Saturday, January 31, 2009

Trapped like a Rat

Wednesday after returning from the doctors, Corky & I heard a strange noise coming from the garage. We both went out and looked around, it was a loud noise and more than just a bang or a bump, there was a rumble to it. Well we didn't find anything out of place, nothing smoking or on fire and so we eventually gave up the search for the rather odd noise.

Thursday when I went to leave for work, we figured it out; because the garage door would not go up. I was trapped like a rat! Corky discovered it first, the big spring on the right was busted right in half. There was no lifting it manually, forget that. It's a good thing his truck was outside, because he had to give me a lift to work at Little Kiddos Day Care. I'm sure I'd of been missed by all my little friends.

Well $200 later(it was $100 per/spring and they only replace them in pairs), we could get out cars out of the garage. End of story. Just another day at our house.

Friday, January 30, 2009

365/30 Rest Area Extraordinaire

Now this is cool photography.

William Wegman is best known for his dog photo's, many of which are his own Weimaraners.

The dogs are obviously well trained to get these great shots. If you've tried taking dog photos you know what I mean.

These portraits are in the rest areas of the Maine Turnpike.

I tried to get Gary to stop at all of them just so I could capture all of the different poses, but he's full blooded German, so I guess you know how that went.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

365/29 More pictures from the vault

I took this beautiful picture while on vacation last July in North Carolina. It was just gorgeous. And I as stood and took several pictures, I realized someone was shouting at me from the direction of the golf course. Yep! "Get off our lawn!" It was their house and I was in their yard, but they were harassing me in jest, because they were Meghan's neighbors. If I knew the name of the bush I'd tell you. Maybe Meghan knows and will post it in the comments.

UPDATE: It is Hydrangea. Two of my girls have inherited the love of growing things from my father's side of the family. They have both assured me that it's hydrangea.

365/28 Sisters

"A sister is someone who knows everything about you and loves you anyway."
Author: Unknown This is my personal favorite.

Sisters is probably the most competitive relationship within the family, but once the sisters are grown, it becomes the strongest relationship. ~Margaret Mead

It was nice growing up with someone like you - someone to lean on, someone to count on... someone to tell on! ~Author Unknown

We acquire friends and we make enemies, but our sisters come with the territory. ~Evelyn Loeb

She is your mirror, shining back at you with a world of possibilities. She is your witness, who sees you at your worst and best, and loves you anyway. She is your partner in crime, your midnight companion, someone who knows when you are smiling, even in the dark. She is your teacher, your defense attorney, your personal press agent, even your shrink. Some days, she's the reason you wish you were an only child. ~Barbara Alpert

Do you have a favorite sister quote? Feel free to leave your quote as a comment.
There's a fourth sister that goes with this trio, unfortunately she wasn't able to be with us at Christmas this year. As our family spreads further & further apart it going to be harder & harder to come back together for the holidays. The grandparents may have to take turns traveling from family to family.

Head in a Bucket

Okay, I didn't take this picture either, give me a break, I'm sick. I tried to get some pictures of Danan with her whole head in the snowbank (her favorite pastime in winter), but the lighting was bad and they weren't very good.

This is how I my head is in a bucket; everything sounds muffled and hollow. Sounds coming from the left, sound like they are coming from the right because I can hear out of that ear better. It's very disconcerting. It's no wonder little kids with ear problems are so cranky. Oh! speaking of little kids, they expect me to show up at Little Kiddos Day Care today, gotta run.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

365/27 Echinacea

Today I went to the doctors, fearing my cold had turned into something worse. I also thought I might have caught strep throat from Ashley before she left, but that came back negative. My ears are filled with fluid and I have an infection on the left side and a nasty sinus infection. The doctor put me on Augmentin, which is a pretty aggressive antibiotic, so I should be on the mend soon.

The doctor also gave me a handout on sinus infections. This flower in the photo above was on the list of what would possibly be effective to help me get over my sinus infection. Extract from Echinacea and Vitamin C, are both on the possibly effective list. I knew that already and I'm sure most of you do too, but just happened across some flower photos and thought isn't that amazing. It's a shame there aren't more studies being done to find medicinal properties of other plants & flowers. I was surprised garlic wasn't on the list, I thought it's suppose to be a natural antibiotic of sorts.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Eating at my desk today

I keep some silverware and a coffee cup etc. at my desk, so I can eat lunch or grab a snack at work. Well today's choice was yogurt, so I reached up to get a spoon and down came three forks, landing on my desk one at a time with a ping, ting, ping.

