Monday, April 18, 2016


I have to be honest -- I didn't take a ton of Christmas pictures.  We truly had a fantastic Christmas and just enjoyed it.  There wasn't a lot of hustle and bustle, it was just really nice. 
Megan, Justin, and girls came back the weekend before Christmas.  It is always fun to get the kids together. 
SenaKay had gotten a selfie-stick so we put it to the test! 
The Stewart side had our first gathering without Grandma.  It was therapeutic to get everyone together again and we had a nice evening. 
Isaac got a new tree for his bedroom to fit his theme.  It turned out well!  Mr. Jingles, our elf, also got creative with Star Wars and ballerina snowflakes to tell the kids they had a snow day from school.

Amelia and Caroline were angels in the preschool Christmas program.  
 Christmas Eve!
I didn't do well taking many pictures but Robynn however got a new camera and was excited to use it so I'll just hijack pictures from her blog for mine!  Great job, Sis!

We can't let Christmas pass by without giving a shout out to this couple and their smashing outfits!

I've never known a better looking guy in a dinosaur, handgun, poinsettia suit.
Seriously, I haven't. 
Christmas morning! 
We made the kids crawl in bed with us for a picture before we checked to see if
Santa was here!

Closest shown, Caroline had asked for "brand new shiny rain boots!" and Santa met that wish!  Amelia had asked for horse toys so Santa set them both up with their new boots and new horse toys.  Isaac got a skateboard and some Legos.  Chloe got ANOTHER stick horse and a Little Live Pet set. 
We spent Christmas time in WaKeeney and all the kids were all over Andy, as usual!

These pictures were taken at Leonard's funeral, but the kids all had on Christmas outfits so it's fitting to share at Christmas time. 
We are so thankful for all of our family.  With two funerals at the end of the year it makes you appreciate the time you have and the quality of people in our lives. 
2015 was a great year.  Royce traveled even more than I did, we had opportunities for 4-H trips, family road trips and Royce and I's amazing trip to the UK.  God is good!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Miscellaneous fall pictures

Amelia loves it when I bury her in the shopping cart. 
Just a farm boy cooling down!
Isaac made his first big purchase this fall.  He saved for MONTHS so he could buy his own Kindle.  Royce and I don't buy electronics for our kids.  And we don't let Santa give them either.  We believe they can earn their own electronics and Isaac was a slow and steady saver.  He started with his birthday money in February, saved coins from Easter eggs, did extra chores through the summer, and finally earned enough in the fall.  Royce and I reward the kids with good cases and warranties that they don't have to buy themselves.  It's a great system and we will continue on for the twins as well.
Way to go Isaac!  You did it buddy!     

Halloween parties at school!

And our traditional first stop was at Grandma Donna's house for
 the kids to visit Great-Grandpa Dink. 
School girl zombie, Amelia as Captain America, Navy SEAL, Tinkerbelle, Batgirl, and a sweet little UPS guy!

Thanksgiving road trip to Ransom!


Another grandparent remembered

Leonard W. Purinton, 92, died Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, at Good Samaritan Society, Ellis.
Purinton Leonard obit

He was born Aug. 4, 1923, south of Collyer, to Ray and Leona (Ward) Purinton. He was a 1941 graduate of Trego Community High School.

He married Irene C. Royce on Sept. 15, 1946, in Smith Center. She preceded him in death Aug. 13, 2012. He was a farmer/rancher. He was a U.S. Army Air Force veteran serving during World War II.

Survivors include four sons, Wayne Purinton and Ed Purinton, both of WaKeeney, Chuck Purinton, Lincoln, Calif., and Ron Purinton, Citrus Heights, Calif.; two sisters, Leulla Kephart and Hazel Rocco; three grandsons; two granddaughters; four great-grandsons; and seven great-granddaughters. Services will be at 10 a.m. Monday at First United Methodist Church, WaKeeney; burial in Kansas Veterans’ Cemetery, WaKeeney.
The blessing of our kids knowing seven great-grandparents in their lifetime is incredible.  In 2015 we had to say goodbye to two of these great people. 
Picture taken August 2012
Ed, Ron, Chuck, Wayne
Leonard and Dan
These are from Leonard's 90th Birthday August 4, 2013
Four Generations 
Ron, Ed, Debby, and family
Royce will remember his grandfather mostly from his farm days growing up.  Royce loved spending time on the farm with his grandparents.  Leonard will be missed, but is no doubt enjoying his reunion with Irene. 

