Sunday, May 30, 2010

Birthday Party!!

This afternoon we went to my friend Landen's Sesame Street birthday party! He turned 2 a few days ago, and I got to help him celebrate today. Here we are playing with Play-Doh (a new favorite activity of mine)!

Our friend Sarah came to join us! I was so glad that Sarah was at the party, because I really like playing with her. That's Sarah's mom on the left (she is going to have a baby soon) and Landen's mom on the right. They are part of the Wednesday morning play group that Mommy and I go to!

We were playing a game here, where we had to pass the block around while the music played and whoever was holding the block when the music stopped got a prize. I got a really cool bubble wand!

One of Landen's presents was this really nice playground. It has three swings, a fort, and a slide! It was fun to play on, especially the swing!

The birthday boy and I were having a discussion of the difference of the swings. It was a friendly talk.

Here is the birthday cake! Landen's mom made it, all by her self! She did a great job! There were even cookies in the cookie jar, and they were really good!

After a fun time, it was time to say goodbye. Landen's cousin Lexi gave me a hug. (She comes to playgroup too, so we are friends.)

Sarah and I hugging!

Hugging the birthday boy, with his dad watching. (Calm down everyone, it was just a hug, and there was plenty of parental supervision!)

I had a really fun time at the party, and I think that Mommy and Daddy did too. Parties sure are fun! Mommy said that I will have a party soon, and I can hardly wait!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Some days... just have to sleep when you can! Of course, if I hadn't been up most of the night, I probably would have been able to finish my lunch without having to have a nap in the middle, but that wouldn't be any fun.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pool time!

It is definitely starting to feel like summer here, which is a good thing since it is almost June! Mommy thought it would be a good idea to get out my little pool, as a good way to keep me cool and entertained, and to get me reacquainted with pools and water, because we have been invited to a friend's house to go swimming this weekend!

It took me a few minutes to warm up to the idea, and I didn't want to sit in the water. Mommy tried to have me sit on an upside down sand pail, but I missed and ended up in the water. That was OK though, because I realized the water felt good!

Mommy had me lay on my stomach and kick, so that I would start to feel comfortable with that position, and I even started blowing bubbles in the water! (I sucked in a good bit of water too!)

Here I was just being silly, because Mommy was taking my picture!

I had a really fun time playing in my pool, so much so that I didn't want to get out, even after almost an hour! I can't wait to play in my pool this summer!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Flip flops!

Nana gave me these flip flops for Easter, and Mommy has been trying to get me to wear them, without success. I just don't like the funny thing in between my toes. Today, I decided to give them a try, so Mommy had to take a picture, to prove that I had them on. I still didn't really like them, but it made Mommy happy, and hopefully it will make Nana happy also.

But I'll take a pair of Crocs over these any day!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

My first trip to the Zoo!!

Since we only live about an hour outside of Washington, DC, Mommy and Daddy thought it would be fun to take me to the National Zoo. They were right! And getting to go with Nana and Papa made it even more fun!

We started at the Kid's Farm, where I saw goats, alpaca, pigs, and I even got to pet a cow!

Then we went to Amazonia, which is like a tropical rain forest. I saw fish and stingrays, birds, and tiny frogs! Can you find the frog in this picture?

Next, we went to see the big cats! I saw a tiger lounging in a pool (it was pretty hot) and these two lions. I roared at them, but they didn't respond.

We wandered over to the Great Apes, and saw these Gorillas!

The big guy (Mommy says he is a silverback, the head honcho of the group) got upset and took a swing at one of the other gorillas. He was pretty scary looking!

I also got to see the baby gorilla!

Inside, there were lots of different kinds of monkeys, and I figured out pretty quick how to say monkey, and point them out. This is one of the Golden Lion Tamarins that we saw!

We didn't get to see much of the elephants, except for this, because they are working on their habitat. It was still really neat for me to see them in real life and see how big they really are!

