Friday, January 29, 2016

Snow, snow, snow

Winter finally came to visit.  We had great weather through the fall and first part of winter, that it didn't seem like winter had quite arrived! 

Before lots of snow arrived, a few fun things happened.  The activity day's leader at church (a fun program for girls age 8-11) held a special evening for the girls highlighting what they had done the past year.  All the girls participated by conducting, saying prayers, leading music, etc.  It was really cute and the girls loved it.  Haley said a prayer and Shanna led the music for the closing song.
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I tried to get Haley closer in on this photo, but this is as close as I could get her.
Jan 16 2016

Lois came for an impromptu visit that same weekend, which was really fun.  We met up at Sharp Shopper before the girls' activity days event. That night I pulled out some matching pajamas that I bought for Shanna, Haley and their dolls. It worked out too that Lois came because then I could pick up Lee at the airport without taking all the kids.  Cal wanted to come, so he tagged along.  I got to the airport about 12:35am, and then arrived home right before 3am.  Late night....Thankfully we have church at 1pm this year! Poor Lee had to wait around for me.  His plane came in early.  Plus it took longer to get to the airport than I had anticipated.
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Right before Lois went is proof that she came!
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Later that night Lee gave the kids some little gifts he picked up in Nicaragua for them. 
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Jan 18 2016

Lee got these things for me/him/the family.  He bought two of these turtles and I put one in the bathroom.  It goes with some other Nicaragua wood art we have in there.
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I love the pottery they do there.  They glaze and fire the pot, then carve it.  So pretty.  I wish I would have thought that he might buy one and asked him to buy two.  When Lee and I were in Nicaragua two years ago we found a guy that made a custom one for us of a nativity scene to give to Lee's mom for Christmas one year.
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And isn't this bowl soooo cool???  I want a dozen of them!  Love it soo much! 
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Lee got two other fun wood art plaques too.  He also got some Nicaraguan "kool-aid" (not called that of course) and some chocolate drink mix stuff.

A couple days before the snow storm Wednesday night church youth activities were canceled.  I decided to head into Harrisonburg anyway.  The roads were pretty slick, but not bad if you were careful.  I decided to take advantage of the time and swing over to Costco to get passport photos for the kids.  We are going to Canada this summer, and then to Europe in a few years, so I figured we might as well get passports and have them done with.  With the new "set" budget Lee and I are having to be very diligent about saving money each month for upcoming expenses like summer trips, school shopping in August and Christmas.  Gone are the days (for now) of just cash flowing stuff month by month.  I already have several "sinking funds" in place to keep track of future spending for the year.  I've tried to think of every trip and "normal" bigger expenses that we will encounter throughout the year from dental exams to a pool pass this summer, to a big field trip, to scout camp travels, etc., plus the others I've mentioned.  Anyway, part of the summer trip money we are saving month to month was allocated to passports.  It's nice to get them done and not have to worry about paying extra fees to get them rushed. 
Jan 20 2016

I made a pillow for some down inserts I bought at IKEA.  I didn't buy enough fabric though and could only make one....thought I could make two. Now that I am looking at it, I sewed the fabric together the wrong directions.  Oops!
Jan 21 2016

I put a zipper in the pillow cover and thought that turned out nice.
Jan 21 2016 (2)

Lee and I started coordinating a Financial Peace University class at a local church here in town.  The picture is of our first night!  We have 10 people in the class which is great.  We've done 4 lessons so far and are really enjoying it.  We've never taken Financial Peace before, so it's been fun seeing what the class is like too.
Jan 21 2106

Well, the snow finally came.  I love how during the winters here that at least once a winter we get dumped on with a couple feet of snow.  This storm was no exception!  We got about 2 1/2 feet of snow.  And it actually came at a good time--over the weekend. The kids found all of their snow gear that morning before we headed out to take Cal and Clark to piano lessons.
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The snow storm starting!  We were all so excited about it!  Well, maybe except Lee.  Not sure how he felt.  He had to cancel work on Saturday and lots of patients canceled Friday.
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The boys' piano teacher had foot surgery and couldn't come to town for lessons, so I took them to her house for lessons.  We stopped by Lee's office at Walmart.  The kids shoveled a little before we headed home.  I bought a few more shovels this year and now our vans each have a small snow shovel in them.
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Before too much more snow fell, we went sledding.  I drove over to our awesome sledding hill.  We didn't stay super long because I didn't want to get stuck.
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Not much snow yet, but it still kept coming!
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That afternoon the pepper shaker fell out of the cabinet.  Glass is annoying to clean up.....
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We still had our Christmas lights up so I turned them on a few times during the snow storm.
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The next morning!  It snowed all day Saturday too.  My neighbor's car is almost buried!
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The snow almost blocked us in.  At the threshold you are supposed to step down...right where Clark's hand is.
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Lee and I got a couple of projects done that day.  It was so fun having him home.  We were going to go sledding but it snowed all day till about 6pm.  That night we spend time shoveling out the Honda and then we all went over to shovel out the Franke's car.
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The kids were climbing all over the sides of the van and the piles of snow by them.  But they are pretty much buried!
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There was a blue-ish hue to the snow where light came through.  Very pretty.
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The kids built a couple of tunnels.
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I love looking out the window at the snow falling.  It's my favorite part of snow storms. 
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Church was canceled Sunday, and Monday school was canceled too.  Lee took the Honda to work that morning and I didn't want to dig out the Mercury, so we walked over to the sledding hill on Monday.
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We finally dug out the other van.  I left this side unshoveled--the driver's side.  Clark, Cal and I dug out the rest of the sides.  Then I drove the van out and re-parked.  It worked! 
Jan 26 2016 (2)

