Tuesday, November 1, 2016

October came and went...

Our October was busy, and we saw lots of familiar faces! Here are a few of the highlights!!
The first weekend in October we enjoyed hosting Steve and Betsy Endress and their girls for supper. Sorry, no pictures to prove it, but we were so thrilled they made time in their schedule to come see us! That next night we were invited to supper with a group at Maxine Bahler's. She was hosting Kenny and Mardell Dietz, and Char Dietz! We felt so special for being included, and were thankful we could spend a little time with them, as their time in Connecticut was short. We were privileged enough to get to have Char spend the night with us Saturday night! Here is Char and our kiddos before church Sunday morning...
Collin, Halle, Char, Bryce, Dylan
That weekend was also Columbus Day weekend and our kids didn't have school Monday. So, Monday morning we headed to Mt. Greylock, Massachusetts. This is the highest peak in Mass, at 3491 feet high. On this mountain is also part of the Appalachian Trail. We can now say we've hiked the Appalachian Trail, no matter that we only hiked a mile or so! :) We made a few pit stops along the way...to enjoy the foliage, and other sights.
 Bridge of flowers on the way to Mt. Greylock
Me and Halle
Stopped to climb a rocky stream bed/falls
Lucas, Diana, Dylan Collin
Bryce, Halle
Dylan having fun throwing rocks into the water!
Next stop: Money Brook Falls (about halfway up the mountain)
He was so excited to follow the tree markings on the trail!  
view on the way up
Then we took the high road up the mountain to the summit!
hiking on the Appalachian Trail 
At the top of Mt. Greylock.
Bryce, Halle, Dylan, Collin
The pictures just can't do justice to the beauty in every direction!
We highly recommend you make a trip out next fall to enjoy the views with us!
Dylan is a model now...
One of the ladies who watched him while I was working, used the picture for advertising their Butterbraid fundraiser business!
The following weekend was the Fall Festival at The Barnyard where Lucas works. We always love an excuse to go see dad at work, and play in the buildings.
Dylan and Everett on the tractor
Collin and Dylan getting a ride on the "mule."
An amazing piece of shed delivery equipment!
The next weekend, I made a trip to IL all by MYSELF!! I had a flight voucher I needed to use before it expired, so Lucas gave me his blessing to make the trip alone, while he took care of the kids. I had such a fabulous time. Three whole days of just me...no one bothering me in the shower, no one waking me up at 6 am. No one distracting me at church. Just me and my family! I soaked up every moment, and am so thankful for a husband who lets me go!  Friday night I arrived at Peoria Airport at 9:30. Almost everyone was there waiting for me! We headed to Mom and Dad's where a few more were waiting. I can still feel the hugs! They get me thru those days when I'm missing everyone so much. The whole weekend was spent with a smile on my face...how could I not! We had a full weekend and barely time to fit everything in. Lucas thought I had forgotten about him because my phone calls home were few. I didn't forget, was just busy keeping up with everyone and everything. I felt like my whole weekend was smiles and laughter. So good for my soul!
Friday night arm wrestling contest at mom and dads
Saturday morning we were treated to breakfast by "Aunt" Libby, at her café in Delavan.
Janet and me
Then off to the Louise Jane open house.
My dear cousin Janet owns a business and I have been dying to be able to go to one of her open houses. Finally made it. Purchased a few things, but wouldn't all fit in my carry-on. I'll be home for Christmas, so my purchases have to wait! Saturday afternoon I took a long walk with my sister Marcia. How I love those familiar roads of home, open fields, and blue skies. Then we headed to a cow sale at TopLine Farms, Tremont. I told you, we filled up the weekend! The sale was fun to watch, and a bit amazing to hear the prices being bid! I'd never been to a cow sale, so check that off my bucket list. We were treated to a steak dinner too. The cows tasted as good as they looked! ;)
 Me and Jen and her girls, Alayna and Alli
View across the pastures. 
 Me and Jen 
$  Cows for sale!  $
Libby and Me 
Baby calves and mommas 
Saturday evening was also the Beutel Chili supper. We didn't make it in time for supper (we ate at the sale), but I enjoyed catching up with cousins, even though we were late. Sunday was a beautiful day in more ways than one. It felt so good to be able to gather and worship in the church of my childhood. There is just something about being home. Seeing those who have prayed for me and my family thru the years. They still love to see me when I'm home. Sure does warm the heart! Sunday evening Dad treated all of us to Pizza Ranch, and we enjoyed one last evening together.
Monday morning we had one more breakfast out. We headed to Libby's to raid her farm of mums and steaks, left over from the cow sale. Then I got a tour of Aunt Annette's new home in Tremont. The last few hours before I flew home were spent visiting at mom and dad's, and a quick stop in to see/say goodbye to Teresa, who had worked all day. 
Julie and some little girls Marcia babysits, plus her Emma
As I sat in the airport Monday night, waiting for my last flight, I felt some tears roll down my face. There I was, between two places I call home. The one home, where my roots go deep. Where I learned to walk, skinned my knees, learned to drive, graduated from high school, then college. Where I began my walk with my Jesus. A place that holds so many memories, some I'm sure I've forgotten. A place that no matter where I go or live, will always be home. A place filled with those faces and voices I long to see at times. A place that makes my heart smile whenever I think about it, and sometimes the tears escape my eyes because I long to be there, even if just for a moment.
And my other home, where my roots are starting to dig deep. A place that welcomed me with open arms. A place that was never on my list of places to live, but God knew I needed, to grow. God knew there were lives here that could touch mine in ways I couldn't imagine. A home where my kids skin their knees, will learn to drive, I pray will find their way to Jesus. A church that loved me even before they knew me! A place that makes my heart smile when I think of it, but the tears don't come because I long to be here, but sometimes they come because I see how God is so perfectly orchestrating my life, and I stand amazed at His work.