Next, we went looking for the Panda Bears, but they were all napping, and since it was that time of day, I decided to do the same! The zoo sure does make a girl tired!

Since I fell asleep and everyone else was hot and tired, we called it a day. We didn't get to see all the birds, or the African Savanna (which I did want to see, so I know what a savanna is). I guess we will just have to go back sometime soon!

Friday, May 14, 2010

More family = more fun!!

So, we made it home from Iowa, and I finally got in my bed at 12:30 am. I slept really well, because I was worn out from being gone and travelling. I have just been relaxing since we got home, but Mommy has been working on unpacking and getting groceries and such for this weekend, because Nana and Papa are here!!

They got here just a little while ago, and I have already warmed up to Papa! (This isn't my usual way of interacting with him, I'm usually a little standoffish, but hey, not today!)

And Nana brought a huge box of fresh strawberries!! I have discovered that I LOVE whole strawberries, but I don't like them cut up! YUMMY!

These are really good! Thank you Nana!!

After my little snack, we went to the park to feed the ducks! Two swans decided that they were hungry, and they weren't afraid to let us know! They actually ate right out of Daddy's hand! (I thought they got a little too close for comfort.)

Then I got to go play on the playground, and of course went down the slides multiple times. Then, I discovered a new feature, the merry-go-round!! It was fun when Daddy was pushing me around, and even more fun when Daddy and Mommy got on and Papa pushed us all!

It's so much fun spending time with family!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Four generations!

I can't believe our week is over and now we are on our way home. Gma, Gpa, and Gigi took us to the airport in Omaha, and we were there a little early, so we sat and watched the planes go by. Unfortunately, Omaha isn't a very busy airport, so there weren't many planes going by, but that was OK. We did get this picture of four generations of loveliness!

We have a long day ahead of us, flying to Dallas, reasonable layover there, then the 3 hour flight back to Baltimore. We are supposed to land at 11:15 pm, so it will be well after midnight when we get home, and way past my bedtime! But I'm looking forward to seeing Daddy, and sleeping in my own bed. Sure hope we get to come back to Iowa soon!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

They do have slides in Iowa!

After being here for almost a week, the weather finally wasn't awful, and I got to go to a park and play! Finally, I got to slide and swing! We have just spent way too much time inside, especially since it is spring. (Someone forgot to tell the weather that its time to warm up!)

Yeah, pictures of Mommy and me! Mommy is usually the one taking the pictures, so we don't have that many of us together.

The airplane was fun, but I like the car better!

I really liked this curvy, tunnel slide. It was a lot of fun! Uncle Bubba got done with work and came to see me. I asked him to go down the slide with me, but he said he wouldn't fit. I think he was just scared!

Hear I come!!

I'm so glad I found out that they do have slides in Iowa, because I know that we will be going back there to visit many times, and it wouldn't be near as much fun being there if they didn't have them! I wonder how soon we can go back?

So many fun people to play with...

Over the past few days, I have had the privilege of being the center of attention. A lot of attention. Everyone wants to play with me, and why not. I am cute and fun, and then they get to feel like a kid again!

Here I am playing with Mommy's cousin Ward, while my Great-uncle Loren watches. It took me a few minutes to warm up to Ward, but he just got down and started playing, and then I joined him!

Gpa has been wanting to play with me for days, but I just haven't been very comfortable with that. He finally followed Ward's example, and just got down and started playing and let me come up to him. Then I played with Gpa for a long time. I love Gpa!!

Hey, you aren't supposed to tickle me all the time!

I got to play with Uncle Nick and Aunt Becky quite a bit. Uncle Nick is so silly...he always makes me laugh. I learned how to say Nick and Becky, so now I can call them when I want to play!

Uncle Bubba (Chris) came by after work and he got down and played with me! Uncle Drew did too, but somehow Mommy missed getting a picture of us together.

I can say Bubba and Drew also! I'm so smart!

