Instagram Feed

Since most of my updating is done via Instagram these days I thought I'd add a section that links to my feed. Click on any of the pictures to get an enlarged version. I hope you enjoy the pics:

Friday, July 31, 2009

Revenge on Mr. Snake~

Okay so today my niece Kim was out mowing and informed me of a snake sunning himself on the road. The kids wanted to go see him, so I bravely approached the snake and we observed him from a distance.

I have to confess...I am not sure if he was already dead or not...but he didn't slither away from us so I quickly went and got the van and drove over him!

Yep...I sure did..Aren't you so proud of me! I am now POSITIVE he is dead because I ran him over like four times! (oh...and I am absolutely positive it was the same snake that was by the step...he was the same size and had the same look!)

Sarah...I didn't take pictures...sorry...just couldn't do that to my reading audience! Though it has been interesting to see your lizard, bat and various other creature experiences....the snake was pretty smushed! I think that gives enough of a visual doesn't it?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Kim (my niece) Visits

So on Tuesday we met my sister and her daughter Kim at the Minden exit so that Kim could come visit us for a while. She was able to stay with us through Saturday and then we met up with Rox, Jeff, and Tyler at the Subway in Red Cloud as they were on their way to a wedding!

Anyway, Wednesday was sort of a bum around home day and I think Kim was probably a little bored and maybe a bit annoyed by the kids because they were SO excited to have her here! Thursday though I had to do some things at the church, so we headed down there for a bit then went to see Marion at his Serve site. Since we were so close to the lake, I decided spontaneously to take Kim to see the lake. We were able to find a spot to wade in without breaking any Park laws (always a good thing right?).
The kids had a great time...the first time my kids had been to a lake too. We basically striped Jonny down to his diaper and let him romp...he loved it! Abi collected sea shells and Nathan just drenched himself! After about an hour there, I decided it was time to go get some lunch so we went to a local pizza place. On our way home, we went adventure driving through the 'mountain' roads. (Mountain roads are what my kids call the really rocky hilly roads around here....most people don't realize we have these.)

In the afternoon, the kids wanted to go to the pool, but it was too late to go, so I gave them some buckets of water and water guns and let them go at are some pics:

So then we got to Friday. My sister had mentioned that Kim was still interested in sewing, and I have been needing to make Abi some new bloomers, so I asked Kim if she wanted to help me. Here is the picture of the ones Kim did basically by herself:

Then, we decided to make a pair of bloomer type shorts...making our own pattern for Kim....This is what they turned out to be like:

Monday, July 27, 2009

Marion helps with SERVE 09

To be honest, I don't have any pictures of this but I am sure you can see some at the SERVE site...just go to .

For those that are not familiar with is a program where youth from all over North America go to host sites and do service projects. The youth actually PAY to go to these events. Heartland Serve has been a host site for I think four or five years now. The kids come and stay at the Downs High School and various community organizations and clubs help provide food for them as they serve the community painting, cleaning, and various construction projects.

For three years now, Marion has been what is called a site leader. The host team picks sites that need to be worked on and then site leaders oversee the projects on that site. Marion is a painter...he loves to paint outside they always give him a house to paint. This year was a two story old wood siding house. You'll know it on the SERVE website by the finished project...they painted the house cream and chocolate brown.

I have to say that I am very proud of Marion for supporting and helping out with this. We hope SERVE is around for when our kids get to be of age to participate. The kids have fun (they usually have what is called 'a day away' where they go to the lake or something fun like that half way through) and learn servant evangelism. They also have a speaker, personal devotions, small group discussions, and praise and worship!

Anyway, go check out the website...I know there is a picture of Marion under the Host Team and there are probably pics of his house site being painted!

Friday, July 24, 2009

First Picking of the Garden 09

I know it might sound crazy but I was actually excited about our first picking! We have, of course, already dug potatoes, onions, garlic, and beets, but this was our first picking of what I call the summer garden - the plants that keep on giving through the summer...

As you can see, we got two red tomatoes, four bell peppers, six cucumbers for little pickles, and several yellow pear tomatoes. After I picked the peppers, I got to thinking about whether these were supposed to be my yellow or red peppers. I'm gonna have to keep an eye out on those...make sure I don't pick them too soon! Anyway, we've got a start!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I REALLY do not like snakes!

AGH! I really don't like them! I had just read a post from a friend recently that said they had seen a snake on the side of their porch and she was saying that she thought her kids would be playing inside for a while! I chuckled lightly to myself knowing exactly how she felt and secretly thanking God it wasn't me.

Well, I think God has a sense of humor!

Today I went out to move the tarp that we set the pool on and try to set up our third pool of the summer. (Yes, the second pool we got deflated within 12 hours of set up...fortunately I was able to return it and get my money back...I then went across the street and paid the larger sum for the nicer pool we had before...)

Anyway, as I removed one of the spikes holding the tarp down, I saw a snake skin that was leading into a rather large hole under our sidewalk and porch area. It took me a minute, but I shook off the weeby jeeby feeling and moved on...not thinking the snake would actually have stuck around with the kids playing outside! BUT...lo and behold, as I removed the second spike and pulled the tarp back...there he was...Mr. Snake...probably a quarter size around!

