Saturday, December 3, 2011

It's beginning to...

Feel a lot like Christmas!!

I actually strung 2 strings of lights outside for the first time EVER :)
This is our second year with the LED tree. Now I just need some hot chocolate :D

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I've not been doing much but enjoying the beautiful Fall weather. Almost all the leaves have turned now and they will be falling off the trees soon. Here is how my backyard is looking today:

You can tell it was kinda foggy this morning. Really foggy in fact. But by the time I snapped the photos it was lifting. 

I also got one of Thor the other morning. 
 He is 9 months old now. We take him to the dog park 3-4 times per week. He really enjoys playing with the other dogs.

I am running a Wellness Challenge. I have 25 participants this session...24 new people enrolled (I am the only one returning). Michael is making me a website that is turning out nicely so far.

Not much else is new.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I tried...

To upload a video of Thor but for some reason it won't work. So I will upload a couple photos of our tree changing colors in our back yard.

 These top 3 were taken on the 19th and these bottom 4 were taken today.

 We are headed to the dog park. I will try to get that video up later.

Friday, September 30, 2011

More New Carpet

Ma Burke and I were out running errands 2 days ago and she wanted me to stop in at Carpet One to look at their kitchen carpet. She picked one out but of course it was out of her price range. So she picked a second one out and they happened to have it in a remnant piece that would fit using one piece in her kitchen and laundry room. Even better they could install it today!! So another thing is checked off her list.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New Carpet

Ma Burke has been wanting to get new carpet for her back porch for a LONG time. She lives on Social Security and a small retirement from John Deere so has to save up a long time to be able to make large purchases. She had saved up for three years so that she could
  1. refinish her kitchen cupboards
  2. put on new countertops
  3. put new carpet in her kitchen and laundry room
  4. put new carpet on her back porch
Well, about a month ago her air conditioner quit working. As luck would have it, Steve and Sandi were visiting so Steve took over and knew what to do. But she had to pay for the new A/C out of her own pocket which was most of the money she had saved up for the above list. It looks like she will be reimbursed...eventually...hopefully but she had just enough left to get the back porch changed. She also wanted to do it before it got too cold. So off we went to Lowe’s to look at new carpet. But they would not install it on the back porch because it wasn't enclosed. They gave us the name of a man who would come and do it but his quote was pretty pricey. So I went back to Lowe's and ran into an employee who said her husband and brother could do it for less than that pricey guy so we had them come out and give us a quote. But in the meantime I had went over to Home Depot to check out their carpet there and get an estimate. Well, that seemed to be the way to go so we had them come out to measure the porch ($35 nonrefundable unless you buy their carpet) but that quote was almost twice as much as the guy who we thought was too expensive. So we went with the employee's husband and brother. They came out a week ago to remove the old carpet and then hauled it away. The next day it rained so the plan was to have them come over 2 days later. But the adhesive said it had to be over 50 degrees for 48 hours before, during, and after application and it was in the 40's at night so we had to have them wait longer. We yesterday it had finally been warm long enough for them to lay the carpet. It looks SO nice and she is SO happy that it is done. Here are some photos of the finished porch:

Saturday, September 24, 2011

September happenings

As I mentioned in the last post, I flew out to Arkansas the beginning of September. I flew from Baltimore to Branson. The flight was uneventful. I had my camera in my carry on baggage and this was the first time I had ever taken photos while flying.
It was very cloudy as we took off but gradually cleared. It was fun taking photos.

This is Table Rock Lake. My family has spent many a vacation there. It looks different from the air. It is a VERY big lake.

But before I left I bought some artificial flowers and hung them on the front porch of my home. I hope they are still there when I return :)

The Branson Airport is kinda cool. This was the second time I have flown in and out of it. The first time my camera's batteries had died so I took pictures with my cell phone. This time I decided to take photos with my camera in case I didn't fly out of there. Here are a few photos:

That last photo is the baggage claim area but I wanted to include it because all the chairs were either like those or else there were benches.
While here in Arkansas, Dave and Karen visited. Karen wanted to go out to the cemetery that my father-in-law is buried at. It had been raining but mostly stopped while we were there. On the way we stopped at Hobby Lobby to  purchase some flowers.

Before I left home I made a cake for a colleague of Wayne's. He was touched by it. Here is the cake:
I fly home a week from today. I am anxious but I will probably be back before too long. Rusty's tumors in his liver and lung are inactive so he can have surgery and chemo on his tumor in his abdomen if he wants to. When he decides to go ahead and do that I will return.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The rest of August...

