Twelve Days Before Christmas

It seemed like days were as long as weeks. Being young and being told to be good so that on Christmas morning I would be rewarded with games and toys that I longed for, was sweet torture. I believed in Santa Claus until some boys in school told me that it was actually my parents supplying my wants and desires. I usually thought it was a bit strange that Santa brought me socks and underwear on that special day. I don't remember ever asking for those gifts.

It's been a while since I have been so excited to anticipate Christmas morning. The many occasions we shared with our boys were always fun and exciting. Seeing their glowing faces as they opened the gifts we had wrapped for them was pure fun. They both now realize that we are their Santa Claus, I guess!

A three and a half year old granddaughter has again put me back into the Christmas spirit. She believes in the wonder and thrill of receiving presents just because it is Christmas. It's the same feeling that I remember as a young child. Some day, she will realize how much more fun it is to give presents to people you love.

I can't wait for Christmas. The food, the family, the fun, the football and all the presents for Angelina to open. Fun, Fun, Fun.

Thank you Angelina.

Love, G.P.
Grandparents Day -September 2009

I wonder who came up with this great idea. I imagine some elderly people who wanted another excuse to see their grandchildren. That works for me. Of course, its not the young children who remember to honor grandparents, its their parents honoring their parent for being wonderful Grandparents. The card companies have nice cards for this occasion. Pat and I got a great card from Angelina. Her signature is clearly hers and easily recognized by Pat and I. Just seeing and talking and playing with Angelina is a Grandparents day any day. Having the opportunity to see her as often as we do, is a fantastic gift each time she visits.

Thanks to the card companies. Thanks to who ever started this day. Thanks to Tim and Marcela and to my little Angelina.

Love, GP
Grandpa Blog 8/20/09

Are You Smarter Than a Three Year Old?

While visiting Angelina and her parents last week, I watched as Angelina's Dad put up over 100 pictures of animals from all over the world, birds, fish, mammals, amphibians, anthropoids and many other species of creatures. While Angelina recognized and correctly named each and every picture, I was stumped and amazed.

She was then challenged to name many food and food dishes enjoyed all around the world. Again every picture was named correctly with very little hesitation. I was at a loss for words.

I think she is now learning to name all the US Presidents, Vice Presidents, all the states and their capitols, the planets in our solar system and who knows what else. She is even learning her second language. To be bilingual and to have the knowledge of so many important aspects of our world is fantastic.

Her parents are developing a young girl into a knowledgeable new member of our society. Our planet, our country and our future depend on intelligent young people. Am I smarter than a Three year old? No, but I will try to help and inspire Angelina to be one of the smartest people in the world.

Thank you Angelina.

Love, GP
May 21, 2009

First we went to the playground, then on the little train. Then we had fried chicken and a cupcake in the park. Next, we went to the Railroad Station in New Braunfels. Angelina slept on the way home and after a nice long nap she jumped in the pool with Grandpa.
We ALL had a great time.

Grandma Van
Tomatoes 101 April 2009

I've been trying my best to grow great tasting tomatoes for several years. I was my best source of knowing what a tomato should look like and taste like. Since the arrival of Angelina to this world, she has now become the critic and taster of my tomato garden.

I watch her choose from the many varieties and colors and then see her reaction. From the first bite, her face and eyes tell me if the fruit is good or not. When she simply tosses it over her shoulder that tells me that I may have a problem with that plant. When she devours the entire tomato, that says I did something right. I heard the other day that children have a much keener sense of taste and smell then most adults. This was passed on genetically since the beginning of mankind. The adult knew what plants were bad and the children had to find out for themselves. Survival of the smartest and fittest still applies today. I respect Angelina's ability to know what is good or bad. I know she loves fresh cucumbers and beans as well. I expect this years' garden to be the best it has ever been. Thank you Angelina!

Love, GP
Why Grandpa Has Gray Hair!

My boys have always been the jewels of my life. They have made the job of being a good Father and Dad a wonderful and new time in my life. Making sure that they were always safe and healthy was the greatest challenge I have ever been given. Christmas morning at the age of two, Tim woke up with pneumonia. Bob stabbed himself in the hand while putting holes in the lid of a jar. Tim's allergic reaction to an ice cream cone while we were travling down the highway. Bob breaking his arm swinging from the trees. The car accidents they have both been involved in. Worrying about all the years they have been without Pat or I around to watch over them. When I look back at all of these events, no wonder my hair has changed color.

Although, my boys had problems or scary situations, last week I had the fright of my life. Pat and I were driving back from Austin on a very busy IH 35. Pat was driving, I was shotgun and Angelina was in her car seat directly behind me. We had just bought some fried chicken legs, her favorite, and were headed to Cabelas Outdoor Store. Angelina had been playing with one of her favorite stuffed puppies and a large costume ring with a big plastic stone. Suddenly, we heard her gagging and choking. I twisted around in my seat to see her in distress. Her eyes wide open and her face was beet red. I wasn't sure of what the problem was so I pushed my finger into her mouth. I felt the large ring and was able to pull it out of her throat. She cried for a while an drank a little bit of water. She picked up her puppy and seemed just fine. I threw the ring out the window and tried to bring my blood pressure back down to normal. To her it seemed as though it was just a normal day in her life. To me it was something I will never forget and the day that I almost lost my Granddaughter and not only that but my son's child.

Good and bad things happen to people every day in this world. I had one of my worst days and one of my best days on March 5, 2009. I learned another lesson about how quickly situations can change in only seconds. Being the best and most prepared Grandpa is another one of my goals in this roller coaster world called life.

Thank you Angelina.

Love, GP
Living-Learning-Loving (Feb 09)

Riding with Angelina on the giant ferris wheel at the rodeo, teaching her the names of the chess pieces and singing along with her to some of her favorite nursery songs is what this Grandpa really enjoys. This smart, cute and wonderful little Granddaughter makes every meeting a great day. Helping a young child to learn and enjoy some fun games and events reminds Grandpa of the early times and experiences he had as a young child. Our time together makes me relive and re-love many of my memories from long ago. I believe the events of my early years can be relived if I am inspired by someone I love. I don't remember much of my days as a two year old but Angelina shows me how much fun it is to live and learn new experiences. My earliest recollection of going up on a ferris wheel was when I was a teenager. Angelina trusted me enough to go up on one of the tallest wheels I have ever seen. On this beautiful afternoon at the San Antonio Rodeo she joined me on the fun ride into the sky. Hearing the tiny squeal come from her as we quickly headed up to the highest peak on the wheel, reminded me of my first trip on this thrilling ride. We then stopped at the very top as other riders were added to the seats of the wheel. We had a few seconds to really enjoy the view of all of San Antonio and its buildings. The gleam in her eyes was as if I was seeing it all for the first time.

Pat and I watched a movie about very young school kids learning and playing chess. I love to play the game so on her next visit Angelina and I took out a chess set and started naming all the different pieces. She repeats most words she hears and quickly learned and now remembers all of the pieces names. Playing and the strategy moves of the game will be our next challenge. I can't wait to see her win a game against me.

Her dad has recorded many of her favorite songs on discs so that she can hear them while visiting us. It is truly amazing how many tunes she knows and can sing very well. I do remember singing some Czech songs to my Grandma when I was very young. I can still remember the tunes but I can't remember the words. I believe singing helps young kids learn to speak and pronunciate words better than reading alone. Poetry and rhymes are fun and great for young minds. Angelina has a great voice and loves to sing.

Thank you Angelina for showing me how much fun you can have as a two year old. To me, it's like being a two year old all over again. I can't wait to be a three year old with you.

Love, GP

Turkey Day 2008

Our little Angelina has changed a wonderful Thanksgiving meal into an adventure. Angelina has made eathing turkey legs a memorable feast. We have enjoyed turkey at our home for over 30 years. Watching Angelina munching on the huge legs was a thrill for our entire family. The maticulate effort she displayed chewing, biting and ripping the juicy meat from the succulent turkey legs was a sight I will always remember.

She was very careful to not bite any of the small bones or tendons. There is definetly a correct process to ensure the best results when eating turkey legs. Some people are born with this talent and some are not. Angelina knows how to eat and what foods taste really good. I can't wait to see how she handles the ham bone we will have for Christmas at our house.

