February Photos

Monday, June 11, 2018

Journal: Trip to Iowa and South Dakota

Several people have written to me asking for more information on evicting, exterminating, and expelling rodents, and why we got bug bombs, and what they actually do.
We got the bug bombs to run the squirrels out; bug bombs and foggers don’t generally kill rodents.  You can find them at most any store; I think Larry got these at Menards.  They’re at Wal-Mart, too, or you can get them on Amazon online.  Hot Shot Fogger is the one you want.
We used the Car Bombs to penetrate any nests the squirrels might have made with a deodorizing odor neutralizer, since we couldn’t get to those areas where the animals had been.  There are a lot of different types of odor bombs to choose from.  Here’s what Wal-Mart offers:
Larry got ours at O’Reilly Auto Parts.  I don’t know what brand he got, and the trash is long gone.
He first brought home a box of Rodent Smoke Bombs, but when I read the description, I discovered that these were not to be used in a building, as the fog is poisonous, and the ignition of the bombs can cause fires.  They are instead supposed to be used in rodent burrows outside.  So we didn’t use those.  (Besides, one doesn’t want animals dying all over the place inside your walls.)
Here’s a good article you might like to read:  https://pestkill.org/mice/bombs/
I’m happy to report that our method of running the squirrels off and then barricading their Port of Entry has been successful – though we will have to be diligent, because they liked their new home in our rafters, and will doubtless try gnawing their way in again.
Traps are my preferred way of controlling the mice and voles – and there are plenty of them, in an assorted variety, out here in the country.  At those times of the year when the mice are more prevalent, I set more traps.  Another important thing to do is to remove their source of food, which is often what brings them in, in the first place.  Get those plastic containers that cereal boxes fit into, to seal your cereal, potato flakes, rice, crackers, grains, dried beans, etc.  There are lidded plastic containers just the right size for loaves of bread, or bags of just about any type of produce.  They’re not too awfully pricey, and are well worth the investment. 
Get plastic lidded soap containers for your bar soaps.  Many soaps contain tallow (animal fat) or oils, a good energy source for rodents.  Fancy soaps with oatmeal or botanicals may also attract them for a little bathroom smörgåsbord.
Keep cat food, dog food, and bird seed in sealed containers.  Make sure the plastic containers are sturdy and thick, not the thin, soft, flexible plastic.  Mice can chew right through that.  If they chew through your plastic containers, switch to metal or glass.
Anything they might possibly eat, seal it up.  Put mouse traps wherever you have seen tracks.  Peanut butter works better than cheese to entice them to the traps.  Don’t forget to check those traps at least once a day.  Twice is better.  Get good traps that spring easily.  Or get an electronic rodent killer; those work, too.  Electronic Rodent Killer
Thoroughly clean any areas mice may have been with a product such as Lysol Clean & Fresh.  Stuff some steel wool/Brillo around pipes that come through your walls, which is one of the spots where they often enter.  Mice prefer not to try chewing through steel wool. 
The key is diligence and persistence. 
1.              Keep the food sources sealed up.
2.              Set more traps and don’t forget to check them.
3.              Block their entrance holes.
The bombs and foggers will only be temporary measures unless you find where they are getting in and close it up, and take away their food.
I’m happy, because there are no squirrels in my rafters (though there might be bats in my belfry), and my house – especially my quilting studio – smells good again.  I have a really, really sensitive schnoz, and if my schnoz is offended for very long at all, my temper begins rising exponentially.  And since I’m short, it doesn’t take very long at all for the steam to rise to the top and start coming out of my ears!  I will not have squirrels in my house.  I won’t!!!
 Tuesday, I hemmed Norma’s wedding dress, shortening it about 3” from ankle-length.  I’m really pleased with how it turned out; using strips of stabilizer on top of the hem as I sewed it worked very well.  I trimmed them with my Gingher appliqué scissors as close to the stitch as possible, and a light mist of water mostly removed the rest.  The stabilizer can’t actually be seen any longer, but it did make the hem edge slightly stiffer than it was before.  A little more misting would remove it, but I liked how it felt and how it hung, so I left it.  Besides, I didn’t want to make a water ring on the lining fabric.
They got everything they needed to take out of Norma house moved and either given to family members or hauled to the Salvation Army.  Lawrence’s daughter and her son are moving into the house now.  That was a lot of work, in a short amount of time!
That night as I quilted, I got down to the top feathers of the appliquéd eagle, and outlined and echoed them.  More pictures here.
