Catching Up With Family

Jernigan Land

Friday, march 23rd

After setting up the RV at the “Campbell Campground RV Resort”, (Thank you Mike and Patty for letting us park in your driveway for 17 days!) we notice how gritty the car and RV are. I mean they are covered in soot from the salted, snowy roads of Interstate 70. It’s disgusting to even grab the door handles.

We pop in to see David. Then we make a quick run to the grocery store before stopping in to say Hi 👋 to Andy, Daisy, Emjay, Jasley, Jace, and Eliska. It gets crazy in Jernigan Land because we want to spend time with everyone at once, and even though David and Andy live only 10-15 minutes apart, we have to make plans around busy schedules.

We scheduled our visit around the grandchildren’s Spring Break and spend time playing tag at the school’s 3 playgrounds, a short walk from home. Of course I take videos of the girls’ climbing stunts. But Jace prefers to pose and smile.

While Daisy and Andy go out on a movie date, Jeff and I stay with the kids. Uncle David sends us with the movie Jumanji, but the kids are too active to sit still and watch a movie. They would rather be outside running around or inside jumping around and playing lava monster, a variation of tag where your feet cannot touch the floor.

One morning we wake up to a winter wonderland.

But by afternoon the snow is all gone, so typical of Denver weather.

Patty and I take some “us” time and she gets a pedicure while I get a manicure.

David, Jeff, and I watch The Shape Of Water, this year’s Oscar winner for Best Picture. We all agree the cinematography is beautiful; the scenes are color-enhanced in teals, greens, and reds. The acting is good. The early 1960’s setting is authentic. But the movie itself leaves us wondering why it won the Oscar.

Jasley and Emjay return to school after Spring Break but the twins’ have an extra week off because their preschool teachers have 5 days of inservice.

While I am visiting my family in Ohio, Jeff goes with Andy and the kiddos to the Denver Zoo and Lollipop Park, an indoor children’s amusement park. Of course, most of the time he just plays with them outside or at the school playground.

Patty and Mike fly to Orlando for a getaway and Jeff spends time with David, watching the first season of Westworld, some mixed martial arts fights, going out to lunch, and cooking dinner.


Kelly Land aka Ollie and Reagan Land

Wednesday, March 28th

I fly out to Columbus, Ohio to visit with Brian, Jen, Oliver, Reagan, and Jen’s family. Reagan is almost 6 months old now and OMJeepers how she has grown… almost crawling, almost sitting up, and always quick to smile.

Oliver’s 3rd Birthday takes place at Piccadilly, an indoor play area and cafe. Brian and I decorate a cake, well I just offer moral support after researching how to “draw” Daniel Tiger’s face.

Family and friends gather and play and eat. Oliver is so happy to see Ben and Lola from his former Day Care. He and Ben fall to the floor hugging each other.

Brian and Jen request no presents but of course the family can’t resist… a bike, puzzles, a basketball hoop, dress-up clothes, a soccer ball, a set of carpenter tools, and clothes…

Jen and Brian have a new stone patio. They’ve been waiting a long time to start remodeling their house.

The steps to the kitchen door have been removed and a new door will be installed where the bay window now stands. You can see the steps are already there.

Make sure you notice the absence of gumballs lying on the ground. The tree above is covered with these nasty little prickly things. I spend several hours picking up all that have fallen. Unfortunately the next day the ground is covered again. When my son John visited in January he also attacked the gumballs.

Speaking of John, he is now living in a cottage in the countryside of Ireland, not far from the Atlantic Ocean. Outside his humble abode cows and lambs stop over for a visit.

And my other son, Andy, has just moved to London. After a glorious day walking the countryside with his dog, who has just arrived from Minneapolis, Andy wakes up the next morning and has to rush Dewey in a cab to a veterinary hospital. It’s touch and go for several days but Dewey pulls through and returns home to “Dad.” Stay healthy Dewey, you gave us all a big scare.

Jen’s Mom and I go out to lunch. Oliver calls her Mawga and I am Grammy L, or sometimes just L.

The twins arrive… 2 girls!… Leah and Lydia. Congratulations, Julie and Brad and big brother Caleb. We visit them in the hospital and of course I leave my phone back at the house so I don’t have any pictures. Julie is Jen’s sister.

