Iwo Gima

Iwo Gima
Marine Corps Marathon

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March 31, 2015

Today was a wonderful day for us. We have been riding a bit of an emotional roller coaster, so we needed a good level day to get our feet back on the ground. The girls got up this morning with Linda's encouragement and I was in the kitchen fixing breakfast and their lunches. Despite the fact that they didn't want to get out of bed, it felt good to be back in that routine. They came out and ate breakfast and then we were off to school. Even Jason, who typically says good-bye from his bed, came out and gave them hugs, and we were off.

The rest of the day was very much like that - I decided I wanted to get out for a bike ride, after helping Jason with his shower (normally he takes a shower later in the day, but due to a rough night, the previous night, he was very tired last night and fell asleep and thus, didn't get his normal shower in). I had some other things to do so I also knew I was going to have to make it a short ride, and I did - 12 miles. I was out and back in less than an hour, and as I came back to the house Linda was coming out to begin some of her errands. I am so glad that she does not object to taking care of all the shopping and running around, that I just don't enjoy doing. Jason had also left to take care of some banking challenges he is dealing with (seems the VA has goofed up his pay and very little came in to the bank - It is being dealt with and should be a non-issue in a week ... we hope).

The rest of the day found me catching up on some reading (I'm actually reading some technical papers, and enjoying them), and Linda taking care of some Easter preparations, AND decorations. The girls really enjoy the decorations, especially when they get to help put them out. We walked over to the school to pick up the girls and walked back home, and like I eluded to, the girls got to put out some of the decorations with Grandma. On top of all that, its Tuesday so that means - TACOS for dinner. They were excellent and plentiful, and as they usually do, right after they were done eating they both come running over to me and want to sit on my lap. Doesn't matter that I'm not done eating, they just like to sit on Grandpa's lap. That is until the ice cream cones came out, then they were happy to sit in their own chairs again. 

Linda gave the girls a bath and this time I helped Jason with his shower at the same time. We got all this done and then it was story reading time. I let each of them pick out a story they wanted and we sat down to just relax right on into bed time. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Monday, March 30, 2015

March 30, 2015

We are home now and dealing with some sad news. While we were driving back down here, actually to a stop in Los Angeles, we received news that a good friend of ours took his life. Marine LCpl Artem Lazukin was a great guy and a friend to Jason. He was a double amputee who had been able to get through some very rough patches in his life, and we all felt that he was going to be one of the true survivors. He and Jason would go shooting with Anthony Netto, and the three of them had a great time, just doing what those guys liked to do - shoot their guns and see how accurate they could be. He will be missed by many of us.

The reason for the trip up to Livermore, this time, was to visit with our sons, George III and Sean. George turned 38 on March 21, and this was the first chance we had to get up to see him. He is still doing great, and we suspect that he will continue doing great, as he has such a great positive attitude and really loves the area where he lives as well as the job he has. Sean is still living in San Francisco and is doing much better. He was ill a short while ago and looks to have lost at least 10 lbs. Now, for those that know Sean, loosing 10 lbs. is a lot, and we hope that he puts on a little more weight. He is still working for H&M and living in the same apartment. Sean has made some changes to the apartment and I have to say I was impressed with what he did, to make it look larger (I didn't think it was possible, but he managed to do it. We also got a little time to visit with a few of our friends and even went to church on Sunday, then headed back right afterward, and our next stop is Los Angeles.

In Los Angeles, we were able to see our son David and his wife Miriam, and their sons Dylan and Ethan. It was a very nice visit, as we didn't have to go anywhere, so we went to the park with the boys, and let them ride their bikes (I guess it runs in the family) and play in the play area. Dylan loves to climb the rocks and make his way through the different climbing structures. Ethan hasn't quite gotten the climbing ability figured out as well as Dylan, so he stays with the slightly easier areas. Like all boys, they love the slides and being as high up as they can, so they can look down on all the people walking on the ground.

We left David and Miriam's place at about 08:00 this morning and made it down to Linda's parents' (Joe and Jess) home in Lake Forest  just a little before 09:30. We had breakfast with them and visited for a little while. They are looking great and planning on coming down to our place on Easter. We finished breakfast and then a short while later we were on the road again - I think it was about 11:15. We really got lucky with traffic on this trip, as there were no sluggish or stopped traffic we had to deal with. It did get slow in a couple places, but it always continued to move. When we walked in the house we set the things we were carrying down and then went in to see Jason. Funny part is that he was getting ready to come out and take Gracie for a walk and go check on the mail. By the time he was back we had emptied the car and were about half-way through putting things away.

Jason was in pretty good spirits, considering what had happened over the weekend, and we took a little time to just talk about it. I think it did Linda and I as much, or more, good as it did Jason, to just talk about it. Artem was a quiet guy, recovering from a number of wounds and things were looking good for him, though he was feeling the pressure to continue. Now he is away from all that and now he is with God. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

March 28, 2015

Wow! So what has happened to Jason and his family? Let me begin with a trip up to Fallbrook, to check on the progress of his house. We met with the builder and cabinet people and went over a bunch of layout questions, as well as the typical "Form - Fit - Function" issues that come up with any build project. Some of the issues were very spot-on, in wanting to know if the work areas (be it kitchen or in one of the other rooms) were going to work for Jason, especially since he is always going to be in a wheelchair. As it turned out, there were a couple of changes needed, and it also gave Jason a much better idea of what he should expect. There were also a couple of simpler questions on our end of the house, and those were taken care of, or ... we need to get some information back to them soon after we return to San Diego (yeah, we're still up in Livermore right now).

