A Visit to Great Bend

Hi All!
Great Bend (about an hour south) has several fun Christmas activities, so we decided to go down and check them out.  It made the trip even better, when our niece Katie decided to go with.  We read that they had an ice skating rink, but on arrival it was a “faux” rink with some kind of slippery plastic rather than ice.  Oh well, the kids still had fun.

Then after dinner at Braums (I’m from Oklahoma so it’s my favorite fast food place) we visited the Christmas lights and Santa Claus.  Gabe was so excited to see Santa Claus and he told Santa all we wanted for Christmas (Thomas the Train tracks).  Then as he got down Santa tried to give him two candy canes, but Gabe only took one.  Santa then innocently says, “Don’t you want two candy canes?  You have two hands don’t you??  We all  start laughing and I tell him, “No, actually he only has one hand!!”.  Poor Santa, we threw him for a loop.  Actually, he was a great Santa and took it all in stride!

Here are some pics:

Grace and Kate skating

Jackson is smiling, but he never did get his skating legs!

Gabe asked for Thomas the Train tracks

Grace asked Santa for a Littlest Pet Shop set

Jackson asked Santa for a Nintendo DSi

Published in: on December 10, 2009 at 3:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thanksgiving 2009

Hi All,
This year we changed things up and decided to spend Thanksgiving with the Stanton Clan in Logan.   Although we missed my family in Oklahoma, we had a great time in Logan.  Food, family, drink, great weather and more FOOD!!

Below, find some pics!

Dana

Andy and I

Jackson and his cousin Colton got to go hunting with Grandpa several times!

Part of the spread - notice Gabe in the back

Gracie trying out Uncle Ken's boots!

Published in: on December 10, 2009 at 2:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

Happy Birthday Gabriel

Hi All,
Where has the time gone??  Our Gabie Baby (my pet name) turned 4 on November 19th.  Actually that date is special in my family is it was also my Grandma Olmstead’s birthday AND my birthday is November 20th.

This is the second birthday we have had the honor to share with Gabriel.  He has made so much progress!  He is growing both physically and emotionally.  He has started preschool, his language skills have exploded and he started to adjust a little bit better to the world around him.

For his birthday we kept things intentionally small and only invited Grandma and Grandpa and let Gabe invite his good buddy from school Traiton.  We all had a great time.  Below, find some pics.

Dana

Happy Birthday Gabriel!

Gabe his buddy, Jackson and Grace

Opening presents

Published in: on December 10, 2009 at 2:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

Cedar Bluff Swim

We decided to take advantage of the last days before school starts by taking a trip to Cedar Bluff Reservoir.  The lake is about 30 minutes from Hays.  We didn’t leave Hays until 4:00 pm so by the time we arrived we had the beach all to ourselves.  We had a great time swimming and even had a picnic.  Grandma Carol even came with.

If you haven’t had a chance to visit Cedar Bluff you are missing out!

Here are some pics from our afternoon!

Dana

Grandma Carol doing some bird watching!

Grandma Carol doing some bird watching!

Cedar Bluff Lake

Cedar Bluff Lake

Gabe

Gabe

Jackson

Jackson

Grace

Grace

Gabe

Gabe

Gabe

Gabe

IMG_1093

Published in: on August 19, 2009 at 6:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

Oklahoma Get-Away

Hi All,
We finally managed to get away for a vacation.  We decided to go down to Oklahoma for a few days.  As always, we took our niece Katie with us.  We also tried to talk Grandma Carol into going with us, but she wasn’t quite up to it.  After dropping her off in Waynoka with my sister Tracie for a little R&R (HA!), we headed to Oklahoma City.  The first day we spent the day at White Water Bay waterpark.  We absolutely love it there.  The kids and adults had a great time.  That evening we went to Joe’s Crab Shack and gorged on crab, shrimp and the fixins’.

The next day we headed about an hour south to the Arbuckle Mountains.  I have always wanted to go to the Arbuckle Wilderness Park.  It is a sort of zoo where the animals wander free and you drive through.  It was so much fun.  The animals came right up to the van and you could feed them.  Of course the animal feed made some of them a little overly-friendly.  Katie says she will never trust an emu again!   After that we visited Turner Falls and then Sulphur Springs.  It was absolutely beautiful in both places.  The water, the trees – it was perfect.

Our last day we took a water taxi on a tour of the Bricktown district of OKC.  By some sort of miracle we kept all three kids from falling in the water!  That evening we drove to my Dad’s hometown of Tecumseh, OK.  We got the chance to see my Uncle Sonny, Aunt Mary and cousins Murna, Joanie and Roselyn and all their kids!  My Uncle Sonny was my Dad’s older brother.  They were also very close friends.  Being around him reminds me of my Dad.  It was great seeing my Gokey relatives with Andy and the kids. It was also wonderful catching up with my cousins and getting to see their kids and even grandkids.

