Sunday, November 30, 2008

I've Been Working on the (Model) Railroad

When John Henry was a little bitty baby,
No bigger than the palm of your hand,
John Henry's mammy looke dup and she said,
"My Johnny gonna be a steel-driving man,
my Johnny gonna be a steel-driving man."

On the day after Thanksgiving, I started trying to set up an old model train that Rebekah's dad had given me. This train is an American Flyer setup from, I don't know when, maybe the 50's or 60's. Anyway, after picking up a "lockon" clip, I was able to get it running a bit Saturday night. So we began nailing the track to my train board.

The train board is a 4' x 4' sheet of 1/2" plywood, painted green, to look like grass and to look like Christmas.

This picture is from Saturday morning. Each tie on the model railroad is held down with two tiny tacks. I held the tack in my left hand and sat a punch on top of it with my right. Then "Jake Henry" hit the top of the punch to drive down the tack.

It was fun getting to do this with Jacob, and I think Jacob enjoyed it especially because he was able to do something important.

Later, I got Stan into the act - I had Stan pick out the nails and set them into the holes in the ties.

The tasks were a little tedious, but both kids kept at it until we had nailed down all of the track. This took a while!

I fiddled around with the train a bit. I sanded all over the tops of the rails with 100 grit sandpaper. I tweaked the tender and the searchlight car so that they wouldn't short out the track. I took the engine apart and cleaned up the area where the brushes contact the rotor. I tried to clean all the contacts, and sanded down all of the metal wheels. Now it's working pretty well! I'm still getting a little sparking from one of the tender wheels.
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Saturday, November 01, 2008


Every other year for the past few years Brian's parents have taken all of us kids to Branson for a family vacation. Every year we enjoy the time more. This past year we got to go down for 4 nights (our longest time ever). It was so relaxing! Brian's dad is a farmer so it is hard for him to get away from the farm for an extended amount of time. It was wonderful to spend all that time together. Mom planned amazing meals and she even put together a family trivia game that got everybody riled up and arguing over how many points partial answers garnered (will some people ever grow up!?) :-) I admit I enter in to the competition with as much gusto as anyone!

We are so grateful to have close siblings and parents. Thanks Mom and Dad for another fantastic Branson vacation. We are making wonderful memories to share for a lifetime!

The beautiful (and huge) cabin we got to stay in. I didn't get a single shot of the view from the back deck, but it was breathtaking. We were up on a cliff overlooking a lake with hills of trees surrounding it. It made for some beautiful mornings and sunsets.

After a game of basketball:

Stan measuring up at Silver Dollar City. He got to ride almost all the kiddie rides and he LOVED them. He is our little daredevil already (doesn't he look it?)
On the swings. If you look closely you can see some more of our family in the background.
A shot of the guys and kids on the kiddie roller coaster:

Here we were almost ready to leave Silver Dollar City for the day and were enjoying some music

Jacob and Hud trying to see who is taller: