Monday, March 31, 2008

Take me out to the Ball Game

Today, Ricky played in a Chilis Softball tournament. I kept thinking of how great this AZ companywide tournament was at team building.  Also how great it was to see Ricky play again. He played Little League for years and for many of those seasons, Paul was one of the coaches. Ricky is still as good as he was when he was a kid. Hit two home runs; a Triple and several RBI's it was great!
I have missed going to the softball games of our adult kids of summers past in CA. Paul and I use to have so much fun watching Madi & Makayla--- Babies then--- and I loved taking a million pictures.  The world was different then; before 9/11 - the Summer of 01.  I digress!
Today the weather in The Valley was gorgeous, a perfect day for a Softball Tournament. Ricky's allergies kicked in though and he was pretty sick while playing a great game(s). 
Not too hot yet... I know it's coming though.

I've been way down since getting home on Friday. Just minor MS issues but I've been sleeping most of the day the last two days. Still feel like I can sleep another 24 hours straight tonight :)

Since Paul is working tonight, I thought I'd take a few minutes for my blog tonight before heading back to bed. Tomorrow is Lyndsey's birthday; She was due today but the C-Section was rescheduled for tomorrow, April 1st. My April Fools day baby.
Hope you all had a good day today; Thanks for taking the time to read my blog today.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Rob, Carla and Madi spent the night at the Zoo!!

In Mid March, Rob, Carla and Madi went to the zoo! It sounds like a lot of fun IF you camp. You spend the night at the zoo and it's called Roar and Snore. Actually it's the San Diego Wild Kingdom Animal Park. Carla sent me pictures yesterday. I HAD to share some with you.. Leave it to Carla to get a great "Butt" Shot!  She learned from her mom to always get a good "The End" picture for Scrapbooking ! :)


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Home for Good, At least for now

Good Morning Everyone. It's so good to be home with no plans at this moment to return to Southern CA for a while. I got Madi safely home and enjoyed a quick visit with Rob and Carla before heading off to Lyndsey's for a day of "rest" before coming home yesterday.  There are so many neighborhood parks in the Murrieta/Temecula area. Thursday, Lyndsey and I packed up the kids and headed off to a park down the road for more fun for the kids and more picture practice for Gran. This park is built next to the fire department and has more fun play equipment for the kids. Even Water Fountain Turtles. It was a nice picnic lunch. Other than candid pictures, it was VERY hard to get Izzy "prepped" for a picture. On the occasions she did smile, her hair was blowing in her face. I liked the top one, where I told the girls to smile at Mommy.
I can't believe we're almost to April. AND that Easter was a week ago. 
Hope you all have a great Saturday and thanks for taking the time to read my blog today.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Ready to go again

These last two days went by fast and tomorrow morning, Madi and I head back to CA. I'll be there until Friday. Then no more traveling for a while :)
The weather is heating up here in the Valley of the Sun - 90 today. I know it'll go up at least another 20 degrees before the end of Summer, sometime in October, but 90 always seems hot in March or April. 
The Girls got in some swim time these last couple of days. I took Madi to lunch at Chili's where Uncle Ricky works this morning before coming back to pick Sabby up early from school. After Visiting with Aunt Sandi, we headed off to see Norbert hears a Who; then on to Westgate shopping center in nearby Glendale for some shopping and dinner at Rocket Burger. West Gate is a new business and shopping center near the Glendale Stadium. They didn't finnish it before Super Bowl but it is very impressive. Built in the new style, outdoor with some parking in front of individual stores. We ate in a booth by the window and watched the shoppers and Coyote Fans on their way to the Arena to watch the game.
When Madi is playing near me, I am amazed at how often I hear; "Lets pretend....." At one point both girls were captured by a giant squid and the water in the pool was Squid Spit. The sharks nearly got them once and later bad people came to kidnap the girls. She has a remarkable imagination and I have never been successful at coaxing her to change plans once I give her a plan.  She has great spirit and is VERY good at Coaxing Gran into her way of thinking. It's been great fun having her here and I'll miss her very much after dropping her off tomorrow.

Hope you all have a good day; Thanks for taking the time to read my blog today.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Back Home Again

It's good to be home again, but we had a wonderful Easter Weekend in CA.  We spent Saturday together at Rob and Carla's, using that time to Celebrate Easter 2008.

