Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Hello...are you still there!!

Hello, and hello again! I have had really good intentions of updating my blog, ever since June. However, life has been happening, and sometimes in some of the few spare moments I've had, I needed to snuggle with my kiddos, fold a load of laundry, grocery shop, cry because I miss my family, or just "plop" on the couch for a moment to breath! Please forgive me for not keeping you all up to date on our life here in CT, and please enjoy or disregard my "book" to get everyone current in our life.
 
July: July 4th we headed for the beach. We didn't have any big plans for the day, so we made our own. A family beach day, doing something we all LOVE to do. Later, John and Erin Hoffman, a couple from church, joined us for a picnic supper on the beach, and a rousing game of wiffle ball. All this after the beach cleared out for the evening.
 Collin and Dylan
 Dad and the kids looking for crabs
 
 All of us: Bryce, Halle, Collin, Lucas, Dylan, and me
 wiffle ball
 Supper...thanks to John and Erin for bringing chicken wraps for us to enjoy!
 
The next weekend we had my cousin from Lester, IA here for a couple days. Troy and Gwen Metzger and three of their four kiddos came for a visit. We thoroughly enjoyed having them, and I am thankful our kiddos were fast friends. Saturday afternoon we took them to Sonny's Place, the next town over, then had a few in for supper Saturday evening. 
 Chloe and Halle
 Dylan and Lincoln
 Troy and Gwen, Bryce and Lincoln
 Chloe and Halle again
 Dylan and Diana, Bryce and Lucas
 
The following weekend was my cousin Doug and Jane Schneider's daughter Lanae's wedding. Weddings are always fun and exciting, but we were even more excited to leave for our vacation that following Friday. We headed to Hilton Head, SC July 22...I'll keep that a post of its own. 
 
The week after we got home from vacation, the kiddos were not really excited to be thinking about school already, but Collin had gotten a letter from the Jr. High. With it, a list of all the school supplies he would need. Then they decided we needed to get their school supplies and pack their backpacks. Who doesn't love the excitement of new folders, backpacks, erasers that are still pink, markers, crayons and freshly sharpened pencils!?
 
August: August started with us getting home from vacation late Sunday night (7-31), and me waking up for an in-service, at work, first thing Monday morning! The rest of that week was spent "catching up." For the first time all summer, I kind of felt like I had caught up with life! My training at work was completed, and I was officially one of the techs.
 
Then we had more company. Kelly, Samantha, and Daniel Kieser were coming for a visit.  We headed up to Boston Friday (8-12) afternoon to pick them up at their hotel. They had spent a couple days exploring Boston, and were going to spend the weekend with us! We were SOOO excited! Friday night we had our regular pizza supper. Then we had a birthday party for everyone!  Samantha and I had decided several weeks before, that we were going to celebrate everyone's birthday. Our kids don't really get birthday parties, because most of our family is far, far away! All they get is a few cards in the mail, from Grandpas and Grandmas, and the few faithful aunts who NEVER forget them! You know who you are and are VERY MUCH APPRECIATED!! My kids start asking several days before their birthday, if there is mail for them! Anyway, here are a few pics from our party!  
 
 
 The cake, a vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream...it was so delicious!
 The birthday peoples.
 Halle and Samantha
 
We stayed up way too late visiting, but had lots of laughs and great conversation. Saturday morning the house was quiet when I came down around 7. But when I looked out the back door, I saw the two big boys headed to Crystal Lake for a round of morning fishing!  
 Daniel and Collin
 
Once everyone was up and dressed, we headed over to Enders State Forest for some hiking. Not the smartest thing to do in 100+ degree weather! We had a great hike on the way down. Not so fun on the way up, when Dylan wanted to be carried, because he was SO tired! We had packed a picnic, so we enjoyed a sweaty lunch before heading home again. 
 Dylan and Samantha
 Daniel, Collin, Bryce, Dylan, Samantha, Halle
Bryce, Halle, Daniel, Collin
 
Me, Dylan and Samantha
 Samantha and Halle
 The whole crew (minus Lucas, who was working)
 
Saturday evening we had a late grad/farewell party to attend, then decided to end the horribly hot day on Crystal Lake. Keith and Mary Kloter kindly let us borrow their pontoon boat, and Naomi (their granddaughter) took us to the middle of the lake for a swim! 
 All together...jump!!!
Me, Lucas, Dylan, Kelly, Bryce, Daniel, Halle, Collin
(Naomi took the picture for us!)
We had another late night of good conversation and laughs before hitting the hay!
 