Wednesday, I quilted until time to go to church, except for a jaunt to town to pick up Larry’s suits at the cleaners.  Yep, I remembered to get his suits!  I dropped off a bunch of jars and decorative plates at the Goodwill while I was at it.
We were not at church long that night before the rain started coming down.  It poured rained, hailed, and thundered so loudly, it was hard to hear Brother Robert for a while.  That’s the first time a storm has ever been that loud since we moved into our new building back in 2006.
It was still raining after the service, so Larry ran out and got Loren’s Jeep, and drove it to under the awning to pick us up.  Then Loren drove Larry and I over to the Jeep.  Larry instructed him to drive close to the driver’s side; I requested that he drive close to the passenger’s side. 
“It doesn’t matter if Larry’s hair gets all wet and goes kaput, after all!” I exclaimed.
Loren drove to the passenger’s side.  😁  Larry laughed.
Several more bands of rain came through that night, finally petering out at about noon the next day.
I quilted for a few hours after we got home.  When I quit, I was at the halfway point.  If you think I already said that, a couple of days ago, ... well, what I said was, I was to the halfway point on the borders.  I had not yet started on the central section with the appliquéd eagle.  So now I was at the halfway point of the whole quilt.
Oh! – there’s a brown thrasher on the suet feeder.  Some years ago I was listening to one sing, and I thought, Wow, he sounds a lot like a mockingbird.  Furthermore, he’s shaped like a mockingbird, beak and all.  I looked it up ------- and discovered ... whataya know!  Both the thrasher and the mockingbird are in the family Mimidae!  (Three guesses what the English word equivalency to ‘Mimidae’ might be, and the first two don’t count.)
Now there’s a female Baltimore oriole at the same feeder.  The orioles must have babies somewhere, because they gulp down great quantities of suet and then fly off to nearby trees and don’t return for a few minutes.  In the early part of the spring, they just sit on the feeder and eat to their heart’s content.  Orioles eat a lot of insects, too, and feed them to their young.  I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a baby oriole. 
Thursday evening, we drove to Omaha to see Andrew, Hester, and Baby Keira. 
We met Hannah as we were approaching Fremont; she’d been shopping at the Goodwill there, which is larger than ours.  I wrote a nice long text to her, followed shortly by, “Don’t read that.  Drive.”
An answer soon arrived:  “I’m Nathanael, & I’m reading it to Mama.”
So I wrote, “Hi, Nathanael!  But you shouldn’t be driving and texting either.”
Then, “Did you know I have my computer set so (in any Microsoft Suite program) I only have to type ‘Na’, and it automatically throws ‘Nathanael’ in there?”
“Good thing; it’s long!” he replied.
He sent a picture of himself with new smiley-face pillows:  “Look what Mama got us!”
“Which one is Nathanael?” I asked.
“The yellow and black and white stripe shirt,” he told me, showing that he can be quite literal-minded.  (Or maybe he’s just trying to be respectful to a silly grandma.)
“I’m not driving,” he then advised me.  “Just so you know.” 
“Thank you for all the information,” I answered.  “I’m much more, uh,  … *informed* now.  😁
Nathanael then wrote, “Levi wants you to know that the one with the sunglasses is him.”
“Ah!” I exclaimed.  “Glad you clarified that.”
I did a quick search on the Internet, found this picture, and sent it, writing, “Here’s me.”
One should always reciprocate when someone is nice enough to send you a picture of themselves.
Those kids just keep getting more and more fun to talk to.
It was the day before Hester’s 29th birthday.  Unfortunately, Hester had a bad cold, complete with a fever, so she was staying at their motel suite, and we only saw Andrew and the baby.
Andrew, too, had had a cold a few days earlier, but was recovering.  Hester is better now, and able to be at the hospital with the baby.  It’s been a long two months, being away from home.
We took Hester a birthday gift, leaving it with Andrew – a Pioneer Woman spice box with six ceramic drawers.
When I discovered we were leaving soon, and I had neither birthday gift wrap nor a bag, I pulled out an old calendar and pressed it into service.  It took several pages to cover the large box.  I used one more page to cut strips for the bow.
Keira was up to 5 pounds, 1 ounce, that day – just one ounce less than what Hester herself weighed when she was born.  Keira has a little more than doubled her birth weight, but she still looks awfully little.   We thought Hester looked really little, too!  Hester wasn’t early, though, and was perfectly healthy.  We brought her home the day after she was born.
The doctors don’t give a ‘magic number’ for when a premature baby can go home, but rather, a ‘healthy’ diagnosis as criterion for dismissal.  Right now, they are making sure she will be able to take all her nourishment by bottle and digest it well enough to sustain herself.  She still has a feeding tube. 
Also, her respirations are still too fast, as her lungs are yet maturing, along with that part of her brain that regulates the respiratory system.  Did you know that one of the very best therapies for this is for her parents to hold her all snuggled up against them, and to keep the room very quiet while they themselves take long, slow breaths?  You can see right on the monitors that the baby’s breathing rate immediately calms and slows.  Truly amazing. 
