Thursday, April 23, 2015

One Hour...in the life of Dylan

I got this idea from a mom of twins, I love reading her blog and can't imagine what my life would be like if Dylan had a twin! Here's the challenge...take a picture of your child every 5-10 minutes for one hour.  Capture the sweetness, naughtiness, and just plain cuteness of your toddler!  I love Dylan to pieces, he keeps me on my toes, but if he is awake, there is NO relaxing happening at my house.  I decided to do this challenge yesterday after lunch...it was as good a day as any, so here goes...
 Dumping crayons, coloring on the glass door, at least it was just the door this time, and he was quiet!
 scribbling on Mom's Continuing Education
 Hmmm...I wonder what is in this drawer
 BOOGERS! He had been blowing them on the back door while he watched our dog outside!
 Snuggles
 I think I need some of Mom's chapstick, but the lid won't come off!
Sure wish I could get the lid off Collin's air soft gun bb's, I bet they would float really nice in this sink full of water! I'll have to tell mom these aren't safe from me, put away in the closet.
  I think they always say something about bunny ears...I can't seem to get these shoes tied!
 Bible stories are my favorite, second only to mom singing "Jesus Loves Me!"
 Here's my button Mom!
 Just working on my balance and coordination!
 Toys...so this is what Mom wants me to play with! What a novel idea!
Cars, trains, planes, tractors, trucks, if it has wheels or wings, I love it!
 
At the end of the hour, I looked back thru these pictures and just had to laugh!  We really are busy here, but I love Dylan just the way God made him!  
 
 


Spring Break!

Last week was spring break, and since we are so close to many awesome sights, we decided to enjoy a few with our kiddos!  We headed up to Boston Sunday and Monday last week.  Those two days are our "weekend," with Lucas being off  Mondays, so we booked a hotel and enjoyed a little getaway. The weather could not have been more beautiful.  Sunny and 70ish.  We all got sun-kissed, and were comfortable in just sweatshirts or shirtsleeves!  We started at the USS Constitution Museum.  An old warship built back in the 1700s. When used in a battle during the war of 1812, she was being bombed and the cannon balls were bouncing off the sides.  With 18-21 inch thick wooden sides, nothing was penetrating.  This earned her the nickname..."Old Iron Sides!" It was really neat to wander around the old ship, imagining 200+ sailors aboard, seeing battles which would leave some wounded or dead, and being on board for 2 years.  Makes me glad to be born now, not then! But, so thankful for those who are/were willing to fight for the freedoms we enjoy!
 
 Dylan trying to pick up a link in the anchor chain
 Collin, Bryce, Dylan, Halle on an anchor
 Inside the museum...Collin and Bryce
 The USS Constitution, aka "Old Ironsides"
 Dylan and me
 Halle, Dylan, me, Collin, Bryce on some of the ropes
 Underneath, not even really sure what this is...thinking maybe this is how they lifted and dropped the anchor?
 Cannon balls
 Some of the guns they used. VERY long, as you can see!
 Cannon, I think we counted holes for 28 on the bottom level, and at least 20 on deck.
 Down the dock a bit was the USS Cassin, not open for tours, but we ogled over her a while too!
 definitely newer, but still an older ship.
We took a ferry ride from the dock over to downtown Boston, and from there we enjoyed a trolley ride and super duck tour.  Both gave lots of history and pointed out historical landmarks as we traveled thru the streets of Boston and the Boston Harbor.
 on the ferry

 Bryce on the trolley
 We saw a minion, definitely not history, but fun for the kids to see!
 Steeple of the Old North Church
 USS Cassin
 USS Constitution
 
After the trolley ride and harbor tour we walked part of the Freedom Trail up to the Bunker Hill Memorial. Since I had already climbed to the top last spring, and Dylan was sleeping, I stayed down while Lucas and the other three climbed the 294 steps up.
 view from the top of the Bunker Hill Memorial
 Collin, Halle, Lucas, Bryce
As I said before it was the most gorgeous day, and all around the memorial was a beautiful grassy park where many people were just laying around soaking up the sunshine. Since we have kids, and most kids don't sit still well, ours decided to race back and forth! It was so lovely!
 Collin, Bryce, Halle at the bottom of the Bunker Hill Memorial
 Bryce
 