School was canceled Tuesday and our friends came sledding with us.  We introduced them to TimTam Slams too.  Clark's friend broke his wrist sledding, sadly.  Wednesday and Thursday were two-hour delay days and Friday was a normal school day.  It was fun while it lasted!

One night out of the blue, Clark was practicing piano and it was his turn to set the table for dinner.  Elden decided to do it.  It was so sweet!  Cal got in on the action and helped put out the cups.
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Hope you're all staying warm!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Japan, Nicaragua, North Carolina

A little bit of travel, culture and globe trotting happened mid-January. What a fun way to ring in the new year!

And for fun, I hang out with this cutie during Sunday School while his mom teaches a youth Sunday School class.  He's such a good baby and so cute!
Jan 3 2016

First off, the cultural part.  Some friends from church were hosting Japanese dancers at their home over the holidays.  Before they left for Japan they graciously performed for us at our church.  There was a nice, big turnout too.  It was fun to see some dances from their heritage. 
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They let some kids come up to do sumo wrestling too.  Shanna just walked on up when it was time for the girls.
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Shanna's opponent.
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Face off!  Not sure what the correct term is...
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The chaperone of the trip performed for us too.  He had a neat thing of sticks that he did all sorts of tricks with.
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There were three-legged races too.
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And some shoulder combat.  Shanna vs. Elden.
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We enjoyed their fun talents!
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For the globe-trotting part, Lee went to Nicaragua.  I guess that's not a whole lot of globe trotting, but more than I've done lately!  For many years we talked about him (and eventually me and the kids) traveling with him internationally to do a vision mission trip.  I looked online over a year ago, and found that VOSH (Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity) was hosting a vision trip in Nicaragua!  And in a town that we've both visited!  Lee made the necessary arrangements and several months later was on a plane to Managua.  Lee served his two-year mission there for our church.  He will do a guest post soon on the blog of all the cool things he saw and did.  Next year Clark and I plan on attending with him.  I admit I was a little jealous of the 90 degree, clear sky weather he had at a beach town!  He and seven other doctors and many students saw over 3200 people during the four days their clinic was set up.  
Jan 8 2016

After I dropped off Lee at the airport I visited Steph and Maggie for a little bit.  Steph made a yummy lunch, and it was fun playing with Maggie. 
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I was a little nervous about Lee being gone for the week for one reason: wake-up time.  Lee gets all of us up in the included.  I wondered how we'd get out the door on time every morning!  We somehow made it through the week.  Lee rarely travels with out us, let alone traveling for over a week.  He was gone nine days.  I'm excited that I'll be going with him next time!

While Lee was gone I fixed the kids ramen.  We haven't eaten it for a really long time.  They were quite excited. 
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Since Lee was gone, we decided to take our own little trip.  I was talking to my sister-in-law and she mentioned that is was my nephew Anthon's birthday and that we should come down to North Carolina.  Ummm, yes!  We went down on a Friday night and had a great weekend there.  Saturday we went on a walk.
Jan 9 2016 Raleigh

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There was a little flooding on the trail and you can see the bridge is somewhat flooded.
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Right at the END of the walk, Elden slipped and landed on the muddy floor of that bridge you saw earlier that was partially flooded out.  Ugh.....
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It was great being there for Anthon's birthday!
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A teenager!!!
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We stayed for church and left a couple hours after.  We had a great time as always with Daniel, Amy and family.  Thankfully the drive to and from was uneventful, especially since I was driving by myself and Lee wasn't at home to come to my rescue if needed.

For your cultural edification: an Elden Selfie.  It's so funny finding random pictures on my phone. Like this one.
Jan 10 2016

Last couple of random pictures: Elden decided to write a new last name on his school reading book.  I think it was Shanna who said "Well, at least he can spell Robinson".  I didn't notice till Lee pointed it out, that he didn't even spell Robinson right, ha ha. 
Jan 12 2016

While Lee was in Nicaragua I decided to put away the Christmas decorations.  It was a sad day.  I don't have a lot of house decorations so my home feels empty when they're put away!  Plus Lee pampers me and puts them away every year.  I bit the bullet and went ahead and did it. 
Jan 15 2016 (2)

Shanna and her friend helped me some too. (Bonus for having twin dress up clothes....your friend can match you too!) This tree was super fast to take down.  I was surprised! 
Jan 15 2016