Thursday, December 8, 2016


11/2 - this is a farm just a few miles from our house.  I believe they use the camels for milk.  We drive by this farm every day on the way to the school bus stop and have fun watching them.

11/3 - After a month of swim lessons, Levi got brave and put his head in the water!  I am not ashamed to admit that I bribed him with ice cream.  Here's his well-deserved sundae.  He said "this is the best day ever!!".
11/8 - Josiah's class had a mock vote at school.  I love that he's the only one in his class that voted for Hillary.  Not that I'm a big fan of her, I am just even less a fan of Trump, despite the fact that Trump is very popular among a lot of people where we live.  We had told Josiah some of the hateful and demeaning things that Trump had said, and I love that he knew that was not the kind of person we should be electing president.  I also love that he wasn't afraid to vote differently from everyone else.  Trump is now our president-elect, and we will pray for him and hope he's successful, even though he wasn't our choice for commander-in-chief.
11/11 - Veteran's day assembly at school.  They boys did a great job honoring the veterans that came, and they loved learning the songs for each of the branches of the military.
That afternoon we drove to my parent's house to spend some time with them.  On Saturday Jason went hunting with my dad.  My dad shot an 8 point buck and Jason helped clean it, so they sent us home with some deer meat on Sunday morning.

11/18 - I joined the kids for a fun Thanksgiving lunch at school.
That evening, after a several day long game, Josiah beat Jason and I at Monopoly - he was so proud!
11/21 - for my friend Brandy's birthday, we went to a local paint night event.  We had a great time, even though I'm not a very good artist!
I'm just like Bob Ross...without the painting skills.
11/24 - We spent Thanksgiving with Jason's parents.  Jason's dad had just had shoulder surgery 1 week before, so I told Jason's mom not to worry about cooking much and I'd just bring some food up.  I got a smoked turkey that I just had to reheat (which was delicious by the way), made and froze some homemade rolls a few days before, made sweet potatoes, salad and pecan pie.  Jason's mom made some mashed potatoes and stuffing, and picked up a blackberry pie.  Jason's grandparents ended up joining us also, and we were glad they could make it.  It was nice to have a small, relaxing Thanksgiving.  Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures!  We also got to see Jason's aunt and sister, who both stopped by later that day.

11/25 - Jason and I took the boys to the community center so Jason could see Levi's new swimming skills firsthand.  But first they wanted to climb the rock wall.  When we got to the pool, Levi was swimming like a fish!  We had to occasionally remind him to keep his head out of the water so he could catch his breath.  He went from being afraid to completely fearless!

11/26 - Jason takes the 4 Angus cross cows we have to the sale in Joplin.  It was bittersweet selling some of our original herd.

11/27 - miracles do happen!  The sale works out with the Nebraska buyer for the red poll cattle.  4 months after he agreed to buy them, and several weeks after he paid us, we were able to get the cattle into his possession.  Jason paid a hauler to take the cattle halfway, where the buyer picked them up.  We're very thankful that the sale went through and they arrived safely at their new home.  We'll especially miss our bull Royal, who was very calm and gentle and who we bought as a bull calf that we could put a halter on and lead around.  However, I know Jason will not miss chasing him down when he got into the neighbor's fields :)  And with that, we are down to the 2 bottle calves we bought this year, and 4 heifer calves.  Next year we'll be in the steer business!

11/30 - I cooked at school with a friend again, but this time it was a disaster!  Same menu as normal, but we had some mishaps.  There were extra people with the first class, so then we were short some chicken for the 2nd class that came.  Then 2 classes came at the same time, and we were short on chicken again.  While I was rushing to get more chicken to them, the open bag of nuggets tipped over, and about 40 fell on the floor!  Then one girl came back saying her nuggets were still frozen in the middle.  Then we were getting down to the last classes and realized we were running out of nuggets - we normally use 3 bags of nuggets (which should be about 75 servings according to the package), but I guess the nuggets weighed more than normal, because we were short 15 servings!  We scrambled and made it work but it was stressful and we felt bad that the high school classes didn't get as many nuggets as normal.  Now we've definitely learned some lessons and have a new game plan for next time!

