Cabela’s with Donovan & Diana

Saturday, March 18

We were pleased¬†that they had a open day to celebrate Donovan’s 2017 birthday choice of things to do with us.

I wanted an updated photo of them – and Cerwin photobombed it! ūüôā

That’s better

We each went our own way – because we all shop differently. It makes shopping more enjoyable for everyone.

Me. I rarely shop in this store because I’d rather take pictures. (I did find some dried soup packs in the house wares area. I like to keep them on hand for quick, rainy day meals.)

My first stop was the huge aquarium.

Then I checked out the safari area.

It is amazing to stand next to the elephant.

I met Donovan and Diana when I was entering the whitetail exhibit – and they were leaving.

Can you find the cougar?

Deb, this one is for you.

Baby fawns are so little – and cute.

Housewares is relaxing and pretty.

We enjoyed a delicious supper at Cracker Barrel – Donovan’s choice.


On the way home I said to them, “Someday, when you are grandparents, you will understand why we work hard at doing creative things¬†that give us time with our grandchildren.” ūüôā

I know that it is much cooler to be with their young friends. But it blesses my heart to spend time with them and learn a bit more about their likes and dislikes – and their plans and dreams.

Thanks Donovan and Diana. We love you guys.

Enjoying Ian, Jared, & Jesse for a Week

Friday, March 3 through Saturday, March 11

Jesse arrived sick with a fever, but that was okay with me. Jere and Kristen needed to be on a plane early Saturday morning. It’s not the first time there was a sick child in our house. ūüôā

I kept Jere and Kristen updated during the day as his temperature came down and he began to feel better.

He mostly relaxed on Saturday morning while Cerwin took Ian and Jared to a movie at Penn Cinema that was promoted by Pro Dad. Jesse and I had tickets as well, but Jesse was still running a fever.

Waiting for the movie to start (cell phone photo by Cerwin)

Jesse was almost back to normal by Sunday. After church we went to Two Cousins for lunch.

We were surprised to see two other grandsons – Nate (checking cell phone) and Jordan (back to camera) – when we arrived at Two Cousins. They were enjoying lunch with friends.

After talking to them a bit, we went back to our table.

Garlic knots


Cerwin and I shared a cheese steak Stromboli.

The boys shared a cheese pizza.

The weekdays consisted of playing games on cell phones and doing homework.

Grandpa and Jared playing Othello.

Each school day I went to their house to get Jesse – just before 2:30. (Cerwin took them to the bus stop each morning.)

An hour later Ian and Jared’s bus came from the other direction. (Our place is in the woodlot just over the roof of the bus.)

It actually passes our house first, but it is a detailed process to have the bus stop at our place – and they only live a mile away.

Tanner – center on the couch – a friend of the boys spent most evenings with us. He lives about half way between us and Jere and Kristen’s place. Sometimes he rode bike, other times I stopped and brought him along after the boys were finished taking care of their¬†chickens.

Jesse gathering eggs.

The boys took care of their chickens after Ian and Jared got off the bus.


Ian taking care of the water container.


Ian told me to watch what happens when he pours leftover water into the hole in the ground (where the chickens are waiting). I expect they knows what’s coming.

They love playing in the muddy water.

A pretty pose

I think naked neck chickens are the ugliest chickens, but I understand they are nice to raise.


We had a great week with the boys. They are so easy to care for and very disciplined. One morning when I got up at 5:30, the boys were dressed and had already eaten breakfast, and Jesse’s lunch was packed.

We ate a lot of kid-friendly things like – hot dogs, pancakes, buttered noodles, pizza, milk shakes, corn dogs, and mozzarella sticks. ūüôā

Saying Goodbye To Lathan

Sunday, March 12

I rarely take pictures of the guys and gals who use our man cave, because I respect their privacy, but today I wanted a picture of these three friends because tomorrow Lathan leaves for the U.S. Army.

I wanted the picture for myself, but they gave me permission to post it here and on Facebook.

Josh (our grandson), Lathan, and Sam

They removed their hats when Cerwin and I prayed with them, so I thought you might like to see this view as well. ūüôā

Notice the man cave sign behind them. The room used to be our boys bedroom, then when we wanted a room for the grandchildren and their toys, we changed it to a toy room, then when they got older we added a TV and Xbox.

There is no door to the room and it is just off of our kitchen. It became a man cave about half a dozen years ago where our grandchildren could bring friends. I keep a list of those who use it – for prayer purposes – and just counted them. There are more than 50, plus many whose names I never got because they were only here once or twice.

I expect the lives of these three and their friendship will change in many ways during the next five years.

