Friday, August 5, 2016

Cara's New Car

Cara is counting the days until she turns "16".  I took her to get her to the courthouse to get her driver's license.  All she had to do was fill out the paperwork and take the eye exam.  She did not have to drive because she had taken driver's education.
 We had been looking around for a car for her, but there weren't very many out there in our price range, with 4 doors, that was midsize, no sunroof, low miles, etc.  Cara wasn't even picky.  She just wanted something to drive her to and from school.
 Keith called Kersten Auto and talked to "Big Al" and asked if there was a school car around for Cara.  The next day Al called Keith with a local trade that had just come in.  It was a 2010 Chevy Malibu with 67,000 miles on it. 
A few days later, Cara, Keith and I went to Bloomfield to check out this car.  Cara had no clue what was going on.  She walked around the lot and looked.  Al told her she could test drive anything she wanted to on the lot or he could look around for another car for her.  We took this Malibu for a test drive around town.  Then we went into Al's office to talk and he asked Cara what she thought about the car.  Cara told him that it was okay.  Then Al asked Keith what we wanted to do and Keith replied, "Let's do this".  Al started filling out paperwork and Cara still had no clue that she was going home with a car.

I don't think she fully realized that she had a car until Al put the intransit signs in the window. 

Now Cara just has to wait until the 18th to drive her car by herself!

Take care,

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Erica's New Smile

Today was the day!  The day Erica's braces came off to reveal her new smile!
Erica has been waiting for months for this moment.  The orthodontist has been telling her "one more month" since about February.  Since her appointment last month when he told her it was time, she has been counting the days.  Erica had braces for about 3 weeks shy of two years.

She thinks it is funny that she got her braces off this week and three friends/neighbors/classmates got their braces on this week.

The funniest moment may have been when we were loading the car and Cooper, one of the boys Erica babysits for said, "Are you excited?".  I just bust out laughing because Erica was sooooo excited!

Take care,

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Celebrating Norfolk's 150th

Over the long 4th of July weekend, the City of Norfolk celebrated its 150th birthday!
 There is always a parade on the 4th of July.  Usually, the parade lasts about an hour and is short and sweet.  But, this year it lasted two hours!
 Our church had a float and the school also had a float with the high school band playing.

 Long parade means more candy for Justin!!!
 Cara asked me why I took a photo of this man.  This is Larry.  He loves tractors, collects them and goes on tractor drives.  When I was a teenager, I walked beans for Larry.  His two daughters, Lynette and Jennifer, are like sisters to me because we all grew up together. 
 We had to wait until almost the very end of the parade before the three NPPD trucks rolled by.  Keith, Ashlin, Erica and Charli (one of Erica's friends) walked in the parade and passed out candy and other NPPD items.

Take care,

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Farm League Champions

Due to his age, Justin had to move up a level in baseball this year.  He moved from coach-pitch league to Farm League kid pitch.  Justin was a member of the Pyro Shock Fireworks Royals Team.
 Justin loves the major league Royals, so therefore, he was very excited to be on the Royals team for little league baseball this summer.
 With moving up a division also came a few new rules.  The kids had to face a kid pitcher when batting.  There are no walks, but there are strike outs.  If a batter gets four balls, then a coach comes in and pitches to them. If you are hit by a pitch, a coach comes in and pitches to you.  You must hit the ball to get on base.  Justin had his share of good hits, but he also struck out his share of times.
 Every kid on the team, if he wanted to, got the chance to pitch in at least one game.  Some games a different player would pitch each inning.  The game at this level of play is very slow.  Each player is just learning to pitch.  Many balls are thrown all over the place.
 The players are moved to different positions every couple of innings.  Games were 90 minutes long which was usually about 3 innings.  The boys started playing at the beginning of May and ended last week with a tournament.  We do not travel and they only play teams in their league.  The Farm League consisted this season of 5 teams - Diamondbacks, Cardinals, Orioles, Braves and the Royals.
 Going into the tournament, the Royals, Justin's team, were the #3 seed.  First, they played the #2 seed, the Diamondbacks.  Also going into the tournament, the head coach decided to have a new strategy of having batting practice before the game.  The boys had not been hitting the ball well the last few games so Coach wanted to try something new.  The Royals won the game 11-1 which put them in the championship game!
 In the championship game, the Royals played the #1 seeded Braves.  The Braves were undefeated during regular season play. 
 At the end of four innings, the Royals had pulled the upset and won 6-0.  During the regular season, the Royals had only scored 16 runs.  But, during the two tournament games, the boys scored 17 runs.  I guess the batting practice before the games definitely helped.  Each boy stepped up to the plate fearless and with confidence.  Everyone was hitting the ball and the defense was stingy.
 After receiving their gold medals, they took a victory lap around the bases and then dumped ice water on the coaches! 
 Then the coaches had one last team huddle before the whole team went out for pizza to celebrate.  Justin told me, "Coach said we could win the whole thing from the start.  He knew we could do it!". 
Take care,

Monday, July 4, 2016

Walking to Work

Erica has a full-time job this summer.  She is babysitting for a family that lives about four houses down the street.  Erica is at work Monday thru Friday from 7:45-4:00 watching Cooper (7) and Tucker (5).  Once in awhile, she has a day off, it their dad has to work a weekend.  It was either babysit or go to the fields to detassel.  She has had some rough days, but also some fun days!  They hang out, walk to the park, go to the movies, attend kid presentations at the public library, play Legos, play Pok√©mon, run through the sprinkler, etc. 