Wednesday the baby choked a bit as she was taking her bottle, and then had some troubles getting her breathing back to normal.  So frightening when that happens.  The nurses all assured Hester she did the exact right thing, holding the baby correctly, calling for a nurse, etc., and complimented her on how cool and collected she is.  People always, always think Hester is a very calm, laid-back person, just because that’s the way she appears.
They have no idea what a high-strung person she really is, and has been from the time she was a baby.  Furthermore, ever since she was very young, if anything traumatic or upsetting happened, even though she seemed to take it all in stride, if the situation went on for very long, she invariably got sick.  Of course, one is more likely to get sick when away from home... at a hospital... and she herself had a close call when the baby was born.
We sure will be glad when this little family can all come back home again!  Might be a few more weeks.  The doctors have said all along that Keira would probably be in the hospital right up until her due date, and that still looks like a pretty good guess.
After leaving the hospital, we used up the last of our gift card at Cracker Barrel.
When we got home, I trotted upstairs and quilted for a little while.  I’m well into the second half of the Americana Eagle quilt now.  More photos here.
The last half generally goes quicker than the first half.  I hope this one does!  I already have 231.5 hours in this quilt, with 48.5 of them in the quilting alone.  After posting pictures on various forums, I had a few inquiries into my prices.  When I explained that for this type of quilting, I charge by the hour, and mentioned how many hours I already have in just half of the quilt, I got the same answer from everyone who asked:  “Thank you.”  That was all, there wasn’t any more (à la Ludwig Bemelmans, who wrote the children’s Madeline book series).
Those who haven’t done a certain craft before rarely understand what all that craft entails, do they?  I’m slower and less skilled than some, so I don’t charge as much as the professionals in the field do.  I’ve found a few who charge $25-30 an hour.  But... their customers are quite liable to get the $1,000-$2,000 spent on quilting back at the first big quilt show in which they enter their quilt! 
Saturday, Larry worked in the morning, as usual, and I started getting ready for the trip we were going to make to Lake View in northwestern Iowa to pick up a transmission for his favorite red and white ’89 Chevy one-ton dually four-wheel-drive crewcab.  He had that pickup first in ’96, and we put almost 100,000 miles on it, driving it with a slant trailer on which we hauled vehicles for Larry’s auto business.  We sold it in ’98 when Larry finished building the 6-door pickup.
Well, Larry found that red and white pickup in Fremont about four years ago.  The sellers were getting rid of it cheap because someone had messed up the wiring to the transmission.  It was in overdrive and lockup constantly, which geared it way up.  It wouldn’t even idle without dying.  Larry fixed it, and got everything working again.  But what the previous owner did caused troubles, and now the gears slip if the pickup pulls very hard.  So Larry is going to put a 5-speed manual transmission in it.  He wants to fix it all up like new.  We’ll use it with our camper, too.
He had also purchased a stock trailer, but it was in Redfield, South Dakota, some 340 miles northwest of Lake View, Iowa.  Lake View is 170 miles to our northeast.  The stock trailer is to help Teddy transport the sheep he’s getting soon.
I figured we’d stay overnight somewhere, and planned to pack accordingly. 
Larry called at about 11:30 a.m., just as I was beginning to gather together the things we’d need.  He’d decided not to go on to Redfield from Lake View, and we would be ‘back by nightfall’. 
“So you don’t need to pack anything,” he told me, “and I’ll be home in an hour.  We’ll get the stock trailer in South Dakota another time.
Now, I had misgivings about this, and I really hate to be caught out in the boonies somewhere without the next day’s necessities; but ... we’d probably be back home in six hours. 
I decided to spend the last hour or two cleaning the house instead of packing.
We were heading north on Rte. 81 by 1:30 p.m.
An hour later, we went past Pilger, which is where those awful tornadoes hit four years ago, nearly wiping the entire town off the face of the earth. 
From Wikipedia:
The severe weather event on June 16, 2014, most significantly affected the state of Nebraska, where two twin EF4 tornadoes killed two and critically injured twenty others in and around the town of Pilger that evening. The two Pilger tornadoes were part of a violent tornado family that produced four consecutive EF4 tornadoes in the area and was broadcast live on television.
There are numerous photos and videos of the two EF4 tornadoes churning across the countryside at the same time, but one person got a shot of three tornadoes on the ground at once.

