Saturday, May 27, 2017

Grandson's Graduation

O'Fallon, IL    Hi 75 Lo 50  for the week we were in Illinois.

Our grandson's Kyle and Kendall both had their graduation ceremonies this past week in OFallon, Illinois. Kendall graduated from eighth grade, and Kyle graduated from high school. O'Fallon is one of the few places we've seen that has a graduation ceremony for 8th grade changing districts.

We flew on Allegiant Airlines from St. Petersburg/Clearwater into Belleville, Il, which is next to Scott AFB and less than 10 miles from our family's house. We picked up our rental car, an Infinity SUV to drive for the week. I can't say either of us was impressed with the Infinity, but it was a free upgrade from the compact we signed up for, so we're not complaining.

Our other son Rick came down from Chicago with youngest grandson Jack to be with us for the weekend. Jack is a soccer player so the kids played basketball and soccer in the back yard.

Playing with several balls, one or two always go into the neighbor's yard.

Sunday was the graduation party for both boys. Angie, our daughter in law, did a great job with decorations, including a board with pictures of Kyle from his past school years. (Click on pictures to enlarge)


Kendall with cookie basketball court. A friend of theirs made the cookies. Kendall is a basketball player.

A few pictures of the party.

All three grand kids, Kendall, Jack and Kyle

There were 225 graduates at Kendall's ceremony on Tuesday evening. Here's Kendall getting his 8th grade graduation certificate.

Kendall, Dee, Jim

Frank, Kendall, Angie, Kyle

Kyle's high school graduation was today (Saturday), We couldn't stay through this weekend, so we watched it streamed live on the internet this morning. It's great that we could still see it.

Screen shot of Kyle getting his diploma, from the internet live feed.

The end when they throw their hats in the air.

The rest of the week we stayed busy. We had lunch with Steve, one of Jim's good friends from his working days in the Air Force.


On Thursday we went to downtown St Louis for a tour of Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals. It's a beautiful setting with the arch in the background.

View from the radio announcers' booth.

Some overall pictures of club areas and around the stadium.

These pictures show the evolution of the Cardinals' "bird on the bat" emblem.

Kyle and Kendall

Notice the seats under the Cardinal Nation sign. That grandstand is on a building in "Ball park Village" across the street, and they sell tickets to watch the game from the rooftop.

Jim in the Cardinals dugout. He was like a kid in a candy store!

Kyle, Frank, Kendall, and Jim

Statue of Stan "The Man" Musial is in front of the stadium. The greatest Cardinal of them all.

Jim got to try on a 2006 Championship ring.

Jim's favorite Cardinal is Ozzie Smith, who retired in 1996. There were several game-used bats you can handle, and Jim chose Ozzie's.

The central atrium at Ballpark Village, across the street from the stadium, where you can eat and watch the game on a huge screen.

We took a drive along the riverfront in front of the Arch. The water level of the Mississippi River is very high. These steps normally go down to the wharf where you can park. It's all under water.

They are renovating the whole area around the Arch grounds, including the museum.

Our return flight left Belleville around 6 pm. I thought I'd have a great view of the St. Louis area but it was too cloudy.

Each end of the very small Mid-America Airport terminal, which has only one gate.

The airport terminal, as we were climbing into the air.

I watched where we were from the GPS on the phone. This is over Tennessee.

Sunset just before we landed in St. Petersburg, Fl

Coming in for a landing

This concludes another trip. See you next Saturday.

Monday, May 15, 2017

A Special Post: J.O.S.H - Just Our Soldiers' Helpers, Inc.

This is a special blog that tells what our community has been working on and why since November 2016. I started a group of "crafters" in our park and wanted something that everyone could be involved with through the winter months with everyone here yet give us something to do for those that are here year around. I decided we could make mats from grocery bags to be used by our military troops overseas. That would involve everyone in the community.

The results were way more then I expected. I thought 15 mats would be a reasonable goal. I was amazed that we reached that goal in a month. People would bring grocery bags to the clubhouse, some people would cut and make strips, then ball them up. The crocheters would take these balls and crochet the mats. Thursday is craft day here in the park, when several people would come and either cut, strip or crochet. We had a good time plus we'd get a lot done in a couple hours. Following are some pictures of the group and the various stages of the process, including some of the completed mats. (Click on the pictures to enlarge).

The gathering place was our second bedroom.

Saturday, May 14, 2017 Jim and I loaded all 59 mats in the car and took them to J.O.S.H. (Just Our Soldiers Helpers, Inc.) in Lake Mary, Fl. Our friend Donna went along with us. (The quilts will be taken later to the VA Hospital.)

Kathy and her husband Dennis are the organizers for J.O.S.H. They have a website with all the details about what they do.

Just our Soldiers' Helpers, Inc. 

We saw how Kathy and her group prepare the care packages for our troops with personal items and healthy foods. The mats will be used as shower mats, and floor mats in tents and other places. They're easily cleaned and dirt can be shaken out.

Kathy's living room is filled with boxes ready to ship. They send 100 boxes a month, or more when they can.

They had lots of girl scout cookies to send.

Boxes on the left are ready for the post office.

Kathy (center) explaining the process to Donna and Dee.

Kathy showing us how the boxes are packed.

Some of the items.

Donna, Kathy, and Dee

The reaction from Kathy tells it all.

We had a feeling of happiness that we could do just a small part in helping our military.  Please check the website and help any way you can. We need to take care of the guys and gals that take care of us. They put their lives on the line in pretty harsh conditions and they really love getting care packages from home.