Wednesday, December 31, 2014

365 days...From New Years to New Years!

The kids are all in bed, and I finally have a chance to sit.  I spent the day putting things away, doing laundry and getting the house back in order, after having been gone for a week.  As I was finding a new home for some of our Christmas presents this morning, I remembered a day, just a year ago, that we headed out of Bradford, for a "new" home. Tomorrow, January 1, a year ago, we would pull up to the place we've called home for the past 365 days. And we would be looking for a new place for everything in our household.  We carried our entire earthly possessions 1000 miles to make a new home.  It was kind of surreal to look out the van window and think everything we owned was in the trailer behind us. 

We had no idea what the year would bring, but looking back, it has been full of so many emotions.  The first few months we shed many tears, as we adjusted to life without those things familiar to us.  We met new people, made new friends, stumbled our way through unfamiliar territory.  I recall one evening both Lucas and I were in tears...just wanting "home" again.  We missed our little home in Bradford, our cozy basement with the wood stove...those things so familiar...we still miss it at times.

I remember feeling like I just wanted to talk to someone who "knew" me, so I wouldn't have to explain everything about myself. Someone who knew who I was, where I came from, who my family was, and all the other details we know about one another when we've been friends for life! I remember my heart aching for my children as I watched them struggle too...making new friends, being the new kid on the block, a new school, new church, new everything. We do still miss our sleepy town of Bradford, being able to walk a couple of blocks to the library, school, Great Grandpa and Grandma's, the swimming pool...any farther than that, and you would've been out the other side of town!

As the year progressed, the tears became fewer, and although we still have/had times when we longed for home (Illinois), we find our hearts glad to call Connecticut home. Without a doubt and with much thanksgiving, we serve a God who is faithful to us...we've been stretched beyond our comfort, but those stretches have made us realize we need our Father more than we ever thought before. We can be more than we think we are capable of, we CAN be what He makes us to be, because He can make our impossible, reality!!

Yes, we shed tears, but we also have shared laughs, smiles, new experiences, made new friends, and even though I think Illinois will always have a special place in our hearts, not one of us would take back the year we've been given. If we could have the best of both worlds, I think we would. But instead, we have a whole new world opened to us here, and now we have two places to call home. We have family and friends in Illinois, and those in Connecticut who have adopted us as family and call us friends.  We have been so blessed by this past year, and we are anxious to see what the future holds.  Whether good, or bad, we have the assurance of our God walking beside us each step of the way.

Merry Christmas 2014...we headed "home" last Tuesday December 23.  We packed up the van and headed out just after 5 am. We would be making the trip by car for the first time since we had moved.  While we were excited to see everyone, we were a little anxious about how the trip would go. We had a full week planned, and just 7 short days to drive 2000 miles and pack in 3 Christmases plus a few extra activities!  Here is our week in pictures...

We had a super trip...the kids did AWESOME!  When we stopped for breakfast about 8:30 Tuesday morning, we told the kids that we were 1/4 of the way done with our day.  Halle told me the last 3 hours had only felt like 1 minute! Wowsers!
 Bryce entertains himself with stickers
 We stopped in Howe, IN the first night. We enjoyed the pool, pizza on the bed, and a good night rest! 
Dylan after his shower the next morning...isn't this just the cutest!?
 
 We started in Elgin, IL for the Extended Gudeman Christmas on Christmas Eve.
 the food
 the games
 
We left Elgin around 7:00, headed down to Tremont to Mom and Dad Beutel's.  But made a quick drive thru this subdivision, just outside of Elgin, to see the lights!
Christmas Day we went to church services in Tremont, then my whole family crowded into Mom and Dad's livingroom.
 