Meanwhile, Oliver enjoys putting puzzles together, reading books, sliding down his tumbling mats, singing, playing basketball, and playing with his new Duplo LEGO horse ranch set. He and I take our horses and riders around the house yelling, “Neigh!”, only stopping to give the horses water and hay. Oliver also serves me up some apple soup with the tiny shovel from the building block set.

Oh, did I forget to mention that he also likes to eat?

Faelan celebrates his 10th Birthday on April 7th.

We spend my last day at a dance competition. Jen’s other sister, Jess, owns a dance studio and has several students participating.  Then Brian takes us to his office. Later, after Oliver and Reagan, well actually all of us wake up from naps, the family goes swimming.

My plane leaves at 7 AM the next morning.


Back in Colorado

Monday, April 9th

I arrive in Denver before 10 AM. We move the RV to Cherry Creek Park for our last 2 nights so we can dump the black tank and do laundry.

Jeff, David, and I go out to dinner at Famous Dave’s BBQ.

Our last evening we spend with the kids. Jeff and Eliska make macaroni and cheese.

Jace plays with his cars, watches cartoons, and plays on his Kindle.

Then Jeff and I take Jasley and Emjay to Skate City which is reserved for Emjay’s middle school. The girls take off so fast, it’s really hard to get a focused picture of them.

They skate for 2 hours, stopping only to grab some nachos, a hot dog, chips, and sodas. Jasley falls asleep in the car ride home. Emjay’s eyes are all red and watery from the air rushing at her as she whizzes across the skating rink. Both girls agree they will be sore tomorrow.

Speaking about tomorrow,  we hit the road again as we head to Port Orford, Oregon.

Bye Everyone, we love you! Thank you for all the good times.

Columbus, Ohio

We spend an evening with Jeff’s sister, Jan, in Indianapolis. Bob and Jan bought a small camper that they park at Heartland RV Resort  in Greenfield, Indiana for the summer season.

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We were able to find space here as well, so Jan joined us after work on Friday, August 18th. She is a manager and sommelier (wine steward) at a restaurant in Indianapolis.

Saturday we arrive in Delaware, Ohio, north of Columbus and about 30 minutes from Ollie Land, where we spend the next 9 nights at Alum Creek State Park. (I should say Jeff spends the nights here. I stay at Ollie’s for 4 of those nights.)

Alum Creek State Park

Behind the RV, a path leads to a trail.

The summer wildflowers are beautiful but the humidity and biting bugs are unbearable.

 

Ollie and his dad (my son, Brian) drive me back to the RV on Sunday and stay for a quick cookout.

Hot!
…the fire and the outside temperature!

We stay inside the RV where the air conditioning provides comfort.

Oliver is not sure what to make of our home on wheels. And he hasn’t napped all weekend, so he is not a happy camper…

His po’d look…

But then he starts coming around…

 

And I manage to get the start of a smile…

Now he’s a happy camper!

His surprised face…
Peek-a-boo!
Pinching his nose…
Counting his fingers…
Tickling his knees…
Making a happy face!

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O…

 O is for Oliver and Ohio

I flew to Columbus, OH on March 29th for my grandson’s 2nd birthday. My son, Brian, and daughter-in-law, Jen, and I had been planning Oliver’s party long distance.

After discussing various themes, Jen and Brian settled on the Alphabet. Oliver really enjoys books. He chooses his favorites and brings them to you. Then he turns around and settles himself in your lap so that you can read them together.

But recently Oliver has discovered the letters of the alphabet. Amazingly so, he can identify both upper case and lower case letters!

So, his birthday theme started to take shape.


The brunch menu centered around the letters of his name…

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Orange juice

Lemon scones

Idaho herbed potatoes and tomatoes

Vanilla waffles and a Veggie side of asparagus

Eggs

Rashers, aka, bacon


The decorations were easy… ABCs everywhere!

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Ollie woke up to a paradise of letters. You would have thought he had won the lottery! He pointed, laughed, covered his face with his hands in disbelief, and started identifying all the letters on the walls.


