July 4th

Fourth of July 2016

Few places are more fun to spend the day than the Farm!!

Swimming at Thomas'

Beckham spent most of the day looking for a turtle in the pond and his persistence paid off!

Fourth of July 2016

The 6 wheeler is always a hit!

Fourth of July 2016

Muddy feet are cool at the farm!

 Fourth of July 2016  Fourth of July 2016

Buckle up SP!!

Fourth of July 2016

I don’t know if they have ever done sparklers before! Two out of three loved them!

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Berkley still had an enormous dislike of fireworks. As in, they still make her break down and scream. So she makes sure she’s inside with Daisy long before they start! upload  upload

Little Apple Paddle

Geography lesson of the day: Manhattan is on the Kansas river.

Little Apple Paddle 2016

The City put on a Paddle the River event this summer and you got to paddle 8 miles down it!! Sign us up!

Little Apple Paddle 2016

Well, literally, you had to sign up.

Little Apple Paddle 2016

So it was us and 200 of our closest friends!

Little Apple Paddle 2016

Miss Kansas was there. When Brian asked me if we should get a picture with her, my first thought was no, cause I’m thinking it’s like Miss K-State or Miss K-State Rodeo (yes, real people, all of whom we have pictures with already!).

Exhibit A and B:

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But then I realized it was Miss Kansas, as in, competing for Miss America TOMORROW! Well then, now we need a picture!

Met Miss Kansas this morning. She's from Overland Park. @missamericaks

We put the girls in a canoe with Brian and I  Little Apple Paddle 2016And got Becks a kayak.

Little Apple Paddle 2016

Becks is a kayak expert…from all his years mooching at RiverRanch

Exhibit C:

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Tables were turned and he was now the rower with a non-contributing zero riding along!

Little Apple Paddle 2016

Little Apple Paddle 2016

I think he liked the company!
Little Apple Paddle 2016

A family had an extra kayak and SP was begging to get on her own so we let her try it.

Little Apple Paddle 2016

Little Apple Paddle 2016

5 minutes later she was begging to get back in the canoe with us!

She was right though, it was a LOT easier to have Brian canoe all of us…

Little Apple Paddle 2016

Just stopping for a little break. To sit in the water…    Little Apple Paddle 2016

The whole group shot!   Little Apple Paddle 2016

This is why back roads > highway

Brian took us the back roads back home from Topeka one day.

When we see this on the side of the road, we brake and yell “KIDS! Put your shoes on and get out of the car!”

Kansas Bail Art

This was reason enough to stop, but as we looked around, it got better! There were tons of hay bale art! (Berkley?!)
Kansas Bail Art

Sadie Piper’s face!

Kansas Bail Art

Running to the next bale!
Kansas Bail Art

Kansas Bail Art

Kansas Bail Art

Kansas Bail Art

What happened here that everyone looks so normal?

Kansas Bail Art

We couldn’t figure out what this was. Maybe a jayhawk someone took apart?
Kansas Bail Art
Thanks random house on the back roads for being creative with your hay!! 
Back roads > Highways

Raising a glass to crazy (normal)

When Brian told me 9 years ago that he got a call from a pastor in Kansas about working at a church, I said “People live there?”

And I was totally serious.

Now, not only do we live in Kansas, we live in small town Kansas. There’s nothing sexy about living in small town Kansas.

But there’s no place else I would want to live. We love our town more than we ever thought you could love a place. We swear it’s the best hidden gem in the US. Not only for the town, but also the people God has brought into our lives in this town.

But still, no one would look at our little life and say, “Wow, that’s exciting!” or “What am amazing story!”

And we are cool with that.

That’s one of the reasons when we heard this song it resonated.

His newest CD has been on repeat in the car all week. Chris and Morgan have known about Ben Rector for who knows how long, but they are infinity cooler than us, so it’s not surprising. He’s a self proclaimed artist who is a Christian but not a Christian artist. Check him out if you haven’t!

And then we can raise a glass together…but let’s do it early cause I need to be in bed by 9.

Sad news.

