Hold My Hand
Michael Jackson / Akron


Fireworks, An Anniversary, and A Butterfly Party
July 30, 2011

Man, what a hot month! Since like late June the temperature hasn't dropped below 72, even at night. Can hardly remember a summer this hot for this long. No matter. It was certainly a blessed month, as Melissa and I celebrated our 3rd anniversary! Can you believe it? Three years! How the time flies! I love you, my darling, and can't wait to spend another 30 years with you if the Lord should allow.

Ok, what's with the music? If you remember, I had some MJ music for our last anniversary on Block Island, and this song is one Meliss and I have "claimed" for ourselves. If you don't like it, hit stop, but just realize that you obviously have no taste in music.

Anyway, time is of the essence, so I'll get on with the pictures! I was gonna have some videos on here, but I'm having some technical problems. Should be up pretty soon! Thanks for stopping by!

And here we go ...

July, 2011 Video Blog


Well, it certainly was the most unique 4th of July celebration we'd ever been to. That there, behind my patriotic Melissa Lee, is the biggest homemade slide ever created. It was made of billboard fabric and was like 80 feet long and went down a large hill. Safety-proof? Heck no! But talk about thrilling! I mean think about it. When you're at an official water park you know they have safety standards. With this, all the way down you're thinking that you could actually die! Yeah! So anyway, no one died thankfully, but two people did have to get stitches. What do you expect? This is Missouri!

The guy train. Gotta love it.

Holy cow. There was like a 15-minute line. When you know everybody (and most are half your age) it's tempting not to just cut in and say tough luck.

While waiting, I take a quick douse.

Joe Cook, the slide repairman. But for him we likely would have had a few deaths.

The drama.

The overreaction.

Hank and I. Great shots, hon!

A most wonderful time. A storm came through and rained out the planned firework show, but a fun time nonetheless.

It's someone's birthday! And someone's jealous!

lol, for the life of Keoni he couldn't get the concept of this camera slide-show. For about a half hour he tried looking in it without actually opening his other eye.

Uncle Jeremy and his neph.

Another successful birthday party at the neighbor's.

A few days later we were back for some fireworks. The sky was just gorgeous.

William holds a sparkler for the first time. Terrified him for a while.

Made in China. Be careful.

A cool shot with the moon above.

Don't say we Niednagels don't know how to have fun!

Well, look at you, sitting and looking all fancy in some swank, chandelier-laden restaurant. Where are we? Why, at the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Spring, Arkansas, for our 3rd anniversary! Yes, three years of bliss with my Meliss. How the years fly!

We brought along butterball. Not quite weaned just yet.

He is a guaranteed feeler. It's amazing how polar-opposite he and William are.

Thought someone would surely recognize Brad Steele and ask for an autograph. Someone did ask me for the bathroom.

This was one of those times when you hand a camera to someone and ask them to take your picture. Then you look at the overly-exposed photo afterwards and they ask if it looks all right, and for some stupid reason you just say yes and thank you so much and take care.

A cute chapel nearby.

Eureka Springs is a very interesting place. Sorta hillbilly modern artsy new agey star warsy.

I love you!

I bought one. Probably the most effective evangelistic messages I've ever seen.

Spent much of the day shopping ... or loitering, I mean.

It was like 103 that day!

A cute little organic bistro we found that evening where they charge you $20 for a plate of sprouts.

I guess deer are becoming a major problem there. This one was like 15 feet away from us as we ate.

Back at the hotel. You want to know something funny? That night while reading a brochure we learned something rather interesting about the Crescent Hotel of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. What was it? Oh, nothing too big ... only that the hotel happens to be ...


lol, talk about hilarious. Yes, my wife just happened to book the Crescent Hotel, known to be the MOST haunted hotel in America. Built in 1886, it initially was a hospital, and the guy who owned it did weird experiments on patients or something. Yeah, lovely! So anyway, I took a bunch of pictures just to see if I could capture anything beyond our own dimension. No ghosts here, except maybe the way Philip looks.

They have these long hallways with slow revolving ceiling fans. It's actually a very quaint hotel. They've basically kept everything retro 1880s. You're given a metal key for your room instead of a cardkey, etc. Anyway, although I didn't photograph any ghosts, what you see next will send shivers down your spine!

