Thursday, June 30, 2011

Norah Grace Arrives at 6:38 P.M.

Just making sure everything is OK. 

Mother and daughter each trying to teach the other.  This will continue for at least the next 20 years.

Three generations.

Weigh in time.

Brand new.  Amazing.

First documentation.

The waiting room.  They change in style through the decades, but the feelings and emotions contained remain the same.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Norah Grace Shepherd

We got the call on early Sunday around 8:00 am that Kenzie and Drew were enroute to Bayfront Baby Place. In order to get from their house to the hospital you have to cross 1st Avenue, which, on this Sunday was hosting a bike run. At this street Drew popped out of the car and said they needed to cross the street since because a lady in the car is in labor. A cop guarding the intersection yelled over to a fireman and he loaded them up in his truck and off they went to bayfront.

View from the birthing room.

Mother and Drew pacing.  Drew is mugging for the camera, I hope.

Monitor reading baby heartbeats and mother's contractions (convulsions). 

Thankfully we had Ray's baseball to watch.

Area where baby will be swabbed, weighed and officially documented.

Norah's first birthday card.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Norah Will Soon Arrive

Mackenzie is, at this time, smack dab in the middle of her due date range which was April 24-29th. These pics were taken on Saturday the 30th.   We went to Farmer's Market, then over to Central Avenue Oyster Bar for lunch.  We took them home where we were able to see their new back patio.     

She had no idea that in about 6 hours she would begin labor.

She'd never again know a truly stress-free day.

OKay, hold it, hold it...

She also showed us a trick she perfected that all pregnant mothers learn.  Their child serves as a coffee table. 

And so we left them to enjoy the rest of their Saturday, and tomorrow awaits a new family member to begin their journey together.  In a few short hours labor would commence and Sunday would usher in the world's newest arrival.

Monday, June 27, 2011

All Norah - All Week

There are not a lot of occasions that warrant all week posts.  The new arrival of a member of the family warrants such treatment.  There hasn't been a new birth since Alhanna Jade in 2005.  
Therefore, with much fanfare and circumstance, this week will be devoted to Norah Grace who was born on May 1st, 2011.  Mugshot Mondays and Flashback Fridays will return next week.  

Mackenzie's Last Stress-Free Weekend

Mackenzie had her last half weekend before joining the Mother's Club.  It was a nice Saturday and we decided the Farmer's Market would be a nice way to spend the day.  We got there late so people were few and vendors were packing.   

                               Cutout featuring the soon-to-be new parents.

When your sign says "Worlds Best Pineapple" it had better be good.  From the reports I received there was some thievery of one of the pineapples.  And, so says my source, it was delicious.

Watching the pineapple coring, peeling, slicing and packaging process.  Oh, and the sign to the left says, "College Funds".  Down here it makes no difference if you serve or not, everyone has a tip jar, even at DQ. 

Something's afoot.  The start of the "Purloined Pineapple Purchase".

The next day, the US Seal Team 6 turned Osama Bin Laden into chum, and Kenzie and Drew celebrated the birth of Norah Grace.  

Friday, June 24, 2011

Flashback Friday

The old house in Galesburg with its stately lines and 19th century glory (and problems) had no backyard with any features when we bought it.  Conceived in ignorance and maintained with flagging strength and decreased motivation, it ended up with three ponds, massive flower beds and was truly something to wonder (and wander) at.


Birdbath, a unique fence, annuals, perennials, and bushes of every time and flavor.

Cobblestones guided your journey.

A cement park bench to sit and gaze.

The pond deck built by me and the huge deep pond dug by me as well.  I may have had a little help but since its my story, I did most of the work.  Hidden beneath the decking steps was the filtering system that had to be cleaned every 2nd or 3rd week.  The filter was built by Dave Makeever, Harley rider and neighbor extraordinaire.

Even with its hassle, this was a paradise.  You can see the pergola covering the back patio.  Man oh man, we sure put a lot of time, money and pleasant hours in the back yard. 

Cleaning the filter.

Our beautiful koi, especially Gus...hungry Gus.  The frogs that would come to mate with their deafening noise in the Spring were welcomed by me, but not so appreciated by others in the family.