K-S-U Wildcats!

We took all the kids to a few games this year.  We sold more games than previous years but as kids grow up their schedules fill up, and we're only in the beginning stages of this! 
The games we did go to we thoroughly enjoyed.  Nothing makes Royce and I more proud than hearing our offspring belt out the words to Crazy Train as we pull out of the driveway on our way to Manhattan for some K-State football! 

We had KSU outfits passed down from some Kansas City friends so it was fun to let the girls wear them on a nice day! Getting serious pictures was a little tougher....
We even surprised Royce this year during the football season.  He had a business training trip to Chicago that kept him away for a week.  He flew out of Manhattan and, originally, I was going to drive to Manhattan to meet him and go to the KSU game the next day.  However plans changed and he decided he was going to drive home so we could all go to the game together.  All that driving was just silly so the kids and I loaded up Friday evening and headed to the Manhattan airport to surprise him.  And boy did we!  I got the reunion on video and it was about as picture perfect as I could have imagined. 

I think their smiles in this second picture tell on their own how much these kiddos loved surprising their daddy.  The surprise was successful.  Dan and Linda were in on my secret and had beds waiting for us when we arrived.  Royce was pretty chatty as he had downed some Starbucks on the flight so he could drive the 2 hours home.  Hehehe!  It was worth the 10pm caffeine high for the fun surprise. 

And I had my first ever girls football trip! This was a Thursday evening game and Holy Family and TMP did not have school the next day.  Kathy and Rachel needed to attend an insession in Salina on Friday so us four gals loaded up Thursday after lunch and headed to the game!  We somehow finagled Kristin into true and honest K-State clothing and we had a wonderful time.  Rachel witnessed Kathy being honored the next day with her 30 year pin for service at TMP.  And Kristin and I tore up a few stores in Salina and she introduced me to the Cozy Burgers! How had I never had these before?

Saying goodbye to Grandma Donna

Grandma Donna passed away in September.  I will miss catching up with her.  She was diagnosed with cancer during the summer and passed away shortly after her 3rd chemo treatment had been unsuccessful.  Grandma was always quick witted and made my most-favorite sloppy joes for me when I painted for her. 

Below is her obituary from the Hays Daily News. 

