Saturday, May 26, 2012

Samuel Nils Jones

 And now for the first-born child of Peter and Julie, Samuel...Sammy....or Sam. I asked him once which he preferred and he told me that he liked them all and would answer when called by any of them. I do think now that he's 12 and about to turn 13, that he has outgrown Sammy though. That belongs to the years of the past. I discovered when looking through my photos, that most of the ones of Sam are in a group. I think that happened for two reasons: 1) that he loves his brothers and sisters and is a very responsible oldest brother 2)  and that if he has free time, he is off by himself or with Will, fishing or other outdoor activity that I wasn't around for. I think he did enjoy Saris (the candy store) but had a hard time choosing. We finally convinced him to try the chocolate, and he agreed it was really special!

 This is such a nice photo of the whole family, and a really nice one of Samuel as well.
He is getting so tall, and will pass up Mom soon.

 Samuel has gone through several phases in the growing up process, but right now he LOVES fishing and all things fishing, and enjoys drawing. We decided that for his special time we would go to the public library to get some quiet time alone and we both would draw. Papa took Calvin and we left them in the children's area, while Sam and I went upstairs to the adult section. I sat down and found a couple of pictures to draw, and waited for Sam. He spent most of the time in the fishing book aisle, reading and getting more facts. He is just as much a reader as Will, but Sam has always enjoyed books of facts: whether airplanes, oceanography or drawing. He does read novels on occasion, but mainly sticks to huge books of non-fiction. We did have a good time together, but I wish it could have been longer.

 Samuel has been taking piano lessons along with Will for a couple of years now. I really enjoyed helping him with his songs for recital while I was there, and he did such a great job.

 This photo is a bit older, but it does show the grin that Sam gets on his face when he has a fishing rod in hand.....

 or a fish on the hook! This boy is obsessed with fishing! Hope he gets to try out our Oregon rivers and lakes one day, or even deep sea fishing. I think he may be headed for a career having to do with fish and biology. We'll see.

Another thing Samuel loves is babies! He is always ready for his mom to have another one, and is excitedly waiting for the next one to arrive in September. Here he is holding Elijah right after he was born. He is a great help to his mother in the baby dept, and will make a terrific father one day. Samuel is a real pleasure to be around and I love the connection we have with him.

That's it for the Jones kids...and now we can move on to all the other interesting things we've been doing. More later....

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Will, also known as William Carl Jones

 It was a special treat to spend time with my two oldest grandsons while in W. Virginia. Since they are older, there is more history with these two and a more firm relationship. Will is my 'special Wills' and I am his 'special Grammy'. We had to stop at a very special candy store called Saris, in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, and Will chose a very large jaw breaker on a stick. He was very delighted as you can plainly see. However, on opening the candy he found it broken into lots of pieces. What a great job he did of making it work, and taking it as he found it. I was proud of him.

 Will is the novel reader of the group. At any given time you can find him, on his bed, up at the top of a tree, in the back yard, or curled on the floor or a chair....reading. His only problem is getting enough books to read! So, for his chosen special time we went to a bookstore called 'Books a Million'. We browsed the novels, and he chose a new one in a series that he has been reading. We also found the 'I Spy' books, and sat and did several pages together. We found a coffee shop attached, and so I enjoyed a coffee while Will enjoyed a fresh-out-of-the-oven cookie. The best way to browse books!

 In this very photo of four very serious children enjoying Papa's story, there is Will at the back making it humorous.

 Towards the end of our trip, the insurance man and I drove up into Central Pennsylvania to do some family research. Will and Ben decided to make the journey with us. We found the grave of William Williams, the insurance mans' 4th great grandfather and the small church he pastored. The boys did great, and enjoyed climbing trees while we searched the graveyard and took some photos.

We drove a couple of miles back to the closest town, and found this great old house which housed the Historical Society. While we did some research, Will and Ben got to tour the rooms with a docent, and they even had a room full of things children could touch and explore. I think the guide was impressed with boys that paid attention and enjoyed her history talk. Later, Will wrote and thanked me for that trip. That's pretty good for a whole day in the car. Of course, we did listen to the biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer on DVD, and Will also got in some serious reading time.