This morning, Aunt Becky even watched Sesame Street and Elmo's World with me! I really like watching Elmo's World!!

I have really enjoyed spending so much time with my Iowa family. I can't believe that we have to leave tomorrow. I do miss Daddy, since he left on Sunday, but I'm going to miss everyone here too.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

In honor of a wonderful man...

Although I didn't get to spend very much time with Gigipa, I know, and have heard a lot the last few days, that he was a wonderful man. I wish I would have had the opportunity to know him better, but Mommy says that he is happy in his new home in heaven, waiting for us to join him there one day.

Gigipa loved Gigi. Here are a few pictures from when they were young!

Gigi loved Gigipa! A few years ago, she wrote a tribute for Gigipa, for his 75th birthday/Father's Day...
A Father’s Day Tribute

I’d like to share some data not yet recorded in a modern-day computer, but just in my God-given computer about yours truly, Roy Elmer Wester.

He was born on June 3, 1922 in a private maternity room in an Iowa farm home near Cleghorn. His parents, Elmer and Mabel Wester were both descendants of Swedish immigrants. Events of his childhood have only been mentally recorded as bits and pieces of information were shared by his parents and seven siblings. No doubt much information has been lost or forgotten through the years, but we all know about his lifetime ability to figure out how things work and to fix them if they didn’t.

School was not his first love, but farming was. He just couldn’t wait for those eighth grade county exams and freedom. His skill at milking cows, pitching manure, harnessing horses, slopping pigs, stacking bundles and straw at threshing time, bailing hay and picking corn by hand was not to be outdone by anyone.

At age 21 Uncle Sam had other plans for him. This physically fit young man was a choice inductee in the U.S. Army’s First Cavalry Division in November of 1943. He “marched in the infantry, shot the artillery”, was shot by the enemy and is still “in the Lord’s army”. He was rewarded with a Purple Heart, Bronze Arrowhead, Presidential Citation and four battle stars after serving 19 month in the Asiatic Pacific theater during World War II. He was on board the Missouri battleship off the shores of Japan when the peace treaty was signed and a short time later he received an honorable discharge after two years and 2 months of military service.

After returning home, he recovered from a number of bouts of malaria and tried to adjust to life on the farm after the war. He batched and farmed and waited for me to decide to be a farmer’s wife. That took awhile!

But after the I do’s on February 14, 1953 and a honeymoon trip to Florida, life really began. We had four kids in the next six years and wonder now how we ever made it. His patience, my management, and help from the grandparents were all necessary those early child rearing years. It took some changes to become a farm homemaker and mother of four after almost thirteen years of being a college student, teacher and career woman with paid vacations. Maybe now by this time Roy was thinking bachelorhood wasn’t so bad after all—at least he was his own boss then!

What busy years the 70’s were! We were FCYF sponsors, had countless parties, four high school graduations, built a new home, helped Loren start farming, Colleen and Paul, Loren and Darla and Carol and Gerald were married and Lowell was off to college and a teaching career. Lots of fun and excitement have been added to our lives since the eight grandchildren arrived. There were birthday parties,
swimming parties at the pond and now we’ve seen half of them graduated from high school.

Roy bought his first car, a Model T Ford, for 5 dollars so he could drive his siblings and neighborhood kids to school. Roy owned a black Ford Coupe, a Chevrolet, ’51 Crown Victoria Ford, Mercury, Buick Le Sabre, Roadmaster Buick (with electric windows), a maroon Wildcat, a blue ’70 Buick, three Shaklee cars (Monte Carlo, Buick Le Sabre, and a Buick Regal coupes) and is presently driving a ’98 Oldsmobile and a Ford conversion van both ’86 models. He’s determined to make 200,000 plus miles on both of them so don’t look for a new car in his garage just yet.