Love, G.P.

Halloween in Indiana! Oct 2008

We arrived at Grandma Far Away's Thursday afternoon. Everyone was anticipating the arrival of Angelina. She would arrive Friday, Halloween Day, around noon. The entire community was thrilled to see her dressed in her princess costume. She was truly a beautiful royal little girl. Soon all the other family members arrived to meet and greet the cute pink princess and her parents and uncles. The candy was difficult to find in the small community in Indiana. Most of the residents had already headed south to avoid the cold winter months. The resort we stayed at had many great things to do and lots of good food. Bonnie and Mike build this place two years ago and were very happy to please us and anyone who wanted to have fun and relax. Boat rides, fishing, feeding the swans and playing on the swings and the toys were all fun things to make Angelina happy. We headed home to Texas Monday morning. We had a great Mexican dinner in East Arkansas, a huge breakfast in Hope, Arkansas and a fantastic sushi lunch in Belton, Texas. It made the trip home feel like a party on wheels. The 10 CD's of 60's music helped the 19 hours of drive time fly by. All the animals at home were happy to see us. The deer drank up all the water in the cattle trough. It did not rain and was very hot in Texas while we were gone. It's great to be back home.

Love, G.P.

Grandpa's Tractor (Sept 08)

My antique John Deere 206 riding lawn mower is Angelina's favorite riding toy.  She loves to set on my lap as we drive around the property.  She smiles with a grin made up of excitement and fun.  At her young age the
tractor ride is about as much fun as a small girl can have.  Hopefully, by next summer she will be ready for the kid's roller coaster ride at seaworld. At the rate she is growing she should pass the height requirement they enforce.  Of course, Grandpa has bigger plans for Angelina.  When ever she becomes tall enough to reach the brake and clutch pedals of Grandpa's tractor, Grandpa can smile and watch her cut my lawn.  After all, Grandpa may be too tired and re-tired by that time.  In the mean time, Angelina will learn all about the weed eater and push lawn mower.  The hose, rake and shovel will be her first manual tools before she moves up to motorized tools.  I know Grandpa sounds like a mean old man, but Angelina and Grandpa always seem to make work more like fun.  We always mix in a little fishing and swimming with our work days. And there's always the hot tub after a long day maintainin the bunny farm.  Thank you Angelina for making work so much fun. 

Love, GP

Grandpa Blog July 18, 2008

Friday afternoon on our patio Angelina proceeded to pick all the flowers form our front porch plants. At first I thought no but then realized how much fun she was having and how natural it seems for a young girl to want to pick pretty flowers. I enjoyed watching her sniff the fresh plants. Picking open flowers lets new young buds have room to grow. Thankfully our well is producing enough water to keep a few plants alive. After gathering a bunch of flowers she then striped the petals off each stem. There were yellows, and oranges and some pink and purple flowers for her inspection. The odors from the marigolds were strong and clean. The geraniums had very little aroma. After dismantling the flowers she threw all the seeds from the marigold flowers back into the flower box. Maybe some will start new plants. I then noticed that she was eating some of the marigold seeds. They are small shafts about an inch long. They are half black and half white and really are kind of tasty. She did give me a few to sample myself. Keep exploring, keep testing and keep learning my little ANGELina. Love GP
Grandpa blog June 27, 2008

Angelina loves to eat and loves to drink. Today at lunch she was munching away on some macaroni and green beans when all of a sudden she wanted me to take her sippy cup. It was full of her favorite beverage, milk. She was insistent and was about to drop it on the floor. I took it and she was happy. A little later while I was finishing my lunch, she was pointing to several items on our dining room table; a deck of cards, a toy, some books and a straw in the wrapper. After asking her which item she was interested in, she chose the straw. She then peeled the paper away from the straw and handed the straw to grandma. Grandma took the lid off Angelina's sippy cup and Angelina put the straw into the cup. She proceeded to drink almost all of her milk. Grandma was clearing the table and noticed the lid of Angelina's sippy cup had some small seeds collected in the sippy area. They were from some fruit drink she had earlier. They didn't allow the milk to flow. This frustrated our little Angelina so she had to devise a new plan so that she could drink the milk. Communication can come in all kinds of ways. Until Angelina is fluent in a language that I can understand, it is my responsibility to try to interpret her mannerisms. Thank you for the lesson Angelina.

Love, GP

Ps. It's really lucky that you also have a Grandma at Grandpa's house.
June 7, 2008
A Nemo Birthday Party
Normally, you would never see me at a two year old little girl's birthday party, but this little girl is different. My little Angelina turned two years old and I am one of the happiest grandpas in the world. It was a great party at Incredible Pizza that Angelina's mom and dad planned for her. Many of Angelina's family and friends were thrilled to enjoy a wonderful meal, a fantastic birthday cake, and a fun place to watch movies and play games. I saw everyone there smile and have a fun time. Angelina had so much fun with so many games and rides. She loved the pizza, cake and ice cream. We all spent about five hours at the birthday event. My highlight of the party was when I found Nemo and gave it to my sweetest little granddaughter. Nemo was hiding in the Claw game box amongst the other little dolls. The competition was tough. I thought at one point that I might lose him to another gamer. But, he ran out of credit! Only two more tries and Nemo was mine. I am about to turn sixty years old and I feel like a kid again. This was the funnest(yeah Grandpa spelled it that way) birthday party I have been to in a long time. I can't wait until next year. Thank you Angelina
Happy Birthday,
Love G.P.
May 2008
"You never know"
Dear Angelina,
About twenty years ago, your grandma and I were raising rabbits. We started a business selling rabbits, cages and equipment. Your dad and uncle Bob helped us build and develop the business until they moved out of our house to begin their own lives. Then one day, about fifteen years ago, your Grandma told me about a young girl who wanted to work for us so that she could learn about rabbits and raise them herself. I wasn't sure that she could do all of the jobs and chores that our boys used to do. She started working for us a couple days a week after to going to school. I worked her very hard. She did all the difficult jobs and chores in our barns. She never complained and whenever I gave her something to do, she would just say "OK". After a while she became very good at her jobs and really became part of our business and family. She went with us to some rabbit shows. We taught her all we knew about rabbits, and we had fun on nice days at the river. She was like the daughter we never had. She taught me a lot about being a better father, grandpa and a better person. You have met Emy once and I am sure that you will have the opportunity to see her many times in your future. Keep your heart open to new people that you will meet in your life. You never know who will become one of your best friends and a great addition to your family. We love Emy and I am sure you will love her too. Thank you Emy and thank you Angelina.
Love G.P.
Eating Goober Peas 2/15/08
Spending Valentine’s morning with my Angel and my Angelina; what a great way to celebrate this special occasion. First we planted a few green bean seeds in the garden. We are expecting rain this weekend and hopefully no more freezing nights. We all helped planting the seeds and digging the earth. Angelina was not impressed by the fact that worms live in our garden. We then picked up a bunch of dry limbs that have fallen this winter. Angelina knows how difficult it can be walking around the yard when small tree limbs are in the area. We will now have plenty of firewood for our next bar-b-q at the house. Next we all played on the swing near the pond. I lowered the chain so that now Angelina can get on and off by herselfJ She also played in her red wagon and we got a good workout pulling her around the yard. Goober peas are also called peanuts. I’m not sure why. I do remember singing a song about eating goober peas when I was much younger. Peanuts have become one of Angelina’s favorite snacks. Fifi and I have been enjoying them for quite a while. As I cracked a few shells, all of us were wondering who would get the next peanut. I try to share them out evenly but Fifi is very fast and Angelina does get upset when it is her turn for a treat. I had a great Valentine morning. Thank you to my Angel and thank you to Angelina.
Love, GP
Staying at Grandpas' House! 2/14/08
I don’t remember a lot about my life before the age of twelve. Almost every Christmas, Easter and sometime in the summer months, I spent a few days with my Grandpas and Grandmas. One Grandpa lived in town and the other in the country. I’m talking about no electricity or gas or even a telephone in that country Grandpa’s house. A wood burning stove and heater, water dipped from a well in the ground, and no neighbors to speak of. To me this was the Wild, Wild West. The country Grandparents did not work or leave the house very often. They grew a garden, raised some chickens and made bread and almost all of the food they ate. The kitchen always smelled of yeast and baked meats. The main room was Grandpa’s den and play room. I do remember playing many domino games with him. I believe that is where I learned to count. There was never anything to do but there was always something to do. It was a great experience for me to explore and grow my imagination. Feed the chickens, pick the garden, bring in firewood and carry buckets of water were chores that needed to be done. It was fun and a lot of work. The city Grandparents house, there was a television, one channel (it was the early 50’s). They had electricity gas and daily mail delivery. There were not any chores and really not much to do. I played in the back yard and developed my imagination making little houses and roads. The steam train engines were in near site and I always enjoyed watching and listening to the whistles and loud sounds they made. Both homes took very good care of me and loved me very much. Now that I am a Grandpa, I have the opportunity to see and have fun with my Granddaughter. I had only boys as a father and am trying to be as helpful as I can with her. My home is a combination of my Grandparent’s homes. We have gardens, chores, televisions, back yards and lots of things to keep her buys and expanding her imagination.
Thank you Angelina. Love, GP

