Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Winter Progression

So Ellie was begging to go outside.  Last year she hated the snow and I wasn't really in the mood to dress her all up just to get her out there to cry.  But Caden insisted I give it a try.  So, much to my dismay I bundled her up.

 Caden puts her on this sled (on the sidewalk mind you), and she screams and cries and wants off and back in the house.  I didn't budge to quickly and I figured Id leave her out there a bit to cry and realize that she indeed didn't really like snow(and maybe I was hoping that she wouldn't ask to go out again:)).
 But before long Caden had her tears under control and he was helping her walk in the snow....
And then...even touch the snow.......
 And before long she was crawling in the snow.  I opened up the door and asked her if she was having fun to which she replied "yes".  I busied about the house and checked on her again and found her like this.....
 Back into that sled she went and was having a ball.  I guess.....thanks to Caden's diligent efforts she was out for nearly an hour having the time of her life.

 The very next day the kids went out to play and of course Ellie wanted to play outside too.  So I bundled her up and out she went.  When we have a small amount of snow and really no large drifts to get stuck in, the boys love getting out the go-kart.  They tie a ski rope to the back, get their round flying sauce snow sled, and have a blast.  Within a few short minutes of Ellie being outside she was already flying around the yard with Caden on the disc and loving it!!!

Now I am not a fan of winter by any means, but when there is just a small amount of snow and the weather is nice......the kids will play for hours out there and well,,,,,,that I like!!!

Friday, January 9, 2015


What else do you do on snow days besides play in snow????  You get creative and make indoor forts.  They boys got out oodles of blankets and set to work creating this huge 4 room fort.  They loved it so much they played in it for nearly 3 hours and NO FIGHTING was heard either in those 3 hours!!  
They really had fun....so much fun that Elijah, Caden and Liam slept in the tent over night.  
 The kids were looking through old scrapbooks and came across a picture of me and my roommates in college (briana, rachel and miranda) making this exact tower.  They insisted on doing it too. Yes, ellie so wanted to be the top of it, but I wouldn't let her since the tower was VERY unsteady!!!

Christmas Celebrations

We had several Christmas celebrations this year that we attended, including the Schmidt Christmas that I posted a couple posts back.  I hosted the Leon Waibel Christmas at our house.  Below is a picture of the first cousins with Leon.
 Then we also had the Jerry Gutwein Christmas and invited Gramps/Grams and aunt Joan to this
Christmas since this year my sister Tricia and her family were unable to come home for Christmas.  The first time that's ever happened in 14 years.  We sure missed them, but thankful to have a wonderful Christmas non the less.
 Obviously we had our own family Christmas too:).  We started out with a fancy meal in the dinning room with our good china(tradition).

 Then we clean up dishes and open stockings and gifts.
 Then we typically have Chocolate Fondue but Elijah has been begging to make cheesecake and so I asked the kids if we could change it this year.  So below is Elijah's cheesecake he made.  We all agree it was good, but we are going back to the Fondue next year:)
 The Gerry Waibel Christmas had yet another wonderful array of appetizers as our main meal.  Oh it was so good!!  Always look forward to what everyone brings.  Oh and NO.....Elijah and Avery had NO IDEA they were both wearing those sweatshirts.  Kelli nor I knew each other had bought them as Christmas gifts for our boys!!  Guess we must have a similar taste.

Snow Days

Christmas Break is over, kids returned to school on Tuesday, just to then have the remainder of the week off again.  Snow days.  Seems to be a repeat of last year.  Thankfully my kids made the most of it and even though bitter cold they ventured outdoors at least twice daily.  They would stay out for about 1 hour then I MADE them come in a couple times to warm up with hot chocolate and another layer of clothes:).  This morning I decided to put on a coat, gloves and ear gear and head out myself to snap a few pictures.  Wow, its windy and cold out there.  Glad my boys love it and don't mind the cold to much.
 We put up a snow fence this year for the first time and yay its working!!  And now the kids have a nice drift to work with too.
 Building a wall to protect them from the wind.  Nice work!!!  Way to be creative!!

Happy Snow Days to them.....now I am really ready for a full week of school next week:) !!  Its due time to get back into a routine!!

Friday, January 2, 2015

4 Generations

We went to Minnesota this year for the Schmidt Christmas.  It had been 3 years since we had been to Minnesota so it was over due.  Three days before we lef,t Grandma had a small stroke and we were so glad she came out of the hospital quickly and was able to come to Christmas.  Should have gotten a picture of Grandpa and Grandma together but didn't.  This was the only picture we took.  4 Generation picture.  Love you grandma and pray you continue to feel better.

Haiti (Days 4-9)

 Monday thru Friday Nick would have to leave each morning to head to different Trade Schools to visit them and have meetings most of the day.  While he was away during the day I would do school with the kids in the mornings until about 10am.  Then the boys and I would walk over to Jan and Vals and hang out for the day.  The boys typically went off playing while I either helped around the house, or sat and talked with Tess or Alisha while Val was busy.  I don't have any pictures but a couple days I helped Alisha get ready for the next team that was coming in.  Nothing big, just small little jobs here and there.  In the evenings we would either go out to eat with the Gutwein clan, eat at their place, or eat at the guest house we stayed at.
Went out to eat at this Chinese place in Les Cayes
Here is a picture of us on top of the guest house.  Last time I was here in 2010 there was no second story to the guest house and there wasn't this really neat view.  So it was nice to climb to the roof and check it out.  
Another afternoon we all headed to the beach for some sun.  Jan and Nick both met us here in the evening for dinner.  It was fun eating on the beach and having really yummy lobster and fish.