Our little family
Presents...
Dylan 
Collin 
Halle 
Bryce 
This is Dad's box of chocolate...he let everyone pick a few. Lucas thought I looked quite hilarious with a huge box of chocolate on my lap! The candy key was in the lid! 
 Lucas, Diana, William, Alayna's head, Brittany 
 A bunch of the girls on Leah's new chair
 playing games with Aunt Britt!
Dad B with his 3 youngest grandchildren
The next morning we finished out our time with my family by enjoying a brunch and playing games until early afternoon.  We left for Bradford around 1:45. 
 Dylan and Rhea
 Dylan...reindeer baby!
 Collin's new jammies
 Halle and Tori's new matching socks
 Bryce
 Dylan
 Miranda loves her wine bottle accessories from Kloter Farms!
 Two little sweeties in the sweets!
 decorating cookies
 decorating faces with Aunt Miranda's old makeup! 
Dylan made quite a mess at Grandma's, he pulled a bag of lima beans out of the freezer...Rhea was in quite a tizzy about it!  So funny!
 
Saturday we enjoyed the morning at Mom and Dad's with Shannon and Brianna, then headed to Peoria for a couple of fun stops, Owen Center and Bass Pro, then we headed to Hokaido for a hibachi grill supper.  Mom G surprised us by inviting my mom and dad to join us, so we got so spend a little more time with them! Late that night we received a call from Lucas' sister Tonya. She had her baby, so we got to stop in and see him quick before we left for home Sunday afternoon! 
 Lucas and his newest nephew
 
Sunday afternoon we headed for home.  We left Bradford around 3.  We had a 6 hour drive to our first stop, plus we would lose an hour.  We made good time, stopping near Sandusky, OH. Monday morning we checked into Castaway Bay Waterpark/Hotel. We spent the day riding water slides, playing in the wave pool, climbing obstacle courses and my favorite, the indoor/outdoor hot tub.  We debated staying another night, but I think we were all ready to just be home, because even the kids voted to head for home Tuesday morning. We squeezed in a couple more hours of play before we hit the road again around 11 am. We had perfect weather again, and made it home just before 9 pm last night. 
 
Home always feels so good! My bed, my pillow, kids in their own beds. After a week of playing musical beds/homes, we all slept like logs. Even my early risers slept in.  This morning they were excited to open boxes, put together new toys, try out their new RC helicopters/cars and just simply be home! 
 
We were blessed to be able to enjoy Christmas with Mom and Dad this year, mine and his.  We never know what the future holds, so we take each day as a gift. We count our blessings. And we pray for those we love...that they will feel our love from here and know we think of them often throughout the year. We ask God to watch between us, lessen the pain when the tears fall down our cheeks, and remember how blessed we are to have something/someone so special to miss!


Lots of love and hugs from CT!!

 

 

 

 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Our List...

So, last night we decided to ask the kids to write down 75 things they were thankful for. That shouldn't be too hard right!  Well, a certain someone thought it was a death sentence, so I decided to join them.  I mean really, if I can't think of 75 things I am thankful for, I have way too much and need to simplify so I can truly be grateful for all that I have. Some of the items on the lists made me chuckle, others made me smile, some brought tears to my eyes.  Some of you readers have even made the lists!  Here is a compilation of the 3 kids and my lists...these are in no specific order, but just a random combination of our lists!

1. Mom
2. Dad
3. Collin
4. Halle
5. Bryce
6. Dylan
7. Grandpa
8. Grandma
9. cousins...
10. aunts
11. uncles
12. hot chocolate
13. Bible
14. church
15. kisses
16. hugs
17. ice cream
18. our car
19. Ev
20. Sherry
21. Jane
22. Rhonda
23. horses
24. cookies
25. as we Midwesterners say "pop"
26. electricity
27. baseball bat
28. shoes
29. warm blankets
30. cozy fires
31. air
32. gas
33. candy
34. soap
35. water
36. gloves
37. chapstick
38. apples
39. bandaids
40. microwave
41. teachers
42. internet
43. Skype
44. God
45. Jesus
46. Christmas
47. presents
48. vacations
49. chocolate
50. hotels
51. cd players
52. clothes
53. Syriah
54. batteries
55. boats
56. chairs
57. toys
58. food
59. school
60. books
61. fuzzy slippers
62. peanut butter
63. sunshine
64. rainy days
65. sleep
66. Rockville church
67. airplanes
68. swimming pools
69. beach
70. doctors
71. hospitals
72. Lucas' job
73. Ronnie and Sheila
74. Tim and Dana
75. pencils

This is not an exhaustive list, nor does it include everything we listed, but just a few things we are thankful for! Was good for all of us to think of the things we take for granted every day, from our parents/siblings, to the silliest thing...pencils! Hope this finds all well and have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS! 

