Thursday, August 30, 2007

Summer Is Winding Down

The biggest sign for me that summer is winding down is the end of summer hours where I work. From the week before Memorial Day until this coming weekend, if we get our 40 hours worked by noon on Friday, we are free to leave. It is a very nice perk; it makes it seem as though we have a 3 day weekend. Here's the down side: staying until 5 or 5:30 next Friday. For me it seems like 5:00 will never come! Oh well.

Another sign is the great Minnesota "get together," also known as the state fair. I'm excited about going tomorrow afternoon with a friend of mine. We like a lot of the same things, so it will a good time. As for food, much is available. Some of the options are: Spam burgers, Spam/cheese curds (both new this year), pork chop on a stick, fried pickles, scones with jam, mini donuts, sweet corn on a stick, Belgian waffle on a stick - dipped in chocolate, corn dogs, hot dish on a stick, sloppy joes on a stick, cheese curds, salt water taffy, kettle corn, lingonberry ice cream, fresh cut French fries, Mrs. Stewart's chocolate chip cookies, fresh plums, plus many more. I'm not sure what I'll have to eat, but I'm pretty sure it will be tasty.

A sign of summer winding down I do not like is the sun setting earlier each day. Tonight it set at 7:54. That's an hour earlier than evenings just 5 or 6 weeks ago. I won't mention what that makes me think about.

I sure enjoyed this summer. I traveled to Rhode Island, Rochester, St. James, and Chicago. I wish I could have fit a trip to Seattle in there, but it didn't work out. At least Heidi got to come home for a few days. One huge event that occurred this summer was the birth of my granddaughter, Aurelia. I've only seen her once so far, but I plan to see her again this weekend and am really looking forward to that.

Happy Labor Day weekend, everyone!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Amanda's Wedding

My family and I had a fun trip to Chicago this past weekend to attend the event of my cousin (once removed) Amanda's wedding. It was actually more like a party than a wedding, as the groom's family practices Jewish traditions. Therefore the bride and groom were married under a huppa, or canopy, at the gazebo in an outdoor park. It was a pretty ceremony ~ the weather was lovely ~ as were the attendants, especially the two little girls, Claire and Aaliyah, who stole the show!
The reception was held in a barn, a couple of blocks from the gazebo. Decorations were simple: wheat stalks in jars on burlap table runners, and sunflowers. The food was delicious, especially the wedding cake! The music was unusual, but some of it nice. I especially enjoyed participating in the dance, Hava Nagila. I stepped out of the dance in time to catch a couple of photos of Amanda and Zach.
Our family enjoys getting together, and this time was no exception!

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Tonight I got my first look at Aurelia and got to hold her for a little while. She is just beautiful! Her skin is soft and creamy and she has light brown hair, little rose bud lips, dark blue eyes. I heard her coo, sneeze, and cry a little (the crying was when the nurse was changing her dirty diaper). Sarah looked like she had had a full night's sleep - amazing! She is so contented, feeding and holding Aurelia. Peder looks so sweet when he holds her. They both have fallen in love with her.

I'm sure it was the same way with Rachel and Hans when Josiah and Annika were born. I didn't get to see those little angels hours after they were born, so until today, I didn't realize what I had missed. I know I loved all three of them right from the start. Grand children are a perfect gift from God. I sure love mine. Thank You, Lord.

New Grand-daughter!!!

I have a new grand daughter, born to Peder and Sarah this morning at 5:45.

She is Aurelia Ryan. She weighs 8 lbs., 15 oz. Peder said she is about 21 inches long - - and doesn't look like a newborn. When I asked who she looked like, he said, "Karl Malden. Mom, you know at this age they don't look like anybody else!"

You can see photos here:

Peder and Sarah are very happy, and so am I!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Office Corniness

This morning Dan, one of our designers, and I decided to model some of the Amish hats from our costume shop. That's Snowball in the background.

Monday, August 20, 2007


My dear friend Nancy and I have pretty much the same tastes when it comes to decorating and shopping, etc. We even have the same sweater set. We jokingly say, "Some day we're both going to come to work wearing the same clothes." Today it happened ~ fun!

Delightful Afternoon with Rachel, Josiah and Annika

Annika enjoying a dill pickle.

Going to the grocery store is tiring! (Joe and cousin, Sam)

Gen, Annika and Rachel

"What's going on in there?"
Craft time

Josiah, counting to 20 while Rachel hides.

Snack time

I promised photos of my visit with my darling grand children on Friday down in St. James.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

H*A*P*P*Y B*I*R*T*H*D*A*Y, R*A*C*H*E*L

Today is Rachel's birthday and I hope she has been having a good time. In spite of the rain, I'm quite sure she has been having fun hanging out in Minnesota with her mom, dad, grandmas, sister and brother and their little ones. I know Hans helped in the celebration from out East, and I'm positive Josiah and Annika have been giving her love and attention.

