August 30-
    Here we are, the last August entry for 2009. I can say that this August has just flown by. Understandably so, with all that has happened, but it seems like it has gone by even faster than it should have with all that has happened. I am writing a little later than usual and a little tired, so I probably will not write too long. Poor Grace has started to get a little fussy and we think it has to do with gas pains. We do burp her during and after all of her feedings and also have some liquid that we give her when she seems like she has gas pains, but all of our efforts still do not seem to be fixing the issue completely. We even have been trying different infant formulas to try and solve the problem. We are also going to call the Dr. tomorrow just to touch base with him as well. I have a feeling that it will just be a case of playing musical formulas until we find the right one. She is pretty good during the day and then gets quite fussy in the evenings and stays that way into the late evening and sometimes overnight. Poor Nora is really bearing the brunt of the workload, staying up with her, but I have been spelling her in the early morning and with the crying, I am not sleeping as much at night either. So we are teaming up to get through it, but we both would love to even get back to the situation we had in TX where she would sleep for around 3 hours and then needed to be fed and then back to sleep for around 3 hours.
    As I was preparing to write the journal, I realized I only had one picture of her to share with you. To be fair, she is still a newborn, so it is not like she is doing anything more than eating, pooping and sleeping anyway, so there is really not too many different shots I can take, but she is showing signs of a little growing. She feels heavier and her noodle neck is starting to go away. She will hold her head up by herself pretty well now and is really noticing things that are going on around her as well. I will really be excited when she starts to react to things around her. I think the puppies are just dying to put on a show for her and make her laugh. Speaking of the pups, they continue to be very good big brothers and sisters. Many times when Grace starts to cry, one or both will go running to see if there is anything that they can do. This morning Huck came running over with one of his toys and dropped it in her lap to try and get her to stop crying. It did not work and actually brought a few tears to dad's eyes. So I am enjoying the state she is in now, but think I will enjoy it even more when she starts to interact with us.
    So back to the pictures of her. This one was taken a few minutes before I started to write the journal, so you can consider it hot off the press. That is the position she will be in for more of the day than any other. She really seems most comfortable in her car seat and we had gone for a walk and she fell asleep, so we did not disturb her when we got home and let her sleep in it. We do hold her a lot too and here is a shot of her helping me do my work. She is a good little helper.
    In other news this past week, Nora's brother and niece were up and on Wednesday we took a little ATV ride in the afternoon. It was perfect day for a ride, with the sun out and cool temps. I have not gone on too many ATV rides this summer because of wanting to spend time with the pups, but it was nice to get out and hit the trail. Especially when the trail is through some beautiful woods. We ended up riding out to Gay and made our way onto the sands out there. The visibility was very good and the Huron Mountains looked like they were just a few miles away. On the way back, we rode past Thayers Lake and stopped for a quick photo op. All told we were out for around 3 hours and I hope to be able to get a few more rides in before the winter comes.
    Anyone wanting to play in some puddles would have a fun time of it right now. We had our second 2 day rain event in a little over a week. It rained pretty much all day Friday and yesterday and I measured around 1.7" of rain, while the airport was around 2.2". That on top of the 1.5" we received the Thursday and Friday the week before and some rains before that. With all the rain recently (and the fact that I put down some fertilizer) our lawn has never looked better. I'll give it one last shot of winter fertilizer in a month or two and hope that it can wake up in decent shape next spring. It sure was a rough spring for it this year, with it being so cold and dry.
    Yesterday we took a drive and ended up going past the Eagle River Falls and they were in springtime fashion. The water was a little dirtier than it is in the springtime, but the volume of water going over the falls was about the same. The pups were really starting to get some cabin fever by yesterday afternoon, so we brought them along on our drive and we stopped off at Great Sand Bay to let them play. With temps in the low 50's and a north wind at 30 mph driving the rain on shore, it was not surprise that we had the beach to ourselves. Cars would stop to see the big lake churn, but nobody but Millie, Huck and I were foolish enough to get out of the vehicle and into the elements. The waves were really rolling further out and were consistently in the 6-8 foot range with a 10 footer every once in a while, but near the shoreline they were only a few feet high and it was safe enough for the dogs to swim. Funny how I can let the pups out to go potty and if it is raining, they will just forgo things and hold it, but get to the beach and it does not matter that it is pouring rain, with 30 mph winds, they act as if it were 75 an sunny.
