Saturday, July 31

Last Episode of The Adventures of Nana and Grandfather

Well this is the final chapter in this episode. Nice day so far. Children were up and about by 7:00. I attend the Faith Promise Men’s Breakfast (held monthly at our church Faith Promise.) Came home and worked on welcome home signs and things for Angela’s birthday tomorrow. About noon Katherine and I went to get the hounds and took them home. Now Owen is taking a nap and Nana and Katherine are playing. Outside is has been raining since about 10:00 and that is kept the temperature down; also there is a nice light breeze. James and Angela should be home about 4:00 (it is 1:30 as I write this.) More photos after the story below.

Well that is it; I hope you have enjoyed our adventures as much as I have enjoyed writing them. Now for the story of Good News, Bad News, Who Knows.

Good New, Bad News, Who Knows

Some of you may have heard the story of the old farmer of years ago whose horse ran away from him. The neighbors gathered around and said, “Oh, bad news!”
“Bad news, good news…who knows?” he replied.

A week later the horse returned with several other wild horses. Now the old farmer had more horses than he had had before. The neighbors gathered around and said, “Oh, good news!”
“Bad news, good news…who knows?” he replied.

The next day the farmer’s son was training one of the new horses when he fell off and broke his arm. The neighbors gathered around and said, “Oh, bad news!”
“Bad news, good news…who knows?” he replied.

The following week the local army came through to conscript young men into service. When they saw the old farmer’s son had a broken arm, they passed him by and left.

“Bad news, good news…who knows?” he replied.

Judging what is good or bad, what we see in others and ourselves, might best be left to God alone. We’re not very good at it.

Friday, July 30

Busy Day, but No Photos

If you are looking at this for the first time in a week, I, Grandfather am guest blogging this week (yes I know it looks like James is doing this) so you need to go back to Sunday June 25th to catch up on our adventure.

It was a busy day for all of us. After breakfast I headed out to mow James and Angela’s yard. While I was doing that Nana, Katherine and Owen went to the Brendan Hill Library for Baby Book Worm (children under 3). After that Nana and I mowed our yard while Katherine and Owen watched the entertainment. After this Nana, Katherine and Owen picked tomatoes from garden. Then Katherine and I washed the lawn mower (and me), filled the bird bath and filled the bird feeders. Both Katherine and Owen took long naps this afternoon. After supper the four of us worked on some crafts. This is their last night with us, James and Angela will be back tomorrow afternoon. Sometime early tomorrow afternoon I will make my last guest entry along with the story “Good News, Bad News, Who Knows.” Until then good night.

Thursday, July 29

WOW WOW What a Wonderful Day!!!!

Rip roaring ready to go, firing on all cylinders at 6:45 this morning. What grand day. After playing on the screened in porch for a while we decided to go to the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge . We spend about 3 hours there; it is such a hands-on museum for children. The doll house wins hands down. As you can see from the photos, it is a scale model of a doll house the children can wonder around in. The train area is also a big hit. Got back home about 12:30 had lunch. While Owen was taking a long long nap the “girls” decided to have a girls’ afternoon out. Not sure where all they went, but I know Brusters Ice Cream Shop was part of it. Grandfather and Owen were home. Now supper is over and we are winding down. To finish off the day we are getting ready to make Grandfather’s style popcorn. Then it will be baths for all and off to bed.

Good News, Bad News Who Knows (find out Saturday)

Wednesday, July 28

Sweet and Sour Day

Everyone was awake before 6:30. I called this a sweet and sour day. There was times when they were as sweet as can be then there was times when ……….
Everyone had a great time at Storytime this morning. It was especially nice for Katherine because her friend Suzanne was there. Owen was wonderful listening to the stories. Afterward they had splash time. When they went outside it was lightly raining. They still had fun. From the library it was a trip to Sonic for lunch. They were both asleep before we got home. Both took got naps, but woke up sour. We all loaded up and went to Kroger; after all it is “geezer day.” Currently Nana is playing with Owen and Katherine is in her room.

