Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas in Arkansas

We actually had a quiet Christmas day at home, enjoying the snow.  The day after Christmas we headed to Lake Norfork, Arkansas, which is where Ryan's mother's family is located.  This is just a few hours from our house, so it gives us a great chance to see Sara, Ryan and Emery while they are visiting for Christmas.  We had a wonderful time spending time outside with Emery, playing cards, and enjoying the company.

Hiking down to the dock...
Where's Emery?
There she is!
Emery had a great time throwing rocks and shells off the dock.  Ryan did the rock and shell collecting, while Sara, Mark and I discussed rescue techniques if Emery decided to take a dive!  She did talk about swimming, but we kept a firm hold on her.

Walking back up the hill to the house, with her bag of rocks.  She loves to be outside, and didn't seem to mind the cold at all.
One happy girl!
Hanging out with her Uncle "Toy."

Grotesques, not Gargoyles

Mark bought a pewter gargoyle years ago on a trip to France.  We've enjoyed him and quickly found him a place of prominence in our new home.  Gargoyles are supposed to be good luck, right?  Mark then decided that we needed a second gargoyle in a matching location on the other side of our upstairs.  Finding a large, solid pewter gargoyle isn't as easy as it sounds, and believe it or not, we could not find one this size online.  We then asked Mark Haskins (who owns a home in France), if he would check for an appropriate gargoyle on his next visit.  True to form, he emailed one weekend in November stating that he had found a good match, and sent us pictures to see if we wanted to adopt this creature.  He also informed us that a gargoyle is a Celtic beast used on water drains and has water coming out of his mouth, while a grotesque is a similar creature with no water needs.  We agreed this was the perfect match, and so Mark made arrangements with a fellow storage disease researcher in Paris to make the purchase and have this adorable creature sent to Owensville.  It arrived in perfect condition on Christmas eve!

Our first grotesque, whom Mark has now named Hellboy.
Our second grotesque, now named Gollum.
Here is Gollum's new home.
And here is Hellboy's home.  With both these critters protecting us, we should have lots of good luck!


We've had this construction/brush pile in our front yard since we've moved in.  Most of the wood is from the clearing for the power lines that we had to do last spring.  Mark has been determined that at the first good snow, he was going to get that pile burned and out of our way.  This happened to be Christmas eve, but since we really had no plans, we decided it was as good a day as any for a bonfire.  What a fire we had!

Many hours later....a boy and his dogs are watching the campfire, i.e. Mark, Gus and Lucy!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

White Christmas

We had a white Christmas in Missouri this year!   The snow started falling on Christmas eve, and pretty much flurried through most of Christmas day.  It was gorgeous, this was the first real snow that has happened since we moved here. My guess is that we got about 4-6 inches, but Mark would tell you it was less than that (since it is my blog, my measurement is the one that counts!). I've been out here in the snow before, but typically a day or so after it has fallen, not while it is totally pristine and white.  I had a blast taking pictures, but will spare the majority of them from this page.  This picture was one I took a few days before Christmas eve, with a little bit of the previous snowfall still on the ground.  I was trying to get the PERFECT picture of the house with the Christmas tree, but found it to be much harder than anticipated.  I spent several hours out in 10 degree weather on different nights trying to capture it (Thank God for my down coat!). This one is my favorite, with the full moon rising in the background.  Look for it on next year's Christmas card!
Lots and lots of snow....these pictures are taken from close to the house, looking out on our view.

This is the view from our window upstairs.
Icicles on the garage roof...
This is our brush/construction trash pile...more on this later.

Ice cracking on the pond.
Alder cones on a tree on the pond edge.
Looking through the alder at the pond.
The driveway coming towards the house.
I can't wait till we have a really BIG snowfall!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Kraig Klenke and the Klenke Bowlathon

 This is a picture of Kraig Klenke and his mom, Kris. (Unfortunately, I can't take credit for the photo.) Kraig had MPS II, Hunter's syndrome, and passed away October 26th.  Kris has been on the Board of Directors for the MPS Society for many years, including the years that I was also on the Board.  I was always inspired by her endless work for the society, on top of her 24/7 caretaking of Kraig.   We went to Kraig's funeral in Illinois, and went back this past weekend for the Bowlathon and a celebration of life for Kraiggy.  Several of the students in Mark's lab made the trip as well.  We had a good time bowling, visiting with friends, and raising money for MPS.  The Celebration was very nice as well as so sad.  Kraig lived an inspiring life, I always remember him best with his huge happy grin on his face.

Scenes from the bowlathon...

This is our friend Larry, who was also on the BOD, along with his daughter Helen.  Helen's sister has MPS IIIA, the same syndrome that Joe and Maggie had.  Larry and Allison drove down from Wisconsin, and it was great to see them again.  The MPS Family Conference will be in St. Louis this summer, and I am looking forward to catching up with the many families I have gotten to know through the years.


This year for the first time since I moved to MO, I was able to make it back to GA for Thanksgiving.  It was doubly wonderful because I finally got to see Austin after his long awaited discharge from the Army, and spend some time with his new bride, Megan.  Mark and I left early Saturday morning headed to SC.  My parents had also come up to visit with us, so the next day we all headed to Paris Mountain State Park for a scenic hike in the perfect weather.  We grabbed some random hiker to capture the moment!
Emery loves being outside and trying anything new!  We found a tree that was the perfect prop for her.
About midway through the hike we had to stop for photos, although some how we missed out on getting Austin and Megan this time around.

The next day, another park, another hike.  This was in Conestee park, which is a wetlands area close to Sara and Ryan's house.  Here's Emery enjoying her ride, and laughing at Uncle Austin!
Emery also loved being swung by Austin and Megan.
Austin and Megan have adopted a new dog, Grizz.  He's a very well behaved and calm puppy, and he and Emery became fast friends.
I think this ended up being the photo of the trip...she's such an easy subject!
We can't seem to go to SC without going to Falls Park in downtown Greenville.  I love it there!  This time around I found a blue heron, and got a chance to grab some photos.
Austin and Megan are doing the obligatory photo with the beech tree at the park.  This tree is a favorite of mine!
After a great visit in SC, we headed to Gwinnett county to spend Thanksgiving with Ryan's parents.  We had a blast with them (we always do!) and there was plenty of food, fun, card playing and just plain hanging out watching Emery.  Here's the guys cooking the now famous "Trashcan Turkey" in the back yard.  Mark and I are totally sold on this way of cooking turkey!

We were also able to visit with Marla as well as the Arnow's.  It was great to see everyone!