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We’ve gone through the stages of mourning Blue Bell:

  • “Well, maybe it will just be temporary”- nope, Blue Bell has “no plans” to come back.
  • “We can just take a road trip and get some” – nope, we live in the middle of Kansas. No state is close.
  • “We can bring it back with us when we go to Texas” – nope, it’s frozen.
  • “We can have it shipped” – nope, the cost is outrageous.

So we’ve just had to accept it. It’s worse having had it and now not. Brian and I even bargained- what would we trade Blue Bell back for. He said he wouldn’t trade the Astros winning the World Series…

(Tour of Blue Bell factory, look how happy we are?!)

Blue Bell made fresh on site!  #worldsbesticecream

Top 15 Things To Do In Marysville, KS

This post could also be titled: “The only 15 things to do in Marysville, KS.” (no offense to Marysville, we loved this little town!)

While waiting in line at Call Hall one day the woman behind us had a Marysville shirt on. We asked her where that was and why that town name sounded so familiar. She said it was probably because of the black squirrels. We said, “The what?” She explained that they had squirrels that were completely black for some reason. That’s how this town an hour north of Manhattan ended up on our Summer Bucket List. We had such a fun day that we decided to rank our experiences.

So upon arriving into town it became clear that they do indeed pride themselves on their black squirrels.

Black Squirrels

Here’s all we did, ranked in “fun” order even!

1. See the Black Squirrels.

Y’all. They really have totally black squirrels.

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The first squirrel we saw was a normal brown one, and we were about to cry “false advertising!!” but we asked some locals and they said they have brown ones, but they have black ones too, and that we would for sure see them. And we did! They were actually pretty common! Legend claims they arrived in Marysville when they escaped from a travelling circus in the 1910s!

Marysville Trip 2015

2. Ride bikes on the Blue River Trails

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This was actually the second reason we came out. Brian did some reasearch and found this great trail. It’s converted from the railroad tracks (just like Katy Trail) so totally flat!

Marysville Trip 2015

We only rode 4 miles, but the trail is 13 miles long and has this cool bridge:

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Sadie and I took a picture cause we were twinkies this day. And Berkley was pretending to be a bunny and the picture is mid-jump!

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3. Alcove Springs

We called an audible as we were on our way back home when we saw a sign that said “Alcove Springs, 6 miles.” What is Alcove Springs? Do we care? We followed the sign.

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It’s a spring that forms a cool waterfall!

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The settlers coming along the Oregon Trail discovered it in the 1800s. (The Donners passed thru here too, so they had water…but no food…)

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The hike was a pretty one.

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4. Take a Picture with the Giant Pony Express Statue

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This actually ranked higher than visiting the actual Pony Express Barn (below). Cause posing with statues ranks high in our book.

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5. Get a milkshake at Penny’s Diner

Thought it would be fun to find a fun local spot to stop for a snack, and Penny’s was it!

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We would have thought this place had been around 60 years. It was actually built in 1999

Marysville Trip 2015

6. Visit the only remaining Pony Express Barn open to the public

The Pony Express was only a thing for 19 months (1859-60), who knew?

Marysville Trip 2015

We didn’t go into the barn or museum (it was $6 for adults and $4 for kids, we are too cheap) but we peeked in the window and went to the gift shop!

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7. The Rope Ferry

A life-sized recreation of a rope ferry used along the Blue River

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8. Visit the City Park

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This scored high for a few reasons. One, cause they had an old school teeter-totter. (moments after this photo was taken someone was crying…) And two because it was just cool. I’m guessing it was designed by the same people who did the Clay Center one. 

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Marysville Trip 2015

9. Try to catch a rat snake

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Cause we’ve done a lot of that this summer!

10. Ride the Dinosaur

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At a random Sinclair gas station

11. Take a photo at the Pepsi Bottling Company

#MountainDew in #Marysville

There’s no bottling, just distribution, but a cool sign to show for it

12. Check out the rows of charred catfish heads on fence post

Marysville Trip 2015

You know how some people put boots on fence posts? This guy had a huge collection of huge catfish heads on his!