    Today was sunny and it looks like most of the coming week will be too. Today was cool, with a high of around 60 and tonight it looks like we will drop into the 30's with some frost likely in areas out of reach from the lake's influence. So August is running out and it looks like at least a taste of Autumn here for a little while. Temps do look to make it back into the 70's this week, so summer weather is not totally over, but it has been nice to see my breath in the mornings recently.
    Well, I am at the end of my line for tonight. However, Nora just finished feeding the little one and had to do some things, so she dropped Grace off by me so I can watch her. She is in this thing that I call the "float tube" and was just looking too cute, so I snapped one last shot to share with all of you.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-

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August 23-
    Well, for those of you that did not see in the discussion board, Nora and Grace arrived on Monday night. We had the house all decked out for them and I even baked a cake for the occasion. They got in on the late flight that arrives just a bit before midnight, but none of us minded staying up that late too much and it was great to have the family all together. The pups were REALLY happy to see Nora. When I came home they were happy to see me, but not much more than when I come home from being away at the store for 20 minutes. For Nora it was a much different story, they just could not get enough of her and were actually pretty hyper for a few days after she got back. In fact it was like they were mainlining Red Bull for a few days, with all the energy they had. Nora was worried that they might not even remember her, but I knew they would and was glad to see they were so happy to see her and have our whole family together.
    The pup's reaction to Grace was really neat too. They were very cautious and gentle around here and Millie has taken on a motherly role, wanting to hang close to her and look over her to make sure things are ok. Huck likes to hang close by too, but it is more as the big brother or fatherly role, staying close for protection. Right now it is pretty much a one way show as Grace has not really gotten to the point where she is noticing a lot yet, but I really look forward to the time when she will notice the puppies and watch their antics and do that giggle that only babies can do. I am fairly confident that the pups will feed on that and really ham it up. They love to show off. 
    It also seems like they instantly went from little puppies that were the center of the show to "old dogs" that are now sharing the responsibility of taking care of Grace. They have stepped into that role wonderfully and still have their puppy moments- thankfully! Not that I was worried, but the only jealousy going on up here is me of all the attention that the pups are giving Grace! There is no jealousy from the pups for the attention that Grace is getting from Nora and I, they are just real sweethearts that love their sister and we are one hugely happy family. 
   On Tuesday the whole family took to the woods for a walk. Nora has a little thing that can act like a sling and you put the baby inside it, into it's own little pocket. You actually do not have to even hang onto the sling, the baby just sits inside and is all safe and secure. Most of Gracie's first walk in the woods was done while sound asleep, but that will change and so will the way we take her out, once she is over ten pounds in weight and can support her head on her own. We got one of those "baby knapsack" things and it will allow her to hang off of me or Nora and still see everything we are seeing.
    The pups, on the other hand, were glad to get into the woods and cut loose. I was too busy Monday to be able to take them for their afternoon walk and then they were still all hyped up from Nora coming home, so their walk in the woods on Tuesday was more like a crazed run through the woods. Most of the walk was spent with them running full steam ahead through the woods and not on the logging road at all. It was great to see them having so much fun too and they sure have grown in size. Not yet full grown, but no longer little puppies.
    It's been a whirlwind of a week. In fact, I found myself looking at the calendar a lot to see what day is was. One day just seemed to melt into the other and even when the weekend hit, it did not seem that much different from the work week. I have been fortunate enough to have a wife that has taken the "taken' care of" chores bull by the horn. She allows me to get a full night sleep so that I can be rested for my work day. I do spell her during the day for a while so she can get in a nap and she is getting some sleep at night, but it is not the 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep I am getting. I am trying my best to repay her by cleaning and cooking as much as possible and giving her breaks when ever I can. Some days it seems like I have to pry Gracie out of her arms to I can get a little G-time. My mom arrived on Thursday and is staying until Tuesday. She has also helped out a lot in taking care of Grace when Nora and I both find ourselves busy. Tomorrow Nora has to go to Escanaba for a work related seminar and I am really glad that we were able to get my mom to stay an extra day to help me out. I am getting the daddy thing down pretty good. Have changed plenty of diapers and done plenty of feedings and burpings, but I do have to work and also tend to the pups and right now Gracie needs almost constant attention and it would be very difficult to do everything that needs to be done alone.
