July 2001

Bradley (in sun glasses and wristband, in case you don't recognize him), Jane, Kristi, and an unhappy Doug When we last left the Sherwood family, they were spread across the map: Keith and Kristi were at home in San Diego, Bradley was at church camp the mountains near San Bernardino, and Douglas was with Nana back in Los Alamos, NM.  For those of you who canít stand the suspense, thereís a happy ending: they all get back together again by the end of the month.  But not before more travels and travails.

On Monday, July 2, the Southwest van trip ended, and Keith and Kristi returned home empty nesters.  The previous morning they had left Douglas with Keithís mom Jane in Los Alamos, and set off with just Bradley on a 15 hour dash across New Mexico, Arizona and California to San Bernardino.  That very morning they had dropped him off at a week long church camp in the mountains behind San Bernardino.  They now had until the following Saturday to do any thing they wanted (bed and breakfast, romantic get away, quick trip to Catalina or San Francisco) while the kids were away. 

Home repainting, one room at a time. So they painted the boysí room. Donít laugh: itís a multi-day job requiring the boys to be elsewhere, so this was the perfect time.  As we did with the master bedroom and family room last year, we painted the walls, left the ceiling the original Navajo white, and installed new, sturdier base boards.  The color is yellow-gold, and goes exceptionally well with the blue valance and bedspreads and with the light wood furniture.  Bradley was less than pleased initially ("Yellow!?"), but Mom and Dad ignored his comments the first couple of days and he hasnít mentioned it since.  In hind sight, Mom and Dad acknowledge that Brad is too old at 9 ½ to spring something like this on.  He needs (and deserves) to be consulted and made part of the decision making process regarding "his domain."
The dainty left pinky finger is classic. Dougís week with Nana (Keithís mom) included seeing three movies (Shreck, Dr. Doolittle 2, Cats and Dogs), getting Nanaís garage door fixed, and eating lots of Chinese food.  I donít know why Doug left California for New Mexico and then decided he had to have Chinese food.  Seems a bit backwards.  He claimed he wanted duck, but I think Nana got him chicken and told him it was duck. They started their trip west on Thursday, but went via Durango, where they visited Grandpa Art and Grandma Leslie (Keithís dad and step mom).  This was very nice of Nana, because this would be Dougís only opportunity this summer to see them.  (Remember Doug was recovering from flu the previous week, so he didnít make the Chama train ride with Art and Leslie, which was originally intended to be the one summer visit.)  Doug has not been forthcoming with details about his time in Durango, but both grandmothers report a scary incident where Douglas refused to hold a hand across a busy street, and had to be picked up and carried across in a most embarrassing way.
Brad and camp bell (from a Sante Fe steam locamotive) Both Keith and Kristi agree they could never have gone to camp for a week at nine and a half years old without knowing anyone else there, but thatís what Bradley did.  He went for three days to this same church camp two summers ago, but missed it last year.  When asked this spring what his priorities for the summer were, Bradley put church camp number one, above all other possibilities (Baseball camp, trips to relatives, Disneyland, etc.).  Kristi and Keith marveled at the mature young man they had in the back seat that made the 900 mile Sunday van trip so easily.  And they marveled at the independent young man they picked up the following Saturday.  Then they reintroduced the concepts of schedule, parents, and obedience.  And there was wailing and gnashing of teethÖ
Whenever grandparents visit, the boys always want to sleep with them on the sofa bed. Doug and Nana then arrived the next night, Sunday.  Jane, exercising her prerogative as a freshly minted retiree, stayed through Friday before heading back to Los Alamos.  While she was with us, Jane, Kristi, and the boys went to Seaworld on Tuesday.  And on Thursday, Keith joined them all at Legoland.

And yet all this was not the end of summer vacations, at least for Kristi, Brad, and Doug.  On Friday July 20, Brad flew to Albuquerque and Kristi and Doug flew to St. Louis.  Brad was met by Grandma Leslie, they picked up Cousin Chris, then headed to Durango for a week long "Camp Grandma" for the two oldest grandchildren. Kristi and Doug were met by Grandpa and Grandma Rafferty, and taken back to Bloomington, Il. 