As soon as the kids saw him, they started beating on the door to be let into the house! I jumped but tried to remain calm for the kids' sake...they were panicking enough for all of us! I calmly pulled the tarp clearly away so that he couldn't get caught up in it, then opened the door for the kids and we all came inside (Jonny was down for a nap so he missed out on all this!). Trying to decide what to do, I just could NOT bring myself to chop off his head....I know...I NEED to get over that...but I just COULDN'T. So I thought of the next best thing...I went to the shed and got the snake repellent that I had purchased...I thought I'd sprinkle that around and chase him away then we could plug his hole later!

Unfortunately, the stuff must not work...because he just crawled right over it and back into his hole! I do have to say that he did seem to be paralyzed for a moment or two, but it didn't last much for the snake repellent!

SO...I guess the kids won't be playing in the pool today...and maybe not anytime in the near future either...maybe this would be a good day to go to the town pool!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Abi's 5th Birthday Party - Water Fun

I didn't really get a chance to take any pictures prior to the bubble blowing time...before this the kids were very busy playing on all the water'll see more pictures to come.

I have to tell the story though of the was supposed to be a big part of the party and it became the biggest problem of the party before the party even began. I had drained the pool all but a little water to hold it in place so that we could move it and assure it was fresh for the party. Thinking the little bit of water left in it would keep it from blowing away, I went to bed! The next morning however, a storm came through and it blew fiercely and rained till noon! When I looked out the front window to check on the pool it wasn't there...thinking it got stuck in the lilacs, I went to the front door and peered out. NO POOL! I began looking around and there - out by the bins - probably 1/8 of a mile away was the pool! No joke! It had to have blown over the lilacs, over the barbed wire fence, around the disk and up the hill! Marion said we'd be lucky if it held did...but holding air was the bigger problem. I spent my entire morning patching holes and trying to get it to hold up...I thought I had it fixed and then found three more holes...finally it was holding air so we put water in it and it held for about an hour before drooping again. We just left the vaccume outside and blew it up once more during the the end of the party the pool was colapsed and the water was gone...but the kids had a great time anyway. What kind of a party would it be without a story like that, right?

So here are some pics - this is of them starting to blow bubbles, I bought a mega bubble packet will all kinds of wands in it:

This is the water balloon fight...we hastily filled over 150 balloons for the kids. Since I spent all my time trying to fix the pool, I was a bit behind on filling the balloons. What was really funny was that we would fill a couple and the kids would come take them from the buckets and break them...we had a terrible time filling the buckets! :0)

Okay...this next one I have got to explain. Nathan was being shy and wouldn't do the waterslide. Finally, Aunt Roxanne convinced him she'd help him slide down the pool. Her intention was to have him sit down and she'd drag him to the end...but he straightened his legs and ran backwards the whole way not allowing her to slide was hilarious! Eventually he did get it and had a great time...but this picture will make us laugh for a long time!

Here is Abi doing her favorite activity...the hopscotch.

Here are the kids standing in line, waiting for their turn at the slide:
Abi also said that her overall favoritest part of the party was having all of her friends over...thanks to everyone who came...we appreciate you helping us celebrate! Below is a pic of the kids all sitting around having supper:

A big THANK YOU to all who came...really...Abi had such a great time...thank you!

Abi's 5th Birthday - the Gift Opening

I think I'm going to do a couple different posts so that they don't get too long. I have lots of other updates to do too but I'll do these two real quick here!

The following are the pictures from the gift opening. I didn't by far put all the pics in, here are just a few highlights:

We first tried to just have Abi sit and open the presents, but the kids just gathered around so tight Abi and I couldn't move, so we then got them a blanket and they did excellent at sitting and watching Abi.

Abi loved all the gifts and was so excited about each one. When asked which one was her absolute favorite though, the feed and wet Katy Doll was the winner on that one...she watched that doll pee a hundred times before bed!!

Here is the cake with the princesses on it. I didn't get the flag made, but you can see the candle is lit here! She was very surprised to see the princesses!

My Mom made these letters to spell out Abi's name to hang on her wall in her new room! They all have some characteristic of princess or something to do with princesses!

This one was the final present from Daddy and Mommy. It is a fancy dress for her My Twinn doll that she got last Christmas. My plan was to help her have a nice dress, a shorts outfit, her pants outfit, and jammies so that she could play more everyday or take the doll to church or whatever!

