Monday, October 27, 2008

Hayley Swims the Backstroke In Her First Meet

Our granddaughter Hayley, a sixth-grade middle schooler, swam her first competitive race Saturday as a member of the Chehalem Sharks Swim Team.

That’s Hayley, above, getting mentally ready for the race before she swam. I can’t help but comment how wonderful a young lady she is, besides being a fine swimmer and student. That’s also her, below, in great form nearing the end of the race.

Hayley swam the 50-yard backstroke in just 59 seconds. I think that’s pretty good for an 11-year-old. I told her I’m not sure I ever swam 50 yards consecutively, to say anything about under a stop watch.

She’s been on the team for about a month or so, and it’s obvious she’s been listening well to her instructors and practicing very diligently. Go Hayley, and best of luck in future meets.

You may have noticed that several recent posts have been about our grandkids. There’s a simple explanation. That’s what we do as grandparents – encourage them and talk about them. They are incredible gifts from God, as are our sons and their wives.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

“Check These Guns!”

The title above is what dad Doug gave to this photo of our new grandson, Nathan, taken earlier this week (I think).

Yesterday was his original due date, so from now on, things should be much like for any baby. He’s now tipping the scales at 7 lbs, 3 ozs.

The little guy continues to do well, as he’s really happy to be home with mom and dad, and it shows. Grandma and grandpa are getting anxious to see him again, as it’s been nearly 10 days. Maybe in a few days, after the busy weekend is past, we can hop the ferry to go over and play a little ball with him.

Hey, there’s an idea, Doug. Maybe we could find a crib in the shape of a diamond, or maybe of a dugout. You can assure mom Jamie that we'll keep the floor really clean (it's humorous if you've ever been in a dugout during a game).

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Talli Is Going to the Oregon High School Varsity State Cross-Country Meet As A Freshman

Culminating her season with a personal record at the District Cross-Country Meet today in Oregon City (above), our high school freshman granddaughter, Talli, at the same time qualified for the State Meet in Eugene on November 1.

What a year she has had so far!

Talli’s time today of 20:31 in the 5,000 meter, 3.1 mile course places her third ALL-TIME for Freshmen at Newberg High School (6A). Wow! She’s in the athletic record books just two short months after entering high school.

Yep, we’d call that quite a debut, but then, we’re only proud grandparents. You go at State, girl!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Yesterday I Bought PREMIUM Gas for $2.99/gal

I wish I could make sense out of what makes gas prices go up and down. What’s noteworthy is that I filled my almost empty tank yesterday for LESS than $50 – at under $3 per gallon.

And I was happy. Because I didn’t have to give up my firstborn – like in the wry photo.

Seems like it wasn’t that long ago when I started to grumble if it cost more than $30 to fill my tank. A few months ago it cost $75 one time, and from then on I just added gas at $35 intervals.

Until yesterday. And thank goodness for nearby native American tribal-owned stations (who provide the lowest prices within 25 miles).

I guess we ought to make the best of the price drop while we can. I spose it won’t be long until the roller coaster starts uphill again. Us retired folks have enough trouble stretching dollars as it is.

Oh, btw, had they lived, today would have been my mom and dad's 74th wedding anniversary.

Friday, October 17, 2008

We Can’t Seem to Get Enough of Little Nathan

Yesterday we enjoyed a full afternoon and early evening with our new grandson, Nathan, who is five and one-half weeks old and who is rapidly approaching seven pounds. He’s certainly a captivating little guy, and we can’t seem to get enough of him.

In the photo above taken while we we there, Nathan is showing you his left-hook feint in as good a boxing pose as he could muster up on grandma’s lap.

We went to see him, additionally, so mom Jamie and dad Doug could have a shot at doing some things they can’t do when totally occupied with the baby. I’ll leave the success of that part up to them, but you can rest assured grandma and grandpa had a super time with Nathan.

