Monday, September 28, 2009

How was your day?

During dinner tonight, I asked Jack something like, how was your day or what did you do today, and he answered. "-Annah (Hannah) fall down." How awesome is that! It's so fun to have conversations with him. To think that we're already having the "what did you do today" discussion. Of course, he didn't tell me what he did, preferring to tell me that one of his friends fell down, but it's still gosh darn cute!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Swim Lessons, Ghost Busting and Exhaustion

What a busy weekend! Jack started swim lessons on Saturday. We took him last year and planned to take him earlier this year but our family vacation took place during the spring/summer swim lessons. I admit that I was a little worried at first because Jack kept saying "no" to everything they suggested the parents and their children try. "Kick your feet." "No." "Blow bubbles." "No." Of course, by the end of the swim lesson he was having a great time and didn't want to leave.On Saturday afternoon, I met up with a paranormal group for an investigation. I am doing a story about ghost investigations for an upcoming story. The group investigated a house built in 1880 that has been in the same family for six generations. It's an amazing home. Unfortunately, I was concentrating on video recording so I didn't take very many stills.The family has an amazing history - one ancestor who fought in the War of 1812, another who was a Captain for the Union during the Civil War. The home was full of amazing antiques, including a chair bought at a presidential auction in Washington, D.C. The chair belonged to Andrew Jackson.

We were given a tour by a relative and later, after the paranormal group had their cameras set up, another relative offered to drive us to the family cemetery. He also took us to a cemetery where slaves and freed blacks were buried.One of the relatives, a gentleman in his 60's, says he is a believer, meaning he thinks ghosts exist. He has seen images of past relatives in the house. Fortunately or unfortunately, I did not see a ghost or any strange lights in the house during the investigation. One person in the group likened an investigation to watching grass grow, meaning, it can be very boring.Ghost hunters are demanding. Most of the investigation consisted of sitting in a dark room with audio recorders and asking the ghost to make a noise or an appearance. I think I have good hearing but didn't hear 3/4 of the knocks or clicks that the others did. There is also something where ghost hunters take mini radios, set them to AM radio and then let it scan. They then ask questions and see if any words pop out during the scan. For example, an "Are you here?" question is answered with a "Yes" on the radio.

While we were outside, waiting for the house to "settle down," I think I heard some female voices and I wasn't the only one who heard them. There were four ladies in the investigation. Two were sleeping in their cars at the time and the other lady and I didn't make the noises. Who knows. One person in the group had a strange anamoly in a picture taken at the cemetery. If she e-mails it to me, I'll post it in the future.

Look into the monkey's red eyes. Look into its red eyes! At 1 o'clock in the morning, you are getting very sleepy! :)What is amazing and somewhat sad about this house is that there are so many antiques and artifacts laying around the house. The dresses are falling apart. And there are family papers, art and antique furniture collecting dust in the attic. The house is beautiful though. It is amazing that it still exists.Some interesting/funny things. The Leroy Van Dyke family reunion had taken a tour of the house earlier that day. A tourist at some point in the house's history, wrote "REDRUM" in a mirror in the attic. Funny, but still a little creepy when it's dark at night.

We were blessed. The relatives and caretaker of the house were extremely nice. I was also fortunate that the investigative group let me be a part of their group for the night. Being in a dark room and asking a spirit to show up is kind of fun. However, I was happy to get back home.We saw my folks today and attended a Knights of Columbus fish fry. Jack was happy to see his cousins and also took a ride on a Diego Razor with my help. He couldn't push the razor with his legs but he sure enjoyed the ride.I made mom take this next picture. I thought the leaf imprints in the sidewalk were neat. It almost looks like a painting.I operated on only three hours of sleep today. Amazing. And not a sip of caffeine. But I'm exhausted now. It's time for bed. I hope you had a nice weekend!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Carnival Fun

Last night, Jack and I headed to his birth mom's hometown. Every year, their high school has a carnival to raise money for the yearbook. (The school will not allow the kids to sell ads.) They also crown a carnival princess and Jack's aunt was one of the four young women up for the honor. The carnival consisted of lots of fun games for the kids to enjoy. Of course, the little kid inside of me couldn't wait to play the dart and hoop game along with Jack's great grandma. (They were out of cakes at the cake walk when we arrived. Bummer.) This allowed Jack's birthmom plenty of time to introduce him to her friends.

We also saw great grandpa who is out of the hospital. Unfortunately, Jack's aunt did not win, but that means she can be up for homecoming. So, we hope some other royal title will be bestowed upon her at a later date. I scored a sequined crown from one of Jack's uncles. Jack is still too young to be horrified and embarrassed by my weirdness. Also, he had a sucker in his mouth so he was happy at the time.The town and school are very cute, fairly small with a charming hometown feel. The school even had a spotlight for the ceremonies (see below). Since I'm from a small town myself, I was eating all this up, having a really good time.This is a picture of Jack's aunt's back. Either her nails or hugs from well wishers created this torture. She had on fake nails for the occasion so I bet she did most of this herself. Looks painful but she was in good spirits even when she discovered that she hadn't won the title. She was so beautiful.A really horrible story about last night. We rode back to our car in Jack's great grandma's car. We took all of our stuff out, I closed the back door and started heading to my car with his grandma and uncle. Well, somehow, I slammed grandpa's fingers in the door. Not sure how that happened since he was sitting in front, but I felt horrible and embarrassed. I thought, of all things, grandpa doesn't need more pain. Also, he is having surgery on his leg next week.

*As always, these pictures are published with permission from Jack's birth mother.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Weekend in Review

What a nice long weekend! Do I really have to return to work tomorrow? We spent most of the weekend at mom and dad's house. On Sunday, we went to a parish picnic where we ate way too much.Jack enjoyed the cupcake.I snapped this great shot of the cousins in a little toy house.We actually saw Jack's birth mom and his great grandma at the picnic. It was nice to see them. I would have taken some pictures of the three of them if Jack hadn't been such a clingon with me. We learned that great grandpa is getting better all the time. We hope to see him soon.

We visited my grandparents which means we went to the cemetary. There was a guy playing a banjo across the street which was neat. Mike said the man must have been serenading souls to heaven.Trees line the road leading to the cemetary and it brings to mind a long, southern road leading to a mansion. It is a beautiful sight considering it's a cemetary.Some good old-fashioned tree scratching! Not sure what those boys were thinking.Of course, no parish picnic would be complete without porta potties and a tent compliments of a local funeral home.We saw my brother who only makes it home several times a year. He and my mom made cheesecake! We all enjoyed the fruits of their labor.My niece is in kindergarten and has a habit of raising her hand when she wants to say something now. It's pretty cute.Jack's artwork.Mike and Garrett.Jack and Grandpa.We went to the Maramec Spring Park today. It was beautiful although my pictures won't do the place justice. Also, the sun didn't pop up until we were almost ready to go home which was probably a good thing since it warmed up in the afternoon.The cousins enjoyed feeding the fish - lots of trout!We stopped at Burger King on the way home. We ate like kings.And we ended the evening with hot dogs on the grill and roasted marshmallows. Yum! We also enjoyed a ride on "Poppo's" tractor.