Monday, April 30, 2007

We Welcome Jesse Home

It's been nearly four months
that Jesse has been away

Don and I met Diana at the airport this afternoon. Jesse is coming home! A dear friend at work had a special need today, so our original plan had to be revised to Plan B. Don came downtown, picked me up at the office and we rendezvoused with Diana at about 2:00. Jesse's plane was due in at 2:15.

Mr. Jones and Diana discussing web cams
[Can we get one, Mr. Jones,
so that I can see my little ones
so far away in El Paso?]
We check the Arrival board
Jesse's flight from Atlanta is ON TIME
The plane! The plane! The plane!
This is the hallway Jesse will walk down
This is where Diana longingly watches . . .
It seemed like the entire plane
de-boarded -- and still no Jesse!
The look of love . . .
Waiting has been so hard . . . so long . . .
Love's embrace . . .
A long-awaited Kiss . . .
(this almost seems too private to photo)
What are they saying?
Mom Jones gets to hug her Bubby . . .
Two very happy people . . .
who I think love each other very much . . .
Jesse telling us about his flights
Jesse's first flight was this morning at 6:40 a.m. from El Paso to Atlanta (Delta's hub). He said he had coach tickets, but as soon as they saw his uniform, they brought him right to First Class. Jesse said First Class isn't what it used to be, just a little wider seat, just a bit more leg room (at 6'6" any more room, even if it's just a tiny bit, is helpful); but no other perks. However, he said the pilot announced there was a soldier on board and thanked him "for what he was doing for his country." How nice is that?
Diana is excited to show Jesse
their new/used Audi 100 vehicle!
Jesse had to put his beret on when he went outside
Did you know it was a RULE
that he can't wear the beret inside any building
but absolutely MUST wear it outside?
We grab a couple more pictures
of the happy couple . . .
It's so nice to have you home, Jesse!
You have been missed!
Jesse inspecting the AUDI
Diana got an excellent deal on it
from a former Navy guy --
She showed Jesse a picture of it
via the Internet and Jesse said --
"Buy it! Now!"
Mr. Jones asks Jesse:
"Are you a private first class now?"
No! Jesse is an E-1
You have to be an E-3 to be a private first class
While we were out in the parking lot, a little girl came by and said, "Thank-you, Mr. Soldier." Her mom was all teary-eyed and said how much she appreciated the soldiers in this country. Whew. It makes you thankful the whole country hasn't lost their minds!
Speaking of little kids, Jesse's three were not told he was coming home today. Diana had told them two weeks ago that he was coming home for Matthew's 2nd birthday (that was the hope); but he could not get his leave approved by then. Emma and Chris were bitterly disappointed. Diana decided to let her folks, Grandma and Grandpa Hand, take the kids for an afternoon outing today. She dressed all three kiddos in kid-sized Army fatigues. When their grandfolks bring them home this evening -- their daddy will be there to greet them!
Thank you, LORD, for bringing Jesse home to us safely. Thanks for how good and strong and happy he looks.
"Since my youth, O God, you have taught me,
and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.
Even when I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, O God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
your might to all who are to come.
Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God,
you who have done great things,
Who, O God, is like you?" Psalm 71:17-19

Sunday, April 29, 2007

One More Afternoon

Emma is Grandma Jones' helper in the kitchen
She found that peeling a hard boiled egg was very fun

She also plucked the grapes off the stem,
washed them and got them ready for our lunch

Matthew is blowing our Thomas whistle
He and Chris really struggled over sharing the trains

so Matthew found the roundhouse which was
underneath the train table and
was content to put the trains in and out the doors

After all of her hard work in the kitchen,
Emma was exhausted
and took a little nap on the couch

Chris was just a little too rough
on Matthew (sharing the trains is really tough!)
so he had to sit in Time-out
until the 3-minute timer beeped
But he sat there and took his punishment like
the wee man that he is
(I call him my little Spanky)
Do you remember the roundhouse Matthew
was playing with?
After Chris's Time-Out was over,
he simulated a situation with all the trains (Thomas, Percy, Donald and Molly)
wherein they were ALL naughty and had to
be sent to the roundhouse for their Time-Outs! After lunch, we went outside to play
Emma wanted to try her hand at pitching
(since she is such a great hitter)
and Christopher was up to bat --
Emma was a very good pitcher as well as batter!

Christopher played trucks on the deck for awhile

and then Grandpa showed him this neat helicopter
(only $1.00 at the Dollar Store)
Grandpa was the only one who could make it fly
Emma, who is very mechanical,
watched carefully and had a tiny bit of success

We enjoyed a chocolate pudding snack
outside on the deck --
Do you think Christopher likes chocolate?
Our three Grand Rapids grandchildren
(soon to be our El Paso grandchildren)

"Grandma always made you feel she had been waiting to see just you all day, and now the day was complete." Marcy DeMaree

I hope my little ones take happy memories of grandma and grandpa with them to El Paso. I hope they will remember how much we enjoyed these times together. This was our last day to share for quite awhile. But I can always look forward to one more afternoon . . .