Sometimes it is so difficult to have two home, but I can't imagine my life without either one. Two places filled with people I love. I am doubly blessed! 

The Wednesday after I got home was Colllin's birthday! I am still in denial that my oldest son is 12. Only one more year to the teens! YIKES! 

 He asked for and got a Fitbit                           and wanted a New England Patriots cake.   
blowing out his candles
This past Saturday Lucas left for Haiti, with a group from Rockville. They are there to help with clean up/rebuilding from Hurricane Matthew that went through a few weeks ago. We have very limited communication, mainly text, so we send pictures back and forth to keep each other included in our days!
 Collin, Dylan, Me, Halle, Bryce
picture we sent dad before church Sunday morning
The boys
Sunday evening the kids and I were invited to Doug and Heidi LaPlante's for supper. We ended up carving pumpkins while we were there! So much fun!
 Elise and Halle
 Elise, Drew, Collin
 Finished products
Monday was Halloween, after school the kids and I carved our own pumpkins. Then dressed up for a night of trick-or-treating! 
 Collin, Bryce, Dylan, Me
 Collin, Bryce
all the pumpkins done
 Collin-Mr. Smartypants, Bryce-TMNT, Dylan-Dr. Gudeman, Halle-Cheerleader
The last few pictures are a few Lucas sent from Haiti. He is sending good reports. They are getting a lot accomplished, and the weather has been decent. The forecast was rain all week, but so far, while they've been working, no rain!  

 his roofing crew yesterday
That brings you up to date with the happenings here.  We are so thankful for God's continued nearness. We are looking forward to all coming home for Christmas! Until then, lots of love and hugs from CT!!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Fall Days...

School started the Thursday before Labor Day. I was happy to welcome the routine/schedule school always brings, and even a little relieved to have a quiet house during the day. By summer's end, it seemed most of my days were filled with refereeing arguments, listening to grumbles about being bored, or asking for the kids to please leave each other alone!! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my kids, and I love summer, but sometimes too much of even a good thing, can just be too much! Dylan is now quite content playing by himself, and the two of us enjoy each others company as we go about our days.
 Collin-6th grade
 Halle-5th grade, Bryce-3rd grade, Dylan-preschool at home with mom
That same day, we received a huge box, delivered by the UPS. My sister had filled the box with treats and games for us to enjoy!  What a fun, fun idea, and VERY well received on our end! Thank you Marcia, Rob and family!! 
 Collin and Dylan opening their presents

 Dylan and Halle
This next picture I'm not sure whether to be impressed by their ingenuity, or embarrassed they were giving each other rides in the recycling bin! I'm choosing impressed, because they spent a good part of an afternoon playing in and around the bin.