The highlight may have been last week when they saw a snake in the yard!  Tucker came running to our house to tell me all about it.  It was a great story to hear from a 5-year old point of view!

This has been a great learning experience for Erica!  She is earning money and gaining some life skills.

Take care,

Friday, July 1, 2016

Youth Optimist Track

This year we only had one kid sign up for Youth Optimist Track.  Justin was the only one.  Cara is too old, Erica was in junior high track and Ashlin didn't want to do it, that just left Justin.
For his running events, Justin chose the 55M hurdles and the 400M dash.  I held my breath through the hurdles race because last year he tripped on a hurdle and fell getting scraped up pretty good.  But, this year Justin cleared every hurdle and won his heat earning him a first place ribbon.  Then in the 400M dash, Justin and Callen (one of his best friends) ran the race side by side talking until the final curve.  Justin was fine getting 2nd place to Callen.  He said after the race that he just ran out of gas toward the end!

Take care,

Thursday, June 30, 2016

First Communion-Part II

 After First Communion, Justin got a photo with Fr. Andrews.
 Justin and Gage
 Nathen, Justin, Corbyn and Zach
 Justin and Mason.  We always take a neighborhood photo.  Mason lives just around the corner from us and is a frequent playmate of Justin.
 Justin chose to have a marble cross cake made by Jana.
 The required family photos - siblings

 Justin with his godparents - Uncle David, Uncle Ron and Aunt Holly
 Grandpa and Grandma Leader
Grandpa and Grandma Korth

Take care,

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

First Communion-Part I

Justin received the sacrament of First Holy Communion on April 10th.
 On Saturday morning, the class had practice and pictures.  This was so much easier this time around since if was a boy instead of a girl.  With the girls, we would be up before the sun doing hair and getting them ready.  Justin was a piece of cake! 
Justin was very proud of his suit for the occasion.  Justin wore a neighborhood suit.  One of our neighbors, Deb, has five boys and this suit has been passed around to friends, family and neighbors over the years and it fit Justin perfect.  I bought him a shirt, tie and shoes, but Deb loaned him the pants and jacket.  When he tried it on the first time, I took his photo and sent it to Deb.  She was so happy it fit him.
 This is one of Justin's best friends, Callen.  These two always find a way to sit together, laugh together, and just be goofballs.  They both have blonde hair and are about the same height.  Plus, they both spend quite a bit of time in the gym watching sisters play sports.

 The class was very large this year!  The lady in charge said that it was one of the largest classes ever for the parish.
 Justin walked down the aisle with Kolby.
 Carly, Justin and Hayden
 Justin and Ty
 Justin with Mrs. Pfeifer, his 2nd Grade teacher.  She used to be our neighbor and Justin loved having her as a teacher.
 Leighton, Brecken and Justin - this may be one of my favorite photos.
Justin with a group of classmates.  What a group of boys!

Take care,

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Driver's Education

You know how you see these student driver cars around town and each time you just cringe and try to stay out of their way.  Well, Cara took driver's education this spring because she is getting close to turning 16 and getting her license.

This is not the vehicle that Cara drove.  She got to drive a Norfolk Catholic school van.  Cara started by taking classroom sessions before getting behind the wheel of a car.  While driving, she had to have drive time in the country, on a highway, city street driving, parking (angle, straight, parallel), round-abouts, etc.  She passed with flying colors. 

Cara has had her learner's permit since November and has actually driven quite a bit.  She would drive us home from school almost every day.  She has driven our family to Omaha to the Century Link and parked in the lot (I was petrified for part of the trip, but Keith wasn't). 

Since Cara took driver's education, she just has to show the DMV her certificate of completion.  She will not have to take a written test or a driving test.  Just pay the fee and take an eye exam.  Plus, we get a discount on our insurance since she passed the class.

Take care,

Monday, June 27, 2016

Wrestling for a Team Title

Justin had the opportunity to compete in a team wrestling tournament during the season.  The Norfolk Catholic little kids wrestling team was invited to participate in a dual wrestling tournament in Crofton.
 Justin was ready to compete as a team.  First, we had to explain that he would not be getting a medal and that his job was to earn points for his team.
 Then when Justin found out that the tournament was in Crofton, he asked Keith if he could call "Coach Judy" to come and watch him wrestle.  Coach Judy is Keith's Aunt.  Judy used to be a coach in Crofton and she loves watching sports.  Keith called Coach Judy and she said that she would be there!  Judy also told Keith that the buttons on her shirt were popping because she was so proud that Justin would think to give her a call.
 Justin had quite the fan club that day at wrestling.  Not only was Coach Judy there, but she brought along Aunt Sharlene.  Grandpa and Grandma Leader also came to watch.  Cara took photos for me since I was in another town for basketball games.
 They won duals against Pierce and Vermillon, SD and then faced a tough Bloomfield/Neligh/Oakdale team in the finals.
 They ended up losing in the finals, but they were so happy to receive the runner-up trophy and medals.  This was a new and great experience for Justin to compete as a team rather than just an individual.  Justin learned how valuable his points were to the team.  He learned that a pin is worth more points than just a win by points.  Great experience!!!
Take care,