Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Special days away from Home...

The last time I posted we were anticipating Mother's Day...now Memorial Day has come and gone, May is almost over, and we've been in CT for almost 5 whole months! 
We had a delightful Mother's Day, spent with Jon and Amy Zahner and a few others.  When we received the invitation, she told me we could only come if Lucas made whatever we were assigned to bring...the men do the meal/cleanup on Mother's Day.  So, Lucas, on dessert detail, whipped up an apple pie and a blueberry cream pie, Collin made a pan of brownies for the kids, and we moms were treated like royalty!  
Me and my kiddos on Mother's Day 2014

 Halle, Dylan, Maya Zahner
 Lucas, Gardy Moreau, Jon Zahner doing up the dishes
After supper we took a hike up to the highest point in Ellington, CT.  It was beautiful to look out across the valley, and down into the town of Ellington...

 Lucas and Dylan, Jon and William
The week following Mother's Day we were excited to have William, and Mom and Dad Beutel come for a visit!  William flew in Thursday around noon, and Mom and Dad arrived on the train Friday evening about 7.  Friday was Bryce's birthday, and since we were anticipating Mom and Dad, Aunt Kathy Rocke, and Aunt Barbara Wagenbach getting here, Doug and Jane had everyone for supper and a birthday party!  Evan Beutel shares a birthday with Bryce, so we sang to him too! (and shared the cake/candles).  It was so good to see Mom and Dad...I expected to cry when they left, but not when they got here, but I did cry...just seeing them in person for the first time in 4.5 months made me realize how much I missed them...Skype is great, but nothing like a real live hug!

 Bryce's Cake
 Bryce and Evan
 William and Halle
Our weekend with Mom and Dad flew by...Saturday morning we had a brunch with all the out of town guests that had come for Tom and Julianne's wedding.  Delicious!  Then Mom and Dad went to Everett and Nancy Gerber's for a few hours to visit.  After I picked them up, we enjoyed the afternoon sitting in the backyard relaxing.  That evening we had supper and headed to the singing for Tom and Julianne.  Sunday was the wedding, and we heard the engagement of my cousin Ben Wagenbach to Ashley Luginbuhl.  The wedding was beautiful, and as always makes me see my many failures as a wife, while also encouraging me...I had no idea when I got married what the minister was talking about...it seems that a wedding means so much more, now that I have some experience with marriage.  Sunday evening we all went to Uncle Roy and Aunt Joyce's to visit.  Monday Lucas had the day off and we headed up to Stockbridge, MA with Mom and Dad to the Norman Rockwell Museum.  It was really neat.  We took the scenic route home and ended Mom and Dad's visit with a pot of chili and fresh homemade bread and games with the kiddos!  ...Tuesday morning Gene and Lynne had everyone for brunch before they headed for home.  Uncle Dale so kindly offered to take Mom and Dad, Aunt Kathy and Aunt Barbara to the train station and I gladly accepted...it hadn't been too many weeks ago that I dropped Lucas' parents off at the airport and cried my way home.  I didn't really want a repeat of that, and didn't seem so final to send them off with Uncle Dale.

The remainder of the week was ok...I was a little down in the dumps a couple of days, and the rainy weather didn't help.  I kept looking at my calendar, our weekend was empty, I was sad, I didn't have Mom and Dad to just go visit on those kinds of days... Lucas and I had talked about inviting some people in for a cookout Sunday evening, but I was so afraid of rejection I didn't even want to call.  Finally, with a little encouragement from Lucas, I did some calling Thursday, and we ended up with almost 50 people here Sunday evening. That same day I got a call from Colleen Luginbuhl inviting us to join them down at the shore on Memorial Day!  So our empty calendar filled up in a hurry! Was I ever thankful!!! 
Bryce (hiding), Halle, Lucas, Dylan, Collin...mower rides Saturday night getting ready for company
Sunday dawned bright and sunny with not a cloud in the sky...as the day went on, a few clouds rolled in, but thankfully, those isolated thunderstorms they were calling for, didn't isolate on us!  It was a beautiful evening.

