Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Isaac's Christmas Picture

From the mouths of babes... (read carefully)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

"Little" Horse in the Pasture

We received a surprise phone call yesterday afternoon, and next thing we knew, there was a horse living in our pasture!
One of Dan's clients knows that we are looking for horses. In fact, he loaned us equipment to help put up our fence. Anyway, he called yesterday to say he was in his way back into town with his granddaughter, and they would drop by with a couple of horses so we could ride one and see if we might be interested in buying him.
To make a long story short, his name is Bourbon, and he's an 19 year old gelding. His owner wants to sell him because he doesn't get along very well with his other horses, but he seems pretty gentle around here. I guess we're going to keep him over the winter, and if we decide we like him, we'll buy him, but no commitment at this point. Sounds like too good a deal to be true, but this is Missouri and people seem to like to work deals :)

Isaac in cowboy gear, with Bourbon (he is very excited)

Elizabeth got the first ride

Abby led Isaac and Becky around before they posed for a picture - then she and Dan, the experienced riders,
got on(separately) and gave him a workout.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Our God is an Awesome God

How about this for a beautiful vista? That's a front moving through the neighborhood.

Don't Try this at Home

Today was a beautiful Saturday, without any other commitments. So we worked hard all day on all those fall projects that we haven't gotten to. One is a long overdue cleaning of our vinyl siding... we tried power washing last year, but it didn't work. Seems like the best approach is just plain old-fashioned elbow grease, so Dan tackled the job with vigor. The problem is reaching up that high! So he got creative. We didn't get a picture of him hanging out the windows right above him, through which he cleaned above and beside and below the windows about 18 inches each directions. YIKES. Hopefully the next post will not be a picture of Elizabeth imitating him, since she is a climber... need to get a picture of her up a tree, though usually I'm trying to get her down, not looking for a camera!


Two adjustments in the area of food for the Hall this year:
#1 We went back to making popcorn the "old-fashioned" way, in a pot on the stove. It isn't all that much work, is cheaper, and we've found it tastes a lot better. We've even figured out how to make it like kettle corn -- basically just sprinkle with salt AND sugar.
#2 "Bread eggs" have been part of my family forever -- I think my dad learned to make them from his mom. I've heard other people call them "egg-in-a hole" and "one-eyed Egyptians" , but they are all basically the same yummy breakfast treat. This year, though, I was amazed when my friend Jan, who was living with us while looking for a rental house, asked me for a biscuit cutter. She used it to cut a nice round hole in the bread. I've always torn a piece out of the middle, leaving a very ragged, random "hole" in the middle. I loved the nice round hole, but I didn't like it so big, so we experimented until we found the perfect tool -- the lid to my half & half bottle. It makes just the right sized hole for the egg, so now I can make beautiful bread eggs (that taste just as good!)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Garden Harvest

We enjoyed some items from our garden -- here you see Zeke eating one of the 5 or 6 ears of corn we grew!'

I got quite a few tomatoes from just 2 plants, and loads of green tomatoes that I need to figure out what to do with. Next year, the tomatoes will go in a place with more sun!

We also harvested sweet potatoes from 4 plants given to us by our friends the Cooks.

Cardinal vs. Dodgers

The Dodgers played the Cardinals in the first postseason series. Most of us, having lived almost 20 years in LA, couldn't help but root for the Dodgers. But Isaac, who has little memory of California, was a bit more conflicted. The Dodgers won, but went on to lose to the Phillies without much of a fight in the National League championship.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Rain, rain, go away -- we have a fence to build!

I don't know what the official statistics say, but it seems like it has rained most of October. I'm pretty sure that it has rained EVERY Thursday, at least, since both Isaac and Zeke had soccer practices scheduled on Thursdays, and had all their practices rained out :) Soccer is over, but it is Thursday again, so it is raining....and the picture above shows you how saturated the ground is -- we don't actually have a creek running through our property!

This has made a long-overdue project very difficult to complete -- putting up some fencing so that we can finally get horses. When we moved in 2004, getting horses was one of the first requests from our kids. We told them we'd start thinking about it in 2006 -- well, here it is, almost 2010, and all we've done is think, until now. Somehow, Dan and Abby found a way to dig 3 holes and sink some fence posts (actually, the rain may have helped some there!), some of it while rain was coming down. All that is left to do now is to string the barbed wire and hang a fence....hopefully before too long I'll be able to post a picture of a horse on our land!

