25 on the 25th!!!

Yes, it was John's once in a life time day! He turned 25 years old on the 25th of August 2011.


John is # 8 in the family and is so fun to be around (if you know how to wrestle). He is a very sensitive person and always strives to follow the Lord's will. We are so grateful that he is apart of our family. WE LOVE YOU JOHN!!!

Here are some facts about him.
  • Favorite Color: Blue
  • Least Favorite Food: Rice
  • He is a very accomplished classical pianist.
  • He is our most creative routine choreographer.
  • He is a very hard worker and loves to work with his hands.
  • John is our most efficient demolition man but can also build anything!
  • His inventions include a homemade drum set, a six foot bow, a bike powered washer machine, and numerous other projects that I can't fit in this blog.
  • He spent two years in Puerto Rico on a mission trip for our church.
  • He has made several trips to India with Katie.
  • Currently, John is working at a landscape company as well as working on his bachelors degree online.
His birthday card challenge was the most "dancing" card. It was a challenge, but John received some pretty creative cards!


For John's Birthday party, he wanted to play volleyball and since the YMCA had a net we went there to celebrate! The games were so "intense" we forgot the camera (oops). It took a while to warm up but by the end we had some pretty good rounds. After we had finished several games of volleyball, John pulled out his soccer ball and so here are some of the "highlights" from our improvised soccer games.

Poor Isaac and Graham!!!
The older boys kept them "dancing" the whole time.
We hope that you had a HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOHN!!!

Friday, August 26th

We drove down to the Hillcrest Terrace in Alma and performed the Hawaiian program for our friends there. We got some pictures this time and so here is a sneak peek of our program.

Joseph could not make it so John was the Emcee.
Don't you like our colorful outfits?

This is a snapshot of our bamboo dance.
Luckily, none of our toes got smashed when the boys would snap the sticks together.

Did you know that poi originally comes from New Zealand?

This stick dance also originated in New Zealand. This was our favorite routine from our Polynesian program.


The weather was so beautiful and warm that after the program we drove down to Harlan Lake and went swimming. The water was so warm that even Dad decided to join us in the lake.

How's the water Dad?

Goodbye beautiful Harlan!
This was the last time that we can swim in the lake this year. We all love the lake and can't wait to come back next year.

Update on "R" Building!

Just in case anyone was wondering what was going on with the building, I guess I had better tell you. Saturday morning the boys worked on fixing the leaky roof and cleaning up the front of the building.

Earlier, John had been patching and tarring the smaller leaks in the roof but yesterday Dad, John, and Joseph worked on leveling out a major dip in the roof that was leaking water into the building. We hope it works!

At the same time, Graham, Isaac, and Seth worked on taking the brown siding off of the front of the building. We found the original brick still intact and...

This is to be continued next week, same time, same station, oh wait, I guess I should say same time, same blog...

Thank you Mom the hamburgers were delicious!

As we continue on this path that the Lord has sent us down, we keep praying that the Lord will direct us and that we will not stumble in the darkness of uncertainty. As we look back over the last 8 months and see what the Lord has done in our lives this last year, we are so full of gratitude. We know that more unexpected steps and turns lie ahead in our road of discipleship but we know without a shadow of a doubt that as long as we stay obedient and faithful to His commands He will lead us to the end that He has in store.

"Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you... and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day."
Alma 37:37


16 years ago on, AUGUST 18th, 1995 our family celebrated the birth of a little boy.

Graham has been a great blessing to our family and we can't imagine life without him. Here are some interesting facts about him.

Favorite Color: Green
Favorite Food: Slow Cooked Lemon Chicken
He is very literal.
He has a great sense of humor and is our comedian.

He can play every instrument that we own.
He is a meticulous organizer and cleaner.
He can spend more time mopping our wood floors than anyone I know.
He is anxiously waiting for his growth spurt.
Subsequently, his favorite phrase of scripture right now is:
"And... there were giants on the earth" Moses 8:18
( I think you can tell that Graham has high hopes for his future)


Every time someone in our family has a birthday they get to pick a theme or challenge for the day. We all try to come up with creative birthday cards that go along with the theme. It can get pretty challenging. We were going to do a Luau program at one of the local nursing homes that day and so Graham decided to stick to that theme. So he enjoyed a happy Hawaiian Birthday!

We also have the tradition that they can get any kind of cereal they want, a bag of candy, a bag of chips, and any drink or pop they want. Then the night before we get to wrap and hide their "presents".

He searched high...

...and low and was able to find all of them without using the usual hot and cold hints. Great going Graham!!!

This cake was made entirely out of mint chocolate chip, and chocolate caramel ice cream.

That afternoon, we went to the Holdrege Memorial Homes, which is just a couple blocks from our house, and we performed a Hawaiian program. Katie and I learned a short hula dance and we found out that Poi was originally started in New Zealand and so we added a Poi routine to our program.

Here is a picture that John found and that I could not leave out...

We had a blast doing the Luau program at the Holdrege Homes. They had decorated the whole room Hawaiian style. We hope the residents enjoyed it too.

Don't you think that orange grass skirts make great wigs?
Ok, maybe they are not that great, but you must admit that it is "pretty" creative.

That evening we played some games that Dad invented.
Dad can make a game out of anything. In this picture the goal was to throw a lei over each person's head without missing. Isaac won that one.