I had to laugh when this thought popped into my head.
............................................................................................................................ "Isn't that just like life, you need a spoon and it starts raining forks".

You can use that quote of mine, anytime you feel like it. I can tell it's going to catch on quick. LOL

You know it's really hard to get motivated sometimes, like taking pictures of forks just didn't sound like it could possibly be that interesting, but after surfing the net for pictures of forks,... well let me just say, I just may try it some day.

Where oh Where has my Ashley gone?

View Larger Map
Look in the very center of the map and you'll see a city called Leon. That's the airport that Ashley flies in and out of. If you click on the plus sign on the map you will see Guanajuato, where she lives and Irapuato where she works.

This is the main university in Guanajuato, where Ashley went to college. I can't seem to find any pictures of the branch in Irapuato; you'll just have to wait until Ashley sends me some pics. She is having Internet complications, she's emailing, but can't send photos at the moment.

Monday, January 26, 2009

365/26 Danan's Story

The true story of how Danan became part of this family. A friend of ours had a soft coated Wheaten Terrier and I took care of their son and fell in love with them both, the boy and the dog. So I saved all my money from doing respite care for Erik, so that I could buy myself a companion for when the girls left for college. Amber was such a good dog I decided to go with the same breeder.

This particular dog had a large litter of 10 puppies, not the average size litter. Two of them had already been picked up and three more were males, so the day I arrived I had five adorable puppies to choose from and believe me it was impossible. So I just asked them (the puppies), who wants to be in the Korte family? And the one little puppy in the back right hand corner raised her paw as if to shake; in a way introduce herself.

Believe it or not, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. You could ask Audra, she was with me.

Here's some adorable pictures of her growing up. Her full name is Andelane's (name of the Kennel) Elora Danan (name of the baby princess in the movie WILLOW) Jole (everyone wanted to get in the act - Audra's contribution). It was suppose to be spelled Jolie. I found out later. We call her Danan, pronounced Dannon, like the yogurt. She's an incredibly well-behaved dog, these past five years with her have been really awesome.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

365/25 The Hose Kids

This is a photo of the all the grandchildren at a get-to-gether from the Hose side of the family. Sylvester Burgess Hose Sr. & Grace Francis (Ogden) had five children. Shirley, Sylvester (Junior), Chauncey Deveere (Duff), Janet & Sandy. These five children begot all the grandchildren in this picture and more that came later in one family. Anyway, can you find me? There are only four girls, so it shouldn't be too hard.

On a sad note, three of these cousins are deceased. Two of them due to disease and the other lost his life to a drunk driver. David & Buzzy (Donald) in the center of the top row. And Tracey the bottom row, the second boy to the right.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

365/24 An A for Effort

When I took a trip to his house, Michael was on the computer playing a new educational game. Per usual I took several dozen shots that day, each showing how hard he was concentrating and putting forth energy to make things happen. This kid should get "an A for Effort", because every day he has to put forth this sort of effort to succeed at simple tasks we take for granted. This time you can see (by his adorable smile) it ended in sweet success. God! I love little this boy. Thanks for bringing him into our lives.

Friday, January 23, 2009

365/23 Ruby Boy

Audra has had this cat for six months, a friend was keeping it until she moved, but changed his mind, because he was getting a new puppy. That's why the cat came to live with us for a couple weeks until Audra moves to New Mexico. The cat's name is Ruby, and although you can't see it for all her long fur; she has a hot pink color with bells on it. On Monday, the cat went to the vet to be declawed and spayed. Surprise! The vet called to let Audra know that Ruby was a Rupert. A male cat with undescended testicles. So three incisions later, the cat is fixed and comes home a neutered male. Audra still likes the name Ruby, and the pink collar, so she doesn't want to change a thing. I told her I thought that was fine, I don't think he'll have an identity crisis over it, but I've started calling him/her, Ruby Boy.

