What can be better than visiting with your grandchildren? I flew to Maryland to be with daughter Pamela while she delivered her third son, Leandro. Well Leandro didn't get on board with the program and didn't make an appearance until after I headed home but I had a great time with the family (including grandsons Gabriel and Sebastian) anyway.
I took 3 completed quilts with me.
"By the Sea" for Gabriel. The gal who does my machine quilting on her long-arm machine, Vicki Cooley, used a shell pattern on this quilt. I love the colorful striped backing - which I also used for the binding.
"Fireworks" for Zachary.
and "My First Quilt" for Leandro. (This picture was taken before Vicki Cooley did the machine quilting.)
When I returned home, I had two more to complete. This one is "Cascades" and is in the mail for grandson Dylan. The machine quilting is in a leaf pattern. Dylan's dad, Rick (my oldest) told me Dylan's favorite color is blue - so I hope he likes it.
and "Monkey Business" for grandson Sebastian. I am not as pleased with this one - the colors (which I loved when I bought them) didn't speak to me when I put them together.
I think Sebastian will like the back of his quilt best. The animal print is adorable and Vicki did a wonderful job with the quilting. I hope to quilt my own in the future - but for now I am having a blast selecting the fabrics & patterns, cutting & piecing. I'm really enjoying hand sewing the bindings - which is the part I thought I'd hate. Who knew?
Grandson Zachary arrived here in Ocala Sunday evening - after being delayed almost 24 hours - and it has been go-go-go ever since (except when we eat - which is often with a teenager in the house!)
Zachary is as tall as I am now!
Fort McCoy was the scene of our first adventure. We took a private two plus hour eco-tour on a pontoon boat down the Ocklawaha River on the Anhinga Spirit. We saw Great Blue Herons, Little Blue Herons and Great Egrets - but we told our guide Captain Erica what we really wanted to see were owls. She immediately pulled into an inlet and started calling with a throaty "whoo-whoo." Sure enough, a Barred Owl flew in and perched on a nearby limb. While we were watching, a Red-shouldered Hawk flew over and shoved him off his perch. It was quite exciting - and boy were we impressed with Captain Erica!
And, oh yes, we saw lots of alligators on the banks. Zachary was the first one to spot this guy.
He was also the first to spot this Carolina Wren. After a great ride, we had a picnic lunch on the river bank while we watched the Cardinals play near-by (think birds, not baseball).
Bill and Zach have bonded at the RC flying field (where they are right now). This is Zachary with the club instructor while he takes his maiden flight. I was really proud of how well he did!
...and I think he enjoyed it too! The instructor was very nice - but he kept calling Zachary by the wrong name - Jason, Jake, Jack - everything but Zach.
We've been to Rainbow Springs before - and knew Zachary would enjoy swimming in the cool (74 degrees) crystal clear headwaters. He and Bill ventured in while I took pictures from the shore.
I took this picture for Zachary's mother. Yes, he swam with the alligators! We actually saw a small one outside the roped off area.
But the best part of the day was the family of Barred Owls in one of the huge trees by the river. We heard a guide ask a group of kindergarten children if they wanted to see the baby owls - and we turned to follow the group! I don't know if this is mama or papa - but he/she was keeping a watchful eye on his/her 3 youngsters.
This is one of the babies. He couldn't fly yet and was covered in fluffy down feathers.
He had to walk along the limb back to the nest.
The other adult owl flew to a nearby perch to keep an eye on us as we watched the babies.
Beautiful, beautiful birds. This was a real thrill!
As we were walking back to the car, this turtle came over to the side of one of the springs to take a look. It was a fun, fun visit!!
We spend afternoons at the pool with all the other visiting grandchildren. The days are quite warm now - highs near 90 degrees but as you can see, the Florida room can get even warmer when you forget to close the blinds.
Zachary has managed to get some sunburn even though we cover him in sunblock - but nothing a little Solarcane can't fix!
Tomorrow we are heading over to Cedar Key for raw oysters and a special surprise for Zach. Stay tuned!