When one drives by the town these days, everything is pretty and neat as a pin, with many new houses and businesses.  Population is about 350.
It was a pretty day.  I wasn’t getting any quilting done, but I was snapping lots of pictures!  And I was smelling something hot.  Oily... hot... rubbery...  ?
I relayed the information to Larry, and he stopped and peered under the pickup.
My nose had been accurate.  A rubber bracket holding up part of the exhaust pipe had deteriorated, crumbled, and let the pipe rest on the differential.  Also, there is a slow oil leak somewhere, and drips land in hot spots in the motor.
The bracket was an easy fix, since Larry had left a couple of extras on the pipe.  He soon had it into place, and we proceeded on.  We got to the farm near Lake View where the transmission was at about 6:30 p.m.  The man used a loader to help put the transmission into the pickup, and then we were off.
By this time, we were starving to death, so I typed ‘Restaurants near me’ into my tablet. 
We chose Doc’s Place in nearby Wall Lake, Iowa, population 781.  Doc’s Place was advertised for ‘homemade comfort food’.  I tapped ‘Start Directions’, and away we went.
I got a BLT, coleslaw, and one of Doc’s Dizzies, which is like a Dairy Queen Blizzard.  I chose Snickers flavor.  Larry got chicken strips, baked potato, salad, and a Peanut Butter Cup Dizzy. 
Trouble was, it wasn’t ‘comfort food’, for him.  He soon felt sick, and dizzy, too. 
(“What’d you expect, consuming a large one of Doc’s Dizzies?” I demanded helpfully.)
Since it looked like rain, we stopped at a city park so Larry could put tape over the, uh, over some sort of hole on the transmission, so it does get water in it.
That’s when he noticed:  the man from whom he’d bought it had forgotten to go back into the shop and get the flywheel and, uh, sumpthin’ else. 
Larry called him, and said we’d come back and get it.  We were 38 miles away; we wouldn’t be that close again for who knows how long.  He wants to start working on that pickup right away, and didn’t want to make another trip.  So back we went.
The guy had earlier shown Larry two enormous jugs of whiskey that he planned to work his way through Saturday night and Sunday.  We hoped to get there before he was stretched out on the dewy prairie.
He apologized, and blamed his forgetfulness on the fact that he’d already ‘gotten into the jug’.
Larry didn’t see any noticeable impairment.  He collected the rest of the parts, and we were off again.
But, since the GPS had led us to the wrong farm earlier in the afternoon, and now we’d lost another hour, and Larry wasn’t feeling so swell, and I was all sat out from too much riding, he decided we should get a motel in Denison, and go pick up the stock trailer the next day.
You know, I’d rather pack a suitcase and not need it, than not pack a suitcase and then need it.
We went to Wal-Mart.
Thank goodness for Wal-Mart.
We got everything we’d need for one more day:  toothpaste, toothbrushes, face cream (“Why do you need that?”) (that was Larry), comb, curling iron, socks, white things, nightshirt... etc.  Larry got a nice white polo shirt that he can wear to our Fourth-of-July picnic.  Only five bucks.  Not bad.  Most of the things we got, we would need to get sooner or later anyway.
I checked for motels on my tablet, and then we rumbled off toward Denison Inn and Suites, which sported 4.5 stars and only cost $60.
The man at the desk informed us that all the non-smoking $60 rooms were taken, so he gave us a $100 suite – for $60.
That was nice.  Or it would have been, if someone would’ve turned the air conditioner on once or twice throughout the day.
It was about 120° in the shade, in that room (I never exaggerate) – even though it was after midnight, and 75° and breezy outside.  I opened the window, but the wind wasn’t blowing from that side of the motel.  The wimpy air conditioner didn’t get that room cool until nearly morning.  I took a slightly-cool-almost-warm bath, and thought perhaps I’d survive.
About the time we were ready to jump into the feathers (or, more accurately, ‘onto the cardboard’), it occurred to me:  I’d forgotten to get a mirror.
I can’t fix my hair properly without a mirror!  I would need a mirror in the morning!
Larry offered to pull the huge, ornate dresser mirror off the motel wall and hold it for me whilst I looked into the mirror over the sink.  Next, he brought in from the pickup a very small round mirror on a very long telescoping rod, and proclaimed it ‘just the thing’.
Have you ever tried to see the back of your head with a small compact mirror into which you can peer with one eye alone?
See, I’m picky about what my hair looks like in the back.  (If you don’t think it looks like it, well, hummph.)
The next morning, Larry was kind enough (after some persuasion, whining, and threatening) to go back to the Wal-Mart, 5 miles away, and get me a mirror.
He returned, and triumphantly handed me – a gunmetal-gray mirror.
“Didn’t they have purple or red or blue or turquoise??” I griped.
“Do you need me to take it back?” he asked.
(I think I detected a note of sarcasm in that tone.)
It was a quarter after 7 before we got to the farm where was the stock trailer.
Larry backed up to the hitch in one try, hooked it up, and plugged in the lights.  We were ready to head south for home.
Our route would take us through Mitchell, South Dakota, where the Corn Palace is located. 
What?!  You haven’t heard of The Corn Palace??!  The One and Only Corn Palace in the World, of Mitchell, South Dakota!!!??
Well, now you have.
It’s a Moorish Revival building, decorated with ‘crop art’.  That is, all the murals and designs covering the Palace are made from corn and other grains, and new designs are created every year.  The Corn Palace is used for sports events, concerts, community affairs, and exhibits.  The Corn Palace Festival is held each autumn.  There are rodeos and polka festivals.
We didn’t actually get to go inside, as we were too late arriving, as usual.  But the outside is all lit up, and I got lots of good pictures.