Good New Bad New Who Knows (find out Saturday)

Tuesday, July 27

Katherine and Owen we up before 7:30 and ready to go. After breakfast on the porch we had morning chores to do. Hanging out laundry and checking the garden. It rained yesterday so we did not have to water. Remember yesterday and the safari trip, well a lot of the bucket of feed was on the floor and other places in the van, so we took it to the three buck car wash. Stopped by Einstein Bagels for bagels, for a mid morning snack. After Owen’s nap we headed to the pool for a couple of hours. Just finished supper and winding down the day. Another fine day in Tennessee.

Good News Bad News Who Knows (answer at the end of the week)

Monday, July 26

The good news is there does not appear to be any damage to the van

Owen slept in until 7:00 and Katherine until 7:30, yeah. Had breakfast and then started thinking about what today’s adventure would be. For today’s adventure we found Briarwood Ranch Safari Park near Morristown. The first big decision after we arrived was if we were going to drive through or ride their tractor pulled wagon. After tears gashing of teeth, it was finally decided to drive. Between the elk antlers, the big horn sheep, water buffalo, miscellaneous deer and the emu or almost forgot about the buffaloes there was plenty of opportunity to damage the van, but all appears well. We bought a bucket of feed and were on our way. It was so much fun. The animals would eat out of your hand or for some you tossed it on the ground. They thought nothing of sticking their nose into the van. One time I was holding the bucket away from the window so an elk would get it, only to have one reach in from the other window and dive in. After we drove through we had a picnic lunch and decided to drive through again. You can go through as many times as you want on one admission. Supper was great and right now they are joyously “singing” at the top of their lungs. I am going to try and attach some photos. It was tough to get photos of the animals and children since they and Nana were in the backseat.

Good New Bad New, Who Knows

Sunday, July 25

The Adventures of Nana and Grandfather Hemrick

Sunday evening 07/25/10
Hello Mr. and Mrs. American and all the ships at sea (if you know which newscaster used this as his opening, you are either old than I am or good a history. Grandfather Hemrick here, guest blogger this week. James and Angela are with the West Towne Christian Church (WTCC) Middle Schoolers on a mission trip to Indianapolis. They left early this morning, but brought Katherine and Owen over last night. Grandfather and Nana’s task is to fulfill our right and spoil our grandchildren. When James and Angela return they can “re-program” their children. In the mean time I will be make entries during the week on this unique experience for all four of us. The last time they stayed with us for a week was exactly one year ago this week. Wonder if I need to enter this as a permanent week????? We have had a wonderful day. Got up and went to services at WTCC (Laura and I attended our church, Faith Promise) last night before they came over. This afternoon was three hour nap time (see why I said wonderful.) Late this afternoon our church had the “Amazing Race” for preschool through fifth grade. It was a lot of fun. You had different stations with different task. Later there was a concert, but we opted out, it was rather loud, even for me. Right now Katherine (yes it is grandfather’s right to call her Katherine), Owen and Nana are reading a night time story.
So stay tuned for the “Adventures of Grandfather and Nana.”
Good News Bad New Who Knows (wait until the end of the week to find out that story)

Friday, July 23

Bundle of joy

This is my brother's family. They have been visiting us for the past few days. Are they beautiful or what? (I hope he doesn't mind that I stole this photo from Facebook) His daughter, Gabriella, is three weeks old today. I feel so privileged a) to have been at the hospital when she was born, and b) that they came to visit us with such a newborn. These people are pros! They make having a newborn look like a piece of cake. :) My brother works for Microsoft and one of their perks is one month of paternity leave. I told him he better hold onto that job until they are finished having kids, because I can't think of a better job benefit. James has every other Friday off and I thought I was the luckiest wife to get to have her husband for a three day weekend every other week. This girl gets to share newborn parenting duties for a whole month! Yeah Microsoft! And how great for my brother to get to know and spend lots of time with his daughter in this most precious time of their lives.