Our First Time Out! 1/23/08
It was a cold Wednesday afternoon. Angelina had spent the night and day before with us. She was not eating as well as she usually does. She was more active and had a very short temper with Grandpa and all her toys. She slept well and had good naps both days. Her Mommy said she may have a little temperature but we did not notice any problems. Our only conclusion was that she is maturing and wants to be more independent. It was a surprise and a totally new side of our little "Angel". After a few minutes of her griping, screaming and yelling at a cart she was pushing around the house, grandma put her in her bed with a blanket and a doll. She got very quiet and stayed in her bed for about 10 minutes. She never made a sound. When she came out into the living room, she acted liker her gold old self again. The rest of the evening was spent with Grandpa until her Daddy came to take her home. It was a tense and sad time for all of us. Grandpa and Grandma want our little Angelina to be happy and healthy. Short time outs might help everyone to calm down and enjoy this wonderful life.

Years, days, and hours seem to fly by so fast as we get along in this hectic world. There are so many things that take up most of our free time and make us stressed and concerned about our future. Time out for me is to mediate and reflect on what is important in my life and in the lives of my loved ones. Try to do the right thing, try to do a good think and try to enjoy my time with Angelina and my family is my goal. I want Angelina to feel love and give love all through her life with me and her loved ones. Time outs can be fun.
Thank you Angelina.
Love, GP

A Bird In The Hand (GP blog 1/12/08)
I was about ten years old when I had a pet parakeet named Pete. He (I guess) was mostly green with a yellow head. I taught him a few words like “Pretty Pete” and “Hello.” He always came to me when I called his name and was kept safe in his small cage. A few days ago, a cockatiel bird landed in the trees above our shop. It was squawking and afraid of the dog and cats but did come down to land on my shoulder. I brought it into the house in one of our cages. I watered and fed it some sunflower seeds I use for the wild cardinals. He wasn’t happy in the cage and wanted to set on my head and shoulders. He was very friendly and loving but also very independent. If there was something I wanted him to do but he didn’t want to do, he would squawk and flap his feathers. I realized how much this bird reminded me of my little Angelina. She loves for me to play with her and hold her but if she decides to do something differently, she will squawk and rustle her little feathers. She is both fragile and strong but just like a small bird, she must be handled with care and understanding. Angelina loves to play and fly around the house but needs to be watched and kept in a safe place at night. She must eat and drink what is good for her but usually only what she really likes. I know that pets and young children are not the same but many of their actions are very similar. Training a small bird to do what is necessary to survive can be as difficult as training a small child. She should listen and obey her parents and keepers so that she too will understand the rules of life. This cockatiel bird has made me realize how much more effort, as Angelina’s Grandpa, I must put into insuring she will be healthy and happy. It is my plan to help Angelina enjoy every minute of her new beginnings and her future life.
Thank you Angelina,
Love, GP
p.s. "Eats like a bird" does not apply to this cockatiel or to Angelina!

Memory Processing Grandpa Blog 12/23/07
Just a few days before Christmas, our time had come to do our inventory. Well, Angelina was visiting and as usual wanted to be a part of the process. We have a product which comes in cans and tubes. There were about 20 of each mixed in a bag. It was our job to separate one design from the other and place them in their proper drawer. After handing my 18 month old Granddaughter about 5 of each type of canister and showing her which drawer was the proper drawer, she soon figured out the correct place for each product. I was impressed but she did not show much emotion. She was just ready to accomplish a new and different task as soon as possible. I believe she will make a great employee of part owner of the business in the very near future.
Thank you Angelina,
Love GP
One Less Thing to Worry About!
After seeing so many commercials about taking one drug or another to prevent all kinds of physical health problems and hearing about certain hospital procedures to help prevent different types of cancer and with the encouragement of my wonderful wife, I went in for a colonoscopy scan. I asked a lot of questions and got a variety of answers about the procedure. After a preliminary examination by my doctor, I was given a date for the surgery, a list of things to do before that date plus slight fear of what might be found in my colon. I was not to eat anything for 24 hours before the scan, I had to take a liquid that would clear my colon of nay impurities and I had to appear at the hospital and take off all my clothes. The outer waiting room was filled with old people. I realized these were the smart people who had made it to this point in their long lives. I was then taken to a separate area and prepared and processed. I was asked more questions about my past and was poked and wired up for surgery. After I was confined in the hospital bed I was told that I could not have any alcohol for 24 hours after the procedure. I nearly changed my mind at that point but did go ahead with the surgery. The worst thing about the operating room was the terrible jokes that the anesthesiologist was telling me. I then fell asleep for about 2 seconds. I woke up to my wife’s smiling face. She asked how I was feeling. I said fine and passed a little gas. The doctor came in and we talked about my colon. She showed me some pretty pictures of my interior. She said other than 3 small polyps, a few diverticula’s and a fairly long colon, (I’m not sure what she meant by that) that I was a fine specimen of a human being. What a relief. One less thing for me and my family to worry about. Several times while I was lying in the waiting area wearing my stylish hospital gown, I envisioned Angelina and I setting on the swing in our front yard. I sang a few bars of our favorite song; “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”, I thought about how many more holidays, birthdays and vacation times that I wanted to spend with her and my wonderful wife and boys. This was a Christmas present I was giving myself and my family. Knowing my colon was not filled with any cancer would be a relief for everyone. I encourage everyone to have this simple medical scan. Knowing that you will have many more wonderful days with your family and friends is a great feeling.
Thank you to my wife, my doctor and to my little Angelina.
Love, GP
Shopping With Angelina
GP blog 12-13-07
This holiday season, with all of its hustles and bustles, I had one of the best times that I have ever had going shopping. Everyone knows how much I dread going into a shopping mall or even a grocery store. Going to the shops with Angelina made the trip fun and enjoyable. First of all, everyone sees her and smiles. They comment on how cute she is and ask how old she is. She enjoys riding in the shopping cart and looking at all of the sights on the store shelves. She does not grab or point at any particular item or toys. I am the one who finds things that she might enjoy. That’s the fun part. Buying for a little Granddaughter is a new and wonderful experience for me. Years ago, as a young father, I was not able to buy everything I wanted for my two boys. Today, I have a better opportunity to spoil my Grand Baby. Spending money on someone you really love is very easy.
Thank you Angelina,
Love, GP
Deer Hunting 101 (GP blog 12/12/07)
Or What Makes Grandpa Laugh
It was another beautiful, calm Wednesday afternoon at the bunny farm. Grandma left to see her masseuse, Grandpa had his Fosters and Fifi was playing with Angelina in the front yard. Quietly and slowly, several deer walked into our view. Angelina stopped and watched the animals as they nibbled on leaves and the grass just below our yard. She made some noises with her lips as if she was calling a dog. She was also slapping her leg with one hand to get the deer’s attention. They did raise their heads to see her and Fifi. They didn’t move. She then crawled down the rock steps and walked toward her animals. They then did move from side to side and stomped their feet several times. Fifi followed Angelina down the steps and caused the deer to be a little more concerned. The two little deer hunters charged the deer and ran after them to the lower area of our yard. The deer stopped for a while and then started running in circles as the two stalkers again attacked their prey. Some of the deer ran into the woods and watched the little hunters run after the slower animals. Eventually, all of the deer an off into the woods and did not return. Angelina and Fifi were a little disappointed but both had a little smile on their faces. I haven’t had the chance to explain to Angelina exactly what went wrong with her first attempt at deer hunting. Some day she may want to know how Grandpa hunts deer or maybe she won’t. Her method was truly more exciting and humorous than my way of hunting animals. I’m fairly certain that Angelina will enjoy eating some of Grandpa’s famous delicious deer jerky. The deer population is still growing in our part of the Texas Hill Country. Next year’s deer hunting trips should be even more thrilling and fun.
Thank you Angelina, Love, GP
What Makes Grandma Smile? GP blog 11/9/07
For many years I have been the one person who could give Pat a chuckle, laugh or smile with my actions or jokes. Since we have been together 37 years she has heard all of my jokes and stories and doesn't laugh anymore when I fall down. Ever since our Wednesday evening house guest has been staying here, Grandma has found her laughter and smiles all over again. The funny little phrases that Angelina tries to say, the cutest smiles she projects, the crazy things she can do with her hands and the way she can fall without hurting herself make us both laugh and smile with joy. Her latest escapades include; showing Grandpa how well she can brush her teeth, cleaning a room and then destroying it again within 5 minutes, trying to make friends with cats that really don't like anyone and feeding the pond fish with every bit of dog or cat food she can find. The determination and fortitude she has shown us in whatever project she tries to accomplish makes us smile and have great expectations for her future. I am sure all young children are full of joy and wonder but Angelina is a granddaughter that makes our Wednesday s the greatest day of the week. Thank you, Angelina.
Love, GP
Trick or Treat 2007
Princess Leia, Queen Patricia and me as Obe Won Knobe went out Halloween night to gather a bag full of goodies. We went to our local shopping center area. Most of the local residents were there. A lot of the adults were dressed as cowboys and farmersJ there were some adults did wear some more traditional type Halloween costumes. There were many scary little monsters. Some of these little people also had on some colorful, unique costumes. The weather was perfect for an outside adventure around the store fronts. Businesses were passing out many different types of gifts for the little monsters. Candy, book marks, fortune cookies and tamales were all gathered up by our group of trickers. Of course, the biggest treat for all the folks that evening was to see Angelina dressed in her Princess Leia costume. Everyone commented on how cute she looked on her first trip out as a Halloween contestant. We were too late to participate in the cutest costume contest. But after hearing the reactions of the people we saw that night, I am sure Angelina would have been the winner! This was the first time that Grandma and I have been out on this festive evening in a long time. We both had a great time and did complete our grocery shopping at the market that night. Back at our house, we read a couple books, drank a little milk and slept all night long. I can't wait for next October. Thank you, Angelina.
Love, GP
Breakfast in 2007 (10/26/07)
I've usually gotten up and out of bed in the mornings, got dressed, brushed my teeth and hair and gobbled down a quick breakfast consisting of a variety of foods. This year Angelina taught me what breakfast was all about. Breaking the fast, means that one has not eaten for a while and will soon be enjoying their first meal. When she sets down in her high chair to enjoy her first meal of the day, she really enjoys her food. It is a slow, delicate process of looking over the food offered, tasting each portion and being considerate enough to offer me a bite or two ever so often. It has become amazing to me how delicious and interesting each food group can taste when taking small and deliberate bites. Watermelon is so juicy and sweet. Eggs are soft and succulent. Sausage is spicy and salty. Bagels are mostly bland except when strawberry jam is introduced. Milk is creamy and satisfying. But the best part of the morning meal is sharing it with a 16 month old Granddaughter who smiles and talks baby talk to me. It is the best part of my days with her and Pat at our home.
Love, GP