The guests started arriving:

  • Opa, Mimi, and Aunt KeKe (Brian’s Dad, Step-Mother, and Step-Sister)
  • Aunt Julie and Cousin Caleb (Jen’s sister and nephew)
  • Grandma and Grandpa (Jen’s parents)
  • Aunt Jessica and Uncle Steve (Jen’s sister and her husband)

Grammy L (me) and Uncle Andy (Brian’s brother) were already there since we both flew in from out of town.

Unfortunately some of the family could not attend Oliver’s 2nd birthday bash. Uncle Brad (Julie’s husband and Caleb’s Dad) had to work as fireman/EMT responder. Papa Jeff was back in California taking care of our dogs, Casey and Murph. Uncle John and Aunt Amanda (Brian’s brother and sister-in-law) had moved to Dublin, Ireland. Funkle Tim and Thom (my brother and brother-in-law) couldn’t drive in from Warren, Ohio.


We visited, ate, and played a game of sorts… Each guest answered 15 multiple choice questions about OUR ONE and ONLY OLIVER. Did you notice the alphabet alliteration here?

The winner, Aunt KeKe, received a recent 4×6 candid photo of Oliver in a magnetic pouch to display on the refrigerator. But of course no one went home empty handed. Each family unit received a set of magnetic ABCs!


Then Oliver, with Mom’s help, opened his gifts. Ooohh, he kept saying!

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He even looked at his cards with Mom… so precious. At one point he walked over to Caleb to share a gift with his cousin. And then when Oliver started clapping his hands, everyone roared with laughter.

Clothes, toys, first games, a zoo membership, shoes, plush “animals” from books, a mint collection of coins, alphabet cards and books… No doubt about it… This munchkin boy loves books!

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Finally, Oliver had one last gift to open. Another shirt… yeah! But Ollie wasn’t paying attention. And I have to admit, neither were the rest of us until we read the message on the shirt.

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That’s right! Brian and Jen are expecting their second child, due to arrive the beginning of October! What a surprise to all of us and what a clever way to announce it to the family!

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I captured some cute moments at the party…

…Spending time on Uncle Andy’s lap, reading books and pointing to his head when he sees a hat. (Even after Andy left, whenever he saw these pictures he exclaimed, “That’s Andy!”)

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…Ollie cuddling with Thidwick, the big-hearted Moose, and Little Critter. (Later he strapped these onto his John Deere riding toy and pushed them around the house!)

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…Reading with Grandpa. (Look at those big smiles of joy!)

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…Dad, Mom, and Ollie reading the book from Aunt Amanda and Uncle John, O is All Over. (John wrote and published this book!)

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Happy birthday, Oliver! You are Loved!

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Back in California

image Lake Elsinore

Either you are wondering why my newest posts are still back in early September or you haven’t taken notice. For friends and family who know me well, you understand my need to research and add factoids to my posts from the road. I mean, if I am so awed at our country’s natural wonders, maybe you are too! But if my back-posting frustrates you, let me bring you up to date in real time…

On September 22nd we arrived in Jernigan Land in Colorado and spent 13 nights there. Jeff bonded with his sons, David and Andy. We watched Emjay, Jasley, Jace, and Eliska twice so Andy and Daisy could have a date-night. And we had so much fun taking the big girls to swimming lessons at Dolphinz!

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(Sorry Emjay, I was too busy having fun playing chess and watching you create spaces on MineCraft to take a picture.)

We left Wednesday, October 5th, after another locked-in, locked-out episode with our newly replaced RV lock. We had to pay a locksmith to break the lock and screen door and dent the outer door. Then we ordered a new lock and waited 2 extra days to have it delivered. I will spare you the details now, but you know I am writing a letter to Forest River!

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Jeff and I arrived back in Lake Elsinore on October 10th. After looking for other RV spots, we opted to return to Lake Elsinore West Marina for the winter. Our site, #124, is a corner lot with sweet views of the lake.

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The picture below is from our inside kitchen table window.

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Within 2 days Jeff found a temp agency and worked at a motor-cross event and was scheduled for banquet serving at the Pechanga Casino in Temecula.

On October18th I flew to Cincinnati to spend a week with my BFF, Marylee, and her so cute dog, Tinkerbell. I met, held, and loved on her almost 6 month-old granddaughter, Ellie.

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We laughed, cooked, laughed, walked, laughed, relaxed, and laughed some more until we departed. I miss her so much!!!!!!

