"Look and see, for everyone is coming home!" Isaiah 60:4

Sunday, July 31, 2011


Yes, I realize it's Sunday.

Bear with me.

There was actually nothing overly interesting about Thursday, which was quite nice for a change.

We went to Dylan's grandad's old ranch for a bit.

T-T Ranch is the place Dylan's great grandparents homesteaded on when they came out west.  In fact, the old Agnew homestead is still standing! This house belonged to Dylan's grandma's parents, which is the reason for the different last name. After Dylan's Grandad Tom Stewart married Rosy Agnew, they lived here for some time before they moved into another house on the property.

It's in the middle of a cow pasture now. The cows seek shade there when it gets a little too warm.
Back in it's day, though, this was much more than a cow hideaway. This homestead was the first of it's kind to have wind-powered electricity. Well, really, electricity period. But wind-powered...those are my kind of people!

This is a quick shot of some of the main buildings around the ranch. These were used much more recently than the homestead. In fact, this house is the first place I met Dylan's extended family Thanksgiving 2005. It's kinda special to me :D

After the ranch, we crossed the state line into Colorado, headed to Cheyenne Wells, CO. Unfortunately, this area of Colorado looks no different than Kansas does. We were maybe 8 miles into the state, so there's never any chance we see the Rockies.

We toured around Cheyenne Wells for a bit after seeing Dylan's mom and a good friend of ours.

We passed by Dylan's high school too. Dylan's class had their 10 year reunion just a week ago!

And, as true to fashion for the weather back home, it'll change on a dime around here too. This is what we ran past on the way home.

This storm blew in and didn't quit til the following morning. Another blessing! The area got around 3" with this storm and my goodness did it need it. It was so great the next morning, cool but sunny, and calm. It was so nice.

Well, looks like we'll be headed home tomorrow, so I likely won't have a chance to update, but I'll take the chance if I get it!

Friday, July 29, 2011

We've Arrived! Pt.2

After we saw how late in the day it was, we decided it was best to eat lunch in the car than have to stop somewhere for an hour or so to eat lunch in a park. We were supposed to have been out by Hays by now, so we could be at Dylan's mom's by 4-4:30. This was going to throw a serious time crunch ahead.

So we pressed on and with the aid of the Holy Spirit (evidenced by how enthralled both the kids were by the movie they watched no less than 4 times total!), snacks and naps for both kids, we drove for another 2.5 hours stopping once for bathroom breaks. That's a serious chunk of time when you're traveling with a 2 yo and a 4 yo!

We passed through Fort Riley, KS (<3)

I always get a little jolt of pride when we go through there.

**God Bless Americaaaa, Land that I LOOOOVEEE!!....

Sorry....that's as close as you'll ever get to hearing me sing. Believe me, it's not something you want to hear :D

And we passed by the wind farms. This is always a highlight because the highway runs pretty close to some of those turbines. It's amazing how big they really are. I didn't get any up close pictures of the really big ones.

We stopped again at Bunker Hill, KS as we routinely do to let the kids out and give them a chance to stretch out their poor little legs and fill up on gas.

And look, they're both still happy as can be! PTL!

By the way, did I mention that we've been traveling during the hottest day of the year. Here's a pic of our car thermometer. Of course, this is outside! This isn't nearly the worst we saw. It climbed up to 113F!

After almost another 4 hours, we made it to Dylan's mom's house. And look what we saw when we got here!

Might that be.......RAIN?????? We hadn't seen rain in who knows how long back home, and here we are in the driest part of the state! Rain is considered a blessing for these farmers and ranchers out here. We had no sooner gotten the luggage out of the car before is started raining....HARD. The lights were flickering, the wind was blowing and we were thankful for the new roof that had been put up just a few weeks before!

We took a little walk around the ranch before the rain hit and found a sheep out.

Dylan put the sheep back in with the rest of the herd and then we went to visit one of the guard dogs.

This sweet girl is Glory and she's one of two guard dogs at the ranch. She's such a sweetheart, but at night time she's all business. Her job on the ranch is to guard the sheep from predators (coyotes, hawks, other intruders)

But during the day, she's just one big ol' teddy bear!

We were so glad to be at the house by a reasonable time, despite all the mishaps during the beginning of the trip. We even made it before dinner! It's so good to see some family again!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

We've Arrived! Pt.1

We left the house yesterday for our 10 12 hour journey around 7:30 am. We had originally planned on leaving around 6 am so we could stop in Manhattan, KS around 8:00 am and get some breakfast. There is a little diner in town there that is special to Dylan and I so we try to go there whenever we can. Little did we know just how much God was protecting us by preventing us from leaving that early.