Anyway, it's been fun getting to hang out with them and remember what newborns are like. It's also been cute to see James hold her when he comes home. I've noticed him search her out and ask to hold her. Maybe there's another baby in our future?

Tuesday, July 20

The waiting game

This was one of signs I used most when we were signing a lot with Owen. Do you think that says something about his patience level? He has always had ZERO patience. Right from the beginning he would wake up screaming at the top of his lungs and continue to do so the entire time I changed his diaper until I finally fed him - a whole 60 seconds later - as if he were going to starve. I still find myself starting to sign this to him as I tell him to wait for something. Well now I'm the one waiting. One of Owen's hearing aids broke on our way to Florida for vacation. I believe that date was June 12. It is now July 20 and the audiologist was just finally able to send it off for repair today. Crazy, huh? That's one of the problems with having a state funded program act as a secondary insurance provider. The other is that our primary insurance provider has recently become confused about the whole situation, sending us several pieces of mail a week trying to straighten it out, but that's another story. It should now only be another week or so before Owen's hearing aid is repaired and we get it back. In the meantime the audiologist gave us a loaner to use until his is repaired. Then, the mom of the other little boy in Owen's group speech therapy session gave us one of the little boy's old hearing aids, since he now has two cochlear implants and no longer uses hearing aids. It was very generous of her. She gave the other to the audiologist to use in their loaner bank. So, at least Owen hasn't had to go without a hearing aid while this was all straightened out. Evidently, TEIS used to purchase three year warranties with their hearing aids (makes sense for a birth-to-three program - then they would never have to pay for any repairs). Well around the time they purchased Owen's hearing aids (which was also a time consuming process), they stopped getting such long-term warranties with them, so this was the first repair that anyone had to deal with that wasn't under warranty. TEIS has decided they will pay for the repair, and I'm very grateful for a program that pays for hearing aids, repairs, speech therapies, and audiology appointments that would not otherwise be covered by our insurance. One day most of this will be coming out of our pockets, so for now we'll just accept a six-week delay in repairs. I'm sure this was all much more information than you cared about, but it's just an example of the stuff that goes on around here.

Monday, July 19


Today I took Kate to get her shots for school. She's not starting Kindergarten yet, but I wasn't entirely clear about whether the preschool would require shots for five-year-olds or not and she won't turn five until after the school year begins. Anyway, I just thought we'd go ahead and get it over with. I told her we were going to get her check-up for school and when she asked if she would have to get shots - I lied. I told her I didn't know and that the doctor would tell us when we got there if she would. She seemed to be okay with this answer and I was relieved. So we went to the appointment and the nurse took us to the room and told us Kate would have to get three shots and then left to prepare the vaccinations. Kate was surprisingly brave! She teared up a little, but put on a very brave face while we waited. I had expected so much worse. You may be wondering why I'm making such a big deal about a few shots, but this is the same girl that took three nurses to talk her into and hold her down during a flu-mist administration - not the shot, the MIST! A little squirt in her nose! So, I fully expected the worst. She didn't cry until after the first shot was administered. Then she screamed. And that set Owen off. "Hurt Kate! That hurt Kate!" The tables had turned (Kate's been to more than her fair share of Owen's doctor appointments, although he is not usually in pain) and it was sweet to see Owen so distressed over his sister's well-being. I had to comfort them both at the same time. So they both screamed until it was over, and then they both got popsicles for their troubles. Then we went to the library to turn in their library summer reading sheets for free stuff and then to Kate's favorite place for lunch: Sonic! Afterward she got to go play with some of her best little friends for the afternoon. All in all, not a bad day.

Sunday, July 18

Work creating work...

This is the work James did yesterday.

There were no shutters on the front porch window. There were shutters on the other front windows, just not this one. He added these and they look great! But now we have this:

Guess I have some painting to do! We could also use a little table between the chairs. And some pillows. And some landscaping in front of the porch. At least we got rid of the green indoor/outdoor carpeting that covered the porch! Baby steps!

