The first thing we did with Grandma and Grandpa Fewkes was attend the Syracuse City Pumpkin Walk. There were so many carved pumpkins. All the activities (except the hamster balls) were free. It was great!
While Grandma and Grandpa Fewkes were visiting we drove out to Antelope Island (where Christopher Layton - great-great grandfather ran sheep in the 1800s). We got there too late to go to the museum or tour the ranch house but we did see lots of buffalo - including a painted buffalo for our Fargo friends.
One stop we made while Grandma and Grandpa Fewkes were visiting was the Hill Aerospace Museum. We took lots of pictures and had lots of fun. We found a C-130 airplane - the kind that Grandpa flew on in the early 70s.
John turned 13 on October 20th. He wanted to go to Lonestar Steakhouse for lunch. He remembered it from when we used to go on kids-eat-free night in Hutchinson, KS. His friend Dallin went with us. Leslie learned to use a straw while we were there. He chose sopapilla cheesecake for his birthday cake. It is sooooo yummy and so easy to make!
Yes, that's right. We are moving again. Here's the abbreviated version of the story...
On Wednesday, when the kids and I were in town for Activity Days and Scouts, John called and told me he had been "let go." It came as a shock because all day long, Fred, the Oklahoma City boss, who was visiting, kept calling John to tell him what a great job he had done on getting things lined up for harvest and on getting the farm cleaned up. John said he'd gotten about 10 calls that day. Also, just minutes before he was "let go", Fred told John some things that he wanted John and Brian (the other manager) to do after harvest was over.... and then Fred fired John. The official reason? Someone mis-calculated the amount of herbicide to spray on the potato vines. The funny (haha???) thing is that it has NEVER been John's job to calculate the chemical to be sprayed. That's always been Brian's job. Brian calculated the mix, passed the paper to John. John gave it to Rodney. Rodney mixed as it was written and sprayed. The potato vines died, no potatoes were hurt in the process. John found out about it two weeks later, on the day he was "let go." The real reason??? Fred needed to cover his backside in case one of the Connecticut or New York owners had a problem. Fred used John as the fall guy. (Incidentally, John was the third manager to be "let go" in four weeks, the fourth manager in six months.)
In case you are wondering, we were shocked and surprised on Wednesday. Thursday morning Heavenly Father showed us again and again how much He knows us and how much He loves us. On Thursday morning, John talked to the recruiter who brought us here. By Friday afternoon John had a very good phone interview and will be headed to Plains, Kansas, (30 miles north of Liberal, Kansas) for a face-to-face interview. We'll see how it goes.
This morning John said that he felt like he should be more devastated than he was. Even though we absolutely love North Platte and the friends we have made here, neither of us has been too sad about this. We are fine. And we have hope.
(So even though I haven't caught up on the blog, it's going back on hold while I pack again. Thank goodness I never really felt like I should completely unpack. It's proved to be a blessing.)
On Friday, July 22nd, we had our first visitors since moving to North Platte. John's sister, Jan, her daughter, Jessica, and Jessica's two daughters, Morgan and Rebekah, drove from North Carolina to Nevada. They were on a tight schedule so rather than making them drive all the way down to the farm (it's 30 minutes one way), we met them at McDonald's for lunch - everyone's got to eat, right? We had a good visit and the kids played a bit (North Platte doesn't have a playland at any of their fast food restaurants - what's up with that?). Then Jan, Jessica, Morgan and Rebekah were on their way.
Jessica and Rebekah.
Jan, Jessica, Morgan and Rebekah.
Kelly and Morgan playing with their Happy Meal toys.
All the kids.
John, holding Leslie and Jan - with her diet coke, ready for the long drive to Salt Lake City.
One thing we really loved in Pratt were the swimming pools. In addition to the big pool ($1/person and had a ton of lifeguards on duty at all times) there were two free wading pools at a couple of the parks in town. JJ & Kelly would spend the afternoon at the big pool while I sat in a lawn chair, in the shade, visiting with friends while Christopher and Leslie played at the wading pool.
Christopher and his best friend, Allee, having a water fight. Don't worry, she got him back!
There was a little tub for the kids to wash their feet before they got into the pool. It was the perfect "pool" for Leslie. She spent a lot of time in it.
Here are some pictures from our last few days in Pratt... John and Kelly with Mrs. Fisher, their piano teacher. She also taught music at the elementary school so the kids knew her well. The kids really liked Mrs. Fisher. (JJ didn't like taking piano lessons - still doesn't - but liked Mrs. Fisher.)
Christopher with the story time librarian, Miss LeeAnn. Chris LOVED going to story time and often asked if we could stop at the library to visit Miss LeeAnn.