I sure had fun being with them yesterday. One of the treats for me was watching Rachel and Josiah playing "tag" and "hide and seek" out in her parents' yard. I even took a turn at hiding from Josiah. He is so cute! He found me right away. Annika tried to get in on the fun too.

I hope you have had a great birthday, Rachel!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Saving Sarah Cain

The movie adaptation of fellow Bethany House author and my dear friend, Beverly Lewis's, book The Redemption of Sarah Cain will be aired on Lifetime TV this Sunday (6:00 EST) and Monday (2:00 EST). Check your local listings to be sure they coincide with this. The film, titled Saving Sarah Cain, was directed by Michael Landon, Jr.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

We're All Waiting . . .

Several of you have called to ask, "Has Sarah had the baby yet?" No, she and Peder are patiently waiting. She said her doctor put her on the schedule to be induced on the 22nd if labor doesn't start naturally before that. I thought Sarah was cute when she said, "The doctors should tell you the gestation period is 12 months. Then you could be pleasantly surprised when the baby comes at around 9 1/2 months!"

I know this has to be hard. My thoughts and prayers are with all three of you.

Have no doubt - - I will be posting as soon as I can after the announcement! :-)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Good News

If you have been following the blog of Kyle, my co-worker, you will already know that the adoption of little Jhenya (his American name will be Cory) was finalized last week and Kyle and Jhenya flew back to the USA on Saturday. Due to recent changes in the adoption laws, the minute Cory stepped down on US soil, he became a US citizen. I think that is so neat!

Today they stopped by our office so Kyle could take care of a few things and I got to meet Cory. He is very sweet, knows a few English words, but is trying hard to learn names and words. He came into my cubicle and loved looking at my fish. When I told him the fish's name is Cleo, he responded, "Cleo," and then spoke lots of Russian. I just smiled at him. Then I showed him my rubber stamps, and just like Josiah has done in the past, he immediately began stamping the sheet of paper I gave him. It's so much fun to see how simple things give kids pleasure.

We're Gotten More Rain

Since my last post, we have had about 5 or 6 additional inches of rain. It has really been something. We got 4 inches just last night.

All but two folks in my department lost their electricity early Saturday morning and 3 of them were without it until yesterday. The other two were without it until today. Some lost trees. I am thankful that didn't happen to me. I had a candle burning and my battery operated radio out last night just in case. The rain started around 11:30 and it sounded like a train. I thought, "Could this be what they mean when they are referring to the sound of a tornado?" But then concluded it was just the wind. Peder made the same comment on his blog today, so I know it isn't my hearing going bad!

The good thing is we are no longer considered to be in a severe drought.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Rain, Glorious Rain

We have been in a severe drought. They say we are 4 1/2" short of what we should have had this summer. Very early this morning, around 3:20 am, a loud clap of thunder awoke me. I sat up in bed, looking over at my alarm clock to see if the power had gone off. I still had power. The rain, lighting and thunder continued for at least 20 minutes. It may have lasted longer, but I fell back to sleep. In the morning, reports on the radio spoke of 70 mile an hour winds; damage at the Minnesota State Fair grounds and trees downed at Como Park. I looked out my window to see one small branch down and a decorative metal rack on my neighbor's patio over-turned.

Tonight it rained again. It was a beautiful, steady, non-violent rain. I hadn't heard the sound of a nice rain for a long time, so I went out onto my covered patio and sat for awhile, just relishing in the sight and sound of it. I kept thinking about what a blessing it was - for farmers, home owners, and nature. The Robins will be so happy again!

Fun with My Family

I had a great time today with my Aunt Liz and Cousin Pat. It started with Pat's announcement of her new car. It is adorable! After admiring it, Aunt Liz gave us a little tour of Willernie. She and Pat plan to share this vehicle.
Next we went to the Swedish Museum in Scandia, the
Gammelgården Museum. Oh, we've been there before, but never tire of it -- probably because we are 1/8th Swedish. One of the paintings there depicts life, from beginning to end. I show it here. (To see the details, double click on the photo.)

After seeing the museum, we headed to Stillwater to have lunch. Coming into town, we saw what we thought was the Minnesota Zephyr (a dinner train), but lo and behold, it was
Thomas the Tank Engine. Yes, he and Sir Topham Hatt were in Stillwater for the day and I immediately thought of Josiah. No, we didn't stop to see him, but went on down the main street where we shopped in a few stores, including a German store, Kathe Wohlfahrt, then went to eat lunch. We sure had a good time. I love times with my family.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The End of the Celebration!

Due to vacations, my department didn't host my birthday party until this afternoon. It was fine with me as it is more fun when one can drag it out a little. ;-)

LaVonne, one of my bosses, is shown cutting the delicious chocolate cake she made. The group sang to me, and then I blew out all but two of the candles. I think that means "there's hope!"