She is one very blessed little girl and she got a ton of nice gifts: I Can Read Bible Books, a purse making kit, a Barbie type doll with clothes, Glitter Lava to make Butterflies and Flowers, a game, her Abigail Song CD (a CD with songs that have her name in them), tickets to the state fair, some cash, a magnetic doll, flip flops, and the presents listed above.
THANK YOU to all who made her day so special, we greatly appreciate you ALL!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Abi's 5th Birthday Cake

Okay, I know I am early but I wanted to make sure I had it done! I know it can last in the fridge and we made plenty of room! Anyway, Abi had specific instructions for what she wanted for her cake this year. She wanted a castle - pink and yellow - flowers, grass, and princesses inside! Fortunately I didn't have to worry about the princesses inside! :0)

I looked around on the internet for quite a while and I was trying to do it at a time when she as NOT around but she snuck in and saw a picture of a Disney cake that she really wanted! I'll show you that cake first:
So you can see I had my work cut out for me. I tried to sway her to other cake ideas, but she just kept coming back to this one...sooooooo this is what we ended up with:

I should have done the door and windows in purple or pink but I wasn't thinking about that at the time...I was just thinking wood door! (By the cake is completely edible where as the Disney one is plastic.) Anyway, here is the back of it:

We are going to add a flag to the top of the cone when it gets closer to her birthday! But for now here is the happy girl with her cake:

Down's Celebration Parade

On the Saturday after the Bike Races, they had the usual Down's Celebration Parade. For many years we actually drove a 1930 Model A in the parade (a friend of the family owns the car but didn't feel comfortable driving it so Marion helped her out). It was neat because the celebration hit around Abi's birthday a few times and we really enjoyed that, but now our family is just too big for a Model A!

Anyway, so this year we just enjoyed the parade. Marion walked down to the Lion's club hamburger stand and brought us back hamburgers to eat while waiting for the parade to start! Here are some pics of the kids at the parade:

Getting candy!

(did you notice Nathan still has his hamburger in his hand in the above picture?)

Marion's form of control...Jonny wanted to run everywhere and we had to keep tabs on him pretty closely. This allowed Marion to keep him within arms reach but yet allow him to move around some!

Here is a good one of all three of them during the parade.

Toward the end, Marion did let Jonny go and the friends next to us helped keep him in line. Here the kids are out gathering candy and Jonny is giving a stuffed animal to the 'baby' next to us!

After the parade, we went to the carnival again. Marion and I laughed because the 'ride' they enjoyed the most was the bouncing tigger! Bascially the aired up room they bounced in. Then as we were leaving, they asked to play in the park. We spent another hour in the park and they had just as much fun if not more so! It is such a blessing to have children who appreciate the simple things!

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Kids' Pictures

It's that time again....time to take the kids' yearly pictures...I'm still trying to find a picture I like of all three of the kids...the first one is the best one I have so far and Nate doesn't look the best but it at least has all three:

Here is Abi's 5 year picture:
Here is Nathan's 4 year picture:

Here is Jonny's 18 month picture...I may crop it a bit closer, but I really like all the background too:

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Bike Races at the Down's Celebration

This year the Down's Celebration brought a whole new event to our lives. For weeks prior to the celebration, Marion pumped up the idea of entering Abi in the Bike Races. He told her that town kids got to ride bikes all day long and they were used to going fast on the paved streets and sidewalks. Therefore, Abi needed to practice every day to be able to compete in the bike races.

At first, entering Nathan was not an option because he was only riding a tricycle and not very well. But then a good friend gave us a new bike for Abi (one her daughter had outgrown) and with new training wheels, Abi was off and racing around the drive way. With Abi getting a new bike, that left her old one for Nathan. I got new training wheels for it too and after some adjustments, we were able to get him riding pretty good too.

The biggest problem the kids had was starting so I went out to the building and practiced with them. I had to show Abi how to lean her bike, get her petal in the right place and get a good shove off to get going. After a few practice runs, they were doing pretty good.

Finally, the big day came. The kids did great sitting patiently waiting for the kiddy parade to finish so the bike races could start. I was in charge of getting the kids lined up while Marion watched Jonny and waited with the other child not racing. This was a challenge because they raced back to back....Nathan in the 3's and Abi in the 4's (I thought she could have raced with the 5's but technically she was still 4).

I didn't get many pics because I was busy lining them up and then running to the other end to take the pics, then walking back to the beginning to line the next one was kinda crazy! Next year, we will put Marion at the finish line and I'll take pics from the back side!

Anyway, here are a couple of pics I did get, the first one is of Nathan's race, he is the fourth one is kinda hard to see him!

Here is Abi's heat...she is the was kinda funny because she had on a Nebraska t-shirt...we got some guff for that!

Here you can see Abi racing, she is on the far left and is in last place for her heat...Nathan actually came in second on his!

For participating in the races, the kids got $1 from the bank who sponsored the event and one carnival ticket for any ride. Grandpa Jim also rewarded the kids for their efforts by giving them another $1!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

4th of July

Well, I didn't get very many pictures of this fourth of July and non of Jonny, but here are a few of the pics I did take...

These were actually taken a couple of days before the 4th because we didn't know what we were going to do for sure on the 4th.

Nathan and Daddy doing sparklers...Abi was too afraid of them - note she is hiding in the porch door! This on focuses on the people instead of the sparklers.

Here are the kids with Daddy as I lit the fireworks in the driveway...they were all pretty small but we did have a few that went flying...I'll have to remember not to get them next year!

We ended up going to Osborne to the free BBQ and then over to some friends to watch the town fireworks and shoot of some local ones...however, I didn't manage to get any pics of these for some reason!