08-06-28 ohio

We are finally back in ohio. Ate lunch at a questionable place...fast as grant was a little restless and loud when the cottage cheese ran out :)
now in the car and grant is yelling "shut-up" and "settle down" at us which causes hysteria with the rest of the family...only 2 hours left..aahhhhhhhh!


In the middle of the corn fields of indiana what should we find but the house of bells! we weren't sure we would ever be heard from again.....it was an old abandoned house surrounded by huge old bells . The boys thought it was cool. Thanks to daddy for another memorable hot spot!


Lo got up with big boys and went down and had a nice leisurely breakfast. Got grant and me and headed out.

080627 - Arch top

080627 - We made It to the St. Luis Arch about 4pm. I took the big boys on a little trip up, up and up. We made it to the top of the arch and it was quite a view. The boys layed out on the ledges to look out the small windows and could not believe how high up they were, the people and cars looked like ants from 630ft up! We could also see the Mississippi that had flooded the lower part of the the park and was really high and flowing fast. It was really windy on the ground and I didn't mention the sway to the boys, didn't want them nervous, but you couldn't help but fell it up top, and it was a bit unsettling. So we headed back down to meet L&G.
back on the road to Effingham, IL. We checked in and then off to a family resturant they recomended for another screaming fast meal... Back to the room and watched some TV & got G & L to bed. D, J & I hit the pool about 9:45 and swam for an hour. We grabbed some cups of of cocoa & coffee, toasted the fun trip, and then watched the rest of Jurassic Park. Dylan fell asleep, and now J & I are watching a show about a giant snake that eats people (good thing L is asleep! :-D ).

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Bass pro shop

080626 - Ice cream

080626 - After dinner we went swimming! We swam for about 3 hrs. Everyone good and tired so back to the room for baths. We did a final toy sweep and got everything packed up. L had all her bags sorted, layed out, labeled and ready as well. Here are the 3 amigos enjoying some ice cream before bed.
Well, last day in Branson over. We will be heading home tomorrow :-(

080626 - Racing

080626 - After lunch we headed back to the go-kart place for Jack. Here is Howdy's camera work, that is Jack & I racing around. Howdy played a shoot'em up while Jack & I finished racing.
After the race we headed to the 5 & dime for Howdy,where everyone got got something they loved.
Back to the resort to start packing and dinner.

080626 - Favorites

080626 - Up and out. Today is the last full day in Branson so we are going to try and hit everyones favorite thing today. Here is Grant getting his favorite, a pony ride.
We then headed North to the strip for a hobbyshop, where I finnaly found a nice magnetic chess set, and a tool store for me. We then hit Fuddruckers so Lori could get her hamburger.

080625 - Animals

080625 - Up and out for some fishing; definately not the sport for 3 small boys... Then to the put-put golf corse where Dylan, trying to retrieve his ball from a pond, unexpectedly went swimming... But we had a good time. Back to the room for an early lunch and rest before our next great adventure.
Everyone up and out to the show. Today we went to see 'Noah'. Grant had several episodes of spastic screaming, jumping and pointing at the animals coming in: camels, goats, cows, horses, pigs, donkies, ponies, horses, llamas... This picture is of the stage with all the different cabins inside of Noah's ark. While the show was good it wasn't nearly as exciting as the last 2. So the review from the boys was 'boring'. Lo & I liked the message at the end, something like: God destroyed all mankind because they were out of control, He says He is going to do it again so talk to an usher on the way out... :-D
Next stop was a pizza buffet, arcade, go-kart place! We all ate too much, too fast and then started having fun. Dylan found a shoot'em up game, Grant some driving games & J&I hit the go-kart track. Jack loved it, next to the pool it was his favorite thing!
On the way home we was possibly the funniest moment of the trip (thus far). Dylan was having a 'discussion' with Jack telling him to 'shut-up'. This was immediately followed by our little raspy voiced parrot yelling 'shut-up' quite clearly. This immediately grabbed our attention causing complete momentary silence before he belted it out again, causing D&J to loose complete control. Lo turned around and told G, 'No-no'. His reply, as loud as he could... 'shut-up!'. Now the boys were in stitches and Grants expression forced L to spin around and cover her face so he could'nt see her laughing (that didn't work) and he belted it out again and again untill all our shoulders were shaking and eyes were watering. D&J, now so far out of control, needed a reminder from me to 'settle down', and parrot boy had a new phrase to entertain us with... Now yelling at his family to shut-up & settle down!!! Grant enjoyed very much his ability to entertain us and we all had a good laugh.
Back to the room and a rush to get to the pool. We all got one hour of swimming in before they shut down. Back for a snack and boys falling asleep sitting up in our laps.

