Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Happy Birthday, Catherine!

Last week we celebrated Catherine's birthday. 

The birthday girl!

I can't believe she is nine years old!

Playing with a tube of frosting, oh yeah.

Happy Birthday to You...

Everyone singing.

Present time.

What fun!

Joseph, Catherine, Anthony, Anne, and Dominic.  And they are even all looking at the camera!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Benedict Joseph Brungardt

Yes, there has been an addition to our family.  Unfortunately, he did not survive the first trimester of pregnancy.   We have decided to call him Benedict Joseph.  Although he had a short life, he was a precious gift from God, and we look forward with hope to the day that we can meet him and hold him in heaven.  We will be celebrating his life every year on November 24. 

"A person is a person no matter how small."

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Scarf And A Black Eye

Catherine finished her first knitting project.  She did a great job!

If you noticed something off about that first picture, you were right.  Catherine had a swollen, black eye.  This is what happens when you get in the middle of your brothers' sword fight:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Busy Weekend

Wow, have I gotten behind on blog posts!  Part of the problem are these new phones we have.  Now there are pictures on the camera, my phone, and Dan's phone.  I keep waiting to make sure I'm not missing any great pictures.  Which I probably have!  The following pictures are from the very end of September.

We drove up on Saturday to my sister's town, where the Klingele family reunion was being held.  It was fun to see many of my cousins and their children, as well as my aunts and uncles. 
Dominic and Joseph, and their cousin Daniel, chow down on lunch.

The girls!

Most of the attendees.  Lots of little kids.
We then drove over to Childrens' Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO, to visit Dan's great nephew, Kayden, who at 2 years old had just been diagnosed with liver cancer.  Currently, he has now been through 2 rounds of chemotherapy, and after more testing yesterday, the family is waiting to hear if the tumor will be able to be resected or if he will require a liver transplant.   We pray for him daily.

After that, we drove to my parents' house.
Anne with a new doll.

Dominic builds with his new Legos.

Sunday picnic on the porch.

Aunt Beth played Sorry with some of the kids.

Father Brian passed out Tootsie Roll Pops to all the kids.  That weekend he had just finished his officer training in Alabama and was on his way to Omaha, where he is stationed as an Air Force Chaplain.  It was interesting to hear stories about his officer training.

And we got to meet the newest member of the family:  baby Isaac James! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Silver Dollar City, Day Two

Well, it has taken me a while, but this is the last post about our vacation back in September!  You can tell we don't go on vacations very often.  :)

I was really glad we went two days to Silver Dollar City because the first day was a bit overwhelming.  There were so many craftsmen and shops, rides and shows, and lots of different ways to go, that even with a map, we went right by some attractions the first day that we didn't even know were there.  On the evening before the second day, I spent some time with the map and the app on my phone and plotted out all the rides and things we wanted to go to the second day. 

The great thing about going to Silver Dollar City in September is that there is rarely much of a line, especially for the rides.  There were a lot of older people there, but they were mostly attending the shows and going to the shops.  Another thing we discovered is that even though the park "opens" at 10:00 that time of year, you can get there a lot earlier, and it is good to get there early, because they have an opening ceremony that starts right at 10:00 a little ways into the park. 

This is a giant lathe.  The tall man turning the wheel told the kids to stay in school, otherwise they would have to do his job instead of the other man's!

The first day was hot, but the second day was cool and drizzly.  I was glad we brought jackets along.  This man played his harmonica for the kids. 

We went to the homestead area, and there were animals to pet!

Anthony just loved this little goat.

A lot.  He was rubbing his face in its fur.

Dan was brave and took some of the kids on a water ride, even though it was cool and a little rainy.  They didn't get wet until the end when they raced down the big hill.  Dan took the brunt of the splash.

After the wet ride, we went and found the big dryer.  All of them fit inside and for $3, you get blown dry.  It was well worth it on that day.

We went on the coolest indoor roller coaster called Fire in the Hole.  The whole family went, even Anthony.  It was really neat, and there were several sudden drops that you could not see ahead of time.  Anthony didn't cry or anything, but he didn't want to go on it again.  Neither did Anne, but I took the rest of them on it a couple more times. 
We went into the crazy house with upside down rooms and slanting floors. I wouldn't have even known this one was there, except for seeing it on the app.

Dan took three of them on a ride called The Flooded Mine.  We weren't sure if it would be okay for Anthony, so they went to check it out first. 

Anne, Anthony, and I entertained ourselves with taking pictures and eating snacks.

The Flooded Mine was an indoor, partly in the dark, ride in a boat, and shoot laser guns at targets kind of ride, so it was fine for little ones.  Another ride we walked right by the first day.
There is a cave at Silver Dollar City right at the entrance, but when we read there were I think 600 steps, we decided that would be too strenuous for the littler kids (and too stressful on the parents), so we did not go down in it.  There were two giant roller coasters that were too big for the kids and a few other rides that seemed a bit much, but otherwise we hit every ride in the park.  We watched some of the craftsmen, saw a couple of shows, and went into the Christmas Shop.  We sampled some of the food there, bought homemade taffy, and thoroughly had a good time.  One warning:  there are some pretty steep hills in the park, so you will get a workout. 