13. Visit the one room school house

Marysville Trip 2015

It’s a real one room school house

Marysville Trip 2015

14. Check out the Sod House

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It’s a one room furnished house you can look into (which was good for our kids to understand so we can say remind them of it when they claim to need more space! 🙂 )

15. Visit the historical courthouse

Marysville Trip 2015

Disclaimer: we didn’t go in. 🙂 That’s why it got the 15th spot!

 

 

 

 

Surprisingly fun: Kansas Sampler Festival

Our great neighbors gave us passes to the Kansas Sampler in Wamego, which is a “sampling” of all the cities and things the state of Kansas has to offer. Lots of booths, lots of samples, and really, our kind of thing!

Before we even got inside the gates, we ran into these cool people! I mean really, does it get better than this?!!?

Kansas Sampler 2015

Then there was this!! I’ve NEVER seen a baby kangaroo in a mommy’s pouch before!

Kansas Sampler 2015

They had a porcupine too!

Kansas Sampler 2015
And a baby alpaca!
Kansas Sampler 2015

Boo liked the “Boo-sized” goats best

(also, she likes to carry a purse places. She’s gonna make a great mom, always prepared!)Kansas Sampler 2015

This is a model of the hotel we saw just a few weeks ago in Waterville

Kansas Sampler 2015

And found this fun thing on rails! We had wanted to ride it when we were in Waterville, but it was locked. Woohoo!

Kansas Sampler 2015

No idea what this is. But if you can get on something for a picture, we do!

Kansas Sampler 2015

Also, we like to lay on railroad tracks.

Kansas Sampler 2015

Hiland Farms (a local dairy) had these cool milk mustache stickers!

Kansas Sampler 2015

So far this festival has had everything we love most: people dressed up, baby animals, things we can get on/ride, and wood cut outs!

Kansas Sampler 2015

Oh, and props for photos. You can never go wrong with props for photos!

Kansas Sampler 2015

The best give away? Cool sunglasses from the City of Manhattan with the “little apple” on it.
Kansas Sampler 2015

Kansas Sampler 2015

More animals!

Kansas Sampler 2015

Berkley hugged this one:

Kansas Sampler 2015

She’s weird.

Kansas Sampler 2015

Kansas Sampler 2015

And she wanted to take this one homeKansas Sampler 2015

Then someone spotted a “real teeter totter.” I was pumped about this, I haven’t seen one of those in…well, since I was small enough to play on them. Apparently our kids have no idea what a “real teeter totter” is. Cause this ain’t one guys.

Kansas Sampler 2015

Thanks Ron and Stacey for the tickets!! We had a great time!!

Adventure in Wildcat Park

After studying Ecclesiastes all week I wanted to enjoy the good gift of God in children and creation so while Laura was busy I took the Crazies to a new park. Wildcat Park which is out west on Anderson Ave towards Keats.

Wildcat Creek in Manhattan, Kansas.

This old stone bridge was beautiful to look at, but had me worried Berkley was going to drive off the edge. 
Wildcat Creek in Manhattan, Kansas.

Wildcat Creek in Manhattan, Kansas.

As the road ended an orchard of some sort began. I found myself wishing Matt Wilson was with me so I could ask him, what kind of tree is that? and that? and that? 
Wildcat Creek in Manhattan, Kansas.

Berkley Boo wore her bag the whole time and except for that helmet looked the part of Indiana Jones exploring. 
Wildcat Creek in Manhattan, Kansas.

We found ice on some of the river which was cool and added a little Russian Roulette to our adventure since it was 60 degrees out.

Wildcat Creek in Manhattan, Kansas.

Most of the ice held us.

Wildcat Creek in Manhattan, Kansas.

 

Wildcat Creek in Manhattan, Kansas.

 

Nail spike into thin ice seemed like a lesson my child needed to learn, but alas he went home dry.

Wildcat Creek in Manhattan, Kansas.


Wildcat Creek in Manhattan, Kansas.


Wildcat Creek in Manhattan, Kansas.

 

 

Sadie Piper wanted to take a “self picture.” The fact that she didn’t know the term is selfie gave me some hope, her natural ability to know how to take it took away that hope. Wildcat Creek in Manhattan, Kansas.

Boo had a snack in her hand half the afternoon, that’s how she rolls. 
Wildcat Creek in Manhattan, Kansas.