In case you are interested in more data, Roy has also driven horses, mules, ponies, cars, tractors, trucks, combines, bicycles, and spends a lot of time now driving lawn mowers (since I’ve retired from that job).
He’s ridden on ponies and horses, cattle train cabooses, troop trains, El and subway trains, street cars, buses and roller coasters. He did remark that after riding five one evening at Sandusky, Ohio in ’95 and the last the highest in the world at the time, that he was retiring from roller coaster riding at the age of 73.

He’s sailed on a rowboat, speedboat, sailboat, schooner, the Queen, a river paddle wheeler, a troop ship, LST boat, ferry, and a dug-out canoe. He’s flown on a seaplane in Canada, Jesse Schlicting’s private plane to Minneapolis, 747s to San
Francisco, Toronto, Hawaii, Austria and Zaire, an MAF plane over the grasslands and jungles of Africa and in a hot air balloon in Colorado.

He has driven in all 50 states and 8 provinces of Canada, been in Mexico, the Admiralty Islands, New Guinea, the Philippines, Japan, Holland, Germany, Austria, France, Central African Republic and Zaire. He’s crossed the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Arctic Circle and Equator, the Continental Divide, Rockies, Cascades, Sierras and Appalachians and traveled in the Alps of Europe. He has driven to Alaska and visited over 50 of our national parks.

Throughout his lifetime he has farmed, raised cattle, hogs and chickens, cut down and planted trees, dug ditches and bull thistles, tore down, moved and built buildings, and done lots of electric wiring and fencing. He has had no fear of heights, but has little love for swimming, golf or other sports. He excels at all kinds of puzzles, 3-D and jig saw puzzles and table games that challenge his strategic mental skills. He has not mastered the typewriter or computer but can do mental calculating that the younger generation can’t do.

Roy still has the first tractors that he bought as a young farmer…International Harvester B and M Farmall, and a lot of junk that he sees as treasures that could be used sometime. The challenge now is knowing where to find it. He has spent his retirement years on the farm helping Loren with machinery and tractor repair work, traveling, and if we can’t find him we know he’s probably playing with his acetylene torch in the grove. The iron pile is getting higher and I’m looking forward to the day when it gets moved!

Although he has not been an avid reader in the past, he finds time for that each day and has read the Bible through twice in the past two years. He served on the church board at Oakdale as missionary financial secretary and trustee for many years. His hearing and eyesight are failing, he’s missing some hair, tonsils and gallbladder, knees are wearing out, but he still has a HEART OF GOLD and is NUMBER ONE in my book at age 75!

Written in 1997 by His Wife of 44 years,
Elsie J Wester

This was the first time I met Gigipa...I was only seven and a half weeks old!

I got to see him again when I was seven and a half months old! I had a fun time playing with his cane, and I think he had a fun time watching me!

And this was this past Christmastime. I remember rolling a little red car back and forth across the table with Gigipa, and him smiling from ear to ear!

And if you want to know just a little more, here are some words Uncle Nick had to say about Gigipa, and some memories from my uncles, Mommy, and her cousins...

I don’t think Grandpa ever thought to brag about anything in his life. So it is a good thing God gave him a grandson with a big mouth. I am both thrilled and honored to have this opportunity today to brag about one of the greatest men ever known.

Grandpa was a man who I believe could do anything if he wanted to. If something could be built, he could build it. If something couldn't be built, he would find a way to build it. And if something was already built, he probably tried to find a way to build it better. I am pretty sure he has already made a gadget for God that makes something work more efficient in Heaven.

Grandpa was a man with a memory. It seemed like he could remember anything. What year he bought this tractor or that one, what year this building was built or that building burned down, and so on. He also was a man of memories. We all have so many great memories of him that we could be here for a very very long time just to scrape the surface. So I would like to take a moment and share just a few memories with you from each one of His grand kids as well as a tribute from his wife.

Chris – “Grandpa taught me to weld, fix tractors, and many others trades that I cherish and I use every day of my life.”