We had a great time on our vacation.  I totally recommend OKC and the surrounding areas for a get-away.  Find some pics below.

Dana

The family at White Water Bay - we had our own cabana!

The family at White Water Bay - we had our own cabana!

Gabriel and Andy in the wave pool

Gabriel and Andy in the wave pool

Katie, Andy and Grace at Joe's Crab Shack

Katie, Andy and Grace at Joe's Crab Shack

Jackson loves crab legs!

Jackson loves crab legs!

Andy feeding an Emu at Arbuckle Wilderness

Andy feeding an Emu at Arbuckle Wilderness

Turner Falls

Turner Falls

Playing in the creek that flows down from Turner Falls

Playing in the creek that flows down from Turner Falls

Playing in the creek.

Playing in the creek.

Katie at Sulphur Springs

Katie at Sulphur Springs

Sulphur Springs

Sulphur Springs

Jackson

Jackson

Gokey Reunion!

Gokey Reunion!

Published in: on August 14, 2009 at 1:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

BBQ at Aunt Leah’s House

Summer wouldn’t be complete without a BBQ at my sister-in-law Leah’s house.  She and Ken have such a lovely home and are such gracious hosts.  The whole Stanton clan (and my Mom) were there to enjoy the good food and good conversation.  Here are some pics!

Dana

Sunset at the Garman house

Sunset at the Garman house

Andy and I with our nephew Jake

Andy and I with our nephew Jake

What handsome guys!

What handsome guys!
The Stanton Clan

The Stanton Clan

Published in: on August 13, 2009 at 10:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

Scary Times

Hi All,
Those who follow our blog might have noticed the long time in between posts.  This summer has been a doozy.  The biggest hurdle has been the health of my Mom (Carol) and Andy’s Dad (Darrell).  Darrell had a quadruple bypass followed by weeks of life-threatening complications.  He has been hospitalized several times for at least a month.  He has had to travel back and forth every other day for i.v. antibiotics for most of the summer.  I am happy to say that he is finally doing much better.  I know he is itching to take the kids fishing!!

My Mom, Carol had a stroke early this summer.  After about 5 days in the Buffalo OK hospital she was released.  After a few days of trying to take care of her at home it became clear to Tracie (my sister) and I that she wasn’t ready to be home.  After some finagling I got her admitted to the Hays Medical Center Stroke Rehabilitation unit.  She spent 10 days there and came out so much better.  Since that time she has spent most of her time with us here in Hays (with a visit to Tracie in Waynoka).  She has physical therapy three times a week and also has been tending to some long overdue health issues.  I am happy to report that she is doing much better.  She has progressed from a wheelchair, to a walker, to a cane and is now pretty much walking around the house by herself.  It is still a slow progress to rebuild her strength, balance and confidence.  In the meantime we have so enjoyed having Grandma Carol to ourselves.  Living 3 hours from Buffalo, my kids haven’t had as many opportunities to be with their Grandma – that has all changed now.  The funniest thing is that Gabe can’t say “Grandma” he calls her “Grandpa”.  Grandma says she doesn’t mind one bit!!

Dana

Grandma Carol in the hospital with Grace and Jackson

Grandma Carol in the hospital with Grace and Jackson

Gabriel and his "Grandpa"

Gabriel and his "Grandpa"

Published in: on August 13, 2009 at 10:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Swim Meets and Old Friends

Hi All,
Jackson qualified to compete in the combined swim meet in Dodge City this weekend.  He competed in the 25 free, 100 free and 25 back.  He didn’t place in the top 6, but he had a really good experience.  It was his first combined meet – where the competition is pretty fierce.  It was a two day meet so Jackson, Grace and I spent the night.  Andy had a workshop in Salina on Sunday, so he stayed home with Gabe.

Our good friends, Robert and David came to  the meet and then after we went out for lunch.  I love these two guys so much.  It was great seeing my kids with them – they love their Uncle Robert and David.  I miss them so much!!

I also had the chance to meet up with some other old friends.  I went to college with Michelle and Shan Hanes.  Michelle and I sang together in choir and Soundsations we also both played in band and jazz band.  We had so many good times, but sadly after college we lost touch with each other.  At the first swim meet of this season in Great Bend, I spotted Michelle and Shan, but didn’t have time to do much but say “Hi”.  Well, we met again at the meet this weekend and ended up staying at the same hotel.  Saturday night Michelle and I got to spend a long time talking.  Hopefully we will get to see each other a couple times a year as our kids compete in swimming in the future.

Here are some pics from the weekend.

Dana 🙂

Jackson and Grace with Robert and David

Jackson and Grace with Robert and David

Isaac, Jackson and Gordon

Isaac, Jackson and Gordon

Jackson and Robert

Jackson and Robert

Grace loves Gordon and Becca!

