Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Awana awards night 2016

Another year of Youth Group and Awana has come and gone. The days are long but the years are fast. This year flew by!

Samuel completed his second year of Cubbies and will move on to Sparks in the fall when he starts Kindergarden (whaaaaat?!). He's in the leftmost middle row.

Evie finished her second year of Sparks and is moving up to Truth and Training next year for third grade.

Crazy Evie was quite excited with her Sparkies plaque.  

Our friends Faith and Damon's son, Henry, who is Evie's age, won the Sparks Honor Award, the same one Noah received three years ago

Last of all was Noah's turn.

He finished Truth and Training this year and is headed for sixth grade and the Youth Group next year. My mind is blown. His first year was only in 2011-2012, which he completed when we first moved back to Rapid, but wow, he's so big now! 

And finally, Ezra is graduating from the nursery and on to Cubbies next year. I will finally have no children in the nursery on Wednesday nights and I'm happy about that. I have big kids now. As soon as Ezra figures out potty training that is... 


A few weeks ago we met Amanda and her crew at the library to get books (obviously) and hang out.

Boys don't need many words, just to sit by each other. I love their side by side reading. 

I present to you Noah and Moses, the patriarchs. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

my new bike!

The day we returned from our get away, Terry took my bike to the shop to have it looked over and then did some browsing at the shop since we were interested in purchasing a new bike. After Noah went mountain biking a month ago on my bike, we realized that it would be a bit silly for him to take his bike on the Middle School Bike Trip this summer. It's too small already and he was more than capable on my bike. 

So when Terry returned he informed me of a bike that was for sale on clear-out. We texted David, who is a bike expert, and all went down there to check it out.

It turned out David had this exact same bike years ago and loved it. 

I liked the bike because of the larger 29 inch tires (mine were 26 inch) - you can see below my old bike on the left compared to the new one on the right. Apparently 29s make it easier to climb the hill and get over rocks - more power. Everything else was also far superior to mine - the brakes, the shocks, the frame, etc. When I rode it around I felt like I had more control, it just felt better. Really, all that should be unsurprising since mine was nine years old and it never was that great of a bike. The only thing I was worried about was that it only had one gear in the front and ten in the back. This makes changing gears super simple since it's one handed. However, I typically ride in the first gears in the front and back so I worried that I wouldn't have enough easy "granny" gears. David, who has seen me ride, along with the shop owner convinced me that I could handle it. 

So we bought it! How's that for an impulse buy?! It was a great deal and a wonderful bike.

Me and my new bike! I was a bit in shock until I took it out the following day.  

My first ride was amazing! It was a quick ride on the Storm Mountain cross country loop but it can't even compare to what it was like to ride my old bike. After every ride on that one I was completely bankrupt of energy. I was so absolutely and completely exhausted. This time I was flying along rolling over things I certainly didn't before. I wasn't as tired and I had a lot more fun. No longer was I worried about not having enough gears. I love my bike!

A week later we all rode M Hill after dinner. They'd all rode these trails tens and maybe hundreds of times, but I haven't. We did one called Wild Turkey and then came down on the west side. Again, I had a fantastic time. I was hard on the uphill, but not nearly as hard as before. At the top we stopped to enjoy the view and take a photo. I didn't even know any of this was up there!

Me too, blocking the pretty cliffs.

This is looking out west to the hills and was where we posed below... 

There we are: Jazmin, David, Denise, Zeb, me, and Emma.

Terry had the idea that I keep track of every single ride I do on my new bike. Maybe I will!

Friday, May 13, 2016

getting away

For several months I've been considering how I could make it work for Terry and I to stay at our friends' (Paul and Jana) cabin. They'd told us several times that they'd love for us to stay there but I just didn't know what to do with our four kids. My chance came when Noah had an Awana overnight as a reward for all his hard work this year. Since he was going to be gone, if I could pass off the other three it could finally work. Asher was also going on the overnight so Evie stayed with his sister Elle. My parents took the two littles. Wahoo! 

After we dropped everyone off, we drove to The Alpine Inn for dinner and dessert and then on past Custer to the cabin. 

The cabin is right on the Mickelson Trail where we've gone biking for many youth trips and have even raced on it for our Marathon Relay. In fact I wanted to train there for our half marathon coming up but the weather was terrible and we didn't really have the time anyway. 

This is the view to the north and the hill to the right is where the boys played when we came up for a fun bike riding afternoon about a month ago. 

Jana and Paul are an excellent team. Paul can construct just about anything and Jana has great decorating sense. She has a sort of biking/rustic/relaxation theme going on. For example, I would have never thought to put an antique bike on the wall, but it looks totally awesome. 

This is probably my favorite thing in the cabin. The photo on the top is the view of the Mickelson Trail (which is a converted railroad) "yesterday" in 1891 and the bottom is "today."