One last trip to the pool:
Anthony was all ready to go.  No chance of him going under with all that stuff on.  By the end of our stay, he was paddling around without assistance.

Let's go swimming!

And that is the end of our fun trip to Branson and Silver Dollar City!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Silver Dollar City, Day One, Continued

If you ever go to Silver Dollar City, it is advisable to bring a stroller if you have a small child, as it is a very large park.  It is also good because then you have a place to store a small cooler and/or your lunch, and lots of snacks.  If you don't need a stroller for kids, but still want to bring in a cooler or lunch, there are lockers at the entrance you can use for a small fee.  I would recommend that over leaving stuff at your car, even though you can leave and come back in the same day.  It takes a while to get out to your car and there are no picnic areas that I could see at the parking lots.  As far as what to do with the stroller if the whole family wants to ride a ride, people would simply leave their strollers (with no valuables in them, of course) by the entrance to the ride.  We never had a problem with that.  Each ride also had cubby holes that only the ride attendants had access to during the ride, so if you had a purse or hat or something, you could leave it there during the ride. 

In one area of the park, there is a giant play house which was 3-4 stories high, with multiple levels and lots of fun things to do, like in this picture.  There were several net climbing tunnels that went up and down different levels as well as spiral slides.  A fun, fun place for our kids.

There was a large open area in the middle, and a lot of the levels had these air gun things which would shoot out foam balls that you loaded into them.

Then at the bottom of the big open area was all kinds of ways to "clean-up" the balls, which all the kids had a blast with.  It was a clever way to keep the balls in circulation because they would get sucked up and distributed to the various ball containers around the place.

I need one of these at my house to suck up all the toys!

Anthony could have sat here for hours putting the balls in the tube.

This was a small roller coaster that Anthony could ride on with an adult.  It was little, so you got to ride around 3 times and then it would stop with a big jolt.  I have to say, some of the rides for little kids were a tight squeeze for adults.

The kids loved the little roller coaster, especially Anthony.  When I rode with him, I just sat and watched him grinning and laughing. 

Riding in the teacups.  I first went with the four big kids, then the next day we all rode, because you could control the spinning of your cup by the wheel in the middle.  We didn't touch the wheel, so we got a nice, non puke-inducing ride.

There were several rides in this same area designed for little kids.  This was a cute frog ride where each frog would make a hopping motion up and down.  I rode behind Anthony just to make sure he wouldn't try to unbuckle his seat belt, otherwise he would have been fine by himself.

This ride got the honor of us dubbing it the tamest ride in the park.  Anthony liked it though.

As you can see, the other kids did not think it was that great.

We were at Silver Dollar City from a little after 10:00 until around 4:00 that first day.  The kids did really well, even Anthony for the most part.  He did fall asleep for a good while in the stroller during the afternoon, so that was nice.  After we left the park, we drove back to the hotel, and everyone relaxed and then I made dinner in our little kitchen.  Of course, later, we went swimming in the hotel pool.  A fun end to a fun day!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Silver Dollar City, Day One

We decided to take the kids to Silver Dollar City on our vacation to Branson.  Neither Dan nor I had ever been there so it was new to all of us.  What a fun place!  We got our tickets online ahead of time, and were able to get buy one day, get the second day free, which helped it seem not quite so expensive.

We rode the tram from the parking lot to the entrance.   We could have paid to park closer, but the paid parking really wasn't very close either. 
It was a little tricky getting on the tram as we had to fold up the stroller and get all the stuff on, and they had a rule that kids could not sit on either side, only in the middle. The rows weren't big enough for all us, so we didn't have enough adults to surround the kids. So here you can see some random person coming to sit next to Anne. 

We made it to the entrance!  It was nice to have our tickets ahead of time, as we were able to just walk right in to the ticket takers.

Everyone there was dressed in 1870s(I think) attire.  We got to watch a lot of demonstrations.  Here these ladies are making peanut brittle.  Of course, the best part was getting to try a sample!

The kids got to stand up high to see. 

We went to a live, action-packed show with all kinds of crazy stunts.  It was great!  The kids really liked it.

Of course, there are lots of rides.  The first ride the kids went on was a big roller coaster!  I took the four big kids and we did not have to wait in line at all.  I was a little worried they would get scared, but they all loved it. 

We all rode on the train which went around a big chunk of Silver Dollar City.  It was a good way to check out some of the other areas.

Oh, no!  The train got hijacked by some train robbers!  A fun little performance.

Waiting for a magic show.

Catherine got to be the magician's assistant!

Riding on the carousel.

All the kids got to ride this one by themselves.  Anthony was 37 inches, so he was over that critical 36 inches at which kids could ride many of the rides, either by themselves or with an adult.

The first day we were there got hot, so Dan took the kids on the RiverBlast.  This was a fun ride where you ride on a raft armed with water guns.  You can shoot at targets and at people close by.  But, the people can shoot back with water guns on the sides of the waterway.  So I got to have a water fight with the kids.  It was fun! 

After the kids got off, they ran around shooting water at people riding on the rafts.

To be continued...

By the way, if you ever go to Silver Dollar City and have a smart phone, there is a free SDC app.  I found it very helpful when we were there to find out more information about the various rides and which ones would be appropriate for our kids, because you couldn't always tell.