Since I brought up Livermore - We have been enjoying the hospitality of Debbie V., a friend of ours who has allowed us the wonderful gift of being able to sleep at her house, and come and go as we need. This has really made it easier for us to visit with other friends and to spend some time with our two sons, George and Sean. Heck, the primary reason for us to come up this time was to see them and to celebrate George's 38th birthday (you really don't start to feel old until your kids get well into their 30's, then you just wonder where all the time went). We went and saw Bill and Jane N. and had a wonderful visit with them today, and Linda went and had a "girls luncheon," without me hanging around. Tonight we'll be taking Debbie out to dinner, and then tomorrow we go back to the former church and then head back home - sort of.

We will be heading back down tomorrow, late morning, and then stopping at our son David's home. We haven't see them in several weeks, and we need to get a little face-time with our grandsons, Dylan and Ethan. The plan is to spend the night there and then early Monday morning, head back on down to San  Diego, where we'll see how well Jason did. We have had a few conversations with him, and he continues to sound pretty good. and we're confident that Joselyn has been helping him out, so we don't expect to find any surprises. About the biggest surprise is that we really don't have that many pictures to show for this visit, and you know what - sometimes it feels better to not take pictures of each and every things you see.  Once we're back down in San Diego I will be getting back to a regular blogging pattern again, so thank you for all your patience. Thanks, also for all your continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

March 24, 2015

Yesterday was a busy day, and we had a great time with all of it.  It began with a normal activity of getting the girls up and ready for school, and then I went for a short bike ride. Once that was done I came home and fixed a lunch for Jason and I, while Linda took care of some other chores and some running around that needed to be done - I got to be the luckiest guy to have a wife who really enjoys getting out and taking care of that kind of stuff, because I REALLY don't like it.

Anyway, once she was back at home, a little after noon, it gave me a chance to take a short nap, because we were going to be going to dinner, up in Newport Beach. Last year, at the Carrington event there was an auction, and at that auction one of the items offered was a complete dinner by Chef Alessandro Pirozzi and it was purchased by John and Kristie. Fast forward to about a week ago and we receive an email, inviting us to join them, along with a few other people. Our first reaction is, Wow! That is going to be a great meal, and it could be really fun ... it was, on both accounts. I really don't know how they came up with our name, but we're glad they did.

John is also a car enthusiast and has some amazing autos in his garage, so after dinner, which we helped to prepare (a little) we all went down to the garage and John showed us his collection. It was quite obvious that he was proud of the cars and I even managed to take a picture of the El Camino (1975, I think), though it was done with my phone camera rather than my Cannon. I haven't figured out how to transfer from my phone to the computer yet, so I can't share it right here. After the evening was over we had to get going, after all it had been a long day for Jason by now.

We needed to get home to allow the babysitter to get going, fortunately she is on her college Spring Break, and it was getting late. We all managed to get in to bed before midnight, and I can assure you all, that we were all very tired. Funny part is that I still managed to wake up at 06:15, without the use of an alarm clock. Linda was still asleep, so I let her stay in bed, as I knew it wouldn't be long before at least one of the girls came up to "check on her." Jackie went up to find Grandma at about 06:45, so she managed to get about another 30 minutes sleep.

After we got the girls off to school we had to take care of a few things, like start getting ready for the drive back up to Livermore. It was George's (our oldest son) 38th birthday on the 21st, and we wanted to go up and spend a little time with him and see our other son, Sean. In the mean time, while Linda is doing on the "heavy lifting" I decide to go for a bike ride - I won't be riding for the next 5 days, so I want to get a good ride in today. I end up clocking 36 miles on my odometer and felt pretty good about it. I still don't go very fast, but I do manage to just keep on going.

Tonight we went out to see the cats, and take them some supplies. It is going to be so nice when the house is built, so that the cats can come back and live with us. I think they're going to like their new home, and we will be able to finally get back to a more normal life again. Tomorrow, we're headed north, but in the mean time, we are also going up to the new house, and having a walk through with the builder and cabinet installer. We have been picking all kinds of stuff for the house and now this will be some of the best stuff yet. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

March 22, 2015

What a wonderfully quite and relaxed weekend. Jason did get out to doing some shooting of his "new" Colt 45 revolver (1917 original Peacmaker), and found out that there was some issues with how the mechanism needs some adjustments (he only got off 5 shots and then it jammed). It was also the 38th birthday for George, our oldest son (Jason's oldest brother). We will be going up to see him next week, along with Sean, our other son who lives in San Francisco.

Other than that there really wasn't much done this past weekend, other than some normal daily living activities, like shopping and cleaning, and one other unusual activity, and that was getting some pictures taken of the girls for a special project that Linda plans to work on. We took the girls to the Picture People, and they took a bunch of photos of the girls in different outfits. It was actually a lot of fun and the girls had a great time. I was totally involved in watching and carrying things, while Linda had the most work of making sure the girls were wearing the right things at the right times. All this while making it fun for the girls - I'm glad she was doing it.

We did get out to one of the local play areas, the girls like to call "parks" and let them, Stacy and Jackie, have some fun out side. They got to ride their bikes and that was good, and we spent an hour or more in heavy activity. One of our focuses is to make sure the girls do get plenty of exercise, and heading over to the school for bike riding or going to one of the play areas helps a great deal with this.

