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Monday, August 27, 2012

Celebrating AubreyLynn

Randy & I worked Friday and I worked an eight-hour shift on Saturday. Quiet days. I figured the best thing about the visitor center being quiet is that I'm making great progress on Christmas gifts. :)

The weekend was really about AubreyLynn. With everyone feeling better, the party was on! So,on Sunday Randy and I got to Donna & Steve's a few minutes past 11am. The plan was to grill burgers and hot dogs, have lunch and then celebrate AubreyLynn's birthday. My contribution to the meal was tortilla chips and bean dip. :)

Finally, lunch was over and it was time for cake!!

Happy birthday, AubreyLynn!

DSCF0570  I got it now!

Whew . . .

After a bit of clean up, AubreyLynn was ready for presents. Presents!!! And thanks to technology, my folks, Jason, Lins and Reagan were able to “join” us to watch AubreyLynn open her presents. That was very special.



We had a great time with family. DSCF0602 Seeing AubreyLynn have fun was a perfect way to spend the day. We are grateful for this little one God has given us and love watching her grow.


The week ahead is much the last as the last few. We're working today, tomorrow and Thursday. I hope to go see AubreyLynn and Sam on Friday. We'll see how it goes.

Until the next time . . .

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Just a Few Pictures

With nothing much to write about, I thought I'd share a few pictures. We have a very nice site here at the Visitor Center – level concrete pad with 50amp service, surrounded by trees. If we had better cell reception, I'd be happy here for a long time.


Site at Hillsdale Lake CoE Visitor Center, KS


And here is what I see out my window at the Center.

Bathing beauties

Hummingbirds outside the visitor center

We've had up to eight hummingbirds at a time at the feeder. And they are funny to watch as they fight over it.

That's it. We're working tomorrow and I work all day Saturday. Hopefully, Sunday we'll finally be celebrating AubreyLynn's birthday. Everyone seems to be healthy, or as close as we're gonna get. :)

Until the next time . . .

Monday, August 20, 2012

Plans Postponed

No birthday party this past weekend! :( AubreyLynn was a sick little girl. I had come home from visiting with her last week and felt a cold coming on. I was afraid maybe I'd given her something or vice versa. However it happened, it seems that AubreyLynn got the worst end of the deal. I have battled a head cold these past few days while she has had a fever, congestion, stuffy nose, you name it. Poor baby girl.

So, the party has been rescheduled to next Sunday. Thankfully, she doesn't know the difference. But, the adults in her life were sure disappointed!

AubreyLynn's actual birthday was Friday. And she was able to celebrate with her daddy and mommy. Because of the wonders of technology, Kevin skype'd with Samantha and AubreyLynn Friday morning and was able to wish his little one a happy birthday and see her cake. He even got a birthday kiss from her!

Giving her daddy kisses on her bday

If that doesn't make you tear up, you have no heart!! :) I'll tell you this mom/nana was crying, for sure! And here are a couple of other birthday celebration pictures.

This is what a family picture looks like when one member is deployed:

Family picture on AL's bday

And what else would a little girl who loves Mickey wear?

Bday girl in her Minnie ears

With our plans changed, we ended up having a pretty quiet weekend. Saturday was spent in front of the TV, reading or cross stitching. It was even nice enough outside that I spent a couple of hours in my lounge chair on the patio!

Of course, this morning we went to church. We are enjoying the church we've found just a few miles away in “downtown” Paola. It's called The Journey and it's a Southern Baptist church, but not your grandma's Southern Baptist church. :) Very contemporary, but with good messages. I'm grateful we found it. Often when we travel, we aren't able to find a church with good music and good preaching. And the folks here are very welcoming and personable.

We're working today, then we have off tomorrow and Wednesday. We'll work Thursday and Friday and I'll work Saturday. It will be the last Saturday I work because after Labor Day the Visitor Center will be closed on weekends.

That's it for now. Until the next time . . .

Thursday, August 16, 2012


I am not going to apologize for more gratuitous grandchild pictures. :) Yes, I know this blog is entitled, “Guiler Travels” not “Guiler Grandchildren,” however our travels have brought us to one of our grandchildren, so there is the connection.

Plus, I figure it's my blog and I can write about whatever I choose! :)

We are enjoying our workamping at the Corps Visitor Center. It's very easy work, at least for me. Randy is doing some manual labor, but I don't think he minds too much. Our ranger, Jim, is a great guy and we have a full hook-up site in the woods. Pretty nice. Again, the only drawback is the lack of service at our site. But, I'm persevering. I get online whenever I'm at the visitor center or we're running errands or visiting with family.

Yesterday was another visit with AubreyLynn. This time Samantha was there, too. Poor Sam was pretty much relegated to the couch as she has sprained some ligaments in her knee and is wearing an immobilizer for a few weeks. Hopefully that will help her heal. So, she was a captive audience. :)

When we arrived, Sam was Skype-ing with Kevin so we got to see him and say hello. That was a nice surprise. In addition to being a mommy, Sam has gone back to college. She's taking five online courses this fall. She's also begun a jewelry business where she gives a portion of her proceeds to Wounded Warrior Project. So, she is a very busy woman!

