Parents’ Weekend

und2The husband and I flew to North Dakota a couple of weekends ago for Parents’ Weekend at the boy’s school. We can’t believe it’s almost the end of his second year. By now, we’re confident he’s actually going to graduate.

und1I hope I didn’t just jinx myself.

und3Previously I’ve been reluctant to post where he goes to school, after all, he’s only 19 years old. But since he’s been up there a couple of years already, I think it’s ok. You can send him some care packages to help him get through the winters.

Though it’s technically spring when we were up there, the weather didn’t let up. The kids have certain restrictions under which they fly and when the parents were there, those weather restrictions were almost doubled.

und999The weather was touch and go and there were times when it appeared that the guidelines for flying were met but still the school wouldn’t let us take off. The boys decided it was because some students do silly things while their parents were in the plane – you know – the dumb freshmen. To which Kyle’s parents said, “Like you guys last year?”

How soon we forget.

So we watched the weather every second. After all, some parents came a long ways to get a flight.

und93All parents had to take a mandatory safety briefing and though we weren’t optimistic, the husband and I took one anyway. The student who was giving the safety briefing said his parents have never been up for aviation parents’ weekend. He is from Colorado so yes, that’s a long way and I told him so. He pointed to another set of parents in the room and said, “Well these guys came from Hawaii.”

Well, he could take consolation in knowing that his parents are paying a gazillion dollars to have him in the program.

und94We never did get our flight but I was happy to be there to be with the boy anyway.

und7Another reason I was happy to be there was because other parents of the boy’s friends were up there too. We all hung out together and it was a blast. It was so great to see everyone.

und97We toured the hangar and the flight and saw all that the program offers.

They have a ton of airplanes.

und95And helicopters.

und96And a great UAV program.

und98All of this literally in the middle of nowhere . . . you can see far, far away up in North Dakota.

und4I found myself standing underneath the wings of a lot of airplanes to stay out of the elements. Do you see the white hills far away on the right? That’s snow! Brrr…

und5Though the weather outside was frightful, there were plenty of things to see and do inside the hangars. The boy showed me around an airplane cockpit . . .

I know I look tired in this photo. I was. I didn’t take a jacket and I felt so sorry for the boy who has to put up with nine months of winter. Look at me! I was only there two days and I was sick of the weather already.

und995. . . and I pretended I was a helicopter pilot.

This is a better photo of me – maybe it’s because I shouldn’t be flying fixed wing aircraft. Just a theory.

und91 und9 und8But the school’s aerospace department also has great indoor facilities. This is the building that houses the simulators, the air traffic control training and the FAA test center. There’s also a souvenir store – so guess where I was.

und92I know it’s hard to imagine that this great program is so far away from everything but maybe that’s why they graduate great pilots. There’s nothing else to do up there but study. There’s also a large contingency of Air China pilots and Saudi Arabia helicopter students. It’s a really a fantastic program.

und991After a day out in the flight line, we had a huge banquet with all the students and their parents.

und99Look at this kid. I just love him – and his tie.

und992The guest speaker was Brian Shul who mentioned that he was ashamed that he had no idea that UND’s program was so fantastic and how impressed he was with students and faculty. He gave a great presentation and the kids couldn’t wait to meet him.

und993He is a Vietnam War veteran and was seriously injured and burned over 70% of his body when he was shot down in his plane. He was able to get back on flying status and eventually flew the SR71. He’s an amazing and inspirational guy but more importantly – he’s also a great photographer! Very impressive! His books are full his own photos.

und994They were very excited to have a photo with him.

The kids know how hard it is to stay on flight status and now they know that it’s even harder to get back on flight status once it’s taken away from you. They’re hitting the gym harder after this I hope.

april14aI love this boy. Did I already say that?

I’m so grateful that things have worked out the way they have. It was a long and arduous process on deciding where he should go to school and I feel that we made the right decision. Look at those boys! We’re in good hands everyone!

 

Easter On My iPhone

The boy and the girl were both away from home this Easter but I did get a couple of photos from the boy.

iphoneeaster3Isn’t this adorable? The boy spent Easter at John’s house with his family and their mom gave them all Easter bags. You are never too old.

I sent the photo to the girl and not to be out-done, she sent back this one.

iphoneeaster4The girl spent spring break week with Sydney and her family and she sent me this photo with the message, “I think our picture is cuter.”

Then, “I haven’t washed my hair in three days.”