We will miss you, Lathan. Your parents taught you good manners and we appreciate your respect. We pray that God will bless you abundantly, and that you will grow mightily in your Christian life during your time in the military.

Spelling Bee

Kristen invited me to middle school at 8:30 am on Thursday to watch Jared in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade spelling bee.

Jared is in 6th grade.

First thing I had to do was stop by the office for a visitor pass.

The judges, officials, and teachers were checking to see if each student had arrived. If any had not arrived by the deadline time, there were substitutes.

Jared was #3 on the left side of the stage – with red sneakers.


Notice the dreaded bell on the desk in front of the middle judge.

The man who called the words and gave their descriptions.

Listening to his final instructions

Very easy words were used for the practice round.

Jared got: row

This round was to give them a feel of what would be happening and did not count.

When each student went to the podium, the next student in line stood up.

Jayden was the only other student I knew.

She is the daughter of Keith and Janelle Fahnestock.

Listening to a word being spelled.

Round 1:wear

Round 2: riddle

Round 3. Listening to Speller #1

Jared’s word was: elderly

Round 4 – Jared is next. His word was: bemused.

Round 5: thicket

Round 6: varsity

Round 7: epithets

This is when the words became difficult and all but four students were eliminated.

These four will go to the next level at Conestoga Valley Middle School later this month.

Jared was first and correctly spelled: burglarious.

The next three students missed their words.

To be the Manheim Central champion, Jared had to spell two more words.

  • If he missed, these four students would go through the same process again.

By now Kristen and I were quite nervous. Jared later told us that he was nervous too.

Neutron – he got it!

Catastrophic – he nailed it!

He’s Manheim Central’s¬†champ!

Jared with the officials.

With his proud grandma

With his very proud mama


Congratulations, Jared! Grandpa and I are anxious to see how you do in the next level at Conestoga Valley.

Going Back to Early November

Now that we are home – after¬†interrupting my regular posting to show you the wedding pictures – I will go back to when Jere and Kristen’s three youngest boys were with us for two weeks.1I went to their house each school evening to get the boys. Since they live only a mile away – and there are chickens to take care of, it is simpler than getting the bus driver to stop at our house. Jesse gets home about an hour earlier than Ian and Jared.

2-1I was at the house early one day so Jesse could begin taking care of the chickens. This one and the next were taken with my cell phone.

2-2Ian and Jared running toward us.

3-1They made a welcome home banner for their parents before going home on Saturday, November 5.


4This tree – in our yard – was especially pretty this year.



There’s a Wedding in Our Family Today!

I am interrupting my regular posting schedule to bring you an update on today’s¬†wedding of our granddaughter Elizabeth to Nsimba – especially for his family who cannot be here. These pictures are from yesterday, Friday, November 11.

dsc_0084Sarah putting a bow on a beautiful cactus

dsc_0091Abby steaming the wedding dress

dsc_0096Hannah preparing table decorations

dsc_0115Elizabeth and Nsimba working on songs with Damon

dsc_0178Wedding practice at the church. The room at the hotel was not available last night.

dsc_0184The room at the hotel was being prepared when we returned from wedding practice.

dsc_0185Stay tuned for more pictures tonight – following the afternoon wedding.

An Amazing Week with Ian, Jared, and Jesse

October 22-30

We have been in charge of caring for these three grandchildren many times during their lifetime, but none of them ever turned out quite like this time. ūüôā

jeres-boys-1I asked the boys (left to right: Jared, Jesse, and Ian) to pose for a picture this morning before church Рto send to their parents who are on a working/vacation in Chile.

jeres-boys-2Cerwin took this one while I was taking a cell phone picture for Jere and Kristen.

jeres-boys-3The early part of the week was fairly routine – like taking them to their house to feed and water the chickens and gather eggs.








jeres-boys-11We enjoyed the flowers Jere brought – along with the boys clothing, food, and schedule on Friday, October 21..



jeres-boys-14Jared and Ian sharpened their hunting skills by shooting BB pellets at pesky squirrels and blackbirds.

jeres-boys-15Jesse works on his reading skills a bit each day.

jeres-boys-16They had a lot of fun with our great-grandson, Anthony, (their cousin-once-removed) on Tuesday evening when Nate and Abby went out for supper with friends.

jeres-boys-17A cell phone picture to send to his grandma Diane in Maine. It is so much fun having him stay with us on occasion. He makes me smile – and sometimes laugh.


jeres-boys-19On Wednesday evening Jesse and I went to Manheim Central Middle School to pick up Ian after band practice. Jesse was playing a game on his Tablet.

jeres-boys-20I enjoyed the sky and fall beauty around me.

jeres-boys-21Band practice is over


jeres-boys-23On Thursday evening Jesse made buttered noodles and hot dogs for supper.

jeres-boys-24Jared created this design with magnets we keep for the children who visit us.


jeres-boys-26Jesse likes to make rows with the dominos.


jeres-boys-28He is quite satisfied with himself when it works and they all fall – like dominos should.

jeres-boys-29Ian likes to make anything he can fry in our new frying pan – eggs, chicken patties, and home fries.

