Archive for Family

From Ancestors to Descendants

alex.jpgToday is the fifth anniversary of the birth of our eldest Great Grandchild and the first Great Grandson, Alex. Happy Fifth Birthday to Alex and many happy returns.

That’s a recent photo of Alex at the right, nearing his fifth birthday and like all boys that age showing some maturity (his pose) and some less mature dirt on his face, typical of most normal five year old boys. Alex, his cousin Maci and brother Mikey were on a park outing when this photo was taken.

The three kids I mentioned are our three great grandchildren aged 5, 3 and 2, respectively. The kids live in the Santa Rosa area of California with their mothers, our eldest two granddaughters.

Our eldest granddaughter is the mother of the two boys aged 5 and 2. The second eldest granddaughter is the mom to our only great granddaughter (at this time).

As we watch these kids grow up at a seemingly accelerated pace, we realize that we are growing older at the same rate. We further realize that our youngest descendants are rapidly maturing to become parents themselves in years to come. We can only hope that we might still be around to see the beginning of that next generation.

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Celebrating Our Irish Heritage

stpaddyvb.png

Damsel’s sister is an Ancestry addict, having traced not only her roots, but also those of mine, and many of her other in-laws. Thanks to her, we were able to look back in our family tree to establish that, indeed, there were Irish ancestors in both Damsel’s and my lineage. In both cases, we have to go back quite a few generations to actually find someone who lived on the Emerald Isles.

Damsel’s birth surname is quite Irish-sounding, while mine is more of English derivation. In both cases, we each trace to that region of Europe with some Dutch showing up in my ancestry (e.g. Van Patten, Van Slyck). Damsel has some Native American in the Oklahoma region up her tree.

Regardless of our actual heritage, we’re both Irish today as we settle in to enjoy a traditional (to Irish Americans) Corned Beef and Cabbage boiled dinner this afternoon. We hope that you are enjoying the day as well, Irish or not.

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Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving 2016

We’re going to put a turkey breast in the smoker this morning which will be the entrée for our Thanksgiving dinner. We know that we are blessed on this day and others by the grace of God. May He bless you and yours on this day of thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Mikey Turns One

Boys and the Alphabet Train

Our youngest great grandchild, Mikey, had his first birthday yesterday. We sent him a birthday package via USPS and our granddaughter took this picture of him playing with his new toy set. It is a V-Tech Sit to Stand Alphabet Train. Here’s the detail on the educational toy:

  • Push toy is designed to grow with your child; the toy train can be used as a floor toy, a ride on that also transforms into a baby walker or a pull toy wagon they can fill with toys
  • Learning toy comes with 10 activities including a storybook, clock, gears; 13 double-sided alphabet blocks build fine motor skills and introduce letters, numbers, colors and more
  • For toddler role-play toy fun, the included Walkie-Talkie and number pad encourage role-play and introduce numbers and animals; counting toy plays more than 100 songs, melodies, sounds and phrases
  • Toy train counts the alphabet blocks when they’re dropped down the chute; kids story book teaches sing-along songs and plays melodies
  • Educational toy is intended for toddlers ages 1 to 3 years old

Anna, our eldest granddaughter and mother of the boys, sent us the above photo of Mikey and older brother Alex with the train toy. She also sent a video of Mikey putting blocks in the top of the toy and it responds by playing sounds and music. Damsel and I both got a kick out of that.

Thank God for our being able to see the kids as they grow up via electronic media.

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Lifestyle Change - Diet in Particular

Chicken over Cauliflower Rice

Ever since Damsel retired about 20 years ago, we have enjoyed preparing delicious meals on the weekends. She runs the kitchen while I run the smoker and grill. Occasionally, I help in the kitchen (sous chef role) with meat cutting and grinding or with shredding cheese and other kitchen helper labors of love. Thus far, we have been able to prepare just about anything we see in a recipe or on the TV cooking and food channels or on internet social media.

A few weeks ago, Damsel went for her regular annual session with the family doctor. He checked her over and pronounced all the vitals to be within limits - however, he wanted her to get some routine blood work done. Her initial report was that triglycerides were a bit too high and the doctor prescribed another more specific blood test. The results from that test indicated a marginally high blood glucose level, also known as pre-diabetes.

The doctor’s advice was to change her diet to cut down on carbohydrate intake. Well, damn! just about all of our favorite foods are laden with carbs. We did some research on low-carb diets and actually found some literature on understanding the pre-diabetic condition and preparing meals with low carbohydrate counts. We also found other sites with recipes and information, one of which had the photo above of a “Garlic Butter Chicken with Parmesan Cauliflower Rice” recipe. It looks pretty good, no?

So, we’re both going on a low-carb diet. No more potatoes (and most other starchy root veggies), pasta ( :( ), bread, pastries. fruit and a host of other goodies with high carbohydrate content. The only good news is that un-prepared meats of all kinds have zero carbs. Her diet will be to reduce blood sugar and mine will be to lose the 15-20 lbs that the doc has suggested.

Between a couple of low-carb cookbooks and websites like the one linked above, we should be able to prepare delicious food for our diets. In any event, we will not be denied wholesome, tasty meals just because of reduced carbs.

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Alex Turns Four

Alex Turns Four

Our eldest great grandchild, Alex, had his fourth birthday today. We sent him a birthday package via USPS and our granddaughter took these pictures of him opening his gifts. They live in Northern California.

He is at an age where he understands the concepts of birthday and who sent him presents. His mother says he really liked our presents.

The gifts were a Fire Tablet and Headphones. The interactive nature of the tablet should help him learn things as well as him playing games on it.

We have three great grandchildren now. Alex, his little brother, Mikey, and Maci, our great granddaughter whose mother is the second eldest of out three grandchildren. Maci will be two in April and Mikey celebrates his first birthday in November.

Our grandson, Jerry, just turned three in August. Jerry also got a Fire Tablet and Headphones. We were able to give Jerry his gifts in person, since his parents visited us here in Arizona in August.

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We’re Underway Again

Carson City

After our now completed four week mission with family in K-stan, we are finally back on the move and are camping in Carson City, NV for a couple of nights. As I mentioned before, the return trip will be at a bit of a more leisurely pace and staying for more than one night at each stop.

Our route today was a scenic one, driving over the Sierra Nevada Range from Stockton to Carson City. We started with a short trip up CA 99 to pick up CA 88 going northeastward. The scenery rapidly changed from suburban to agricultural to rolling foothills and then the mountains.

Kit Carson Pass crests at an elevation of 8574 feet MSL. Even though it is well into the spring season, there was plenty of snow on the mountains and a couple of the alpine lakes were still mostly frozen. The Carson River flowing down the east side of the pass was moving rapidly with plenty of white water from the spring thaw.

We’re going to do some souvenir shopping at the Casino across the road tomorrow and maybe bring a take-out dinner back to the RV afterwards. We are going to meander southward on the next lags of the trip and will likely be back home in a week.

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