Monday, August 30, 2010

For the love of Kelly ...

It's not Kelly's birthday until tomorrow ... but we celebrated it tonight anyway! I have a few pictures to show you!
This is Kelly right before she blew out her candles. It was so much fun to have a birthday party and dinner for her! Kelly is a vegetarian ... which can present some challenges if ... you LIKE meat! Dylan is a practically a vegetarian, so I have been trying to learn to cook a few meals that will accommodate. Kelly and Dylan's good friend, Nick, also came to dinner. Yesterday, it was HIS birthday.
I made a vegetarian pot pie! And I made the crust from scratch. I'll be honest though, I prefer Betty Crocker's Ready-Made pie crusts to this one ... and it's so much simpler! The pot pie was very yummy, though, and well received. We had fruit and fruit dip, a nice jell-o salad, sweet corn, and cheesy garlic bread. Kelly loved it!

This is the card I made for Kelly's birthday. These wildflowers were on top of Garvin Heights at the overlook there in Winona (where Kelly grew up) ... we visited two weeks ago.

And here is Kelly reading her card to us (I love the quote by Dostoevsky) ... she liked it very much!
I picked up this framed picture of Queen Anne's Lace for Kelly when I was with Ruthanne on our sister's retreat. I kept saying that I wanted to find SOMETHING for Kelly that had Queen Anne's Lace on it ... and Ruthanne spied this lovely picture in a little shop in Harbor Beach. I also picked out an incredibly pretty necklace for Kelly ... but I failed to take a picture of it(!) ... I found it at a craft fair in Lexington, Michigan.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KELLY! Hope your day is lovely in every way!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Nia Madelynn is THREE!

Somewhere in Texas, more than 1200 miles away from us, lives our beautiful granddaughter, Nia Madelynn. I could look at her precious little face forever! She is three years old today, which hardly seems possible!
Nia was born just days before I retired from my job. I remember posting her newborn picture up on the door to the office I shared with my friend and co-worker, and then I showed her picture off all day long to any and everyone who walked by!
Grandpa Jones and I are going to visit Nia and her family about two weeks from now. We are going to have fun celebrating her birthday with her then. Actually, we think we are going to do Nia, Nathan and Lottie's birthday (since they are all relatively close together) all at the same time and ... have a party! I can't wait!

We love you, Nia Madelynn, and wish you a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A spontaneous walk ...

I've been locked away in my office for DAYS working on cards that I need to make before we leave for Texas. But then the phone rang this afternoon ... and it was KellyO! She and her friend Sara were in the area. Could they come over ... and maybe walk up the road and meet Tuffy and Mr. Lyle? Ah! Just what I needed to freshen and brighten up my day! I checked our refrigerator real quick and ... voila! I found a few carrots!

It's just a quick walk up the hill, and we were there! Mr. Lyle let us feed Tuffy our carrots, and then he asked Kelly and Sara if they would like to groom Tuffy a little bit. It's been a really hot summer here and the flies are kind of bad around horses ... poor Tuffy has been really bothered by them this year, so he was a little bit agitated when we saw him today.
Kelly wasn't one bit shy of getting close to Tuffy. I still struggle with feeding him! I'm just such a city girl. Kelly was showing Sara how to hold her hand nice and flat and kind of shove the carrot in Tuffy's mouth. They fed Tuffy together, and I think Sara wasn't quite as squeamish after watching Kelly.
I love spontaneity! I'm so glad Kelly stopped by. It was great to see Sara again too and take a little break from my attempts at creativity ...
Mr. Lyle said we could come back any time!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Our annual Ohio weekend ...

Every summer I look forward to the Jones family reunion in Ohio ... for lots of reasons actually. I like it that this is an annual event ~ and has been since about 1995 (or thereabouts). It's good to reconnect with family, especially if you live long-distance. We have a busy life here in Michigan and with our bi-annual treks out to Texas, so we don't usually get to Ohio any other time of the year. And Ohio is BEAUTIFUL ... well, at least the central eastern portion of it is! On our way down to Coshocton this year we took a different route ~ Mr. Jones was intent upon going through Sugarcreek. There was a rumored railroad round house under construction there and he wanted to see it with his own eyes! So we traveled on 20 East for quite awhile, going through little towns like Lime City, Woodville, Clyde, Bellevue, wandering around (eventually) on curvy county roads that led us right smack into the heart of Amish Country ... which is more beautiful than I can describe to you, and far prettier than these pictures can show!
We passed by one HUGE farm after another. I love farms!
Notice the sign at Mickey D's ... see the buggy on the sign?
There were corn fields for as far as my eye could see ... the tops of them already turning a soft burnt orange color ... autumn is just around the corner!
"The farmer knows just what to do
for God has given him understanding.

The LORD Almighty is a wonderful teacher
and He gives the farmer great wisdom."
ISAIAH 28:26 & 29

It was early evening as we were driving through Sugarcreek ... horses and buggies were everywhere!