    One thing that helps keep Grace happy when neither Nora nor I can hold her is this neat swing. It rocks from side to side, has a little mobile that spins above her and also has several different sounds it can play, like music, a waterfall or crickets. We put her in there and she is as content as can be. I was actually wondering what it would take to build an adult sized version! As I watched her all crashed out in that thing, I was thinking to myself how nice it would be for me to be in one that could hold me! Perhaps a project for another time!
    It rained just about all day Thursday and Friday and was actually pretty nice to see. We have been very dry since around the 4th of July, with just a little more than an inch of rain. It's a good thing it has been so cool this summer, or we would really be in hurting shape with the dryness. It was also very nice to fall asleep on Thursday night to the sound of the raindrops hitting the leaves in the woods. It was like camping, but with the luxury of sleeping in my own bed. I think my eyes stayed open for a whole three minutes before I drifted off to sleep to the sound of the raindrops hitting the leaves.
    As nice as it was to get the rain, it was also nice to have it stop raining! Saturday morning was still cloudy, but the clouds departed Saturday afternoon and that allowed us all to take another walk in the woods. It was a near repeat performance of Tuesday, with Grace sleeping and the pups running like banshees. Today was also sunny and a little warmer, so we decided to give Grace her first beach day. Not really warm enough to wear the bikini, but still a very nice day to be at the beach. Again, she slept through most of it, but that will change soon enough. I am not rushing anything. As excited as I am for her to be more awake and to notice things going on around her and what a magical place she lives in, I am also loving the little bundle of sleepy baby that she is right now. Just about everyone that has come to visit has all said how fast things change and how fast they grow up, so I am doing my best to soak up every minute of how she is now and looking forward to the future at the same time.
    The pups and I took a little walk down the beach today, while the ladies sat on the beach and chatted. The blueberry season is drawing to a close, but I was able to find a few to share with Nora and my mom. On our walks in the woods, I showed the pups raspberries and they took to them immediately. The only down side now is that they are smart enough to know to find the patches and then go in and eat them their selves. Since they are almost always ahead of us, the get the berries before we do! Cracks me up!
    So it has almost been a full week that Nora and Grace have been home and things could not be going any better. I suppose Nora would like to see Grace sleep through the whole night, but she is sleeping in three hour bursts and Nora is able to get some sleep in those time periods. I am sure that there will be plenty more adventures in the week ahead and I look forward to sharing them with you in a week. Until then...
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
August 16-
    I'm still the bachelor. Things actually went pretty quick with most of the interstate compact between Texas and Michigan, but then we got a call midday Thursday that there was a bit of a snag with some of the paperwork for MI, so we scrambled to get things worked out and did, but not before the close of business on Thursday. Then it turns out that paperwork that was faxed late Thursday got faxed to the wrong number and we did not find out until the MI offices were closing on Friday, so my two sweeties are still in Texas. They are very anxious to get home, but are having a fun time and their friends Andrea and Don's house. It looks like the paperwork was faxed to the correct spot late Friday, so we should get the ok for them to come home tomorrow and they plan to fly home on Tuesday. 
    Up until this point I have been pretty calm about it, but am starting to get really anxious. Just before starting this entry I was talking to Nora and she was describing some of the stuff that Grace has been doing and then I started to hear her cry in the background. A crying baby has never been one of my favorite sounds to hear- that is until now. Hearing Gracie cry over the phone was a beautiful sound. I am sure that will change not too long after they are home, but for now it and some pictures is all I have, so I am making the best of what I have.
    I did get some pictures sent to me on Thursday and I can share a few with you. This first shot was taken right at the moment she turned exactly one week old. Looks to me like she might have been celebrating just a bit too hard in the lead up to that moment. Here is a shot of her getting burped by Nora. In ten or so years from now I may pay for saying this, but I guess she can really let the belches fly! Nora said that they were all sitting around and Nora was burping her and she let one rip that drunken sailor would be proud of! This last one is my favorite and just cracks me up. She started doing this almost from day one and every time she did it, I just laughed. We call it the Popeye look. That's all the pictures of Grace that I have to share with you, but not all the pictures I have to share. Hopefully in just a bit over 48 hours I will be snapping a shot of them coming off the plane up here!