Sunday after church we headed for the shore. Daniel and Samantha wanted to swim in the ocean, so we got them as close as we could without driving to another state. The water was salt water, but we were on the Connecticut shore, so they got to swim in the Long Island Sound. Close enough. We had asked Brandon and Sarah, plus Joanna and Naomi Schneider, to join us for the afternoon. We played games, swam, and picnicked on the beach.
 Daniel, Bryce, and Collin
 Kan Jam on the beach. (Daniel and Bryce)
 Naomi, Joanna, Samantha, and me
 
 Running all together into the water
 Dylan and Micah
Kelly took the little boys for a walk.
 The beautiful sunset!
 
Monday morning we headed back up to Boston to drop off the Kieser's, after a fun-filled weekend.  They can come back any time they want!! The boys went with me to Boston, while Halle and Lucas went fishing.
 
someone caught a starfish
their catch
 
Tuesday Halle and I headed to the orthodontist to get her braces off. She has successfully completed Phase 1, and was thrilled to have her own teeth back again!  
on the way...
 
after!
Our next week was some what normal...me working a couple days, and the kids keeping house for me! Halle's birthday was the next Wednesday and she had planned a birthday party all by herself...with my permission. She even did all the inviting by herself. She ended up with six of her church friends coming over. (I gave her a number limit of girls she could invite...I'm not a very good party hostess! :P). She called, planned, organized, and helped me shop for prizes and activities. We had lots of fun, and I think the girls did too! 
Silly birthday girl...the only decent picture I got of her with her cake! 
 Opening her present from Mom and Dad...she was thrilled to see what she had asked for in the box!
 
 
Her cake
 
Each of the girls got to decorate their own "cake" to take  home.
 
cake decorating 
 
The crew!  Brooke, Kayleigh, Elise, Jenna, Halle, Olivia, Jaela
 
  
Collin got to decorate too
painting sun catchers... 
 
 
 
 
 How can this beautiful girl be 10 already!?
 
That catches you up, and brings you to the end of our summer. Last night was 6th grade orientation, and today we had meet and greet at the grade school. The kiddos hit the books again tomorrow. I am ready for the schedule that school affords, but NOT ready for the homework we will have to deal with too. I am having a difficult time believing I have a 6th grader, 5th grader and 3rd grader. Collin was in 3rd grade when we moved to Connecticut, and now Bryce will start his 3rd grade year. It seems so long ago that Collin was that young, but tomorrow I will send him off to middle school. Dylan and I are planning to work together, at home, doing preschool. He will also get a super preschool experience with the dear daycare mom I will be bringing him to, on my working days!
 
In the meantime, if you feel moved to pray for me, I've been exceptionally homesick lately. I was home in April, but I guess it wasn't enough. I miss home, my family, and all things familiar.
 
What I wouldn't give to be sitting on the couch at Mom and Dad's. All my siblings there. My kids and my nieces and nephews racing in and out, like is bound to happen with 21 grandkids in the house. The occasion? Maybe family birthdays. A bowl of vanilla ice cream in my lap, smothered in strawberries, and a slice of mom's angel food cake. The floor strewn with ripped up envelopes and pieces of wrapping paper. Steven asking for a few to sing around the piano, which of course we do! William and Lucas at the table playing games with some of the older kids. Dad sitting in his chair taking it all in, a grandchild on his lap, who runs off off to play, replaced by another who came by and got "caught".  Mom in the kitchen making sure the ice cream gets put away before we have ice cream soup. Then we all settle in to reminisce, telling stories of "Donut Bob's" blue bomb, dying on the way to school. Remember when Steven used to antagonize us girls! UGH! The silly horns and microphones on our cars. Teresa putting the truck thru the garage wall. The laughter, the sharing, it means so much. I miss it SO much! 
 
I have visited with a few different friends lately, who have been ashamed or embarrassed by their emotions.  But I remind them, and myself, that God made us that way. To feel deeply. It's a good thing. When we feel and show our emotions, it makes us vulnerable to one another. We can share in each others sorrow or joy. Lift each other up. Pray for each other. And remember thru our tears that God has a plan...for me here in CT. For you, wherever you are. God knows each need, and wants us to bring our cares before His feet.  So I ask, will you to pray for me. That the loneliness doesn't overwhelm me. That I can see Him working in my life. Walking beside me. A constant companion and friend.
 
Until next time...Lots of love and hugs from CT!!