It's a nice cat. I held it while Audra injected pain meds into it's mouth and it barely squirmed. She also let her bathe her before she went to the vet. She does meow though when Audra leaves the house....I hope he doesn't have separation anxiety. We all know Audra can't sit still and is constantly on the go.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

365/22 Ladybug House

This is my ladybug house out by my garden. Talk about Home Makeover, here's natures version of it. These birds decided is would make a great home for them, so they took over. What do you think of their renovations?

I know what you're thinking. You didn't just take this picture. Nope this was last summer. I'm under the weather, so I'm cheating a bit on the 365 pictures. The Day Care kiddos gave me their bug..and boy am I feeling low. Going to the dr's tomorrow. I have the weekend to recover, then it's back in the trenches. Just kidding, I absolutely love all my time working with the little people.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

365/21 Odd Tree

Whoa! That's one strange looking tree.... How did it get to be that way? This tree resides in Maine, I happened across it while on vacation. I enjoy taking pictures of old, twisted, odd shaped and otherwise different trees. You may see others from time to time on my blog. Apparently, some bird likes odd trees, just like ME.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

365/20 "Laughter Lives Tuesday!"

Laughter LivesThis post is part of "Laughter Lives! Tuesday" on the Riggs Family Blog. Check our their blog to read everyone else's "Laughter Lives!" posts.

Last summer, when Kalli was still two years old she was visiting my house while I happened to be having a snack of tortilla chips & salsa. She decided she was hungry too and asked if she could have some. I handed her a chip from my plate and she gave me a look like something isn't quite right, followed by the words. "I want some of that too." The salsa wasn't on the mild side, so I gingerly dipped the edge of a chip in the salsa and handed it to her. She then gave me a digusted look and demanded for me to "Dip it Hard!". I almost rolled on the floor laughing. She was so serious and yes, I dipped it hard and she ate it and asked for more.

Kalli enjoying a Popsicle at YaYa's. Kalli Mae is my daughter, Audra's God daughter and she visits my house often. My grandchildren called me Gramie LaLa and Kalli calls me YaYa.

Monday, January 19, 2009

365/19 She's A Frisbee Lovin Fool

It's hard to take a good picture of a light colored dog in the snow. I like the way the dead flower stalks break up the whiteness somewhat. Yes, even in 10 inches of snow she wants to play frisbee and no she didn't want to come in when I'd had enough. Her coat is about as long as it gets before I take her for a cut, it's so hard to brush her when it's this length.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

365/18 More Snow

A few more inches of snow last night. At least it's 19 degrees today, those sub-zero temps were way to Arctic for me. Cuddle duds and extra layers help, but it's still too frigid. The snow is going over my boots, so please Lord, no more snow.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

365/17 Shocker!

Unless you know my husband, you won't understand the title. This man does not like cats! But apparently the cat likes him. Ruby has been in the house with us for a week and this is her first attempt to warm up to someone other than Audra and the feline picks him. I find that pretty hilarious. On the other hand, I have been a cat-lover since I was knee-high and have always had a cat in the house, until Danan (our Wheaten Terrier) became part of the family. Believe it or not......

365/16 Bronners in Frankenmuth

The little girls, that's what we used to call them when all four of our daughters lived at home. The big girls, Amanda & Meghan were anywhere from 7-11 years older than the little girls, Ashley & Audra. When the big girls went off to college, got married and moved away, we quit using those phrases. My husband is a full blooded German, so it's no wonder he and the little girls like Frankenmuth so much. There's so many pieces of German heritage in that town. The Curiosity Shop that sells nutcrackers. The Cuckoo Clock store. Zehnders & the Bavarian Inn that serves some authentic German cuisine. And Bronners the largest Christmas store in the World. If you've never been to Frankenmuth you are missing out on a good time.

This picture was taken between Christmas & New Years, Rick is now in Germany & Ashley is in Mexico. Rick will be back in the states February 5th, and shortly after that he and our youngest daughter --- the youngest, but not littlest of the little girls ---will be moving to New Mexico.