    In other news... Summer has finally arrive up here and I am pretty much ready for it to go! I have come to the conclusion that it is definitely the humidity that gets to me more than the heat. On Wednesday we rose into the upper 80's and probably even hit 90 in some of the spots we traveled. However, the dewpoints were in the upper 50's to around 60 and I had no problem with the temps being that warm. In fact, I took the pups to the Bootjack Boat launch and really enjoyed the afternoon. The humidity hit overnight Wednesday night and has been locked in since. To add insult to injury, we have had almost no wind and lots of sun. So need less to say I have not been a happy camper since Thursday. I've been trying to make the best of it, but after my early morning walk with the pups in upper 70 degree temps, low 70 degree dewpoints and no winds, I really was totally sick of this weather.
    Then, as I was doing some work a little later this morning, I saw a post come in on the discussion board that just said "SNOW". Knowing that it had gotten cold enough out west recently that snow could have dusted some of the higher terrain, I quickly went to that thread to see what it was all about. Sure enough. Skylar had been checking some of the webcams out west and the Togwotee area picked up about an inch of snow overnight. Here is a shot from one of the Brooks Lake Lodge webcams (soon to be added to the NCN by the way!) with the snow still hanging on. Skylar said that as he looked at the pictures of the snow, he could feel the crispness of the air and imagine seeing his breath and I can certainly relate as that is exactly the same way I felt. With a little luck I may be seeing my breath up here Tuesday morning.
    Clouds have rolled in this afternoon and a still breeze out of the south has also developed. Plus, our temp is only in the upper 70's and the humidity has backed off just a bit, so my spirits are rising a bit, which is a good thing because I don't think you all would have enjoyed reading what I wrote in the mood I was in this morning!
    As I mentioned, I did take the pups swimming at the Bootjack boat launch Wednesday. Actually I have taken them swimming every single day since I got back. It's has been just too hot to walk in the woods. They sure don't mind. Both have a blast swimming and Huckie even learned to jump off the dock. It was actually Millie that jumped off first, but it was more of a creep off the dock and then dive underwater. Huck's first attempt was similar, but then he got the hang of just launching himself off the dock and has not looked back.
    On Thursday, we spent the afternoon in the car, trying to get the issues with the adoption paperwork fixed. Not fun as temps were around 90 with high humidity and no AC in the Blazer. We do have it, but it is on the fritz and Thursday was really the first day all summer we have needed it.  On Friday we went to the big lake for the afternoon swim. The winds were almost non existent, so it really did not matter which shoreline we went to. When the winds are blowing, I like to go to the shoreline with the onshore breeze. Anyway, even without much of a wind, it was cooler down by the big lake. We went to a spot on the north shore as it was closer than any spot we can get to on the east shore. There was barely a ripple on the water and all it took was for me to dip my toes into the water to be cooled off. The pups had a blast chasing after the stick being tossed into the water. For some reason fetching sticks were hard to come by that day, so I only had one, so the pups had to share.
    Yesterday was the hottest and most humid day of the past 5, with a high at the airport of 90 and a dewpoint of 73. Not a record (we tied the record on Thursday), but still plenty hot and humid. There was a tiny wind out of the south, so we chose the eastern shore to go to for the afternoon swim. While temps inland were in the low 90's, the temp along the lake was 78 and the gentile breeze made it feel that much nicer out. Basically a perfect beach day. This time I remembered the tennis ball for Millie and tossed the stick into the water for Huck. It's funny how they both like to do something different. Millie will fetch the stick in the water from time to time, but she really has a fun time chasing the tennis ball down the beach and then bringing it back to me. While that is happening, I toss the stick out into the water for Huck and then they have a race to see who can get back to me first. It is also funny to watch them be so competitive. If anyone things competition is just a human thing, I can say first hand that you are wrong!
