Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hats Off to Harold Judson Norman, Jr. 30 years

This was our first (used) John Deere riding lawn mower. This is what Norman looked like 30 years ago. When he went for his interview he wore a green sports coat with white top stitching and yellow linen pants. Mustaches were not suppose to be worn at that time however he never shaved his. He was called Hal when he worked in Moline but when he moved back to the south everyone called him Harold. He was required to wear a coat and tie for many, many years. His beginning salary was $19,999.

30 years with John Deere

Thirty years ago tomorrow(I would wait and write this tomorrow but with a drive to Valdosta and a graduation party tomorrow night I am not seeing a blog entry on the agenda)my husband began working for Deere and Company. He actually started working for them before we got married as a technical writer(the person who writes those manuals that you get when you get a new piece of equipment-"place this screw in this whole and use a flat head screwdriver to tighten, making sure you turn to the right(righty tighty, lefty loosy,etc..." Anyway, you get the picture. Not many of you who read this blog will get to experience starting at the bottom and going to the top in your working career because now they have this thing called "fast tracking" that moves young people up the ladder before they have an opportunity to get the experience. However, back in the day you started at the bottom and worked hard to advance to the top. After a short time as a tech writer, Norman decided to go back to school to get his masters. Upon completion of grad school he returned to John Deere as a service representative, where he learned almost everything there was to know about a tractor-he was like a tractor doctor and believe me there were dealers calling him all the time, day or night, to get a diagnosis. After many years in service he moved into the sells part of the business where he got to know many hardworking REAL farmers. They, too, developed a respect for Norman and valued his advice. He was very successful in this area and after almost 25 years of being in the field, he moved into the Atlanta branch to a cubicle. Here he soon became the best negotiator in the business. Working day and night to merge dealers together to better serve not only John Deere but the dealers as well. Because he had built such a rapport with the dealers they trusted him and valued his opinion. He now has what many of you would call a "room with a view" however, you probably would not ever find him staring out the window. Instead he would be working on his computer, talking on his phone, working through emails or in a meeting resolving problems and such. All this hard work has not been for his vain glory but to provide for his family. Every dime he has made has gone (mostly without question) to provide for his family. He rarely ever buys anything for himself, he doesn't have expensive hobbies or play toys. He drives a 1994 Ford F150 with cloth seats and eats Blizzards from Dairy Queen. He is much like his father...a simple, humble, hard working man. This weekend the last two of his 4 children will graduate from college debt free. They have worked hard and had academic and athletic scholarships which off set the cost of college but their daddy has been the one that has provided the extras they needed or wanted along the way. Norman(just in case you read this blog, Ha Ha) I just want to say I am so proud of you and all your hard work and perseverance. I know I have fussed and fussed about all the hours and time you have spent working but I am truly blessed to have you as my husband and provider. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you, Mary Jo

Parker No Longer has Zero Game Balls

The other night after Parker Reid's game he said, "I don't know why they didn't give me the game ball, I have ZERO game balls." Well tonight after some really good fielding at 2nd base and a single, Parker Reid received the game ball! He was all smiles! Just close your eyes and imagine a little four year old boy, dressed in the #15 navy jersey and white baseball pants with dirt on both knees, and a Braves hat slighty cock to one side reaching up with a HUGE grin on his cute little face to received his first ever game ball. (If you haven't guessed by now Ryan and I once again forgot to bring our cameras) Sorry Sara, but we just can't get it all together without you. We were just proud to get home with all three boys and we hope most of their baseball equipment. Congratulations, Parker Reid.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Way to Go, Landon!!!!

Our batting slump is over. Landon was 2 for 3 at the plate tonight. We are so very excited for Landon. He had been struggling with his batting for several games but tonight he hit the ball twice-a single and then we was out at second. And another time after he got a single he was able to advance to home on the hits of the next two batters. He also had a great throw in from right field. Because of his quick reaction and great throw in his teammate was able to tag the runner out. He did a good job at "fetcher" as well!!!(This is the position he told his dad he would be playing tonight. He received his second game ball and was all smiles!!!! We would have a nice slide show but Ryan's camera's memory stick was full and Gran left her new camera at the house. Can you tell Sara is not home to remind us of these things???