 Ronnie giving golf cart rides
 Some of the dads playing bocce ball with the boys
 Uh Oh...something's wrong with the golf cart...
After dark, with the fire burning in our new fire pit, we broke out the smore's makings and topped off the night with a sugar high!!
 Collin and Aiden Zahner
Monday we headed down to the shore about 10...it was kind of cloudy, but by afternoon the sun had peeked its way thru the clouds.  We (Andrew and Colleen Luginbuhl, Doug and Heidi LaPlante, Kent and Karen Zahner, and us) just relaxed all day...the kids rode their bikes, played ball, played in the water/sand, and got REALLY dirty!  We cooked out for lunch and stopped for ice cream on the way home!  It was another beautiful day!  
 Dylan loved the water, but it was SOOOOO cold!
 Bryce, Clay LaPlante, Anderson Luginbuhl...this is kind of a funny picture because these three boys are all the same age, but Bryce is about a head taller than either one of them!!
 Collin with the crab they caught!
 Bryce holding the crab!
Even Dylan got a turn to hold the crab!
So our life here in CT is very busy...we enjoy going, and enjoy hosting! School is winding down, the kids have 14 days of school left...getting out the day after Father's Day. I am looking forward to having the kids home and  exploring the countryside together.  Our next company doesn't arrive until the last weekend in June, but we are excited already.  The countdown to our trip back to IL is down to 63 days. I can hardly wait to be back on familiar ground, although things are becoming more familiar here. And life is good! 
As I look back on the last 5 months, I am in awe at how beautifully our transition from IL to CT has gone.  Only with God could we have moved this far and feel like we are still at home.  I keep wondering how it will be after the next round of company comes and goes.  I've wondered, will it be harder to be here after mom and dad leave? Will it be harder to be here after some of our dear friends come and go? Will it be harder to be here after our visit back to IL in July? So far, I can say that it hasn't been. God is wherever we are, and He is all we really need...this world is not my home...I have a mansion waiting for me on the other shore, and if  I can be used for His glory here in CT, I am content to be where He wants me to be. If I can't find contentment in His will, I won't find contentment anywhere...
God watch between us!  Lots of hugs and love from Connecticut!  Come visit!!!!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Company's here!

 The last time I posted, we were counting down the days until Grandpa and Grandma Gudeman would arrive!  They made it here safely on Thursday April 24th, and we enjoyed having them here so VERY much! Unfortunately for everyone involved, we had a flu bug attack our house that same week.  Halle came home Monday with it, Bryce Wednesday, Collin Thursday night (just after Grandma and Grandpa got here) and Lucas Friday night.  Dylan had fought a fever for 4 days that week too.  And mom...she escaped it! Don't ask me how! But boy am I ever glad. 
 Here is Dylan doing his finest and most favorite work...emptying the cupboards!
Thursday evening after picking Mom and Dad up from the airport, Lucas hurried home and we headed in to Stafford for Collin's baseball practice. It is at a park of sorts, so we all went along and we visited while Collin had practice.  We came home, fired up the grill and made some delicious steaks!  Dad and Lucas walked around the property while we were waiting for the steaks to cook...Dad pronounced our yard "unfruitful and barren." He decided it needed some trees, bushes, or something.  After supper Collin got socked with the flu! 
 Grandma and Dylan
Friday he was home all day, spent most of the day in the chair. Good thing we didn't have many plans made because I was stuck...Mom, Dad and I (in between taking care of my sick boy) worked out in the timber behind the house, cleaning up dead branches, trees and leaves.  It looks soooo good!  We had started a little area with a fire pit earlier in the week, and Lucas had mowed some paths with the mower.  Now the timber was ready for the kids to explore. Collin hated to miss out on Grandma and Grandpa being here and came out and laid in the sun with the dog, just to be close! Friday afternoon we headed down to The Barnyard to show Mom and Dad where Lucas works.  The boys picked up pizza on the way home and we were going to enjoy our first picnic in the timber, on our new picnic table, with a fire!!!  However, the flu bug made other plans for Lucas and he ended up on the couch all evening and most of the day Saturday. 