After spending the day 
together, we celebrated the Easter Vigil by watching Madison & Conner's Baptism and Madi's First Communion. It was a wonderful service. After being a practicing Catholic for most of my life, I haven't practiced my faith in over 10 years. During the service, I felt the stirrings of desire to go back to the religion I was raised in. I heard you Mom; Loud and Clear; It's the faith not the people. The service on the Easter Vigil is beautiful; the celebration goes back to ancient times; the First Days of the Church with the Bon Fire in the back of the Church; from which the Easter Candles are lit; to the complete submersion during Baptism.. Which Brings me to Conner; who provided a brief break in the incredible beauty and solemnity of the Ancient Rite of Baptism. The ceremony called for Conner to walk into the water with Madi. Well, we could all tell that Conner was going to have NO PART of this and I watched with dread as Rob told the Priest that Conner WASN'T having any of that. The Priest told Rob (as we learned later) to just hold Conner over the water and he would pour water over Conner's head. Fortunately, Rob is strong enough to hold the FIGHTING Conner over that Baptismal Font. Conner Screamed at the VERY top of his lungs fighting with all he had in him as Rob held him over the Baptismal Waters. Then slapped at his head in a valiant, yet unsuccessful attempt to smack the water off his head.. Then looked straight in his Daddy's eyes, growled and punched Rob so hard I thought Rob might drop him or "accidently" toss him straight into the pool. Rob did neither, but walked out SMILING with a struggling and screaming Conner. IT WAS AWESOME. 
SO sadly, I have no pictures to memorialize this incredible event during the holiest and most special of Ceremonies. Pictures were not allowed, but I swear that Paul and I would have won the 10k on America's Funniest Home Videos, had we had the video camera going!!!
Fortunately, Madi was Baptized  BEFORE Conner so she didn't loose HER moment. Whereas Conner is only 3 and didn't really "get it", Madi was very excited about her "New Life in Christ" and it was a wonderful moment to share.
We also got to see Rob's best friend since Jr High, Travis and His Wife. They were Conner's God Parents..... Michelle, Travis' wife is 9 weeks pregnant, during a very difficult week. MORNING sickness? Not morning... all day every day and was in the hospital earlier last week. They still made the long trip from New Mexico to be there for Rob and Carla. We also got to See my niece, Aly and her fiance Saul - who made us laugh again, EVEN during the service and especially at the end of the two hour service.
Madi is home with Paul and Me today; Currently, I've stolen a moment while she's with her Pappys at the food market. Later, we're taking her to lunch and a movie before picking Sabby up from her first day of School after Spring Break. They'll both swim in the ALMOST warm enough water and we'll all be together (Paul, Ricky, Katie, Sabby, Madi & Me) to enjoy our barbecue. Wednesday, I'll be taking Madi home to CA, coming home on Friday and going to bed to rest and "recover" until the end of March!  :)
Hope you all had an Easter as Special as ours was. Take care everyone and Thanks for taking the time to read my blog today.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Back to California

Yesterday was a great day. Kids have no sensitivity to cold when it comes to pool water temperature so the kids went swimming yesterday. The water temps are still in the 60's. Sabrina and Makayla wisely got out fairly quickly. Izabella wanted no part of getting out. Poor Uncle Ricky had to stay in with her for a bit longer. 
Our Barbecue was delicious. Hot dogs and Hamburgers. Yum. And the weather is perfect this time of year. As long as I've lived in AZ, I've never seen a sunset that wasn't incredible in it's beauty. Last night was no exception so we all enjoyed our food while enjoying another beautiful AZ sunset.
It was a wonderful day; spent with most of my children and grandchildren. AND Little Sophie has begun to smile.
We're off to California now to celebrate Easter and The Baptism of Conner and Madi. 
Have a Great Easter Everyone
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog today.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

