How We Survived Laura’s Trip to NYC

Laura’s got a great friend from High School who is spending some time in New York with work and invited her to spend the weekend with here. So that left me in charge of keeping these children alive.

At first I was trying to get work done and watch them, but found myself not doing a good job of either so I decided to head out and do some fun stuff.

After Swim lessons we adventures near the Linear Trail and checked out a few garage sales. Sadie even negotiated a three dollar dog down to $1 cause that’s all she has left after buying something else recently.

I stopped by Lids for a Colt .45s Hat and these guys found Astros hats. Berkley’s smiling, but I don’t think she can see anything.

#astros hats

During Taste of the Ville Laura got up on the bar at Tubby’s. We went back there and got a little crazy. College towns pretty great, not even a hesitation when I asked if they could get on the bar.

We picked up some pizza and went to the Splash Fountain in Blue Earth Plaza. They were draining it for cleaning and the crazies were mesmerized watching the water tornado.

Saturday morning we headed to the June Teenth Parade and Celebration. I swear there is a parade every week in Manhattan.

Along the way we found this very hospitable chairs to take a break in. 

You know, they really weren’t that comfortable.

Got our spots for the parade.

Had some time so we played a little Wiffleball. Riley County Courthouse makes a good centerfield fence.

He connected on this one.

Parade Time.

There was an all drums marching dancing group. Berkley found them too loud.

We passed them again while riding to City Park for the Fair.

This is a model house from the early years of Manhattan.

Inside are all sorts of artifacts.

There was free ice cream from a Schwan’s truck.

Trackless Train rides, also free.

Bounce house.

Then we rode home.

Here is their loot from Parade. K-State t-shirts and candy.

Afternoon Pool with Hat. I admit  I was exhausted at this point in the day. Hat took the kids for Purple Swirl I sat still for first time all weekend. Then we met at the pool where she continued to play with the crazies and I thankfully got caught up on some reading I needed to do. They were so tired they crashed early that night.

Crazies liked jumping off the edge, Berkleys suit ends up Brazilian style for some reason.

So her suit is quite wedgied here. I love the picture though. Hand up, not a care in the world, it’s the image of summer for a four year old.

Early Sunday we read a devotion about treasure hunting (Jesus is the treasure), then we went “treasure” hunting with the metal detectors Uncle Scott and Aunt Laura got us for Christmas. Everytime they went by the metal pipe it went off and they got pretty excited. We didn’t find anything this time.

All summer they’ve been doing the reading program at the library and earned free ice cream cones from Vista Hamburgers. So we had ice cream at 10 AM.

They don’t usually get cones this big, so they were pumped and then took half an hour to eat them.

I thought this was a good sister picture. When they look back on this they’ll think they grew up in the 70s though. 

Sadie Piper was so excited about her ice cream she spend like 45 minutes reading when we got home working towards her next free ice cream cone.


After lunch we had a water balloon fight. Here are the contestants.

Then I gave them their first bath/showers since last Thursday. Boy I miss Shari Felich when Laura’s out of town.

After that a great night at our Parish Group for Bible Study, a meal and USA World Cup match.

Laura gets home on Monday afternoon. We survived.

Rock City Kansas Day Trip

Rock City in Kansas

This summer we decided to take a few day trips. The plan on this day was to go see the World’s Largest Ball of Twine. But then we learned there was a place called Rock City we could go to instead.

Along the way were these huge wheat fields so we stopped for a picture.

Rock City in Kansas

Rock City in Kansas


There are many theories on how these rocks came to be here, glaciers, world flood, Giant Jayhawks who brought them from the great lakes (indian theory). We thought it was another little facet of God’s creativity in creation. Here in the middle of prairies are these rocks that are so distinct and different. There are writing on them that date back to the 1700s.

Rock City in Kansas

It’s a little south of Minneapolis, Kansas. We brought a picnic lunch and ate before we adventured.

Rock City in Kansas

Sadie Piper introduced Simba

Sadie Lion King


What surprised me was they don’t want you to just look, but encourage climbing all over these things.

Rock City in Kansas


Boo found a “Boo Sized” rock for her to climb.

Becks and I got right to it.

Rock City in Kansas

Rock City in Kansas

We played a little wiffleball while up there too.


Rock City in Kansas

I took a picture of Laura jumping, but missed it by a little.

