Monday, June 30, 2008

Dinner with the Lahtis

After our successful class reunion I wanted to spend a little more time with my classmate, Rhonda who I haven't seen in over 15 years. It was really great to catch up with her and meet her fabulous husband Richard and their adorable little kids. It was also really great that our daughters were the same age and had a great time with each other!

We went to their house on the outskirts of Omaha which was really beautiful! We had a glass of wine before heading over to this sushi restaurant called Sushi Japan for dinner. The sushi was excellent and the company even better! Here are a few snap shots of the evening.


Angus and Richie


Gemma and her new friend Kalley


The Lahtis

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Gabe's 3rd Birthday Party


Gabe and Angus

On Sunday we headed to Omaha for Gabe's 3rd birthday party. My brother Mark and his wife Missy live in a great neighborhood. They are friends with all of their neighbors and they even share a backyard with their next door neighbor, so they have double the area for their kids to play.


Angus playing on the neighbor's patio.


Gemma on the neighbor's trampoline.


The kids loved the trampoline!


Jared (Becky's husband) and Aiden having a bite to eat.


The Lightening McQueen Cake!


Blowing out the candles.


Gemma loves cake!


Aiden, Angus and Gemma also love frosting!!


Gabe in his new fireman's hat.


Angus trying it on for size.

The kids had a ball at the party and Gabe made out like a bandit in the gift department. It has been so great to get all 6 of the Snelling cousins together this trip. I hope we can do this every summer!


This is one incredible lady. This is Missy Grandma and she is such a sweetheart! She was so interested in hearing about China and so up on current affairs. I think I hear my old career calling me again!

Fishing with Daddy


Jonny fishing off the dock.

Everytime Jonny visits my parents one of the first thing he does is throw a line in the water. This trip it was all about teaching the kid to throw a line in the water.


Angus loved to net the fish for his Daddy.


The proud fisherboy!


Jonny trying to get Angus to release the fish by himself. He wasn't quite sure of the slime factor.


Another catfish too small to keep. Gemma reeled this one in and Angus netted it for Jonny. Although I do not have many pictures of Gemma fishing she loved it!


Taking out the hook, a Daddy job.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Cedar Bluffs High School Class of 1988


Well we made it! It has been twenty years since we roamed the hallways of Cedar Bluffs High School, but we were able to meet again after all this time. We had a pretty good turn out for our 20th class reunion. Paula and I did a ton of research to try and make sure everyone received an invitation the party. Unfortunately we weren't able to get in contact with a few people. A few people didn't return our phone callas and a few couldn't make it back. I am happy to report that we had over 50% of our class in attendance. We had a nice time catching up and hearing about everyone's lives and seeing lots of pictures of people kids (of course I forgot pictures of mine!). I think we all seemed to be more mature and have learned from life's lessons. It was nice to step back in time for an evening with a group of people that you spent 19 years of your life. Here are some pictures from our evening.


Kim, Darren and Paula. Paula was the maid of honor in our wedding. We not only went to high school together, but went to college together too. We have been friends from 32 years! Darren was one of the first to arrive with his new wife Mindy.


Stefani was someone I played softball with since I was in grade school. She eventually came to school in Cedar Bluffs after finishing school at her country school. We ended up playing volleyball and cheerleading together. She was the only person I didn't recognize when she arrived. It had been at least 13 years since I had seen her last. She looks fabulous!


Some serious conversation.


Rachel, Kim, and Nikki. Rachel was invited to the reunion by me because she grew up in Cedar Bluffs and we played softball together, but she went to Catholic School in a different town. Rachel and I have always remained close and I always try and see her and her family (she has 6 kids!) when I am home. It was so great to see Nikki and I am so glad she decided to come for the reunion. She was one of my closest friends in high school.


A couple of the husbands making the burgers.


Rachel and Stefani, old softball buddies!


Rachel, Shumain and Nikki


Stefani, Shumain, and Rhonda, you should have seen them on the volleyball court!


Some of the boys.