    I had my shoes off while at the beach yesterday and when I first put my feet into the water, I got quite a shock, but it turns out it was because my feet were so warm from the drive out because after just a bit the water started feeling pretty good. I decided to wade out as far as I could without getting my shorts wet and snapped a shot of me in knee deep water. A little bit later, I was really taken with the idea that I should just throw caution to the wind and go for a swim- even though I did not have my swimsuit on. The water felt pretty good and I figured it would probably be the only chance I had to take my swim in the big lake this summer, so I took off my watch and shirt and waded out into the deeper water. Since there was no one around to witness my dip into the big lake, I did bring the camera with me and snapped a shot of me fully submerged in the big lake. Or at least as fully as I could go and not ruin the camera! I have to say that it felt really good and despite the cool summer we have had (second coolest on record), the water was warmer yesterday than it was when I took my swim in it last summer- in nearly the exact same spot. If I had to guess, the water temp must have been in the low to mid 70's. I do know that the water in the more sheltered Keweenaw Bay will warm more than other areas near by and with the light south winds, that body of warmer air that formed in Keweenaw Bay the past few days was transported north so I could swim in it yesterday. Nice! So after fearing that my 10 year streak of swimming in the big lake at least once during the summer might be over, I was able to keep the streak alive. It can start to snow now.
    Not too much else going on. As part of my attempt to keep myself busy (and be productive at the same time) have been working on a hutch for the bathroom. We really need more storage space in there and with Gracie on her way up here, that fact will only intensify. So I have been spending some time in the woodshop this week. However, with that part of the shop not being insulated and the metal roof heating up to who knows how hot in the midday sun, I can only work in the mornings and evenings and even then it has been pretty warm. I have made pretty good progress with the limited time in the shop and have the carcass for the hutch done. Next will be the drawers, doors and trim and then the finish and we can bring it in and start using it. I have two more projects that I wanted to get done before it becomes too cold to work in the shop this autumn (isn't that a nice thought!). They are less in depth and should be able to get done. That is if I can pull myself away from Grace!
    One last shot to share with you. It is of a little visitor we had to the cabin the other day. We have not had too many deer in the yard since the pups showed up, but that little one decided to buck the trend- excuse the pun!
Good night from the Keweenaw..

-
JD-
August 11-
    Well, the USB cable arrived in the mail today, so without further delay. I would like to introduce for the first time in this forum: Miss Grace Elizabeth June Dee. I guess I can start by explaining the name. Grace was one of the first names that both Nora and I agreed upon and just kept coming back to it, so we settled on it and I think it fits her perfectly. For what it is worth, the second choice was Tweedle. Just kidding, but with the last name of Dee, we did have to be conscience of how her name would sound when the first and last names were put together. Elizabeth was chosen because it is my mom's middle name and also the first name of the birthmother's grandma, whom she was very close to. June is the first name of Nora's grandmother and also the middle name of most of the children and grandchildren (including Nora) that have followed June. So it is a bit of a mouthful to say in full, but we figured the only time the middle names get used is in formal occasions.
    It has sure been a week full of memories. As I type, little Gracie will be exactly 7 days old in just one hour. I did not get down to Texas in time for the birth. My plane out of Minneapolis was delayed about 1 hour, but even if that flight had been on time, I would have missed the birth by about an hour. I would not have been in the room anyway, so really all I missed was her first two hours in this world. Nora's friend picked me up at the airport and at that point I did not even know Grace had been born yet. We walked to the car and as soon as we got in, I called Nora and she gave me the news that she was delivered naturally at 4:03 central time with a weight of six pounds, twelve ounces and a length of eighteen inches.
    I remember very little of the drive from Dallas-Fort Worth airport to the hospital about 35 miles away. I can recall there being some traffic when we first left the airport and then passing businesses, one of which had some pretty cool tractors out in front. There was a lake we passed over and then not long after I was looking at buildings pass by and I saw the name of the hospital on one of the buildings and could not believe that we were there! As we parked the car, we actually saw Nora going inside the hospital. She had run to get the birthmom something to eat and drink and was just returning. So we walked in together, met the birthmom and chatted with her for a little bit and then we went to a room where they brought Gracie in. We had given the camera to Andrea (Nora's, and now mine, friend) and she was able to capture me at the very moment I first set eyes on Grace. I think the picture just about says it all, but I do remember exactly what I was thinking when I saw her- this little girl is going to be all ours for the rest of our lives. I also love the expression on Nora's face in that shot. They way she is looking at me to see my excitement is just precious. There were a few more shots taken that evening as we visited with Grace for about an hour or so. I could have stayed all night, but needed to get back to where we were staying for the night so that I could be sure all was working with my computers and internet connection to be able to do my work the next morning. Here is one last shot of Grace that evening in her Mommas arms- with eyes wide open!
