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!  
Dylan
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! 
 Halle
 Dylan
 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!!

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