Thursday, June 6, 2013

In good times and bad....

Well, a few days ago we began to watch for the long expected arrival of baby chicks. Bantum Buffs to be exact. But, they didn't arrive when they were suppose to. We began to worry. And pray. Rightly so. When the crate finally arrived we discovered that only three of the twelve had survived. And the poor survivors were incredibly weak. Another passed a couple hours later, despite our efforts. Thus leaving two lonely siblings. It has been a rough day... and an even rougher past few days for these poor birds. Only time, and God, will tell of they will continue to thrive.

Alysabeth (who has been the faithful watcher) heartbroken and crying over the lost little one wrote a headstone for it:

A chick that died at 3 days old. "Little Squirt" (The nickname they lovingly gave him)

 Praying these remaining two babies survive!!


In other news this past week we discovered a worsening allergy in Katie. Last year she had shown signs of being abnormally sensitive to mosquito bites. This year is even worse! The swelling and redness in that poor girl is insane! It is now daily Zyrtec for the little one and extreme protection!!! Lots, and lots of bug spray!

These pictures do not show these looking near as bad as they look in person!

Can you see the huge patches of red?!?

On top of that, I discovered a full deer tick on Katie, surrounded by a nice red ring. Grrr!!! Praying we don't have any Lymes to deal with in the future!!


Now for a good story! :)  We had a power outage this past Sunday morning. Did it stop us at church? Absolutely not! A few acoustics, some bongos and a circle gathering type singing and it ended up being one of the best worship services yet!! It was so freeing and so many people (not only myself) thoroughly enjoyed it! Maybe we should spend a lot more Sundays without power!! Yay!

Many Blessings!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Texas Vacation!!

Well, it has been almost two years since I posted last!  I can't believe it has been that long! But, I am planning on keeping up with this again! So, here is our latest happenings in the family!

Yesterday we returned from a family vacation to Texas to visit with Grandma Melodee and Grandpa Richard! A road trip that was well worth the many hours of driving (20+ hours)!

The way down was pretty uneventful, except the loss of our TV screen early into the second day. The kids did well despite it. They kept themselves busy and picked on each other for entertainment. :) As far as roads.... lots of construction and some thick traffic towards the very end of our trip. So, in case anyone is wondering... Austin, TX is not the place to be during rush hour! Haha! But, except for adding time to our trip we arrived all in one piece! A bonus for sure!

Mom and Grandpa Richard did so much to prepare for our arrival and to ensure our trip was smooth and enjoyable! We could not thank them enough for the amazing vacation!!! I credit them for it all!!

Some of the amazing things we did on this trip were:

Katie started out like this.... full gear! Floaties, googles, snorkle... the works! But by the end of the vacation both her and Nathan were like little fish!  They both were swimming under water and Katie was doing somersaults like big sis! Crazy how much they changed in the week we were there! They spent a lot of time in the water! The kids were so thankful that Grandma and Grandpa Richard had a pool!

The U.S.S. Lexington!!

This was an amazing adventure! It was Nathan's favorite place to visit! The U.S.S. Lexington was massive and we spent 4 hours roaming above and below decks and what we saw was only the fraction of the ship that is open to visitors! It was incredible to see what it was like to live aboard. Where they slept and ate... everything! One thing for sure... the close passage ways and steep climbs would definitely take some getting use to!! :) Amazing artifacts and information aboard giving tribute to many ships from WWII. An incredible history lesson within these walls! If you ever have a chance to visit Corpus Christi and the U.S.S. Lexington, you must!

One crazy thing about our visit to the Lexington was the wind! Insane wind conditions during this day! Especially when on the flight deck! For some reason it won't let me add the video right in so here is a link (hopefully it will work)

The Beach!!