    I have to admit that my first few times with her I was having a hard time putting my head around the idea that she was going to be our daughter. I think the main reason was that for my entire life, every time I saw or held a baby, it was always someone else's. So I had 43 years of that hard wired into my brain. I can say that by the end of the second day she was really starting to feel like she was ours and by the third day (Thursday), it was done. The adoption papers could not be signed by the birthmom and Nora and I until 48 hours had passed since the birth. There was a moment the day we went to the hospital to sign the papers. Nora and I were holding the baby and the caseworker from the agency came to get the paper signing underway. The birthmom would sign first and then Nora and I would sign. The caseworker asked that Nora and I go and wait in the waiting room while they did their paperwork and since the waiting room was out of the "secure" zone for newborns, she could not go with us. Both Nora and I commented to each other how we really did not like the feeling we got leaving Grace to go to the waiting room. It was at that moment that it really hit home to me she was ours. 
    The paper signing went well, but my walk out of the hospital was not the experience I thought it would be. It was not bad at all, just different from my imagination. I went to get the car and bring it to the hospital door so that they did not have to carry Grace too far from the hospital to get to the car. The birthmom decided to walk with me and so we walked through the hospital corridor to get to the exit. While walking, the birthmom broke down a bit, so I put my arm around her and held her as we walked out. Nora and I had gotten to be pretty close to the birthmom in the months leading up to the birth and I was definitely feeling some of her pain. Like I say, now that it happened as it did, I would not have it any other way. Anyone that knows me knows that I am a firm believer of the truth and real feelings and everything that I was feeling as we walked out the door- from the elation that we had just signed adoption papers making Grace ours, to the sadness from the sense of loss the birthmom was feeling, was as real as it gets and something that I will never forget as long as I live.
    Nora, the birthmom and I drove the birthmom back to her place and helped her get situated. We all were hungry, so we ran to get some take out for dinner and then Nora, Gracie and I went to our motel room for the first time as a family. The first thing we did was call our family and some friends and then took turns holding her. She is really a no-fuss baby so far. Nora and I both know that can change and are prepared, but so far it takes a pretty serious issue to get her going. For the most part she either sleeps, eats or is busy putting her fingers into her mouth.
   The putting her fingers into her mouth started on day one. I understand that most babies love to be all swaddled in their receiving blankets for the first few days or even a week or more after birth. Not Grace! She would figure out a way to get her arms free and would just love to rub her face and head with her hands or even just have her arms above her head. That was one of the issues we discovered the first night. I slept most of the night, while Nora took care of Grace. Nora said she did not fuss much at all once she had her hands free. She did want to eat about every 3 hours or so, but other than that just slept. She seemed to have her days and nights a little mixed up (wanting to sleep more during the day and be awake at night) and Nora says that is still happening, although she is starting to be awake more during the day now and the Dr said that a lot of babies have the day's and nights mixed up for the first two weeks. If that's all we have to deal with, I will consider us lucky parents! Nora and Grace went to the Dr's yesterday and Grace got a good report back. Depending on how long Nora has to stay in Texas, they will either go and see the doctor once more down there or see our doctor here shortly after getting back.
   Leaving Nora and Grace on Sunday morning was very difficult. I knew that I would be seeing her in about a week and I was also excited to get back to see the pups, but all of that was a distant second to me having to say good bye to them. My flights back were ok, the town that the birth took place in is about 35 miles to the north-northeast of Dallas and the plane took off and flew right over the town. I could look out my window and see the motel where Nora and Grace were still at and it is probably a darn good thing that I was not seated next to the emergency exit, because I probably would have been tempted to open it up and get back to my girls!