Marylee drove me halfway to Columbus where my daughter-in-law’s Mom, Susie, picked me up for the rest of the ride to Bexley. Grandma and Grammy L picked up Ollie from his Day Care. Oliver wasn’t sure about me yet.

I spent 11 happy days in Bexley. Ollie got used to me and remembered me.

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Brian and I got haircuts at Great Clips.

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We stayed up watching the World Series, rooting for the Indians and pantomiming our joy when they scored as Oliver was sleeping. Eventually we opted for going to bed as the Series continued to disappoint us.

Ollie had a play date with Amelia who lives down the street.

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Ollie, Mom, Dad, cousin Caleb, Aunt Julie, and Uncle Brad went trick-or-treating.

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I spent 2 days with Jen’s Mom, Susie, tracing and cutting patterns while she sewed incredible costumes for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz performed by the Artisan Ballet Company. Jen’s sister, Jessica, is owner, teacher, and creative director of the Artisan dance studio where dance is for everybody and every body. I attended the opening night performance on the Saturday before I left. Wow! I enjoyed every moment and am so proud of Jessica!

I took Faelan on long walks and won 2 games of Sorry in a row!! Brian and I took Ollie to the zoo.

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On November 6th I flew from Columbus to Denver on Frontier Airlines before realizing that I had an 8 hour layover there! 8 hours! Yep!

Jeff’s son, David, his Mom, Patty, and his service dog, Ruby, drove out to meet me for lunch at the airport. Always great to see them and be in Jernigan Land again!

After going through security again I discovered my iPad was missing. Panic set in! A security guard directed me to the Info Center on each level of the concourses. The first one I went to told me to wait 24 hours and gave me a number to call. I called the number anyway and could not reach a person, only a choice of numbers to press and, of course, my situation was not a menu option. The next security guard had me call TSA and told me the number the Info person gave me was not the best one to call. Finally, yet another security guard suggested I return to the main terminal and check TSA again because they are often too busy to really look for a misplaced item. Also Lost and Found was around the corner and I should check there too.

Found it! Can you believe it? A kind soul saw me leave it behind and he turned it in. “YES!,” as Oliver would exclaim.

One last time through security. I was becoming a regular. But, hey, do I know how to kill 8 hours or what?

A few facts about Frontier Airlines…

img_4655 Matthew Staver Bloomberg News

Besides having cute animals on the tails of the planes, each one with its own name, the flights are inexpensive and if you check in ahead of time, you apparently get the preferred TSA security line. At least that is what happened to me. I stood in a much shorter line, went through security without having to remove my shoes, and I didn’t have to succumb to the full-body x-ray machine. I just walked through a non-invasive portal.

But wait! My cheap flight began adding up. Having a seat cost extra. Only one personal item can be carried on for free. Carry-ons stowed in the overhead compartments cost an extra $35. Checked bags cost $30 for the first one and I paid $40 for the second one. (Since I had an 8 hour layover I opted not to lug around a carry-on. As it was, I did a poor job of keeping track of my personal item and iPad!) Beverages and snacks were not complimentary. Oh, and for the first time on an airplane I wanted to recline my seat and take a nap. No can do! The seats do not recline.

After a long day I boarded my plane to Lake Elsinore, just one more time zone to enter. The sunset above sea-level is beautiful! I tried to capture the deep orange contrasts on the horizon and the twinkling city lights below as I landed in Orange County, Santa Ana/John Wayne Airport.

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As I made my way to Baggage Claim, I descended some steps and recognized a pair of gray sneakers attached to khaki pants waiting for me. I was home again in Jeff’s arms!

I’m back walking again on my favorite River Walk route, out and back. My friend, Gene, who works for the city, recognized me, even without my red hair, and we greeted each other with a warm hug. My friend with the kidney transplant still walks everyday wearing dark gray sweat pants and a lighter gray hoodie no matter how warm the temperature. And the frail old man who drinks a large can of Budweiser for breakfast is still wandering around.

The Oregon Trail… Via Cincy and Indy

image Friends and Family…

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This is my week of hellos, goodbyes, joys, and sad farewells.

We stay overnight in Cincinnati at Miami White Water Forest Campground which we have all to ourselves. I should rephrase that to say, Jeff stays with the dogs by himself because after visiting our accountant and signing our tax forms, Jeff drops me off at Marylee’s and I spend the night with her and Tinkerbell.