What's going on here???

Its Octopus Garden!
It was the hit of the night. I think we must of played at least 20 rounds. It was really fun. Thank you Dad for the game ideas!
Graham had a great birthday and is excited to be 16. Have a great year Grahammy!!!

The next day, Covey, Melody, and Mack were returning from their vacation and stopped over for the night.

We enjoyed their visit. It is always so fun when we get to spend time with them. We enjoy the time we get to talk, laugh, and tell stories together.

Mack just discovered his new favorite food.
Vanilla pudding and crushed Oreos, a.k.a. "Dirt Pudding".
We love you Covey, Melody, and Mack!!!

“May our families and homes be filled with love: love of each other, love of the gospel, love of our fellowman, and love of our Savior. As a result, heaven will be a little closer here on earth.

“May we make of our homes sanctuaries to which our family members will ever want to return."

Pres. Monson

On with the Show!

YEP, we have started school hot and heavy. Everybody has settled into their schedules and are working hard!

These last couple weeks have been pretty routine and so I will just hit the highlights of these weeks...

Holdrege held their annual Relay for Life fund raiser for cancer research programs. People signed up to walk around the Holdrege High School track all night long. We were asked to entertain the folks but only for a couple hours and thankfully not all night long. They held a touching opening ceremony with the story from a cancer survivor, prayer, and our national anthem.

Our line up of instruments always makes a great backdrop.

The cancer survivors started the relay by being the first to walk around the track.

Then it was our turn. We felt honored to be able to help the fund raiser and we hope that we kept the people entertained as well...

This is now the second time that we have performed there. We all dressed up in our 50's outfits and went to help those folks walk down memory lane.

Joseph decided to take a pre-show nap in one of the comfy lazy-boys there.

We love to see their faces light up when they hear a song that they grew up singing or listening to. It has been a great blessing in our lives to serve these people. We love to make them smile and laugh.

This weekend AUGUST 12-13 have been CRAZY!!!!

Our First Music Festival.
We were scheduled to play 5 times at this festival.

The first time on stage was with the "Young Entertainers" set.
There were 4 or 5 groups of people 18 and under who got up and played two or three songs.
Graham, Isaac, Marilee, and I were one of those groups. We called ourselves the HALF STAFF!
There are many reasons for this name, we are only "half" of the family, we are the youngest "half", we are only "half the height"(well not really), etc. etc.

Isaac played the fiddle to the tune Blackberry Blossom.

Graham was our lead guitar.

Marilee took over the mandolin.

I backed them up with the bass and we had our own real bluegrass band put together.

About mid-afternoon the rest of the family joined our half of the staff and we played a twenty minute set before getting everything packed and driving up to a little town named Callaway. It is about 30 minutes southwest of Broken Bow.

The nursing home there had invited us to a BBQ party.

Did you enjoy the ride Marilee?
You look comfy...

The BBQ pork was delicious. THANK YOU!!!

It seems like we spend a lot of time tuning the instruments. It sure makes a difference in the music. Thank you Graham and Seth for being our tuners!!!

We still enjoy playing fiddle music before each show. It not only gets us going but it also warms our audience up too...

Dad always introduces the family before turning the time to our emcee, Joseph.

Keep dancing John.
They love it!

I wonder what you are thinking about Seth.

"Your a Grand Old Flag"

"The emblem of the Land I love"

"Keep your eye on the Grand Old Flag"

We put together a combination of Old Time Favorites, Bluegrass, Gospel, and Patriotic music for this program. It was fun just to do a whole bunch of our favorite songs...

During the Color Song we were stumped by the color Fuschia.
Anybody have any clever words that rhyme with Fuschia?

We would like to thank the Callaway Nursing Home for inviting us to their facility. It was a wonderful experience for each of us. Thank you!!!

The next day, AUGUST 13, we drove back down to Holbrook to the Burton Bend Festival. We set up before anybody got there.

This is the kind of audience that does not scare us!

We performed during the early afternoon the Half Staff performed a couple more songs. Then the whole family came up and we did another variety show. Sometimes we feel like a circus with all the dancing, juggling, poi, jump rope, and other things that we pack into our programs.

While we were waiting for our last turn on stage we spent the time listening to the other groups, playing on the playground, and talking to many, many wonderful people.

All growing up Seth was the expert hider. He always knew exactly where to hide and nobody could ever find him.

Yup, we ended the day with our hillbilly skit.
I hope that we were able to brighten someone's day.

Covey, Melody, and little Mack were traveling through Nebraska, so they stopped and stayed the weekend with us.

Mack is 5 months old!
I don't know where the time goes, he is growing up so fast.
He has two teeth and is smiling, talking, and blowing bubbles more and more. He loves when his Dad or his uncle John wrestle with him. Thanks for stopping by Covey and Melody. We love you!!!

These last couple weeks have been very significant in our lives. We have done things that we had never imagined that we would ever do. However, we have seen and felt the Lord's hand and guidance through it all. We are full of gratitude for the Lord's tender mercies that have helped us to accomplish things that we could never have done by ourselves. The more we move forward on this path God has put us on the more we realize how weak we are by ourselves. God does indeed strengthen those that strive to serve Him and be His servants.

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."
Ether 12:27