080623 - Showtime

080623 - Everyone up a bit later today, must have had too much fun yesterday...
It was chilly this morning so instead of going swimming and freezing to death we headed out to the different sections of the resort to check them out. The first stop was the stables. Grant went NUTS! We signed all three boys up for the western package, they each got a set of pistols, holsters, a badge, belt and bag of gold. This was of course required to ride the pony up on the mountian trail... Grant went first and was tickled to death. The other boys follwed suite.
We then headed to the marina, where Jack found a wave runner he wanted to rent. Than on to the main registration building, WOW! This resort is owned an operated by Bass Pro Shops... so there were stuffed animals everywhere and for Dylan a cool gift shop.
We went back for lunch and then off to the pool. We had a great day at the pool and it was perfect temp in the afternoon.
Back to the room for quick naps and dinner. Then SHOWTIME! I had bought tickets to the Presley's show that started at 8pm and we were a bit worried that the boys would be about done for the day. NO WAY! The lights went off, the hand clapping started and wide awake all 3 of them stayed. It was a great variety show with all sorts of music, gospel, country, folk and rock. They had a couple of really funny clown guys too that told pretty funny jokes. There was an intermission where Grant went up and met the pretty girls, but didn't like the clowns so much. At the end of intermission they showed pictures of the crowd on the big screens and they started it focused on Lo and Grant. When Grant realized it was him on the screen he really stared waving and smiling. The second half of the show was great and as it ended Dylan asked if we could buy the DVD 'I want to watch it again, and show my friends at school' and Jack said he wanted to go back so he could get up on stage and perform. So the night we were a bit nervous about was a complete success!
On the way back to the resort all 3 fell asleep.
Perfect day.

080622 - view

080622 - Duck

080622 - Up and around and to the pool. It was pretty COLD!!! Back to the room for lunch. J&G took a nap and Howdy and I headed out to buy some tickets. Back to pick up the troops and dorve to the table rock dam. Then we boarded the DUCW (duck). This was a WWII amphibious vehicle tour that drove us all over and gave us a great tour of the area and then drove right into the lake. All the kids on board got a turn driving it, and then me! It was great. We stopped at a BBQ on the way home for anther really good meal we had to eat in 3 minutes... Back to the resort where we stopped for Grant to see the 'Dustys'. Then to the room to change and then hit the pool.

080621 - Wet

080621 - Everyone up & had bfast. Then a hike to the pool. Jack found a lizard! The boys had a blast in the pool. Howdy can swim all the way across by himself. Jack motors all over the place w/ his float vest. Grant just junps in over and over, and when he gets a chance he runs away as fast as his stubby little legs will carry him.
We took the shuttle back to the room instead of walking up the mountian... We had some lunch and then hit the road to get the lay of the land. We hit the main strip, which has horrible traffic, but found a toy store. Luckily in the toy store I found a local who knew the REAL place to go to find toys here. We braved the traffic to the hidden place that was PERFECT! We found toys from our childhood and years beyond...
Back home for dinner and more swimming! We tried out the lazy river, that just so happened to go past a water slide... Well the big boys went nuts at the water slide and Grant found a baby pool and some friends. We ended the expedition at the indoor pool that was much warmer.
Back to the room for a snack and Dylan's first chess lesson. He picked it up pretty good. He even beat me! Everyone off to bed to get rested for another full day tomorrow!

080620 - AWESOME!

080620 - After another 4 hrs on the road and some back roads we have arrived. This place is HUGE & it is AWESOME. We have 2 complete apartments! Now we need to unload the car and head to the grocery.

080620 - Meramec Caverns

080620 - ate lunch here-took forever for lunch and it was pretty bad. Decided not to see caves tour too long for the boys. The boys liked the fact that jesse james hung out there.
Drove over the flooded mississippi river and saw the gateway arch. ...onthe road again......

080620- giant cross

198 foot tall cross in effingham illinois. 180 tons of steel.