Though I pack as much as possible the night before, for some reason I kept thinking of things that we HAD to take with us, which was why we got gone so late. And once we're out on the road, we naturally take the most direct path there, which is to take I-70 west and don't stop till you reach mile 1. So we got gone around 7:30 which threw our breakfast plans off, and Dylan and I decided to eat breakfast in Topeka. There's another little diner there that is also special to me, because we used to go there when my Dad was still here.

Hanover Pancake House always has the best breakfasts, and we were pretty hungry already. I didn't want the kids to wait any longer to eat breakfast, so we stopped and had a feast of biscuits and gravy, french toast, hashbrowns and of course, pancakes! It was so yummy! I love taking the kids to places that I went when I was little!

So after breakfast we got back on the road again. We didn't get far before we saw there was a random DETOUR sign off to the right directing us on to I-470. Thinking nothing of it, we kept on I-70 out toward Auburn, which is right outside of Topeka on the west side. Before we got to the next exit, we saw another sign that said "INCIDENT AHEAD, I-70 CLOSED"
Closed?? The whole highway is CLOSED??

And then the next sign we saw "Exit ahead closed" Le Sigh... Were they just going to make us sit on the highway until the "incident" was dealt with?? And if the whole highway was closed, why didn't they force us to take the DETOUR when we could instead of waiting til we got down the road a bit and THEN we realize that DETOUR was ment for us?

Thankfully, the exit was NOT closed, but everyone was using it to turn around and get back on the highway headed back east. Not the way we wanted to go, but better than standing still for who knows how long. So we took the detour, but then realized there were 2 detours. And of course, the one we took, was NOT meant for us.

So another half hour driving in circles almost to figure out what we needed to do to get back on the right track and we ended up taking Highway 24, which is north of Topeka, but would take us all the way to Manhattan, where we could join up with I-70 again.

And so we took Highway 24 as our detour, which ended up being really fun, if not a little slower than what we're used to.  BUT, we got to drive through little towns we hadn't seen in a while. Dylan and I like to drive though small towns. We always talk about how much we would love to live in a small town some day. So I made the best out of the extra time we had and took pictures of the places we'd driven through.

Silver Lake, KS
Rossville, KS

St. Mary's , KS

Belvue, KS

Wamego, KS

And finally, the place that will ALWAYS be home for me,

Manhattan, KS

We intended to stop here from the beginning to pick up lunch items before we made our way west, so we went ahead and picked up supplies for lunch. And then we realized it WAS lunchtime.


And the kids were hungry.

But the kicker was that it had taken us 4 hours to make a typically 2 hour trip.

And we wern't anywhere close to being halfway yet....

P.S. THIS is why the highway had been shut down and rerouted. And I thank the authorities that took the precaution to protect themselves and the public.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Headin' West

We're getting ready to make the 7-10 hour drive out to Dyl's mom's for awhile. The kiddos are pretty excited to be seeing family and getting to see baby "cafe's" (Isabel's word for calves :D), though I'm sure they're more grown than she realizes! We'll be out for Stewart Reunion and County Fair, so there will be LOTS of picture opportunities! I'm excited for the Turtle Races! Before fair, the kids hunt for turtles, bring them to the race day and let the best turtle win! I don't think we'll be transporting any turtles clear across the state just for this race, but we'll give it a good shot finding some around the ranch.

We really do just LOVE going out there. I'm making an intentional effort to update at least twice while were there, though I can see it being a lot more than that! See ya out west!

Wildflowers After Rain on the Prairie

                                   Wildflowers After Rain on the Prairie, by Kansas Explorer 3128

Monday, July 18, 2011

It seems I need to learn a few things....

about consistency when it comes to the blog...

Such as to remember to take a camera with me at all times. It's amazing how many big events I seem to forget to pack a camera for! We've had 2 within the past week. The first being a trip to Deanna Rose Farmstead with a couple friends and their kiddos.

The second being a family trip to Topeka for the annual Fiesta. It's a week long fundraiser for the Catholic church my family attends there. We make the trip out for just one evening as it is always held during (what seems like) the hottest week of the summer. There is so much to do from carnival rides, to vendors selling their wares, people selling food (seriously, the best tacos (besides Mama's) in the world are to be had there!) music and dancing! We always see lots of family while we're there, so it's fun to see how everyone is doing.

We're planning a trip out to western KS to see Dylan's family soon! I'll be sure to pack the camera for that! Now if someone would just remind me to do so..... :D