56 Years!

Today I am 56; now officially closer to 60 than 50. I think it was yesterday or maybe last week when at 26, I was bummed to realize I was officially closer to 30 than 20. Lyndsey and the girls are still here and Paul is planning a Barbecue tonight. The kids are very excited about having cake. 
They're having a wonderful visit and getting into everything. Sabby is enjoying playing dress up with Izabella. They've been running through the house all day. Earlier I found Izzy hiding in Shane's crate. Before that it got quiet and when I found them in my bathroom, Sabby admitted they'd been playing doctor.. I was concerned, until I found all the empty band aid wrappers. They really were playing doctor and Izzy had band aids all over her arms and legs.  I've warned them that Gran is getting in touch  with her inner bitch. They weren't quite sure what I meant so they just smiled and got out of my way. 
It's been a wonderful few days with our house so filled with clutter and kids' laughter. I'll sleep next week.
Hope your first day of spring is as beautiful as ours is in Phoenix today. The weather is ALMOST warm enough to start swimming. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog today.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It's good to be home

I got home last night, bringing Lyndsey and the girls home with me for a short visit. Buckeye is the first suburb you come upon after driving through the desert for hours. By the time we saw the first signs of "life" last night, I told Lyndsey, she'd have to fly home on Friday.  I drive a Jeep Commander which seats 7. I wanted it for the sole purpose of transporting my grand kids everywhere. Well, it's great to get the kids in, but storage is a separate problem. Once we crammed the 4 kids, luggage for four girls, and two grown ups (including all needed baby equipment) AND my Camera equipment into the car; it was a cramped and a very uncomfortable ride.  So, it's good to be home. Our current plan is to take the kids to the park in a few minutes, let them eat and RUN them for an hour.. Then bring them home to nap.. After a late night last night, the kids rose earlier than usual so Mommy and Gran are very tired.
Conner's Birthday Party was awesome. He was so excited to open his cars and to have his cousins, and Aunts there. It took a while but Gran got her kiss and smiles.  This Saturday at the Easter Vigil, Madi and Conner are going to be Baptized and Madi will make her First Communion.  In the Catholic Christian tradition, this is a 3 hour service on Holy Saturday. Paul and I will enjoy the view of our kids trying to keep their kids well behaved during a church service. I'm looking forward to that. I'm sure  Cameras will not be allowed so It'll be hard for Gran, not being able to get 150 pictures that night. 

Well, Lyndsey and the girls will soon find my hiding place, so I'll wrap it up here. Have a good day everyone and thanks for taking the time to read my blog today.

John, you passed from this world and it's pain last night. I hope you are now well adjusted to your "New Home" with God and enjoying the  freedom I know you have found from the pain and limitations brought to you by your final challenge of ALS. I will never forget you and since I haven't seen you since high school, to me you will always be that red headed teenager who made us laugh. The world is a better place because you were in it.  Now, even Heaven is a better place because you are there.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

March Winds in CA

I didn't know I could "blog" from Lyndsey's computer! This technology is GREAT. Today is gloomy in Southern CA. Cloudy and overcast as I write this. It's cheerful here in Lyndsey and Victor's apt. Sabby, Makayla and Izabella are dancing to the "I know you" song from the Sleeping Beauty Movie we all just watched. There's nothing like hearing three of your grand daughters, yelling out DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING ROSE to Sleeping Beauty before she pricks her finger on the spinning wheel.

It seemed to take forever to get to CA Friday. Sabby was either hungry or had to go to the bathroom, but we did eventually make our way to Lyndsey's where three little girls awaited.

Yesterday we spent some time at two local parks. The first was just too windy so we found the second where the girls had a great time and Gran got to practice with her picture taking again.

Today we're going to Rob and Carla's to help celebrate Conner's Third Birthday. THEY have spent the weekend camping at The Wild Kingdom Animal Park. Ah being young with energy.

Can't wait to see Madi Conner, Rob & Carla. Have a good Sunday, and thanks for taking the time to read my blog today.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Time really does go by fast

Yesterday, I was digging (frantically) through all my discs of photos and video slide shows I've made over the years. Years ago I put together a slide show lasting over two hours of The Welstead Family through nearly 65 years for myself, my kids and brothers and sisters. I lost my copy. I know I have the pictures I used to make the video, all digitized, but I no longer use the same program and it wouldn't be the same show. I was pretty frantic, then as I looked through discs looking for the "right one" I kept coming across old pictures that made me smile. Soon I lost track of my panic and started enjoying memories. I am still smiling today at how Brianne and Makayla "met" when they were 2 & 3 months old and play so well when they're together today.   I am amazed at how much they've all g
rown, That 2000 & 2001 were almost a decade ago.. Well over 5 years. 
I couldn't resist posting a few of these fabulous finds.
Tomorrow I'm driving to California for Conner's Birthday Party and to pick up Lyndsey and the girls for a visit. I'll be gone for a few days. 
Sabby is relentless and looks like I'm on my way out NOW to go to the Park.
Hope you all have a happy weekend and a Safe :) St. Patricks Day.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog today.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Conner's going to be 3