How I Lower My Blood Pressure 9/6/07
On most Thursday mornings I normally get some coffee, read some newspaper, watch some morning news on TV and start packaging some BRcom orders to ship out. On September 6th of 2007, I sat on our outside swing with Angelina celebrating her 15th month birthday. We played with Fifi, listened to the birds sing and enjoyed the cool breeze on a clear Texas morning. Not much was said except for a few oohs and ahhs from Angelina and me. We sat together for about twenty minutes when I realized how calm and relaxed she helped me feel. We didn’t worry about any wars or how we could afford our taxes or if our insurance was adequate or if any work would be done today. We enjoyed each others company and the fact that we loved each other very much. It seems that the older I get, days like today become rarer. We decided to go to the river today and swim and fish for a while. This evening we will meet the rest of the family at Angelina’s favorite restaurant. I hope to enjoy many, many more days like this one with my Granddaughter and our family.
Thank you Angelina!
Love, Grandpa

Another Day with Angelina! 9/6/07
We got the pleasure of babysitting for Angelina this Wednesday, Wednesday night and Thursday. We always have too much fun. Today she is 15 months old. It's hard to believe, the time is going so quickly. I am amazed at how much she is changing and what she has learned since the last time I saw her. Every time we see her she is crossing a new threshold.
Yesterday she went down the slide for the first time ALL BY HERSELF! She kind of landed with a thud but got right up and went over to the stairs to go down again:-)
Today she was kicking the soccer ball around. She picked it up more than she kicked it so I think she wants to be a goalie. Grandpa has a tripped planned to the river today so I plugged the video camera in to make sure the battery is charged. Grandpa wants to take her fishing! I'm sure we'll get in a little swimming too.
Thank you Tim & Marcela for raising such a wonderful child!
Love, Nonny

Keep It Clean
Grandpa Blog 7/22/07
One evening as Angelina and I were finishing a sudoku puzzle, she noticed the table next to my chair and how cluttered it was with my TV controls, my glasses and pens, my vitamins and aspirin, my notes and napkins and a lot of other necessities. She then proceeded to eliminate all of these items one by one. The trash can and the floor were covered with my stuff. We then picked up these life altering articles and placed them back on the table. Some things were left in the trashcan and some things were put in different locations. I believe Angelina knows exactly how bad I am at controlling neatness and organization. My occasional table is now acceptable in her eyes. The pictures of her and I are now more visible. Thank you for helping Grandpa solve yet another problem.
Love Grandpa

Grandpa Blog 7/20/07
"Almost Persuaded"
Almost Persuaded. An old western song popular during the 70's. It was one of the few songs that I knew most of the words and its melody. Tim and Bob probably heard me sing that song about a thousand times. My 1956 Ford pickup had a radio but no speakers. So, in order for me to concentrate on driving and avoiding answering so many questions from my boys, I sang. They usually got the hint at about the fourth time I started to sing it all over again. Some of their favorite questions were something like; when will we be home and why are trees green and whey don't you fix the stupid radio. Well, that was 25 years ago since I remember singing that old country tune until July 18, 2007. Angelina and I were sitting on the swing in our front yard. She and I were both pretty exhausted from the days work. She was humming something about how much she likes cats and dogs and I thought I heard a bit of that old melody in her voice. I started singing my old cowboy song and she put her head on my lap. After the second chorus, I noticed that she had gone totally asleep. She slept for nearly an hour before grandma came home to take us out for dinner. I felt like Angelina and I bonded a little more that day as well as bringing back some wonderful memories of the days with my two young boys in that old pick up truck. Thank you Angelina.
Love, GP

Spoiled Rotten 6/14/07
Whenever Angelina arrives at our house the first thing she does is look for her little rocker pony. She will ride for a while and then try to replace all the animals in her wood puzzle. Playing music on her entertainment playpen wall and squeezing some of her dolls comes next. After enjoying an hour an a half nap she has lunch consisting usually of some broccoli, pasta and some fruit. Then it’s outside for swim time and a relaxing swing with the cats and FiFi. Singing and learning some new phrases is her favorite pastime with a few obscene noises coming from her lips and tongue. Learning how to take some steps and pointing out a few of her favorite pictures of herself on the fridge are next on her agenda. Another hour nap around 3:30 and its back to her play area in the living room. Writing all over Grandpa’s sudoku puzzle and shaking his vitamin bottle always make her laugh. Then is time to crawl around the pool to get n her bigger rocking horse and to watch Goldie swim around in the pool. Dinner time is normally quiet. She loves rice, beans and tortillas. Go Figure! Relaxing on Grandpa’s lap to watch wheel and making funny faces and sounds will last for some time. She then loves to look at some of the photo albums of her adventures so far in her life. Pointing at some pictures in a nursery book while Grandpa tries to read it can last through many small books. After some eye rubbing and a few yawns, Grandma gives her a bottle of milk and rocks her to sleep. She usually sleeps about ten hours and always wakes with a big smile on her face. Yes I am spoiled rotten. Thank you Angelina!
Love, Grandpa