Will is learning to play the piano, and is doing really well.He seems to have a natural rhythm. At the end of the piano recital that we were privileged to hear, Will was accommodating enough to pick up his little sister so she could be included in the photos. Will also got to skip a grade last year in his home schooling, and when Julie got the test results back recently he had done a great job. Will is one very fun 11-year old be around.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


 Mom asked me to send her some photos of how our woods are looking now, all covered with green.  Here are some views from off of our back deck.
 Looking to the right...we just made the happy discovery that this little tree is a pear tree.
Looking to the can see the bottom of the vegetable garden that we are working on putting in.
 All the way to the left, off of the side deck is this little fenced space of yard.
Not green, but pretty are these container annuals that never fully died over our mild winter.
 Coming around to the front of the house, I took this picture just to show that we took out the overgrown, scraggly shrubs that were here.  We're working on fixing up the landscaping here in the front right now too.
A view of the front walk from the other side of the house.  The darker ground on the left is where I've started to lay new mulch.  All the area on the right will soon match. 
 In the previous picture, you might have noticed a rhododendron against the house.  The blooms are just about done.  I really enjoyed them.
And...fruit!  Isn't that little pear cute?

How's that for a gardening/yard update?  I will try to follow up in a few weeks when the landscaping and vegetable garden are done.  Now that the summer is approaching, I'm remembering why we moved here.  :)  There's so much beauty to cultivate and enjoy.  I really value working outside and having outdoor living space.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Benjamin Charles or Ben or Benny

 This is boy # 3 in the birth order, our loving Benny. He turned 9-years old while we there, two days after Millie's birthday. He has grown up so much in the last two years, and I especially enjoyed being with him. I felt that I got to know him better this trip, and he was sort-of my shadow and helper. He has such a tender heart, and is always ready with a hug and a smile. He patiently helped me get down their very steep hill to the creek at the bottom one day, which I really appreciated! Then he showed me all around, to the foundation ruins of old houses, to the fort the boys have built, to all the critters they find under rocks in the creek. Benny is very physical, and LOVES to be outdoors and climbing things. Except for meal times, I think he would be happy to live outdoors.

 For our special time together, he and I built this castle/or fort out of Lincoln Logs and blocks. He was very sure of how he wanted it to look, and we were both pleased with the results.
 We added some buildings inside to look like the Jamestown colony buildings, and decided which were the eating area, stable and smithy.

 One of the other notable things about Ben is his love of food. You can generally find him hanging around the kitchen as meals are prepared. He doesn't mind helping to cook things up at all. Of Julie's children, he is the one that loves avocados like Julie and I. Her children all have to eat some of what is served, but Ben is the one that really LOVES avocados. So he was helping me mash some up and had a big smile, so I couldn't resist capturing the memory. Ben isn't particular about food, and will eat most anything.
 Here is Ben on his birthday, with his special plate of birthday food. They each get to pick their breakfast and dinner on their birthday, and Ben chose a Tomatillo Pork Stew over rice. Yummy!

And after dinner comes the opening of presents. His parents and siblings hid his presents, and then he got to discover their hiding places. He got a new gun, some books and other fun things. It has been hard for Ben to sit still long enough to learn to it was a real thrill to hear him say (after opening some new books) "Dad, can I just sit here and read for a little bit?" He is getting quite proficient. Ben is the true horse lover in the family. He has always enjoyed them...and all things about them. We got him a big horse encyclopedia for his birthday, and he was going to enjoy that for some time to come. His birthday cake was a horse, running in some grass (green tinted coconut) and everyone enjoyed decorating it for him. We rented the movie 'War Horse' for everyone to watch while we were there, and we had all enjoyed it, but Ben most of all. I'm so glad I got to share that with him, and enjoy all those hugs!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Calvin Haddon

 Well, it's time to start finishing up my blogs about Julie's children, and my wonderful grandchildren. Julie and I put our heads together, but due to technical difficulties we were not able to post the video of Millie singing the song I taught her. You will just have to imagine it! So, now it's on to Calvin, and what a special little boy he is. At age seven, he is very precise in nature and very loving. He is missing a front tooth these days, a fact he is very proud of.