As, I've mentioned several times, Paul and I have been blessed with six beautiful grandchildren. 5 little girls and 1 little guy. Conner David is our one and only grandson. It's hard to believe this little guy is going to be three in two days.
Conner was for many photos I've gotten of all the grandchildren, the one crying. He was the one who did not want his picture taken and the grandchild you DID NOT want to wake up from a nap. Rob and Carla once came home early from a 

camping trip because they were worried Conner was sick. They could not stop his tears as he cried as though in real pain. They stopped by the house quickly to pick something up before taking him the the E.R.  Once inside the house, he looked around, sighed and smiled. He was home. That's all he wanted was to be home.  Rob and Carla have made many adjustments in their vacation plans with this little guy.  He's been the one who usually didn't run up to Gran with hugs and kisses when I'd arrive.  No, Conner has made me earn every smile, every kiss, every hug and more recently he's blessed me with "I love you Gan".  Those smiles, kisses, hugs and the I Love you Gans light up the world when he blesses me with them. They are well worth the wait. His smile, I'm sure  make the angels sing.
As Conner has neared the age of three, he smiles a lot more and cries much less and I have indeed been greeted with a hug and kiss. Our last family portrait and my cherished picture of the perfect 6 includes a smiling Conner.  I believe now that Conner has "turned that corner" and will turn into "the easy one", as Madi nears Puberty... GOOD LUCK WITH THAT ROB AND CARLA.
I'll be down in Southern CA this weekend for his 3rd Birthday Party. I can't wait.  I can't wait to see him run with Izabella, his smile, his hug (which I will demand!), to watch him open his presents and play with his cars. 
Happy Birthday Special little Conner.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog today

Monday, March 10, 2008

His Name is Shane!

Good Morning! We've finally decided on our new Puppy's name; it's Shane. We've been a little worried about Shane because he seemed a little quiet and he was throwing up. We're watching him for symptoms of Parvo Virus but he seems fine today. Rex is NOT liking this new dog. Rex is our Collie; he's getting older and has NO patience for Shane's attempts to play with him.

Shane has been rebuffed and doesn't much like Rex anymore.
 Because of marks made on the slider, the pictures I've taken of the two dogs sitting, facing opposite directions didn't come out. It's really pretty funny though, until they actually snap and snarl at each other.  I've had my hands full keeping Sabby away from both of them together.
Katie, Sabby, Paul and I walked Shane to the neighborhood park yesterday. That was great. Sabby and Shane ran and ran until they were both exhausted. 
Sabby is now on Spring Break for two weeks. I'm trying to plan some outings.. (Any ideas?) with her this week before we go to CA at the end of the week to Pick up Lyndsey and the girls for a visit in AZ before the summer heat arrives next month.  April is pretty warm in Phoenix. 
Happy Birthday Richard!
Hope you all have a great day and thanks for taking the time to read my blog today.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Camp Verde

Wednesday, we went to visit Paul's sister, Sandi (sister-in-law Extrodinair) and her husband Jim in Camp Verde AZ. Sandi volunteers at the animal shelter in Camp Verde everyday and happened to have a Border Collie on site. I cannot imagine why, but someone had abandoned this adorable puppy. Paul's always wanted a Border Collie, so we brought him home.  Not sure of his name yet, (Barney, Fly, Spot,  Shane & Shamus are all in the running)
Sandi and Jim's house is incredible and built to showcase 360 degrees of  amazing views of Camp Verde.  Sandi has stayed busy in retirement, volunteering daily at the animal shelter. She has always quietly been there for everyone and she is an amazing person. I'm lucky to have her not only as a sister-in-law, but a very very close and dear friend.
There was no way I could visit without my camera, and no way NOT to take too many pictures.
I'm still having trouble getting pictures on this blog WHERE I want them to go; but will be adding some of our newest family member (name to follow).
It was a beautiful day in Camp Verde.  Sandi set out fixings for sandwiches and Jim, Sandi, Paul and I ate and talked for a couple of hours. 
A Weekday trip to Sandi's house really IS a benefit of retirement.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog today