    It's been nice to be home and be hanging out with Huck and Millie. They were excited to see me, but did not go nuts. That told me that they were very happy and well taken care of where they stayed and Nora and I are deeply indebted to our friends for taking care of them while I was away. I am trying to keep myself as busy as possible to help keep my mind off of them still in TX and to help pass the time as quickly as possible. So far we have two days down in the countdown. We do not know for sure how long it will be before they can leave Texas. It could be as early as late this week or as late as next week sometime. All I know is I cannot wait until these two beauties are home.
    I think I am out of story telling, but not out of pictures I wanted to share with you in this entry. I usually have no problem fitting the pics in with the story, but I think I was so anxious to share all of this with you that I missed some opportunities to link the pics with the text. So here are the rest of the pictures I wanted to share with you this evening. A shot of the happy dad and my little girl. Momma holding Gracie, or was that Gracie holding Momma? Nora has had lots of fun dressing her little girl in some cute outfits. Here is another.
    This last one is the one that I will look at every night before going to bed until they get home. Our little girl.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
August 10-
    I was hoping to write a full entry today, but last week before I left for TX, Huck was at my feet, chewing on a rawhide and the USB cable for my camera was near by. He "accidentally" decided to chew on the USB cable and so I have been unable to download the pics from the camera since. Nora brought her camera to Texas as well and we were able to take some pictures with it and upload them to the discussion board, but her camera stayed back in Texas with her and Grace while I flew home yesterday. I did order up a new cable and it looks like it should be here tomorrow, Wednesday at the latest. So I will write more then. I just felt that this was one occasion when the pictures needed to accompany the text.
    I can report that Grace is doing great. Nora took her in for her first check up today and she got a great report from the doctor. Hopefully if all goes perfectly with the states of Texas and Michigan, then they could be home the end of this week or weekend. Or next week at the latest. Hopefully more tomorrow.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-
August 2-
    I'm still here! and Nora is still in TX! and the baby is still in it's mommy's tummy! I hope that this is not a sign that she is going to be a stubborn one! To be fair, the due date is not until August 9th, it is just that when the labor started over a week ago, we thought it would not be more than a few days to a week tops before the baby arrived. So now that it has been about 12 days since the first contractions were felt it seems like this little girl is being a bit stubborn. 
    The mom did have an ultrasound last Monday and then a Dr's visit (including a sonogram) on Thursday, so she is being well looked after and the contractions are very hit and miss and have mainly been happening in the evenings. At Thursday's appointment, the Dr did say that if the baby does not come naturally by Tuesday, then they will induce then. In fact they have an appointment at 8 am to see the Dr and get the ball rolling. So I will be heading down on Tuesday to join in on the festivities.
    So we now have a for sure date that the delivery process will start and that had simplified things a bit for Nora and I as well as taken some of the stress out of the equation. The not knowing when it all would happen for sure has really been hard. I am checking air fare just about every day and trying to have something ready to go if need be and poor Nora is just trying to find something to do to pass the time. She has been doing some stuff with the mom, but it's not like they can spend all day shopping or exploring or even traveling too far from the city that the delivery is going to take place in. Plus, the mom is the only person that Nora knows in the immediate area. She does know one other woman that does not live too far away that actually went through the same agency to adopt a baby girl (the met through the agency's forum). Nora actually spent a little time with her over the weekend and will actually stay with her and her family once I leave. The baby cannot leave the state of Texas until what is called an Interstate Compact is completed. That IC is basically just the state of Texas telling the state of Michigan that a baby was born in Texas and has been adopted by a couple living in Michigan, so your population is about to increase by one. I am sure there are other reasons for the IC, but the bottom line is it takes 6-10 business days for it to be completed and so Nora and the baby have to stay in Texas until that is done. I would love to be able to stay, but we are having Huck and Millie stay with friends and it is also a lot more difficult for me to do my work while on the road, so I am planning to come home Saturday. 
    Speaking of work, I will not be updating the site while on the road, so no updates from Wednesday on.