Before and after the U.S.S. Lexington we visited the beach and spent some time cooling our feet in the ocean and collecting seashells. It was beautiful! Most of the shells were fragments (which we still had tons of fun collecting) and there were a few dead animals upon the beach we had to steer clear of... but it did not deter from the amazing experience it was to see the gulf waters crash on the shore! I am so happy my kids were able to experience this! Also, on the beach was an older gentleman selling palm leaf crosses he had made. We bought three. :) They were beautiful and so well crafted and had a delicate palm leaf rose in the middle. The leaves were still fresh and green when we bought them, and though they are now drying out they are still beautiful!

Glass Bottom Boats!!
The amazing glass bottom boats! You can see the end of one off to the side in this photo. These are amazing boats with long benches along the walls and you lean over a rail to watch the ocean below the glass-bottomed middle. It was neat to see how much plant life was beneath the surface. The fish too! But the neatest part was learning about the aquifer that feeds this river and literally millions of people. Intricate caves running below carry countless millions of gallons of water up through little holes on the floor of the river. Viewing these spots look to the eye as if the sand is boiling. Crazy! Here is a link to one of the videos I took of these "boiling" spots:

Cabela's is actually a hunting/fishing store. But, it is also a store with some incredible exhibits! Most of my pictures didn't turn out the greatest because of the lighting but this HUGE catfish did. Along with their aquariums they have massive set ups of taxidermy animals from all over the world! They have them set up in scenes. Wow! I can imagine we weren't the only ones that went just for the exhibits! The kids also were able to feed the fish they have in the stream they created in the store. It was awesome!

After Cabela's we all went out for Sonic's shakes! Half off after 8 O'clock. For anyone who'd like to know... the coconut cream pie shake is do die for!!! Mmmmmmm!!!

The Alamo!!
This was my personal favorite of all our stops! I have wanted to visit the Alamo for a long, long time! It was even more amazing then I imagined! I love history! The history behind this particular site is very sad, but at the same time amazing. It is the site of a very important battle in history and a testament to the brave lives that died here. Though every man died protecting their freedom and seeking independence, the mere 200 men behind these walls held off 2000 trained Mexican soldier's for 14 days! Nothing short of incredible! In this particular battle two famous people lost their lives: Davy Crockett and James Bowie. I wish I was able to photograph the inside of the mission and the artifacts they have inside the long barracks but it was not allowed. I am so glad I was able to visit here! And that the kids were able to be a part of this. It helps to make history real for them.

The River Walk!!
The gorgeous River Walk! This river is lined with amazing architecture and landscaping! I could never capture all the beauty of it with a camera! Here we were able to take a boat tour. I could not believe how long the river goes and all of it just beautiful! I honestly did not know a place like this existed in the US! I tried to photograph and video tape as much as possible, but I know I still did not get it all!

The Market!!
I don't have a picture of the market but it is like an indoor market in Mexico! So many amazing things to see and buy! Beth bought her best friend a gift there. I have a feeling she is going to love it!

Our trip was so much fun and we were all sad to go! While we said our goodbyes and pulled away the kids shed many tears. Thankfully they fell asleep shortly after leaving. It was a long drive home but God directed our GPS and though we questioned the way it took us (which was different then our trip to Texas) it really went well. Except for Dallas (which still wasn't that bad), we hardly had any traffic at all. The GPS did good by directing us to a highway that helped us avoid the tornado damaged suburb of Oklahoma City, Wichita, and the worst of Kansas City. It was a great trip home with beautiful weather! Thanking God for a lovely vacation!!

Thank you Mom and Richard!!!


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

And We Have A Winner!

I am very happy to announce that after some hard work, and help from Daddy, Beth has successfully learned how to ride a bike! She is one very, very happy girl!

Check her out!

Hope everyone else's day is just as successful! :D

And to add a note, we had another birthday this weekend!! Happy Birthday, Grandpa Richard!! Unfortunately, I have no little kid or baby photos to post!! :( But, should Grandma Melodee send me one I would be glad to add it to this blog! *Hint hint* ;)


Sunday, June 5, 2011

To The Movies!