What continues to amaze us is his ability to engage. His developmental skills seem, to us, to be extraordinarily good, considering he has not as yet reached his predicted due date (but, we’re only grandparents). He follows your movements and is very responsive to sounds. And he looks you square in the eye when making his appraisals. I think we passed his careful assessment ok.

It’s a real joy to see him happily at home with mom and dad, and we’re thankful to God for his amazing progress so far. And so far we’ve learned that he is very strong, very physical, and very strong-willed. But if he’s not needing food or a diaper change, he’s one contented little guy who can charm your socks off.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Talli Runs Another Personal Best

In the last scheduled cross-country meet of the season yesterday at McMinnville, our high school Freshman granddaughter Talli ran her personal best (PB) race of the season. Her time was 20:36.63 for the 3.1-mile, 5,000 meter course.

She finished fourth overall and less than a second and a half behind her teammate Emily, a Junior. In the pic above, that’s Talli, left, and Emily, in an earlier race this year.

Talli has had nothing less than a sensational year in cross-country competition, finishing either first or second from her school in every race. Congratulations, Talli.

All that’s left now are the District Meet in a week and the State meet on Nov. 1, both for which you have to qualify. Last I heard it’s possible she’ll go to the District meet and she has a shot, I think, at the State meet. Wow.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Is There a Better Name In Post-Season Baseball Than ROCCO BALDELLI?

There have been some great names in baseball post-season history – among them Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio, Rocky Colavito and (if you want to count a pair) the Bash Brothers (Conseco and McGuire).

But I’d like to suggest that a guy playing right now for Tampa Bay in the ALCS against Boston may have a name as good as any: Rocco Baldelli. And to live up to his name’s implications, he hit a three-run home run yesterday in the eighth inning in Bean Town to eliminate any thoughts of a Red Sox comeback in game three.

The photo shows Rocco with his 10-year-old kid brother, Dante, in the TB dugout for the game. The younger Baldelli, a Little Leaguer, got to spend the entire day on the field with Rocco and the Rays.

Although his name suggests “power hitter,” in reality Baldelli is fortunate to be playing Major League Baseball at all. Rocco suffers from a condition called “mitochondrial disorder” that exhibits itself in muscle weakness and exercise intolerance. Baldelli must maintain a physical regimentation closely guided by doctors and his trainers. It’s considered extraordinary that he is able to play baseball at the level he does.

But physical ailments notwithstanding, Rocco Baldelli yesterday provided a big thrill for his entire immediate family, who live in New England and who were all at the game. Way to go, Rocco; you’ve got a great moniker! The only question mark is, can it carry the Rays all the way past the Red Sox, like it did for one game?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Another Milestone: Nathan is Home With Mom and Dad

After one month and four days in the hospital neonatal ward following his six-week-premature birth, our grandson Nathaniel James is home with his mom Jamie and dad Doug – actually a week or so earlier than expected.

Nathan was pronounced “100% healthy” by the doctors at noon, and so he saw his real home for the first time late yesterday afternoon.

He’s mastered the eating thing just fine, thank you, and is putting on weight daily. He’s now a whopping six pounds and five ounces, two full pounds over his birth weight. And as strong a little guy for his size as I’ve ever come across.

We don’t have any pics yet of Nathan in his home environment, so I masked the most recent one I have, and that’s what you see above. As we acquire more in the days ahead, I’ll post them from time to time.

If you’re not familiar with Nathan’s incredible birth story, click HERE. Suffice it to say that for Nathan to be home is another wonderful milestone in his young life. We are totally grateful to God for his abundant grace.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fall Beauty in the Northwest

Today was a gorgeous Fall day here in the Northwest—typically crisp but enjoyable nonetheless.

I took the above photo just at dusk tonight from our front deck using a telephoto lens on my Canon Digital Rebel XTi. If you look carefully near the bottom of the frame, you can just make out a waterfront home across the water on the Suquamish side of Agate Passage. You can click on the pic for a larger image.