Rock City in Kansas

Take Two

Rock City in KansasRock City in Kansas

I’ll admit in my head this was much more graceful.

Rock City in KansasRock City in KansasRock City in KansasRock City in Kansas

Berks and I ate some spinach and then tore this rock apart.

Rock City in Kansas

All these rocks and Sadie Piper climbs a tree.

Rock City in Kansas

One rock had a hole in it.

Rock City in KansasRock City in KansasRock City in KansasRock City in Kansas

That’s her pose

Rock City in KansasRock City in KansasRock City in KansasRock City in Kansas

This one is the rock throne.

Rock City in KansasRock City in Kansas

If I ever get anointed King of a nation I’m sending my army to get this as my throne.

Rock City in KansasRock City in Kansas

We are very immature and thought this rock looked like a butt.

Rock City in Kansas

Here is another angle.

Rock City in KansasRock City in Kansas

On the way home we stopped in Junction City at this weird place with strange decorations.

Rock City in KansasRock City in KansasRock City in KansasRock City in KansasRock City in KansasRock City in Kansas

This was a fun cheap trip if you’re ever looking for an adventure.

End of school year happenings

I mean really.

It almost looks like one of those trick photos where the feet are someone else’s!

Beckham’s class went on a field trip to the K-State bowling alley on campus. I think it’s super fun that they walked there!!

We got to join Beck's school for field trip bowling today at K-State. #mhk they even let Boo bowl

This is how Berkley bowls…

I asked Sadie to write a thank you letter to her teacher. She asked what it should say. I told her, “Thank you for teaching me.” This is what she wrote. I love that girl!!

Day one of Summer!!

Brian’s playing softball through the city this summer!

When the games are early enough for us to come watch, you can see here the girls are captivated…

…by the “stage”

His team praying with their opponents after the game. Super cool!

Travis and my softball team, Amazing Grace, praying with other team (New Hope) after game. Having a blast, feeling old. #mhk #manhattanks


K-State Open House

 I saw signs around town advertising K-State’s Open House, and I wrote it off an something for incoming freshmen and their parents. But then Christine tipped me off that’s it actually put on for the town to visit and see the cool stuff all the departments do! So good to have tried and true local friends! :)

We visited Rudy in the architecture building. This is what architects do all day I think.

Watching Rudy hard at work in his major is very similar to watching my second grader at play. @rudyprins

These are really impressive!!

Finally he revealed his senior thesis #ksu

Brian drew a little before leaving the architecture school…

Not really.

Made a Call Hall ice cream stop. Best ice cream ever!!

Little call hall for lunch

After the Coke and Mentos explosion demonstration by Call Hall, these crazies asked to finish off the cokes. They ran the rest of the places we went!

It's how they roll

I love Andrew in this picture…eating his ice cream as he poses among a bunch of girls!  Such a good sport!

K-State Open House was super fun. #kstate

The Animal Science (or maybe Vet School?) had a station to make your own dog treats!


They said they were human edible too. So Tim was the first (bravest!) to try one!

Tim eating a fresh baked dog biscuit...and liking it

I’m a little behind, cause this event was in March, but why does Sadie look so much younger than she does now already?!!?


Becks ate almost his whole bag. Cause we give away dogs. So we don’t have one.

We only hit the tip of the iceberg, and can’t wait for next year!

Taste of the Ville


Every Summer there is a fundraiser put on that is basically the greatest progressive dinner ever devised. 21 different resturants in Aggieville give a sampling of their food in exchange for a $15 ticket. We learned about this event Thursday Night and were bummed to find out it was already sold out.

However, Harriet Reymond surprised us with a pair of tickets and babysitting for the evening which allowed us to go anyway. This was just what we needed, we don’t find time to do date nights like we need to. This was truly refreshing for us.

The tickets serve as a punchcard, you go at your own pace in your own order and get a smaller meal every place. I was worried we’d be hungry still at the end, truth is we couldn’t finish the samplings. We made it to 19 of 21 places, but the last few we didn’t eat due to being so stuffed. Check out some photos from the night.

Radinas gave Galetto, Buffalo Wild Wings gave, you guessed it, Buffalo Wings. Varsity Donuts had these donut holes with a really cool dipping sauce. The lady in the background used to own a gift shop that was located where Varsity is now, fun time for her to come back to that spot to serve a good cause.