There’s a competition there I suppose.

Meanwhile, I spent most of the weekend at church. Here’s a few shots from my cell phone.

iphoneeaster1I was making these men very nervous for some reason. It must have been when I said, “Don’t mind me, just act naturally.”

By the way, the man in the blue shirt, Bruce, makes the best habanero sauce ever! It’s so spicy and so yummy. We’re almost out of the jar he gave us and I was dropping big hints so he said he would give me another. I’m subtle that way. I’ll show you the jar when I get it. It’s so good! And Garry in the plaid shirt? Well, he was just trying not to be in the photo. Too bad:)

iphoneeaster2Look at how many people are in this room. I love it. Good job in serving the food guys!

iphoneeaster5Baby Benedict stayed with us all weekend and such a good boy. He was helping Rusty sort through name tags here.

iphoneeaster6These men are the tallest men in the church. I wanted to see who was taller but they didn’t quite understand that I wanted them to stand back to back. Instead, they hugged like women. Hmmm.

iphoneeaster7See? Women hug like this. Here I am with my two friends and I think we may be the shortest people in the church. I have my arm on my hip because of the short sleeved shirt. I have a thick arm anyway so you will not see me with my arm down in a photo anymore. The girl has taught me well.

iphoneeaster8Here are my good friends John & Kathy. She’s on a gluten free, meat free, everything free diet and she looks great! I so admire her discipline. She doesn’t have to put her hand on her hip like I do.

iphoneeaster9I sent this photo to the kids yesterday saying, “Mr. Gary, Mr. Paul and your dad are just as bad as you kids with your phones.” They were asking Siri what planes were overhead. You should try it. It’s quite cool.

iphoneeaster10And finally, Ian’s son at the tender age of eight, gave his life to Christ in front of all of us while his dad looked over his shoulder. This is the best Easter story and there wasn’t a dry eye in the place. Not a single one. What a brave boy.

Hallelujah and another was added to the Kingdom.

I hope your Easter was wonderful too.

 

April 21, The Morning After

aprilmosaicmondayMy yard is bursting with new growth and color! I can’t get enough of the flowering trees in my backyard. It is literally the most colorful time of the year here.

april21aThis is what it looked like last week in the backyard. The silver maples in the middle of the yard were cut down. They were blocking the sunlight so the grass started dying slowly and now the yard is barren. When it rains it’s as if the entire yard was slipping into Neighbor Theresa’s yard next door. We’re doubling down this year in our attempt to grow some grass.

If you look closely, you’ll see my beautiful flowering trees beyond the wood. When they are in full bloom they are beautiful. Here’s what they look like now.

april21b

april21cThey are so pretty! I’ll be sharing more through the week!

For Mosaic Monday.

April 19, Easter Weekend

april19I heard a comedian say once that he didn’t understand the concept of being “born again.” He said he did it right the first time – being born that is.

Of course we’re not talking about the literal act of being born from a mother into the world. We’re talking about being reborn in Christ. I didn’t know what that meant – until it happened to me. I’ve been told that how you live your life is an act of evangelism in itself. I fall at times but I’m getting better at living a life that is a reflection of the God I worship. I’ll never be perfect, but He doesn’t ask that of me. He asks that I love Him and that I do.

Today both my children are far away. The boy is with John’s family in Wisconsin and the girl is with Sydney’s family in Florida. It’s a good thing I don’t miss them at all . . . That’s my attempt at denial.

I am however, excited about the photography opportunity that I will have over the next three weeks or so. I was just outside this morning, appreciating all of the new growth around me. It’s almost as if the trees and flowers and being born again. It’s a wonderful sign of new life.

Happy Easter weekend to all of you.

April 14, Camaraderie

april14One of the things I love about my time in the military is the camaraderie that is a part of the organization. I actually miss it. There’s also a fraternal aspect in the flight world.

april14aI spent last weekend at the boy’s school for Aviation Parents Weekend. Look at those young men. There is true camaraderie there. He’s made such good friends which makes the experience of being far away from home a much nicer one for his parents:) It was a fantastic weekend, will show you photos very soon.

On Our Way!

 

april9So this boy has his pilot’s license. And this weekend, we make our way up to his school where he will fly us in a school airplane for Aviation Parents Weekend. I have trepidations but not because he’s flying us, but because I’m not a good small airplane flyer. I pray I won’t need the sick sacks.

I am excited to see him and find out what’s going on in the great plains of the US!