Sunday, December 4, 2016

Wichita's Own "Bethlehem Walk!"

When a friend told us about "A Living Nativity: Christ is Born" event near here, it sounded an awful lot like the "Bethlehem Walk" that I so enjoyed (and got to be a part of one year) back home in Ontario!  Since our family is never in Canada in early December when that happens, I had mourned the fact that my kids would never get to experience it for themselves.  I was hopeful that this would be similar!

 On Friday night we drove to the location, parked in a field, boarded a cold, windy shuttle pulled by a tractor, made the half mile drive to the location of the event... and fortunately got to go inside to register, have hot chocolate and popcorn and warm up while we waited for our group to be called (already pretty much exactly like the Bethlehem walk).

The kids enjoying their hot chocolate and popcorn

This was some sort of business garage that they had set up for the event

They made it really pretty!

When our group was called, we were introduced to our leaders, Joel and Hadassah, and then Frank (the guy who started it five years ago), gave us a little introduction.    Then we were off on our one hour adventure!    We walked on a path lit by torches to the different stops:

(These photos are pretty horrible, but I didn't want to use my flash and disrupt the experience for others.   Here are the few that sort of turned out):

The first few stops were Moses, King David, Isaiah and Micah, as they each prophesied about the birth of the Messiah

The angel coming to Mary

Elizabeth and Mary

Joseph in his carpentry shop

They had an AMAZING marketplace set up that we walked through but all of my pictures (because I was walking) were horrible =0/

Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus

I liked this one with Caleb and Moriah in it

The wiseman had an Elaborate set up!

Here they are talking to King Herod

Offering their gifts to Jesus

Jesus as a boy, in the temple

Healing a blind man

At Calvary

The tomb

The night ended up back inside (in the warm) as they shared the message of the gospel!    What an amazing event, with over 100 cast members (including a Roman soldier on horseback) and lots of live animals!    I think we have found a new Christmas tradition!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Road Trip to Montezuma, Kansas!

About a week ago, a friend asked if I would consider doing a photo shoot for her extended family at her parent's farm the day after Thanksgiving... the only catch was that it was in a tiny town called, Montezuma... three and a half hours from Wichita!!    Philip was rounding, she said she'd pay me for my time, and the kids and I decided to take a roadtrip and make a day of it!

If this photo doesn't shout "Kansas", I don't know what does =)

We got to the town about an hour before the shoot, so while we waited, we checked out a coffee shop that my friend recommended.   It was adorable, the drinks (hot chocolate for Moriah and Caleb, a frozen caramel drink for Keenan and a chai tea for me) were all delicious and came with adorable, stamped burlap cup holders!  (Oh, and the people in the shop knew the people we were coming to see!)

After that, we headed down the street to the Stauth Memorial Museum.    It turned out to be quite a gem!     The Stauth family set up the museum to display all of the amazing artifacts they collected on their journeys around the world (to every continent except Antartica)!    It was a phenomenal collection!   (We literally had about 20 minutes left when we got there, so a sweet lady who works there gave us the "super fast" tour through everything).

Keenan loved the coin collections from all over the world

Moriah loved this pretty African jewelry

Caleb liked the ivory carvings

They also have an exhibit area that changes out every month to six weeks.  Right now it has "Christmas Traditions of Western Kansas".    There were displays set up by various families, businesses or churches...

We were in such a rush that this is the only picture I took of that part of the museum.  On the left was a collection of beautiful china dolls one woman had made and on the right was a stocking collection that a grandmother (now 91) has made for each of her grandchildren when they were born (the most recent one was made for a baby a couple weeks ago!)

One snap of all of us

Caleb wanted to pretend to put an ornament on the tree

Also in the museum was the Fry Wildlife Collection.    Ralph Fry was a neighbor of the Stauths and was a big game hunter.    He hunted for almost 50 years, all over North America, including Canada, Alaska and Norway.    His collection is stunning.

He even had a Wolverine!!

...and a "Jackalope", hahaha!

Too funny

Our guide told us that the moose heads were the only ones mounted at actual height.  That blew my mind!!!

We weren't ready to leave yet, but had to get out to the farm for the shoot! =)

The family was awesome - super friendly, very cooperative, and in perfectly coordinated outfits.   What more could a girl ask for??

At the end of the shoot, we drove into town for a couple shots... you know it's a small town when you can pose a whole group in the middle of the street! =)

One last shot as we left town...

The kids did Amazingly well with all that driving in one day (I did let them watch one movie on the way out and one on the way back... as long as I got to choose Elf as one of them)  =)

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016!

Today was a great day!   (Well, Philip had to work, so that part wasn't great, but the rest was!)

Today was the first day of the Holiday Running Streak Challenge, so this morning the kids and I headed over to the Pennys to do our first run with Jade and Eden (27 others have joined us in the challenge!!!)

Caleb and Moriah bought these hats yesterday - they crack me up!!

All ready to head out and get warmed up!!
(The girls did a 10:32 mile, not bad!)

I roasted up this bad boy yesterday (the kid's 26 pounder from the Turkey Trot!) and also made two desserts - Chocolate peanut butter bars and pumpkin pie bars.

This morning I cooked the rest of the meal (cheesy potatoes, squash, corn, stuffing and made a salad), and then we loaded it all up in the van and headed across town to celebrate with our refugee friends!  (On the way, we stopped at the hospital and dropped off Philip's share, with one of the residents, since Philip was in a delivery!)

This paper write-on kid's table cloth was a hit!!

Time to eat!

Patricia and Moriah

Seriously, Caleb!?
L-R: Gabriel, Obama, Justus, Jane, Michael

Everyone loved the table cloth, not just the young kids! =)
Keenan and Gabriel playing the dot line box game

Caleb and Michael playing at the other end of the table

Caleb made Gabriel color his turkey with him =)

Bahati woke up and had some dinner, too!

Jane and I
We are So grateful to know this family and are honored to call them our friends!

When Philip got home from work tonight, he and I went out and ran a mile (so glad he's doing the challenge, too) and then we turned on our outdoor Christmas lights for the first time (he put them up a few days ago, but we don't do Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving) =)

A couple randoms:

Keenan used Moriah's loom and made this long chain!!!

Yesterday we received a package from JAPAN!!    A friend of ours, Mary Jo (she was on our Ecuador team back in 2003!) and her husband are missionaries there.     Six weeks ago she put a package of treats in the mail for us and we'd been anxiously awaiting it's arrival!   What a fun "international tasting experience" it was!

This was unlike anything I'd ever seen before, sort of spongy?  The kids really liked it!

The most "normal" thing in the package was square, chocolate covered cookies, and the strangest thing were sheets of "fish jerky!"  (those were not our favorite) ;)