Doesn’t that seem like a fairly ordinary week of caring for young boys?


The unusual part of our week began on Friday evening when we went to church for the beginning of our revival meetings. We went early for the prayer meeting that opened our ten-day series of meetings. Unbeknownst to us, it was during this prayer time that Jared knew it was time for him to make a decision to follow Jesus.

When prayer service was over, we went to the sanctuary and joined the others in singing. During the first song Jesse leaned over to me and whispered – I am feeling in my heart that Jesus wants me to make a decision to follow Him.

Because I wanted to make sure he knew what he was doing, I suggested that we call his parents when we got home from church.

Then when the sermon was over, and the visiting minister requested a song of invitation, Jesse was quite uncomfortable and asked me again if he could stand for Jesus. I told him that was up to him. About that time Jared stood to his feet to publically confess that he wanted to be a follower of Jesus.

Our congregation¬†believes that it is important to¬†make¬†a public decision when responding to the call of God in our lives in order to “put down a stake” in our¬†spiritual journey and tell others about our choice to follow Christ.

When he saw Jared stand to his feet, Jesse was quite uncomfortable, but I suggested that he should wait to talk to his parents. Oh, my, what a decision for a grandma.

jeres-boys-30After we got home they¬†called their parents in Chile – who were anxiously waiting for the call –¬†because Ian had texted them about Jared’s decision. This is when Jere and Kristen were praying with the boys. (I love modern technology.)

Ian made this decision on the same day – four years earlier.

Then I told them about Jesse’s desire to accept Jesus into his heart and told them it had nothing to do with Jared’s decision, but that God’s call to Jesse happened before Jared made his decision public.

They confirmed that Jesse knew what he was doing and encouraged him to publicly invite Christ into his heart.

jeres-boys-31Jesse made his¬†decision to follow Christ this morning during the morning worship service. (I apologize for the blurred cell phone picture. I only took one picture so I wouldn’t disturb the meeting with two of our preachers – Ron and David.)

Ron and David did a fabulous job of asking Jesse to read scripture and confirm his decision to follow Christ. The preachers who talked to Jared – in the same room were David and Jon (no picture). I was also impressed with the way in which they used this time to “put down a stake” in this early part of his walk with¬†Christ.

jeres-boys-32Cerwin took this picture of Jesse responding to one of Ron’s questions. Jared, Ian, and their sister, Jana, were also in the room.


My heart is bursting with joy and gratefulness to God for allowing us to be part of this experience for Jared and Jesse.


Enjoying Scum and a Birthday Party

Sunday, August 28

ians-birthday-1It was about the middle the afternoon on Sunday when I felt bored and called the boys to see if they wanted to play Scum. They were here within minutes. ūüôā

ians-birthday-2They didn’t know how to play but were fast learners. Jesse used barriers so he didn’t have to hold his cards. I think I should get some¬†card holders. (Just ordered a few from Amazon.)

I think Jesse was king more than anyone.

ians-birthday-3After a few games it was time¬†to go home for Ian’s birthday party.





ians-birthday-8It was shaped like the top of a bullet – the caliber he used to shoot his deer last year.







ians-birthday-15Jared forgot to get him a present so filled a container with….


Only a brother. ūüôā

ians-birthday-17His cards



ians-birthday-20I loved Allies card.



Visiting Rooster Street Butcher with Josiah

Saturday Evening, August 27

1Josiah heard about our visit to Rooster Street with Jordan, and thought he would rather go there than the place he originally chose for his 2016 birthday gift.

2-1I tried to look for some new things to photograph.





3If you want water, this is where you get it.

If you want to pay for water, you order a bottle.


4-1Our cheese board. The guest chooses the cheese, Rooster Street chooses the other things.

It can look different each time you visit.

4-2My chicken sandwich

4-3Josiah’s sandwich. I think it was a hamburger.

4-4Cerwin chose the same steak and fries he had the other night. He said it was as delicious as the other week.

4-5Josiah and I chose crème brulee and Cerwin chose the chocolate bread pudding and ice cream for dessert.

4-6We surely do enjoy dining and visiting with grandchildren.

4-7It was a delicious relaxing evening.

5Next to their parking lot.



dsc_5509Thanks, Josiah, for choosing Rooster Street Butcher.