Too busy!

Okay, I officially declare that I am just too busy to have a blog. Nevertheless, it is the easiest way I have of letting people into our lives, so I will continue, nevertheless. So it is time for a series of posts.....

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Isaac starts soccer

Isaac at his first soccer practice - he is VERY excited to be playing on a team -- finally!!!


If you don't know what TOM is, you should be ashamed of yourself! The Tour of Missouri went through Rolla for the second year in a row, and it has been re-enacted in the Hall driveway several times since. Below is Isaac demonstrating his best imitation of the cool biker start (we watched Stage 4 start in St. James).

The bikers rush by me, 100 yds from the TOM finish in Rolla -- crazy!

More Silly Stuff

Isaac and Elizabeth are goof-balls. They just love to have fun.
Here's a few pictures of them being silly - well, at least it looks that way to us. They are probably VERY serious about whatever they are doing!

Family Devotions

It's 8 am, do you know where your family is? Ours is almost always in the "green living room" doing family devotions. What you see here is us learning a new hymn, in 4 part harmony. Isaac and I sing soprano, Abby the alto, Zeke the tenor, and Dan sings bass. Elizabeth sings her own part, loudly and enthusiastically. Our current hymn is Stand up, Stand Up for Jesus. We're supposed to start a new one tomorrow -- it's on my to-do list!

Labor Day

Andy and Becky both were able to get home for Labor Day weekend. Both of their rides worked out so that they could get to the first RHAA volleyball game of the season with us, to watch their sister Abby and her team win their first match of the year!
Abby and Marty

After the game team meeting

On Saturday, we had a bunch of families over. After weeks of gorgeous weather, the day started out gloomy and rain threatened, but fortunately, it didn't rain until later that night. We had a wonderful time inside and out -- so much so that we hardly took any pictures... but here are a couple...

Volleyball outside
Poker inside, and I think a record for # of people in the living room!

The final event of the evening was handball against the garage door. It went on and on and on as various participants struggled with what seems a simple game and tried to find success against the home team! Elizabeth took a turn every other time... once we figured out all she needed to do was to grab the ball and throw it against the wall, it became an easy part of the routine, and kept her occupied and happy.
We did decide that she needs to learn to stand in line -- a difficult thing when it is 20 people long!

September's Almost gone!! Yikes

These are just random pictures from life around our house these days...

Isaac creating something...
Intepretive dance, Elizabeth style...
Nope, she can't match the pictures to the names yet, but we'll keep working it!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Last Week of August

Now that we have the big kids off to college, we are settling into our routine as a family of 6. We started school on Monday, as well as regular family devotions. We're learning Stand Up Stand Up for Jesus in parts, and the kids already have their parts pretty well down, after just a week! They are amazing. Following are a couple shots that show you what a week at school in the Hall house is like (without Becky here :0)
Up with the sun... Dan and the kids got up and went running almost every morning. I guess one of them caught the sun.....
Abby and Zeke enjoying a light moment together.....while Elizabeth relaxes in the empty Lincoln log box... where are all the Lincoln Logs? Spread out all over the floor in the living room, of course! How else can you find the piece you need??!!
Snack break is always an important part of the day. It's the kids favorite time to get creative in the kitchen so they can make it take as long as possible (can you spell PROCRASTINATION?)
On Thursday, they decided we needed to have "Chapatis". Here is Zeke rolling them out, and Abby cooking them. They were yummy, but they took WAY too much time!! Needless to say, school took longer on Thursday.

Elizabeth got tired of waiting, I guess.....
While "Calvin and Hobbes" is not an official part of Elizabeth's curriculum, she sure seemed to enjoy it this week....
The weather has been gorgeous, so the boys have been playing a lot of wiffleball. Elizabeth and I got in on the action one night when Zeke and Dan were gone, and Elizabeth hit the ball for the first time ever!! Isaac is pretty good being patient with her, and it helps that she will swing, miss and run anyway if we yell "run!"... we give her a few swings before we do that :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Family Photo

In Ecuador

My mom and dad with all of their grandkids...