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Here's to Summer's recent blog on Parking Lots

(My car is the one at the very end of the row. Notice all the closer empty spaces)

Our Weekend in Photos

Our weekend

Well once again the weekend is over too soon. We have had a pleasant Friday and Saturday. Friday night Bryce played a soccer game and did very well as usual. We stopped for ice cream on the way home. I am going to try to post some pics from this event. Saturday we had 2 baseball games and a delayed soccer game. The boys did a great job and the weather cleared off for Bryce to be able to play his game. Sydney was not feeling well and Ryan was very sick throwing up all weekend. (He is better today) Today I have worked on a project all day to no avail. I will try again tomorrow. I have enjoyed reading everyone's blog tonight. This will be an exciting week with the graduation of our oldest and youngest children. We are so proud of both of them and look forward to the celebrations!!! This will also be a very busy week for everyone getting every together, finishing papers, exams and the like. Your prayers will be appreciated by all.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Recently I realized how easy it is to misjudge a person's motives. My feelings were terribly hurt and I was angry by what I thought had happened. I vented and cried to my girls and they too became angry!!! They both told me I should talk to the person but I was so angry and so sure of what had happened I did not even want to see this person must less talk to them. I was miserable. Finally, I just had to know so I got up enough nerve to talk with the person. WOW!! I was so totally wrong about the whole situation!!! I had to go back to my girls and confess to them how wrong I had been in judging this person. It was an eye opener for me because so many times I think I know a person's motives and judge them on what I THINK I know before I get to the truth. I really need to work on this.
Hello to all you bloggers. Yes, I am still blogging just not quite as often as some. I will bring you up to date on the happenings of the Norman household. Spring break came and went and Norman and I had a wonderful time in California and Las Vegas but as you all know it is always great to get back home. Norman was out of town this weekend so I decided to go over to Woodstock for a visit. It was very nice to spend time with Summer, Josh and Luke and my favorite granddog, Maddux. Sunday was a beautiful day and after church Luke treated us all to a delicious meal at Quiznos. Then Luke downloaded some more songs for me on my iPod (which I really enjoyed listening to tonight while I worked out on my eliptical. Thank goodness no one can hear me when I sing upstairs!! ) Later that day Josh and I went to Summer's tennis match. She did very well. This week I have been administering the CRCT to a small group (5) of 3rd graders who have special accomodations. It is a sweet group of kids. Each day after we finish I have to give makeup test to those who miss parts of the test or I have to bubble in the answers for those students who are allowed to mark in their books. It makes for a long week but I guess it has to be done and they pay me everyday no matter what they ask me to do. Sara and I are trying to tie up all the loose ends for the 2 upcoming graduation parties-menu planning, grocery list and transportation arrangements. So many things to think about. I don't know what I would do without her to keep me on track. This is all done while attending ballgames, practices, playing outside, watching the children, etc. She is amazing!! Next week is the BIG week! We are all getting excited. Sara will leave on Tuesday and the rest of us will be going down sometime on Thursday. Other news...Mr. Jackson came through his surgery and was resting well. Please continue to pray for him and for Rosemary. We are so thankful that they are a part of our lives.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

We arrived home around 12:30am this morning(Sat). Our flight arrived at 9 but due to the thunder storm our luggage was unable to be unloaded until after the storm had past. When last I blogged we had finished our tour of LA/Hollywood. On Wednesday we slept late, exercised in the fitness center and had a leisurely breakfast then drove to Las Vegas. We stayed in the New York New York Hotel which was a neat replica of New York City-never have been there so it looked just like what I thought it would look like complete with the Statue of Liberty outside. We turned in early because we had to be up and ready to catch the bus for the NASCAR Drive by 6:45 the next day. Thursday was a beautiful day for the NASCAR Drive and Norman was happy that he beat his driving speed from the previous year. When we arrived back at the hotel we decided to walk around the strip to see some of the other hotels. We saw beautiful flowers, lions in hotel lobbys, ladybugs and snails made out of flowers. We even saw Elvis. That night we had a John Deere dinner and then went to Ka Cirque Du Soliel at the MGM. It was amazing and we had great seats. We were up the next morning by 3:30 to get to the airport to try to get an earlier flight home. Needless to say with the American Airlines groundings an earlier flight did not happen. Norman spent the day catching up on emails and I enjoyed listening to everyone else's conversations. (Auntie and Ma you would have really enjoyed it). Overall our trip was every enjoyable and relaxing, too. It is always good to get home. Today the boys were suppose to have ballgames but both were canceled because of rain. Ryan made some delicious wings and we had some delicious cheese cake from Samuel. After supper the kids(Sara, Ryan, Summer, Josh, Luke and Samuel) surprised me with an early Mother's Day present-a new laptop computer with a 17 inch screen and a full keyboard. I LOVE IT!!!! You guys really should not have done this but I'm glad you did and I know I am going to really enjoy it and who knows, I may blog a little more often.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