Thursday, July 15


We had nowhere to be yesterday. We just hung out at home and did whatever we wanted to. Kate and I spent a good while this morning labeling things. What do I mean? Well, pretty much, if Kate looks at it, it got a label. She chose most of the things that got labeled. Here are a few examples.

It was actually kind of fun. Owen's early interventionist used to teach pre-school at the school for the deaf and she is always suggesting things I can do at home - such as this - that she did for her kids. Not just in the classroom, but for her children at home. I'm no pre-school teacher, and usually I think "That's a great suggestion, if I only had a little more time on my hands...". But this was a pretty quick and easy thing to do. Probably every mom of a pre-schooler did this and you're all thinking I'm a deadbeat mom for just now doing it. Oh well. It kind of looks like clutter to me but that's ok. We'll get used to it. And it's really only in Kate's room and bathroom, plus a few random labels in some other rooms. She's already showing Owen, "See, this says table". Let's read!

The Naked Chef

Wednesday, July 14

This summer to date

I know it's been a really long time since I've posted anything of substance (besides the post from our vacation - Thank you, James). So I thought I'd post an update from the past couple of months.

In May, Kate graduated from Mothers Day Out. She had attended this program at our church since she was one year old (and I mean, she started just a few weeks after turning one!). It's hard to believe she spent four years there and is now getting ready to turn five!! This year she will be attending a 5-year-old pre-K class at a church in our neighborhood. She will go every day for half a day and she is so excited! She has even become friends with a girl who will be in her class. She has fun going to story time and having lunch with Suzanne on Wednesdays. She is growing up to be such a sweet little girl who is the best big sister Owen could have asked for! She even likes to come up with little "activities" to do with him and she's his best interpreter. She's a funny mixture of princess and tomboy and it's fun to watch her figure herself out. She loves to laugh and dance and hates to have her hair fixed even though she likes it long. I finally told her she has to get it cut before school starts because I won't have time to fight with her about her hair then! We'll see if I can follow through with that one...

We've been busy keeping up with Owen's various doctor appointments and therapies. May was particularly busy while we fought with the tubes in his ears to keep them clear - we were at the ENT doctor's office 4 out of 5 weeks that month! This Monday he had an audiology and an ENT appointment. That was a busy day! But, the audiologist was able to get a good hearing test - he cooperates really well in the booth playing the games they ask him to so they have gotten a very good idea of his hearing range and he's pretty much in the moderate loss range these days. He has speech therapy twice a week now - one individual session and one group session - and he enjoys his therapist. I think Kate even enjoys going. She complains a little when we have to go , but I think she enjoys it once were there. We have all definitely come a long way with our attitudes about speech. It wasn't fun in the beginning! But now that Owen enjoys it and we can see the benefits, it's much more bearable. :)

Owen is definitely in the terrible twos right now, and he can get pretty angry and upset about things, but he is also pretty cute at the same time. Cuteness seems to be a quality that 2-year-olds possess in excess - must be to make up for those tantrums! Some of Owen's favorite things right now are buses, the car wash, and parking garages. :) He talks about them all the time and loves when we get to go to one!

Otherwise this summer we spent some time with James's aunt and uncle and cousin visiting from Louisiana, took a trip to the zoo, went on vacation to Florida, watched the dragon boat races, went to Illinois to see my family (and got to meet my new niece! More about that in another post), and visited with James's cousin and her family from South Carolina. Oh, and we had our kitchen re-modeled, but that will be another post as well after we paint it - whenever that happens.

Still to come this summer are a visit from my brother and his wife and newborn baby girl, a mission trip to Indianapolis with the middle schoolers at our church (while Kate and Owen spend the week with Nana and Grandfather), a quick trip to Kings Island with the same group, and a reunion with old friends in Illinois over Labor Day weekend. Whew! I'm not making any promises, but maybe I'll do a better job of blogging now that I feel like I've caught you up on our life.