Tomorrow we will be heading up to Newport, and having dinner with some friends. The down side to this is that I won't be able to post afterward, as I don't think we will be getting home until after midnight. The dinner will be a chance for Jason to work with one of the celebrity chefs in the area, and we are looking forward to seeing just what it is they're going to be "cooking"  up. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Friday, March 20, 2015

March 20, 2015 - Happy Spring

Today began with a normal getting up in the morning, with girls getting their breakfast and then off to school. Jason and I had oatmeal and Linda made herself a little breakfast, too. A little while after breakfast I went out and rode my bike for a nice 30 mile ride, and discovered a new 5 mile loop (actually it is just a little under 5 miles) around Fiesta Island, out in Mission Bay. Funny thing is I have ridden past the entrance to the loop dozens of times, today I just decided to check it out. It is a very nice easy way around, and you're almost constantly next to the water, with little other traffic.

Linda took care of a few things at the house and then took off to take care of some errands and that left Jason at the house, on his own for a couple of hours. It isn't the first time that he has been left by himself, and I think he enjoys not having anyone around, every now and then. Heck, I enjoy a little solitude once in a while, too. As it was, I was back at the house at about noon, maybe a little after and I made lunch for Jason and I. We have been focusing on healthier meals for these past few weeks, and today I decided that I would fix some chili, from the can. I think it was a mistake. My stomach let me know that it wasn't happy, and continued to remind me for several hours afterward. Fortunately, Jason didn't seem to be bothered by it, then again, he is a Marine.

One of the really cool things that happened, a little later in the afternoon, was that the Ability Center called and let us know his truck was ready. We all got into the van and headed over there, and I don't think we could have timed it any better. When we arrived there were almost no parking spaces open, and they were wanting to move a bunch of vehicles from the front of the building to the back and behind the building. I had to move the van a couple of times so as to not block their progress. It only lasted for about 10 minutes, but was still kind of fun. At the same time, all the moving of vehicles allowed from more room for Jason's truck. They showed Jason what adjustments were made and then he got back into his truck and we were headed on back to the house, here. I could tell that Jason was very happy to have his truck back again.

Tonight we promised to let the girls stay up a little later, so they could watch a movie and eat some popcorn. Both Stacy and Jackie wanted to help with the popping and got very excited when the first kernels started to pop. We made enough to fill a grocery bag, and then we all sat down to watch the movie - "Big Hero 6" - Kind of a hybrid U.S./Japanese city of the current time period, though some of the stuff they were doing was pretty advanced. Anyway, the girls were having a great time and got to watch most of the movie, until it was time to get to bed. Linda kept working on laundry and other stuff, during the movie, while I sat on the couch with the girls.

Tomorrow is going to be a busy day for us, as Linda and I will be taking the girls to the Photo People, to have their pictures taken. There are ulterior motives for going to a photographer, rather than doing them ourselves, but I'm not going to go into that right now, as I think Linda wants to keep it under wraps right now. Jason is planning to take come of his pistols out and do some target shooting, and he is especially excited to finally get to shoot his 1917 vintage Colt 45 Peacemaker. I think I would have liked to have gotten a chance to shoot it as well, but right now I don't think that is going to happen. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

March 19, 2015

Another exciting day, and also a busy one. We got the girls off to school with a little time to spare, and then came home and had breakfast. Frequently we end up having breakfast after the girls have been taken to school, as there just isn't enough time to sit down and eat breakfast with them. Once we had our breakfast eaten I went and spoke with Jason about Linda and I going up to Fallbrook, to check on the house - this was also a final check to see if he might want to go with us. As it turned out he did want to go; we just needed to get his truck over to the Ability Center for another adjustment on the lift, and then we could just leave from there... and that's what we did.

The drive up to the property was uneventful, and I guess that's the way we generally like it to happen. I have posted some of the pictures from this visit, so you can see that there has been some progress, as well, we enjoyed the chance to speak with the builder about some of the details of what was going on with the house. As it turned out it is a good thing that Jason came with us. A big issue came up with his shower, and some of the adjustments that were needed. As most of you are aware, Jason just doesn't fit in to most of the categories of what wounded guys are like, and their lay out of the shower would have been a challenge for him. Mike, the builder, asked a few questions and as a result there were some items moved. We got to walk the entire house and are now looking forward to next week, when we get to walk it again, with a few more things done, as well as with the cabinet people, and the electrician.

After the site visit, we went to lunch, in beautiful "downtown" Fallbrook, and ate at a Chinese Restaurant. The food was really good and the price was okay. The owner was this very nice lady who also owns a German Shepard and she came over to talk with us about Gracie and tell us about her dog. It was nice and comforting to know that we haven't met an unpleasant person yet, in the area. The drive home was quick and we stopped by the Ability Center, hoping to pick up the truck, but unfortunately it wasn't ready. Terry, the General Manager, said they will be bringing it to us once he has it ready to go, probably tomorrow afternoon. We then drove the rest of the way home and shortly after Linda and I went over to pick up the girls, from school.

The rest of the evening was quiet and dinner was easy. The girls spent some time with Jason, as he read to them and also watched some cartoons with them. Linda and I put them to bed, and then we just kicked back and relaxed. Now I am finishing my blog, and then we'll get to bed. Thank you, for the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive. (As an aside: Linda took all the pictures)

Jason working with Mike and TJ

Jason and George Looking at a section of the house

TJ holding the drawings while Mike checks a door with George

Looking into the Great Room

Jason, George, TJ and Mike discussing an option

North end of the house

Back of the house

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

March 18, 2015

Last night we were notified that we were going to be taking care of the girls for the next week, which means they will be with us for nine days in a row. This isn't the first time this has happened, but it is the shortest notice we've received. We enjoy having the girls with us, and we really do feel they benefit from more time spent with us, just that it would be so much nicer if we knew more in advance, so that we didn't have to suddenly modify plans. I guess it is just the way it is for now, and we will continue to do our best to keep a happy and strong environment for the girls.