Love and hugs from CT!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Lots to be THANKful for!

Since our last update, Thanksgiving has come and gone.  We were anticipating a snow storm Thanksgiving eve, and we did get snow.  Thanksgiving morning we woke to a Winter Wonderland! We headed to church, then came home threw together a jello salad, and headed to Steve and Jan Moser's! It was a lovely evening, and we felt just like one of the family!  What a warm feeling! 
 Here is Crystal Lake...looking across after the snow.  Looked like a snow village!
 Steve M. and Cindy Lanz carving our supper...
 Jan made hot chocolate for the kids!
 After two "baths" in the toilet, Dylan had no dry clothes left!
Playing games on our day off! No Black Friday shopping for us!
 
Since then, the days have been busy, finishing up Christmas shopping, delivering fundraiser stuff, Dr. appts, sick baby, parent-teacher conferences, and just every day things. All three of the kids are doing great in school, and we are THANKFUL! Last Friday I participated in a cookie bake/exchange.  A whole bunch of ladies from church met with cookie dough for 20 dozen cookies...we rolled, cut out, baked and decorated.  Enjoyed lots of laughs, shared lunch, then we each went home with a pile of cookies!  Not sure what we are going to do with all the cookies, but I sure had a great time! 
 Dylan with dad's socks on his hands and feet!
 
Helping mom make supper!
 
This past Saturday Bryce started basketball...he will get to play/learn for a few hours on Saturday mornings.  He had been counting down the days until he could start...he did so good.  It was so cute to watch the kids (all 5 and 6) dribble, shoot and just run their little hearts out! 
 
Tomorrow we head to Hartford again, another check up for Bryce's ears.  We haven't had a normal check up since we started our follow up in Connecticut, so we haven't been able to come up with a plan to fix his hearing deficit. I am praying that we will have a plan one of these days. He is such a trooper, but I just wish we could fix him! If only it were that easy!
 
Two weeks and we will be heading west!  Can't hardly wait to be "home" for the holidays.  We won't have nearly enough time, but we will take what we can get. 
 
Lots of love and hugs from CT...14 days and I will give you those hugs myself!!!!!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Calm before the storm...

Last night Lucas emailed me these pictures from work...we don't see sunsets from our house, and this was his view from the office.  So beautiful!  He called it the "Calm before the storm!"  We were forecasted to get 6-10" of snow today, it started around 9:30 this morning and has been steadily accumulating.  This sunset was so beautiful and today the snow has been beautiful too...as long as you have no reason to be out in it! 
 
 
 
The past few weeks have been good, I feel bad that I haven't updated our blog more often, but find the daily tasks keeping me busy, and we really have nothing much to write home about!  Dylan keeps me on my toes.  Here he is in the bathroom sink.  We had just been in to switch over the laundry and we came out together.  I always shut the door behind me, but apparently the door didn't shut all the way.  I was working in the kitchen and after just a bit of silence went looking for Dylan.  Here is what I found.  He was sitting with his feet in the sink, water running, the sink full of water, splashing away. I quickly turned off the water, ran for my camera...the mess was already made, might as well get a picture of it!  When I came back, he looked at me with a big grin and said "Cheese!"  
Last week Mom and Dad Gudeman made a trip out for services in Clarendon, VT.  They arrived Wednesday around 4:30, we had supper and loaded up for church.  Thursday we spent the day just relaxing.  Friday Dad went to work with Lucas while Mom and I went shopping. We made it back in time to catch Bryce's sharing assembly, then headed home to decorate for Christmas.  We had planned to celebrate Christmas with them while they were here, since I had done their shopping. That way we wouldn't have to drag all our presents to IL and back again.  The boys decided they were going to make supper!  We feasted on Beef Tenderloin, Mashed Potatoes (that tasted almost as good as my Mom's!), tossed salad, applesauce, and wecca, accompanied by a glass of wine!  It was fabulous, especially since I didn't have to make it!  
 Bryce helping Grandpa peel potatoes!
 
