squatted at the end of the big green tube sliding board and waited for the boys to come down. Owen was right behind Cam, but the picture with both of them in it was not as compelling.

a Cam in Sliding Board Tube

The boys continue to ride their pedal-less bikes nearly every day.  Here, they are taking a break and eating snacks Jennifer had set out for them.

a Cam and Owen with Bikes

Owen loves to paint watercolors and asks Jennifer to draw him pictures of monster trucks to paint every day. He is just emerging from the spread-paint-all-over-the paper phase to the splotching-colors-on-objects phase. Cam is in the paint-myself phase. This level of concentration is typical. He even painted the bottoms of his feet.

a Cam Painting Himself

Jennifer and the boys planted some sunflower seeds next to the driveway.  I took this picture with the afternoon sun shining through the petals.

b Sunflower in Sun Shine

One day George brought Owen’s motorcycle out of the garage. Given the fact that, when he first came to our house for spring break while they were in college, I told him I would rip his arms out of the sockets if he ever got my daughter on a motorcycle, he was probably not sure how I would react to my grandson riding one. I admit I would rather he did not have any self-propelled vehicles. But, I don’t want to be the kind of mother-in-law or grandmother who tries to set their rules.

At the moment it seems safe enough.  George has it set so slow that I could walk backwards faster than Owen rides it. He is not completely comfortable on it either, so George or Jennifer walk with him, holding the back fender and getting a backache.

a Owen on Motorcycle

That big ole helmet and protective clothing must be hot; his hair was soaking wet when the ride was over.

a Owen and His Motorcycle

Oh my gosh, Cam is driving a little car too. He handles it very well. He especially loves the checkered flag.

a Cam Driving Race Car

What is the world coming to?

There are a lot of nice things to say about Wisconsin and Ozaukee County.  One of them is the number of parks and playgrounds. I asked Google (but didn’t check to see if this is the latest information) and learned that the town of Mequon has 26 recreational facilities covering 1,100 acres. Thiensville, a couple miles south, and Cedarburg, a couple miles north of the house, both probably have as many, proportionally. Owen and Cam seem to like what they call the firetruck playground in Cedarburg.  One of the pieces of playground equipment looks like a big firetruck and my exceptional grandsons love to drive it.

a Cam Driving Fire Truck

George usually commutes by motorcycle.  I got a kick out of Cam kissing him goodbye one morning.

a Cam Kissing Papa Goodbye

The boys come into Sao every morning to wake me up.  (If I’m already up, I get back into bed when I hear them coming.) They sneak into the bedroom and Owen says, “Baba Yaga, your grandsons are here to wake you up”. Andy helps them climb up onto the bed and they push me while Cam repeats, “Out! Out! Out!” until I am Out! of the bed. Then they want a biscotti.  Yes! There is a Costco just a few miles away too!

a Cam and Owen Eating Biscotti

Own generally eats his.  Cam eats the chocolate off and leaves the cookie. It’s a little bit soggy when he is done too.

George and the boys went with us for our daily walk on Andy’s birthday.  We went to the Rotary Park just around the corner, our new favorite place to walk.  George took the bike trailer for the boys. It makes and excellent stroller on hiking trails. George made them get out and walk part of the time.

a George with Boys

Then we went to the playground.  Cam has become fearless on any sliding board over the past couple weeks.

a Cam on Sliding Board

After the walk, Andy and I went out for his birthday lunch at the Anvil Pub and Grill in Cedarburg. Then we walked a bit more around town and along Cedar Creek.  We were studying the water flow over a dam when I noticed a bird I had never seen before.  Several of them were zipping around above Cedar Creek and perching in the branches above us. I asked Google and learned that it is (wouldn’t you know it) a Cedar Waxwing. I love the mask.

a Cedar Waxwing

Today, we brought out the birthday ice cream cake. I put the boys on Andy’s lap so they could help him blow out the candles.

a Birthday Cake

Owen blew them both out with one quick puff as soon as Happy Birthday ended so Jennifer relit them so Cam could have a turn. Then we got down to eating ice cream cake. Cam, who is not too skilled with eating utensils, used his spoon to pick up the whole slice of ice cream and bring it to his mouth for a bite. This picture was taken in the beginning before he smeared ice cream on the table and dropped a glob on the foot-rest of his chair.  As I was wiping him up, I discovered ice cream on the bottoms and between the toes of his bare feet.

a Cam Eating Icecream Cake

Owen did not want to go inside for dinner and would not listen to his Papa.  He got carried in kicking a screaming.  After being chastised for disobedience, he went to the sofa and got under a small quilt to pout.  I took this picture from the table. Poor little waif. He is pitiful enough to make you think he didn’t deserve it.

a Owen Sad on Sofa

I commented to Jennifer that Owen has passed the Terrible Twos and is now in the Terrible Threes.  She responded with, “Whoever coined the phrase “Terrible Twos” did not yet have a three-year-old”. Of course, she was advanced for her age; she reached the Terrible Twos at one-and-a-half.