We were at a gas station in Yankton at about 20 after midnight, clambering back into the pickup and getting ourselves all sitchee-ated, when I realized my cell phone was on – and somebody was saying, “Hello?  Hello?”  Furthermore, I recognized that voice.  It was one of our good friends – one of those good friends who goes to bed at decent hours of the night.
Aarrgghh!  I knew immediately what had happened.  My phone was in my purse... my purse was on the floor doing double duty as a footrest – and it had gotten displaced, so that when I rested my feet on the purse, it had dialed their number.  Good grief.  They were no doubt fast asleep hours earlier.  I grabbed my phone out of my purse, told the man what had happened, and apologized profusely. 
“Why couldn’t the phone have dialed one of my own kids?!” I asked, and he laughed.
Yes, I did have Auto Lock set for my keyboard; but somehow both unlock buttons got pressed.  I have now added one more button that must be pressed to unlock it.  Maybe that’ll save this from happening again.
We got home a little after 2:00 a.m.  We carried everything in... Larry started getting ready for a bath... filled the tub... went downstairs to spray deodorizer on the furnace fan (stopgap method until he can buy a new one tomorrow – it doesn’t smell good in here; it smells like squirrel nests)... I took some things into the bathroom to put them away... and Teensy came in, too.  I knew he was going to jump into the tub, because he likes us to turn a little trickle on and let him drink from the faucet.  I also knew he hadn’t looked first to see if there was water in the tub.
“Teensy, don’t jump in there!” I warned him.
He sat down... pinned his ears back in a little fit of pique... pondered momentarily whether or not he should do what I said...
“Not,” he decided, and leaped.
He realized his error, mid-leap.
That’s too late, is mid-leap.
He scrambled, reaching for the tub side.  He fell in.
He got back out lots faster than he went in.  Lots wetter, too.
I laughed, which insulted him. 
He rushed out of the room, dripping, and flopped down in the living room to squeegee himself off with his pink tongue.  He’s long-legged enough that he managed to only get his legs wet, and not much else.  But... still.  The indignity of it all.
A few minutes later he took out his ire on Tiger as he went lumbering past.  Swwwwack!  Teensy swatted him on the setter.  Tiger took exception... I yelled... and both cats shot for the pet door, side by side.  ((eye roll))
Larry was finally in bed shortly before 3:00 a.m.  He was back up getting ready for work at 6:10 a.m.  I always worry about him, driving that big boom truck when he hasn’t had enough sleep.  I was glad when he arrived home again this evening, safe and sound.
At least two ladies have asked if I could send them my EQ8 Americana Eagle quilt pattern.  I could, but there’s a problem: I used a border function for all nine borders around the central section, and they aren’t precise.  Yes, I know there’s a better way, but I’d have to redo everything, and I don’t want to take the time.  It was good enough to help me get everything placed right where I wanted it.  My little squares and pinwheel blocks are all exactly 2” x 2”.  But some of those blocks in the EQ8 borders are, oh, say, 2” x 2.08” and strange dimensions like that.  And then EQ’s measurements of the long strips of borders wind up too long.  But, like I said, I just needed to get all my pinwheels in a pleasing configuration; those are what started the whole quilt in the first place.  Since I knew each square was 2” square, I figured strip border length with my handy-dandy mathematical skills, rather than going by the EQ8 measurements.  So the EQ8 design is pretty slap-dash, but it served the purpose.  But I sure don’t want to drive anyone to distraction with such a pattern!