Saturday, April 28, 2007

My LOGOS Family

Michelle and Gene
(Michelle's dad, Carlos, went to Israel with us in 2004)
Friday night our LOGOS class from Calvary Church had a get-together. Sunday morning, Michelle just spontaneously asked us all if we wanted to come over Friday evening, visit for a little while and enjoy a movie (Night at the Museum). We had such a nice time! These are such nice folk to be with.
But I need to explain this LOGOS thing first. For those of you who are not familiar with the word -- LOGOS is greek for "The Word". As in: "In the beginning the Word (logos) already existed. He was with God, and he was God. He was in the beginning with God. He created everything there is. Nothing exists that he didn't make. Life itself was in him, and this life gives light to everyone. The light shines through the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it . . . so the Word (logos) became human and lived here on earth among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father." [John 1:1-5 and 14 from The Book] -- The Word is JESUS!

LOGOS is the name of our class. It is a really great group of interesting people, a variety of ages and family situations. We have two men who teach the class: Bob and Nigel. We are blessed to have them! They have been teaching us from Mark's Gospel (which is really John Mark telling Peter's story) and it has been so rich. We have studied about John the Baptist and a little about his life. We have talked about the calling of the disciples and what does it really mean to be a disciple of Jesus? We have talked a lot about Jesus' ministry of healing and preaching and miracles. In the last few weeks, we have been looking at some of the parables Jesus taught.

This is Bob, one of the teachers of our class

Rachel and Ryan
(these two met on-line through E-Harmony -- they have been married since July)
We enjoyed pizza, snacks and yummy deserts!
The neat thing about being a believer, is that when you get together with other believers, you have so much in common! You worship and love Jesus because of what He has done! The best thing about this group of people is that they are FAMILY. Do I mean like moms and dads, children and grandchildren? Yes! It is that kind of a picture, if you will. We are all related, because Jesus is our brother, our Savior, our Shepherd, our King! and God is our Father. So the love we have for each other is real and close and intimate. The last Sunday of the month, we take the entire class time to share prayer requests and then we make an effort to pray for each other all throughout the week.
This group of people has made a huge difference in my life! I hope this next year brings many opportunities to serve each other and minister together. We have decided to memorize Psalm 19 and do this as a class. I have been asked to put Psalm 19 to pictures and print it out for everyone. I am really looking forward to this assignment! I love to put pictures and Scripture together -- and Psalm 19 is a beautiful psalm about God's Word! How perfect for our LOGOS class!

Friday, April 27, 2007

We say good-bye to Adam and Emily

Emily, Mr. Jones, and Adam

Mr. Jones and I invited Emily and Adam over for dinner last night, as kind of a last-dinner-at-home- for-quite-awhile type of thing. Since Adam likes roast beef, I cooked one up for him with carrots, onions and other good stuff. We had the usual mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetables and rolls. It's not a real exciting menu, but I wanted to make a meal I knew Adam would enjoy. I don't think this is Emily's favorite meal, but she never complains.

Emily & Adam watching "Are you smarter than a 5th grader?"

See Tommy on the back of the couch?

Whenever Adam and Emily come over, Tommy hangs around. He really likes Adam. He's kind of a scamp of a cat, an outdoor ruffian, and he likes how Adam roughs him up and isn't intimidated by him! He purrs sweetly and allows himself to be handled in the most undignified ways when Adam is around. Mr. Jones asked if they would like to take Tommy with them to Minnesota (hmm! is he trying to get rid of our cat?!), but they said no. Emily would like to get a calico kitten -- she is really more used to dogs than cats -- and she isn't terribly fond of Tommy (I can think of about 10 other people in our family who feel the same).

We will miss you, Adam & Emily!

Adam starts his job as an inside sales representative with EMERSON PROCESS CONTROL in Chanhassen, Minnesota, on Monday morning. This is a good opportunity for him because it is a job in his field of education with growth possibilities as well. Emily has her degree in cosmetology and will be seeking work as a beautician -- she is good at this and enjoys it very much.

Adam and Emily will be living in an apartment in Chaska, Minneapolis. They will be less than an hour away from The Mall of America but about 10 hours away from Grand Rapids. They tell us they will have a futon in their extra bedroom; so when we come to visit them, we will have a place! However, remember the definition of futon? It is Japanese for "unwanted house guest." We told them this, and they laughed and said they have an extra foam pad for the futon and it is especially comfortable.