When we got up this morning another change was that I wasn't too involved with getting the girls up and ready for school. Linda was doing just about everything while I got ready for a job interview. As many of you know I have been doing some looking for employment, over these past couple of years, and not much has happened, other than a couple of interviews. Today was a little different, as I went to the interview knowing that I already knew who the company is, since I worked for them about seven years ago, and there is a certain level of comfort in knowing who they are (Rudolph and Sletten - a construction company). Also, at this time, we are in a position where we really don't NEED me to work, and that based on the money and savings we have, we can live comfortably - just can't go out and do much, very often. The interview went well, and I was very happy with what was said. I will probably be mostly working part time, so I will still be able to help Jason a great deal, and Linda won't have to carry everything herself. Linda has been the quiet pillar of support for me, for over a year now and sometimes I don't recognize her enough for it.

The rest of the day was very nice, as the interview was early in the morning, and this meant that I got back home early enough for me to still get out on my bike. I got 21.25 miles in and found a new loop that was really pretty good, as it avoids a bunch of traffic. Once I was back home and cleaned up, Jason and I went to Costco and bought a bunch of food that we needed. Linda was out taking care of other errands, and it seemed like we all got back at the house at about the same time. I think they (Joselyn's regular schedule put her back at the house at 14:00 (2pm)) arrived just a little before we got there. Once all the food was put away Linda and I walked over to go pick up the girls. This is where I was surprised - I honestly didn't expect both of them to react so happily to seeing us, as we normally don't pick them up on Wednesday. I have to tell you, it made me feel soooo much better.

Tonight we had some grilled burgers, as I fixed them on the grill while Linda took care of everything else. It was a simple dinner, yet very tasty and it has gotten to the point where salads almost have to be a part of each meal. I guess the burgers tasted good enough as both the girls ate theirs without any problem, along with the vegetables. Not much else happened, except to say we all had time to sit back with the girls and read to them. First they went in a spent some time with Jason, and then they decided to come out and sit with Grandma and then finally with Grandpa. This basically went on until it was time for bed, and that made it a very nice evening. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Monday, March 16, 2015

March 16, 2015

Yesterday was a very good day for us, though it got started a little later than we originally planned. I managed to get in a bike ride, a short one of about 10 miles, though we didn't make it to church. I only went for the short ride because I wasn't feeling right, not really sick, just not feeling like I was 100%. When I got back home I just sat back and relaxed a little and then showered. Afterward I was feeling a little better yet my energy level was really low. Funny thing is, that Linda wasn't feeling all that great either so we decided that potentially it was better that we stay home, just in case we were coming down with something.

We did work on picking some of the interior items for Jason's new house, and that took up a few hours, and then Jason came out and the three of us started working on all the different areas and now I think we have a pretty good idea of what we want and where. AND it is all going to look pretty good once it is completed. By this time it was getting a little later in the afternoon and Linda and I decided that we needed to get out, and one of the things we like to do is go to the zoo.

Since we had not been to the Wild Life Safari Park yet, we decided to go there. I "knew" generally where it was, so we took off, headed up I-5. Those of you that know where the park is probably groaned at that; those of you who don't know - I should have just gone up I-15, and saved myself over 1/2 an hour driving. The good part is that they have recently switched to closing at 18:00 (6pm), so we had a little more time ... and we needed it.

We took the tram tour of the African Lands section (this is where they have different sections of the park identified, such as South Africa, East Africa, West Africa and so on) and found it very interesting and kind of fun. Another little bonus was the fact that it was getting a little later in the day and the animals were up and moving about, so we were able to view more than if it had been in the hotter parts of the day. Now that we have a better idea of what to look for, and where the park is, we'll be taking the girls and maybe Jason to the park (depends on if he wants to go - it is still a long drive).  When we got home we were both kind of tired, though there was still much to do, and dinner to prepare. The day ended a little while later and both of us were very tired, and thus I did not post any kind of blog.

Today, Jason had a few appointments at Balboa, and also he needed to take care of some personal business, over at the bank. Apparently, somewhere along his travels his bank information had been compromised and there was a person trying to make a purchase using his account. Fortunately the bank caught it and Jason won't be loosing any money over it, he does need to get a new card from the bank though, and that's what we were going to do. Funny thing is, the bank called him and LifeLock did not. Jason is a big proponent of LifeLock, yet they didn't call or anything - we're just glad the bank did.

Jason and I got back to the house at about 14:00 (2pm) and so did Linda and Joselyn. They weren't together, its just that we all arrived at the house at about the same time. Jason was hungry, and so was I, so Joselyn made him some lunch and I made me a quick sandwich. The girls were going to be at the house soon, so we wanted to be sure that we, at least,  were able to have some lunch, since breakfast today was actually a little liter than usual. It all worked out and everything is great, and the girls came home excited about St. Patrick's Day tomorrow.

St. Patrick's Day is always going to be a big day for us, as it is the day they brought Jason up and out of the induced comma, and it was the first time he was able to speak with any of us, since he returned to the States, from being injured in Afghanistan (I'll be speaking more to that tomorrow). The girls were full of energy and Linda worked with Stacy to get her home work completed, while I read a book to Jackie. The girls then played (a lot of that was with Daddy) until dinner and that was chicken, rice and vegetables. A short while later we were putting them to bed and the day was effectively over. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

March 14, 2015

Jason and I went to a gun show today, while Linda went to a Blue Star Mother's meeting. Both events were rewarding for us, and we had a good time. Jason and I left at about the same time that Linda left, only we got back before she did. To give a more full picture, Linda also went to a thrift store, or two, and that could account for the extra time she took.