Sunday, August 23, 2009


I'm way behind -- what's new, you say?!
Since I posted last, we've:
  • had a trip of a lifetime as a family to Ecuador... see Becky's blog for a link to her pictures until I get something else posted... http://beckysbrio.blogspot.com/2009/08/ecuador.html
  • hosted a get-together for Andy and Becky's friends, which included (not planned) a frog dissection and roasted frog legs, compliments of Zephan. The evening also included great hamburgers, volleyball until it was too dark to see the ball, buck-buck, and star-tripping (those last two are definitely hillbilly games).
The cute froggy just before his demise
  • bought a vehicle to "replace" the totaled van--a Chevy Blazer for Dan to drive on his appointments, which take him all over rural Missouri, often on gravel/dirt roads. We've decided we will have to do without a 12-passenger van, at least for now.
  • sent Zeke off to his 4th year of Camp Grandpa with Dan's parents in St. Paul, MN, and got him back a week and 2 very quiet days later....with a sunburn and lots of memories....
  • gotten Andy off to his second year at Three Rivers Community College (actually, he got himself off - I hardly helped him at all). He's having a ball with his friends, old and new, already, and is looking forward to playing baseball again.
  • harvested our first ear of corn -- it was pitiful. Hopefully, the cantaloupe and watermelons will be better -- they are plentiful.

  • made a weekend trip to Illinois to help my mom celebrate her 70th birthday -- all of my siblings were there on her day -- I think we all surprised her. I took advantage of the trip to buy myself an early Christmas gift -- an alto saxophone I found on craigslist -- in Peoria, Illinois. The picture below shows mom (Jeanette) with her mom, my 101-year-old grandmother, my aunt, brothers and cousins who were able to help celebrate her selection as resident of the month at the home where she lives.

  • celebrated Isaac's 7th birthday, complete with a dinosaur cake made by Becky at his request. He was disappointed that we didn't have a "real" party, so the next day, we had a bunch of boys over to play!

Enjoying his new watercolors- thanks, Rothlisbergers!
  • took Becky to Truman State University in Kirksville, MO, to start her first year of college (that was just yesterday)
In the courtyard of her dorm, Dobson Hall - her room is in a wing to the left, on the 4th floor

Inside her room, with her messy, as yet unorganized desk (I took this against her will)

Tomorrow, we are supposed to start school here with the other 4 kids.... I still have a lot of prep work to do, so that's why this is short...but at least you're caught up!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Alas, the van is lost!

The dreaded call came today -- the insurance company considers our van a total loss. I guess the damage was too extensive to make it worth repairing. The thing that is really sad to me is that full size vans with a passenger door on the driver's side are just not that easy to find.... and I'm not sure I want another big van without that feature!
On the bright side, we bought a little green truck today. A friend was selling it, the price was right, and we really need a third vehicle at least until the kids go back to college. It isn't much to look at, but it gets good gas mileage, has a nicely lined bed, and it is a manual, so we can teach our kids how to drive with a clutch, an all-important skill in our minds. Besides, now that we're trying to act like farmers, a little truck will come in handy!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Van Tragedy....

Our 12 passenger van was on the receiving end of an accident earlier this week. It was in Springfield, Missouri, with Abby, who was attending a volleyball camp with a group of friends. They were on their way to the mall (VB camp was in the mornings), sitting at a red light minding their own business when a car ran a red light, sideswiped another car and rammed into our van. Unfortunately, it is damaged pretty badly. We don't know yet the extent of the damage; they can't get the driver's door off to see what will need to be done inside, but it is possible they will have to replace part of the floor besides the obvious exterior damage. Fortunately, no one in the van was seriously injured (some minor bruises and cuts, and some soreness). Everyone involved is pretty sure that any other vehicle sitting in that intersection would not have provided any protection, and the driver would certainly be seriously injured. So, while we are unhappy that our van is in the body shop for the next month, most likely, it seems that it may have saved some serious injury. The driver of the other car was injured and was taken to the hospital once she was caught (she fled the scene). She, naturally, was uninsured, and is facing multiple tickets and possibly jail time. Thus far our insurance company is being very gracious and helpful, but that doesn't remove the hassle of having to figure out how to get along with our van :)