After their trek up the memorial they all decided they needed an ice cream treat...lucky for them we had passed an ice cream truck on our walk. We got some VERY overpriced ice cream and walked back to our van to head to our hotel for the night. We ordered in pizza, then enjoyed an evening of swimming and soaking in the hot tub!
 Monday morning we headed back to Boston and hopped the trolley again. We rode a while, and made our first stop at the Boston Public Gardens/Boston Commons.
 Collin, Bryce, Halle, Lucas
 me and Dylan
 We drove past Fenway Park, which was swarming...just happened to be opening day for the Red Sox!
 Ducks in the gardens
 Collin, Bryce, Dylan, Halle....Make way for Ducklings
 squirrel (can you tell my husband likes wild life?!)
 
We spent some time on a huge playscape at the Boston Commons, then found the Freedom Trail again for more walking/history. We stopped at a cemetery where we saw Paul Revere's burial place, as well as a tombstone that was from 1667!  Amazing that it is still standing, especially in the middle of the city!

Our last stop was Fanuiel Hall and Quincy Market.  Of course, we had to do a little window shopping and made a stop at a candy store for a treat. 
 Collin and Halle's humongous gumballs
Street entertainer who needed some help getting on his 10 foot unicycle, he volunteered several men from the audience, Lucas just happened to be on of his volunteers. The three victims even got to wear kilts as his assistants.  He played the bag pipes as part of his act. He really was funny, and we enjoyed watching! By this time it was nearly 330, so we decided it was time to head home.  All of the kids said they had fun, so our last minute getaway was a success!
 
The rest of the week was just as beautiful as the first two day.  We enjoyed a picnic, friends overnight, and of course lots of baseball practice. I am so thankful spring break was last week and not this week.  We are back to cold and rainy again. I myself am not a huge fan of cold, so whenever it wants to warm up is good with me! I suppose the old saying goes...April showers bring May flowers, so I'll have to suffer thru a few more days of April, before the May sunshine brings all our flowers to life!  I can hope can't I?!
 
We are busy with two boys in baseball this spring.  I feel like I am meeting myself coming and going, as they are at two different ages, and practice on different nights.  I can only hope their games will be on the same nights, at least once in a while!  We are looking forward to seeing Lucas' sister, Miranda, this weekend. She is coming for a few days after a work show in New York.  Can't Wait!  Otherwise, it's life as normal here!
 
Until we meet again...Lots of love and hugs from CT!


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Is it Spring yet!!!!!?????


Since I last posted we've enjoyed a few visitors, and I got to go home for Easter.  Our sister-in-law Sarah and precious Micah came to see her parents, and we got to enjoy an evening with them too!  With Micah only nine days older than Dylan, we always love to get the two together, which happens not nearly enough. They played so good together and we were so excited to see them both again since we had missed them when we were home for Christmas. 
Dylan and Micah
Reading books together
 
The following week there was an awards assembly at school. Halle was awarded a certificate for being on the Hall of Fame. Collin's 4th grade class played their recorders for the assembly.  Then we hurried over to Bryce's school for a sharing assembly there too!  It was a busy day! 
Collin
Halle
Bryce waiting to perform!
 
 
We have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of spring...I have almost forgotten what grass looks like! Spring was welcomed in with snow showers that amounted to about 4 inches of snow.  The following weekend we enjoyed a visit from Aunt Lavonne, Si, Caitlyn, Si IV, and Lauren.  We hosted everyone here Saturday night.  I was busy and didn't get any pictures, but we had a full house and full hearts!  We thoroughly enjoyed their visit, and with Caitlyn so close, maybe we will see them again soon, or a few others from the family! That weekend we got another 3-4" of snow.  While the snow did melt quickly, it is still so disappointing to look outside and see white stuff falling from the sky!  The temperature has been pretty chilly still too...but last week we finally had a few days that really felt like spring.  The grass was still pretty covered, so play was still kind of limited to the driveway, but at least we could go outside!    
trying to adjust the basketball hoop
our big snow pile...we have a guessing game going amongst us, trying to pick the date the pile will disappear completely
snow around the trampoline...still over my boots last Tuesday, the last day of March!
Halle and Dylan
 