 Well, last week was a great week! We've had a lot of nice sunny days to spend outdoors, and... I finally got my baby grand piano!!
 It isn't brand new, but has a lot of family history from both Mark's and my family. It is the piano which Mark's grandmother, and mother, played at church. Then, years ago when we were young, it became my brother's. This was long before Mark and I ever started dating. Now... it is mine!!!!  And though it is a little out of tune I still play it. I love my electric piano, but it could NEVER top the sound of a real piano. I have a feeling it is going to get pretty jealous.

On Saturday Mark went disc golfing with the guys, so we decided to head up to the Dells with Grandma Collins for some shopping and a movie! While waiting for her in the driveway Alysabeth posed by Grandpa's sports car for a pic. It looked like it was just her size! Lol!

Our first stop was the outlet mall for some new sandals. The kids' feet have grown considerably in the past year and are now bursting both front and back in their ones from last year! They loved it! Nathan got a pair that light up, Katie's were pink with flowers, and Alysabeth's were flip-flops with diamonds. They surely fit their personalities. Since we had a little time to spare we stopped for a few rides.

The highlight was definitely the movie. Kung Fu Panda 2 in 3D. The best part is that I now have three children who sit so well! I am finally at the point were I can watch an entire movie without spending part of it out waiting in the theater hallway! So nice! Katie even kept her glasses on! I didn't get a photo with the glasses but here she is waiting for the movie to start. I think I surprised her. It was dark and she was unsuspecting.

Lastly, we celebrated another birthday today! My mom's! So here's to the birthday girl! :)

Wasn't she an adorable baby?! Happy Birthday, Mom!

Many Blessings,

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gators and Dinos...

We've had a very busy May. Hard to believe that today ends the month already! It goes by so fast and apparently I keep up so slow! An age thing, a mommy thing, or both? Anyway, I will do my best to catch up!

My sister and her husband, along with their plethora of reptilian wildlife, are fostering a young alligator. They brought it over earlier this month for the kids to have a look at. Before banding it they showed the kids it's little teeth. A mouth full of tiny razors. Yikes! Nathan and Beth were thrilled! Katie wasn't afraid but every time it moved she would immediately let go. A neat experience for them. Not everyone can say they've held a live alligator!

Also this month we visited the Science Museum of Minnesota. This is the event my son had been counting down daily for about a month prior. We have gone the past few years and it has been one of his favorite spots.

Each year the museum holds special exhibits. This year it was King Tut and the Golden Kings of Egypt. It was fascinating! Something I have been wanting to see since I was a child! Amazing how the climate of Egypt can preserve things, such as wood and reeds, so well over thousands of years. The artifacts we saw were between 3000 and 5000 years old! Absolutely amazing! The stone works were close enough to touch but we weren't allowed. I felt like a kid trying to restrain myself from reaching out and running my fingers over them. I admit, I was tempted to say, "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't see the sign." Haha! But I didn't. I was good.

The kids didn't appreciate the Tut exhibit near so much as the other parts of the museum. There were so many neat things to spark the imagination. But the favorite spot for them all was the prehistoric area.

 At many of the stations there were telephones, which you pick up and are able to listen to the history of the particular exhibit. The photograph above shows the kids at the first one, the apatosaurus. However, I should have been taking a video. I wish I had captured Katie's response! After adjusting her phone (as you can see she is listening to the wrong end) she looked very confused and said, "no, no. This is Katewyn! Kaaaatewyyyyn! No, KATEWYN!" Haha!! It was too funny!

As you can see, the apatosaurus was huge. I was unable to get much of it in the photo. Nathan was so proud of these dinosaurs. We spend a long time in this area, which also has a little miniature prehistoric site they could climb over and puppets to play with.

Another favorite stop inside the museum, especially for the girls, was the little newsroom where you got to be on TV! Every little girls dream, right? :)

It was a fun trip, but, also a long one, and we had three tuckered out kids on the way home. Needless to say, we had a peaceful end to the day.

