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 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 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!!!


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

So much fun...

The past few weeks have been busy again...can hardly remember what all we've been doing, but it seems to have flown by.  The leaves have been beautiful, but unfortunately for all involved, they don't stay on the trees, and end up on the ground...when you are surrounded by trees, it is VERY difficult to keep up with leaf removal, and while a leaf blower would be nice, I like to think of all the exercise I am getting from raking! I did rake, ALOT, but this past Friday, Lucas was able to get the afternoon off, rented a leaf blower, and did a hopeful final clean up of the rest of the leaves in the yard. There are a few stragglers, but I think we are pretty well done with yard work for the season! YAY!!!  
 here is my little helper!
Another evening Lucas got home from work and suggested a quick hike up Soapstone Mountain to catch glimpse of the leaves before they all dropped. We packed in the van and headed over.  It is a nice little trek up the mountain...about 20 minutes with the kids. 
 Here is the view from the lookout tower!
 on the way down...Collin, Halle, Bryce
 Dylan and Halle
The 26th was Collin's 10th birthday. He wanted to have a few friends in for a sleepover, so the Friday before his birthday, 4 boys came after school. We ordered a few pizzas, made a cake, and after supper Lucas took them bowling. They were a great bunch...LOTS of noise, but that's just boys! I told their parents, they were so good, I'd have them all again! 

 Joshua, Collin, Ryan, Attley, Tyler
On Sunday, Collin's actual birthday, we had planned to have a grill-fest at Tim and Dana Schneider's.  Several from church had discovered they loved to grill as much as Lucas, so they decided each should make a meat dish and we would have meat for supper.  The men started planning but soon passed that part of the day on to their wives.  We ended up with about 40ish people, and various meat dishes.  Grilled...leg of lamb, ribs, whole chicken, fajitas, chicken wings, and baked/grilled potatoes.  It was all so scrumptious and we decided it should become an annual gathering! After supper we sang Happy Birthday to Collin and he got a few more gifts.  Dana remembered how it was when they lived in Oregon, celebrating birthdays with no family, so she was very accommodating!  Thanks for thinking of my baby Dana!
Lucas, Ronnie and Bonnie cutting up our supper!
The next morning Lucas and I got the kids off to school, dropped Dylan off at Jane's and headed to the coast for a day of off-shore fishing with Brian and Cindy Luginbuhl!  It was my first time fishing from the ocean, my first time even touching a the past I've always "let" Lucas serve me by baiting my hook and removing my catch.  But, I figured, there's a first time for everything, and if I am going to catch a fish, I should probably touch it!  Couldn't be any worse than things I may have encountered in the hospital! I even touched the crabs that we had been using for bait! The day was cold, but the sun was warm, so we didn't even get froze out! 
The Seabass I caught! (mine was bigger than Lucas':))
Just across the Thames River, from where Brian docks his boat, is a Nuclear Submarine Plant...while we were out fishing we heard across the radio..."This is the US Navy. This is a US War Sub. Keep a 500 yard distance!"  The sub was making its way out into the open water, escorted by several boats filled with men and machine guns.  Lucas and I wondered how we were supposed to know if we were 500 yards away...especially with the drifting that naturally happens on the water. Thankfully we maintained our distance and didn't get shot!! :) 

 This was amazing to can't really see in the picture, but this submarine is absolutely huge!
 A lighthouse along the shore!
 Our catch!
 Seabass...they have little tiny teeth...don't really hurt, but kind of rough feeling!
Lucas tries his hand at fileting the fish! After a few tries, he gladly turned the job back over to Brian.
Later in the week, we enjoyed the fruits of our labors! Lucas cooks up our fishy!
Dylan is 15 months now...a big boy 27 pounds 5 oz (84%) and 33.25" tall. (95%) The Dr. was impressed at his size, as well as his smarts!  I am just simply in love!  He is a stinker, but such a love!  
The Barnyard had a fall festival two weekends ago, gave away free hotdogs and pumpkins...of course we went to support and see Daddy, and the kids each got a pumpkin.  They could hardly wait until they could carve them. The week before Halloween, Lucas and the kids did some scouting on Google for pumpkin face ideas, got out the knives, and started carving away!
 Collin, Bryce, Halle
 Collin, Bryce, Halle, Lucas 
 Collin and Bryce
 Halle and Lucas
 Halle...all done!
Collin, Halle, Bryce
While everyone else was carving pumpkins, Dylan was playing peekaboo with mom in the garbage can!
Halloween night we had been invited to Trick-or-treat with Dave and Heather Mangold.  They live in a nice subdivision and welcomed us along.  The kids got oodles of candy...plenty enough to last us at least until next June!
 Collin-baseball player, Bryce-football player, Halle-princess
(yes, we are very original in our costume ideas!)
 Dylan and Lucas as I am not sure what!
 All the kids plus Lucas and Dave as escorts!
 All done...they came back, dumped out their bags and started shouting trades! 
This past weekend we enjoyed some IL company.  Adam and Brittany and their two girls came for a visit.  They spent the first part of their trip at Derek and Darla Reutter's (Adam's cousin). But Saturday night we got to enjoy them for supper and quartet singing, then Sunday they came to stay. Sunday evening we had dinner plans. Monday the boys went fishing while Brittany and I enjoyed a visit and playgroup with some mom's from here. Tuesday came all too soon and out the door they went, headed for home again! It was so good to see friends from "home" and I had tears as they left! 
  Dylan playing peekaboo, in the cupboard, while mom makes food for our company!
 Brittany, Kylie and Halle coloring
 Adam and Lucas, enjoying the catch of the day!
Tuesday morning breakfast, Kylie, Halle, Collin, Bryce
That brings you up to date on what's happening in our fall winds down, the weather is getting colder, and the holidays approach. Different things have made me so homesick right now.  Just recently my younger brother posted a video of my older brother Steven playing Chopsticks on the piano with his son Ethan.  They had spent the evening together, just for something to do...Watching it made my cry...what I would give to be able to spend an evening with my family!  I was talking to the kids the other morning about the number of months we've lived in CT...10 months.  On one hand it doesn't seem like long, on the other, so much has happened in those 10 months. We've started down a different road than we are used to, and while the bumps in the road haven't done any damage, we have had to lean on each other and pick each other up when we are down. None of us could really believe it. Yesterday after seeing Adam and Brittany off, I was working online, there was a give away, all you had to do was post in the comment section your favorite Thanksgiving dish...that got me thinking about mom's mashed potatoes and gravy, I had made her cinnamon roll recipe earlier in the week, and thinking about Thanksgiving just really made me long for home, for my Mom and Dad. Those comfort foods that no one else can make quite like mom. The family get-togethers that everyone is gearing up for...Mom and Dad's house full of my siblings, nieces and nephews, hardly room to get around, but every one is there! The wood stove, so cozy when it's just a few of us, but cooking us all to well done when the house is full!  Cookie exchanges they are looking forward to, Christmas programs that Mom and Dad won't make it to this year. I am really looking forward to going "home" again at Christmas, just hope I can make it until then...I covet your prayers, because...
Lots of love and Hugs from CT!!!