Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Jerry Gutwein Christmas

This year the entire Jerry Gutwein family headed to Florida to spend our Christmas at Mark and Tricia's place rather then coming this way to Indiana like they usually do.  Our plans were to leave Friday around 2pm and drive as far as we could and arrive in Sarasota on Saturday.  Thursday night we packed up the van so it was ready for when Nick got off work on Friday.  However, while Nick was putting air in the tires, I told the boys that I bet if we pleaded with Dad that he would leave tonight yet:).  When Nick came in from the garage, Elijah got down on his hands and knees in front of Nick and pleaded and pleaded to leave tonight.  Then Caden and Liam did the same.  Before long, they were begging.  Nick hadn't said "no" yet so the boys kept pursing.  Within 30 minutes, I was on the phone to Tricia making sure if we left now it was ok to arrive on Friday in Florida??  With the OK from Tricia the boys were excited and ready to go.  We left our driveway Thursday night at 9:30pm!!!  Arrived in Sarasota, FL at 3:30pm!!  A whole day sooner!!  On saturday we hit up the beach because we weren't sure if we would have the chance to get back there.  Kids sure enjoyed it!

 Here is the "kids" table each night at Mark and Tricia's house.  Each night we took turns cooking.  I was Sunday night and had a Chinese themed meal of Chicken Chow Mein, Egg Rolls, and Chinese Lettuce Salad.
  My Parents, Jason and Joy, and Aj and Raquel stayed at Sun n Fun while we stayed at Mark and Tricia's the whole week.  However, we were at Sun n Fun basically everyday as they had activities for the kids and adults and a heated swimming pool for the kids which was MUCH NEEDED since we had sad weather the entire week:(.
 This picture is a bit deceiving....looks like I am playing well, but in reality if you were on my team you always lost:( .  Guess I need to put to use the ping pong table in our basement and practice up!!!
 The kids did a lot game playing in the mornings before heading over to Sun n Fun.
 Several mornings were cool.  In fact, every day except one day was overcast. Talk about wishing I had packed warmer clothes......BRRRRRR.....  We took the kids to a park rather than water this morning.  What a unique park with some neat older kids activities!!

 This little girl remained on my hip pretty much the entire time.....exhausting!!

 Our christmas was actually celebrated on January 1st.  Wow.....lots going on and very crazy and noisy.  Think maybe we need to get some structure to it:), but its so hard when the majority of the kids are 5 and younger!!
 We had one very nice day.  We were at Sun n Fun by 9:30am so we could get every ounce of the sun on our faces.  Even my kids mentioned "mom, the sun feels so good on my face" and at times I caught them laying in the sun:).

On Friday it was a whopping 53 degrees!!  Granted the sun was partially shinning(once every hour or so) but it was COLD!!  We drove to another park where it was more walking and less playing, but none the less the kids climbed tree's and made the most of the day.  Pretty cool Banyan Tree's at this park.

 Finding a few shells along the beach at this park.

 What????  Ellie wanted to walk alone without me holding her????  Had to document this for sure:)
Then after the park we decided to take the kids back to Sun n Fun for some more play time.  NO swimming allowed:).

 The kids played shuffle board and THIS is what my mom and I did while they played.  I was so cold, I couldn't hardly get warm.  Florida you say?????  Sure couldn't tell!!

 This was fun for the kids.  A bounce pillow.  They loved it and played a long while on it.  Finally us adults couldn't bare the cold anymore and said it was time to go.  (just for the record this day my sister Tricia didn't come to Sun n Fun because it was just to cold:))....
Our original plans were to leave on Sunday morning for home.  After hearing we were going to be getting a major snow storm on Sunday in Indiana we decided to make Friday night our last night and head out Saturday morning at 6am to beat the storm.
Our last night in Florida we went to Olive Garden for dinner.  Kind of a way to celebrate Joy's birthday which was January 3rd.  I have to laugh at this picture because me and my dad are wide mouth and working on our soup while Ellie is wide mouth with a smile and happy to eat her pasta!!
Although the weather wasn't ideal, we still had a very enjoyable time in Florida. On our way home nick mentioned that we shouldn't wait so long to return:).  I think we might see what 2015 Spring Break looks like and perhaps we will be returning!!  Thanks to Mark and Tricia for being such amazing hosts!!  We sure enjoyed our time with you and everyone else.