I bet you are wondering if we found the roundhouse ... we did! Mr. Jones took a TON of pictures of it. I was a bit distracted by the farm country surrounding it ... so ... NO pictures of the roundhouse from me!

When we arrived in Coshocton Friday night, we checked into our hotel and then drove right over to the Coshocton County Fair grounds to see the progress made this year on the Toledo Walhonding Valley & Ohio Railroad ...
This beautiful railroad layout is so much fun to visit! See Uncle Rick showing us the new mine models? There have been some new members added to the Club this year, who have really made a good contribution to building up the scenery.

I would love to take the grandchildren here to see this! They would have so much fun seeing all of the model trains, and perhaps Uncle Rick would even let them drive a train of their own!
Doesn't this look so real?
While we were visiting with Uncle Rick Friday night, he introduced us to a fellow who has become active in the Club recently. His name is Richard, and he has a railroad of his own. He invited us to come and see it Saturday morning ... so we did!

Mill Creek Central Railroad
This railroad is a 1/8 scale and is called the Mill Creek Central Railroad, located about three miles outside Coshocton on almost 40 acres of gorgeous property. We were invited to take the 45 minute ride around his place!
This is the little engine that pulled our passenger train ... Grandpa Jones could give you a ton of information about it ... but ... not me!
This is one of the rail yards ... see Grandpa Jones in the distance?

I took a lot of pictures here ... but not mainly of the tracks and the trains! There were the prettiest swallowtail butterflies everywhere! It's one thing to see butterflies at Meijer Gardens in the conservatory ... it's quite another thing to see them in the wild and actually catch a good picture of one!
The property this man owns is wooded and surrounded by farm lands, hills, valleys, a little creek, wildflowers ... it's perfect.
So, of course, I took some wildflower pictures ... my favorite Queen Anne's Lace was there in abundance!
The tracks went into thick woods ... just beautiful!
There were bridges and quite a few tunnels like this one ...

His property is idyllic!
I loved this bridge! Can you imagine building a place like this?
We had a great time visiting Mill Creek Central Railroad. Grandpa Jones didn't even know this place was here! He's been away from Coshocton for a very long time!

Peg's Birthday
We headed on over to Kathie's place by mid-afternoon. I had hoped to wander around in the woods over at her beautiful place, but it was beginning to rain by then ... Dan built us a beautiful camp fire, but we never got to sit around it because the rain put it out!
This is Aunt Kathie and Grandpa Jones taking a deep breath after consuming a delicious meal. Aunt Kathie is a wonderful chef.
It was Aunt Peg's birthday Saturday! It was fun to celebrate it with her. She received THREE musical cards ... and other stuff too!
We brought our ice cream ball to the birthday party and had a lot of fun making ice cream together. It was wonderful to see Nathan too. He shares the same birth DATE as his cousin, Sabrina, and turned 23 last week! He is in the Navy Reserves and is scheduled for deployment to Afghanistan in mid-September.
If you've never seen one of these ice cream balls before ... there it is! It takes about 30-40 minutes to roll it around the floor and make ice cream ... which is very yummy!
I thought this puzzle was SO cool. Peg bought it for Kathie's family last Christmas. She special ordered it (online) and I believe it was made in England. It's a map of Coshocton County and the center piece (shaped like a little house) is right where Aunt Kathie's property is. The puzzle was about 1/2 put together when we arrived. It had 400 pieces to it and every single piece got put into place before the evening was over!

The 2010 Jones Family Reunion
Sunday afternoon, we traveled up to Canton for the Jones Family reunion. The hosts this year were Chuck and Mary Roddock (seated). Standing behind them are Deb and Phil (these are the very folk who invited us out to Washington DC, as well as to sail on the Chesapeake Bay, about four years ago now!). The location of the reunion rotates between the five Jones families.
There is always a TON of food at the reunion.
Scarlet Mae was the youngest family member present! Grandpa Jones latched right on to her! Isn't she a doll? Grandpa Jones tells me she is his cousin, twice removed!
There were many family pictures taken. This is the entire group.
This is the family of Robert Jones ... the four siblings are all seated on the bottom row (right).

If the weather had cooperated, I would have had a separate posting to show you beautiful aerial pictures from a hot air balloon! It's a long story. Peg and I had signed up last year to ride a hot air balloon at this reunion. Cousin Deb has a good friend ~ a 30-year pilot of balloons (and an instructor) ~ and she and Phil have ballooned with her in the past. Peg and I had our hopes up ... what a fun way to celebrate both of our birthdays (!) ... but the pilot is a cautious person and decided it was a NO fly (due to wind). We were OK with her decision, but couldn't help being a little bit disappointed! But we did appreciate all of the effort Deb and Phil took to try to make our flight possible! Perhaps next summer ...