William, Nikki's husband and Jonny. Jonny just flew in from Singapore and arrived at the reunion.


Enjoying the food and conversation.


Shumain, Rhonda, Me, Rachel (Bill's wife), Paula, and Rachel


Poor Shumain, she was trying to take the chicken out of the oven and dumped it on her leg. Luckily she wasn't hurt.


Cindy and Darwin. Darwin is a principal in Iowa.


Stefani, living in Blair on the farm with her husband and two kids. She works at Wal-Mart in Omaha.

Rhonda and Richard are the proud parents’ two cute kids. Rhonda is the General Manager of 7 radio stations in Omaha.


Mike and Wendy have 5 gorgeous kids!


Bill and Rachel have two adorable little boys Bill was my neighbor growing up and he is a stay at home Dad.


Nikki and William live in Excelsior Springs, Missouri. They are the proud parents of two beautiful kids.


Paula and Alan have two darling little girls. Paula is the principal of an elementary school in Omaha.

Melissa and Dana 4 girls. Dana makes fire engines for a living! Angus is dying to go see him do this!


Pat is living in Cedar Bluffs and is farming thousands of acres with his brother. Unfortunately they lost quite a few crops on Friday. He was so awesome on Saturady! He came early without being asked and helped us set up. He also graciously paid our rental fee of the American Legion where we ended up having the party.


George and Missy live in Omaha with their two boys. George in a teacher in Papillion.


Darren and Mindy are newlyweds. Darren works for 3M.

Friday, June 27, 2008

I feel like bad luck!

The day before my class reunion as I was preparing the food for the party the weather started to get a bit dreary, so my Dad turned on the television. The weather report was that there was a hail storm heading our way. I was cursing to myself because my van was just out of storage for one week and now it would be pummeled with hail the size of golf balls. While this was all going on I was also on the phone to my friend Cyndi. I ended up having to get off the phone with her because the winds picked up and the water on the lake had so many waves it looked like a really rough bit of ocean. We started to hear noises on the rough and I took the kids to the hallway thinking a tree might fall on the house and that would be a safe place. The wind didn't stop and there were more loud noises and I finally realized the bathroom would be the safest place for all of us. The kids and I climbed in the bathroom and in true fashion my Dad paced around the house checking out what was going on outside. In my 25 years of growing up in the Midwest through hundreds of thunderstorms, tornado watches and warnings, I have never seen a storm quite as bad as this. I was thinking to myself as I sat in the bath with my kids, 'We just made it though an earthquake and now this?'. Honestly I couldn't believe that I could go through two stressful situations like this in a matter of 45 days.

After about 10 minutes the wind started to slow down and the loud noises from the roof stopped. I had the kids wait while I went to assess what had happened and I couldn't believe my eyes. Here are some pictures of the damage.


One of the 5 fallen trees and one side of my parents back patio.


The other side of the back patio.


A view of my parents house from the beach. (This is about an hour after the storm. Notice how it appears to be sunny and great weather.)


The roots of the tree.


My parents side yard. The leaves just stuck to the fence.


We had part of a tree fall of the roof. I think this is the one that made me run to the bathtub.


My Dad's truck underneath some pretty big branches. There is also a power line that fell 4 feet from his truck. Remarkably there was no damage to his truck.


A tree across the drive from my parents house.

Many people thought the storm was a tornado, but it was actually called a Straight Line Wind Storm and if you could see the damage it went in a complete straight line through this area.

The worst thing that happened though was that there were thousands of corn and bean crops that were completely shredded. The beans were replanted, but it is too late in the season for the corn. It will result in big losses for farmers and food prices growing again.

We ended up being without power for 5 days, but luckily thanks to my electrician brother-in-law Jared we had a generator that provided power to a few outlets in the house. My class reunion had to be moved to a different location (post to follow!).

We took a drive around the neighborhood and here are a few pictures from our damage tour.


One of the fallen trees. There were hundreds of trees just like this in the neighborhood.


There were a couple houses with massive trees on top of them.


This garage was complete destroyed by a tree.