While at the show we both picked up ear plugs, custom-made-on-the-spot ear plugs that were then given to us, as a gift from the owner. He told Jason that he appreciated his service and that he felt it was the least he could do. They seem to work well, and the next time we go shooting we will take advantage of them - mine were blue and his were red, just to be sure we don't get them mixed up. The way it worked was that we went to their booth, where they created the plugs, and then told us we needed to come back in about an hour. That meant we could walk around the hall and check out more things. It was a pretty big show so there was plenty for us to walk around and see, in fact there were two large halls for us to wander through, and we did. By now it was time to go back and pick up our new ear plugs, and then we were on our way home.

Gracie was with us the entire time, with most of the people being very polite and not approaching, while others were very nervous around her, simply because she was a dog, and stayed their distance. Others were not so polite and would get up close and we'd have to ask them to not do that, as she is a service dog and "working" right now, and then there were the kids who had absolutely no hesitation to come see Gracie (the good thing is that Gracie is good around kids). Parents followed, but what the heck were they doing by themselves in the first place?

The rest of the day was simply kicking back and resting, and I even got a chance to take a short nap before Linda got home. As soon as she got home I could tell she had, had a good time because her energy level was very high and she was quite happy. She told me all about the meeting and my guess is that she will be wanting to go to more of them, especially after we get up to Fallbrook. Their meetings are much closer to that location, than to this house. It was fun listening to her, and we just had a very good time, thus making the day a very good day. Thank you, for all the support and continued prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Friday, March 13, 2015

March 13, 2015

Kind of a busy day today, though it did get off to a slower than usual start. I didn't wake up until after 07:00, and that was a little on the unusual side, and I have to admit I was pretty happy about it. Actually, I don't think I would have moved, to get anybody going if it had not been for the 09:00 appointment, this morning. Linda and I managed to get going and went down stairs to get Jason some breakfast, and then we were off to go see Dr. Sheu.

Dr. Sheu is Jason's primary doctor, at Balboa, and he has been one of the best we have had the privilege to work with, while at Balboa. He seems to have done more to identify seating and comfort solutions for Jason than any of the previous primaries at Balboa, and that is primarily why I like him. Because of traffic we did arrive a little later than we had wanted to, though I don't think that impacted the conversation much.  We covered a number of topics, though the number one item was what we could do to help Jason heal and get to a point of being ready for the next step. We will actually be continuing the conversation next week, when we go to the VA on Wednesday.

After finishing at Balboa we took Jason back to the house. He had considered going to Fallbrook, with us, then decided he was better served if he just went back home. Linda and I got up to the house and we were totally surprised and pleased, at the progress. We walked the house and talked with the General Contractor about a couple of things, and then took a few pictures. One of the big items we talked about was the size of the window in our bedroom. Linda and I felt that it was simply too large, and is now going to be reduced to a more acceptable size. One of the best things we learned was that they are moving along very well, with the construction, and there is a good possibility that we will be in the new house prior to the end of the Summer. Below are some pictures of today's visit.

The ride home was relatively uneventful - the way I like them to be, though we did have to deal with a few spots of heavy traffic. We are going to try to get up to the house, again on next Thursday and then again on the 25th, for an official walk through. The 25th, Jason will be with us, and he will be going through the house. It is really getting to be pretty exciting. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

The long hall way of the house

As we drove up, what we saw from the front.

Looking at the land, below the house.

More of the property

The house from the driveway of the family next door.

Down by the front of the property

Thursday, March 12, 2015

March 12, 2015

A very nice day for the Ross family, down here in San Diego. I am fighting a cold, so I took some cold medicine and it helped me sleep. I didn't wake up until 07:38 today. Actually, it was a good thing I didn't sleep any longer because Linda was sleeping in, too, and she had somewhere to be at 09:00 this morning. We both got up and started getting ready for the day, which included getting breakfast ready for Jason, which I did.

I had an appointment with my VA doctor, and since I now had a cold, going to see her seemed like an even better idea. What I found out was that everything was basically in good shape and she prescribed a couple of medicines for me to take. Prior to going to the doctor I took Linda over to her friend's house, where she could go out and have a much needed, Girls-Day-Out adventure. Her adventures include going to thrift stores and doing a bunch of window shopping, along with just being able to talk with another woman. Anyway, I went to the VA right after dropping her off and the visit didn't last for more than 30 minutes, so I was actually back home rather quickly.

Jason had no appointments today, so he spent a good portion of the day in bed, and that is a good thing. We did get up to go over to watch the "Olympics" at Stacy's school, and it looked like all the kids were having a great time. I guess, just because of where we were standing, we were asked to help distribute the ice cream treats, afterward (for the kids who could not eat ice cream they had an alternative treat). Stacy thought it was pretty cool to see Daddy and Grandpa helping out. Once this was all done we walked back to the house, and before going in we decided to make a drive over to the bank, and then we went home.