 One of our favorite things to do with Cal, is read since he still really enjoys being read to. Here Papa took him to the library and they had a great time together.

 Calvin and I like a very special kind of book. He owns a copy of 'Anamalia', which is an alphabet book, with little hidden pictures on each page of different items that start with that letter. We love to look at it together and try and find all the pictures, and then decide what they all are. He also likes the series: 'Can you see what I see?', and I sent him two of those for his birthday in February. We saved one for us to do together, and although we didn't make it through the book, it was really fun. He likes all the detail, and has a great memory.

 Here is Calvin with his Easter dinner. We had ham with raisen sauce, baked sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts. Later that day we had birthday cake for Millie's birthday. I think Calvin was really looking forward to that plate of food!

 For Easter Cal got a little book with the characters from the 'Cars' movie. You colored with magic pens, that only worked on the right area for the color you were using. He enjoyed it all afternoon, and made some really super pictures with it.

And last, here he is with the other men of the family. Cal is #4 of the boys, but each is so unique and different. Cal cares about his clothes, that they fit and look right and what he is wearing on his feet. Every time we go to visit he shows me a new pair of shoes or slippers or sandals or boots that he is proud of. One special memory is when we found Calvin in his Daddy's office when he was just crawling. He had pulled a big theology book off the bottom shelf, had it open and appeared to be 'reading it' or at least was intently studying the page. We decided it was an indicator of things to come...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

William and I saw this gigantic peony(?) bloom at the zoo last week and stopped to take this picture just for you.  You are such a bright and wonderful presence in our lives.  You add so much!  Thanks for loving us and of course for all the years of patiently training and caring for me.  Hope your Mother's Day is positively lovely, our flower lover.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

More Pictures of Elijah and Cecily

I wanted to add some of the pictures that I took while Mom and Dad were here to the ones that Mom added.  These first ones are enjoying some sun out on the deck.

On Easter afternoon:  escaping by unconventional means from off of the porch.  Or at least pretending to.

Silly face.
"I found an egg!"

"And it opens!"
Cecily with her Papa.
Cecily was also enjoying some sun on the deck when Eli was.  She's showing me her horse book.
Easter afternoon:  stayed inside coloring in her new horse coloring book and singing lots of made-up songs.
She did come outside with us eventually.  :) 

Amelia 'Millie' Sue

 This post is all about Millie...a very feminine little 5-year-old. She loves all things pink, including pink white chocolate bunnie suckers.

 She IS girly, but she also loves to be outdoors, climbing, following her brothers and always barefoot!
 At the top of the play structure at the park, with the gorgeous blue West Virginia sky.

 Millie enjoys domestic things, and especially cooking. She eagerly dons an apron to help out. She is helping Mom and Papa pull the chicken off the bones, and does a great job. She is and will continue to be a big assist to Mom in the kitchen.

 Millie celebrated her 5th birthday while we there, on Easter Sunday. It was a special day all around.
 She ordered up a pig cake for birthday dessert, and of course a PINK pig. (This is her third year with a pink animal for the cake.) I just don't really know how Julie does it....creating homemade cake and frosting, really good cake and frosting, and then cutting, frosting and decorating it for each child's birthday. But it is a highlight for each of them.
 One day I walked into Millie & Cecily's room and they were playing 'dress-up'. I told her not to move until I grabbed my camera for a picture. They really enjoy their dolls and blankets.
 This photo at Millie's party is a little blurry, which was sad because it's such a cute photo. I just had to include it.

 Yep, back in the kitchen again. See that big smile? Chopping celery this time.

 And finally our tea party. Both girls put on their pretty dresses. Millie's just happened to be tiny pink rosebuds, with smocking and a matching purse.

Nothing like tea from a real china tea cup, along with fancy cookies and good company. What a delightful girl time that was!
While I was there I taught Millie to sing 'My Grandfathers' Clock' and the insurance man took a video of her singing it. However, it's from the side and you can't hear her very well. Her Mom caught a video face-on, and maybe I can persuade her to add it to the next post so you can see her blossoming talents!