Another rustic touch. What more do you need for a bedside table than a stump? I love it!

This sign is pretty accurate and funny. I'm fond the mason jar lights.

They used a lot of gray bug wood throughout the cabin and notably around the fireplace. I love bugwood - my brother made me a mirror framed in it two Christmases ago.

The fireplace.

We played cribbage...


Terry beat me even though I scored more points. How fair is that? We also watched Ghost Busters, which holds a special spot in my heart.

We had to leave by nine the next morning to get back to our kids but took a photo in the spitting rain before we went to breakfast in Custer. It was so great to get away. And if you want to stay at the cabin, just hit me up and I'll contact Jana for you!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

track training

Two and a half weeks ago we all drove down to the nearly track after dinner, despite the cold, to give the kids some practice with the races they have coming up. 

Every spring at the end of the school year the South Dakota Christian Home Educators put on a Track and Field Day. We've never participated before because baby Ezra was too much to handle in addition to the rest of the kids. But he's nearly three this year and I was on the ball enough to sign us up in time. 
A pic of my hat for Jazmin. 

Ezra sure tried to keep up.

I scooped him up for a picture. He's so cute! I want to eat him.

There's a proper smile. 

High knees. 

It was rather cold that evening. Samuel wore Noah's coat once he took it off. 

And Ezra wore Evie's. Ha ha. You can see long jump practice behind Ez. Then Terry ran a slow 9 minute something mile with Noah while I ran stairs.

Terry took Noah and Evie through their events, then he pushed himself to do the fastest mile he could manage which was 6 minute something. He's an excellent runner, like I mentioned when we did our marathon relay in the fall. He was something of a track star in high school, though he would not say that. His two mile relay team won State twice. He's way better than me, especially when it comes to training for our half marathon in June. 

I guess the Iphone slow motion feature doesn't translate to my computer but you'll get the idea of their standing long jump.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Evie the reader

As you can see, Evie loves reading. She wrote this herself and proclaims it nearly once a day.

She often says, "Is it quiet time yet? I want to read." This was the pile of books in her room a couple weeks ago. She's read through most of them now.

I came downstairs one morning last week to find her like this, reading all alone before anyone else was up. I'm quite happy about this love of hers!

Noah's 4H State Shoot

On Friday, April 22 Terry, Noah, and I drove to Fort Pierre for Noah's 4H State Shooting Competition. He had qualified a few weeks earlier and had been practicing shooting in the garage the days leading up to State. 

Three hours later we arrived. Thankfully we were able to leave the other three kids at home with my mom and it was a pleasant trip. We were quite overwhelmed when we walked into the large fairground arena building but finally found these volunteers at a table at the front. We were at the right place after all and they gave Noah his targets.

After several minutes of dazed wandering we found Noah's BB gun area. Then we just had to wait for his turn at 5pm. There was also archery and perhaps air-guns in the arena. I think .22 rifles compete too. There could be others but I don't even know. 

I climbed the arena stairs to take in the full picture. All those standing pieces of cardboard against the far wall are for the BB gunners. Here is a description from the website:
"The 2016 South Dakota 4-H State Shoot hosted 1,700 youth April 22-24 in the Pierre/Fort Pierre area. Shooters were broken down into age groups and by equipment. The South Dakota State 4-H Shoot is one of the largest youth shooting events in the nation. Teams are selected or confirmed for multiple national events during State. The 4-H Shooting Sports program develops safe shooting habits in youth ages 8-19. Students practice under the guidance of certified instructors and coaches who have received over 15 hours of training in the areas of safety, techniques, coaching and youth development."

Noah opted to have Terry help him even though I've been the one to take him to shooting club every Monday since January. I preferred it like that so I could take pictures. Here Terry is hanging up Noah's first target. 

Waiting for the all clear. 

Loading up... 

...and he's off!

Noah was a bit disappointed after his first position (prone) but it was lucky that Miss Kathy (also his piano teacher) was there working and could cheer him up. 

Next was the standing position and he did his best ever on that position. It's difficult to stand still. 

Look at all those targets. 

Next up was sitting. 

He likes his daddy. 

He's cute. 

On this final position, kneeling, Terry made a deal with Noah. Since it's his second most difficult position, Terry told him he'd pay him a dollar every shot in the black. That sure motivated him and he did better than usual.

Originally we were just going to leave and go straight home but since the scores were only going to take an hour we decided to go to Guadalajara for dinner. 

Noah did pretty well for his first season of shooting. He scored 272 out of 400, which earned him a red ribbon, sort of like third place. He was pleased. Ellie, Grace, and Moses who go to our church did fantastic!

The drive home into the sunset was beautiful.

The sun was in the perfect place for me to snap several shots of the skeleton dinosaur along the Interstate at mile 170. 

I still can't decide which shot I like better.