Starbucks gave fairly large iced coffee (or Hot Coco or hot Coffee), what was really cool was the syrups were out and free to use to make a fun flavored iced coffee. My expectations for corporate were low, but they did a great job being present locally.


Rock-A-Belly had fresh humus and pita bread. Coco Bolos had some sort of enchilada.

Tanners had these amazing Chicken Fingers (They call them Chicken Lips for some crazy reason).

Tasty China House had Sesame Chicken, fried rice and fried wonton.

Wabash had chili and was celebrating 80s day which explains her outfit.

Wahoo Fire and Ice Grill had tasty spicy chick Ka-bobs. The Goose served an interesting and tasty pizza.

When we went to Tubby’s we followed Eric Tippins advice to ask and people let you do just about anything. So we asked if Laura could get on the bar and sure enough they were totally cool with it.

This is Laura on a bar in Aggieville during taste of the ville. Probably worth noting zero alcohol is involved. Thank you @harrietreymond for making this date night happen. #aggieville

They even helped her do the K-S-U Cheer that Willie does.




The Pita Pit gave half Pita Rolls out and they were very tasty.

Kites had White Queso, that was addictive.

Fuzzy’s Tacos had Chicken Enchiladas, we also ran into Heather Tippins and her friend Megan. We swapped photos taking.

Next stop was Rusty’s Last Chance Mexican Restaurant where they also had enchiladas.

Then Keltic Star Public House. This phone booth is from place  15 minutes away the owner’s town across the pond.

They served this fried egg thing.

Bluestem had Vietnam Tacos, but the process had rendered us unable eat much more by this point so we regrettably didn’t try it. Here you see Ben (ManhattanPres Peep) and Ben. They were basically twins this day.

Cold Stone gave out ice cream. Afterwards we saw these swings in a front yard. One of them doesn’t look safe to me, definitely want to be one of the first two kids out to play.

Here are our score cards.

All in all one of the most fun events put on in Manhattan that we’ve been to. We plan to buy tickets first day they go on sale next year and would love to do it with a group next year if you’re up for it.

We are bleeding Frozen…along with every other household

Disney is brilliant. Plain and simple. I can’t tell if Frozen is better than the previous movies, or if’s marketed better, or if our generation remembers movies like The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast coming out when we were young and now we are living vicariously, or maybe our kids are just now old enough to be obsessed and that’s why it seems more than any other movie. Whatever it is, we can’t get enough Frozen around here.

Fun shirts from my mom

I adore these hats and plan to wear them on days they don’t this winter.

Dress up time

Berkley is Anna in the sleigh and Becks is Sven

And Sadie is Elsa

Craft time

This is Beckhams–he made one carrot and Olaf and Sven share it!

Elsa, by Sadie

Elsa, by Berkley


Berkley copying Sadie’s


This was Berkley copying Beckham’s Sven. Not bad!!

Beckham’s Elsa

Sadie’s Elsa

Tuttle Creek Lake Association Fishing Clinic

Damian Hilton told me about a fishing clinic put on by the Tuttle Creek Lake Association. Their goal is to introduce kids to the joy of fishing. There are many sponsors that help them provide a free fishing pole to every child who registers to take part in the clinic, 125 this year. We had a great time, read on to little more about what it includes.


We met at Susan B Anthony Middle School for introductions and to learn about fishing. There were five stations we rotated around and learned about safety, about types of fish, baits/lures and how to tie a hook on. This guy below reminded me of Paul Harvey (and that is the rest of the story guy), like a great grandpa telling stories.

This is the hook they used to teach us to tie the line to the hook.

I'm a realist, but Beckham is clearly an optimist.

Our small group for rotations.

Learning to fish thanks to Tuttle Creek Lake Association. #mhk #tuttlecreek



We all met at Anneberg Park on Anderson Ave. Varsity Donuts provided breakfast for the masses.


Here are the poles everyone get to take home with them.


A couple of days before they stock the lake with over 700 catfish and blue gill. No one is permitted to fish there until after this clinic ends, which means bunches of hungry fish.


Beckham made a new friend who also liked to catch frogs while we were waiting for festivities to begin.


This is the group gathering.