Levi's last swim lesson, and here he is swimming with his face in the water!  I don't think I can over-emphasize how stunning a transformation this is!


10/1 - my parents came to visit, and my dad helped us add an outlet to a room that only had an outlet near the ceiling.  Now I have the computer plugged in near the floor and no extension cord hanging down the wall!  It looks SO much better.  Thanks Dad, Jason & Josiah!  
Later that day we walked around the Japanese gardens in Springfield.  It was really pretty!  Then we took my parents out to dinner for my mom's (belated) birthday.

10/2 - Josiah gets baptized!  Such an exciting day!!  My parents, Jason's parents, and Jason's grandparents all got to be there to celebrate with us.  We stayed after church and had a pizza party.  I'm so proud of this guy!
10/4 - Levi climbing around on the hay bales while Paw Paw (Jason's dad) fixes our tractor tires (which split open in a couple of spots).  This fix saves us about $2,000 in new tires.  Thank you!!
10/5 - a friend and I do another cooking day at school, feeding about 65 students & teachers.  It turned out well!

10/6 - Levi starts swim lessons!  He was very afraid of getting water in his face, to the point of tears, so he's learning to get comfortable and safe while swimming.  He ended up being the only one in his lesson, so he had one-on-one attention which was fantastic.
10/7 - my friend Piper came to visit!  She and the kids stopped by on their way from Michigan to Texas and got to spend the night with us on the 6th.  We hadn't seen each other in 10 years and had never met each other's kids.  It was so great to see them, and I loved that our kids were instant friends (even though poor McKenzie wasn't feeling well).

10/8 - I drove up to KC for a day trip to go to the funeral of Karen's father.  So sorry for their loss but thankful for no more suffering and that he gets to be with Jesus!

10/11 - Levi and a friend get to go explore at a farmstead/park in Springfield on a beautiful fall day.
10/22 - I did a fun 5K evening race wearing glow sticks called Light Up the Vern.  Jason and the kids were there to cheer me on.  Josiah even ran the last 1/8 mile with me.  There were fireworks and custard afterwards which we all enjoyed.

10/24 - Pumpkin carving fun.  Levi carved this freehand all by himself.  Hahaha, just kidding.  It was a traced pattern that I did by myself because he had no interest.  It was very intricate and took me way too long!  So enjoy it, you must.
10/25 - Josiah carved his the next day because he had boy scouts the night before.  His was a pattern too, but he actually did help me carve it (see!  I have proof!).  They both turned out really cool.

10/29 - Jason and I had a date night out - just because we hadn't done that in a while.  We had a really nice and yummy dinner.  We really didn't think through the fact that it was Halloween weekend when we planned it.  Most people at the restaurant were dressed up (apparently we picked a Halloween hot spot).  The restaurant even had a haunted maze in the back which was actually kind of cool.  So we spend most of our dinner trying to figure out costumes, admiring the good ones, and laughing at some of the crazy ones.  Did you know that you can turn big bird into a slutty costume?  Then we stopped by a karaoke club for a couple of minutes just to check it out.  There we saw Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump (both amazingly well done costumes) sing a duet.  Hilarious.  I had so much fun hanging out with my husband!

10/31 - Halloween!  Didn't you know that Kylo Ren wears Nikes?
Chewbacca was so adorable.  I even got him the talking Chewbacca mask which is hilarious.
We had a church event at a friend's house where we handed out full sized candy bars.  It was really fun!  I made costumes for Jason and I because I didn't want to spend $40+ apiece on them.  They turned out pretty good, although there were a couple of g-rated wardrobe malfunctions by the end of the night.  I made Han Solo's belt buckle out of clay based upon a super helpful online tutorial, but the part that connects to the holster broke off by the end of the night.  Oh well, it looked cool for a while!  Unfortunately for Jason, it was an unseasonably warm evening, so the Han Solo polyester shirt, tall boots, jeans and insulated vest were a bit stifling!

