Thursday, May 26, 2016

Berry Good Times

On Saturday morning (after picking up our basket of produce from a co-op we tried out for the first time), the kids and I headed out to pick strawberries! We hadn't ever picked berries here before and I didn't think there were any patches close to us, but my friend told me about one that was about 20 minutes away! Woohoo!

The picking spot was pretty far out, so we got a ride on a golf cart, which the kids loved!

Riding out to the field

The kids are Such good pickers!



I had a picture of Moriah too, but unfortunately her eyes were closed...

Our row had mostly small berries (and most of them had a "seed pod" on the bottom of each berry, which I really don't like, but we did okay...

With our pickin's - almost 12 pounds!

We payed $2.50 a pound and I noticed at the grocery store after that there's were 1.99, but the ones that we picked really Did taste AMAZING.

I made three jars of jam for the fam and one (no sugar strawberry/apple) one for me and we gave a bunch of the berries to our Ugandan friends.

We had a great visit with the Winny family on Saturday afternoon (and took them a bunch of strawberries).  I feel like we got to know a lot about them this time.   Jane made us some Delicious African food!   She made "Posho" (another name for Ugali), which is made with cornmeal and is a thick, slightly sticky texture.   You just get a big hunk of it and break pieces off and dip them in the sauce or juice from your meat (which was beef in a delicious tomato based sauce).   She also made a spinach, onion and tomato dish that was really good.

On Sunday, the kids had their AWANA closing ceremony:

Caleb with his Cubbies class

Moriah in Sparks

Keenan (as well as Jade and Eden) in T&T (Truth and Training)

At home with their awards
(Caleb was Not happy about having to take this picture)

Friday, May 20, 2016

School's Out and other Exciting Stuff

We finished up our school year on Friday, the 13th. I will continue to work on reading with Moriah, and I'd like Keenan to journal over the summer to stay in practice with writing, but for the most part... school is OUT!

This is the only picture I took all day (on my phone of all things!)

After a trip to the zoo to see the brand new elephant exhibit (and new elephants), we took them for ice cream, and then after Philip went back to work, we visited a new park

On Saturday morning, Joshua Longa was finally discharged from the hospital!    George and Amy came here for lunch before making the four hour drive home and I got to snap some photos of him.

He's a whopping 5.5 pounds now, but still pretty tiny! =)

Sweetness

My first photo with George and Amy in the same place!
We are so happy for Amy and the baby to finally be home again after this two month ordeal!

Later that same day, the kids and I had the honor of meeting a refugee family, the Winnys, who we are excited to become friends with and be able to serve in any way we can!    We spent about an hour and a half with them and they are wonderful!   They speak English fairly well (yay!)   The mom, Jane, is from Sudan, the father, Amos, is from Congo, and they were living in Uganda before coming to the US three months ago.   They have seven children between the ages of 18 and 2 months.    We are going to see them again tomorrow.    I'm sure you will hear much about them as time goes on. =)

On Tuesday, the 17th, our friends, the Stephens adopted Tam, a sweet eight year old who they have fostered for the past two years.    It was such an exciting day and we were blessed to get to be a part of it!

This is only about half of the people who were in the courtroom (the kids decorated this sign)

The Stephens family!   (Lauren, who is currently in the Philippines, was present on Leigh Anne's phone)

Moriah, Tam and Eden

The Stephens hosted a wonderful dinner and celebration that night at their house.    We also got to celebrate with them on Wednesday night as Leigh Anne was baptized in their (chilly!) pool!    What a big week for their family! =)

The kids are continuing to love their online art class (as am I) =)  Here are a few of their drawings:

These two are Moriah's


These next three are Keenan's:




These two are mine:


Have you heard of, read about the woman who takes her child's scribbles and makes them into art?   You can see some of her masterpieces here.   Anyway, I thought it would be fun to try, so I had Moriah give me a scribble:


...and I made it into this:

I think if nothing else, it will be a fun, random practice to do every once in a while to get my creative juices flowing. =)

Some fun things happened today:

1. I didn't die in the boot camp class I took at the Y this morning (even though I felt like I was going to!)   Man, I'm out of shape!
2. I finally took my wedding necklace to a jewelry repair shop (to see if they could fix the chain and replace a couple missing stones)...and they can... for only $20!
3. The kids AND I had one of our best grocery shopping experiences Ever this morning!   The commissary was having it's annual "case lot" sale, so we decided to check it out.   There was a bouncy house, so the kids headed straight there.   One of the employees (who we know fairly well was responsible for keeping an eye on the bouncy house), said I should go ahead and do my shopping and she'd watch the kids.   So.... I did my shopping, checked out, put everything in the van and came back to find that they had bounced to their heart's content, had hotdogs, chips and pop and got to get in a fire truck!   Man, grocery stores really need to start offering child care. =)

Hope you are all having a great week!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Home...and stuff

So, yes, obviously we're home. We got home Monday afternoon. By Tuesday afternoon most of the laundry was done...by Thursday afternoon (today), most of the laundry is put away!! Yay! =)

Here are a few shots from our last day on the road.    We stopped in Topeka, Kansas at this Gorgeous park (Gage Park) to stretch our legs and get some fresh air.   There were about a billion roses (and I took about half a billion photos), but just decided to post these few pretties...