If you'd like to take a look at Sam's jewelry, click here.

We had a great time playing with AubreyLynn. Sweet baby She was even more at ease with us than last week. I loved it. She is a very happy little one, always smiling. She just rolls with the flow. But, she is a climber! Happy climber If she can get a foothold, she is up and onto whatever is in front of her. Gave me a few starts, I'll tell ya.

Saturday we'll celebrate AubreyLynn's first birthday with the rest of the Kansas family. So be prepared for more pictures! :) Her birthday is actually tomorrow, but the party is Saturday. Sam is going to have a little party with cake for Kevin while on Skype tomorrow. I think that's so cool! He'll get to participate a bit. Technology is wonderful.

Hope life is going well wherever you are. Until the next time . . .

Monday, August 13, 2012

Gratitude & Contentment

With life being so quiet these days, I don't have much to share with you. I figure you don't need to hear that we ran errands on Friday, Saturday I worked the Visitor Center, and yesterday we went to church. So I decided to share with you some of my reflections over the past few days.

I've been overwhelmed with feeling grateful. Thanksgiving is my very favorite holiday simply because nothing is required of me, really. No presents to buy, no stress of the “holiday spirit,” just being thankful. And while it's nice to set aside a day on which we acknowledge our gratitude, I really strive to put a little Thanksgiving into each of my days.

I know – this sounds really mushy. Sorry. Well, not really. :)

Gratitude is such an easy thing to feel, too. We don't have to look very far in our lives to find something to be grateful for. Even if life isn't going exactly the way we want it to, there are still many blessings in our lives.

We have shelter, food, clothing. Sure, maybe the house isn't our dream house, and we can't eat at all the restaurants we'd like, or wear the latest fashions. But, we have the basics. And to tell you the truth? I'm not into the latest fashions, or eating out all the time (just sometimes), or have a “dream” house. And I'm okay with that.

I am content. Right where I am. And I'd rather be content than happy. To me, contentment is so very much deeper than happiness. It is being grateful with what I have no matter what others have. It is gratitude deep down in my soul. And I love that.

God has given me so much more than my needs. I am married to a wonderful man who loves me in spite of my flaws. I live a life that allows me to travel with that guy. I have three great kids who are married to three great people and have given me three beautiful grandchildren. I have a sister on whom I can depend and talk to about anything. And my parents – I am blessed to have parents who love me unconditionally and also have my back. Friends? What can I say about my friends? You know who you are and how very much you mean to me.

Yeah. I'll take gratitude and contentment over the roller coaster of happiness any day.

Until the next time . . .

Thursday, August 09, 2012


Yesterday was THE day! What day, you ask? THE day we finally got to see Another picture AubreyLynn!!! Yes, I was that excited I need to use many exclamation points. :)

About 8:15am, Randy and I loaded up the truck and headed out. First stop was to the Circle C Cafe in Paola. Y'all know we're always looking for a good local restaurant, so we thought we'd try this one for breakfast. It was pretty good. A little pricey, I thought, for the area, but the food was good, so we'll back, I'm sure. They also serve lunch and dinner.

After we'd finished breakfast, we headed south. We had about an hour's drive ahead of us according to the GPS. It ended up a little less than that and it was a pleasant drive. I was grateful for that because we'll be doing it quite a bit over the next couple of months. :)

I have to made a confession – I was nervous! I know that seems silly, after all, this is a baby. But, I wanted so much for her to love us, and I was afraid she wouldn't warm up very quickly. In anticipation of that, I took a bribe with me. Yes, I am not above resorting to bribery when it comes to my grandkids. :)

After being greeted by Donna, Sam's mom, with a big hug, she called AubreyLynn's name. AubreyLynn was in the living room and when she turned, Donna told her to look who was here – it's Nana. Well, I gotta tell you, my heart just about split open when AubreyLynn grinned and quickly crawled over to us! Donna picked her up and introduced us. When I put out my hands to see if she'd come to me, she smiled real big and came right to me! You know I melted about then. She also took to Randy pretty quickly, too.

DSCF0529 Nana snuggle time! Such a smirk! DSCF0537

Well, that is how how day went. We played with AubreyLynn, got caught up with Donna, and I did laundry while AubreyLynn napped. Randy got caught up on all his emails. Unfotunately, Samantha wasn't home as she had some appointments up at Ft. Riley. But, we'll see her next week when we visit.

When Steve, Sam's dad, got home, we went to Pizza Hut for dinner. From there, Randy & I said our good-byes, hugged AubreyLynn hard, and came on home.

I cannot describe how wonderful it was to finally have AubreyLynn in my arms and able to play with her. She is a busy little thing, always on the move. That is, unless “her” show is on. She absolutely loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, an animated show on Disney Channel. When that is on, you cannot get her to look at her, talk to you, or pay attention to anything else. It is a riot.