Not much else going on, around the house, other than Linda and I making selections for fixtures and sinks, for the new house. I think we just about have it done, and we'll most likely know for sure, by tomorrow. Also tomorrow, we will be going up to Fallbrook for another site visit. It will be Linda and I alone this time, and we should be back home by late afternoon. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

March 11, 2015

Wednesdays are always kind of strange, in that we have the girls in the morning and then we take them to school, then we don't get to see them for at least a couple of days. We, start to miss them as soon as they're gone, but we also know it is only a short while until they're back. This morning was a little different in that I over slept (I'm sort of the resident "alarm clock") and we only had about 45 minutes to get ready. We still managed to get them up and dressed; fed them their breakfast; and, made their lunches. Then we were out the door and we actually made it to school in plenty of time - okay, we probably had as much as 30 seconds before they became "late."

The rest of the day was Jason and I going to the Wound Care Clinic, at Balboa and a discussion came up about what was being done for his continued challenges of healing. This is actually a topic of discussion that is going to be taking place with Jason's primary doctor, on Friday, at 09:00. The hope is to tie together the two main groups, from Bethesda and Balboa and to bring in the VA if needed. I know how much it would mean to me to see Jason's wounds close up, so I can only imagine what it would mean to Jason.

I have been feeling like I've been fighting a cold lately and today it really felt like I was being drained of energy, when at about 21:00 (9 pm) my sinuses suddenly cleared and I felt like I was given a boost of energy. I can still feel a little congestion in my sinuses, but no where what I was feeling earlier, and my overall outlook is soooo much better than just two hours ago. Honestly I wasn't sure I was going to be able to do a post back then. Speaking of the post, below are some of the pictures from Jason's 4th Live Day Anniversary celebration. It was such a great time and we are already planning on a bigger celebration next year.

As for the  Smart Home that is being built for Jason, the builders are asking us for some information, such as sinks, toilets and fixtures, so Linda and I have been doing some searching and identifying those items we would like for our area of the house. Jason did the rest of the house and felt we should be doing our side, since we'll be the ones living there. Anyway, Linda has been doing most of the heavy lifting with that, and I've been more the supporting role kind'a guy. I guess that's why, in general, women make better interior designers than men.

We will be going to a couple of appointments, the rest of this week, and if there is time I will be out on the bike. Linda and I will be going up to the new construction and seeing what their progress is, and to just get a feel for what is happening - - plus it's just kind of fun to go. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.
Steve doing the honors at the grill

Jason with Stacy and Jackie

Anthony, Jason, Kristen, and Tim

Jason with Joselyn and her Family

The whole group of folks who were there ... except for Linda and I

Jason and Kristen

Jason with Proud Parents

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

March 10, 2015

Another good day for the Ross family, as we continue with this new life and adventure. We got up this morning and got the girls ready for school. They had their breakfast and then told Daddy good-bye and we were off to school. Since there were no appointments to be concerned about I was soon to get out on a bike ride. First I had to fix a breakfast for Jason and I, so I made some oatmeal - we both like it and it is relatively easy to make. About a half an hour after eating I was out on the road.

I had planned on going out and getting more than 20 miles in, though I really didn't know how far I would go. I was probably at about the 4.5 mile mark when my phone began to ring. I don't know who that first caller was, as there was no name associated with the number and no message was left. The next call came about 30 seconds after the first and I was already stopped, so I decided to answer. It was probably a good thing because it was the VA and I was trying to make an appointment with my doctor, and this was that call. I finished the call and started to go again and then the phone rang again, about 30 seconds later. It was the VA again, letting me know the location had been changed and they gave me the new information. Again I was riding and this time I got out about 2 full minutes when the phone rang again and I answered it, again, and it was a return call from Balboa Hospital, confirming another appointment. Finally, the last call came about 5 minutes later and it was a survey "robo-call" that I actually just hung up on, and decided at that point I wasn't going to answer any more calls that came in. All the stopping and starting really gets to you and messed up my timing, and I decided to go with a shorter ride and ended up with just over 16.5 miles.

The rest of the day was pretty relaxed and when it was time I went to go pick up the girls, with Linda and we just simply walked there and back home. Today is Taco Tuesday, and the girls love it, especially since we make our own re-fried beans (they're really pretty good). It is a truly simple dinner that tastes great. Not much else happened the rest of the night and the girls were in bed on time and then we got some alone time for ourselves. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Monday, March 9, 2015

March 9, 2015

Day began very early, with Jackie having a bad dream and Linda and I getting up at about 01:00 to comfort her. Linda stayed in Jackie's bed so that I could go back to bed, and then a few hours later Stacy had a bad dream and came up to our room. This time though, I had already gotten up (it was after 06:30) and I was hoping to let Linda sleep just a little bit longer... it didn't happen. Since it was close to the time they normally get up anyway, we just began the day. I made them breakfast and fixed their lunches while Linda got them dressed, and by 07:40 we were on our way to their school. Jackie's rash seems to have just about gone completely away at this time, so we were okay with her going to school - but more on that later.

When we were back at the house I made myself something to eat (Jason had been given breakfast earlier) and Linda was preparing her morning meal. Jason and I were going in to Balboa for a visit, and to pick up a couple of things that we were out of, like gloves. While there Jason stopped in to visit with the folks at PT and get a good working over on his shoulders. It was good to see the folks there, as it seems like we haven't been there in a long time. We also visited with a few other people in the C5 clinic and over all it was a well spent morning. On top of that Jason did have one appointment, and it was also right there in C5.

We were on our way back home before 11:15 - and I feel I should describe the parking lot as we first arrived. It was packed! I don't remember ever seeing that many people in the C5 parking area, and it did make me wonder if they were all C5 patients. You're supposed to have a parking permit to use that area, and like I said, it was the most I can remember ever seeing there. There were a couple of parking spots left, though, so it wasn't too bad.