We don’t always have such beautiful weather, but when it’s nice, it’s really nice.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Our Month-Old Grandson Is Doing “Sit-Ups”; I Think He’s Getting Ready To Go Home

Kay Lynne and I got to hold and interact with our new grandson, Nathan, last night in the hospital. No adrenalin rush could compare with what we felt.

In some newer pics, at top left Nathan is checking out the perspective from dad Doug’s shoulder, and just above at right little Nathan is snoozing on mom Jamie’s shoulder. But look carefully at Nathan in the pic on the right; he’s tightly clutching his mom’s finger while he naps.

Kay Lynne got to spend time with Nathan first (we get to visit him alternately); she came out totally enamored and quite “jazzed”. When it was my turn to hold him, he was still wide awake and extremely engaging. As I gently talked to him, he would listen for a while, but then he wanted to play.

His hands and arms are seemingly always moving. He reached out and grabbed my chin. Then he’d grab at his feeding tube which is taped tightly to the side of his face. I don’t blame him at all; I’d want that thing out, too.

At one point he actually sat up in my arms and held himself up with his back arched, as if to almost reach down to his toes. He repeated the action several times, just like he was doing sit-ups.

He is incredibly strong for his now six+ pound fighting weight. The little guy is mastering eating (from a bottle) rather rapidly of late, and he’s quickly putting on weight.

We are noticing that there is something very special about Nathan’s persona. Maybe it’s because he’s been through so much in his will to survive. He seems to want to be a key participant in every moment, as he offers a strong, sweet, direct reaction to your voice and touch. And have I said what a handsome little guy he is?

The most wonderful thing this old grandpa experienced last night was the privilege of being able to look into his eyes, talk to him, and see and sense his responses. It was an incredible feeling. Nathan is a charmingly engaging little guy. He seems to be rapidly progressing in his development, and it may not be long now until he can go home. We couldn’t be more thankful.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

She's Quite The Young Lady

Our eldest granddaughter, Talli, (second from right, above) has grown into a wonderful young lady. Now in high school, she's pictured with four of her friends (two go all the way back to kindergarten) just before they all left for the Homecoming Dance last Friday.

To grandparents, this milestone is a stark reminder that time waits for no one, and at the same time it gives renewed hope for the future. Word has it that they had a great time at the event, after which they enjoyed a sleepover at one of the gals' houses.

But I heard the football team lost the homecoming game. Just wait till next year.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Update on Latest, Newborn Grandchild: “Cuter Every Day.”

Pictured above is a recent photo of our newborn (six weeks premature) grandson, Nathaniel James. Kay Lynne and I saw him last evening just after his 5:00 feeding and changing. We enjoyed every second with him, as we hadn’t seen him in more than a week. If you happen not to know about his “miraculous story”, click here. Also, you can click on the photo for a larger image from which you can also copy it, if you want.

Nathan was three weeks old on Monday and, for sure, is getting “cuter every day”. Already, he has new “digs”, as he was doing well enough over the past few days to be taken out of the isolette and placed in his own private, little, glass-sided crib. He looks right at home there—well, as much at home as you can be in a hospital.

His mom and dad, Jamie and Doug, say that all continues to go as well as can be expected, for which we continue to be thankful. Because Nathan was born so long before his due date, the doctors have indicated that we must learn to appreciate his developmental progress more by his due date (late October) than by his birth date.

What that means is that though his responses to various stimuli (touch, light and sound) are not only normal but may be even a little advanced for his status, other things (like being able to get adequate nourishment from a bottle – which at this stage of development he obviously would not be doing at all if he were still in the womb) are causing him to work much harder than if he had been a full term baby. That said, Nathan is a strong, tough little guy and is handling his circumstances just fine.

It’s going to be fun to watch this kid when he gets bigger. He’s already ripped his food tube out of his nose and stomach (it was replaced, of course, as you can see in the photo), and if I recall correctly, he tore his I.V. line out at least once when he had one. With strength and determination like that, I can’t wait to see what he’s gonna do to a baseball. Go Nathan!