A few weeks ago my dad had a small stroke, leaving some flashing/blind spots in his one eye, and no other residual issues, but after hearing about it, even talking to him on Skype wasn't good enough...I really wanted to see him.  One of my biggest fears since we've been living in Connecticut, is that something will happen to my parents, and I won't be able to say goodbye one last time. I will need to be there and won't be able to drive just an hour to be there.  One Wednesday evening, shortly after, I sat in church trying to sing with tears rolling down my cheeks...I just wanted to go home. I knew I couldn't do anything to make my dad better or help him in any way, but I just needed to see him in real life, feel him for myself, and see he was ok. I came home from church and cried some more tears...Lucas told me to plan go home for Easter! So, Wednesday, April 1, Dylan and I headed to the airport to fly back to Illinois. 

 
We aren't excited at all, can you tell!?
looking out the window on the airplane
 
I was a little nervous about how Dylan would fly...since he is 8 months older than the last time, and he doesn't sit well at all!  Thankfully they put us next to an empty seat on both legs of the flight, and he slept for the second half.  When we arrived he had just woke up, and was pretending to be shy and growly! It didn't take long for him to warm up though, or me either, we had gone from 50 degrees to almost 70 degrees, and my sisters were laughing at my choice of footwear...I was wearing my boots. :p Wednesday night we had supper at Mom and Dad's, then Jennifer and her kids came over for a visit.  Thursday we were all at Mom and Dad's for the day. Tremont had spring break last week, so all my nieces and nephews were there except Steven's boys who are in Princeville now. We dyed Easter eggs and just enjoyed being together. Thursday afternoon, I redeemed a gift certificate for a massage I had gotten for Christmas several years ago...I had moved it all the way to Connecticut and found it in my desk recently, decided I better use it before it expired, or got lost! The massage was MARVELOUS!

Dylan dyeing his Easter egg
Dylan even got a ride on Grandpa's donkey...(sorry this is sideways, I couldn't figure out how to get it rotated)

Dylan and Emma ("Memma")
Friday after breakfast at Ernie's, Dylan and I headed to see Shannon and Brianna's new everything! Just over a month ago they had welcomed a new baby girl to their family, and then three weeks ago, they moved to a new house, Shannon started a new job, and I was going to get to see my new little niece Aleya for the first time, in person!  
 sweet little Aleya Rose
Dylan and Uncle Shannon (he came home for lunch!)
 
After spending most of the day there, I headed up the road for a visit and supper with Bruce and Elizabeth Endress and their family.  I got to see their "new" house, as they had just moved back into their home after being out for 3 months while they added a beautiful addition! I loved being able to see them and enjoyed catching up.  Supper was delicious too!  Friday night pizza has become a tradition at our home as well!  After supper I snapped a few pictures of the little ones with Dylan, then got one of the whole family!  They took our family picture too, but my family was smaller than usual!
David, Julia, Dylan, Heidi
Dylan and me
Laura, David, Andrew, Bruce, Julia, Heidi, Elizabeth, Sarah, Matthew
 
We were all ready for church for Good Friday services, and the Easter program.  After church I went home with Mom and Dad Gudeman for the night.  I put Dylan to bed, then we chatted over a bowl of popcorn until what we thought was just after midnight...however, the clock in the family hadn't been changed and it was really after 1!!!! Eeek! Time well spent though! Saturday morning was lazy...spent drinking a giant cup of coffee, chatting with Mom and watching Dad out the window working in his pond. All of Lucas' siblings came around 11, plus Grandpa and Grandma Stoller. We had a delicious lunch, kids got to hunt for Easter eggs, dyed a few more eggs, spilled egg dye all over us and the floor, took a few pictures, and it all ended way too early when I had to leave around 3. 
Miranda's adorable goodie plate, and of course sooooo yum!
finding eggs...
Dylan, Aunt Bri, Micah
Rhea and Dylan
Dylan and Micah
The Gudeman girls, Bri, me, Tonya, Sarah, Miranda
This picture just makes me smile...we were all supposed to pretend like we were laughing...it's just too cute! 
Doing so good dyeing eggs...
oops, should've quit while we were ahead
 
Saturday afternoon I headed back to Tremont for supper and the evening at William and Brittany's.  They had everyone in for March/April birthdays. We were all there except the four missing from my family...Steven and Kari wouldn't be able to be with us Sunday for Easter, so I was thankful William and Brittany agreed to host everyone! Of course we couldn't be together without lots of laughs, once again, we were successful!  I even had tears from laughing so hard!   
Uncle Willie helping Dylan split wood
 
Brittany's masterpiece...tasted as good as it looked, just ask Dylan
Yum...
but what a mess!
 