Donna Elaine (Stice) Stewart Stanton died September 13, 2015 at her home in Hays, Kansas. She was born on April 4, 1933 to Loyd and Mary (Veverka) Stice. She was the youngest child. She had two brothers, Gerald Stice and Harold “Shorty” Stice, and a sister, Gayle Stice Wasinger. She was born and raised on the family farm, 11 miles northwest of Stockton, Kansas. She went to all eight grades at Bethel, a country school which was located just ½ mile north of the family farm. She often walked, rode her horse or if it was cold her Dad would take her to school.
Stanton Donna obit
In 1947, she graduated from the eighth grade at Bethel and the family moved into Stockton where she attended Stockton High School. In high school she was employed by William’s Jewelry Store, she was a sales clerk and worked there during the summer, after school and on week-ends. She enjoyed high school and some of her best friends across the years have been her former classmates. In the fall, after graduation in 1951 she moved to Kansas City, Missouri and attended a Jewelry School. After completing her schooling, she moved back to Stockton and worked for William’s Jewelry as a full-time sales clerk and watch technician.
On October 26, 1952 she married a classmate, Alan Stewart. She continued to work at the jewelry store and Al was employed by the City of Stockton. In September of 1953, Al enlisted in the US Army. After he completed basic training at Fort Riley, Kansas, they moved to Des Plaines, Illinois when he was assigned to the Great Lakes Radar Unit. She worked for the “Little Fuse” factory in Des Plaines while he was in the Army. After his discharge in September of 1955, they moved back to Stockton where Al worked for Lane Wells and she returned to work at the William’s Jewelry Store.
While they lived in Stockton, their oldest son, Douglas Alan was born in September of 1956. In early 1957, Al was transferred to Russell, Kansas with Lane Wells. During their time in Russell, their second son Ryan Loyd was born in July of 1957. Once again they moved back to Stockton in the Spring of 1958 when Al became a full-time student at Fort Hays State University and worked as the night police officer for the City of Stockton. In March of 1959, Al became the General Agent for Rooks County Farm Bureau. Their third son, Kelly Charles was born in March of 1960. With 3 sons, she became a full-time mother, wife and homemaker. In 1964, Donna and her sister-in-law Edna Stice, opened Maylaines Dress Shop in Stockton, which they operated for several years.
In 1979, Al and Donna built a home in Hays and they enjoyed living in Hays. She received her Real Estate License and became a Realtor for her brother, Harold with the Stice Agency. It was a wonderful opportunity for her to work for and with her brother “Shorty” in the real estate business in Hays. They had a good time together.
Her husband Alan, died in 1983 after a long struggle with Multiple Scleroses.
In July of 1986, she moved to Wichita, Kansas and became the wife of a United Methodist Pastor. She married Delbert “Dink” Stanton who was an associate minister at First United Methodist Church in Wichita.
For 23 years, she served as a full-time pastor’s wife in several churches in Kansas. They lived in Wichita, Medicine Lodge, Atwood, WaKeeney, and in Hays. In 2008 Delbert retired from full-time ministry from the First United Methodist Church in Hays after serving the congregation for eight years as the Senior Pastor. During her time in ministry, she gave countless children’s sermons, taught Jr. and Sr. High Sunday School and served as chairperson of the Evangelism Committee. She truly enjoyed the opportunity to serve in ministry with her husband. She had a great time and valued her role in this very fulfilling and life changing vocation. Also, while living in the different communities she remained active as a Realtor. She retired as an agent from the Dean Ellner Agency in Hays in 2005.
Donna and Delbert enjoyed travelling in their RV. They also enjoyed golf, swimming, and spending several months in Arizona during the winter. They traveled to Europe on several occasions as well as New Zealand. They hosted several trips to Israel.
Through email, Facebook, and Skype, she enjoyed staying connected with family and friends. Having the grandchildren come and spend time each summer while they were growing up was always a source of treasured memories for Donna. They still come every 4th of July.
Donna felt fortunate to have been raised in the Stockton community and to have lived the majority of her life in Western Kansas. She was so very grateful for the opportunities she had and the many people who helped her along life’s journey.
Donna was preceded in death by her husband Alan, her parents and her brothers and sister. She is survived by her husband, Delbert. By her three sons, Douglas of Denver, CO, Ryan and wife Kathleen of Elbert, CO, and Kelly and wife Karla of Stockton. She is also survived by her nine grandchildren, Robynn Hickert (Dustin), Megan Purinton (Royce), Morgan Musser (Matt), Jessica Pratt (Mark), Jamie Stewart, Seth Stewart, Andrea “Gracie” Stewart, Grant Stewart, and Grayson Stewart; and six great-grandchildren, Chloe Purinton, Isaac Purinton, Amelia Purinton, Caroline Purinton, Stella Hickert, and Mason Hickert.
A Memorial Service will be held at 10:00 am on Friday, September 18, 2015 at the Stockton United Methodist Church. Visitation will be from 1:00-8:00 pm on Thursday at Plumer-Overlease Funeral Home in Stockton with family receiving friends from 6:30-8:00 pm. Memorials are suggested to the Stockton United Methodist Church or the Hays Community Assistance Center and may be sent in care of Plumer-Overlease Funeral Home, 723 N 1st Street, Stockton, KS 67669. Online condolences may be left for the family at
Grandma and Dink enjoyed taking Chloe and Isaac for ice-cream and hosting them for a few hours to play marbles and swim.  I'm really happy that they got to know each other and enjoy each others company for as long as they did. 


The final gathering Grandma hosted was only about a month before she passed away.
We are so thankful she had a good day that day and was able to sit outside and enjoy the grandkids and great-grandkids. 
Rest in Peace, Grandma. 
You deserve to walk with ease and enjoy being reunited with Grandpa Al. 
He's been waiting for 32 years. 

Taylor Swift for Chloe's 9th Birthday!

Flash back:
On Tessa's birthday, December 29, 2014, Wentlings and us surprised Chloe and Tessa with tickets to the Taylor Swift concert to be held on Chloe's birthday.

I created a text for the girls to read aloud that said
"Today on December 29, 2014 we celebrate Tessa's birthday with friends and family.
On Chloe's birthday September 6, 2015 we will travel to Denver to go to a
Taylor Swift Concert!!"