Just a couple of pictures of Leslie. You can see the ever-present necklace. She always has a "pretty" around her neck. Looking at these pictures, Leslie looks so young. She's a big girl now compared to six weeks ago.
I think I took this picture because she climbed up on the couch all by herself. Again, notice the necklace - but don't notice the baby-barf marks around her neck. She still chucks a little bit but not nearly as much as before.
Now that the kids are back in school, I'm going to work on getting the blog updated. I have months and months worth of pictures to blog. I'm also going to get my house clean (we get company tonight!!! Yay, Tim R.) and hopefully it will stay clean all day (except that I have Leslie but she only makes smallish messes right now - but the kids do get out of school at 1:00 so we'll have to see how clean it stays). Anyway, I'm on the timer today - 15 minutes for cleaning, 15 minutes for blogging. We'll see how it goes. Check back.....
Clear back in June, when we still lived in Pratt, Christopher took swimming lessons. It was called "Splash Class" and was geared toward younger kids who had a bit of fear of the water. It was perfect for Christopher. Most of the time he just held on to the kick board and walked from edge to edge, but that's more than he did the previous year. One day he actually put his head in the water. That was HUGE. I loved Splash Class - private lessons, five days for $7. Can't beat that!Walking...
Walking through a hula hoop...
(That's his teacher next to him. I think his name is Josh but it might be Justin. I know it's a fairly popular J name, though. I'll have to ask Christopher if he remembers.)
The kids started school today. It was a short, mental/emotional trial to figure out which school they should attend. We live in the Wallace District but are 30 miles from that school (and they don't bus). I thought about sending them to North Platte Schools since they are closer (20 miles) but then found out that North Platte does not bus either - not even the "country" kids. That doesn't work for me. (They were willing to pay my gas one way, to the farthest school from the house, but I would still be in the hole about $12 each day in gas, not to mention the 30 minutes each direction, twice a day... Again, that doesn't work for me.) So, we decided to try Maywood School in the town of Maywood. Maywood is about 25 miles south of us but they bus. I just have to drive the kids six miles on the dirt road where the bus will pick them up on the highway. That part is still not ideal, but the rest of it is... The school (K-12) has only about 150 students attending. They do not combine grades so each class is VERY small. JJ is one of 11 students (10 boys, one girl). Kelly is one of 10 students (five boys and five girls). There are eight students in Christopher's class (seven boys, one girl). I am excited that they will get so much individual attention with such small classes. JJ has to take band and 7th grade Ag.
John - 7th grade - can't get the dang kid to smile, but at least he posed for a picture.
Kelly - 4th grade - she's been wanting a John Deere shirt all summer now because, as she says, "We're farm people, Mom. We're farm people!" Kelly slept in sponge rollers last night so she could have curly hair for the first day of school.
Christopher - Kindergarten - He has been waiting FOREVER to wear his new shoes and his Lego Star Wars shirt. His backpack has been packed FOREVER and he was excited about his Lightning McQueen lunchbox.
The whole group - Leslie wanted to get in the picture, too. She kept walking over to JJ, asking to be picked up.
JJ in front of the Junior-Senior High School part of the campus.
Kelly, in front of her classroom. She is in a permanent "portable".
Christopher in front of his classroom. The sun was in his eyes so I had to step in front of him and block it with my shadow. He has his resting mat under his arm. School is going to be a shock to his system. He is used to sleeping in until 9:00, grazing all day, watching TV and playing whenever/whatever he wants. Now he'll be on the bus by 7:30 and off about 4:15. I think he'll love it, though. (I did tear up for just a minute when I gave him a hug goodbye.)
For the grandparents... This is a picture of the whole campus. JJ's classes are in the brown building on the left. Kelly's classroom is in the white building in the middle. Christopher's classroom is behind the trees that are just to the right of Kelly's building. The big brown wall on the right is where the cafeteria is. The playground is to the right of the cafeteria. The football stadium is to the left of the Jr/Sr High. The grass you see is in the middle of the drop-off driveway loop.
Kelly and I made ladybug cupcakes for Leslie's birthday family celebration today. I stole the idea from my friend Debbie Kirby. Imagine that the ladybugs have antennae made of black licorice and you'll get the full effect - unfortunately, black licorice cannot be found in Pratt. Still, I think they turned out very cute. When we put the cupcake with the candle on her tray, Leslie grabbed for it (of course). Kelly stood behind Leslie and held her hands while I snapped the picture. Laughing at Daddy. Her expression just makes me crack up. She's giving her siblings "the look". Just a little exploring
and a little taste. She tried the oreo right away but took a while to eat the cake. Looking at the mess she made on the floor. I don't know that Leslie actually got any of the cake in her mouth, but the frosting is all over her face and up her arms clear to her elbows.