Monday, January 13, 2014

13 years!!

Happy 13th Anniversary Sweetheart!! (January 7th)
I have been abundantly blessed to be married to this man.  Not only is he my best friend but he is my rock.  I depend on him a great deal in life.  Fix this, fix that, help me here and there, watch the kids while I have a girls night or bible study to attend, listen to me complain and tell my joys.  We have had some amazing experiences in life from living in many different states, to vacationing in many different places to even relying on each other and God to get us through some difficult situations. I am so thankful above all that my husband is a strong man in the Lord.  He encourages me when I am down and helps me to sometimes see the bright things in my life.  We have been blessed with four amazing gifts called children.  (if you look closely you will notice a "waldo" in this picture)  This is the one child who has become a permanent fixture on my hip!!  (is this a girl thing???)  Anyways, I am so thankful to have had 13 years with my husband and I look forward to what God has in store for us in the future.  I pray that it will be eye opening and that it will require us both to draw closer to him and each other.
I love you babe!!  You are the love of my life!!

Our Christmas!!

 I have to admit, this year I wanted to forgo all our traditions for Christmas.  You see our plans were to travel to Florida for the Jerry Gutwein christmas and I had so much to do in such little time including our Christmas traditions and packing for a family of 6!!  A bit overwhelmed was I!!  Needless to say I asked the boys if we could make it a "unfancy meal" and not do our traditional fondue dessert.  They were very sad.  They pleaded that we still do it and well.......they won!!
 Elijah and Caden offered to help set the table to help me out.  I was a bit nervous since it was my china, but they did a great job and it looked very nice.
After dinner dishes were cleaned it was time for stocking stuffers.

 It was so cute how Ellie would get down on her belly to look inside of her stocking for more gifts rather than reach her hand in to see if there were more.  To precious.

 Ahhhh.....I just love this picture.  Puts a smile on my face and makes me feel so blessed by these four gifts!!

 Perhaps it was a year to early for this gift but we got Ellie her very own kitchen.  We wanted her to be able to start playing with it, but obviously the paper was way more fun then the box underneath.
 We made Caden go on a small scavenger hunt for his bike and in the end he was out on the porch for his final gift:).  He was not disappointed to say the least.  Sweet Caden, being the second child honestly gets all these hand me downs in larger toys, and even in clothes.  He has been sweetly using all of Elijah's old bikes in the past.  However he has been having a few chain issues with his current hand me down bike and so Nick and I decided it was time this boy got his VERY OWN BRAND NEW bike!!
 And of course the kids were overly thrilled with the fondue again.  Tried something a bit different and added the fondue to their very own cup for dipping.  Kept the mess contained rather than drips of chocolate across the table.  Even Ellie got to join in on the deliciousness!!  She had no problem "opening wide" for each bite.

Harold Gutwein Christmas

On December 24th we had the Harold Gutwein Christmas.  It was so much fun having Dan and Tess and Sophia join us this year. They were actually staying with us while they were in town.  They got in on the 19th of December and stayed till the 24th.  We also had Jason and Joy bring one of their Gateway kids with them to the Christmas.

Didn't get a ton of pictures of each child but we all enjoyed opening our gifts and the kids were thrilled to get more Adventure in Odyssey cd's.
Got this shirt for my aunt.


Please tell me why I do this "catch up" thing over and over again??  I am so behind on posts that it seems daunting to try and get caught up.  But, like I always do and because I enjoy my blurb books, I'll do it once again:)

Waibel Christmas was on the 23rd of December.  Always enjoy the wonderful appetizer meal and then watching the kids open gifts.  It gets more and more hectic but this year oddly enough we had order to the gifts and it went real smooth!!