Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Shelly's beautiful babies

I can't get the pictures to move around in my blog today. So you get them all in the beginning.
Having been in Iowa for two weeks now, we decided to make a quick side trip to Champaign, Illinois to visit with our niece Shelly and Jeff and Max's sister Linda and Kurt. It was a four-hour drive to Champaign and was a little bit scary. In one area, the snow was blowing forcibly across the highway and we saw at least 25 cars off the road, many of them upside down.

We arrived at Shelly's home just in time for some of Kurt's wonderful cooking. It was so good to be with them all. The twins are adorable. I don't know how they can do it with two. Love and faith--I'm pretty sure. Linda has been a major strength to the household. But the day will come when she goes back to Dublin. Brooklyn is an exact double of Emma. Bradford looks a bit different than the three girls, but he is so-o-o-o cute! Nicole is an excellent little pianist and both she and Emma are very energetic girls. Lots of squeals and laughter.

We spent the evening watching Linda's photographs of Ireland and Abigail's photos taken by Max. They have a huge home entertainment screen in their movie viewing room. The architecture in Ireland is amazing. We slept in that room and in the morning after a Kurt-gourmet breakfast, we drove back to Iowa.

It is now Christmas Eve day and tomorrow afternoon we will return to Utah by train. I don't think I can leave without little Abby. I'm just going to have to take her with me. But then I would have to take the Mommy as well. Hmmm . . . this could cause a problem in my relationship with Ben!
On the way to Katie's home from Illinois, we went through an area where there had been an ice storm. We have posted a picture which in no way does it justice. Every blade of grass, every weed, every wire on a fence, every tree twig is coated with ice. It appears as though vertical shards of glass are everywhere. It was a magical fairyland of ice. We took close to a zillion pictures, but they just don't portray the magic.

Everyone have a wonderful Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Proud grandparents--She's one week old!

This little Abby girl is the sweetest, prettiest and most precious that we have ever seen since our baby girls and little Katelyn. Such an easy and happy baby.
We are having so much fun here at Katie and Ben's home. It is so peaceful. I don't think I've ever had such a calm Christmas month. I'm always stressed and running here and there getting ready for the holidays, cooking and sewing and cleaning. But this year, it was all done weeks ago. The presents have been made and are wrapped and under the tree in Logan, which lights up nightly via a nifty timer. The food for the Family Christmas candelight dinner (which will be December 28th) is bought and ready to fix. I made sure I left the house well-cleaned, even the fridge. It's a good thing too because three families will be arriving at our home at the same time that we will first arrive in Logan. I have always tried to have my house really clean before I leave for a vacation. The reason is that when I return and have all that unpacking to do, I am less stressed and depressed if the house is already done.
So here in Iowa, we have been able to sleep in, hold the baby, cook a little, paint a little and talk a lot to Katie and Ben. No worries, no stress and no rushing around. This is the first real restful vacation that I can remember. Too bad we can't stay a little longer. We're getting way too comfortable.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Grandbaby #8

We have a new little granddaughter, Abigail Elisabeth Knoll, born at 8:51 p.m. After 31 hours of labor) on December 9th, 2008. She weighed in at 7 pounds and measured 20 inches in length. She was taken to NICU because she had a pneumothorax, a small air leak in her lung. She couldn't get enough pressure to keep her lung open. It was a little unsettling to watch them bagging her with this tiny little oxygen mask and bag. But now the hole is healing and she is breathing on her own. Mom and Dad (Katie and Ben) have been able to hold her. We, however, have not yet been allowed to do more than stroke her little legs and arms. She is beautiful. She'll be in the hospital a few more days in her private room in NICU, then Katie can bring her home. This hospital is incredible. All NICU babies have private rooms, and Katie's room has a double bed for her and Ben and a jacuzzi!

I love the reasons for which they chose her name:
"We named her “Abigail” after Abigail Adams, wife of the second U.S. President. We hope that she’ll emulate Mrs. Adams’s strong faith, values, and work ethic, her intellectual aptitude, her dedication to her husband and family, and her unassailable sense of civic duty to her country.We gave her the middle name of “Elisabeth” in honor of Elizabeth Bennett in Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice. In doing so, we hope that she will emulate Elizabeth’s egalitarian character in always being genuine and sincere with others while maintaining a healthy repugnance of pecuniary elitism and social pretense."

We are staying in their home in Iowa City, Iowa. We made the 30 (turned out to be 32 hour) trip from Logan, Utah by train. I love traveling by train. We had a few delays. Another train broke down in "our" tunnel and we had to wait one hour for their repair. Later an ice storm took out the train track lights. The freight trains were behind schedule because of this event and we had to sit and wait while several of them went by before we could proceed with our trip.

Brittany, our sweet German Shorthair dog, is staying for the holidays with our son Ken in Tooele. Gabby, our cat, is still in our home, being cared for by Ilda and her children. They live in our basement apartment. We will be staying in Iowa until Christmas day. After getting our long-awaited phone calls from our two missionaries, Karolyn in Russia, and Kyle in Chile, we will board the train for home

Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Music of the bells

Friday night was our Bell/Chime concert in the Logan Tabernacle. Except for the choir seats, the Tabernacle was filled with people. We have practiced so hard and long for this. It was the second concert of nine for this month. Our official name is the Westminster Bell Choir. We practice in the basement of the Presbyterian Church. Half of us are Presbyterian and half of us are LDS (Mormon).

I play the lower C and D notes. They are big, heavy bells. My carpal tunnel gets really agitated, but I love doing it so much that it is worth it. The musical arrangements for four octaves of bells are always intricate and fairly difficult. Yet when we finally get a piece learned, it becomes magical. I could get really dramatic here and use words such as beautiful, wonderful, delightful, and powerful--and I'd be right on target.

I just get a thrill from playing bells and chimes! It is now my second-favorite hobby, next to the organ.

These are the bells.

I am holding one of the chimes here.