 Collin...sick kid #4 :(

 resting outside with dog...to be near Grandpa and Grandma!
 Some of our work...
 Our new picnic area/fire pit!
 The boys
 Lucas and Dylan
 Mom, Lucas and Dylan
Saturday Mom, the kids and I headed in to Ellington to Kloter Farms...they were giving away free ice cream sundaes and train rides.  We did a bit of shopping and enjoyed some ice cream in the 45 degree rain!  But hey, it was free!! Saturday Dad and Lucas had gone to pick up "things" for the yard...they came home with 3 trees, some bushes, and a few flowers.  It had rained most of the day, but around 330, the sun came out, so they started digging holes and planting! Saturday evening we enjoyed a yummy supper at Loren and Anne Gerber's with a table full of delightful company!  Lucas skipped out on that...still not feeling too great, and he wanted to be sure to be better for Sunday! 

 Dad, Lucas and the boys planting our new trees!

Sunday we were invited to breakfast at Everett and Sherry Skinner's...treated like royalty, we almost had to roll out the door to church!  If you can imagine...deep fried French toast, buried in cinnamon, then drowned in maple syrup, plus egg casserole, bacon, home fries, and fresh fruit salad. We ate our allotted days calories in one meal! After church we relaxed...a few took naps and a few just played quietly.  Then we headed to Ed and Terry Mangold's for supper.  There again we enjoyed delightful company and sweet fellowship!
 Sunday morning after breakfast...all of us!
 Mom and Dad and the kids
Monday being the last full day they would be here and Lucas' day off, we were hoping to head for some fun, but alas, mom and dad wanted to finish what they had started...Dad and Lucas headed out again for some more plants, while mom and I kept clearing dead branches and leaves out of the areas around the house.  We had a load of mulch delivered and by evening, we had a new yard!  It really does look nice!  Glad to have had such "professional" help!!  We got a sitter and enjoyed a nice meal out with Mom and Dad!  Tuesday the kids headed off to school, Lucas to work and I got the privilege (stuck with) of taking Mom and Dad back to the airport...I had been dreading it for over a week...before they even arrived.  I knew I was going to cry, and I didn't want to have to say Goodbye! And then to have to drive all alone back to my empty house!  I made it, but it sure wasn't fun! 

 Sleeping baby! He wasn't feeling good either!
Since they've left we have stayed busy...Collin has had a couple baseball practices/games, Halle and Bryce both have had dentist appts, and Dylan and I just keep the home fires burning. Lucas is busy at work...as the nice weather has finally seemed to find its way to Connecticut, people are out looking for sheds/barns/garages!  Yesterday the kids were off school for a professional development day.  I had told the kids I would treat them to donuts, and then we headed to Sherry's to relieve her of some hostas she was wanting to get rid of. The boys fished, Halle scrubbed her deck table and chairs and I helped her weed...she treated us to a delicious lunch and a bunch of perennials!  And of course, hugs and kisses as always!  We've come to love this dear lady so very much!
Now we are coming up on Mother's Day, the first away from our dear Mothers...I've always thought Mother's day was for the Mom's...which it is, but as much for us cherishing our mothers as it is us Moms cherishing the precious children who make us momma's. I have the most amazing mother...many people have told me how blessed I am! And yes, I am so VERY blessed!  A mother who has taught me what simple faith is, who loved me and supported me through the good and bad times, and who has been a steadfast example of what a Godly woman looks like! And without my precious children I wouldn't have the amazing title of  "Mom."  In a devotional I read just this morning, it talked of how God has placed each child with just the right mom, to care for, support, and train up in the way they should go...convicting as I thought of all the ways I've failed my children.  I am sure most mom's would admit to this same feeling...but, God knew your heart, my heart and our children's hearts and that we would need each other, to grow together to love Him more!  
The next few are Dylan's 9 month pictures I just snapped at home!

 pretending to by shy
 Found the Kleenexes
 Collin pitching
 Big stuff...good thing the big bro is there to save him from a fall!
 I wanna come out too!
 Who needs a playscape, we will just slide down the cellar doors!
Bryce's 6 year pictures

Now we are counting down the days until Uncle Willie, and Grandpa and Grandma Beutel arrive... 1 week!!  Can't wait!
Lots of love and hugs from CT!!!