Enjoying some s'mores.
Fully in character.  Thankfully he didn't murder his dad. guessed it!  Month 3 of still waiting on the guy in Nebraska to buy the red poll cattle.  There were a couple of times that he said he was coming down to pick them up, but then had to turn around because of truck or trailer problems.  By this point, I'm thinking that this deal is not going to work out.  More on this to come!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


9/3 - Jason's Grandma's 80th birthday party.  We got to help her celebrate with 3 of her 4 kids (Jason's mom is the only one of her kids I added a pic of) and all of their growing families.  It was a great day and we're thankful for her!

9/5 - my 39th birthday!  We went to the climbing gym and had a blast!  It took Jason and I about an hour to remember (with the help of YouTube) how to tie the knots to belay each other.  We were able to use the auto-belay routes in the meantime, and then we finally were able to safely use the other walls!  Some of the techniques have changed from 10 years ago when we were climbing a lot, so after we proved our knot tying abilities, an employee got us up to speed.  Hopefully we'll remember everything the next time we go (which I'm sure will be less than 10 years).  Josiah really enjoyed climbing, but Levi was a little apprehensive and didn't want to climb above where we could reach him.  I'm sure he'll get more confident with time and practice.

9/6 - I broke a sewing machine needle attempting to make lederhosen (more on this later)!  My old machine was not happy about going through multiple layers of corduroy.
9/10 - Greek festival!  We love going to this and eating the yummy Greek food!

9/14 - I had played tennis once a week with a couple of friends this fall, but this day I decided to injure myself while playing!  Somehow I stepped on the outer edge of my shoe and rolled my foot.  You know how graceful a gazelle looks while running?  It was pretty much the opposite of that.  After I did it, I jumped up, walked it off, and kept playing 5 or so more games.  I could still move it and it didn't feel broken.  That was a mistake.  It swelled up pretty bad and turned some beautiful colors.  I still didn't think it was broken, but the next day (15th) I went to the nurse practitioner to get her opinion.  She recommended x-rays just to be sure.  The wait at urgent care was about 3 hours, so I opted to try in the morning.  The morning of the 16th I went to urgent care as soon as I could get there after dropping the boys off at the bus stop.  I got right in!  The whole experience (including x-rays) was less than 2 hours which has got to be some kind of urgent care record.  As I was sitting there waiting for the doctor to read the x-rays, I overheard a nurse calling a medical equipment place for a patient with a broken foot who needed a rolling knee cart instead of crutches.  I was one of the first people into urgent care and didn't see anyone else hobbling around, so I panicked a little, thinking it HAD to be me.  I was so relieved when the doctor came in and said it wasn't broken!  I took it easy for a couple of weeks to let it heal, which I was very grateful to do after thinking it was broken and I'd have to stay completely off it for 6+ weeks.  God is watching out for me in my klutziness!!
9/16-18 - 10th annual Oktoberfest weekend!  This year we celebrated in St. Louis.  We love this tradition so much and our amazing friends who it gives us an excuse to hang out with.  On the 17th we drove up to a tiny little town in Illinois for dinner at a quaint German restaurant called Dreamland Palace.  The food was great and the ambiance was perfect.  Here are the completed lederhosen (made from cheap corduroy pants I found at the thrift store)!  My friend Melissa helped me make mine, and then I used it as a pattern to make the pieces for the other 2.  I took the pieces to St Louis for the final fitting before Jen helped me sew them together.  I think they turned out great!

Our 10 year Oktoberfest anniversary shirts - thanks Nate!

Notice my beautifully wrapped foot!

After dinner we went back to the Hardin's house for homemade pretzels, German beer, and a really cool new game called Secret Hitler.  It was a hit for sure.  We learned that some of us are better liars than others.  :)

9/20 - foot is still purple and green.  It took 2 months for it to feel 100% better, but again, it could have been so much worse!
9/28 - Jason got me this print for Christmas last year, and I had put off framing it because 16x20 frames run in the $50+ range.  I found this frame at the thrift store for $4, sanded it and spray painted it black.  I love how it turned out!  Now to get it hung...
And...still talking to the guy in Nebraska about selling him our red poll cattle.  That's 2 months now for those of you keeping track.  More to come!