Friday, December 31, 2010

So Long to California - Again

One of the things we love to do in California is reconnect with dear friends. We had a wonderful lunch with John and Lucy and Rick and Janet. There was too much laughing and talking to remember to take a photo. (Well, actually can there EVER be too much laughing and talking???) We NEVER laugh as much as we do when with these dear friends.

The day before we left for home we met Betty and Duane for lunch at The Landing on Westlake. Weather was changing and it was a little overcast, but our time was warm and very fun. We loved the patio dining in DECEMBER!!! Betty was so gracious to take us touring around Newbury Park before taking us back to Jeremy and Renee's.

I've recently realized that what makes these relationships so special is the HISTORY we have together. True friendships develop and evole through the years of good times and bad. Our friendships with these dear couples are priceless! They are a balm for the soul! They will NEVER know just how much we miss all of them!!

Our times to hold and cuddle with Maddie were drawing to a close. Can you tell how relaxed she is!

Our new little family!

Another wonderful trip!

So long to California - again.

So long to 2010. Happy New Year everyone!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Drive to Santa Barbara

Before leaving California, we took a day to drive up to Santa Barbara. How many ways can you say G.O.R.G.E.O.U.S.???? To begin with, the temperature was in the 80's!!

We drove through our very loved Ventura County. The beauty of the strawberry fields and orange groves filled our senses!

Then we went to Montecito, a community of secluded mansions with fragrant trees and shrubbery lining the winding roadway, and home of Westmont College, Rich's alma mater, as well as Brett's and Esther's.

A few years ago a terrible fire swept through the campus, burning faculty housing, old buildings and quonset huts (where Rich had classes in the 60's), and trees. The campus has since seen new buildings erected, gardens replanted, and generally made even more magnificent than before. So out of the ashes ...

Rich stands at one of the new buildings. The Pacific Ocean is in the background, even though at the time there was a layer of fog, but the view is incredible nonetheless. You can see the ocean from many points of the campus!
New buildings for the visual and performing arts. Far cry from the old quonset huts!!
New gardens were so fragrant with plantings of sage, rosemary, oregano among the ferns and flowering plants. Truly a gardener's delight!

A new observatory was built.
The fire ripped right through this canyon. New athleltic fields were built. Again, a fabulous view of the ocean and the Channel Islands!

Fourtunately there were dorms and buildings saved from the fire!

Kerrwood Hall, the original mansion. Westmont began in the 1940's in downtown Los Angeles but moved to this location by Mrs. Kerr, of the Kerr canning jar fame. Kerrwood Hall now houses the administrative offices. Its magnificent interior boasts a library with mahogany walls, now a lovely meeting place.

Beautiful gardens surround Kerrwood.

A corner view of the library - with it's view of the fog-covered ocean! Westmont is a wonderful school, with it's ever-expanding curriculum and truly "golden" opportunities for students to live and serve with a "world-view".

A little prayer chapel is nestled in the woods.

We finished our day with a stop at Santa Barbara's East Beach Park. We enjoyed some special snacks as we watched some beach volleyball. It was truly a shorts and flip flops-kind of day!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Jeff!

Happy birthday, Jeff! December 29, 1967 at 3:30 pm was certainly a happy moment for your Dad and me. You came into this world as a sweet, mild little baby who has grown into a loving, considerate, thoughtful son, who loves the Lord and cares deeply for his family.

We are proud to call you Son!

"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal."
Isaiah 26:3-4

Monday, December 27, 2010

California - Great-Grandma Meets Maddie

Jeremy and Renee were so excited to take little Maddie to meet her Great Grandma!

Maddie wore another of her special onesies. This one said "Great Grandma's 21st". What a family my Mom has! At 94 she knows the names of all her children, grands, and great-grands. She can tell you at least the birth month of most, perhaps all!

Four generations - Ruthe Alyce, Carolyn Jo, Jeremy Shane, Madelyn Rose.

4 generations plus 2 - couldn't have done it without Rich and Renee! If only my Dad were still with us.

And yes, we did get a camera smile from Great Grandma.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

California - to Meet Madelyn Rose!

We had a great nine-day trip to California to meet our newest little granddaughter, Madelyn Rose. What a sweet, good baby she is!

Renee painted some special onesies for her. This one was "Grandma Dewey's 10th".

Daddy's wedding ring hangs from her tiny big toe.

The days seemed to fly by. Jeremy was home on paternity leave and he and Renee were a wonderful team caring for little Maddie. I was thrilled to take the 1 am (or so!) feeding several nights/mornings. It was a very precious time for me to hug and cuddle such a precious little girl!

We spent an afternoon with Kate and Allie. Great chance to get our "In 'n Out" fix!

We took the girls to see my Mom, their Great Grandma. We had a really sweet visit.

More to come...

Friday, December 24, 2010


Jesus said,
"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
John 8:12

May you experience the  LIGHT  brought to the earth through the babe, Jesus, born in Bethlehem so long ago.

Peace, hope, joy to all!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Carols and Cookies

On our recent trip to California, we enjoyed a couple of dinners at Jeff and Caroline's home. Jeff asked Rich to play his "old" piano so we could sing Christmas carols.

The highlight of Jeff's day, singing around the piano!

I took containers of cookies in my carry-on to decorate with Jeremy and Renee and also with the older grandkids. I hadn't done this with Cole, Jordyn, Lauren, Kate, and Allie since they came to Kansas for Christmas in 2006. How I love doing this with our grandchildren!!

I can't even begin to tell you how much I love it that Cole, at age 17, still enjoys decorating Christmas cookies with me!