It was here that Missy saw the moon one evening and barked her little head off.  It never happened again, but for that one time it sure was funny.  It was the only time she ever looked up I guess.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Croquet Club?

We ran into this white shirt and short clad group standing around and sipping something. There were a few people who went over in a quad area and played croquet. If I didn't know it I'd say it was a family group that played croquet in white clothes. Wimpy? Yuppish? No football for these cats. Maybe they were English and prone to wimpy sports? Jolly good, what?

I say, Charles, did you happen to see the Royal wedding?  I say! Good show, what what.

"And then son, you take this mallet and gently tap the ball to gently tap the other ball over there."

It's the manly sport of croquet, passed down from wimpy father to wimpy son.

Oh, let me take your picture, you look so splendid in your whites.

OK, ready?  Say "Queen Mum".


              And son,  no football or baseball for you.  Those people are just brutish.
Croquet is an honorable sport.  A sport of Kings.  And where else can you tap a ball and then help yourself to a spot of tea.

Apologies to my English readers.  Karen?  RB, you guys do this over there in Merry Olde England? 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Blog Milestone

This marks the 1000th post in this blog.  Yeah, it sounds a little self-congratulatory, but as these things go, it is a bit of a milestone.  We started out with 2 or 3 entries each day and when that proved to be too much work we scaled back to a single entry Monday through Friday.  Existing in BFE was also originally a way to communicate with the family in Florida but has since evolved into a "dear diary" kind of thing mostly for myself.  I don't know if friends read it although I am pretty sure there is a fellow in BFE who keeps up on it fairly regularly.  I know this because when I take a few days off he sends an email reaming me out for laziness.  Other than that I don't think we have much of a following.  Heck, even people in the family don't read it. 
Even when I have thoughts of ending it, I find something else interesting, or at least I do, and have to tell someone. So we continue with this (until we don't, I guess) and, with patience and incredible fortitude on both our parts, will reach our 2000th post sometime in 2014.  As always feel free to leave comments and suggestions.  I'll continue to lug around my camera and surf the net for interesting sights and happenings, because the blog is always hungry and must be fed. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Mystery On 1st Avenue

We were heading back to Brandywine from downtown last weekend (April 30) and spotted these old busses parked along the road. I mentioned that it was certainly unusual to see three 50's-60's style busses. We stopped and checked them out and discovered they were not restored, and in fact, seemed to be working and serving as busses. They were licensed in California.

The first and last were unconventional 6 wheelers, and the middle was a 4-wheeled bus.

Looking like ghosts from the past lined up ready to take kids home from school.

The maker was Crown.  That's a California license, new not a vintage plate. 

Nobody was around when I took these and there were no restaurants nearby.

Dirty and not a restored bus.   

A quick check with Wikipedia found this entry for Crown Coach Company:

Crown Coach was the creator of the original large, flat nose (cab-forward transit style or "Type D"), high capacity school bus. Their first example appeared in 1932. That vehicle still exists today. Beginning as a wagon builder, and shortly thereafter a motorized truck body outfitter, Crown expanded into passenger vehicles which then became its main focus. Working with Tanner Grey Line of Los Angeles, Crown designed the well-known Art Deco coach that eventually led to a school coach using unibody construction, mid-ship underfloor mounted commercial truck engines (often by Detroit Diesel or Cummins; a handful of them had Caterpillar engines) and off-the-shelf Class 8 truck parts, which made them economical to operate. Starting with steel skins, Crown later switched to rust-resistant aluminum panels.

Crown's Supercoach school buses were known for strength and durability, built of 90,000 psi steel, with an expected service life of 20 years. This became a factor contributing to Crown's shutdown in 1991, because competitors produced less expensive buses made of 45,000 psi steel. The service life of the average school bus today is approximately ten years. There are many Crown buses over 20 years old still plying the roads of California, and in private use as converted coaches. Many Crown buses, retired by school districts in the U.S., continue to serve in Mexico as local transit buses, private charters, and even cross-country tour coaches.

So, these busses are probably still in operation but why the California plates?  Why no school insiginia on the sides?  Why no one around to guard the busses?  Why on 1st Avenue where there are no schools?   It is a mystery that we'll likely never solve since the busses were gone the next day.  But for a brief period of time drivers must have been transported back in time when these beasts were all the rage in California taking boomers home from school.