Monday, November 30, 2015

One Sweet Thanksgiving

A pecan pie, a pumpkin pie, cherry, lemon, and apple pies, two banana cream, a peanut butter pie, a chocolate pie (but not Miss Hilly's), and three meat pies.

Anybody able to guess with whom we shared Thanksgiving?

Chez les Wheelers Thanksgiving begins with pie for breakfast!
Christy's gorgeous cherry.
Banana cream is Grandma Susie's specialty.  Jason made the apple and I got lucky with the pumpkin.

Chef Christy gets inspired once more with pecan...
...and lemon meringue.  Oh happy day!
Hope everyone's holiday was as sweet as ours.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Never a Dull Moment

It's mid-November folks, and I'm ready to dump the rest of my October pics so that I can move on with the rest of life: like birthdays and Thanksgiving and birthdays and Christmas.  Here's what I've got, in no particular order.

Fontanelle Forest.  We purchased a membership so that this little sprout can participate in their Mudpies program, which they make available Monday through Thursday year-round.  She feels positively ecstatic anytime she has the chance to wear a backpack.

Of course, she occasionally wears out mid-trail.  Nice place to rest, though.

Lauritzen Gardens.  Third grade took a field trip there, so we met up with the wild ones at our favorite Big Boy train.

After the school group had gone home, Papa K met us at the gardens for a peaceful tram ride.

The Chrysanthemum display was beautiful...

Both indoors and out.

Annika liked the elephants.

As for me, I found this carniverous pitcher plant to be particularly intriguing.

Hummel Nature Center:  One Saturday afternoon, we headed over to Hummel Nature Center for their Harvest Festival: a hay rack ride, fall crafts, and apples roasted over the campfire.  Our favorite part, though, was the hike marked by corny jokes: what do you get when you divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its diameter?

Pumpkin Pi!  At the end of our hike, we even found some cool places to play frisbee golf.  You can bet that we'll be back!

Girl Scout Journey:  Brooklyn spent a day exploring her artistic side as her troop earned their aMuse Girl Scout Journey, culminating in a short play they performed on the stage at Aksarben.  The theme?  No stereotypes.

Shopping.  Meanwhile, Talia and Eli headed to Target to go shopping with some birthday/Mileage Club prize money.  Pretty amazing loot!

The super-sad thing is that Annika took a scissor and cut some of the hair from Talia's doll.  :(  She also cut her own hair.

Fortunately she's still got plenty left.  Even so, I'm not quite sure what to do with this naughty monkey.

The Zoo.  The best solution I've been able to come up with for the Annie-Problem is to get out of the house as often as possible.  Here we are checking out the giraffes in their new enclosure.  The zoo is currently undergoing some major renovations, but I think the addition is going to be pretty spectacular.

Central High.  One advantage of having NomiAnn work at Central High is that we get invited to all sorts of cool events, such as this pancake breakfast hosted by the theater department.  Have you ever seen such a nifty pancake machine?

I must tell you, we were all extremely impressed by the pancake man.

The big kids also got to do a fascinating backstage tour highlighting an upcoming production.  The IB student who built this chair happened to be guiding our tour, so our munchkins got to hop right on.

There's no business like snow business!

Isaac's Birthday.  Meanwhile, Jason took Annika to a birthday party for this little one year-old tike.

A couple weeks earlier, I'd designed this contraption to keep this busy guy from climbing the stairs while I babysat.

Here he is with his parents Isaiah (a Creighton law student) and Jana, along with big brother McKay.

Getting ready for the pinata!

Annika found the perfect place for all her loot.

Eva Hale prefers two cups.

What a fun party!  I especially love the photo banner.

The Joslyn.  Moving right along, we went to a Saturday KickstArt at the Joslyn where Eli transformed into a dinosaur as a storyteller enacted "Time Flies."

Annika preferred playing in the fountain.

West Papio Trail.  Lest our life seem too nauseatingly perfect by this point (trust me, it's not), misfortune can strike while doing something as seemingly innocuous as going for a Sunday afternoon walk.  About a month ago, Eli got hit by a bike along the West Papio Trail.  A small photo will suffice to capture this sad memory--we're just so grateful it wasn't worse.

APMA.  Fortunately, the sun rises bringing hope for each new day.  This next series of photos was taken from the rooftop at Jason's work.

Vala's.  Time for another field trip!  This time we accompanied Eli and the kindergartners to Vala's pumpkin patch.  Too busy playing to take many photos, but rumor has it some kindergartners stowed away with these pirates.

Never one for subtlety, Annika preferred to become the figurehead.

King Science Competition at the Zoo.  Last but not least, I accompanied Crestridge's 4th and 5th grade teams to a science competition at the Henry Doorly Zoo.

Our fifth grade team took first place.  Way to go guys!  Here's Brooklyn with her friends Fede, Jaden, and Isaac.

As fun as the competition was, it was even more fun to learn about the zoo program at King Science and Technology Magnet.  They have 8th graders who spend half of their "B" days at the zoo, taking awesome classes like zoology and zoological architecture.  This picture was taken right outside one of their classrooms in the aquarium.  Wish I could go to zoo school!

Another photo of the fifth grade team.

And a whole bunch of Crestridge gorillas.

Great job, everyone!  And now, onto November.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Rocky Mountain High: Our Colorado Farewell

You can take a boy out of the mountains, but you can't take the mountains out of a boy.  Given our family's fondness for altitude, it's not surprising our stint in Colorado came to an end far too quickly.  I love this picture of Jason with his baby girl, taken right outside the cabin.

How fun to have a matching picture of Justin with his baby girl!  Life is sweet.

On our last full day in Colorado, we donned our hiking gear once more.  While most of our kids are good hikers, Annika definitely is not (yet.) 

Somehow it seems much more appropriate for cute little Ruby Sue to be carried by her mama.

Whew!  Looks like Talia got all tuckered out. 

Kara and Jason share a happy couple moment.  Hard to believe nearly twelve years have flown by since our engagement!

Sunday brought church and ritual family photos.  Fortunately the weather wasn't nearly as chilly as some years.  Here we are trying to assemble the troops (and remove the baseball bat.)

I've decided that the "perfect" family photo simply doesn't exist.  I think this pic is the most flattering for some...

...and this pic is better for others.

By any standards, this is a fantastic couple pic of Ben and Christy.

We caught a close-up of Talia too before it was time to run off to church.

'Cause there's not better time for a Cousin photo.

As we all know, the very best family photos are the outtakes.  Officially dubbed our newest goofball, Annika refused to keep her tongue in her mouth.

Whoa, monster kid, what's up with the face?  We asked you to say cheese, but apparently Limburger's on the mind.

Or mint.  Whatever it is, Ben's definitely not a fan!

And on that happy note, we embark on our long drive back to Nebraska.  Mountains or not, we were so glad to be home.

It really is the Good Life.