End of school craziness!

May is packed with kids’ school stuff: field trips, parties, field days, all sorts of fun stuff! Here’s some of the fun:

3rd grade went to K-State’s bowling alley

1st grade went to the Salina Zoo!

And so did 5th grade!

Field day!

One too many uses of the sacks for sack races meant Berkley killed it in the race!!

1st grade had a hot dog cook out for lunch. Berkley’s good friend Mason! (look at the height difference!)

3rd grade went to Konza and saw all the bison they raise there.

AND they went to City Park to play at the Splash Park.


It wasn’t a bad month to be a kid! 🙂


When I pack my lunch to go with the kids on field trips, Brian draws my napkins. He doesn’t disappoint:


Christmas break happenings

One of our bathrooms has been the only room I hate in our house. It’s needed new texture on the walls since we moved in…3 years ago. But I kept putting it off cause who wants to take that on??

The only before pics I could find were when we looked at the house before buying it (Beckham!!!!). The texture was cracking and peeling off, so it wasn’t just something a good coat of paint would fix either.


So I finally bit the bullet and took it on over the break. Here’s how I felt about this project:

Here’s what happened to the laundry when it was neglected because of this project:Dec 2016

It was every bit as horrible as I thought it was going to be, so I feel justified in my procrastination. But the end result I love!

Fixing this room also meant many trips to Home Depot. One trip the Bigs got to stay home, but Berkley’s just too small unpredictable to be able to stay home yet, so she had to come. She brought her babies.

Dec 2016

And she got to wear her footies. (Perks of being the youngest…I so would have made Becks put on clothes)

Dec 2016

What happened between the picture above and this one??

Dec 2016

For Christmas Berkley got a kick in the face AND stitches! She was one tough girl!

Boo stitches

We spent a full 24 hours getting only yogurt in her and only via a medicine syringe!

Dec 2016

But once she felt better, she played Doctor and gave her kids stitches!

Dec 2016

Dec 2016

We baked cookies, cause you have to over Christmas break!!


SP did Elf on the Shelf one day. She used her best Elf handwriting!

It says: Yay! Look me and my friends are in the white rectangle that is a mini North Pole” (the fridge!)  Dec 2016

The day after Thanksgiving we realized we didn’t have Christmas tree anymore. I had made enough decisions and told Brian to pull the trigger on something. Three days later this came in the mail:

Dec 2016

Dec 2016

Brian’s mom got the kids this awesome swing for our front yard!!


And Sadie Piper got a significant hair chop!

Sadie getting bangs at 8. Sadie hair

So this happened…

So I left town one weekend and Brian got kittens!!

Feb 2016

Kidding. That’s not how it went down, but would anyone have been surprised?

I wish I could say that’s what happened cause then maybe I wouldn’t be the crazy girl who keeps getting animals. But alas. I cannot distance myself from this decision.

But let me show you why I am powerless over this:

It’s a boy and a girl. The girl we named Dory. The boy, Mr Nubbers. Cause he has a nub tail. It’s adorable. He wags it. Dory doesn’t have a full tail either! So random!

Here you can see their tails and Mr N wagging it!

Feb 2016

Berkley treats these cats just like she did Junie B. And they respond the same. They DON’T RUN. WHY NOT?!

And have dominion over the ...kittens? #genesis1

But I mean really, how cute is this?!

Mr Nubbers

They are super playful, and are stinking cute when they jump!

Feb 2016

And when they just lay there…

 Feb 2016

And when they sleep. They were 6 weeks old when we got them!

Feb 2016

This picture makes me laugh. It’s kind of a really accurate snap shot of my life: Amazon is pulled up, a sermon CD to edit, a receipt to reimburse, a to do list, books I’m reading, and now a cat.   Feb 2016

Let them eat cereal!

I knew going into the week it was going to be crazy busy, so in discussing this Brian said dinners needed to be kept super simple. Somehow this morphed into, “well, let’s just have cereal for dinner all week!”

We don’t eat a ton of cereal. We have nothing against it, but 2/3 of the kids won’t even use milk and just eat it dry. That’s weird. They get to keep a box of “sugar cereal” around for Lord’s Day Breakfast (we want Sundays to be set apart, and one way is that they get whatever they want for breakfast on the Sabbath!), but just aren’t huge cereal eaters. Which honestly made this project that much more fun!