We are sad they are moving so far away, but really excited for them too. We know they will come home often -- remember? We have a futon too!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Martin Comes Home

Nurse Bridget wheeling the happy patient out of room 6258
I BET YOU ARE WONDERING -- WHO ON EARTH IS MARTIN? I don't blame you! I had the exact same feeling at the hospital when one of the nurses walked in and asked how Martin was doing! I thought: "Martin who?"
Well, it seems as though our Nana's husband is a man of many names. I like that, though. I mean, Mr. Jones has a ton of names and I rarely ever call him Don -- he doesn't answer to a simple "Don", so I've taken to calling him GEORGE usually, or if he is being especially arrogant I call him CHARLES -- but I am digressing . . .
The newest member of our family -- yes, guys -- Mr. Cook is the newest member -- I know he is not a baby -- his actual name is Martin Leroy but he has never been called Martin, only Leroy. And then of course, he enters our odd family and has to be called Roy instead of Leroy! I personally like COOKIE because it just fits him so perfectly.
Nana and Roy home at last!

It turns out that Roy has congestive heart failure and has for awhile. I guess he knew that and so did his doctor, but for some reason his fluids were not being carefully monitored. The long and short of it is that he is not to exceed 32 ounces of fluid per day -- not for any reason! No salt! Keep legs elevated as much as possible! His pneumonia is on the mend. All of this is very good news! Grandpa Jones and I picked them up at the hospital and took them home. Was he ever happy to be outside again! You have to understand that Cookie is an outside kind of person. He has a beautiful yard and he loves to work in his garden. He also takes very good care of the house. I'm so glad we could get to know him better these past few days. Thanks for praying for Cookie and for Nana.

We Celebrate Matthew's 2nd Birthday

FIRST AN EXPLANATION: Matthew John's birthday was April 10 and that is the day he turned two. We were anticipating Jesse's request for leave being approved; and in theory, he was supposed to be home for Matthew's birthday. However, since Jesse's leave still has not been officially approved, Matthew has had several little birthday celebrations. His Grandpa and Grandma Hand gave him gifts last week and they had their own little party for him. You have to understand that we usually do this all together -- all the grandparents get together and really spoil the birthday child rotten for their own special day.
Since we couldn't do it together this year, Grandpa and Grandma Jones decided to bring some pizza and gifts last night. Here is what transpired:
MATTHEW JOHN anticipating pizza and presents . . .
CHRISTOPHER JAMES all pumped up for pizza and a party . . .

EMMA JOY all ready for Matthew's party . . .

GRANDMA JONES & EMMA enjoying pizza . . .
See how pretty EMMA's fingernails look?
Aunt Emily gave her a manicure on Friday!
Diana helping MATTHEW open up some presents
from her and Jesse.
The shirt says: "I may be small, but I'm the boss."
EMMA watches as mom and MATTHEW open a
Grandma Jones card . . .
"Look! Grandma Jones is on the back!" says EMMA
These are some light-up cars (Matchbox size)
CHRISTOPHER thought for sure these were for him . . .
(sorry, Chris)

This is Fridge Phonics by LEAP FROG
Grandma Jones saw this at Aunt Bree's house in Austin
and thought how much fun the
Pahman kids would have with it!
It plays the Alphabet song and goes through the
phonics of each letter -- the entire thing is magnetic
and can hang on the refrigerator -- good purchase, Aunt Bree!

MATTHEW is opening Diego Matchbox cars (5)
and EMMA is handing him a set of
100 wooden blocks

We got a MICHIGAN license plate for
to remind them WHERE THEY BELONG
CHRISTOPHER wasn't too keen on having
his picture taken with his license plate --
he was really wanting those light-up cars!

Then it was time for cupcakes!
Look at MATTHEW'S precious little face . . .

MATTHEW is seriously getting into this . . .

He has decided the frosting is very nice . . .

CHRISTOPHER enjoyed every single
bite of his cupcake, and then finished the other 1/2
of MATTHEW's (the part without the frosting)

EMMA ate her entire cupcake without a problem!
She picked a chocolate one, because

We also gave Matthew a little Matchbox suitcase to put his cars in, along with a city playmat with roads for his cars to drive on. He seemed very pleased with his birthday presents.
It was nearly time for Grandpa and Grandma to go home, but Emma and Christopher wanted to play hide-n-seek for a little while with Grandma, so we did that. Here are the rules: Emma points to the designated hiding place (and you had best hide there), and then she and Christopher run to another room, count "1-2-3, ready or not, here we come!" And then they run right back to the designated spot and scream, "We found you!" Now, where is the challenge to that? I was going to foil their plans and hide some place else, but Matthew was all cuddled up in my arms and was making happy sounds and would have given me away had I tried. After that, we went into the boys room and played "school" for awhile. Emma was the teacher, and we had to do what she said! Christopher played along pretty agreeably too.


P.S. All of you other grandchildren who are wondering --
Is Grandma Jones ever going to post anything about us?
DEFINITELY! I just wanted to do a few stories that were fresh
before I go back in time . . .