The rest of the day was pretty relaxed and when I went to go pick up Jackie, from school it looked like maybe some of the rash had come back. We're thinking it is probably a heat rash, and we just need to make sure she stays calm and cool. Jason called the doctor's office and they said to just keep an eye on it, "... for a day or so..." and if it doesn't go away call back in, so that's what we're doing. Because of the busy nature of our last couple of days both Linda and I are kind of tired and we'll be going to bed a little on the early side tonight. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

March 8, 2015

I know I said I was going to get some pictures posted, but another late night due to taking care of some personal issues and making some selections for the new house. With each item selected there is a discussion and that can take up to a half an hour, and so something that you think is only going to take a few minutes now takes a few hours. On top of that Jackie broke out in some type of rash and we had to take a few (several?) minutes to get that taken care of. At the writing of this blog she was clearing up and we have no idea what caused it in the first place... and she never complained about it. Needless to say, if it is there in the morning, she'll be going to the doctor.

We had a nice relaxed day and wanted to get the girls to the zoo, but found out the zoo closes at 17:00 (5pm), and the girls typically don't get up from their nap until almost 16:00 (4pm). I'm not sure who was more disapointed, Stacy or Linda, but there will be other opportunities to get over there and visit with the animals. Other than that we didn't do much of anything except some clean up from the event of yesterday. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

March 7, 2015

Today is the fourth anniversary of Jason stepping on the I.E.D. that took his legs and nearly killed him, though it didn't take his spirit and strength for life. We celebrated that today with a few of our close friends and wish we could have celebrated it with even more people, who have come to know Jason and the rest of his family. Next year we plan on having another celebration of his life and it will be a bigger event, and it will be at his new home.

I really must apologize, in that I had intended on getting to the blog earlier, however we didn't pay much attention to the clock and the evening got away from us. I will, however, put in a much more detailed blog tomorrow, and even post some of the pictures taken. Joselyn and her family catered the dinner tonight with some specially cooked ribs and other dishes, and it was all amazingly tasty and good. She also provided a chocolate cake and because she knows I don't eat chocolate, she made an excellent cheese cake. We had a wonderful time enjoying each other's company and got many pictures.  Besides Joselyn's family, Anthony Netto and Angelica were there; Kristen and Kimberly, from the Gary Sinise Foundation came; and also Tim Kirk, our Realtor joined us. We probably took over 100 pictures, so I am sure we'll be able to show you some of the high points. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Friday, March 6, 2015

March 6, 2015

Any time we get to do a bunch of different things as a family it is a great day, and today was a great day. We began with a nice early arrival of the girls, at about 08:30, and so after we finished breakfast the girls and I decided we were going to go for a nice walk. I'll back up just a bit here ... the reason the girls were with us on a Friday, and not in school, is that there was no school today, so it was more like a Saturday for us, than a Friday. Anyway, the three of us took off for a walk around the "block." I really didn't know quite where we were going to go, just that we would walk around for a bit and then head back to the house. I let the girls make some of the decisions along the way, so that it felt like they were in charge for part of the walk. We had a great time and got back to the house at the right time - so we could go do our next thing.

Jason's truck needed to have some warranty work done, he needs to take it in every 3 months to keep it working properly and to maintain the warranty. On top of that, with the new chair, the lift mechanism doesn't seem to have the right settings to get it up in the cab of the truck. As a result he is still using the older chair when he goes anywhere. There were a couple of other issues that needed to get taken care of so it was a good time to get the truck in. My guess is that it will be staying with them for about a week, then we go pick it back up. When we went today, everybody went - Linda and the girls, along with Jason and I ... and of course Gracie. We were done in less than an hour at the Ability Center and then all loaded back into the van, and headed back home.

Once we were home it was getting close to lunch and nap time, so the lunches were made and then the girls were taking a "brain rest." We wanted to get up to the property by 16:00 (4pm) and wanted to be sure they were well rested. Actually, I took a little nap too, and Linda took off to take care of a couple of little errands she wanted to get done.

The girls were back up and we were all headed up to the property. The van is running well and we all fit comfortably, so it was a nice fun family time for all of us. The progress on the house is very good, and they are about 1/3 of the way through with the framing work. This gave us a chance to get a better idea of what some of the rooms of the house are going to look like, and how the spacial aspect is going to be. The girls loved going "into" their rooms and walking up and down the breezeway to Grandma and Grandpa's area. This was all fun, and one of the best things was when I was able to walk up to the area where I want to put in a garden. There is plenty of land area and it is elevated above the house. I can see now that we just might need to buy a little tractor/mower for what we will need to be taking care of. The new neighbors were also there, looking at the progress of their new house. Dan (our new neighbor) stopped by and we got a chance to talk with him. I think it is going to be nice having them as neighbors. He and Jason talked about sharing a fence, and I think it got Jason to thinking about what kind of fencing he would like to have around the house. He wants to have a couple of dogs, and we will need to keep them safe, and not roaming around the area. We took a few pictures (see below) so you all can see just what kind of progress we are looking at. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive. - As a side note, tomorrow is Jason's fourth anniversary of the blast, and so we are kind of celebrating his survivor day tomorrow, with a couple of friends.

View of house from north end

Jason taking in the progress of his new home

Jackie dancing in "guest bathroom"

Window view looking out south end of house

Grandpa showing the girls where they'll have the vegetable garden

Standing in the breezeway 

Happy Family!