His masterpiece - and a far cry from a cookie he decorated 12-13 years ago which had SEVEN different kinds of sprinkles on it!

Today was the first day of Christmas vacation for Moira, Audrey and Isabel so they came to decorate their cookies.

We completed our day with a game of Monopoly.

My favorite Christmas tradition!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Congratulations Esther!

Saturday was a big day for Esther. She received her Masters of Education degree from Baker University! Baker is the oldest 4-year university in Kansas. A bit of trivia from the AAA tour book ... one of the early contributors was Abraham Lincoln, who gave $100 to the university in 1864! Baker is located in Baldwin City, near Kansas City, however, Esther was able to take classes at the Wichita satellite campus, as well as online.

We are very proud of Esther and her achievement. She's completed her coursework in two years, all while mothering her four active daughters, teaching second grade (including being department chair, a master teacher, and working on specialized math teams!), PLUS being a wonderful supportive wife to Brett. And then this year she added the responsibility of being a Pastor's Wife! She's an amazing woman, to say the least!

To begin the celebration, we joined Brett, Esther, Moira, Audrey, Isabel, and Maeve, for what Brett called a "fine dining experiece - Applebee's" on the way to Baldwin City (not many choices!). The girls really made me proud with their very fine restaurant manners.

A proud family!

This day also marked the one year anniversary of the passing of Esther's father. He would have been so very proud of her! Her achievement was a wonderful tribute to him, as well.

Esther - how F.A.R. you've come since we first met in 1993!!!

We love you!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Grandparent's Day

Today was Grandparent's Day for Isabel's kindergarten class.

She was sweetly and patiently waiting for us to arrive at her classroom.

All three kindergarten classes moved to the cafeteria where we did an art project together. She had already drawn her face on a paper form that said "Here is a hug for you." Then she and Papa drew her handprints and made accordian pleated arms. It proudly hangs on our fridge and we have a ready-made "Isabel hug".

Chocolate sundaes and a very cute little program rounded out our time together. She came home with us and we made a batch of Peppermint Crunch Cookies, a new recipe for Christmas.

Precious time together!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sunday Cuteness!!

Yesterday was Maddie's first Sunday to church. She's all dressed up and ready to go!!

Can hardly wait to see her!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

An Interesting Morning

This morning I went to Wichita State University to participate in the Breast Cancer Decision Making Study. The study is directed by a graduate research assistant in the Psychology Department's Decision Making Research Lab.

Simply put, the scenario was that participants were given a hypothetical diagnosis of early breast cancer disease and through a series of patient videos and survey questions would choose either to treat by lumpectomy with radiation treatment or mastectomy. Follow-up questions were asked to determine the reasons for the decision. It was all very interesting. The data will be compiled, analyzed, and written up in a technical journal and will ultimately be printed in brochures and pamphlets used by doctors and other professionals. There were just three of us today, all assigned to a little cubicle with a MAC. Each had different information sets and videos, as will all of the 300 participants.

Over the years I've read of many different study groups, but never qualified as a participant. I've always thought it would be an interesting thing to do and I wasn't disappointed. It was stimulating to do something a little out of the norm - and hopefully make a tiny contribution to such an important topic.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Another Visit to Branson

We spent a week in Branson in mid-November. Lee, Tim, Rich study the map and discuss our route.

We hoped to get to Springfield, MO, by 4pm because we were going to eat an early dinner at Lambert's Cafe, home of the throwed rolls. We were a little late and had to wait as the place was P.A.C.K.E.D! Servers literally throw rolls across the dining room! Our seats were conveniently close.

This is a very fun place to eat, but go HUNGRY as portions are ginormous!

We spent and afternoon and evening at Silver Dollar City. For our non-local readers, let me introduce you to our friends. Leslie and Roger (she's an administrative assistant at a local care facility, he's in the paint department at a lawn mower manufacturing plant), Tim and Dorla (he's a retired farmer and equipment salesman, she does part-time home health care), Lee and Helen (he's a retired railroad man, she's retired administrative assistant). Since Helen is still recovering from knee replacement surgery, she rented a motor scooter - essential in getting around on the very hilly terrain! We are all friends from church and involved in various ministries.

We took in some wonderful shows. Some of us went to see SIX, six brothers who are wonderful! They make all their instrument music from their own voices - no background or recorded music accompanies. They are my new favorite group. They did some of their usual show, pop tunes, a Beach Boys set, and other great music then the second half was all Christmas. Fabulous!  Then we all went to Andy Williams' Christmas Show. He is 83 and was in great voice. He wears tennis shoes so he won't slip and fall, danced a little, had great acts who joined him, and put on a marvelous show. It was just like old times watching his TV specials!

Then our last day together, we went to see "Miracle of Christmas". This was produced by the same company who produces "Noah". Another marvelous show.

We loved the gorgeous red maple trees that stood outside our building!

Tim and Dorla, Lee and Helen left a couple of days before we did. On our last day we took Roger and Leslie to see Laura Ingalls Wilder's home. We toured the little musuem, watched a 10 minute film and then a very sweet docent led us on a tour through the "little house" than Almanzo built for Laura. Since Laura was just 4'11" everything about the house is "little"; height of kitchen counters, furniture, stair steps, etc.

They lived in a two room cabin while he built the house, starting with the kitchen, which you enter through the screened porch.  He built 1-2 rooms at a time, as funds would allow. It's a charming house on a wonderful piece of property.

This was a week filled with lots of good conversation, our own "church service" on Sunday, and too much food. It was a special time for Rich and me to get better acquainted with these dear people! Thanks to all of you for coming along with us!