365/15 New Bathroom Flooring

Our new bathroom flooring was installed on 12/23, as our company was arriving from North Carolina (via an Indiana side-trip). The toilet was reinstalled mid Christmas vacation, not as I had planned, but it worked out okay. The trim still needs to be put up and the picture I purchased for the wall, so this is all there is to see right now. The color of the walls is Sea Salt, it is pretty much white with a very slight greenish tinge to it.
A picture a day is turning out to be a bit challenging when it's below zero outside, there's not much exciting going on to photograph inside either. Bear with me, it's bound to get better.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Back tracking

I've been posting out of order trying to back track to keep up with my 365 pictures. You may want to scroll down to see if there are any new entries. I'll try harder to keep up.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

365/14 My Bookshelf

This was suppose to be a picture of all the books on my Autism book shelf, but on closer inspection (after taking the picture with no contacts in), I discover two books not on the topic have snuck onto this shelf. How many of you would have noticed if I would have kept silent about it?
One book on this shelf has already been read more than once; it is "The Boy Who Loved Windows" Opening the heart and mind of a child threatened with Autism by Patricia Stacey. It is the best actual account (written from birth), about a child with autism that I have read. Another favorite of mine, which I sent to my daughter (who has a child on the spectrum) is George & Sam: Two Boys, One Family and Autism by Charlotte Moore.
Here's a partial list of books I read in 2008 on the subject of autism, I didn't keep track, but these are what I can remember at the moment. I read them and send the ones I think might be helpful to my daughter, who does not have time to do all the reading herself. I've had a life long interest in autism. My very first book that peaked my interest in autism was Son-Rise written by Barry Neil Kaufman, it was written in 1989. Here's the list.

1. A Will of His Own: Reflections on Parenting a Child with Autism.
By Kelly Harland
2. 1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
By Veronica Zysk, Ellen Notbohm
3. Reasonable People: A Memoir of Autism and Adoption: On the Meaning of Family and the Politics of Neurological Difference. By Ralph James Savarese
4. To Wise to be Mistaken, Too Good to Be Unkind: Christian Parents Contend with Autism By Cathy Steere
5. Strange Son: Two Mothers, Two Sons, and the Quest to Unlock the Hidden World of Autism By Portia Iversen
6. Just This side of Normal: Glimpses Into Life with Autism by Elizabeth King Gerlach
7. Awakening Ashley: Mozart Knocks Autism on It’s Ear by Sharon Ruben
8. George & Sam: Two Boy, One Family and Autism by Charlotte Moore
9. A Slant of Sun: One Child's Courage by Beth Kephart
10. Awakening Ashley: Mozart Knocks Autism on It’s Ear by Sharon Ruben
11. Louder Than Words: A Mother’s Journey in Healing Autism by Jennifer McCarthy
12. Ten Things Every Child With Autism Wish You Knew by Ellen Notbohm

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

365/13 The Mitten Legacy

These are mittens I knitted when daughter number two was in approx. 1st grade. I know which of the four girls wore these mittens because they have her initials on them. M.S., for Meghan Sandera. She just turned 29 and now I hang those mittens on my door wall in the winter for decorations. My daughter, now has a little girl of her own and she asked me to make her a hat the color of her new coat last year.This year I made her mittens to match the raspberry coat. I thought of making her mittens with her own initials, but decided to wait until she's a little bit older. I've been knitting since I was 10 years old. Nope, I'm not going to tell you how many years I've kept up this hobby, because it would make me sound wayyyyy to old.

Here's my two year old granddaughter, Sydney enjoying her very first sledding experience with her Mom. Come to think of it, that is the very same hill her mommy broke her leg sledding on. It's just a small hill, but her mom put her leg out to stop the sled from hitting the neighbor's dog and she hit a big tree instead. We stayed well away from the trees this time. Where's the sled? I think they fell off and it continued down the hill without them.