Look! Right there under the door! Look! I took this photo RIGHT when the horrifying incident occurred! There I was, sleeping peacefully like a baby, when all of a sudden I heard a noise at the base of the door! I instinctively kept completely still! Minutes later, after I finally gathered enough courage, I slowly got out of bed and, shaking like a leaf in a blow dryer shop, picked up what the ghost had left! I read it slowly, and I read it carefully. "You must be checked out by 12:30pm. Thank you for staying at the Crescent Hotel." All I can say is that we're NEVER going back there again!!! EVER!!!

But thankfully we had this 50-foot Jesus standing outside our window. Man this place is weird.

What we would have looked like in 1886 at the Crescent Hotel. Even back then we would have had modern fashion sense.

"Wow, great grandpa Jordan and great grandma Melissa sure were a handsome couple, weren't they grandpa William?" - "Uh ... I guess."

Ok, things at the hotel are literally starting to get creepy here. Let's continue on.

Before heading home we stopped by this interesting chapel that supposedly is like in the top 10 most intricate buildings in America or something. I'm really botching the specifics but it's something like that.

And there it is. Really quite lovely.


With Philip we can never get any privacy.

Too many cute pictures to post. Everyone says he looks like me. Must be the big arms.

All right! We're back home and the Thomases are over! On their way back from Massachusetts they stopped by my grandmother Toody's house in Indiana and brought back some more furniture and things. Thank you SOOO much you guys!

It's somebody birthday!

Happy b-day, Peter Hathaway! He accompanied the Thomases back home to visit with them for a little bit.

Unloading the U-Haul!

Tayla holding Philly.

Peter holding ... the ... flowery bird picture.

Look like an advertisement, Marscel.

He's a finger-sucker. William never was.

Hey little man.

So much love going around! I just love you all!

This is actually getting overly sentimental. Meliss and her Johnny Depp brother.

Philip is asking for your vote. He says, "Together we can make a change ... but first I need you to change my diaper."

I just wanted to show everyone the play area that I killed my back to create. Yeah, so there it is.

Tayla stayed with us for the week and helped prepare for our lavender butterfly party. "Lavender Butterfly Party? What in the world is a Lavender Butterfly Party?" That's a great question. In full, it actually was a Paris Lavender Butterfly Party. Basically it was a party with butteflies everywhere ... and women everywhere wearing lavender and butterflies ... and Paris thrown in somehow to make it even more girly.

Melissa and her clever projects.

Tayla, really, thank you for all your hard work with preparing. Could not have done it without you! (I have to say "really" cause Tayla never takes me seriously.)

Hi ladies!

This was NOT EASY to put up. Let's just say I was praying for a windless day, and as the Lord would have it, the afternoon turned out to be just that. Also, 20 minutes before people arrived, a cloud cover and light sprinkle came that made the 90-degree-something-day quite bearable. Praise God!

Aunt Melanie sure was a big help.

We receive the approval of the butterfly.

I really am amazed how elegant everything turned out to be. My wife can sure throw a party.

That fountain statue in the background was my grandmother Toody's. We are so blessed to have it.

The day was full of butterflies.

Jer and Danni chipped in with so many things ... not the least of which were all these water bottles. Thank you so much!

Posting this picture because of the butterfly, not because of you Melanie.

Um ... hon ... I think we're gonna need a bigger house.

Some 90 ladies! Nottinghill's population literally tripled!

Amber Betts ... soon to be Amber Hansen in just a few weeks! Congratulations!

Lavender fellowship together.

Various pictures.

My mother gives a spiritual lesson talk.

The playhouse was put to the ultimate test. Never had William been so femininely inundated

I swear, if one more woman walks up this ...

"So you see, ladies, one butterfly plus one butterfly equals two butterflies! Yeah!"

Mrs. Voeller hosts the butterfly quiz.

Just ma and Tayla being themselves.

Jeremy tries to fit in. "So like, I don't know. Do you like butterflies?"

Various games and prizes and girly activities.

Mom and dad never let me do this! Thanks, grams!!!

There seriously were butterflies everywhere that day. Just sayin'.

The big question ... what were you doing all this time, Jordan? Us ... downstairs. Question answered.

Melissa made that dress for Kalea. Slightly cute. I won't say too much as Melissa will be making a post soon on her blog.

Pretty ladies.

Had to get one picture on here of Pa!

A little frazzled at the end of the day, but alive and well. For all you guys, in September I will be hosting a machine gun tractor party.

The end.

Thanks so much for stopping by! The Lord mightily bless you!