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Friday, November 3, 2017

 As I said in the previous post, I had a bonus trip to Dennis' place for his surgery.  Which meant bonus time for me to spend with Gabe and Daniel.  I got to drive them to school and pick them up and spend  extra time with them.   We didn't really do anything that outstanding, but that was the beauty of it.  Just time doing what they normally are doing and seeing their everyday life.  I need to make sure and get down there for more of that!
 I know...swimming outside in October???  that is the California life
My parents had a huge maple tree taken down because it was starting to rot.  It was a lot of wood and since they don't burn firewood anymore, we were happy to take it off their hands.  We rented a splitter and got it all split and stacked in his barn.
The rest of the month was spent putting the yard to rest for the winter.  I trimmed and trimmed! It filled 3 yard debris bins and every basket and container that was around here.
 For the first time ever, this year I planted carrots.  It was pretty fun pulling them up and discovering these tiny little beauties.  Along with carrots, I had tomatoes and green bell peppers, a few grapes and apples.

 I took this down the street.

At my house on Rugg Road, every fall, ladybugs would work their way into the corners of my kitchen and hibernate for the winter.  Tons of them.  I know it is kinda weird, but I liked having them there.  I mean, it was LadyBugs.  Somehow, they just don't seem icky like a bug of any other kind.  Well, ever since we moved in here, there have been tons and tons of boxelder bugs and stink bugs.  We don't notice them until the fall, on the warm afternoons, they just cover the sunny sides of house.  As the day cools, they find any nook or cranny to hide in. The first year here, we were new and didn't realize that they were actually camping out in the cracks of the windows.  Last winter, John started vacuuming them, each time filling the canister of live crawling bugs that he would flush away.  Well, this year it seemed like the bug population had doubled in size.  It was just plain creepy to look at them. Not many got inside, but every time you opened a door or window a bunch came in.  He vacuumed and vacuumed and it never made a difference. The outside was still covered. We started thinking about another way to get rid of them. The internet said that they hatch out in the boxelder, maple and alder trees.  We have a bunch of maples right below our house.  In the fall they move to where it is warmer, thus our house was a perfectly warm spot for them.  I remembered how Home Defense had worked so well to get rid of the giant ants at the other house.  All we had to do was spray a line of it and the ants would not cross over it.  I didn't know if it would work the same on these bugs, but something had to be done. So I went out and bought a whole gallon of it and sprayed around all the windows.  I could not believe how insane it was as they came, not just crawling, but POURING out of the window cracks.  It was something horror movies are made of!  They died by the hundreds and I just swept them away.  John went up on the roof and covered the sides and gutters with it.  Not only did they die instantly, they have continued to die as the days roll by. So many that John takes his leaf blower to get them away. And none are hanging around on the windows on the sunny afternoons.  Hopefully that is the end of them, at least for this year.  Next year, John plans on going up on the roof and coating the place before they arrive and maybe they will just pass us by next year.

We have had some pretty amazing views this fall color this year between sunrise and fall leaves.

 Here is a shot of the same field from last winter and this fall.
I have had some pretty amazing skies this fall.
The shot below is one of my all time favorite shots ever!  The heavens opened up and it was glorious.  I posted this on a photo site and had over 4,000 people like and comment on it!
Jessi's kids were here as I spotted the shot above.  I grabbed my camera and ran out the door saying I had to shoot this...I just cracked up when I was done and there stood Josiah with his gun, shooting too.
 This shot happened on the same day as they had tornado warnings and one actually hit an airport in Aurora and turned over a few small planes.  
 I am so glad that I don't sleep all morning and miss this!
With Halloween getting close, Jessi invited me on a trip to the Portland Zoo to watch the annual Pumpkin Smash.  They had huge huge pumpkins in the elephant yard and when they let the elephants out, it is pretty obvious they have done this before, as they knew just what to do.  
the little baby elephant grabbed a chunk and ran off to enjoy it in peace
We took a look at the other animals and had a little picnic lunch.
 The trees are all ready for the Zoo Lights at Christmas.
 Joshua ran in his school's district meet.  He is such a good runner and loves it and I love watching him. I can not believe how many years I have gone to cross country meets, starting out when his Dad was  6 years old.  It is just such a good atmosphere.  The runners cheer each other on, the teams stand and cheer for their team mates on the field, waiting until every one of them has come in.  It isn't about who wins as much as how much you improved from your last run.  
The end of the month was so busy, some how, we managed to fit in our girls spa day at Ruby's.  Such a good place for a massage and soak in their salt water pool out back.
After our spa time, the guys met up with us at Tad's for dinner.  The sunset was so beautiful along with the fall colors reflected in the still water of the Sandy River.
The next day was Halloween.  Once again, the only Trick or Treaters we had were the grandkids.  This year they brought their little neighbor girl.  Of course, I planned for a lot more kids, or maybe it was a secret hope for none, as I sit and devour the bags of candy that nobody showed up to claim.
Here are shots from Abby of these two guys as they did their school Costume Parade.  
 And a shot from John of Josh in his Dad's letterman jacket before he headed out with a friend.
 I crack up every time I see this tree across the street from Jessi.
 Another month has come and gone.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

