Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Growing a Bonsai Tree!

Aunt Patti gave us a kit similar to these:

It includes two cardboard "tree" pieces that you bend in random directions, fit together and put into a plastic base.

You then pour a little packet of "crystal water" into the base and wait...

It soaks it all up and then starts growing crystals on the branches... quite quickly!

How cool is this??

Every time we looked, there was more!

The finished tree... so pretty!

Heading Home

We left Aunt Mary's on the morning of the 27th and stopped in at Grandma's to see her and Dad D before leaving town.

A silly picture, with Caleb's car because he didn't want to be in the picture

Here he's in the picture, but not happy about it

Four Generations!


Modeling Moriah's hairband =)

The trip home went well.   The kids did great, and we enjoyed listening to the audio "Chronicles of Narnia" to pass the time.   It's our second time through and just as good as the first!

Off to find a geocache at a rest stop =)

The day we finished up our trip was a gorgeous one!    We stopped to find the oldest cache in Missourri by a pretty river...

Fun shot of some pretty berries

The kids and I

Whole family selfie!
I love this one!

After ten days on the road, spent in six different beds, we were all So happy to be home!    The first time we'd returned from a long trip where Wichita was "home"! =)

Christmas Day (and the 26th) 2014

Christmas day was fairly laid back, since we didn't have anything until 3pm.    Aunt Mary made an Amazing breakfast and I went for a great morning run (the only workout of our trip!)

Christmas dinner was at Aunt Patti and Kent's house.   Their basement accommodated everyone quite well!

Ping pong tables make great dinner tables!

The kid's table

Moriah (in her gorgeous new dress from Auntie Bekah!)

We had a fun gift exchange for the adults and ended up with a Chipotle gift card (yum!) and a really fun sled!

Trying out Aunt Mary's gift - a "selfie stick"

The kids got a bunch of fun/educational gifts from Dan, and an Etch A Sketch was one.   On the 26th, my inspiration (which only comes every few years) returned...

A Michigan that everyone in a house with Spartans and Wolverines can agree on =)

A spot of tea

The only snowman in sight on this trip

Can you tell what this one is?
Lucy looking into the wardrobe to Narnia

That afternoon, Mom and Jeff and Mom's friend, Maureen, came by to visit.

Caleb having a very funny conversation with Mo

The guys

The adults

Mom and Jeff with the grandkids

That evening, we got a babysitter and Philip and I went to play Wallyball with the family.   I'm not very good, but it's so much fun! =)

A few of them out on the court

To finish off the evening, we went back to Aunt Patti's for leftovers - yum!!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Catching up Christmas

December 23rd:

After a Delicious stop at Tim Horton's, we headed back across the border to spend a few days with Philip's side of the family...

That evening we visited Gretta and David, sweet friend of the family who we hadn't seen since Moriah was a baby!

Gretta and I

Moriah Loved getting into the dress up clothes at Aunt Mary and Uncle Ty's!
(This picture cracks me up!)

Aunt Mary hung these adorable decorations on the small tree downstairs where we stay

Moriah got to help make floral centerpieces for Aunt Mary's Christmas party!

All done!

Aunt Mary took Taylor, Moriah and I to get our nails done on the morning of Christmas Eve... so fun!

Moriah's first time at the salon!

Drying our nails

Finished product - Moriah got a teal color (with a snowflake accent nail)
I got glittery silver nails (and they still look great five days later!)

Three generations playing Settlers of Catan
(Keenan got to play this five times during our trip!)

Christmas Eve dinner and visit with Uncle Dennis and Aunt Mary

We caught the tail end of Aunt Mary and Uncle Ty's Christmas party when we got back and got to have dessert - Poached Pears with ice cream, chocolate sauce and chocolate bark!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas in Canada 2014

Since we hadn't been to Canada and Michigan since Last Christmas, we made the trek up here for Christmas again.   Boy, were we excited to be with our families!

The first thing on the agenda was an extended family gathering at my Aunt Nora's in London.    It was fun to be there in time for All the festivities this year...

 Daddy and his girl

 Look at all those stockings!

Philip and I with ours

I Love this picture that Rebekah took!

Opening stockings =)

Moriah taking a picture with my camera

Me and a sweet boy

Mark and Rebekah
(It was sooo much fun to finally see their new house!)

Grandma coloring with Moriah =)

Rebekah and I succumbed to Settlers of Catan (even though neither of us like it!) because Keenan had just gotten it for Christmas and desperately wanted to play!

Stockings ready for the next morning

Delicious "Christmas morning" breakfast!

Cute kids

 In their new jammies from Grandma E

Sweet kiss =)

Modeling the head lamps they got in their stockings

He cracks me up =)

 ...and I love him

Moriah with her light up necklace

...and with Auntie Bekah


That's better

...with their baby girl =)

 My dad made these Amazing clocks for us all for Christmas with slices of an Aromatic Cedar tree that he cut down back in the summer!   Way cool!

My mom made these adorable (reversible) aprons for the kids - now (with the black side), they can all have matching aprons for their next restaurant venture!  =)

Uncle Mark and Auntie Bekah have the Best back yard!

 Moriah being brave and getting a geocache from Way up high for Daddy! =)


Alicia, Rebekah, Ada and I after a rousing game of Dutch Blitz =)

 Caleb and Grandpa in their matching coats! =)

For "Christmas dinner", we went to Swiss Chalet!   (It's now in it's second year of being a family tradition!)   I LOVE that place!

Festive special!

Dad and Mom

Josh and Keenan

Rebekah and Alicia (Mark was at home sick) =0/

Rob, Ada, Brayden and Galina


Here's Ada and I for all those who have been asking how she's doing
She's doing really well - doesn't she look great??  Three more weeks of the neck brace.

Our time with my family was quite short, but did not feel rushed and we had a great time playing games, eating (way too much) yummy food, laughing, talking, watching movies and just enjoying being together.   The kids loved being with their cousins and Caleb and Josh especially hit it off really well.

On Tuesday, the 23rd, we said goodbye to my family (hopefully just until the summer this time) and headed over to visit Laura before crossing the border.

It was wonderful to see her and Ciara (and meet their new, sweet puppy, Huxtable!)

 The kids had a Great time playing with him!

Laura and I =)

At this point, we had been gone from home for five nights and had slept in four different beds, so we were looking forward to being in the same place for a few days in Michigan...