We are being told we can’t cast for the kids and that they need to tie their own hook on and so on. They really want them to learn. There is also a contest for biggest fish, biggest stringer, and smallest fish by boys and girls. Six trophies in all.

May the odds be ever in your favor! The Fishing Games are about to begin. #mhk #manhattanks

This is how excited Beckham is just to have a free pole.

700 fish put in pond two days ago #mhk #manhattanks

The foghorn marked the start of what seemed like the Hunger Games as everyone marked out their territory.

Here we are.

Tuttle Creek Lake Association Fishing Clinic


Tuttle Creek Lake Association Fishing Clinic

His first fish, a tiny blue gill.

Tuttle Creek Lake Association Fishing Clinic

He’s pumped.

Tuttle Creek Lake Association Fishing Clinic

The Marines sent some helpers out who were great with the children. This soldier is wrestling Iris’s big catfish to the ground.

Tuttle Creek Lake Association Fishing Clinic

Everyone was catching fish left and right.

Tuttle Creek Lake Association Fishing ClinicTuttle Creek Lake Association Fishing ClinicTuttle Creek Lake Association Fishing ClinicTuttle Creek Lake Association Fishing Clinic

The poor girl next to use caught a little fish and then a few minutes later something ate half of it.

Tuttle Creek Lake Association Fishing ClinicTuttle Creek Lake Association Fishing ClinicTuttle Creek Lake Association Fishing Clinic

Becks even caught a Crappie

Tuttle Creek Lake Association Fishing ClinicTuttle Creek Lake Association Fishing ClinicTuttle Creek Lake Association Fishing ClinicTuttle Creek Lake Association Fishing ClinicTuttle Creek Lake Association Fishing ClinicTuttle Creek Lake Association Fishing ClinicTuttle Creek Lake Association Fishing ClinicTuttle Creek Lake Association Fishing ClinicTuttle Creek Lake Association Fishing Clinic

Tuttle Creek Lake Association Fishing Clinic

By the end Beckham caught 1 Catfish, 2 Bluegills and 1 Crappie. He had a blast and we’ll be fishing more for sure.

You can see all the pictures if you’d like here.

Herd Ball season

This year was the first time any of the kids played organized soccer. Also known as “herd ball” at these ages! Such a great experience for the big kids and really fun to watch too!

Moray Eels - Beckham Soccer Spring 2014

Moray Eels - Beckham Soccer Spring 2014Moray Eels - Beckham Soccer Spring 2014
Moray Eels - Beckham Soccer Spring 2014

The refs at these games. Oh the patience! They were all so sweet and really used the opportunity to teach these kids the rules. I was really impressed with them!

Moray Eels - Beckham Soccer Spring 2014

The “concentrating tongue.”

Moray Eels - Beckham Soccer Spring 2014

Love her smile!

Love her smile while she plays #mhk

Sadie Piper scored her first goal tonight for The Beetles! #mhk


Beetles Soccer (Sadie Piper 2014)

Learning the throw in:

Beetles Soccer (Sadie Piper 2014)

I adore girls and their outfits. Even for playing soccer, there was a lot of thought put into this. When I asked Sadie what she needed for her soccer games she said, “Cleats. A soccer ball. And a hair do.” That’s my girl!

Beetles Soccer (Sadie Piper 2014)

Hat became a regular fixture at the games! She was master multi-tasker during the games though: watching and cheering for Becks or Sadie, and playing with the other two who wanted her attention too!

This picture is awesome cause it looks like Hat’s body slamming Boo! (They were really doing some fancy dancing!)

Moray Eels - Beckham Soccer Spring 2014

After the first game, we learned there’s a half time with, get this, NO entertainment. So Hat organized a half time show…to the tune of Frozen!

Best Halftime Show Ever at soccer game tonight.

Only one of these three can reach this high…

Moray Eels - Beckham Soccer Spring 2014

“Who me?”

Moray Eels - Beckham Soccer Spring 2014

Our cheering section!

Beetles Soccer (Sadie Piper 2014)

This is how they roll.