080619 - Day 1

080619 - After visiting the largest Abe in the world we headed into Effingham IL. We checked into the hotel and asked the locals where we should eat. They sent us to 'Joe's Pizza', which made Lo nervous. But it ended up to be family all-u-can-eat spaghetti night and it was quite good. The boys ate all they could and then we walked acrosss the street to the Courthouse (pic) and the boys climed on an old cannon. We hit a big playground at a local park on the way back to the hotel where the boys burned off some more of the bottled energy. Back at the hotel we got our suits and hit the pool, these boys love the water!
Up to the room for a snack. L tried to make popcorn in the microwave and some how managed to catch it on fire! nothing major, didn't even set off smoke detector. But it did stink up the entire floor... We had to open the window and door and turn on the fans...
All in bed now. First day on the road down.

080619-big abe!

80 foot tall abe-need I say more?

080619-lincoln's cabin replica

Stopped at lincoln's log cabin. Jack said 'ohh is this where we are staying for 5 days?' he also thought we were at george lincoln's home :) grant saw a nice brown cow there and dylan and jack spit in the chicken coop..... Are we there yet?

080619 - Illinois

We stopped for lunch and let the boys run around a big open field. Just driving now everyone is doing great. We are watching racing stripes. Grant loves the horses in the movie- dusty:)

080619 - indiana !

left about 10-30. Got gas while paying gas went up eleven cents ! boys are busy in the way back and grant has taken a little snooze after throwing a few cars on the floor.

080618 - Good bye Grandma

080618 - Up and on the road to Bucyrus w/ the whole family. We got there in good time. The service was nice. But the music was missing something. People were singing but you couldn't really hear them. I thought, if GmaH was here she would sing loud and everyone else would then too. She was no American Idol, but she loved to sing. I could hear her voice in my mind and wanted to sing loud for her. But I couldn't. Everytime I tried to bring up my volume I would choke up and almost loose it...
We headed out to Chatfield to lay Grandma to rest. Here we are. Grandma reuniting with Grandpa, side by side, as I remeber them. The church is surrounded by farm land that Grandma's family owned, and the house she grew up in right next to the church. Fitting that she is going home.
Good bye Grandma.

080617 - Hmmm...

080617 - I spent some time with myself today...
I haven't really written here for about a week because I was thrown off track a bit. You see 5 days ago I lost my oldest living relative, Gma Heydinger. She lived 92 years! Wow! But today on the car ride to the small out of the way Ohio town of Bucyrus I thought about her and Gpa H. He died a long time ago and I have some memories of him, but very few. GmaH lived 20 years longer, yet I was having trouble remembering things about her. Was it my accident? I hardly remeber anything from growing up. I mean I remeber working on the farm and bits and pieces of certain events. But nothing like other people I know, that remeber things I did, that I don't. In some cases I suppose that is a blessing... But thinking of GmaH I remebered playing cards, carems, the house on woodlawn, her big piano in the living room, the pocket doors, the pillars. I remeber picnics, cookies without salt, family reunions and the oldest working refrigerator in the world. I guess it hit me Sunday. I went to church and this week when Grant started screaming, Lo took him out, which is usally my task. There was shortly after a song to be sung: we all stood. The song began and then some very high notes came, and somewhere behind me I heard a high crackly voice, the same voice that GmaH sang with. A voice that had been singing to God for decades before I had even been thought of. Here was my Grandma, 92 years old. She had memories of before running water, before electricity or airplanes, atom bombs or computers, and I hardley knew her. Sure she cooked the family meals when we gathered and had a noah's ark to play with. But who was she? I sat in the funeral home watching pictures of her life flashing by and saw pictures of her as a child a young mother, a working woman and then the grandma I knew... But I guess I didn't... Now being 92 I was certain that tonight there would only be a few people to stop in an pay respects. I was wrong. The place was packed for the full 2 hours and then some. People I knew, mostly people that knew me when I was only 'this high', but there were loads of people. As I looked around I realize it's not what we get or have in this life it is what we share and our families.
Now families are odd... Mine, both sides, have plenty of odd in them. I studied them as the mingled and know them, but don't know them. Just like GmaH. How many people have they touched? What have they experienced? Why don't we know eachother better. I guess I was feeling this after Mom called me friday to tell me GmaH had died. I bought a chess set for my Dad, so we could play it and get to know eachother again, instead of watching a movie or just smal talk. I remeber him teaching me how to play, but there is a lot I don't rember, a lot I have forgotten or never knew. We all need to know eachother.
I should have spent more time with you Grandma. I am sorry I didn't, and I'll try to do better with those that are still alive on your behalf. Please forgive me.
Your loving Grandson,

