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Monday, December 13, 2010


. . . and win ! ! We took three teams down to Mountain Home, Arkansas the first weekend in December for the FIRST Lego League's Regional Competition. Almost 40 teams competed in the "Body Forward" competition, which combined research about biomedical applications for robotics, presentations about that research, and programming and building a robot which would autonomously accomplish up to 16 different tasks during a 2 1/2 minute round. The "Green Team" won the single elimination tournament with the highest score of any team the entire day. Here they are with one of two trophies they received: Cordell Williams, Maggie Quakkelaar, Joy Nisbett, Devin Pittman, Anna Nisbett, Eva Quakkelaar, Jeremy Hanson (in back), and Kyle Quittschreiber (not pictured, who was meeting his new siblings adopted from Russia that day.)

Joy and Maggie during the last round of competition.

All the contestants from Rolla, during YMCA, which was a fun and tension releasing activity right before the final round of competition for the championship.

Part of the Red Team's presentation material.
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John and Zeke, from the Blue Team, watching the Gremlin once again do strange things to their robot. It as a very disappointing day for them, as their robot had the potential to score 360 points (100 points over any score there that day), but kept having unexplained issues (I think maybe their robot was a female.)

The Blue Team waits for their next round. The Blue Team included:
John Nisbett, Gabe Quakkelaar, Zeke Hall, Peter Cook, Jonathan Cureton, and Mikayla Pittman, Kyle Pittman, Adler Davidson

Nathanael and Zach run a round. After the first seeding round, these little guys were in second place overall, and did very well. They were put out when one of the cords connecting the "brain" with the rest of the robot came loose. Nathanael diagnosed and fixed it on the spot, but they lost too much time to recover.

The red team included: Nathanael Nisbett, Zach Filla, Erik Davidson, Marcus Bauer, Ryan Williams, Malachai Quakkelaar, Nathan Widener, Tristan Hanson, and Cade Quittschreiber (who was also unable to attend since he was with his new Russian siblings.)
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Thursday, November 18, 2010


I thought I had posted this back in June when we got home, but it was still in my drafts file. It was fun to look again at all the pictures. And I think Matt and Belinda are still smiling!
We enjoyed the touching and joyful wedding ceremony.

The Bride and Groom were delightfully elated. We expect Matt and Belinda to establish a very successful (God-honoring) home and family. They are a lovely couple, inside and out.

Belinda's mother made the amazing wedding cake.

The Lake Jackson Church of Christ could hire themselves out as caterers. They put together a splendid sit down meal, prepared by the friends of the family. I was so impressed.
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Adam and Donna look for birding "hot spots" in Scotland for their trip -- which they chronicle with wit and creativity (and great photography) at the Forth Degree

I highly recommend a trip to their blog. It's the next best thing to going to Scotland yourself.
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In June, we traveled down to Texas for Matthew Nisbett's wedding (Craig and Ann's 3rd son). We first took care of very important business. We stopped at Donna, Margie, and Rhonda's and Donna accepted and documented all of our recent lighters for the BUB

Then we played the ever-popular "Junk-Box Bingo", a highly competitive game with extremely valuable prizes.

Glory specifically requested this game.

Josiah got artistic with the Bingo Pictures.
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Wednesday, November 17, 2010


We traveled in October to State College, PA to see Amy's theatre group - Class Act Production - perform Snoopy !! the Musical.
It was great fun and they did a terrific job.

Nate graced the stage with his delightfully enthusiastic performance of Snoopy. Also playing Snoopy were Stephen and Josh Bourne.

They performed with three divisions: an adult cast, a teen-age cast, and an elementary cast. Pictured here are the three Linuses, including Andrew Bourne left and David Bourne, center.

Lucy times three, with Mary Bourne in the center.
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And three Sallys, with Abby Bourne (on the left)(Amy's co-founder of Class Act Productions).

And if you noticed a Bourne theme going, you were right. We have an alter-ego, or kindred spirit, or similarly strange friendly family in Pennsylvania. They have adopted Amy and Nate so successfully that I'm not sure they even miss us. The Bournes are delightful to be around and we enjoy our time together greatly. They have eight sons and 3 daughters, which may explain why they share a similar "uniqueness" with our family. Here are some of their children, in age order, with some of ours. (Both families are missing two).