So we loaded everyone up to go pick out 2 cereals per person! (I started to make the “NOT ALL SUGAR CEREAL!” rule, but Brian, aka the fun parent, patiently reminded me to just go with it and keep it fun. So, sugar here we come!)

Brian tried to keep variety in his!

Cereal galore!!

This boy cracks. me. up.

Runaway Peacock

One of our neighbors has lived here since she was a little girl and she told us the zoo used to be free, with no fences, so her and her siblings would walk through the field in our back yard straight to the zoo. And that the peacocks (they still aren’t caged inside the zoo) would come and sit outside her window (which sounds cool, until you hear the noise a peacock makes). But now that the zoo has admission, we don’t get peacocks. Until last week!


Our week


This room has been our “what if” room. It was added on to our house at some point as a sun room. It was enclosed, but just with storm windows. We could cool it down in the summers with a window unit, but it was no match for the winter. The room became unusable once it got cold. We always thought about sealing it off, but then we realized we don’t know what we are doing. Then we met the Machinas. And our life changed! Rich has helped Brian transform it into a real live room we can use….all year round!




SP chipped in!


I’ll post another pic once it’s done! Yay!! THANKS RICH!!!

These two drew mouse noses and flowers on each other. Why??


Our little nerd! He’s listening to Harry Potter and reading comic books!


Brian braided Boo’s hair, but I guess didn’t have a hair tie. So he improvised. With a stapler.


Oh, you know, just hanging with James Harden…in cardboard.

James Harden and I hung out today. I taught him how to shoot a half court hook shot. #rockets #jamesharden #nba


It’s birthday season around here. How did he get to be 9??


Sometimes there’s something deep. Sometimes funny. Sometimes wise. Never know what we will find written on the fridge. This day it was just weird.


Elf on the Shelf (week 1)

We have the stuffed one…cause when I bought it I didn’t know what it was…but it’s worked for us!

November 2014


This would have been cuter with green food coloring, but I didn’t have any. The kids INSISTED it tasted like strawberry milk. It didn’t.





Berkley puts the Elf to bed with her baby every day!



RiverRanch 2014

A highlight of our summer every year is RiverRanch. This year, it was even sweeter cause we got to see so many students whom we miss dearly and spend a whole week with them!!

We found this mechanical Big Foot on the side of the road on our way there!

This was the FIRST year in SEVEN that it has rained on our canoeing day. Sam was less than thrilled it looks like…

RiverRanch 2014

Beckham wasn’t pumped either!

RiverRanch 2014

Rain didn’t put a damper on playing wiffle ball. On the river. Off a bridge. This is Brian pitching and Sam hitting, both while jumping!

RiverRanch 2014

Hannah and Annie, canoe buds. It stopped raining too! RiverRanch 2014

There was, as always, turtle catching. This is the mean kind of turtle, softshell. RiverRanch 2014

RiverRanch 2014

Turtle hunting discipleship:

RiverRanch 2014

Beckham caught a quarter-sized turtle all by himself! This little guy was adorable!

RiverRanch 2014Lunch break! It’s always sandwiches, chips and Famous Amos cookies. It’s the best lunch ever cause you are famished. RiverRanch 2014RiverRanch 2014

Brian and Sam sinking a canoe. On accident. RiverRanch 2014 RiverRanch 2014

Trying to win back their “man cards”RiverRanch 2014

Sharpie tattoos are always fun! 

Then Becks drew Brian a mustache too!

Me and Hannah’s selfie!RiverRanch 2014

On Wednesday we have land day. No canoeing, just games at camp. We have a super (non) competitive 2v2 basketball tourney. There’s always lots of cheating. That’s what makes it fun for those of us who don’t know how to play. Once the cheater teams get knocked out, the players who really know how to play get to enjoy the real game!

RiverRanch 2014 RiverRanch 2014

Is this not the coolest picture of the coolest of girls??

Celebrating victory through collision. #basketball @hailstorrrrm @_maryhershberger @radical_riley

Watching the games!

RiverRanch 2014

Beckham spends a lot of the week making things with duct tape. Such as this back pack…

RiverRanch 2014

RiverRanch 2014

Another great picture. It’s Rico doing the most epic belly flop ever!

RiverRanch 2014

The belly flop was the ending to the “Intern’s Relay Race” which is always so fun! It culminates with a huge shaving cream war!

RiverRanch 2014

Brookie representing MPC!