Drew – “On Easter day, when I was 8 years old, Grandpa started an annual Easter Tradition with Chris and me. He took us out to hunt the Easter bunny. After that, Grandma's garden never looked so good.”

Lara – "I have many fond memories of summer days at Grandpa's pond. I also remember Grandpa designed a contraption to make a fishing net 12 feet deep by 100 ft long to seine the pond. I was fascinated by his ingenuity and patience to complete the project. It was an exciting day the family all gathered to try out the net on Grandpa’s pond for the first time. "

Nick – "Grandpa used to tell me, 'If you don’t wash your hands before you eat, you don’t need salt and pepper.' Grandpa kept a spoon in the deep freeze so we could eat a scoop of ice cream on the way upstairs from his wash room."

Jenn – "Grandma and Grandpa came to visit us in North Carolina for Christmas of 2003, and as we spent time together Grandma and Grandpa were sharing memories of how they met, their courting period, and their wedding. Grandpa began a series of animated playful banter with Grandma as they attempted to get their versions of the stories to line up. I saw a playful side of Grandpa which I had never seen before."

Leighton – "Grandpa had a kind of childlike curiosity as long as I knew him. You could see his brain working right in front of you when he was thinking about something, which made him very interesting to me. He taught me how to solve more puzzles and toys than I can remember and he also gave meaning to the phrase ‘strong silent type’."

Janel – "Whenever Grandpa came over to our house, he would sit down and read World Book Encyclopedias. And I also remember that he could eat a pint of ice cream easily in one sitting."

Ward – "When I was much younger, I came up with dad to do chores at Grandma and Grandpas, and Grandpa had just gotten a new electric hedge trimmer. Grandpa showed me how to use the trimmer and then left me to work as he went with dad to work on something else. After about 5 minutes, I cut through the power chord with the trimmer. I went to find Grandpa and he said, 'now that you have learned to use the trimmer, now we are going to teach you how to splice wires'."

If you knew Gigipa, please leave a comment with a special memory, so that through you, I can know him better!

Oh, what a big family I'm part of!

And I saw a lot of them this weekend! Friday night was the visitation at the funeral home, and lots and lots of people came. There were lots of pretty flowers from friends and family. There was a really neat slide show of pictures, as well as a big display of candids that Gma and her siblings helped Gigi put together. I got to meet a lot of my extended family, and see many that I hadn't seen in a while.

I was finishing up my dinner when we first got to the funeral home, and Daddy brought cousin Henry over to say hi. (Henry is the son of Mommy's cousin Leighton...not sure what that makes us, so I'll just say we're cousins.) Everyone was a little curious to see if I would be jealous when Daddy was holding him, but I wasn't. I was even OK when Mommy held Henry...I love babies, so I thought it was great!

Saturday afternoon was the funeral, and I got to play in the nursery with cousin Henry and two others cousins, Vivi Ann and Noel. (They are the granddaughters of Gma's cousin Joanne, so again, I'll just call them cousins.) We had a good time playing together, and then it was time for the lunch. I had barely finished my sandwich when Gpa whisked me away to meet lots of people. I didn't get to meet too many though...missed nap+full tummy+snuggling with Gpa=late nap, even during the lunch! I woke up just in time to go back to Gigi's house!

On Sunday, we went to church, and then stopped at the cemetery. Everyone was surprised to see the headstone was already engraved. We were able to say our final goodbyes with just the immediate family.

Goodbye Gigipa. You will be missed.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Checking out the farm

Even thought it is cold and windy here in Iowa, Mommy wanted to show me some cows. Unfortunately, most of them were out in the pasture where we couldn't see them. I did get to see the two bulls. They were really big!

We walked around the farm for a few minutes, remembering Gigipa, then went inside to warm up. Someone forgot to tell the weather that it is Spring, and therefore it isn't supposed to be this cold! (It is only about 48 degrees, with a good 15 mph wind!) I hope it isn't like this all week!