Tuesday, October 27, 2009

South Dakota Scene II

This time of year, the Mitchell airport fills up with private jets of the wealthy who come here from all over the United States to hunt South Dakota pheasants.

Here's another picture from last Saturday when I went pheasant hunting. South Dakota can be a very rustic place, but it has it's own kind of beauty.  I'm trying to pick out my favorite picture but I can't decide.  I have a couple more I think I'll post besides these then I'll get back to family stuff.

Monday, October 26, 2009

South Dakota Scene

Saturday, I took off by myself to do some pheasant hunting in a State game area 5 mi. south of Mitchell.  I flushed 3 hens, but no roosters.  Oh well, it was a nice day to be out and enjoy my homeland.  Here is a picture I took out there.  It is straight off my camera and not touched up.  This is a stand of sunflowers left for the animals with a barren tree line behind it, waiting for the winter snow.

Friday, October 23, 2009


August, September, and October are now our new birthday months, with each of our kids having a birthday then. Too crazy busy to post regularly, so as has been my pattern, I'll blog a larger post now and then. Here are some birthday pictures.

Valya turned 15 in August. She is almost exactly one month older than Mark, though two grades behind him in school. We get a lot of questions from her about why Mark will get to do certain things, such as drive (!), and she can't. Obviously we can't say it is his age, we just tell her it's because he is in 9th grade. When she is in 9th grade she can take driver's ed., too.

We had two parties for Valya.  The first one was a family one on a Fri. evening at Nancy's sisters house, with several cousins, aunts, and uncles.

Valya's birthday was the following Mon., a school day.  She had a few friends over for dinner and cake.

The girls did girlie stuff like makeup.

Let it not be said that the Pretre's don't know how to throw a party!  What birthday party would be complete without homework?

Even Sparkle was in the party spirit.

Later, our family gave Valya gifts and cards.

With her birthday money, Valya shopped for a dress over the long Labor Day weekend while we were in Sioux Falls for the LifeLight music festival.

Mark's idea of a good party is to have his friends over to play XBox Live and Facebook.

Mark thought it would be nice to wear a paintball facemask to the table.

Unfortunately, Sergey was sick for his birthday.  He had friends over for a slumber party but pretty soon he started to feel bad with a fever and so we had to send his friends home.  Like for Valya, we had planned to also have a relative's party for him at Nancy's sister's house, but he couldn't go.  So Nancy and Valya went up there.  Here is Valya with cousin Britta making a blanket for Sergey.

Nancy's sister Karen had given a doll to their mom as a gift.  She passed away a few years ago and Karen inherited the doll back again.  Here, she is giving the doll to Valya as her birthday gift.

Later, back home again, we gave Sergey his gifts.  Here I am, being very cool in Valya's cap and sunglasses.

Sergey loves the NY Yankees baseball team, so we gave him a Yankees shirt and a Yankees blanket that Valya made earlier.

The next night, he was feeling a little better so we had cake, and gave him the rest of his gifts.

Valya gave Sergey a card in Russian.  It even had his name printed on it.

The highlight for his birthday was his new iPod!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sergey's Birthday Today

Today our sweet Sergey is 14 years old. Unfortunately, he has been sick for the last couple of days and we had to cancel all of his party plans. We'll try to reschedule something fun for him.

Thanks friends for the phone calls to Sergey. One of the calls he received today was from his classmate Andrey, whom some of you know. He was adopted by a family in S.C. and has been home for a couple of weeks now.

I have so much to blog about but it has been so difficult... I just finished a project at work where I had 100 hr. work weeks... Plus other life stuff, too. Hope to update y'all soon.