Grace loves Gordon and Becca!

Grace and her Uncle "Dabed" (David) being silly

Grace and her Uncle "Dabed" (David) being silly

Jack, Robert, Grace and David outside the Thai Food Place

Jack, Robert, Grace and David outside the Thai Food Place

Michelle and I (after a long day in the sun at the swim meet)

Michelle and I (after a long day in the sun at the swim meet)

Published in: on July 19, 2009 at 8:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Gokey Hero to be Honored

Hi All,
My maiden name is Gokey.  My father, Adam Gokey, Jr. was a Sac and Fox Indian.  He grew up in Tecumseh, Oklahoma.  His oldest half-brother, Johnny “Bear” Gokey was killed in action in World War II.  On July 11 at the Sac and Fox pow wow on the reservation in Stroud, Oklahoma he will be honored for his service to our country.  You can read more about American Indians (and find Johnny’s name) in World War II at this website:  http://www.history.navy.mil/library/online/indians.htm  

In preparation for this event my cousin Tawanna wrote a biography of Johnny’s life.  Although I never met my Uncle, I am proud of him.  I was especially moved to read mention of my Dad, known by the family as “Junior”, in the biography.  My Dad spent a good time of his childhood sick with a form of bone cancer.  It was touching to read about how Johnny would carry my Dad on his shoulders.

I don’t have a single picture of Johnny Gokey or I would post it here.  In any case you can read more about his life right here.

Dana Gokey Stanton

 

Johnny Francis Gokey

Johnny “Bear” Gokey was born February28, 1924, being the oldest son of Adam Gokey. He had the misfortune of losing his mother while he was yet an infant. Trying to recover from the Great Depression, his father could not work and also care for a newborn. Therefore, Johnny was taken into the home of his paternal grandfather and grandmother, Leo and Lizzie Gokey, to be raised.

His father remarried and by the time Bear was 18 months old, he had acquired a little sister, Emma, but he remained in his grandparent’s care. He was to be blessed with many other brothers and sisters.  He would go to his father’s home and visit the other siblings and stay with them for a few days but he would always return to his grandparent’s home. On his many visits, he always wanted Emma to bake him a cake. She was always faithful to do so. He would take a large square of cake and heap beans on it and, although it was unusual, he always appeared to greatly enjoy it.

His sister, Helen, remembered a quiet young man who was always entertaining his brothers with silly jokes. On his visits he would carry his little brother, Junior, around on his shoulders. Junior was sickly as a child so he received special attention from his oldest brother. Bear was a very special brother to them all but then there were the stories of the older brothers.

Remembering that boys will be boys, Bear showed the others how to pull down a limb on an elm tree. Then while they held it tight, he would perch on it like a rooster. At his word, they would let it go and he would fly through the air, according to his brother, Frank. This was an enjoyed activity that produced many cuts, bruises, and even a few broken bones for them in the years that followed. Bear, the brothers, and their cousins would also go fishing down at Deep Fork River –noodling, of course; that was the preferred method for Indian braves, as we all know.

Don’t get the impression that all they did was play, though. They also had to do their chores. Water had to be carried a good distance to the house. They worked together toting that heavy load but Bear made the job easier by showing them how to dance as they walked. He was full of energy. He, along with the other brothers, sisters, and cousins, would participate in the Snake Dance at pow wows. Since he was the tallest, he was always at the front of the line. And at night, he liked to tell them ghost stories which they all enjoyed. While he participated in some tribal traditions, he was also a member of the Baptist church.

As these good times were happening, growing up around his family and tribal members, there was a war raging in Europe and soon the United States would be involved in a struggle for freedom. Taking advantage of the attention in Europe, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Bear came of age shortly after the advent of these events and he was called into the Army. At his departure at the railroad station, his very young little sister, Louise, remembered his tears as he told their father that he would come back, but it would be in a box. Their father told him not
to say such things but somehow Bear may have known. His words have never been forgotten and it was the last time she saw him.

American Indians were known to be exceptional scouts and hardened warriors to military leaders. The Indian warriors became an invaluable asset to the military. Bear was no exception.  He entered the army on February 23, 1943. After basic training, he was sent to the Philippines.  Three years prior to his arrival there, the atrocity of the Bataan death march loomed treacherously in America’s eyes. But General MacArthur promised he would return. Return he did and Bear was a part of his army serving in the 38th Battalion, Company E of the 151st Infantry.