As they read the words you could see the wheels spinning.  We do have it on video but the pictures are pretty accurate. 
Flash forward to September 6, 2015! 
Chloe's 9th Birthday!
Chloe, Tessa, and I woke up in WaKeeney for the State horse show. 
We watched Chloe ride in the opening ceremony and then we loaded up and headed west! 
It didn't take Chloe very long to realize how busy she had been the last few days. 
Trey and Rachel had been to a wedding in Colorado the day before so we met up with them and made it to my dad's to get ourselves ready.  The girls had made posters the day before at the horse show. 
Chloe LOVES a restaurant in Cherry Creek called Little Ollie's.  So that is where we had her birthday dinner and broke out the tickets for the show! 

By this time us grownups were pretty darn excited, too! 
Who doesn't love a good concert?!?

Since the tickets were for birthday presents for the girls we decided to go for floor seats. 
It was a lot of fun having less crowds walking into our seats!  I think the girls felt pretty special. 

Taylor's mom made a loop through the arena! 
It's show time!!
Chloe and Tessa were a little bit shocked when Taylor actually came out. 
Granted, they didn't really understand 'concert behavior' either and Rachel and I had to get them to come out of their shell a little.  It's a concert girls --- DANCE, SING, BE CRAZY!!!

We were away from the front stage about 1/3 of the way back.  But we were directly along her runway and Taylor makes sure that everyone gets their fair share of times with her.  I can't say enough about what a great performer, entertainer, and uplifting person she is to be in front of crowds these days.  I was so excited for such a great first concert experience for the girls. 
We were close!  VERY CLOSE to her!
She DOES have leg hair on her thighs.... she DOES have a mole on her back!  SHE IS HUMAN!

One of the amazing production pieces she had was her runway.  All of a sudden it lifted up and swiveled over the crowd like a helicopter.  She was strapped in on tracks the whole time but she works the entire crowd.  She makes sure everyone can get good pictures at some point in time. 

Lots of costume changes, both for her and for her dancers. 
The special effects were amazing.  Everyone had glow bracelets that kept the beat of her music and had sync'd colors, etc.  It was really neat. 

At one point in the show when the runway was swiveling in front of us we know that Taylor looked down at the girls and their signs.  She didn't point anyone out during the whole show, so it's not like she was going to stop and talk to you.  But she did look at the girls and smile in acknowledgement. 
Shake It Off was her encore number and it was incredible.  As they were taking their bows and the music kept playing they started showing more and more posters and fans on the jumbotron.  We got our two favorite signs up and kept them there! 
Sure enough... the VERY LAST shot of the night was of our posters!!
Miraculously I had my camera ready and got a picture of the signs on the big screen. 
If you look closely you can see how tiny the stage crew (drum set, guitars, etc) are so you can see how big the screen is.  

What was already an absolutely perfect day was just frosted and topped with a cherry! 
We were hoarse, on a music high, and then tipped over the edge with excitement when the posters were shown.  It. Was. Awesome. 
We took our time leaving.  We soaked in the stage, the special effects, the millions of paper airplanes on the floor from "Out of the Woods", etc.   This Taylor Swift gal gave a couple of girls a night they will never forget.  The adults won't forget it either. 
Chloe fell asleep on the way back to dad's.  She was just exhausted.  He had made homemade ice-cream and she slept on the couch while the rest of us enjoyed it and talked about the show.  I can't remember a birthday for her when she hasn't fallen asleep on the couch.  Who can blame her?  If you put yourself to bed on your birthday then you voluntarily are ending your favorite day of the year.  I will always *under normal circumstances* let my kids fall asleep on the couch on their birthdays.  I love birthdays and they shouldn't have to choose to end the day.  Party on, kids! 
These are a few collages we posted through the night. 

So the biggest unspoken here is that Chloe Marie turned 9.  The last of the single digits. 
Royce and I can't believe what a remarkable young lady she is becoming.  She is stubborn, sassy, talks back, and gets in trouble a plenty.  But she is so confident, smart, well-planned, and caring.  She rescues stuffed animal pets and you'd think she is running a complete shelter in her bedroom.  Thankfully they are all fake (except for the snail farm), but the care and thought she puts into each of their homes and habitats shows me how well-thought her actions are. 
Chloe, we love you, we love that you sacrificed a party with your friends to have an unforgettable concert experience, and we were honored to splurge on someone who would do it for someone else.  We may or may not celebrate next year as I'm not really sure your dad and I are ready for a 10 year old.  So.... enjoy 9 because we may not let you turn 10.  We love you so much!