Linda walking north in breezeway 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

March 5, 2015

Another amazing day for all of us, as we continue to get back to our "normal" routines. Jason and I even went to Costco today, to pick up a few things. Actually that was a very strange adventure as we were in and out in less than an hour and we spent less than $100. I'm guessing we were abducted and shipped to a different dimension, and we really weren't at Costco. Honestly, I can not remember the last time we went to Costco and got out for less than $100. The people were friendly and even Gracie got to meet a new friend - another service dog was there and Jason took a moment to go say hello with Gracie.

Not much else happened today, other than my bike ride. I didn't quite make 20 miles, though it was still a nice ride. Jason and I will be taking the vehicles in to Ability Center for some adjustments, so I won't be riding tomorrow. We're taking both vehicles because Jason thinks the truck will be left there for a day and so we'll come home in the van. A little later in the day we will be heading up to Fallbrook, to check on the progress of the house and that's about it for the day. We all will be going up, as the girls will be with us and tomorrow is a no school day. As a side note, if you are interested in seeing more pictures about the progress of the house you can go to the Gary Sinsie Foundation web site, and find some there. I will continue to post pictures, but not as often as they do.

That's about all for this posting, as that's about all there is to report on. I do want to take a moment and thank all of you for continuing to read it. I find it kind of fun to do on a daily basis, and maybe even therapeutic. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

March 4, 2015

Hello, Hello, Hello - We are all back from our travels and getting back into the grove of being in San Diego. We actually got back on the 2nd, but that was late in the evening, with both of us being very tired. Yesterday we had to get up early to get the girls to school, and then in the evening Jason and I went off to another event that we committed too. It was a nice event and the dinner was good, yet I think next time (if there is a next time) I won't plan on going to an event so close to returning from a week being gone, especially if that means coming back from the east coast. Today was much better, and Linda and I even had the chance to take a short nap in the afternoon. Jason was sleeping too, as I think the event wore him down just a little.

We went out to see Dr. Malone (see pic below) and to spend some time with the Bolder Crest Retreat (BCR), being hosted by EOD Warrior Foundation and Courage Beyond. Courage Beyond is focused on helping anyone who is needing help, and not just EOD, as EOD Warrior Foundation is. We had a great time playing in the snow, meeting some old friends and making some new ones. Ken Falke and his wife, Julia, run Boulder Crest Retreat (and own it) was someone we had met back in Bethesda, back in 2011, and even back then he was telling us that we should come out to visit his place - now we have and we look forward to coming back. The next time though we'll bring the girls and even have Jason come along with us, if it is possible. I encourage everyone to get out on the web an check out BCR, and heck, there might be something there for you as well.

While we were gone, Joselyn was here working with Jason and helping him wherever and whenever he might need it. From what she was telling us, though, Jason did most of the stuff on his own. As I mentioned, we left on a Tuesday, so that meant the girls were still with Jason when we left. Jason did all the cooking for the girls and made sure they were taken care of properly. Joselyn said she was impressed with how he just stepped right up and fixed dinner and had no problems getting around in the kitchen. Yes, there were some challenges, and he had to make a few extra efforts, but there wasn't anything that got in the way, to the point that it prevented him from taking care of the girls. He also made sure they got to bed on time and up in the morning. Jason had a pretty good time while we were gone. Joselyn helped to take care of his wounds while I was gone, and I am very happy with the quality of her work, while I was gone.

Yesterday's event, that Jason and I went to was more of a public relations type thing for the two of us, as it was actually at a golf tournament, and neither of us were playing any golf yesterday. We didn't show up to the event until just a little while before dinner, when everyone was socializing. We got to meet a few new people and saw that another friend of ours, Artum, received his own paramobile, and that is a good thing. He is also a bilateral amputee, and his wounds are considered high, though not as high as Jason's. His ability to get out and do more is now greatly enhanced. Jason and I went, and Linda and the girls stayed back at the house - Heck, it was Taco Tuesday, and the girls love Tacos. We got back home, from the event, at about 22:00 (10pm), and then Jason wanted his shower. As a result I was able to get to bed about 22:30(10:30pm).

This morning Linda and I got up, feeling a little better, and that was a good thing. We got the girls up and it felt a little more like a "normal" kind of morning. After getting the girls to school we came back home and then Jason and I took the pets, both Gracie and Mr. Jingles, to the vet. It was a check up kind of visit, and both just happened to fall on the same day - made it a lot easier. Both of them are doing okay, and nobody needed any shots or anything... this made for a short visit. After we got back home Linda had a couple of errands and then needed to get Jackie over for an appointment of her own. While she was doing this I took the opportunity to go for a bike ride. It had been far too many days since my last ride and I really needed to get out. It wasn't a long ride, since it was getting started much later in the day than I usually go, still I was able to get in over 15 miles. Perhaps I'll be able to get another one in tomorrow, and get a few more miles in.

If feels good to be back home, and back into a more regular schedule. We have plenty of things to keep us busy and will be doing just that, staying busy. It feels a lot like Spring is trying to get going, and we would love to see it as soon as possible. Thank you, for all the continued support and prayers. Take care and stay positive.
Meeting with Dr. Malone

Dr. Malone showing us her new truck


Linda being silly (and cute)

George working a snow angle

snow angle

Linda playing in the snow

Linda making a snow angle

Linda's snow angle

Our cabin at BCR

The cabin's kitchen

The cabin's dinning area

Sitting area in the cabin

Part of the equine therapy (Clayton and Gabriel)

The labyrinth 

George out in the snow again

George getting ready to head down the snow on a sled

Linda shooting down the slop on a sled

Jason at the golf event with Amir a retired Lt. Col. in the Navy Seals