A Day of Many Firsts!
This was the first three people birthday party that I have ever attended. This was the first piñata busting party I have ever attended. This was the first time I have been to a birthday party that had pony rides. This party had the first birthday party egg races. This was the first birthday party that did not have enough time to do the “Pin the Tail on Shrek Donkey” game or blow the biggest soap bubble game or even pick up the most rocks off the grass game. This was the first time I sang the Happy Birthday song three times. This party was planning to have people making balloon animals contest. This was the first time I have ever attended a birthday party with that kind of fun. This was the first time that Shrek was setting on my entrance gate. But the most Exciting First was that I had a Granddaughter celebrating her very first birthday party at my house with her Grandma’s, Parents, Uncles, Great GrandParents and many of her friends.
Love, Grandpa

A Visit From the Princess of Derkaderkastan!
It was late Thursday morning when I was informed that the beautiful, intelligent and happy Princess was to spend a couple of days gracing our abode with her presence. She arrived dressed in her usual elegant manner. She was asleep due to a day of celebration and excitement on Wednesday. After a nap and some lunch we then proceeded to talk about and plan the events that were to take place on Saturday. The Shrek theme and her Fiona doll seemed to make her very happy. Swimming and swinging were out favorite afternoon activities. It was hot outside but none of us noticed. We had lots of shade and a nice breeze for comfort. Her first visit to the 46 Bar & Grill was nearly as exciting as the trip to Outdoor World. Several mounted animals and a lot of pictures, artifacts and banners cover the walls of this historic landmark. The pool table and some of the arcade games is where Princess Derkaderkastan interests were. She tried “Street Fighter” and “Ms Pacman” but passed on the “Lets Get Teed Off” golf game. We did kick the queue ball around a bit, but never really finished a game on the table. Dinner was served. French fries, grilled chicken and a cold bottle of water was all the Princess wanted or needed for dinner. The remainder of the evening was spent watching the San Antonio Spurs kick the tar out of the Cleveland Whatevers. The Princess and I had along night’s sleep and awoke Friday to more than a few tasks and problems involving Saturday’s party. We solved most of the situations and relaxed that afternoon in the pool, on the swing and setting on the front lawn. The Princess seemed pleased, Grandpa seemed pleased and all was right in the kingdom of Derkaderkastan.
Love, Grandpa

Happy First Birthday To You!
With the Biggest Smile and the Cutest Outfit, Angelina celebrated her very first birthday with Mommy, Daddy, Uncle Bob, Uncle Ernest, Nonny and Grandpa. She started the day having a plate of pasta and sauce at Johnny Carinos restaurant. She then entered the Texas Outdoor World store and came face to face with the first grizzly bear she has ever seen. The bear wasn’t as startled as she was since it was stuffed. She did see several live fish found in the lakes and rivers of Texas. There were also many other animals mounted on rocks and walls all over the store. She was impressed with some of the great camouflage gear. She also picked out a great tent for the time in the near future when she can go camping with her Parents. The afternoon was topped off with a variety of desserts at Mimi’s Diner and Bar. After indulging in some of the thickest chocolate mousse cake, she was ecstatic with the family and anyone else in the establishment. We all sang “Happy Birthday”, took some photos and movies and then headed home for a little R & R. Grandpa was pooped. I had a great time at Angelina’s Birthday Celebration. I can’t wait for the Bar-B-Que Party Saturday for Angelina, Pat & Ernest.
Love, Grandpa

Did You Have Fun At the Coast?
Everyone seems to want me to answer that question. My answer is "Angelina had a fantastic Gulf Coast Vacation." Wading in the ocean waves, swimming in the pools and feeding the sea gulls were three of her favorite pass times. She was not shy or afraid of anything the Texas coast had to offer. She did get a little bit of tan on her legs and a little bit of sand in her pants but she never fussed or complained. She discovered the difference between Cheese Nips and Cheese-Its. Cheese Nips are for sea gulls and Cheese-Its are for her and Grandpa to share. She had a great crab floatie to play with while in the pool and a beach ball for playing volley ball with her family. While shopping in Port Aransas, Angelina and her Parents picked out the perfect tee shirt for her to wear. Hours of video tape and hundreds of pictures were taken so that Angelina will always have a diary of her first trip to the Texas coast. I can't wait for the next vacation.
Love, Grandpa

Grandpa Blog April 25, 2007
Two more fun filled days with Angelina. The first toy we played with Tuesday was my guitar. I showed her how to adjust the strings by singing the tune “My Dog Has Fleas”! I was taught by my Uncle Jerry a long time ago how to tune my guitar in this manner. What was really funny, while Angelina and I were strumming the strings, she kept singing the same words over and over. She kept singing, “My Dogs Have Fleas”. Her Dad told me she was referring to the Hua-Hua boys all along. The boys are blaming the cats for this latest flea infestation. The cats are blaming the tall grass. The tall grass is blaming all the rain. The rain is of course due to Global Warming. So in the end, all blame falls upon carbon emissions of all the traffic in the United States. Angelina may be seeking some legal advice from her lawyer in this matter. Until then she will be bathing regularly at home and at Grandpa’s until the insect problem is solved. FiFi is very concerned and hopeful that she will be spared any torment from these little pests. Grandpa is scratching a lot more these days but I think that is normal for a man of his age.
Love, Grandpa

Easter with Grandpa (April 12, 2007)
I’ve always been amazed to see how many Grandparents spend so much time and travel so much with their Grandchildren. I’ve always thought that it would be more fun for older adults to spend time with friends and people of their own age. This Easter changed all my feelings about that. Angelina spent three fun filled days with Grandma and me during Easter vacation. We always close our business during Easter for a few days to rest and enjoy the flowers. Angelina made this years Easter the best ever. She entertained and taught us a lot about how to enjoy life as older people. She made us feel much younger and happier than we have felt in a long time. Her smiles and actions reminded us of many of the fun times we had with Tim and Bob while they were young. Seeing her try to eat her first plastic Easter egg was a sight for any Parent or Grandparent. Watching her open her plastic egg to discover the contents was even more thrilling for all of us at our Easter dinner table. Angelina ate her first real green bean, her first scalloped potato and her own special baby food with her Parents, Grandparents and Uncles on Easter day. The next two days alone with her GrandParents was even more thrilling. She was given seven new outdoor toys by her favorite Step Aunt and niece from Pipe Creek. Joy and Katy Kretzer brought over these wonderful toys for Angelina to use for as long as she wants. Angelina is dancing, crawling and starting to walk from chair to table and table to chair with more and more confidence. Her talking and singing talents are developing quickly. Her smiles and laughs are becoming my favorite part of our time together. Each morning after enjoying a night of at least eight hours of sleep, she would always rise with a smile and a special happy look in her big blue eyes that any Grandpa would enjoy seeing. Day times were filled with playing the organ and learning how to work puzzle parts. Her Parents have been training her to play and work for herself to keep her life occupied with new games and toys. Her favorite game at Grandpa’s house is to get the TV control and change channels, turn the TV on and off and to adjust the color, tint and sound. She is a future programmer in training. Thank you Angelina for a Happy Easter.
Love, Grandpa

Luckiest Person in the World!
I truly believe I am the luckiest person in the world. I am happy & healthy. I have a family that is also happy and healthy. We're just a big happy group! I got the privilege of babysitting for Angelina twice this week. Every hour I spend with her increases my level of happiness ten-fold. She is such a happy person. She is growing and changing every day. Monday she was sitting on the floor playing with her toys. Thursday she was crawling over to her toys to play with them! I got the opportunity to video her crawling plus dancing. She was on all fours and swaying back and forth to the music that she was making on her keyboard that Grandpa got her. She loves that keyboard. Angelina, me and Grandpa got to do a little sunbathing Thursday. We got to see her cute little orange bikini! She had a great time just soaking up the sunshine and watching Fifi run around the yard:-) Then she came in the house and that's when she decided to play on the keyboard and dance to the beat. Later in the day we took her back to Mommy & Daddy and enjoyed some fried chicken and green bean casserole. It was a wonderful day. I'm not quite sure but I think she has 6 teeth right now. She doesn't like to have anyone put their fingers in her mouth (she doesn't want to catch a cold) so it's hard to tell. She had a doctor's appointment today for her 9 month check up and the doctor said she is doing great. My life just gets better and better every day!