One day Elijah and I went with Nick to the trade school Chantel.  We started off by singing songs in Creole.  Very interesting to say the least.  It was a good challenge.  While nick was in the meeting Elijah and I actually sat there and played hangman and dot to dot game quietly.  The meeting was of no interest to him or I and we had no clue what they were talking about for the most part.  However, I was glad to go to see what one of the schools looks like.

Above: eating at a restaurant after the meeting in town.  Very local food and because of that I didn't eat much of anything.  Not knowing how it was prepared and cleaned made me extremely nervous.  Last trip I was so sick from the foods, that this year I played it safe.  Glad I did now, because I never once was sick.
Below: this is the entry to the trade school we visited.  The older children had just arrived for their classes and it was, I believe, their opening prayer and instructions for the day.
One afternoon Nick got back early from his meetings and Uncle Jan was able to take us to CRP.  Oh how I loved seeing this place.  What a vision Zack B. had!!
The boys riding on the top of the jeep.  Definitely their favorite place to ride!!

These two girls took hold of my hands and I literally melted.  So precious.
Tess and I decorated Uncle Jan and Aunt Vals home for christmas one afternoon.  Alisha swung over when she had a chance.  She was busy getting ready for the incoming team.
On Saturday morning we flew out of Les Cayes in my Uncle Jan's plane.  We were crammed in and we had a bit to much luggag so we left a bag back in Haiti to lighten our load.  Thankfully the team that came next was from Bluffton so they brought our bag home with them the following week and we have our bag in our possesion now:).
Thanks Uncle Jan for the safe quick flight from Cayes to Port.....typically a 4 hour drive by car and it took us 45 minutes by plane.
Our flight from Port flew into Fort Lauderdale, Florida and we had an 8 hour lay over.  We weren't about to sit in the airport that long, so we got a taxi and went to the beach.  So fun to soak up some sun and enjoy a meal across from the ocean.  Ate at a hamburger joint.  Yummy!!!

We got home Sunday morning at 2am and were up and at it for church the next morning.  I think the boys enjoyed their trip and it was good for them to see a different culture.  Did they learn as much as I would have like to them have learned???  No, but perhaps my expectations were just a bit high:).

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Haiti (Days 1-3)

Friday~ November 28th, 2014
Bags are packed, and Elijah and Caden are beyond excited to leave the country for their very first time. 

 Haiti....Here we come!!  Elijah checking to see if our plane is on time and what gate we are departing from.
 Jetway was freezing cold in Chicago.  Temps were in the teens.
 The check in lady told us to inform the pilots that it was the boys first time flying....and so we did.  The pilots let them in the cockpit and even sit in their seats.  Pretty cool for them.
 The boys had an eye full as we drove four hours from Port Au Prince to Les Cayes Haiti.  I had previously told them about the poverty of this country, but I am certain my explanation of it didn't do justice as they sat in silence as they peered out the window.
  On Saturday, we went to Simone Orphanage to visit the kids and show our boys where it was that Nick and I's first trip to Haiti was and where we came all week doing different jobs.  We played a bit with the kids and then passed out some candy to the orphans.  So precious.  One of my favorite things was the fact that I got to see one of the girls that was a baby when we first went and she was still there and so grown up.  When she arrived several years ago she was malnurished and in a sad state.  Thankfully to this day she is thriving and growing and looks so happy.  Poor picture below but she is the second girl on the right side of the picture.

 After the orphanage we went with Jan, Val, Derek, Joel, Tess, Dan, Sophia, Adam, Alisha and Brent to these amazing falls.  It was so beautiful to see this in the midst of poverty.

 We hiked right up to the falls and walked right behind them.  So neat!!!
 On Sunday we crammed into this van.  There were 19 of us in this one vehicle!!  We headed to a church in Les Cayes where literally 100's of poor children come to worship and receive mana packs from a missionary family that lives in Haiti to support this mission and arrange this service for these children.

 Here we are shaking 200+ childrens hands as they enter the "church" (which is pictured below).  Many of these children were half dressed and poor.  I was extremely overwhelmed as tears streamed down my face to see the number of kids come to not only get mana packs(rice packs to take home to help feed them) but also to learn about Jesus our Savior.  Listening to these kids and watching some of them praise his name put me to shame.  No, I couldn't understand what they were saying, but the look on their faces as they closed their eyes and held up their hands in praise was a tear jerker for me. To watch them play a game, win and then receive a new outfit as their prize was pricesless.  Some kids came out with their new clothes on as proud as ever and then there were a few that were so bashful and hid their faces as they walked past all the other kids.  Here at this church, if they misbehave they are sent out and do not get to go home with a mana pack thus keeping this 200+ crowd of children under control.
 This little boy really took a liking to Elijah.  He pretty much sat here the whole church service.
 After church on Sunday we all went to Rainbow beach.  Ahhhh such beauty.  Great waves and we all got to ride them in.  So fun!!