Sunday was Easter, I Facetimed my honey and kiddos before church, then talked to Lucas again after church...back in Connecticut they were enjoying a light snow shower while I enjoyed the beautiful sunshine!  There is nothing like being "home" for the holidays...doesn't really matter which holiday.  Mom's cooking, in the house I grew up in, surrounded by almost all of my siblings.  Just a warm fuzzy feeling, for me anyway! Mom made a fabulous supper for us all...and after supper us girls got our annual picture.
L-R, youngest to oldest: Julie, Me, Marcia, Jennifer, Teresa 
L-R, oldest to  youngest: Teresa, Jennifer, Marcia, me, Julie
 
We took a walk after supper, the kids played outside, and mom had an Easter goodie bag hidden for all the kids to find.  
checking up on Grandpa's chickens 
 sandbox toys work all over the barnyard!

 Dylan and Emma checking out the cows, donkeys, turkey, chickens, ducks, pot-bellied pig, and guineas at "Old McDonald's Farm!"
  
The dog house is a perfect playhouse for little boys too!
 
Monday we enjoyed one last breakfast out with Mom and Dad, went to Libby's farm to exercise, grabbed a quick lunch and a nap before heading back to the airport.  My flight left just after 4pm. I had a 3 hour layover in Detroit where Dylan and I had supper then played and watched the airplanes.  Finally about 9:15pm we started boarding for our final flight home.  However, it wasn't to be, about a half hour into our flight the pilot came on the speaker saying there had been an abnormal error and he would have to turn around. The mechanic would be waiting for us at the gate, where our fate would be decided.  Unfortunately for all of us, it was decided we couldn't fly. So, at 11 o'clock at night 150 of us were standing around waiting for our hotel voucher, where we could spend the night. Then we got to wait for the shuttles to take us all to our respective hotels, then wait to get checked in.  Thankfully Dylan slept thru it all, and many kind souls helped me with my stroller/etc.  We finally got to our room just before 1 am, and Dylan woke up ready to play. I snuggled with him in bed for about a half hour before he finally fell asleep again.  If anyone has ever slept with a child...well, you don't really sleep.  I finally got up at 4 to shower and put my dirty clothes back on.  We caught the 5 o'clock shuttle back to the airport, and our 6:30am flight went without a hitch.  YAY! Lucas met me at the airport and I was back in my cozy house by 9:30!  Yesterday I was a bit lazy...kept the laundry running, but did little else.  I snagged a nap with Dylan after lunch and was terribly excited to see my three big kiddos when they got off the bus! 

I am so thankful I got to go home for Easter, but am sooooo glad to be home in Connecticut again.  Most days the distance doesn't seem so far, especially when I can Skype and talk to everyone just like we were in the same room.  But when the time comes to travel back and forth reality hits...we really are 1000 miles from all we've ever known.  Time has eased the ache for familiar things, as we've become familiar with things here.  Some days I can't believe we've been here for over a year already, seems like just yesterday we were packing up and saying our goodbyes.  Sometimes it seems like I am looking in on someone else's life, like this isn't really my life, but a dream and I will wake up and it will all be the same as before. And some days the distance feels like a whole world is separating me from everything/everyone I've loved.  People like to think they can relate, but unless you've been there, you can't really understand the loneliness that sometimes creeps in.  It is in those moments I have to remind myself, that I am not alone, but God is walking with me...He planned for me to be here, and He will never leave me. I can honestly say I have fallen in love with Connecticut, the landscape, the people, and mostly the goodness it has shown my family.  We have been blessed in the past year to grow from the difficult moments and all the experiences we never would've had if we hadn't followed God on this new path!
 
Lots of love and hugs from CT!!