Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Texas Time Travelin'

Over Labor Day weekend, Mom and Dad moved our stuff down to Texas from Missouri. With Steph and Jeff's permission, they brought along Seth and Noah for their first glimpse of Texas. Most of their exciting adventures are well documented on Papa and Nana's blog (, but here are some additional photos to help you picture the experience.

Preparing for the trip. These two photos were taken at Mom and Dad's pond in Missouri, where we were practicing looking tough and wearing cowboy hats. Note: we did not give Seth that black eye. He gave it to himself. Long story.

In preparation for the journey, Steph bought the boys real cowboy hats. Because of those hats, they were allowed past the border; here they are, posing at the farm.

As is the way with our family, most vacations are accompanied by some sort of manual labor. Here are Nana and Noah unloading our kitchen boxes. Noah was very conscientious about packing the old farm plates (to be replaced with ours) correctly.

Relaxing after a long day's work. . .

And enjoying some fun in the sun at Aunt Ann and Uncle Charlie's pool.

Sunday morning brought out their Western best. Watch out, cowgirls!

Like manual labor, every vacation also has to have some connection with airplanes. We dined at an airport cafe on Sunday and, lo and behold, they were holding a raffle for a plane!

In a coup d'etat for Uncle John, he had dug up two bins and a box of legos from his childhood. The boys were in lego heaven, plus we promised them that they could have a cosmic battle before we went back home. Noah and I were on the castle team, while John and Seth were armed with a pirate ship and some sort of militant caribbean island.

On the last night, we had a wonderful family meal--chicken divan, courtesy of Kay. Here we are at Tom and Kay's; thanks, Seth, for snapping this picture.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

In mid-August, all the family got together to celebrate Papa's 65th birthday and Jackson's 1st. Of course, Audrey was in the hospital at that point and we spent most of our time at Children's Mercy. But since Audrey was holding steady on Sunday, we decided spend a day at Nana and Papa's and unwind a bit. Jackson (in the first picture) lives in Santa Barbara, California, so he's not quite sure what to think of the Midwest yet. But drop him in a puddle and he becomes your best friend!

Swings and Rings: glimpses of other resident monkeys on the property. . .

Papa and the kids showing off his birthday present: a cedar glider hand-made in Jamesport, MO by the Amish. For his first b-day present, Jackson received a hand-made child's rocker.

Exploring the laws of physics as they apply to balloons.

Ye old hitching post: with Jackson in California and Caleb in Missouri, the two boys don't often get a chance to talk business. They're obviously grateful for the opportunity to catch up on bean prices and hog shares.

Jackson and the neighboring cows finally noticing each other.

Katie also took her first ride around the block on Papa's motorcycle. She was very excited to go, but when she got back. . .let's just say she's not ready to be a biker chick. Here's Nana comforting her upon her return.

Of course, if Katie gets to wear a helmet, everybody should get to wear one. Right, Seth?

And Noah. You look almost as tough as the bike behind you, dude.

Papa, Jack, and the cakes. One of the cakes is honest about the age it's celebrating. Can you tell which one?

To cap it all off, Noah, Alex, Katie, and I made this video to show Audrey while she was in the hospital. Since she didn't get to see Alex during her visit from California, we thought she'd appreciate seeing her on video.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Trip to Missouri, Part One

As many of you know, John and I had a long trip to Missouri. In the middle of it, while I was staying with family and John was on a fly fishing trip to Colorado, our niece Audrey (12) had a heart surgery that involved several unexpected and scary complications. I'm delighted to say that she's doing better now--in fact, she left the hospital yesterday--but it was a long, sobering ordeal. Before we get into that, though, here are some pictures of our time with family before Audrey's surgery.

After hearing my brother, Ryan, preach our first Sunday in Missouri, we all went to get pizza. It was a lot of fun, although Caleb--Ryan's youngest--took to eating plateware because the pizza didn't arrive soon enough.

Audrey and Katie (Ryan and Joy's daughter) hanging out.

Nana and Caleb, Ryan and Joy's baby boy.

John and Caleb--all babies in our family eventually get used to being passed around.

Caleb taking matters into his own hands.

Noah and I, photo courtesy of Noah.

You can get a lot of bang for your quarter if you're willing to pile on the kid's corvette.

Here's Audrey during her long rest after surgery; she looks beautiful even with the ventilator tube.

Papa and Nana with Jackson, Tyler and Jerilyn's boy--who's soon to be a big brother!

Jackson interacting with the older kids at the hospital computer.

While Steph and Jeff were at the hospital with Audrey, John and I got to play Mom and Dad for a little bit with their two boys. Here are John and Noah after Noah's first grade orientation night.

Of course, we couldn't act completely grown-up. One morning, we let the Seth and Noah do their own hair, complete with mousse and hairspray.

That's it for now. We're so grateful that Audrey's home and doing better. We'd like to thank everybody for their prayers and especially Steph and Jeff's church for taking such good care of them.