Nonny 3-15-07

Spring Break 2007
There are only a few opportunities to get a change to see Angelina three times in only one week. This year was a perfect time for this to occur. Her parents have done a superb job of keeping her healthy and happy. She is so inquisitive and interested in learning and experimenting with new games and toys. Her coordination and vision are developing so quickly. Her Grandpa has to keep on his toes so that he might keep up with her. We have been doing stretching and moving exercises together in order for both of us to stay agile and strong. Our communication skills have been tested at a very high level this week. Grandpa is starting to learn a lot from Angelina and her expressions. One of the best results from her many visits with us this past week, is the smiles and warmth her Grandma retains even after Angelina has to go home. Grandma has almost as much fun as I do while being with our Granddaughter. Angelina is instilling so much love and happiness for our entire family and all of our gatherings. Thank you, Tim, Marcela and Angelina for everything you say and do that make us so proud of you.

Grandpa 3/12/07

During another great meal at Angelina's favorite restaurant she discovered why she is getting teeth. She noticed her family enjoying all kinds of colorful delicious foods and decided to try a few for herself. The flour tortillas were soft and filling but had very little taste or texture or color. Then when she noticed that Grandpa had one of those famous Mexican beers, she grabbed his slice of lime and proceeded to chew and swallow the tart but juicy flavor of this great citrus treat. She didn't exactly smile but didn't stop chewing this small green tidbit. She did reach for the green bottle along with the salt shaker and some chips. But Dad didn't think she was quite old enough to go through with the whole process of how to truly enjoy a swallow of this classic libation. Grandpa will be about seventy nice years old when he and Angelina can truly and legally enjoy a night out with a few beers.
Stay Sober. Grandpa

Merry Christmas and Feliz Navidad! We all had a wonderful time with Angelina and her parents, uncles and friends on her first holiday celebration. I t went by so quickly with so many places and people she visited. I am still sorting through all the thousands of pictures taken of her during her first Christmas season. It is amazing how cute she is in every picture taken. We are trying to choose on for a Beautiful Baby Contest on television. This is difficult but is exciting to see her and all of the great times we had together. Angelina and her parents survived her first real Cold Icy New Year in January. She didn’t get to see much snow but 2007 is still young. I think she has enough warm winter clothes but I’m sure Grandma might find some new special outfits soon. Angelina’s new teeth and her vocabulary are getting bigger every day. Chewing and singing will soon both be high on her list of thrilling parts of her growing life. She seems to be well on her way to standing and walking. Her Mom and Dad will be very busy with training and trailing her all over their house. A tricycle and bicycle will soon by in the minds of Grandpa and Grandma. Angelina’s next Christmas is only 345 days away. Going shopping for our Granddaughter is always a lot of fun.
Love, Grandpa

Grandpa Blog 10/22/06
Who's the Grandparent and Who's the Baby?
Having Angelina visit us on Saturday night while her parents were celebrating their 2nd year of Marriage was an enlightening and wonderful experience. She taught me two very important things that I shall never forget. Do not hesitate or delay when she gets hungry. I should also remember that I will always be her Grandpa and she loves to smile. For someone who is only 4 months old, she has a lot to say about many topics. She was upset when we watched Iowa defense collapse while playing the Michigan Wolverines. She had some very rude comments to express while we watched the news about the terrible things that are happening in the Middle East. She was not impressed with some of the skits on Saturday Night Live. She showed me how happy she was with her parents and the way she is being raised. She is starting to understand a lot of words and feelings that she is exposed to everyday. Happy Parents make Happy Families. People that are not happy have so many problems that need to be solved. As John Lennon once said, "There are no problems, only solutions!" I'm not sure if she can comprehend what that statement really means but my goal is to be sure to help her solve any problems that may arise in her young life.
Love, GP Ken

Grandpa Blog October 14, 2006
Grandpa & the Chick Magnet
A few years have passed since the last time I carried a baby through the isles of a department store. Saturday afternoon at the airport Wal-Mart in San Antonio, Angelina and I had a great time meeting and being given a lot of affection by most of the women in that store. "Is she yours?", "She's so Cute!" and "You both look so happy!" were the comments heard by both of us. Yes, she's my grandchild, she takes after her Mom and thank you for noticing us, were my retorts. Women usually don't smile at me or even look at me much anymore. I believe Angelina had just as much fun as I did receiving so much attention from these nice ladies. I am planning a trip for Angelina and I to go to the convenience store where Fosters is sold. Hopefully some of the wonderful women will buy us some refreshing drinks. It could happen!
Love, GP Ken

Grandpa Blog October 4, 2006
Angelina took time out of her busy schedule to come out today and help Grandma & Grandpa at the bunny farm. She gave her parents a little time to rest and reflect on how happy and fun it is to have her at home. At only 4 months old, Angelina is very aware of her surroundings, is cutting some teeth and is trying to speak some type of language. I imagine she will probably be able to speak every language on earthy by the time she is an adult. The fact that she smiles nearly every time she looks at me; tells me that I am really funny looking or that she really enjoys knowing that I am her Grandpa. Now that her teeth are emerging, I think she will be starting to eat solid foods. Deer Jerky will probably be her favorite after puffy tacos! I can't wait for your next visit. We'll see you at Great Aunt Deborah's party Saturday.
Love, GP Ken

Educating Grandpa – Sept 3
I think Angelina has already learned how to read. She was in my arms sitting in the front yard when she looked at my shirt. The shirt was a gift from her and her parents. It reads, “Number One Grandpa.” She then proceeded to do “Number One” all over me and the shirt. I think her Dad was the last person to change her diaper. I’m not sure if it was not arranged in the proper position, or if she moved and kicked to allow a direct passage to my previously dry shirt and shorts. I knew that this event was inevitable but not during a Labor Day party! Thank you Angelina, for making me a true member of your warm, wet world.
Love, Grandpa Ken

8/11/06- Dear Tiger,
I just spent a day swimming in a nice, big and deep pool with a group of young children. It was a birthday party for KJ, on of our friend’s 6 year old son. Some of the children swimming in the pool were not much older than you are right now. Their parents and older siblings were teaching them how to stay on top of the water. You know where I live and what is in my house, so you will be learning how to swim real soon. It’s surprising how many muscles you actually use swimming. I haven’t been for a while and my back and legs are tired from swimming. Learning how to hold your breath and not get water in you mouth and nose are going to be the first steps. The way you already swing your arms around, I think you will be proficient at the butterfly stroke. Of course, we will be teaching you all the different strokes used at the summer Olympics and you can pick your favorite. Get ready to get wet! Love, Grandpa Ken

Thank You, Tiger!! 8/8/06
Ever since you arrived here, you have found several ways to bring my family closer together. We have all been together more often than ever before. We have had great times together and you always keep us smiling. You are a star and have a magnetic personality. I will see you Saturday.
Love, Grandpa Ken

July 27 - It was another great day visiting Angelina and the rest of the family. Grandpa Ken and I went over this morning and while Grandpa, Daddy and Mommy cleared out some dead trees I got to play with Angelina and take some Adorable pictures. I'll have to get them up on my webpages for Angelina:-) After they finished that Grandpa and Daddy came in and put up two new bars in the closet so Mommy and me could hang up all Angelina's clothes. We had to go buy more hangers just so we could get everything hung up! OK, we have to stop going to Kids Junction for awhile! Angelina has so many darling outfits that she probably won't be able to wear them all before she outgrows them. She needs to have a photo shoot and get at least one picture in each outfit!! Great Aunt Deborah and Great Uncle Pooch stopped by and got to visit for awhile. Then Uncle Bob and Uncle Ernest came by and it was a full house! We all enjoyed seeing each other again. We haven't been together since 4th of July and Ernest missed that party:-( I had another wonderful day with my family:-) It is hard to imagine my life before Angelina!
Love, Grandma Pat

Our Trip To Indiana
Thursday, July 13 - Well, Geli slept all the wary from San Antonio Airport parking to the airliner gate number 34 in Chicago. Dad and Grandpa were both frisked at the security gate in SA. Tim had too many cameras and Ken lost his boarding pass. Everyone in the airport was thrilled to see Angelina.