Dad, take a picture, this will look cool. Why does a 3rd grader even consider that? Oh right, her parents take too many photos. 
Wildcat Creek in Manhattan, Kansas.

 

This is Boo’s Silhouette, eating snacks or guarding the Holy Hand Grenade.  Wildcat Creek in Manhattan, Kansas.

 The way I figure it’s only a few feet deep, if it breaks we’ll be fine.

Wildcat Creek in Manhattan, Kansas.

Ice Skatting

Wildcat Creek in Manhattan, Kansas.

Wildcat Creek in Manhattan, Kansas.

Wildcat Creek in Manhattan, Kansas.

Then we saw two women hanging sheets, kids thought it was a homemade hammock. I thought it was a plan to make contact with Aliens. Turned out to be professional photo shoot. They were really nice and offered to take our picture. 
Wildcat Creek in Manhattan, Kansas.

This was the first pitch of the 2015 Wiffleball Season. Knuckleball for a strike…against a six year old.

Wildcat Creek in Manhattan, Kansas.

So we headed back to the car
Wildcat Creek in Manhattan, Kansas.

 But noticed this off the path a bit and decided to check it out.

Wildcat Creek in Manhattan, Kansas.

Becks was first to get lowered into it, to look for snakes so we would know if we needed to panic.

Wildcat Creek in Manhattan, Kansas.

Wildcat Creek in Manhattan, Kansas.

 

After they were all lower in, I told them goodbye and walked off. Then I see this head poke out. Beckham is holding her up.

Wildcat Creek in Manhattan, Kansas.

 

I climbed to the top so I could view them like a petri dish experiment. Wildcat Creek in Manhattan, Kansas.


Wildcat Creek in Manhattan, Kansas.

Wildcat Creek in Manhattan, Kansas.

Crazies in old silo farm thing. #MHK

Sweet Sisters

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This was on Berkley’s tire when we arrived, it survived the day and shows signs of a time time.

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Boo: Dad get a picture of me with my balloon.

Me: Ok, smile normal.

Even being normal she's weird.

Bethlehem Revisited

 

This Advent season MPC got a group to go to “Bethlehem Revisited” a live reenactment of the story of Christ. We were severely out numbered in the kid to adult ratio! IMG_0384

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It was cold this night, but they served cookies and hot chocolate while you waited, so everyone was happy! IMG_0392

They bus you out a few minutes to a property set up for this walk through the story. This was the first time Boo had ever been on a bus!IMG_0407

The thing I loved most was that they started at the beginning, just like God did! So first stop was Moses. There was a fire and a prophet at each stop who foretold Christ’s birth. So you would walk to a station, stop and listen to them explain how they waited for Christ, and then go to the next one.

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They have this whole property decked out for this event. It’s impressive!! Lots of live animals!

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When we got to Bethlehem, it too was so realistic!

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The people got super loud, selling and begging and talking to us!

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Mary pulls up on a real donkey!

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This was my favorite part…it was so dark, but then they got to the part about the angels announcing Christ’s birth, this spot lit up and the “angel” choir sang!

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If you live in Manhattan, make sure you put it on your bucket list! It was great!!

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Children’s Discovery Center in Topeka

Christine introduced us to this gem: The Kansas Children’s Discovery Center!!

TONS of hands on stuff for the kids to do!

Nov 2014

Nov 2014

Painting on glass…brilliant!

Nov 2014

Nov 2014

There was a Dr station, and SP loved the crutches. Funny how those would get old after a day if you really needed them, but she thought they were super fun!

Nov 2014

 

After so many trips to the orthopedic doctor for her arm, SP was a pro at this!!

Nov 2014

 

We are starting them young at the grain bin in Kansas! (you move “grain” around…basically in a circle. No, not “basically”…actually in a circle. Kids were obsessed with this!)

Nov 2014

Nov 2014

So you could easily play inside all day. Easy. But wait…there’s a whole outside part too!!

Nov 2014
They have a huge paved path for the huge shed of ride toys! 

Nov 2014
Nov 2014
We didn’t see nearly all there was to see in one morning there. Well worth the trip many times over!!