A few of their kids have an uncanny resemblance to ours. It doesn't really show so much in pictures, but out of the corner of my eye I keep getting them mixed up; especially John and Stephen.

And David and Josiah (David's hair is much lighter without gel :-).
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Amy and Nate were extremely hospitable and made us feel very welcome. We played games, sports, watched plays and visited. It was delightful.

Joel and Josiah also appropriated hats, made "Press" badges, and had a fierce photography contest.

. . . . For this reason, we will not be posting all 700 photos of the weekend in PA and will end now.
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Sunday, November 14, 2010


This summer we had so much fun that I never got around to posting about our fun. And now, rather than methodically catching up, I am going to just post whatever in no particular chronological order. This post isn't even in order within itself, but I feel free and unburdened, so we'll go with slight disorder (much like my laundry room.)

These lovely young ladies are riding sheep, yep, sheep -- at the Missouri Botanical Gardens, which is where a group of us (about 60 or so homeschoolers) went after our delightful morning at the St. Louis Symphony listening to Camille Saint Saens' Carnvial of the the Animals, which unfortuately didn't have a song about sheep (or we would have had a theme going.)

This is an epiphyte, better known as an orchid. We saw many beautiful examples of these and other rainforest plant in the Climatron. This fit in perfectly with the Exploring Countries and Cultures Curriculumn that several of us are using, since we had just started studying South America and Rainforests.

Some of the hardy explorers before we invaded the gardens.

Even though we divided by age groups, everyone's favorite part of the garden was the maze, and several rather intense games of tag occured here. It was a perfect day all the way around, . . . great friends, fabulous music, beautiful gardens, enlightening education, and delightful weather!
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Adventures of the Niz: Episode 4

Joel put together these videos of our trip to Colorado. I recommend starting with Episode 1, even though these are random enough on their own that they really don't need to be chronological to make sense (they don't make sense no matter what order they are!)

The Adventures of the Niz: Episode 3

The Adventures of the Niz: Episode 2

The Adventures of the Niz: Episode 1

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Our family will be attending this event. We have been to the Rebelution Conference in the past and found it extremely beneficial. We encourage you to consider bringing some or all of your family (and if you are interested in group rates, let us know!) For more information, go to their website by clicking here.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


We purchase a new van from Midwest University in Wentzville. They had a nice logo sticker and address on the side of the van. The kids removed the stickers, but reused some of the letters for their own rebranded sticker.
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Saturday, July 24, 2010


We have been so very busy this summer that I haven't had time to post the neat things which have been happening.

The Rolla Regional Robotics Botball Team has been very busy designing, building, programming, and snacking.

Here is the team with their trophies from Regional Competition. They won First Place OverAll and First Place Seeding Rounds.
Team Members include (L to R) Josh Riefer, Abby Hall, John Nisbett, Jacob Hamacher, Justin Mosher, Ben Eldredge, Kelsey Quittschreiber, and Josiah Nisbett (not pictured Eli Prodiva).

Josiah and Jacob preparing the robots for their run during Seeding Rounds at the National Tournament in Edwardsville, Illinois.

Jacob and Josiah watching the robots compete.

The team as they received the Judges Choice Best Design Award at National.

Way to go Rolla Regional Robotics!
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Monday, July 19, 2010


Tomorrow evening, Tuesday, July 20th at 7:30 will be the last performance of the Rolla Town Band. Summer just isn't summer until you've sat outside listening to Sousa played by enthusiastic local musicians (ranging in age from 15 to 85).

Tuesday's concert will include: the Star Spangled Banner, Lords of Greenwich, American Elegy (by Frank Tichelli one of my favorite modern composers, Night Flight (King march), Armed Forces on Parade, A Salute to the Cinema, Ye Banks and Braes O'Bonnie Dune, The Thunderer (Sousa), America the Beautiful, and of course The Stars and Stripes Forever (Sousa). This is a great line up of "Americana" music that everyone will enjoy (even 4 year olds).

Also, at intermission, some of the cast of OAT's production of "The Fantasticks" will be performing short excerts from their fantatic upcoming show (pun intended).

So -- two, free, enjoyable entertainment opportunities in the same place. Who says there's nothing to do in Rolla!?
Bring your own chairs or blanket and soak up the experience!

Warning: Members of the Nisbett family will be playing in the ensemble ( at least five.)
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