Brad and cousin Chris at Mesa Verde National Park
Bradley spent his week camping in Mesa Verde and Pagosa Springs, white water rafting on the Animas River, and chasing trains, both full size and model.  The first paragraph (and only one completed) of the story I asked Bradley to write about his trip:  "The first thing I did when I got to Albuquerque was hug Grandma Leslie and go to my baggage claim.  Everything seemed to be going fine.  But then the baggage thing stopped.  A worker turned it off and went in.  He found a HUGE bag blocking the way.  He called an assistant.  She came and helped.  She called on another guy.  Finally they called a technician. My bag got out and we left.  A long boring drive to Durango ended in boredom."  (I think Bradley was expressing his displeasure with the writing assignment in that final sentence.)  He did sketch this map of Pagosa Springs camping, however.

Although he didn't finish the story, he did allow some of his pictures to be scanned, and provided captions to his pictures and pictures from Grandma Leslie

Grandma, Papa, and Doug in their driveway. Douglas and Kristi enjoyed a relaxing vacation at Papa and Grandmaís house in late July. Although it was extremely hot and humid and sticky in central Illinois, we were still able to experience some typical midwestern events.  Douglas learned how to Ďdriveí the lawnmower, went miniature golfing and for a go-cart ride, got to see a working farm with animals, visited the St. Louis Arch, took a short ride in Papaís limo, and went out for ice cream or donuts quite often. However, his favorite part of the whole trip to Illinois, other than being spoiled quite well by his grandparents, was watching cartoon network. We only subscribe to basic cable at home, so Douglas thinks it would be better to live in Illinois because of all the channels they can get! Poor Papa was booted out of his favorite lazy-boy and denied his rightful position of channel changer holder and channel surfer while Douglas was visiting!
Papa supervises Doug mowing the sidewalk The goal of the vacation for Kristi was relax, relax, relax. And that was easily accomplished with Grandma waiting on her hand and foot and spoiling her rotten. Thereís nothing quite like being taken care of by your Mom! The only real downside to the trip was the 98 degree temperatures with heat indexes of 110 outside, with the pleasantly frozen conditions of max power air conditioning on the inside, which were a bit much for the Southern Californian to get used to. Kristiís vacation favorites included eating out, eating Momís food, shopping with Mom, visiting relatives, eating out, eating Momís food, seeing the rolling green farmland, eating out, eating Momís food, spending time with her parents, eating out, etc. But the highlight of the trip was getting to visit with two of her best high school buddies. Her cousin Kim, along with Kimís children, came to Le Roy from Kankakee. Marcie and her two kids came in from Brownsburg, Indiana.  Kristi started kindergarten with Marcie and Kim and experienced the whole small town life all the way through high school.
Doug experiences the Zen of the base of the St Louis Arch. On Friday the 27th Keith was discharged from Physical Therapy after 4 months.  "There's nothing more we can do for you; just keep exercising that leg."  The following Monday Keith had a last Doctor's appointment, and was declared, if not fully healed, at least not needing further medical supervision.

Overheard lately:
Doug, at a friendís house, to friendís mother: "You have a very nice house.  I really like it." Friendís Mother: "Thank you, Douglas." Doug: "How much did it cost?"
Doug to friend: "How old are you?" Friend: "Iím six and a half.  Iíll be seven in November."  Doug: "Iím just six.  We skipped my half birthday." (Ed. note: The half birthday, when we skip it, will be in October.)
Kristi to boys: "Time to go to bed.  We need lots of rest before we catch the plane tomorrow.  Planes are very heavy."

Harmless Childhood Habits that Aggravate Parents to No End:
Brad has to wear socks to bed, no matter how hot it is.  Says sheets or covers will tickle him otherwise.
Doug cleans the sink after brushing his teeth.  Very thoughtful, it's just the manner in which he does it: before he starts he plugs the drain, then brushes and spits, then runs more water and swirls it around, then finally opens the drain.  Somehow he's convinced he's saving water.
Brad has taken California's electricity woes to heart, and now turns off any light immediately, without asking if someone else might be using it.
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