Wisteria (so gorgeous for something that rhymes with Listeria!  Ew!)

I imagine weddings happen in this pretty little arbor


Some white Wisteria

How awesome is this one??

I loved this pretty bridge....but there was nothing nearby to set the camera on... boo.

But... my sweet and intelligent engineer husband rigged this up, which worked perfectly (I could even adjust the angle to suit my liking!)  

Pretty impressive =)


Just us girls by the pretty pond

Other than finishing up our last few days of school for the year, the only other big news is that the kids (inspired by Henry Huggins in a Beverly Clearly audio book we listened to on the way home), got a fish!   He is a Crown Tail Betta, and they have named him "Spikey" =)

It's hard to get a good photo of him 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Mother's Day in Nebraska!

Yesterday was wonderful. Being away from home and in a hotel didn't put a damper on the day at all, in fact I think it made it even better! Since there was a (pretty great) continental breakfast, I didn't have to cook (and neither did Philip!) Win, win! =)

Having breakfast with my squinty eyed bunch

 My gifts - Gorgeous roses from Philip, a card and painted pot from Moriah (she made it at my friend, Lindsay's house a couple days before our trip), and a beautiful necklace from Mom E!

Love this!

They all gave me this card later, right before we headed out to dinner
(It plays "How Sweet It Is")

Moriah and Caleb's messages

Keenan and Philip =)

 Another shot of the roses - the colors are Amazing!!

After breakfast we got dressed and headed out into another beautiful day!

We played a few holes of disc golf at a gorgeous, hilly, wooded course!

Look how pretty that is!

Unknown, pretty flower

I love this =)

My three precious kids

Lily of the Valley!   Almost never do I see the flower of my birth month, and here it is, In my birth month! =)

Caleb insisted on carrying the (pretty heavy) disc/snack bag at one point ;)

A selfie of just the two of us in the pretty flowers

We heated up chili and ate lunch in the room and then Philip and the kids went to the pool...

(phone pic)

While I walked across the street to a huge Antique and Mercantile store by myself!    It actually was nothing like I was expecting and had a pretty high level of creepy, but it was a unique experience and was great to have some time by myself....

I saw Shaquille O'Neal...

...and Sully!

...and (in the old fashioned candy store) even some lollipops with Real bugs in them!

I found this candy and Had to buy it for Philip ;)

For dinner we went to the Twisted Fork!    It's in a great little downtown area and we got to sit outside... it was wonderful and delicious!

Just the two of us

All of us with our food

After dinner, we walked around downtown for a bit...

Family photo by the river

Keenan took this one of us on a stepping block path across the water

Then we let the kids try out these SUPER fast slides that we had seen the day before...

They are so slick!

If you don't plan your exit well...

...it ends up like this!

=)

Look at her face!

Good job getting your feet down, Riah!

I Had to try it (and Caleb came along)...


Haha!   I look kind of scared here!

Coming up to the end...

Wondering if we're going to fly right off...

Quick, plant your feet!

"Oh my goodness, that was SO FAST!!!"

I love the reflection on the slide

Then we walked back to the hotel and drove to where we had seen some amazing covered wagon sculptures:

I think there were five of them and the detail was just amazing!!

Moriah with a little girl

This little girl has a little doll =)

These poor folks got stuck in the mud

Not a detail was overlooked

Event the eyes looked so real with eyelashes and everything!

These oxen were pulling the wagon out of the mud (this guy must have really been exerting himself) =)

We found out that it was a series of sculptures that told a story...the wagon train startled a herd of bison, which started to stampede...

Here's the first one we saw, and then we just followed them as they wreaked havoc for several blocks 

Each of these large bulls weighs 1,400 pounds!

Moriah with a calf

This one was especially cool!!

...and as they ran, they stirred up a flock of Canadian geese!

It was really cool how they created this fountain to spray under their wings so it looks like they are skimming the water.   The whole series, called, "Spirit of Nebraska's Wilderness", took 400, 000 man hours to create and set up!

Before bed, I read the kids a 1950's book I had purchased at the antique store, called "The Dancing Goat".  =)

Such a fun filled Mother's Day, I am so grateful!   Thank you, Philip, Keenan, Moriah and Caleb!