 Bryce, Dylan, Halle...in their school bus/fort
One night as I sat on the couch reading, Halle came to me and asked if we could go on a Mommy/Halle date. Of course! How can a mom say no to that? She decided she wanted to go to Dunkin Donuts, since we had already had supper. We did a little shopping before we returned home. Such a fun little spur of the moment date!
 Halle enjoying her donut
When we got home, she showed Lucas the new fingernail polish she had picked out. Then she asked if he would paint her fingernails. So he did...with an audience!
me, Dylan, and Jesse
Labor Day we welcomed a new little cousin/nephew to our family! Lucas' brother and his wife were excited to announce Jesse Dean had come to stay! We LOVED being able to go visit them in the hospital, and smother him in kisses!
 Bryce, me, Collin, Halle, and of course, Jesse
Later that week, I picked up the big brother Micah for a playdate at our house. And gave the new momma a break! Micah is 9 days older than Dylan and they had/have so much fun together! I'm so thankful for their little friendship!
 Dylan and Micah
In our care/fun package from my sister, we got a silly game, "Googly Eyes," that produces LOTS of laughs! Kind of like "Pictionary," but with glasses that distort your picture as you draw! Sunday game night!!

 Me and Collin
Work has been going good for me. I am still getting at least 2 if not 3 days a week. It is enough for now. I have a great home daycare that I am looking forward to using in the near future.  However, in the meantime, there are several lovely ladies from church who have been willing to take Dylan for me, days at a time. Our neighbors across the street have been willing to help with getting Halle and Bryce off the bus, when Collin isn't home. Collin decided to join the cross country team this year, so we are experiencing the challenge and excitement of juggling practices, meets, and coordinating schedules.  We are very blessed with so many people who love us and help us, here in CT. I can't even begin to express how humbled and thankful we are for each of you! We have been treated like royalty!
A few weeks ago was the Four Town fair. Dylan got to tag along with Lanae, to the cow barn one day, while I was working. The kids also enjoyed the Four Town parade and all the candy they picked up too! 
 Dylan with the cow!
 watching the parade with Micah
 Two weeks ago Collin had his first Cross Country meet. He placed in the top 1/3 (which was his goal) running against 6-8 graders. He is right in the middle! He is excited to see his improvements as the year progresses.
Last Friday Mom and Dad Gudeman came for a visit. Not the most timely visit with Lucas in the middle of their biggest event of the year, the Big E. But we managed a trip up to the fair with mom and dad, Sarah, and kids in tow.
 Dylan, Collin, Micah, Bryce, Halle
 Bryce and Halle on the McDonald's slide-we even got Mom on this too!
 Dylan, Mom G, Bryce, Micah
 Collin, Halle, Micah and Sarah
on the Ferris wheel
 Bryce, Dylan, and me
 Micah and Dylan sharing a snow cone
Saturday we planned to get some projects accomplished with the great help we had here. Mom and Dad helped us remove, paint, and reattach all our shutters. Dad also replaced some melted siding from the previous renters. 
 all down...
 removing and replacing
 Our before (top) and our after(bottom)!!
What a difference a fresh coat of paint makes!
sorting M and M's
Dylan and I have been doing a preschool program at home together. I'm not sure what is normal or expected for a three year old, but I think he is doing pretty good! He is counting, matching, sorting, and enjoying our preschool lessons. (at least I think he is!) I have already seen improvements in his coloring and following directions too!
 Thursday's coloring activity
Me holding the hose.
Lastly, my husband is definitely his father's son. While he was here last week, Dad Gudeman spent a few hours at our local fish pet store. He noticed a 65 gallon fish tank for sale, second hand, and at a greatly reduced price. Lucas has been wanting to "go bigger" for a while now, but I've been able to talk sense into him! Not anymore!! After being challenged/encouraged by his dad to go ahead and get a bigger tank, Lucas came home with the tank Thursday night. Thankfully the pet shop was willing to take our old one as a trade. So Thursday night, Lucas and I got/had, depending on who you ask ;), to set up the new tank. Isn't that what most normal people do at 9:30 at night? Run hoses in windows and haul water? We were also required to move furniture to accommodate the new tank! The filter is running, the water is clear, and soon we will have fish swimming in a new and improved, bigger and better tank! I'll try to post pictures once its filled with something other than 65 gallons of water.
Life has a way of carrying on, whether we like it or not, ready or not. We have been busy with everyday things. Lucas working, me working and attempting to keep house, the kids at school and each busy with their own activities. I am thankful for a husband who loves me so deeply, and lifts me up when I'm down. I am doing better with my loneliness and homesickness, and I am really excited about a trip home, for me, in a few weeks. Lucas told me, "go...we will be fine!" I think he knows I'll be better when I've gotten to see my parents and siblings in real life! I'm looking forward to my quick trip home. Otherwise, its only a few short months until we will all be home for Christmas. In the meantime, if you decide to come east, we would love for you to stop by. We love familiar faces of "home!"
Until next time, lots of love and hugs from CT!