We have been working on our house. Last Thanksgiving we had a toilet overflow and come down into the ceiling in our kitchen. We had a hole in our ceiling for about 6 months. Now there is Sheetrock and mud. I have one more coat of mud to put on and then Wayne can sand it again and then it will be ready for me to prime and paint. I also want to paint the rest of my house that wasn't done by the previous owners (which is a lot of it).

Thor turned 7 months old. He got neutered mid month but that has not slowed him down any. He also got a microchip. He was just a pound and a half shy of 70 pounds the morning of the surgery. We had to watch him very closely the first 10 days but now he is 16 days post surgery and healed.

Wayne had a birthday about a week ago. He is over the hill plus a year. He worked on his day but brought home a couple cards that co-workers had given him. They are nice. He also got a card from his mom and my parents. I didn't even make him a cake.

The week leading up to hurricane Irene was interesting...actually the whole month has been interesting weather wise. There was a fire in the Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia (I suppose it is out now since the hurricane dumped a lot of water). It was a LONG ways away...down by Norfolk but when the wind was out of the south it would blow the smoke this way. One Saturday morning I went out to go grocery shopping and was wondering what all the smoke was. Wherever I went in town the smoke was just as bad. It wasn't until later that I found out the swamp was on fire. There were 2 or 3 days that the smoke was so bad that you had to limit outdoor activities. Then on Tuesday the 23rd there was an earthquake.  The epicenter was in Virginia too and it was 5.8 on the Richter scale. It shook us pretty good. By this time we knew that we needed to start preparing for the impending hurricane.

We started considering buying a generator. It didn't take us long to decide that we NEEDED one. Wayne wanted it least 7000- 8000 watts but Lowe's was all out. We checked in Waldorf too but they were out too. The next day (Wed) I called the Home Depot in Waldorf and they said they had one on the floor and 2 up on a shelf. When we got there the one on the floor was gone so we asked if they still had the ones on the shelf (it was up high and needed a forklift to get them down). There was another couple who wanted the same generator so we got one of the last 2. Waldorf is a 50 minute drive from our house. Then on Thursday we decided we needed a chainsaw. Wayne was told to buy Stihl or Husqueverna so I compared prices and the Stihl was a bit less expensive and is supposed to be the better saw. I found out they sell them at the John Deere dealer so I drove down there that afternoon while Wayne was at work. I also bought 4 extension cords for the generator and was looking for gas cans. By this time it was about time for Michael to leave for institute. He called me and said he needed to leave 10 minutes ago so I had to hurry home. As I was driving home the weather was deteriorating and I was listening to the radio and they said we were under a tornado warning. I got home and told Michael I didn't want him to go out in the weather and he said that the people he carpooled with had cancelled anyway. This ended up being a blessing in disguise because our ward called an Emergency Ward Council meeting and Michael is in the Elder's Quorum Presidency so he had to go.

I was having problems finding 5 gallon gas cans so Diane told me to try the auto parts store. I found the last 2 at Advance Auto Parts on Friday morning. We spent the rest of the day on Friday laying out our stuff and getting ready for it to hit. I figured we would lose power about 6pm on Saturday and was VERY disappointed when we lost it much earlier. I was in the middle of doing our laundry. Luckily for us it was only out for 2 hours and then came back on. While the power was out I took a few short videos of the storm. Make sure your speakers are on for the first one. I am out of the front porch and you can really hear the wind and rain.

They were both taken around 1pm on Saturday the 27th. The one of the rain was a bit before 1 and the one of the trees was taken a bit after 1.

The hurricane was something else. I don't care to ever go through one again and it was only a category 1. The eye went through about 11:30pm. We were down in the basement in the front bedroom. Michael's bedroom is downstairs already. After the eye went through it quieted down a lot but I was very surprised at how loud it all was. Our power went out about 8pm and we thought it would be off for 3-5 days. We were VERY surprised when it came back on at 6pm Sunday. The wind didn't really calm down until Monday but by Sunday mid morning the sun was starting to peek out. I took a few still photos too. This first one was taken at about the same time as the second video.
Our neighbors lost a tree but it fell down parallel to their house. It was a big oak and there was a small oak that was in the root ball. The small oak fell onto our property but back behind our fence in the woods.

That is the corner of our fence. How our fence was NOT damaged we have NO idea.
Our church was canceled on Sunday. Wayne and Michael spent all afternoon helping out church members with removing trees. The chain slipped off our chainsaw so they had to resort to hand saws but we have a really good bow saw too. When our power came back on we let another family in our ward borrow our generator. We haven't heard back from them so they might not have power yet. I'm so glad our chainsaw and generator have gotten use and were not a waste of money.

