Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Army Field Band Collage with text

Our community was very blessed over spring break to have the United States Army Field Band perform at our local high school auditorium.  Any time a group like this comes through, our family makes our best effort to attend because they always have amazing programs.

This particular performance was really special, however, because the concert band and soldiers’ chorus invited local students to join them in performing one song.  When we were asked to consider doing this, we were very excited.  So we downloaded the sheet music that the group provided, practiced the song and waited for the special day.

We never know exactly how something like this is going to go, but I felt pretty sure that being part of the US military, this one would be handled very professionally.  And it was.  Before the concert a member of the choir came and explained to the kids exactly what would be happening and what they would need to do.  There weren’t any rehearsals, but I felt pretty confident that this would work out all right.

So we enjoyed the concert.  The band and chorus performed a variety of pieces.  We especially liked a band song entitled El Camino Real by Alfred Reed.  The kids really enjoyed it when the chorus presented several songs from musicals including Tradition from Fiddler on the Roof.  Boy, did that bring back some fun memories from the musical a couple of years ago!

This concert was a special treat for Kara, who loves all things military.  She was enraptured throughout the concert–especially when a featured soloist played a trombone piece.  (She recently began taking lessons on the trombone herself and loves it!)

The kids sang their song with the chorus, and, of course, that was pretty neat.  They all came back to their seats with big smiles.  The Army Field Band treated my kids like royalty–several times throughout the evening, they’d come ask them how they were enjoying the performance, what songs they liked, etc.  At the end of the show, they brought each of them (and me too) a personalized dog tag as a thank you for participating.  It really was a great experience–one that I know they will always remember.

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Spring Break!

This has been a pretty common scene in our house this week!  Having John home from KSU is always a lot of fun.  My kids are truly best friends, and I am thankful for that.  We are blessed!

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2016 Musical Try-Outs

Annie Tryout Collage with text

Here it is March 11, time for Spring Break, and I haven’t blogged since Christmas Break.  I guess that is pretty indicative of how our days are going!  Yes, things have been pretty crazy, but I am going to use these next few days while we are on break from school to try to catch up on some of our family’s news.

Shortly after Christmas, the college choral director announced that this year’s musical would be Annie.  Auditions were held in February, and the excitement of another production began.

Auditions took several weeks for this show because of the large amount of community interest in the play in addition to weather delays.  Once the auditions were finished and the cast was posted, though, the Prairie Family was very happy with the parts that were given to them!  Kara and Cosette are both servants in the Warbuck’s mansion.  In addition to their base roles, Cosette will be playing the “Star to Be” in the NYC scene, and Kara will be portraying Frances Perkins, who was the Secretary of Labor in FDR’s cabinet.  Luke is a “Hoovervillite,” a member of the President’s Cabinet, and the Sound-Effects man in the radio scene.  Dan was cast as Bert Healy, who is the radio announcer who helps Mr. Warbucks try to find Annie’s parents.  Brock got the most unusual part of all–he is Rooster Hannigan, who is the sly villain of the show who pretends to be Annie’s father for financial gain.  This role is fun for Brock because he just gets to be shady in a rather silly way.  (All three of the people portraying the bad-guys in this show are really nice kids!  lol!)  I will be playing my violin in the pit orchestra again this year, and I enjoy that a lot.

The best part about doing this show is that our community has really gotten involved this year, and that means that there are several cast members that are dear friends of ours.  It is a true joy to be able to share this wonderful experience with people who mean so much to us. This is going to be the best musical year yet!  🙂


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O'Brien Collage

Normally, we celebrate Christmas with Dan’s side of the family in Nebraska at Thanksgiving.  This year, though, there was an ice storm, so our trip was delayed.  We decided to go visit his Mom the week after Christmas while John was still home from college, and that ended up being a very nice time.  Grandma O’Brien’s birthday is also right after Christmas, so it ended up working out for us to take her out to eat for her special day–two celebrations in one!

I really like this picture of John playing his piano pieces for Grandma O’Brien:


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Christmas Day 2015


Christmas Collage

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Looking Spiffy Collage with Text

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Christmas Eve 2015

Christmas Eve Collage

Our family has gotten to where we enjoy Christmas Eve as much as, if not more than, Christmas Day.  2015 was no exception.  We went out to eat lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, and opened our traditional “stocking” gifts (that have been put in bags for years!).  Our church had it’s second annual Christmas Eve candlelight service, and we had several people from the area visit with their families, which was really nice.  We had the kids of our church provide the special music for the evening, and they all did really well.

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Person Gift Collage with text

I don’t know how many years ago I decided to start having the kids draw names to get Christmas gifts for each other, but it has been several.  I originally kept the drawing “secret” just so that they wouldn’t be tempted to pester each other with “I want” requests.  This silly name drawing has turned into one of the kids’ favorite holiday traditions; they love trying to guess who has whom, and it has turned into a big game.

Believe it or not, the kids start asking me to draw names for “their person” in October–sometimes even in September.  They want to know “who they have” so they can “pick just the right thing.”  This whole thing used to be very complicated until I found random.org.  Now I just use the online dice roller to help me be truly random in choosing who has whom.  🙂

Right away the kids start trying to not only figure out what to get “their person,” but also who has whom in the name drawing.  This used to really annoy me, but I guess it’s part of what makes it fun for them, so I have gotten to where I just try to ignore it….

Anyway, this year the kids did a pretty good job of picking presents for “their person.”  Here is how it all worked out this year:

  • John got Cosette a really nice binder and a matching fountain pen for her journaling.
  • Brock got Luke a Nerf gun.
  • Cosette got John a Litograph shirt.  (This is one of the shirts whose design is made by the texts of a classic book.)
  • Luke got Kara some much-loved crochet hooks and pattern book.
  • Kara got Brock some finger picks and a new finger-picking book for his guitar.  (which I love hearing him practice!)

So, our favorite holiday game is finished for this year–but it won’t be long until it all starts up again.  (Sometimes it is even mentioned during the summer…..)

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James Claassen, the station manager of KGCR, helped to organize the Mark Schultz concert in Colby that my family participated in.  He took some awesome pictures the night of the show and graciously gave me permission to post these here on my blog.  I love this post’s heading picture–it was taken off stage while the choir was performing with Mark, and I just think it’s a wonderful picture.  I am going to post a collage of some of James’ other pictures, and then I will post a Smilebox slideshow that shows more of the pictures of the concert and plays the songs that the choir performed with Mark Schultz.

This was a very special evening for all of us–what a wonderful memory of the 2015 Christmas season!

KGCR Collage

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December 2015 brought a special occasion for the Prairie Family.  Mark Schultz came “home” on his tour called A Different Kind of Christmas along with his guest artists, Jon Bauer and Love and the Outcome.  Mark grew up in Colby and was a couple of years behind me in school.  It had been ten years since he had a concert in his hometown because of scheduling conflicts, so having him here was a real treat for our community.

Mark had contacted the college choir director about having a group of local people join him on stage to sing the last three songs of the show.  Our family was asked to be a part of this, and we were delighted to do so!  Of course, it was neat for me to see Mark do what he does best, but my kids have grown up admiring Mark as the great performer that he is.  So, it was a real treat for them to be able to sing with him.

The concert was sold-out in advance of the performance.  Even though Dan was not in the choir, he still helped with the concert by helping to unload sound equipment and driving performers and staff on errands the afternoon of the show.  He said he especially enjoyed meeting and talking with Jon Bauer.

Here is a collage of pictures from the practices that the choir had for the show:

Mark Schultz Collage


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