Thursday - 7pm - After a comfortable non eventful flight we landed in O'Hare, got luggage and headed to Budget car rental, no minivans left for lease. Another hour later and a few sour words and they found our reserved vehicle. We forgot how buys the turnpike can be even on a Thursday afternoon. We got to Great Grandma's house after a three hour drive and no serious problems. The old folks were thrilled to see us and of course Angelina.

Friday, July 14 - Mom, Tom, James, Jimmy, Linda & Bill and Tommy all got together with us to celebrate Tim's 34th Birthday. Lasagna, pineapple cake and of course everyone was thrilled to see Angelina.

Saturday, July 15 - The 55th ANNIVERSARY PARTY began about 1pm. Everyone came to celebrate Mary Lou and Tom's life together. A great gathering of friends, family and neighbors enjoying food and drinks and of course they were all thrilled to see Angelina.

Sunday, July 16 - The HOTTEST day in Indiana this year. We sat around eating, drinking and talking in cool places at Grandma's house. We had so much food left over from the anniversary party so we tried to eat all of it on this day! That didn't happen but everyone was thrilled to say Goodbye to Angelina.

Monday, July 17 - We got up at 7am, we left Grandma's at 8:30. We had a quick and easy trip to the airport. We ate lunch at the O'Hare food court and all the other passengers were thrilled to see Angelina. Monday afternoon - Then there was the flight home. We had to change gates because of some technical difficulties from the high temperatures outside and move to another wing of O'Hare airport. The ramp and the plane that we boarded were at about 95 degrees. The two babies across the isle cried, screamed and yelled for 2 hours and 19 minutes all the way to San Antonio. The lady next to me was offended because I did not use enough antiperspirant and Angelina was thrilled to be home.

Monday evening while in San Antonio, we had a great meal at Angelina's favorite restaurant. We all shared chicken and beef fajitas. We all agreed that the trip to Indiana was a fun adventure. It was great to see most of our relatives and visit for just a while to catch up on all of the important news about our lives. With all the pictures and videos taken, it is a trip that Angelina will always remember.
Love, Grandpa Ken

July 10 - What's So Funny?
Grandma Vanecek! It seems to be that when Angelina is held by Pat she loves to smile and make funny faces. It could just be gas but I believe Pat's face makes many people smile. I always get a good feeling when I wake up next to Pat every morning.
I think intelligent babies have the gift of knowing who is a good and wonderful person. The way a baby feels when being held and talked to by a good person is expressed through their smiling face. I guess they feel comfortable and safe when held by loving arms. Pat had a lot of experience raising two kids and about one thousand bunnies. Rabbits feel safe and happy when held correctly and comfortably. If rabbits or babies kick or cry, something could be wrong with how they are being held. When I see Pat hold and comfort Angelina and see them both smiling and happy, I get a happy warm feeling all over. I guess we need to plan a new trip to Tim & Marcela's home soon.
Grandpa Ken

July 9 - Mexican Food
Well, we took Angelina to her favorite restaurant Saturday. This is the third time that I have gone out to eat with her and her parents at this special place. The puffy tacos with rice and beans seem to be her favorite plate, especially after her Mom enjoys eating it for her. It seems to pass through Mom with flying colors because Angelina will not stop nursing. Of course, without the help of beano, Angelina can scare off the dogs with the noise she makes. I thought I heard a bit of thunder but it was just little Geli relieving some stomach pressure. What a champ! Someday I hope to test her out on some Asian, Italian or even French cuisine. Things will really get interesting when she will order for herself and can operate a fork, knife and spoon with some degree of efficiency. I hope she likes the Bar-B-Q at Great Grandma Billeauxs 50th Anniversary Party! If they serve beans, we will all be able to hear her sing.
Grandpa Ken

July 8 - Well it was sure nice seeing Angelina today. She changes so much every time I see her. Today there was a special sparkle in her eyes! We went to lunch with Grandpa, Mom, Dad and Uncle Bob. Angelina slept through most of that. Then afterwards we stopped by Kids Junction where Grandma and Mom had to buy a few more new outfits. Not like Angelina needs them but check out how cute she looks in the little yellow outfit Grandma bought. It says “I’m Beeutiful”. Grandpa had problems keeping the camera still but I think all the pix are fantastic. Not only did I see the special sparkle but lots more smiles! Miss you already Angelina,

July 4 - Angelina, I love the new addition to your website, "Angelina Says!" In the picture on the front page you look quite adorable. I can't wait to see what people ask you and read your answers. I also enjoyed the new pictures of you. Don't let Grandpa give you too much Fosters!!
Love, Grandma

June 25 I Miss Her - I know how Marcela feels. I miss looking into Angelina’s sweet face. I saw her Tuesday but that’s almost a week ago!! I go to her website every day, to see what new videos and pictures Daddy has added. I really enjoy getting to see new pix of her. I can follow along with every stage of her developmentJ She is changing and growing so fast! Friday and Saturday we had a rabbit show in Oklahoma. All of our customers got to see the pictures of Angelina that I had brought along. A lot of them had already seen them on my website or Angelina’s. Ken was sure to tell everyone what a fantastic Father Tim is. Everyone agreed though that Angelina is too cute and Ken is one proud Grandpa!
-Proud Grandma

June 17 - I saw Angelina and her Mom and Dad at my 55th birthday party today. They all looked great. Healthy and Happy! Everyone had a great time. Angelina spent a lot of time outside soaking up the atmosphere. She wasn’t awake sometimes but I knew she could tell what was going on. It was a party and I know she wants to go to lots more! It was one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had. I truly enjoyed being with Family and Friends. And I don’t mind being 55 at all. She hasn’t changed much and I am enjoying seeing her as a sweet little thing. I can’t wait to be able to talk to her and have her tell me exactly what her take is on the situationJ I can already tell that she is going to be sharp as a tack. I hope you have a good time at your Great Uncle’s tomorrow Angelina. Luckily your Dad will video it so you can remember.
Love, Grandma

6/14 To Be Or Not To Be?
I chose to marry my wonderful wife. I chose to have two wonderful children. I chose to live in Texas. Being a Grandpa was a gift from Tim and Marcela. People do not have the choice of being Grandparents. It can only be achieved when their children chose to become parents. So in order to be a Grandpa, one must first have children of their own.Someday, if Angelina chooses to have children, Tim and Marcela will become Grandparents. This is what inspires me to keep a log on all the new and exciting experiences that Angelina and her Parents will share with me.
Hopefully, all of the ideas and suggestions I share with them will be of help and inspire their future life together. Being a Grandpa doesn't mean that I am getting older. It means that I just have more of life to appreciate.
Love, Grandpa Ken

June14 – While I am happy to answer any question and help when I can, it’s been a long time since I had a baby and my memory isn’t what it used to be. New Mothers today are so lucky to have the internet. It is a fantastic source of information. I found the Mayo Clinic website and it is loaded with articles. It also has an easy to use search engineJ New Mom’s can find out the answers to almost any question within minutes. No more waiting for the doctor to return your phone call. No more worrying if your question is too silly to bother a doctor with. Just open your web browser, type in your question and sort through the different answers. Then figure out which one is best for you and your baby. Marcela, Tim and Angelina are lucky to be living in 2006.
Love Grandma Pat