The next day wasn't near as much fun as we had multiple tornadoes touch down near us. One in Lacrosse, one in Sparta, and one about 2-3 miles north of where we are. Thankfully, God was watching out for us and kept us safe. He was also watching out for all those affected as not one person was killed in any of those three tornadoes. So very grateful! It has been a bad year all throughout the Midwest. The deadliest tornado year in over 50 years. Yikes! Praying for calmer days ahead!

And last, but definitely not least, we celebrated two birthdays this past weekend! "Grandma in Texas" (aka Mom, Melodee) and Daddy Mark's! Only two things would have made it better. One: If I hadn't had to work. Two: If we could have had Grandma Melodee with us to celebrate her birthday in person.

Here is a pic of the birthday girl and a pic of the birthday boy! I don't have access to a baby pic of Mom but this one is close enough and sure is cute!!
Happy Birthday, Mom!
Happy Birthday, Hunny!

Blessings to all!! Hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!


Friday, May 13, 2011

Enter May...

We have had such a beautiful start to the month. A few showers here and there and some overcast skies but some really beautiful days mixed in. Don't worry, we have taken full advantage of them! And with rain being a possibility for, at least, the next few days, I am so glad we did!

But, there has been a down side to all our outdoor time. Ticks, ticks, and more ticks. I do believe we are farming them here. On average I pull two ticks off of each kid, each day we enjoy outside time (sometimes more, sometimes less). On the up side (if you want to call it that), I have become a professional tick puller.

 During some of this great weather, the kids and I built an awesome fort, complete with roof. I had to teach them the art of a stick fort. It's really like a mix between the game of pick-up-sticks and Janga. Everything is woven together so it holds, but if you take one out, you might make the whole think fall. Lol! No need to worry though, it is perfectly safe! :)

I am a little embarrassed over this next fact. Alysabeth is almost 9-years-old and I still have not taught her how to ride a bike! How could this have happened? As a kid I rode bike everywhere! Unfortunately, the bike I have been working with her on this year is a bit on the small side. It is taking some time, and she gets plenty frustrated but I am convinced she will learn. :)

Overall the kids have been in good health and enjoying a great spring! However, days like today (rain), do happen. But, even though it puts a damper on things (literally), it has been great for our grass, and I am looking forward to watching everything bloom!

Last Friday, we headed up to Great-Grandmother's house for her birthday. Ninty-two years old and still getting around the house without any assistive devices. Wonderful to see. I can only hope to be in such good condition should I ever reach her age. We took pictures and ate ice cream and a wonderful time! Such a wonderful, loving woman, and the kids adore her.

The day after I noticed that Katie was spending a lot of time looking in the mirror. Back and forth she would go each time getting really upset, so I had to ask her about it. It turned out that our dear little girl had her hopes up. She wanted white hair, just like Great-Grandma, and she kept hoping that her hair would change. When it was time for bed and she had checked one more time she said, with much desperation, "My hair is going to be brown to-ever!"

I just love the little things our kids say!

God Bless!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Awana Awards Night!

The kids had their final night of Awana on Wednesday and had the chance to sing on stage and receive their awards. They had a fun time and so did we!

The little cubbies were first. As you will see, Katie seems somewhat into the singing, somewhat distracted. Haha! But, most of them were that way I guess. :) We had a large crew and I think they were all a little enamored to be on stage.

After the little ones sang and received their awards it was the Sparks turn. Here are both Nathan and Beth singing with their group.

The Sparks group was so large that they had them divided into several different groups, and they came up to receive their award with their group. Beth and Nathan were in different groups so here are their groups being awarded.
It was a fun night! I don't think Nathan truly realizes that we won't be doing this again for a few months. I caught him getting something together to give his teacher yesterday. He sure loves it there! Really, they all do!

God Bless!!