While we waited for the meat to cook, we opened presents.  We shared our gifts to them as well as their gifts to us.  
 Collin, Mom, Bryce, Dad, Halle...Dylan was crabby and wouldn't sit for the picture!
 Dylan and mommy
 Dylan's new racetrack
 Collin's GINORMOUS whoopee cushion
 Grandma's new glasses from Halle
 Bryce got a snow globe...he LOVES snow globes!
Mom and Dad's picture blanket from us!
Halle got a new chair for her room! She LOVES it!
 
 Collin, Mom, Dad, Bryce-the boys got UCONN sweatshirts!
 Bryce, Halle, Dylan, Collin-with their gifts
 
After supper we had a gingerbread house decorating contest...even though the big boys (Dad and Lucas) groaned when we told them, I think they had fun...I hope they had fun.  The kids sure did, and it was neat to watch the houses come together. 
 Team 1-Lucas, Halle, Collin
 Team 2-Dad and Bryce
 Dad, Bryce, Collin, Lucas, Halle
 Team 2 on left, Team 1 on right
 
Saturday morning we all packed up and headed for Vermont.  We stopped at the Country Diner for breakfast on the way.  We made several stops, Yankee Candle Company, Kringle Candle Company, The Farm Table and Country Store, and The Vermont Country Store. We bought a few things and dreamed about buying other things.

 Grandma and Bryce
Dylan loved this Rooster, I could hardly get him off!
At the Vermont Country Store they had a Kissing Bridge, so of course we took advantage of the excuse to share a kiss! We arrived at our hotel just after 3...the kids headed right for the pool, and spent the next 5.5 hours in the water. We had quite a crew by the time everyone arrived and enjoyed a pizza supper brought in by Mark and Luella Hoffman.
Collin and Dylan
Sunday morning we headed around the corner to church and enjoyed a beautiful day of fellowship and worship.  The weather was almost balmy, so unusual for November, and we took advantage of the warmth with a walk after church, before supper.
 
Jean Bahler, Anne Gerber, Mom G
 
After sharing one more delicious meal together, we said our goodbyes and headed back to CT.  Mom and Dad took off from Vermont, so we grabbed some extra squeezes to carry us thru the next 4 weeks until we are back for Christmas, and off they went! 
 
Monday found me running errands, getting groceries, at the Dr. for a checkup and playing catch up after a great few days with Mom and Dad here. They had brought the last few boxes of our stuff from our move, so I finally have all my stuff back under one roof...plus a BEAUTIFUL new desk! Monday afternoon I organized all my desk stuff, and Lucas put the handles on...nevermind the yard stick...have to keep little hands out of trouble! 
 
Here are just a couple of random snapshots...
 Halle and Dylan playing in a box
 
 
 Collin and Dylan reading books!
 
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, and while I would love to be in IL celebrating with my family, I have so much to be thankful for!  We are well loved here and thank God for those who are willing to open their tables a little farther to welcome us at their family plans. We had 4+ invites and are sad that we couldn't accept them all.  We got to spend 4.5 wonderful days with Mom and Dad Gudeman and we get to look forward to seeing them and the rest of our family in just a month. God has continued to show His faithfulness and we praise Him daily for being near us in the good times and the bad. As I think of all the things I have been given, it is overwhelming how very blessed we are! With a roof over my head, food on the table, clothes to wear, a car to drive, friends who love me and care about me, and so many more things than I can count, I have to pause to remember the most precious gift of all.  I am so VERY thankful for my Saviour and my brother Jesus, who gave His life for me, so I could have eternal life!  HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

 
Lots of love and hugs from CT!  In another month I'll be handing those hugs out myself!!!