We are looking forward to more good times together over the next couple of months. This is one happy Nana. :)

Until the next time . . .

Monday, August 06, 2012

It’s Vewy, Vewy Quiet

That's about all I have to say. This is gonna be a quiet gig.

Friday Randy & I went with Jim, the park ranger (yes, I called him an engineer in a previous post, but he's not) on an orientation tour of the lake, state park and its surrounding areas. It's huge! Jim took us down every road that led to a boat ramp or fishing area, through the state park and its three camping areas, and anywhere else he could think of. By the time we got back to the office, two hours had gone by! I was shocked. It's a really nice area, though.

Saturday and Sunday we didn't work. The Visitor Center is closed on Sundays and Gale and I will alternate working on Saturdays.

So, we were very lazy Saturday, just hung out at home, watching TV. Life is very different with virtually no internet/cell service at our site. I knew that I was addicted to my computer and smart phone, but am finding out just how very much. I have other hobbies such as cross stitching and reading and now I am realizing how I've been neglecting them. I mean, I kinda knew, but . . .

Sunday we tried to go to church. I say “tried” because when we arrived we found that instead of having worship, the folks were out serving in the community. The couple of young women I spoke to seem very nice and we'll be back this coming Sunday.

We had planned to take a drive around the area after church, so we just got an earlier start on that. There really wasn't much to see. Paola, the closest town, is very small and you are through it before you realize. We did stop at the WalMart and picked up a few things that we had forgotten to get when we went last week.

Then, we drove north of the lake to another small town, Spring Hill. It had a little strip center with a couple of restaurants, gas station, etc.

And that was our drive. We were back home by noon, having left just a little past 10am. :) We changed out of our church clothes and got back into our recliners for another day of Olympics.

This morning Randy and I are on duty without Denny & Gale. And it's quiet.

Do you hear a recurring theme?

Until the next time . . .

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Learning the Ropes

We jumped right in yesterday, meeting up with our co-workers, Denny & Gail, at 7:30am. Gail and I went up to the Visitor Center while Denny & Randy took off in their “mule.”

There is a little more outside work to this job (for me) than I had realized. Not a big deal, but I am just not an outside girl; at least not in 90* heat or higher. Plus, I've never really enjoyed yardwork, so . . . But, I followed Gail around like a good do-bee (remember those??) and learned the ropes a bit.

The Visitor Center opens at 8am, so we unlocked the doors and turned on the lights. We checked the fish tank to be sure the fish were still swimming – they were. Then it was out to the weather station. Each morning we have to take several readings, outside and inside.

Outside at the weather station The weather station we check the rainfall measurement, evaporation measurement and the anemometer reading. If the evaporation “pool” is low, we have to add water, if it's over the needle, we take water out. Back inside the office we record our measurements. We also check the wind speed, recording the high for the day before. We also record the maximum and minimum temperatures for the day before. The last measurement we record is the lake level. Once we record all the measurements, we turn them into Jim, the Corps engineer (our boss).

Gail is a very outdoorsy woman. So, yesterday she was hauling hoses to the various plant beds to water them throughout the day. When I'm on, I'll get Randy to haul the hoses! I don't mind moving them around in the beds, but I'm not hauling them around.

After those tasks are completed, I'm in the office for the morning, at least. With the heat being so bad, the center has been closing at noon or 1pm because there are no visitors. The office is very quiet, with the phone ringing about once or twice.

Thankfully, I can bring my computer and cross stitch project with me. So, I'll be able to check in with my FB peeps, get email, post on the blog and make some progress on my project.

Randy's doing whatever projects Jim & Denny have going on outside. Yesterday the guys were building a habitat for birds up at the lake. He's working just four or five hours a day, too. We only have to work 24 hours/week per couple. Not a bad gig.

Until the next time . . .

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

All Settled In

We left Carthage, MO at 7:40 yesterday morning, with a less than 3 hour drive ahead of us. That seemed like a walk in the park compared to our travels days last week. And it pretty much was.

About 10:30am we pulled into Hillsdale Lake Corps of Engineers Visitors Center, which would be our home until mid-October.

Hillsdale Lake Corps of Engineers Visitors Center

I went into the center to let them know we were here. It was like a tomb! A woman came from the office and I introduced myself as the new workamper. Gail was so welcoming! She was glad for us to be here. Gail and her husband, Denny, are the other workampers here. If our initial meeting is any indication, we'll get along just fine.

Upon getting set up, we quickly found that we have virtually no cell or internet service. UGH!! For those of you who know me well, you know this is akin to cutting off my food source. I am on my computer many hours throughout the day. But, it is what it is and we do have wifi at the Visitors Center. Plus, I'll have to go do laundry once a week, so I'll just take my computer with me and check emails and update the blog then.

I think I'll survive. Guess we'll see in October! :)

So, you'll be hearing from me less often. I hope you can survive. :)

Until the next time . . .