A Week Ago Today - Ashley Left

I thought I'd post Ashley's letter she wrote to her Dad & I for our Anniversary back in August. We miss her so much already, I can't imagine what it will feel like in a month, six months or a year.
Mom & Dad:
In a few months I'm going to be moving out and away, and before I go I just to say "Thank You". I have a great deal to be grateful for, and I owe so much of it to you. Thank you for having me, for taking care of me, and above all else for loving me the way you do. Thank you for teaching me the importance of good decision making, education, hard work and faith in God. Thank you for always supporting my decisions, and for helping me when I was unable to help myself. Thank you for taking me to the hospital all the times I drank perfume and house hold cleaners, and when I fell out the backdoor, because I wanted to throw Dusty a treat. Thank you for not strangling me when I was supposed to be taking a nap, but instead painted Meghan's room green...twice on the same day. Thank you for putting up with three years of interrupted sleep. Thank you for all the times you took me trick-or-treating, and for every adorable handmade costume. Thank you for all the Sundays you took me to CCD and mass, and all the summers you took me to Vacation Bible School. Thank you for saving all the pictures and drawings and other priceless items that make up my baby book. I wouldn't trade them for the world. Thank you for all the trips to Disney World and more amusement parks, water parks and campgrounds than I can remember. Thank you for help with all my school fundraisers, and selling hundreds of boxes of Girls Scout cookies. Thank you for all the times you said yes, and also for all the times you said no. I know all your decisions took into consideration what was best for me. Thank you for paying for four years of Tae Kwon Do lessons, and swimming, roller skating, and gymnastics as well. Thank you for coming to my middle school basketball games, even though I only scored two points during the entire two years that I played. Thank you for paying for all the yearbooks, school pictures, and class trips. Thank you for all the years you tucked me into bed at night and for all the hugs and kisses. Thank you for every time you helped me with school projects - clocks that ran on onions, dioramas, catapults and kites. Thank you for showing up to countless choir concerts and award ceremonies. Thank you for making ever Christmas magical and for every present from Mom, Dad and Santa Claus. Thank you for so many years of back to school shopping, and 22 years of birthday gifts. Thank you for birthday parties at the bowling alley, the Nature Center, and at home. Thank you for every trip to the movie theater, and for all the Swedish Fish. Thank you for all the trips to our house up north, and for all the stops at Taco Bell on the way. Thank your for every car and cell phone you have ever given me, and for not being angry when I got in a car accident and totaled the Taurus. Thank you for putting up with all three of the hamsters I have brought home and you at some point got stuck taking care of. Thank you for every gallon of birthday ice cream, and for every other gallon of ice cream from the Schwan man that I ate half of. Thank you for changing my bloody gauze when I got my wisdom teeth out, and for the braces that I wore, painfully, for two years. I love my smile. Thank you for all the sparklers on the 4th of July, and for all the baskets full of candy and surprises on Easter. Thank you for all the Stride Rite shoes for my extra wide baby feet. Thank you for every braid and ponytail, and every time you brushed my hair. Thank you for every holiday I spent with my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. I have so many good memories. Thank you for convincing me to take Spanish in high school instead of German, because it has changed my life. Thank you for taking me to American Girl meetings, and for throwing me American Girl parties. Thank you for all the trips to Frankenmuth, for all the chicken dinners, and every piece of candy from the candy shop. Thank you for taking me to the hospital when I had meningitis, and for not waiting to do so until the next day. Thank you for giving me a little sister, even though the doctors said no more kids, and even if you think your timing was less than perfect. Thank you for all the advice, even if I sometimes didn't follow it. Thank you for coming to my high school graduation, even though Taryn's wedding was the same day and for throwing me an open house. Thank you for letting me study abroad in Mexico, because it was one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had. Thank you for supporting my decision to go to college and also for your financial support. Thank you for my name. It may be popular, but I adore it, and I'd prefer it any day over Debra or Virginia. Thank you for never emphasizing that my older sisters are my half-sisters. They have always been sisters to me in exactly the same special and wonderful ways as my little sister. Thank you for having a sense of humor. Than you for every "I love you", and for always believing in me and being proud of me. I'm proud of you too.
Happy Anniversary!
Love, Your Ashley

Monday, January 12, 2009

365/12 Where did this come from?

