Sunday, May 29, 2011

100k with the Gnome

May 2004, just about 7 years ago, we bought a brand new Ford Focus ZTS.  Its turn signal sounded like a metronome, and we started calling it the 'nome for short, and now just the Gnome.  Its has been a great car!  That year they tried out a larger engine with the ZTS, making it quite zippy, and we have driven it all over.  Off the top of my head, I can remember a few drives from Nebraska to Arizona and back, a few roundtrip drives between Nebraska, Yellowstone and Arizona, a spring break tour of Colorado, research trips to Alberta and Montana, a huge trip from Nebraska to Yellowstone to Washington to Utah to Arizona and back to Nebraska, a conference in St. Cloud, MN, 3 trips to Table Rock Lake, 5-6 trips to Kansas City, 3-4 trips to Des Moines, countless drives to Omaha and back, and probably a few others I am forgetting.  Good times.

Well, the Gnome just hit 100,000 miles!
(I pulled over in a rainstorm just outside Kearney to snap the pic)

I was going to do a big grand post, filled with pictures of us and our car and all of our adventures, but ran into a problem.  While we have taken thousands of pictures at the places we have gone in our car, the car is never in the pictures - not even in the background!  There are quite a few taken on road through the windsheild or out the window of things we saw...but not of the car itself.  I was a bit disappointed.  So, here are the few pictures of the car we have.  Not very exciting.

22 July 2004.  Beaver Creek, NE.

1 April 2005.  Hulses pranked us by covering our car with newspaper.  We got them back by piling about 4 ft. of newspapers against their front door.

31 August 2005.  Someone rear-ended Juls (barely).  We had to take pics for the insurance.  One bummer is that we had those awesome AZ WA stickers, but they had to replace our bent trunk, so the stickers were lost.  We had quite a debate over whether it would be AZWA or WAAZ.

12 July 2009.  We got a flat tire in the middle of nowhere in Wyoming.  So, this is Ems in a Walmart parking lot after having the tire fixed.  Evanston, I think.

26 July 2009.  Gassing up.  Somewhere in Alberta, I think.

26 June 2010.  The Starr sisters decorated the car for Julianne's 30th birthday.  Guess who cleaned all the grease paint off?  Not Julianne.

Here's to another 100k!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Having Fun

We're having fun with Grandma Jody!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Great Plains

New Piano

Julianne went for a walk down the street during our neighbhood garage sale weekend.  Here is what she came back with (actually, Brad, me and two strangers off the street....Julianne didn't help at all).

Oh yeah, it was free.  Julianne says that is the most important part of the story.

Prescott Piano Company (Concord, MA), 1895.

A walk in the park + Frank the Frog

We went for a walk in Pioneers Park today with Jody and the Hulses.

We found a frog.  His name was Frank.  It was awesome.

This scene looked very "Nebraska/Great Plains" to us, so we took a picture.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Trapped! Dad = Genius

Pete can crawl, Pete can pull himself up on things, but can he climb over large obstacles?!  Dad hopes not.  Pure genius!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The End of an Era...for now...

Major Surgery for Luigi

Back story:  Last spring I bought parts to fully rebuild Luigi's transmission and replace his brakes.  Before we could do that, the engine seized. 

This usually means that the piston has literally melted/fused to the cylinder.  Fun.  Well, he sat all winter being lonely, and now a local scooter friend, Matt, helped me drop the engine and fix him.  It turns out, the piston/cylinder were fine.  Our best educated diagnosis is that the clutch-side bearings are shot.  This is actually going to be a cheaper fix than what we had thought.  Here's what he looks like at the moment:

Misc parts + carburetor

 Parts of the engine, cylinder head pulled off, piston exposed, flywheel on the side

Note: I am 100% worthless in doing all of this and completely at the mercy of Matt.  A million thank you's to him.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Apparently, I Need to Grill More Often

We often grill more than once a week.  Apparently, that isn't often enough.  After letting the grill sit for about 5 days, this is what I opened it up to find.

I was wondering why that starling was hanging around the deck so much yesterday and today...

Emmie and technology

I am amazed at how well Emmie can navigate the computer and my cell phone.  She is a wiz on her favorite letter website.  She can also use my cell phone better than me.  I get pictures like this saved every so often. 

In case you're wondering that is a mermaid AND Curious George.  They must be celebrating a birthday because that is the only reason to have balloons.  

And then there is this....

She is practicing her photoshop skills. This picture obviously wasn't good enough, it needed a giant bee.  How do kids learn how to do this? 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

We have the best mothers and grandmothers.  Thank you for your infinite love.  
We love you all...Happy Mother's Day

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

7 months

It seems like I was just updating the blog with Pete's 6 month info.  It is nuts how fast time is going!  Well, our boy is 7 months tomorrow.  He is a delight. 

His talents include:
Sitting up
Crawling backward
Eating and spitting out baby food
Playing with toys

Brenden and I both call him Pete but Emmie is much more formal always calling him Peter.  We all love this guy!