In the last three months, all three of my kids have had to deal with something I hope they don't have to go through again.  Cancer scares.  It was enough that I had to consider it three years ago with my own cancer.  And if I had my way, it would ONLY be me going through it and never them again.  Anything not to have to see your kid hurting.  First it was John who had a lump.  He finally had it looked at and the doctor said to watch it, but at the moment it was not cancer.  Such a relief!  
Then Jessi.  She had her mammogram and was told she needed to come back for more images.  She was also warned that they would be taking extra images and if needed sending her in for ultrasound, which they did do. Ugh!  But once again, results were NO cancer.

But right there in the middle of this with those two, Dennis was at his doctor and the doctor noticed he had a lump on the side of his neck.  He said it was his thyroid and there was a tumor.   The tumor was really big, especially if you are the Mom of the person who has the tumor. He was having trouble breathing and swallowing and coughing a lot . A biopsy was done and it came back inconclusive.   So cancer or not, he still needed the tumor removed. Surgery was scheduled to remove half of it.  The doctor wanted to leave half of it, in hopes that the remaining half would take over and Dennis would not need hormone replacement.  If the results came back as cancerous, then the plan was that at a later date, they have to go back in and remove the rest.  
Well, we are rejoicing that for the third time, we were given the NO CANCER results!
I am so very thankful that the results are clear, that my kids are well.  I know that even if God had  allowed one or all three of them to endure a cancer diagnosis, that each of them would have held on to their faith and strength and battled it well.  But for now, I keep on praying that their minds do not have to endure it ever again.  The questions, the fear, the scare, all of the what ifs?.  We all know that Heaven is our goal, the thing we look towards at the end of our journey here, but in the meantime, we hold on to life and enjoy the journey.
Meanwhile, I was happy to have Dennis call and ask if I could come down for the surgery.  I was like...ummm...you are asking me to come down?  It was a given that I would be going down!  But it was so sweet to have my grown son call and ask me to be there.  Moms just love to be needed.   To want me there, to want me to help with little things, like picking up kids from school and helping with before school chores and evening baths.  It was fun to have extra time with them in their everyday life, well, except for the surgery part.
Thank you, God, for these beautiful children!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

September came and went. 
 First off Emily and Joshua drove up, I still can not believe she can just jump in the car and drive up here.  We went to do the usual school shopping and out to a movie.  The years have flown by, I am holding on to what I have left of them as teenagers.
 I decided we need to get to know our neighbors.  We have had the ones on each side of us over, but this time we invited them from way down the road.  Everyone of them said how much they have wanted to have an event to meet each other and were so happy we took it on.  We are anxious to continue meeting up, hopefully more than once a year.
 I took the little kids school shopping and bought some shirts for the California kids as well.  I didn't buy these shoes for them, their Mom did, but I thought this was such a cute photo.
 I met up with Maria and Alison.  Pretty amazing that it is almost 50 years since we met.  We don't see each other as often as we would like, but at least we are able to manage a get together every month or so.
 Carlos and his family were in Oregon for a visit.  He came from Costa Rica and was such a fun friend to our family when he was a CASS student.  Pretty sweet to see him as a husband and daddy now.
 John and I took a drive to Mt. Angel for the Oktoberfest.  We bought our family Christmas gift cards at the Glockenspiel Restaurant.  I think my Mom, especially will like it since it is German.  I am hoping that we can manage to use that card at the tulip festival time.
 I can't let a month go buy without at least one flower from the yard.
 The big event for the state was the Columbia Gorge being set on fire.  It started labor day weekend.  We noticed the smoke as our neighborhood BBQ started.  It began on the Eagle Creek Trail by Punchbowl Falls.  Some teenagers were shooting off fireworks and videoing it with their phones and now the whole gorge is messed up.  Acres and acres of trees and trails are ruined.  A few homes were lost, but thankfully, no human lives were lost.
 Sunrises were eerie and beautiful at the same time.

 The smoke was so bad here, we could barely see out across the canyon.  It was so smokey we made sure and kept the doors and windows shut.  It was terrible on the eyes and to breathe.
 And just as we thought it was going out, the firefighters set fires to backburn.  Here was a new fire that was set to try to control them.
 Finally, we had some rain and the skies were clear and bright and normal again!
 Sunrises were normal again.

 We had real clouds instead of smoke out there.

I really do like to see the clouds snaking along the river down below. 
 The sun is shifting back to the other side of Mt. Hood.  This morning, it rose just at the top of the mountain.  It made a really cool shadow as it rose.