We are also helping our neighbors with their downed tree (although so far it has only been Mon) They worked on it yesterday but we had missionaries for dinner so were busy. They didn't work on it today but we did yard work. I had a lot of small branches to pick up before I could mow. Our lawn is VERY green now :)

The rest of this week I will spend getting ready to fly out on Saturday. Rusty has a scan next week and then an appointment the week after and mom wanted me there for those 2 things. I don't have a return ticket yet but I will probably be there for most the month of September.

So it is been a busy month. We had fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes. PLEASE DON'T SEND ANY OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

And Thor...

Is 67 pounds at 6 1/2 months. I guessed about 60. Michael took him up to my bathroom scale to weigh him. He wasn't too thrilled about being held. That is right about where Buzz was his last few years. But I'm sure Thor still has some growing to do. His paws are still huge. He is either zonked out on the floor or else up and wanting to play. It is funny because he'll bring his frisbee, or rope, or bone to Wayne when he is home instead of Michael or me. Wayne of course complains about it but I think he secretly enjoys it.

I finally figured out how to download my last videos (with Michael's help). Here is Spice and Thor playing at our last puppy training class. We miss puppy playtime. The dog trainer would always let them play and ask us how they did at home the previous week so this is them playing at the beginning of class. You can see how Thor towers over Spice but she loves playing with him.

Right now we are scheduled to have Thor fixed a week from today. He will also get microchipped and she will check his hips because purebred labs are known to have hip dysplasia. We don't think he has it although he does usually sit funny. That is all for now. I have photos on my phone that I need to send to myself so that I can show the airport we flew in and out of.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

We spent...

A week in Arkansas. I thought that I was going to have to stay for longer than originally planned BUT things were better so I came back home. We asked Ma Burke what project she wanted us to work on and she said trimming her bushes but it was really too hot to do that so I asked if she would like us to tackle her master bath. She was thrilled at this idea because her shower head had been dripping for years and she had what she thought was mold or mildew in her tile grout. It was a BIG project for a week but Wayne thought we could get it done. We started out with a Lowe's run for a shower faucet as well as some tools we would need. Wayne searched the internet to see if there was a way to get to it without coming from the back side but every video he looked at did it that way so we had to cut a hole in her side wall so we could get out the old faucet and put in the new one. That took a day to get that done but the solder joints were good and it didn't leak...well kind of. This is a funny story. The water shut off is in her yard on the other side of her driveway from the front door. So we had Ma stand in the shower to watch for leaks and she could yell at me (I was near the front door) if there were any and I could  yell at Wayne to shut it back off. So he turned on the water and I could hear water running but Ma never yelled at me so I ran back to investigate and the water was running out the shower head and into the shower but the pipes weren't leaking at all. I hurried up and shut off the faucet but by that time the shower was FULL of water because we had the drain plugged with a paper towel to prevent junk going down it and clogging it. By this time we also had removed some of the tile and soaked sheet rock and were trying to dry the shower out so it was VERY WET again. Luckily it was quitting time so it had all night to dry out again.

She has a ~45 year old home with those lovely green tile / toilet / sink combos. She actually really likes the color and wanted to keep it. We thought about changing it to a fiberglass shower but the drain was wrong and moving a drain when it is on a slab and that old was too big of a project for us to tackle. So then we had to try to salvage green tile but knew we could buy white tile so Wayne busted out the white that was around the bottom and just took out the green (which pretty much fell out since the sheet rock behind it was pretty well rotten). We got backer board to replace the sheet rock to make it up to code. We thought the floor tile (it is tiny one inch) might be in an old lead pan but it was put on poured concrete and since it was in good shape we didn't need to change it. We found out that what she thought was mold on the floor was actually missing grout. So I had A LOT of green tile to scrape and took the better part of two days. Luckily Wayne had other things he could work on in the bathroom while I did that.

We finally got the tile back in on Saturday night (a week ago yesterday) but we were two days behind schedule. We didn't want to grout on Sunday but also knew we would NEVER get the project done before our flight out if we didn't. So we got up Sunday ready to grout but first had to read tutorials since it had been years since we had grouted. So we tried to get the grout to stick but it was all rough and gritty and just wouldn't stay in our joints. So we called his brother who had a lot more experience than us in doing this and described our grout and what it was doing and he said we had defective grout. By this time it was late on Sunday (it took about 6 hours to prep the old grout...AKA take it out) so the project was on hold until Monday.