Kids enjoying the turtles that made it back! 

Morgan and Chris’s interpretive dance! 

We’ve acquired quite the hodge podge of supplies over the years. We get out our “camp bins” twice a year (once for each camp, HS and Jr High), and then load them up again for 11 months. Somehow little boy undies made it into a bin…

RiverRanch 2014

Annual traditional RiverRanch group picture! RiverRanch 2014

Our last night there is a dance party! Here’s the boys ready to dance and sing!     

The rest of the 500 photos are here 🙂

Spring Break 2014: Projects and fun

Brian has been waiting months for it to warm up so he could work on some projects that have been on his mind since we moved in. Spring Break week it did!!

When it rains, our house becomes its own little island. Which may be cool if it was in the Caribbean, but not so much when it just means we have to trudge through mud to get inside.

First up, extending the deck to cover the low spot where water pools. Keep in mind this is a first for us. We did a few projects in KC, but we also had our amazing wonderful helpful neighbor Ron!

He did it!!

He used Legos as spacers, but in his defense, it worked! 🙂


He had to search all over town for someone who had the tool to make a long vertical cut. (Many times he mentioned how much he missed Ron again. We would often show up at their house with a random something and ask for help. But he always had a solution. So we kept showing up! :)). He found this cute man!!

 He spruced up the mailbox

Assimilation. #kstate #mhk

We had a huge ol’ ugly bush, tree thing in our front yard. Now it’s gone and there’s a cute SP in it’s place!


Then there’s the patio. This was no small feat. Brian’s envisioned it for months, and researched and went at it!

If we can't get to the beach, we'll bring the beach to us. #SpringBreak

Many, many, many hundreds of pounds of dirt, sand and pavers later…

Chris and Rudy stopped by to help some. Brian set them up with some entertainment!

These two worked on our patio...and watched a little "Office" at the same time thanks to Brian's sweet set up! Thanks guys!! @rudyprins @christopherearnshaw

The Office and heavy lifting, anyone?

These two worked on our patio...and watched a little "Office" at the same time thanks to Brian's set up! Thanks guys! @rudyprins @christopherearnshaw

But we made time for some fun trips out on the warmer days!

Berkley. Dressed as Dorothy. Snack on her face. Helmet on backwards. Ready to ride?


Then it was time to really ride on Linear Trail! It's official bicycle season! #mhk

It was still a little too cold this morning!


We introduced the kids to Kites Wednesday lunch special: A slider burger and fries for only $1!! Wowee! 

Manhattan Week One

Weird moment

July 31st 2013.

That’s the day we actually moved. That’s the day we woke up from our pipe dream to learn it wasn’t a dream at all.

That’s the day we wondered what we had just done to our lives.

God willing that is a day we look back on and say God has been faithful to build His Church and we have been blessed to watch Him do so.

Anyway, we’ve taken pictures this first we week like we always do. I know we take a ton of photos. I post a ton, I just love experiencing life and watching our kids and youth and others do so as well. Plus everything is better in photographs than they were in real life. Photos are even better than video for great memory purposes. Trust me: Go look back at old photos and tell me it doesn’t bring back great memories. So here are pictures of our first week in Manhattan.

The Creecy’s watched the Crazies so we could come up early and do some basic house readying. So Laura and I drove out of KC on the evening of July 31st. It was really sad, this idea that an era or an epic in our life had just closed. Not that the relationships had closed, but the place we had at Redeemer which was so much a part of our identity. Who we were was suddenly no more and we still don’t fully grasp we are now. The photo above we took of ourselves as a later reminder of the moment we God brought us to this new calling and adventure.

After that we ate at Taco Lucha, seriously the best tacos I’ve had outside of Mexicali, Mexico. We snuck into our new home and did some floor cleaning while talking with some people whom the owners had sent to clean the house as well.

After that we headed for Fort Shanahan, also known as home base. After that our faithful movers of Rudy, Chris, Sam, Zach and Dunning moved stuff while Tim Rackley did some carpentry work allowing for our fridge to fit.

The rest of the photos are not really in chronological order, but are from our first week here.

First time we had a room together so that we could read together.

Did a little Thrift Storing, Becks has two heads.

Sadie Piper found a horse to ride.

Berkley is pumped about this flower, she tried to pick it.

Brian: Berkley shut the door

Berkley: I don’t know how to

Brian: Try your best

Here are the results

Saturday we took our inaugural bike ride. We headed down to Varsity Donuts.