Here is the little poem one of my co-workers added to my birthday card. It is to the tune of
A Little Old Lady from Pasadena:

The little old lady from Austin, Minnesota
Go Donna, go Donna, go Donna go
Has a pretty little house with a white wool ruggy
Go granny, go granny, go granny go
But parked in her rickety old garage
Is a nearly new shiny red Super Stock Buggy

And everybody's saying that there's nobody dearer
Than the little old lady from Austin, Minnesota
She works real fast and she drives real hard
She's the terror of Old Shakoppee Boulevard

It's the little old lady from Austin, Minnesota

If you see her walking down the hall don't try pass her
Go Donna, go Donna, go Donna go
She's gonna get her work done and fly to Japan, and then Seattle
Go granny, go granny, go granny go
When she gets back she'll jet off again,
Going see grandkids in Rhode Island

And everybody's saying that there's nobody dearer
Than the little old lady from Austin, Minnesota
She works real fast and she drives real hard
She's the terror of Cub Foods parking lot

It's the little old lady from Austin, Minnesota

Go Donna, go Donna, go Donna go
Go granny, go granny, go granny go
Bethany guys in vans come to race her from miles around
But she'll give 'em a length then she'll shut 'em down

And everybody's saying that there's nobody dearer
Than the little old lady from Austin, Minnesota
She works real fast and she drives real hard
She's a terror out on Old Shakoppee Boulevard

It's the little old lady from Austin, Minnesota

It has been a very nice birthday. Thanks to everyone who helped make it so special.

More Birthday Greetings

This is the beautiful, creative birthday card I received from Josiah and Annika. It measures 14" x 9 3/4" and is full of love. The reason the text is in German is because they are moving to Germany in December. I treasure this, my little angels.

I also had greetings from my furry grand-dog, Brian. He is only allowed to bark when inside the house when he hears the command, "touchdown"! While Heidi was holding the phone, Chad must have been cheering him on as I heard two sets of woof woof - - woof, woof! Thank you, Brian.

I'm still waiting (patiently) to hear from my third grand child. It shouldn't be too much longer now!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Very Special Birthday Gift

On the afternoon of my birthday, my phone rang, and when I answered, it was Hans. He said they were on speaker phone and that Josiah had something to say/sing to me. Then, clear as a bell, and in perfect pitch, Josiah sang, Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday, dear Grandma. . . then he started to talk. Hans started to talk to me, but I could hear Josiah singing the birthday song again. It was a perfect birthday present, and I love it! Thank you, Joe Joe. I love you. (Annika was taking a nap.)

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Another Birthday Treat

Saturday Peder and Sarah invited me to join them at the Powderhorn Park Art Fair. This is an annual event - but a first for me. It was a cool, drizzly - - sometimes rainy - - day, but a real treat from all of the sun and heat we have had here lately. It reminds of a song lyric I heard some years ago: If every day brought sunshine, we'd hunger for the rain.

The weather most likely kept many folks away, but not us. We made the complete circuit around the lake - even Sarah, who is patiently waiting to deliver my newest grand child. She's a real trooper!

Birthday Treats

As I mentioned in my earlier post, being with family and friends is a highlight for me. So when my friend Laurey invited me to join her for dinner at the Minnesota Arboretum on the night of my birthday, I immediately agreed. I hadn't been there for about 12 years - - and as you can imagaine, many new things had been added, plus I had forgotten most of what I had viewed back then! (Old age, you know. :-O) The dinner was delicious; the conversation fun; and the tours of the gardens were spectacular! Being out in the gardens in the evening meant more song birds were visible and could be heard singing their little hearts out.

After we left the arboretum, we drove further west to the small towns of Victoria and Waconia - two places that were new to me. They are charming little towns, but growing by leaps and bounds with folks who are tired of living in the city and the burbs. In Waconia we treated ourselves to ice cream cones at an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. I had a great time! Thank you, Laurey.

Friday, August 03, 2007

There's Another Candle on My Cake!

Yes, today I awoke another year older. My, how time flies!! It seems like I celebrated this day only a couple of months ago. I was asked by a friend what I wanted for my birthday and all I could think of was to be with my family and friends. That's what means the most to me in this world.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Tragic News / Major Minneapolis Bridge Collapsed Tonight

It's been a sad night as I have watched news coverage of the collapsed bridge in downtown Minneapolis. At this writing, 6 people have died; many are being treated in area hospitals; divers are attempting to recover bodies from cars that fell off the bridge. This is a bridge that my kids and I have driven over thousands of times. It's about 6 blocks from where Hans and I went to college. Peder and Hans used to live only a few blocks from the area. Sarah crosses it often.

I heard from my Aunt Ginny moments ago. Here is part of her message: "Diane just phoned us and said Jill just crossed the bridge 15 minutes before it collapsed. She works for the Minneapolis Star Tribune (local news paper) and crosses the bridge twice every work day." Diane is my cousin in Pennsylvania and Jill is one of her daughters. I'm so thankful you are okay, Jill. I am praying for those who weren't so fortunate.