San Diego Zoo

On our way to the zoo we visited the Marine Recruit Museum which was very interesting. Our day at the San Diego Zoo was awesome! It is just amazing to me all the animals that God created for us to enjoy. I saw so many animals that I had never seen before and alot of the old favorites as well. This zoo is the largest zoo in the world and very well landscaped to the animals natural habitats. We decided to have lunch at the zoo, to just split a veggie wrap. We opted to get diet cokes instead of our usual water. $7.98 for 2 regular diet cokes!!!!! We won't be doing that again. After a day at the zoo we had a leisurely drive to Dana Point our next stop. We decided to drive up the coastline. It was beautiful!!! We stopped at a hole in the wall Harbor Cafe and had delicious fish and chips.(Samuel, you would hae loved the hot fries) When we arrived @ Dana Point the hotel welcome was very friendly and again we were greeted with hot chocolate chip cookies!! Our room had an ocean front view(see photo below to see if you agree). This morning we worked out in the fitness room before having a leisurely breakfast compliments of Double Tree. We arrived in Santa Monica around 12:00 and scheduled a LA/Hollywood tour. See pictures below for the day. We ended the day @ Yankee Doodle's to watch the Tennesse girls win their 8th National Championship under the leadership of Coach Pat Head Summitt. We ended the day with another nice warm chocolate chip cookie.

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Anniversary Trip to Carlsbad/LasVegas

I am going to try to bring you up to date on our Anniversary Trip to Carlsbad/Las Vegas compliments of John Deere. Norman and I flew out of ATL on Friday to begin our trip. We arrived at the airport around 6:30am. Our flight was a little delayed due to heavy fog. It was a little over 4 hour flight. I decided to watch Becoming Jane a movie about the life of author Jane Austin. I plugged in the headphones to begin the movie. I kept changing the channel to try to get the sound for the movie but to no avail. Finally I realized I was plugged in to the wrong seat. Oh well. The movie was good and helped to past some of the time. We arrived in San Deigo around 11:30 Pacific Time and caught a shuttle to the Four Seasons Resort in Carlsbad. It was a beautiful drive. The resort was very nice. Lots of pretty flowers inside and out. We had a dinner at six with all the JD folks. Met some very nice people and renewed some aquaintances from previous trips. After dinner we were entertained by the USO. It was very patriotic and we enjoyed it. On Saturday we had a delicious breakfast and then went on a Wild Animal Photo Caravan where we got to feed the giraffes and see lions, rhinos, zebras, gorillas. That evening was the awards banquet for the JD dealers. Once again the food was delicious. Today we took a shuttle back to the airport to pick up our rental car for the week. We are staying in San Deigo. We spent the day at Balboa Park which was really a neat place. It was built in 1915 for the Panana-California Exposition. It has many interesting museums several which we visited. They had a little village of houses from many different countries including Ukraine. Each house had different artifacts from that particular country along with samples of food. Each week a different country performs on the lawn there. We also enjoyed a pipe organ concert by Dr. Carol Williams. It was a benefit for the Humane Society with a dog show/parade that followed the concert. The organ had over 4,000 pipes ranging from 32 ft long to about the size of a pencil. I am including several pictures. Thanks, Sara for letting me use your new camera. I love it but I let the battery run out so I did not get any pictures from today. Thanks, too, Karin for suggesting Balboa Park. It was GREAT! Tomorrow we will be doing to the world's largest zoo which is here in San Deigo.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

On Sunday afternoon Norman and I traveled to Rome to attended the induction of Samuel and his roommate Larry to the Sigma Beta Delta Honor Society at Shorter College. They were the top students in the business department(20 out of 301). The ceremony was very nice and short. Then we all (Larry, Kay, Harold, Norman, Samuel and I) went out to dinner to celebrate!! Today Samuel received the Top Business Student Award which means he has the highest grade point average in the entire business department!!! Way to go, Samuel (you know you love reading my blog) We are so proud of your accomplishments at Shorter. (I would post pictures but I forgot my camera)

Early Sunday morning Norman and I went to see Josh and Luke run in the ING Half Marathon. It was amazing how many people were participating in this event. I was so proud of both Josh and Luke for doing so well. Luke was running for Scottish Rites, the hospital where he works. The highlight of the race for me was when he stopped and gave me a big "Luke" hug and shook his daddy's hand. It made my day. Thanks, Luke.