60 Tinker in Ohio

We drink wine, order pizza, watch How to Get Away With Murder, and discuss her daughter’s upcoming baby shower. I don’t have time to see Missy or Ann though.

The next morning it’s another tearful goodbye only to be followed by another one later that same afternoon.


We head up to Indianapolis to see Jeff’s Dad and sister, Jan. S and H Campground is our site for the evening.

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Jan brings Joe Jernigan out to meet us in Greenfield, Indiana. This is the first time they have seen our RV. I give Jan the grand tour, but unfortunately Joe cannot navigate the steps to get a peek inside. True to form, Jeff’s Dad is ready to leave within half an hour. God bless him! Jeff comments to me that this may be the last time he sees his father. This really chokes me up!


Next we head to Andy Land in Minneapolis. But we make one stopover in Rock Cut, Illinois first.

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Ollie Land

image It’s so hard to say goodbye…

What a week for my little love-love boy! He started at a new day care, he had a birthday, he is eating lots of new finger foods, he is cutting several teeth, he is drinking goat’s milk, he is transitioning from a bottle to a straw, he is almost walking… And he got kicked out of his new day care on the second day! Well, not really, but it sounds funnier to describe it that way! He was crying a lot and Ms. Tacy called Brian as she suspected Ollie had a slight fever.

This was the Monday after his birthday weekend and Brian had scheduled the day off so he could sleep in and get some work done around the house. But Ollie had other plans for his Dad! Ollie was inconsolable and constipated and Brian needed Grammy L. So I went over to lend moral support and spent the night.

I returned again Saturday. Ollie was back! He was little love-love boy again. What fun I have playing with him!!!!!

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Later, Oliver joins us as Jen, Brian, and I play Sorry. He turns out to be our good luck charm as each one of us wins a game!


But Sunday comes all too soon. Papa Jeff arrives to take me back to the RV and it’s time for tearful goodbyes. I love my family so much!

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2 Dogs, 2 Adults, and 2 Days in a Small Car

image Funckles Tim and Thom

Thursday we take the RV in to Colerain RV in Alum Creek for a scheduled maintenance appointment. We made sure to make an appointment before leaving CA on March 17th. Since the RV is still under warranty we had a list of concerns and little issues that needed attention inside. Outside we wanted the roof inspected, the oil changed, and an exterior wash.

We arrive early in the morning to drop off the RV and take off for a 2 1/2 hour ride north to visit my brother Tim and his partner Thom.  It’s a gloomy day but their house is cozy, warm, and welcoming. The dogs get along well too!

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image Julie, Tim, and Max

image Casey and Murph

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Meanwhile we get a phone call from Colerain RV. They cannot get to our RV today. We have the option to spend the night in their lot but we opt out. It’s way too cold to be unplugged overnight! We are assured that our RV will be first in line for service tomorrow.

We return from Warren, pick up the RV, and return to Alum Creek State Park Campground, only to do this all over again on Friday.


Living in a Car

Soooooo… We spend the day in the car, a cold, wet day with 2 dogs, from 9:30 – 4:45!!!!!

We decide to sightsee so we checkout Sunbury, Ohio and walk around the village square. Jeff gets a McMuffin and we continue driving east until we get tired and turn around. We waste more time at Starbucks and back to McD’s for a bathroom break and hash browns for Jeff. We find a PNC bank and Jeff closes out his debit card account. He finds out he has $9! Since we have the dogs we take turns going to Great Clips to get haircuts. And then we go back to Colerain RV and check on the RV’s progress.

Guess what? They can’t finish all the work! I tell them to forget about the inside issues and just change the oil and wash the exterior. (The roof inspection only took 10 minutes and maybe another 15 for the UV rays protection.)

So, we go back to the campground and just sit in the car and wait for the phone call. It’s raining, it’s ugly out, and it’s cold. I watch an episode from Downtown Abbey on my iPad and Jeff plays Angry Birds on his phone.

Finally we pick up the RV and find out the oil got changed but the outside never got washed. So much for scheduling an appointment 3 1/2 weeks ago! Disgusted and frustrated, we are just happy to get out of the car.