So early Monday morning we made another trip to Lowe's to get more grout and this time it worked!! The only problem was that I didn't sponge off enough of it so it looked more mudded than sponged but it will have to do until I get back to fix it. At least it is waterproof (we hope...couldn't shower in it until after we left).

I wish I had photos but my camera's battery went dead and of course I forgot the charger.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

And Thor...

He was in puppy training class with Spice. They LOVED playing together. Here they are:
We have decided to get together with Spice's parents at the dog park close to our home so they can play together more since they are both too old for Petco puppy playtime.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bird Crap Sensor

Got a laugh out of this one :D


Friday, July 8, 2011

June Happenings

Not much really happens here but somehow June was still a busy month. The biggest thing that happened to me was MOHS surgery on my nose. Back this winter I got a spot on my nose that I knew was Basil Cell Carcinoma. It was on the right tip. It took me awhile to get into the dermatologist but the very day I did he took a biopsy of it and another spot on my nose that we weren't sure what it was. They both came back BCC and surgery was scheduled. I was hoping that he would do both spots at the same time but he only wanted to do one and the one down further on the flare part was the lucky winner :) Mostly because there is less to work with there before it goes right through the inner wall. Luckily he only had to do it once and it was gone!! Now I have a healing indention in my nose. I had the option of a skin graft from behind my ear (and I might get that done with the tip since it is more noticeable) but I decided to forgo it there and let it heal by means of secondary intention. It is looking good as long as you don't mind a bit of Vaseline smeared over it :)
The other happening in June was that I was asked to give a class in Relief Society about food storage. It went OK...I wish that maybe I was a better speaker. I am a group leader for Emergency Essentials and they had sent me a sample can of strawberry flavored apple chips that I was happy to share with the class. I feel I am still learning about food storage but am way more knowledgeable than I was 20 years ago when we only had wheat and salt.

I am subbing in Primary this week...should be fun!! I get the 10-11 year olds. Only 4 usually show up. We have a small ward.

Wayne and I are taking a trip back to Arkansas to visit Ma Burke in a couple of weeks. We found tickets into Branson for only $100 each way and then we can rent a car for $200 per week and it will end up costing $400 less than flying into Bentonville on AA!! Excited about that. Love those Lockheed discounts :)

Michael is thinking about making me some can rotation shelves. We just need a truck to be able to haul plywood. It would be nice to have them and free up some pantry space.

And the last thing is that some of my family are starting on a Wellness Challenge next week. It will last for 6 weeks and I am heading it up. I'm excited to get back on it again. I really do better with the motivation of not letting my team members down. Fourteen of us want to participate so I think we will be having 2 teams. Can't wait!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

5 month stats

All I have is 55 pounds. After last time and he was 49 I said he was too heavy for me to lift and weigh so Michael did it today (he weighs himself then picks him up and then figures the difference). I did take a video of him today though so enjoy :)
In the video he tried to follow Michael downstairs but I called him back. He was probably disappointed that he didn't get a treat but I was holding the camera. We enrolled him in obedience training to help out a little (we are on week 3 of 6). It is just helping reinforce the things that we had been teaching. The dog trainer (Pam) has also given us some pointers on the other problems we have been having with him. He is doing very well. He also goes to puppy play time on Friday evenings. There is a dog park at the park closest to us that we want to start taking him to. He should really like that...he really likes playing with other dogs. He is a very friendly dog...but then again labs are so that is no surprise. He is really getting big.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mini Vacation

This past weekend I went on a mini vacation to South Carolina. It was my niece's and my new nephew's wedding reception. They were married in the OKC temple the previous week. Here are a couple photos:
The beautiful bride
The happy couple
I was amazed that I got this one with their mouths open. The cultural hall was beautifully decorated. Congratulations  Rebecca and Alex!!

On Saturday Kelly wanted to go to the beach with her kids. We went to Folly Beach near Charleston SC and it was sunny, hot, and wonderful :) We put sunscreen on but still got toasted. The Atlantic Ocean was wonder hurricanes form so easily. Here are some photos:
 The one above was taken from the entrance to the beach. As you can see there were a lot of people there. The one below was taken to show that boat (I believe it was a catamaran). They took it out sailing until we couldn't see it off the horizon then brought it zig-zagging back to shore. Kinda cool to watch. Also in the photo there is a couple (it was actually a family but the rest of them were out in the ocean) there in black about in the middle but towards the bottom. We ended up sitting next to them and they had a watermelon and they shared half of it with us. It was seedless and we just thought that was really nice. Nice people still exist :) Actually everyone there were SO well behaved...I was impressed.
 This last one is of a couple seagulls. There were lots of seagulls and I decided to get a photo.