6/13/06- What Do Babies Know? I don't remember much about my first few years of life. I hear experts say that children are greatly influenced and develop according to their environment during the early years. Happiness, fear, surprise, stress and all of the many emotions are absorbed and some how recorded into babies brains. Most of their future is programmed into their little computer before age two. They do hear, see and feel everything that is nearby. I believe children should be exposed to all of life's ups and downs. Who knows what anyone will develop into when they mature into adults. Every person is different which is what makes this a wonderful world. How dull would this world be if everyone was just like me? Angelina is loved and cherished by a great number of people. She will learn from and be influenced by many relatives and friends. Of course, her parents will have the greatest role in her early development. It's important for them to listen to all of the comments and suggestions from everyone who loves Angelina. They can then sort the information, put it in the correct folder in their computer and then use it or trash it as they see fit. Angelina's life will be filled with yes's and no's just like a computer. Filling Angelina's memory with good things is what everyone who loves her wants to achieve. Happy babies normally grow up to be happy adults. I am going to do my best to insure Angelina receives only fantastic experiences from me for her to store into her life memories. Love, Grandpa Ken

June 13- Being a Grandma! What fun! I didn't anticipate how much I would truly enjoy it. We have been going through pictures and videos of our two boys and I had forgotten what cute babies they were. Now I know where Angelina gets it:-) tehe I was so happy to hear Angelina got a thumbs up from the doctor on her first doctors appointment. I was excited to hear that she is eating well and pooping it out. I love checking up on her with the videos on her website. It's like seeing her every day. Of course it doesn't compare with holding her, giving her kisses and hearing her coo. I'll have to wait till tomorrow night for that. Hugs & Kisses, Grandma Pat

6/10 Grandparenting 101: Try not to worry about every little thing that might or might not happen. Oh yes, I once had little people sleeping in my house. It's not necessarily worry but is concern a parent has for doing the right thing. It's easy to do something wrong if you are not informed or prepared. I'm amazed at how much knowledge and experience with babies I have forgotten in the last few years. Oh Yeah! It's been over 30 years since we had a baby in our house. There is also the fact that things have changed and new techniques have been discovered for "Bringing Up Baby". It seems Grandpa has a lot to learn and also some serious memory salvaging to work on. Learning and relearning rearing of young babies should be a lot of fun. Of course, my job is to only be a helper and advisor. The final decisions about any situation should be made by the Parents only. Angelina is already training all of us. She will be taking control of any situation that may concern her. It's up to all of her family to be there whenever she may need our help or support. I've always wanted to be there for my boys and now I want to also be there for Angelina. I don't want to worry so I will try to be prepared. Love, Grandpa Ken

June 6, 2006 We are getting ready to go to the hospital and hopefully meet Marcela and Tim’s new little bundle of joy soon. I wanted to refute a few facts from the June 3 Grandpa Ken blog. Babies do smell good! They don’t have stinky diapers until you start feeding them food. Breast milk seems to be the best thing for them and their digestive system. I do agree that keeping the noise down and keeping strangers at a distance are both good ideas with a new Baby. And keeping them confined when you have to go to the doctors’ office. Mom and Dad will quickly recognize the different tones of crying. And they will be brought to their knees when they hear the cooing that Baby makes when they are totally contented. I am very anxious and I know Marcela and Tim are as well. But my first little Grandbaby will be here soon enough. It’s already 2 days before we expected you anyway. Love, Grandma

June 4 When Baby Comes Home.

Our first baby in the house. Pat and Tim were released from the hospital a couple days after the birth. Driving home slowly and hitting no bumps or chuck holes was priority number one. A lot of healing was yet to be accomplished. Just walking up three steps into our trailer was a painful chore for Pat. The baby was in the house and we were ready for anything. Ha! Ha! The first thing that I noticed was that babies do not smell good. I don't know who came up with that old wives tale but they pee and poop constantly. Little boys like to pee straight up when Mom or Dad is changing his dirty diaper. Having a tightly closed hamper, preferably outside, is the first necessity for those poop filled little diapers.The noise in a home with a new little one should be kept at a constant quiet level. When baby finally falls asleep and if the phone rings or a knock at the door or a dog is barking or even a train passing by, all hell can break loose. I suggest turning off the telephone ringer, putting a sign on the front door and putting on some soothing music for the baby at nap time. For the first few months screaming and crying are the babies only means of communication. There are different cries for: I am hungry, I am messy, or Where the heck are you? New parents should hopefully be able to decipher these different sounds after two or three weeks.Keeping the baby away from sick people or people who are sick is the next phase to keeping a happy home. Tim had three Grandpas and three Grandmas and too many of his parents friends come to visit. Isolation is not the answer but if you notice a person coughing or sneezing or just looks a little out of sorts, it's not rude to ask them to step back or even get but to save you and your babies health. I always hated to have to take one of the boys to the doctor. The cost of the visit, the cost of the drugs and the sorrow of seeing your child in pain are all painful to parents. The nurses always make you wait in the "Sick kids room" for the doctor. Of course the baby will probably pick up a new infection or virus in there from one of the other sick kids! Having the proper food or breast milk is very important. Pat breast fed for awhile but had some problems and we had to resort to "the bottle". We got formula for the baby and whiskey for Dad. I never did like the taste of most foods and milk formulas that we tried to feed Tim. Yes, I tried them all. I wanted to see why Tim made such a sour face whenever I tried to feed him that shit. Try to give baby something that is good for him and also tastes good. If possible, bathe the baby after every mess and keep diaper rash medicine on hand.Good luck, Grandpa Ken

June 3, 2006 When Is This Baby Coming Out?

Tim was due on July 4th. Well after being out working all night, I took Pat back onto the base for a checkup. It was now July 14th. The doctor said it would probably be another week to 10 days before he arrived. This did not set well with Pat. Of course, she couldn’t sit anywhere lately without some discomfort.

I had been out on dispatch the night before and hadn’t slept for the last 24 hours. I talked to a friend when I went to buy new mufflers for our car. He said his brother told him about one method to induce labor. Drive her back and forth across some bad railroad tracks in Missouri. We just happened to have some of the worst railroad crossings in the world.

We went for a ride in my old 1956 Ford pickup. It had no shock absorbers and the most uncomfortable bench seat ever made. We got back to the house, I changed the mufflers, started a steak on the grill (hadn’t eaten for a while either) and was about ready to sit down myself.

Then Pat came up to me and said, “We have to go back to the base hospital. My water broke and they said to come back.” I told her, “This time I am leaving you there until you have this baby.” We got to the base about 6:30pm and Tim was born at 8:40pm. What a champ and what a day. The medical field has come up with some new and improved methods for inducing labor for the super pregnant.

I hope Marcela finds a more comfortable method than what Pat had to endure. Try to keep cool, keep your feet up, and think happy baby thoughts. Get your makeup and hair products ready for all the photo shots. Make sure to have cute outfits ready for the baby pictures. Oh yes and do your own a nursing bra. I never heard of such a thing until Pat asked her father to bring one to the hospital the night Tim was born. Rest and Relax. You will be a Mommy and Daddy very soon. -Grandpa Ken

6/1: I am beginning to recall the moment when Pat told me that she was pregnant. It seemed so sudden after she went off her birth control pills. I had a two week stay in one of the nicer Air Force hospitals in Ohio. Pat and I talked every night on collect calls from me. We had a pay phone in the hospital hall about 50 yards from my barracks type hospital bed. They had me strapped up with pulleys and weights trying to straighten my crooked neck. I would have to sneak past the desk nurse and a couple of ward watchers that would tend to my every need. Ha! It was usually around 9pm when all the wounded Viet Nam vets fell asleep. Anyway, we talked dirty to each other probably every time and sobbed to have to say goodbye. When I got home I was pretty confident that Pat would get pregnant soon. And soon it was.

We wanted to try to make raising a child a wonderful and fun part of our lives. We bought some Dr Spock books and tried talking to people who have had children. We were still so stupid but were quickly learning things about raising children as soon as Tim was born. We had a few ups and downs but enjoyed and cherish every minute of our experiences. My two boys are a beautiful part of my life.

Now I am almost a Grandpa! It seems so strange to be experiencing the birth of my son’s first child. It is just as exciting as Tim’s birth. Tim and Marcela are going to be experiencing parenthood and all the ups and downs. I will always try to answer any questions and can’t wait to learn to be a good Grandpa. I’m sure the new little member of our family will teach me some great lessons. I am watching a lot of the Dr Phil shows for any hints on Grandparenting. We will probably search the net for any good question and answer Grandparent sites. Watching Tim & Marcela become parents will also be wonderful. I think they will have a plenty of sources for parenting information. Welcome to the world little Angelina/Raphael. -Grandpa Ken