    Well, welcome to August everyone! It is this entry when I usually go on my annual speech about how I love it when we get to August because then I can see the light at the end of the tunnel as far as summer ending goes. Well, we up here are still waiting for summer to arrive! Seriously, I did a little look back and since June 1, we have had only 3 day's when the high was in the 80's (all three occurring in July), 10 days with highs only in the 50's, 25 days with highs in the 60's and 25 days with highs in the 70's. Not exactly the warmest June and July we have every seen. But of course I am not complaining and thus no need to be looking for the light at the end of the tunnel because this year there is no tunnel. I am still excited that we are one step closer to Autumn and then Winter, but as long as August is like June and July have been, I am in no big rush this year. Unfortunately it looks like after this week, some heat and humidity will be spilling into all of the Midwest, even here. It does not look to get brutally hot and humid, but probably in the 80's, with dewpoints in the 60's. Perhaps I will get that swim in the big pond in this year after all.
    The pups and I have been keeping ourselves busy with chores around the house and walks in the woods and the beach. On Monday we went to the beach and had a nice walk. The pups did get chased by a dog briefly, but Huck proved he is not afraid of anything as he stood up to the dog and ended up chasing it off. I don't think the other dog meant any harm, but it charged pretty hard and Millie sure was scared of it! 
    Tuesday we went into the woods and it was a very nice day to be in the woods. There are still some deer flies that are buzzing around, but they should be gone soon. Other than that, one can walk in the woods totally unmolested. The berries are starting to ripen. Those were raspberries and the crop this year is very thin. Not sure why. It could be the cool summer or perhaps the fact that the previous summers had such intense drought, but usually a walk in the woods will provide handfuls of berries for a snack. Walks this year have only yielded a few here and there. The other berries ripening right now are the thimbleberries. They too seem to be having an off year, but not as off as the raspberries. It does not matter to me if the thimbleberries are having a bumper crop or an off year as I do not care for them. Too tart and mealy. The jam is ok though.
    We stuck to the woods the rest of the week and I brought the camera along on Friday and Saturday's walks. Friday's walk was actually an extension of Thursday's walk. The pups can really go, so we find ourselves exploring logging roads for a couple of miles. We would go more, but every step into the woods requires a step to get out, so I stay mindful of that and usually only go about 2-3 miles in. So sometimes the next day I will drive us in to where we turned around the day before while walking and then continue on. It's fun because we are seeing places that I have either never seen before, or never seen before in the summer. Kind of like what it was like my first year or two up here with Burt and Baileys. We explored all these places that we had never seen before. Friday's walk took us to a swamp in the middle of nowhere. There are dozens of these up here, but I have never been to this one in any season. The pups just love it, only they do not do much walking. It is more like sprint ahead and then come running back full speed to me, only to turn around and sprint ahead again. They sure love to run!
    On Saturday, I decided to take them to a bush road that Nora and I walked with them earlier this summer. It is a really nice road to walk on. A gradual up hill slop for the first mile or two, but nothing that wears you out too much. Plus you get the downhill for the final mile or two of the hike. It is also heavily wooded after the first mile or so, so it keeps things cool. I figured we could go in about 3 miles and turn around, which is what we ended up doing. It did rain a bit up here Saturday morning, so there were some puddles on the road in spots. Not only do the pups like to run, but they also like to play in puddles! They sure are a mess afterwards, but once they dry, they are pretty clean. Amazing how their fur can shed the dirt. Our hike on Saturday took us to a spot where we could overlook the big lake. It was very windy out on Saturday as well and the lake was full of whitecaps.
    Today I decided to break up the adventures in the woods with a visit to a pond not too far from our house. It is too far to walk all the way to, but we did park the car and walk in to it a little bit. The dogs had a great time fetching a stick for about 45 minutes. Most of the time they both swam out to get the stick and brought it back together. These two are really best pals. They are competitive and like to give each other a hard time every once in a while, but they sure do have a blast playing with each other. If they are not sleeping, eating or pooping, then they are likely playing with each other and that play sure does lead to some entertainment for us!
    Well, I think that about covers it for this one. There will not be a journal next Sunday and I will be in transit back from Texas. I will write as soon as I can after that and will be sure to make the announcement of the birth when it happens this week. Not sure if I will be able to do it in this forum, but will for sure do it on the discussion board. Until then...
Good night from the Keweenaw..
-JD-

 
 

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