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Today is March 5th 2008. That would make this day Marie's 100th Birthday. A goal she spoke of for as long as I knew her was to live to be 100. 
Marie Flocken is my Mother-in-Law. The Mother of the man I love most in this world. Her gift to me is immeasurable, and I will always appreciate.
The pictures above are a picture of Marie and Herman during their courtship, having car trouble in the early 30's, a Picture of The Flocken Family at Breakfast in the mid 50's and a Picture of her meeting our first Grandchild, Maddy, in the fall of 1999.
Until a month after her 89th birthday, Marie lived a full life; always busy cooking her amazing soups, potato salads, turkeys.. oh I can still taste the Potato Pancakes mixed with Applesauce as Scott and I ate as fast as we could, watching the other to be sure we did not take TOO much from that magnificent stack of Potato Pancakes. I will note here that despite many attempts on my part to get her recipe, it was always just a little different than the way she prepared it. She was the caregiver for my children for most of each year while they were young. I have countless memories of driving up to her house each morning in the spring and summer. The sun was usually behind her so I saw only her shadow as she held up a dozen or so Roses for me to take with me to work. Marie had nearly 100 Rose Bushes and she kept busy each day keeping them pruned and beautiful. She also took great pride in her vegetable garden. Including her eggplant, which I don't like. She cooked a great Eggplant Parmesan, so I was told, and could never understand why I wouldn't eat it.. "Why? I made it! It's delicious"  Her beloved Herme (Herman) had passed in 1980 and Marie missed him everyday. She stayed busy though and traveled to Germany a couple of times, as well as Northern CA and New Jersey where her three daughters lived.
When she had a heart attack in the Spring of 1997, her life changed forever and she could no longer stay in her home. I was with Marie that day. I'd stopped to pick her up to drive out with me and spend the evening with us in Murrieta, some 30 miles away. As we pulled out of the driveway she put her hand to her chest. I asked her what was wrong, was she ok? Should we go to the hospital. She waved me off as only Marie could do and said NO. I don't need a hospital. As we drove down her street we began arguing - something we did a lot..  I was in the middle of telling her we were NOT driving down that 15 freeway if she was having chest pains; when her head slumped against me in the front seat and her breathing stopped. I learned that moment in my early forties how fast life could change. I learned it in a most profound way. I was able to get her to a store parking lot  where the owners got help. Marie survived that day but things changed for her then. Her memory was never very good after that and she could never stay alone in her beloved home again. I don't remember the laughter in her eyes after that day. 
Nearly four years later, Marie passed, surrounded by her family in a Northern CA hospital.
I think of you nearly every day Oma, and I miss you.  I've caught myself repeating many of your comments over the years. Even the ones that would annoy me.  I'm sorry you aren't here on earth to celebrate your 100th birthday with your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I'm glad you're celebrating with Anita and Herman.
Happy Birthday Oma. Thank you for the man I've spent nearly 30 years with; Thank you for the Love you gave my children and their many happy memories at Oma's. I love you.
Thank you for taking time to read my blog today.

Monday, March 3, 2008


 So yesterday, Paul and I decided to take Sabrina to the Children's Museum in Phoenix. I got on line and learned that the Phoenix Children's  Museum is not opening until June. So we decided to go to the Heard Museum. We took pictures before we set out so I could record the trip and all the sites we were about to see. We drove the 30 miles into the Center of Phoenix, followed the signs, around and around. Finally we realized there didn't seem to be any parking as people close to a mile away were walking toward the Museum. So, we couldn't find a parking place. We decided to take Sabby to a nearby park, but during the drive home, the wind picked up and was blowing too hard for a day at the park.
So, we went to Chili's where Uncle Ricky works and I have nothing excited to report on yesterday's activities. I asked Sabby how she was enjoying the day. Her subdued reply... "Bored"
   So much for planning a spur of the moment activity on Sunday in March, in Phoenix. 
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog today.