(Also, I sort of like the idea of my Americana Eagle quilt being a one-and-only, but don’t tell those nice ladies I said that.)
Victoria just sent me 15 adorable pictures of Baby Carolyn.
I responded, “Oh, thank you!  If you knew how much happier it makes me to get emailed pictures, as opposed to trying to collect them (and collect them, I must) from Facebook or Instagram...  😃
“I can download the first picture in an Instagram group without trouble, using my handy-dandy laptop app; but for the rest, I must grab a screenshot, and they are not very high quali------------------- OHHH, mah woid.
“Did you know that the email you sent me has 33 mb???”
How in the world did it get past the little gmail watchdogs?  I suppose they are all at the Singapore Summit with President Trump and Gimp Junk Ugh? or whatever his name is?
Saturday and Sunday, as we drove, and in between pressing the shutter button on my camera (I took 1,011 pictures), answering email, launching the GPS on my tablet, scrambling in and out of the pickup, and so forth, I worked on Loren and Norma’s wedding album (at Snapfish.com).  I’ve been working on it all day today, and have just finished it and placed the order ------- and wow, look at this:
My Order Summary:  $122.40.  Shipping:  $8.99.  Tax:  $3.20.
BUT! – I found a Father's Day coupon good for 70% off of any book order over $40!
Good thing I always check for coupons before placing orders, isn’t it?!  They certainly don’t tell you these sorts of things.
I got – get this – $85.68 off of my order, putting the total at only $48.91.
It’s a 12” x 12” Premium Layflat Hardcover Photo Book.  There are 38 pages, not counting the front and back covers.  I’m really pleased with it.  Can’t wait to hand it to them!  
I wonder, can Snapfish books be shared online?  Hmmm...  Searching... and... here’s the answer:  Currently you cannot share a project.  Only albums or selected photos can be shared at this time.”  Waa waa waa
Siggghhhh... Well, I suppose they’d lose a lot of money, if they allowed that.
Okay, I know what to do:  I’ll take screen shots of each page.  They’ll be compressed, but at least then I’ll be able to share them.  Here are pages 14 and 15.
Now, if this book looks like it does online, I’m going to be totally tickled pink with it.
Hester just posted a picture of Andrew giving Baby Keira a bath.  She’s 8 weeks old today, and weighs 5 lbs., 7 oz.  She’s doing well.  And she has an itty-bitty, cute little double chin!
Time for bed.  Actually, it was time for bed a long time ago.

,,,>^..^<,,,          Sarah Lynn          ,,,>^..^<,,,

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Photos: Wrapping Paper Alternatives, & A Trip to Omaha

Tomorrow is Hester's 29th birthday, so this evening we went to Omaha to see her, Andrew, and Baby Keira.  Unfortunately, she's sick, so she's staying at their suite, and we only saw Andrew and the baby.  We gave Hester a Pioneer Woman floral 6-drawer spice box:

Problem:  I had no birthday gift wrap, and no gift bag.  Sooo... I pulled out an old calendar and pressed it into service.  It took several pages to cover the large box.  I used one more page to cut strips for the bow.

Taken en route to Omaha:

Elkhorn River