To effectively defend the United States and stop the Japanese advancement, it was essential that the Philippines had to be liberated from Japan. The taking of the Philippines was a hard fought battle with many lives lost. Bear participated in the Luzon battle as a scout. The Japanese soldiers were entombed in a tunnel with machine gun nests in caves round-about the island. The decisions of the officers demanded the bravery of the soldiers. Bear obviously had very innate abilities and keen senses to have served as a scout which was a most dangerous job. They fought in jungles, mountainous regions, and situations that were unbearable. They were cut off from supplies of ammunition, food, and water for days. He courageously endured many weeks in and out of gun fire and hand-to-hand combat in Japanese Banzai attacks but on April 24, 1945, while in action at Mt. Natib, Calaguiman, Bataan, Luzon, P.I., machine gun fire from an unknown source brought him down. His captain wrote a letter to Bear’s grandparents and advised them of this grievous event but went on to say that he was a quiet and well-liked man by his fellow soldiers.

Private First Class Johnny F. Gokey was awarded the Asiatic-Pacific ribbon with one campaign star and Philippines Liberation ribbon with one battle star. Posthumously, he was awarded the Order of the Purple Heart, the coveted Combat Infantry Badge, and the Philippine Liberation Medal.

Johnny “Bear” Gokey is not only a hero to his family but also of the Sac & Fox Nation and the United States of America for his undaunting courage and dedication to freedom. His name will be honored in our family as the hero that he is and he shall be known to each of our generations.  Sixty-four years later, another honor was to be bestowed to him collective with his fellow soldiers. On May 21, 2009, U.S. Representative Martin Heinrich introduced legislation bestowing a collective Congressional Gold Medal to the American soldiers involved in the World War II battles of Bataan, Corregidor and Luzon.  “We must honor and recognize our heroic veterans who bravely defended our country at Bataan, Corregidor and Luzon,” said Rep. Heinrich. “The American soldiers of the Bataan Death March endured extraordinary suffering on behalf of our country—this legislation recognizes their sacrifices and honors their spirit, tenacity, and service.”  This legislation would honor the heroes of Bataan, Corregidor and Luzon with a collective Congressional Gold Medal which will be housed at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Published in: on June 22, 2009 at 10:27 am  Comments (2)  

We’re real fossil hunters now!!!

The crew at the Keystone Gallery in front of Spiker!!

The crew at the Keystone Gallery in front of Spiker!!

As most of you probably know from previous posts, Jackson is a dinosaur/fossil nut!!  It is truly a passion of his.  After our visit with Dr. Everhart I decided to make arrangements to take Jackson on a real fossil dig.  Dr. Everhart recommended the Keystone Gallery for our fossil hunt.  So, I contacted the gallery and made arrangements for a private, guided tour.  Joining us were our good friends Michelle and Thane Reid from Dodge City.  Michelle and I have been friends since college.  Jackson and Thane have been friends since they were babies in Dodge City.  Although the boys knew about the dig, they didn’t know that they would get to see each other – it was a great surprise for them both.

The dig site is near Monument Rock in Gove County Kansas.  We hunted fossils in some of the same chalk beds where George Sternberg found some of his famous fossils.  The Keystone Gallery is ran by Chuck and Barb Bonner.  Their family has made some really famous fossil finds – you can see some in museums all around the country – as well as at the Keystone Gallery.  Our guide Chuck took us to the dig site in their family’s 1949 Chevrolet Suburban (Spiker).  The scenery was beautiful.  The weather was in the mid 70’s, clear blue skies and slight breeze – in other words perfect to be outside!  Chuck showed us what to look for and then answered probably 500 questions from the boys.  The phrase, “Mr. Bonner come look, I think I found something!!”  was heard over and over.  The man has the patience of a saint.  We climbed canyons, navigated around muddy bottoms, twisted around and around the canyon and dodged lizards!  We found lots of common fossils and petrified wood.  We also found some nice fossilized vertebrae, jawbones and even a couple of shark teeth.  We were in the field probably 4 hours.

I would highly recommend others to take this tour.  You can find more info about the Keystone Gallery at:  www.keystonegallery.com .   Jackson told me it was just about the best day of his life.  I would have to agree it was right up there with me as well!!

Dana

Thane and Jackson

Thane and Jackson

Jackson and I in front of the outhouse - it was Jackson's first experience with an outhouse!

Jackson and I in front of the outhouse - it was Jackson's first experience with an outhouse!

Navigating the canyon

Navigating the canyon

The white thing in the middle is a fossilized vertebrae

The white thing in the middle is a fossilized vertebrae

Thane and Jackson on the top of a canyon

Thane and Jackson on the top of a canyon

Scenery

Scenery

An Indian Blanket flower - there were flowers everywhere

An Indian Blanket flower - there were flowers everywhere

Jackson

Jackson

Mr. Bonner showing Jackson how to remove a fossil

Mr. Bonner showing Jackson how to remove a fossil

These lizards were everywhere - I kept my shrieking to a minimum

These lizards were everywhere - I kept my shrieking to a minimum

Yucca in the field on the way back to the gallery

Yucca in the field on the way back to the gallery

Jackson and I in front of Striper

Jackson and I in front of Spiker

Published in: on June 13, 2009 at 11:04 am  Leave a Comment