080611 - Killer Bee

080611 - Another day of flows and talks w/ P and ClS. However today was in Mexico... Reynosa... I got to see a couple of old CLS friend which was nice, but would rather be anywhere else.... Here is Lee w/ the worlds largest killer bee.
080610 - Up a had a full day in McAllen doing flows and talks.
080609 - Started the day at home and then off to Mexico!

Dam Builder

080608 - Stand still

080608 - Up at out to the barn. The boys found a new bunch of kitten and were rounding them up. Grant & Dusty were kissing. Stopped in @ the farm house before I sent the kids into the woods. Katie & Jake Loughman showed up and the expedition began. This is the last photo of all 4 children for record, just in case the search parties need to know what they were wearing...
I sit here in this wood listening to the laughing brook rushing by. In here time seems to stand still and the countless days I spent in here exploring, building dams and playing seem like only yesterday to this place. But today a new generation are the explorers as I try to capture a piece of the past.

080607 - COW!

080607 - Up & to 4314 to do some work & see some contractors. Louise called and Gma Heydinger is not doing well at all. I packed up the boys, headed home, got L & G & headed up to see her. Fast trip up. GmaH doesn't look good... The boys had some ice cream and then went crazy in the small apt.

080606 - Completely insane day at work! Gave a demo to the folks at Jawbone @ 4:30. Ran to Howdy's game (they won again), then past the rental to see if anymore was done: nuttin!

080605 - Landed @ 9am, drove past the rental, very little progress this week! Home, full day of work, then to the library and home to watch Abbot & Costello meets Frankenstein.

080604 - Last day @ the customer. Talks went well. Headed home and way delayed 3 hrs in Vegas, makes for a long red eye..

080603 - Up & bfast w/ Lee then off to the customer for a full day. Good flow discussions. Had dinner w/ Lee, Josue & Eric @ the Fish Market.

080602 - Made it to SJC @ midnight pst...


080602 - As if it is not bad enough I'm leaving L sick @ home with the monkeys... I get to the airport and have to park farther away then I ever had, those fancy little moving walkways are all broken so I'm suddenly in a friggin marathon.. Get up to the gaurd through my first class short line @ security and NO FRIGGIN TICKET! IT'S STILL IN THE CAR!!!! So I walk all the way back to the car, with my luguage, and back. As I'm going through security I take my shoes off and notice I have on my old cruddy Cons, NOT THE BRAND NEW ONES!!! Make it through security with minimal probing, get a double espresso, sit down to wait and boad and crack my friggin head so hard on the beam behind my chair, that everyone in 50 yards spins there head to see what exploded...

080602 - Break & fly

080602 - Up working. Took Jack & comfirmed 4314 Chandler water repairs are good. Have plans in place for nearly everything to be done on my return. Finished up my work, outside with the boys before I jump a plane to SJC. Hope L does ok...
080601 - Up & home w/ G while LD&J went to church. Got lunch and headed to a park. Dylan & I went to the rental & got a bunch done. D likes using the nail gun. Lori up nearly all night VERY SICK...
080531 - Up a D&I to the rental, getting the carpet cleaned today. Home and worked on the ac for hours... Jeff over tonight, went looking @ houses. I had D&J up till midnight. L & Nicole out to a movie. L got her first speeding ticket ever!
080530 - Up & full day. Ran to the rental and did plumbing repairs. Howdy had a game, he did great, caught a pop fly and hut every time he was up. Gma&pa Farmer were down for the game and see Howdy get a game ball. home had some grub.
080527 - Normal day. Dylan had a game & he picthed: struck 3 kids out and only let 2 guys get on base!
080526 - Upm cleaned up the blue truck & Doc bought it! Out to 2icart and sspent a ton of time picking out & buying a car. Saw Matt Vantilburg & his family there. We ended up buying a 2004 Yukon Denali. LOADED!!!! Way better than a mini van.
080525 - Worked on the house a bit & Gma&pa Farmer down to watch the kids. L&I looking for cars...