I could have sworn we said "no", I must have been dreaming. Or is it that when they turn 21 they feel that they don't have to listen to you anymore? So far we found out she has ear mites, and last night our dog was eating from the litter box. What next? It's only for a month until I move to New Mexico, "what's the big deal" she says.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

365/11 Meet my Mii, Dorsey

Okay that's me, my Mii, Dorsey. She's short, she's overweight, but she's still cute. I bought myself a Wii for one purpose and one purpose only, to play Wii Fit and get FIT. As you can see, I have been pretty faithful, I did miss one Sunday, because I made a turkey dinner for the girls and a couple friends of theirs, so was too busy and then afterwards too stuffed. It's fun and how am I doing? Well I posted that too. I am erratic. We have been going out to dinner & eating special dinners before Ashley left, so haven't been eating the healthiest, but I'm about to start doing so. But I have more energy and I do believe my waist is slimming down.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

365/10 The Tree Comes Down

This is the first time we put up our pre-lit tree and until now I didn't even notice that we missed fluffing it in a few spots. Next year I'll fluff it lit and then take a picture. Right!? My husband, Gary helped me dismantle the tree. Every year we bought the four girls an ornament when we were on vacations like: Disney, Kelly's Island, the Poconos in PA, Bar Harbor, ME, Mackinaw Island, Branson, Missouri, and Minnesota to name a few. They also each have their fair share from Bronners (the Worlds largest Christmas Store), in Frankenmuth, MI, which is lovingly dubbed Frankenbooth by our family. I never imagined the day that they would take their ornaments with them....I didn't look that far ahead. But, sure enough this was the last year for a family tree. A tree with ornaments made in preschool & ornaments with elementary school pictures on them. No more ballerina's, Pooh's & Eeyore's and no more Baby's First Christmas & other reminders of childhood. A sad occasion, but look on the bright side - Yes, you can usually find one if you try hard enough; next year we will have an all bird tree. I have a collection of bird ornaments from around the US and Audra & Rick gave me one from Germany this year. Tomorrow I'll tackle the Nativity, Nutcrackers & Snowbabies.

Friday, January 9, 2009

365/9 And the Sun Rises on a New Day

This is the sky I saw this morning as I gazed into the neighbor's back yard. Strange for a winter morning sunrise. When you are forced out of the house at odd times of the night and day, you are sometimes rewarded with oddities (is that a real word?) and beauty of nature. Thanks Danan, dogs are good for you in many ways; this is just one of them.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

365/8 Summer in Tuscany

No one is moving to Italy or even traveling to Italy. It is just the name of the puzzle I chose this year to put together on New Years Eve. Ashley has always enjoyed the challenge of a difficult puzzle and we have many times on New Years Eve been in the process of putting one together. Not every year, but enough times to warrant calling it a Korte tradition. She (with a wee bit of help from yours truly) finished the whole puzzle except for a small portion of the pavement before she left. Tonight I finished the puzzle, so I could post a photo of it to share our tradition with you and also to prove to Ashley that I finished it for her.
What are your New Years Eve traditions? Are there any other holiday traditions you'd like to share?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

365/7 Kalli gets a haircut

Kalli Mae took the scissors to her own hair, so her Mom (Rachel has been to beauty school) had to cut it. We think her new style looks very cute on her. My favorite is the one below this paragraph, her eyes are huge and the pose is waaayyyy cute. So grownup for someone who's just 3 1/2.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

365/6 Ashley moves to Mexico

Ashley said "Good Bye" to her sisters at home and then to her Papa in front of the airport. (Yes, Danan came with us to the airport.)

This is a posed picture. I helped her check in the luggage and gave her a last hug goodbye before she went through the metal detectors. She flew to TX and then on to Leon, Mexico. Late that evening we received a confirmation call to say she'd landed and Miguel was there to pick her up. It's about an hours drive from the airport to Miguel's in Guanajuato, MX. Ashley will be teaching at the Guanajuato Universidad in Irapuato, MX this semester. She will be teaching Levels 3 & 4 English to the University students, Miguel teaches Levels 1 & 2.

I managed to keep it together for Ashley's sake until we pulled away from the terminal. It is very hard to say goodbye to your child when they are moving to another country and you're not sure when you will see them again. I've been dreading it for an entire year, another one grown and flown....just wished their wings and hearts didn't carry them so far away. We are so very proud of her accomplishments and her determination to make a difference in the world; not just in her bank account. We will miss her dearly and look forward to hearing all about her future adventures. I'll keep you posted!