Beetles Soccer (Sadie Piper 2014)

I really even can’t remember what sparked this…

Beetles Soccer (Sadie Piper 2014)

Overall, a great season for both the kids! The worst part was having to cheer for “Beckham”…cause there’s no way to not look like psycho obsessed parents when you are cheering for your son Beckham playing soccer…

Summer of Day Trips: Clay Center

We’ve lived in Manhattan 10 months now. And although we feel very settled, we also still very new. Here’s what we’ve learned about central/west Kansas so far: Manhattan (population 56,000) is the “big city.” We’ve also learned that these smaller towns are gems!! One of the things on our Summer Bucket List is to check out these neighboring towns. The ones within about 2 hours constitute a day trip, and that’s perfect for our family!

Our first trip was out to a town called Clay Center (I thought it was a concert venue when I first heard it mentioned. Nope. A town.). Nicola told us the three things we needed to do there. 1. Nut rolls from the local bakery 2. The city park 3. The zoo

On a wet Saturday we decided to just drive there and check it out. Honestly, we didn’t have super high expectations. I’m not even sure why.

Our expectations were COMPLETELY wrong! This little town is a gold mine of fun! (Since it was rainy, we didn’t get to play as long as we would have liked, but plan to go back and spend the day!!)

On our way there (it’s about a 45 min drive) we found tanks!

And patriotic barns!

We went off of Nicola’s list, but made a stop at an adorable antique shop downtown. They had a lot of thrifty stores that I could have spent all day in! Brian made some rooster friends.

At this store Brian asked where the famous bakery was. They told him down the road. So we got in the car…and drove 3 stores down (also known as about 5 parking spots!). So we learned that “down the road” is a relative term!


They were out of nut rolls :( (But no worries, we got normal donuts!) Also, what is Beckham doing?

Home of the Nut Rolls, but sold out so we'll be back. @niiiiiiicola they know your family. #claycenter

Next stop: Park!

No exaggeration, hands down the coolest park/playground we’ve EVER been to!

(this is where we got the idea to use Brian’s leftover plexiglass to do this to the girls’ playhouse…but that’s a later post!)

Things I loved about this park: It was broken up with fences into age ranges. So if you had smaller kid, there’s a super cool section for them. Also, it wasn’t the typical playground stuff. You can tell this was custom made and well thought out!

They had what I assume was donor names on the fence. This was our favorite!


We could have stayed for hours. Alas, we moved on to stop #3, the zoo.

Don’t bother bringing your horse by the way

So, “zoo” is a loose term for this, but well worth a trip!

This friends, is the a giant hamster wheel. For squirrels. Nicola told us about this too, but really, you have to see it in person to fully appreciate this!

Scrappy foxes!

Brian and I laughed cause every time we glanced at these signs all we saw was “KILL animals”

They had some super cute monkeys!

Talked to the parrot:

We learned from the zoo keeper that ravens are actually super smart and they talk!

There was a runaway duck (if you can call a wild duck a runaway?) that the kids insisted needed to come back in the gates.

Brian ended up catching him!

Our very favorite face Sadie makes! :)

Photobomb, SP style!

So now we’ve hit everything we set out to, and as we are driving away, I scream, “(gasp!) STOP! GO BACK!” You can imagine Brian, as the driver, didn’t love this. (I actually do this a lot. I need to control my emotions better)

But once he saw what I had seen, all was forgiven!

Who needs Disney World when you have Clay Center, KS?! We found Mater!!

Every detail on this truck was spot on!


On our way home we found a Harriet road!!

So yeah, this place is a gem!!

Houston Astros Birthday Cookies


For my birthday every year Laura makes something desserty with the theme of a sports team or something I’m interested in. In the past it’s been FC Dallas Cookies or Astros Cake  even WCA cookies. This year she made a Hall of Fame worthy collection of historical and current Houston Astros jerseys. Even has most of the current roster in numbers.

She so outdid herself this year, I have no idea what she is going to do next year.

Laura made the best #Astros cookies ever for my birthday. #mlb #cookies @astrosbaseball

This is the team that started on the night before my birthday. Including new rookie George Springer in right field.



Dexter Fowler in a throwback jersey



From 1962-1964 the Astros were named the Colt .45s after the gun.



Cookie Springer



Rainbow Jersey from the 1980s


1965 Astros Jersey with shooting star on the front.



Chris Carter in current orange jersey




This is the rainbow side current Sunday jersey, my favorite.













More #Astros cookies. I love them

This was their logo in my childhood.

Dallas Keuchel in throwback Colt’s jersey