Took our inaugural bicycle ride today. Went to Varsity and City Park. #manhattanks #littleapple #varsitydonuts

Found this sign at the park. I simply do not understand the point of it.

I used this sign to understand what Becks is communicating to me. #manhattanks

On our last night at Redeemer we were encouraged by so many loving and kind words regarding our seven years of ministry there. At the end the elders prayed over us, I don’t have a picture of this, but I’m glad Hat took one.

Last dinner in town at the Reymonds. These two middlest were having a great time.

Since Summer was coming to an end we’ve felt tugged between get the house into some order and go have fun with kids in this new environment. Becks has been wanting to go fishing so went to the Rocky Ford Fishing Area. It is like 2 minutes outside of town, but feel like 100 miles away from civilization.

and we caught a bass

Same Bass

Hat had some much needed down time with Becks.

Few days after we arrived the Dunnings came providing some fun partners for kids.

Girl’s room is not done yet, but here is where they sleep for now.

We didn’t have a functioning kitchen for awhile so we ate out a few times. It’s been years since eating at Long John Silver’s. It will be years before we eat there again. It tasted good, but the grease can be a bit overwhelming.

This was the toilet seat the house came with.

Amy showing her love for Manhattan.

Jon making a chalk board wall while Andria scrubs some nasty black stuff off the floor.

The day we moved stuff into our house was also Presbytery. We hosted it. Which in this case meant Tim Rackley worked his butt off to organize a worship service and make bulletins and such. God willing next August when we host it we will actually host it.

I love this picture because the three of us have been talking about his moment happening for years. We didn’t know it would be the three of us standing on the rock back then, but couldn’t be more excited that it is.

This is the outside of our home. I plan to agent orange that bush.

Some friends who are totally worthy of accolades that I won’t give here 🙂 bought us a year pass to the zoo behind our house. We are very thankful and so excited about this. Sadie Piper’s favorite zoo animal is the “Ramingos” (Flamingos). She’s never been able to get this close to them before and was pumped.

These things are near the kangaroos, thought they made a good background.

Close up of same picture


Have I mentioned how great these Tacos are? After Presbytery Ubuntu, Tim and I had lunch with the youth directors of Oak Hills (Connor) and New Hope (Zach). It’s so wonderful to see these guys ministering in our presbytery.

The Zoo had a splash day going on when we walked over. One part of that was the mermaid that was present. She said she had been sitting there for nearly five hours (made we wonder how clean that water was).

The entrance.

At the cemetery we  recreated this picture that Andria and Morgan had taken a few months back.

Hat helped stain the kitchen table Laura bought on Craigslist. Our old one wouldn’t fit right in new house.

Here is Berkley full of joy. (Maybe someone accused her of stealing rhubarbs)

These two just looking cute while we fished.

Dorks being dorks.

The girls put on a dance show in the midst of the mess.

Boo Cuddling with the bear Carolyn got them.

This bear is getting fresh with Berkley, good thing the cemetery is close by..

First story time in new house.

It's good to be back together!

This is Beckham’s new principal, Nancy Cole. She was really really nice and from Texas (guess that is redundant).

Beck ham & Sadie Piper's new principal at Lee Elementary, Nancy Cole. She's from San Antonio Texas :-) and very kind! Unfortunately they are the Lee Longhorns.

Dunning with giant sling shot.

Link off to save Zelda

Berkley asked us if she looked like a statue and then did this. Hat can also make crazy eyes.


This is Tim. He is totally that guy who when he sees littering or graffiti or trash can blown over he immediately blames teenagers. He even acts like he is grouchy, but if you ever were in trouble or jail or needed a hand with anything he is also the first guy you’d call cause you know he would help. He did some carpentry and installation work for us the day we moved in that we never could have done ourselves. We were accidental twins on this day. Roxie Vos even taught him to dance the Macarena.


Here I am pondering how work gets done while eating some pizza.

That’s also the window they took off cause Laura wanted a couch that wouldn’t fit in any doors.

"Moving is hard work. How are we getting all this done so quickly?" -Brian Hough.

Since we “hosted” Presbytery meeting (it’s a gathering of all the PCA churches elders in a region for prayer and business stuff) we took them out to Aggieville (fantastic name of street with bars and food and stuff near campus, think north gate but bigger).

Fellowship in Manhattan

That’s all.