Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

Philip and I started the day off with the "Say Grace 5K", the other half of the Double Gobble challenge, after the Turkey Trot on Sunday.   It raised money for Grace Med, "a Christ-centered health care ministry."   Their mission statement is "To show and share the love of Jesus Christ by providing compassionate, accessible, high quality health care for residents of south central Kansas."  They have eight sites around Wichita.

It was a chilly morning (below freezing at the start of the race), and our friend, Becca, braved the cold to join us. =)
Becca and I at the finish

Philip and I
Philip ran a PR of 27:28 and I did it in 27:40

The medal

It was a fun event and I think we will make it a tradition for any Thanksgiving that we are here... it's a great feeling to start of the day burning at  a decent amount of calories, before eating a bunch! =)

We hosted my first American Thanksgiving today!   It was so much fun!   Eight of our new friends joined us for the evening!

Moriah coloring on the fun kid's tablecloth


Cute acorns the kids and I made

The adults table:

These are acorns I collected on our hike back in the middle of October... sure I would do something fun with them =)

This "plank" is borrowed from a package of extra wood flooring in the garage

I wrote thankful messages on the table and each person's name under their plate

I decided to brine the turkey this year.   I never have before, and have never had a problem with it being dry, but I have heard great things about brining and thought I'd give it a try!    I submerged the turkey in a gallon of ice water, a gallon of vegetable broth, one cup of kosher salt and half a cup of brown sugar for about 24 hours in a 5 gallon bucket in the garage, where it was cool.    It certainly was nice and moist and delicious! =)

Kids table - Jonah and Cora in the back

From the left: Ben, Kelly, Becca, Brandon, Aaron and Melissa

Becca made this amazing  Peanut Butter Fudge Pie with Salted Peanut Butter Caramel

Leaf shaped cookies (I checked these cutters out from our library - how cool is that??)

I made pumpkin pie bars

Melissa, Aaron and baby girl Olsen
(Sorry Aaron, I think I caught you mid blink!)

Ben and Kelly

So thankful for this guy!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Neighbors, Friends, Food.... Africa

We have neighbors two doors down from Tanzania. I have done photos of their kids several times and their family came to Caleb's birthday party last week. This past Sunday, I did photos at the christening of their 20 and 5 month old sons.

The whole family
Jackie, Joel, Alexis, Allison, Abram and Aiden

After the service, they invited everyone over to their house for lunch, a bounty of delicious African fare!    It was such a great experience!   The house was busting with people, there were about six women busting around the kitchen, with more Swahili being spoken than English, and a Huge dining room table Filled with dishes and pots and plates of food!

Jackie and I
(She introduced me to her family and friends as her "neighbor, friend and sister")  =)

Look at that!   Jackie came through the line with me so she could tell me what everything was.  I tried a little of almost everything and it was All amazing!!

I love this picture I took downstairs =)

The nanny knew I had been to Kenya, so she introduced me to a couple from there, and it turns out they are from Kijabe!    Crazy small world!  I also met another Kenyan who came here just a year or two ago.   Fun times.   Wish my mom and Dan could have been there too. =)

Monday, November 24, 2014

First Snowman of 2014

Even after the snow had melted too much to go sledding a second day... there still remained traces of it, especially in our front yard where it stays mostly shaded.

The kids were Delighted that the snow was great packing snow and that we had enough to make a small snowman!

Moriah had the brilliant idea to use chocolate chips for his face and buttons. and we borrowed a hat from her doll.   I think it's adorable =)

Love this!

Keenan throwing a snowball in my direction at my request (and then snatched the camera away before it had a chance to get to me)

Happy kid (in his sister's gloves)

Serious snowball throwing faces

Keenan was greatly amused by making large snowballs... and then dropping them on his head =)

Here goes!

What a goof

Caleb was cold and teary when we came in.. so Keenan and Moriah got him all snuggled up under Three blankets on the couch, with a pillow and Two bunnies =)

Random Recap

Here is an odd collection of happenings from around here lately...

Seriously, have you HAD this??   A-mazing!!

First hot chocolate of the season!

Moriah all decked out.   This is what she spent quiet time doing one day last week =)
She got these beads for Christmas a few years ago and they are still one of her very favorite things!

Mom E, this is for you!   You bought these pajamas for Keenan 5 or more years ago and they are still going strong, on their third kid! =)

Philip was gone for five days of training last week... the kids were pretty happy to have him home on Friday!   We had a wonderful family weekend together =)

We are dog sitting Erica and Peter's little dog, Pippi while they are gone for the week (they are house hunting right now and are moving to Michigan in a couple weeks!  Boo!)

Pippi is the sweetest, easiest little dog ever!

...proof positive.   Even Philip likes her and let her sit with him! =)

Cool picture of a garbage truck coming through Caleb's "car wash" made of Magnatiles

Caleb through the tunnel

This was a group effort, but Philip added the stability measures and most of the architectural appeal =)

My little Christmas elves, helping with stamps and address labels for Christmas cards!

I love this picture so much!   Moriah is sleeping with "Diana", the doll that I slept with when I was her age!!

Philip and I did the Wichita Turkey Trot yesterday morning.  It was just a fun 2 mile race (because we opted not to do the 10 mile one), but we each came home with a free turkey!   The first 2,000 registrants got a voucher on their race bib!   Soo awesome!  They weren't small either!  15 and 16 pounds each!   Happy Thanksgiving to us!
I think this race might be a yearly tradition =)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Today Was One of Those Days... of those days when living 1,000 miles from your family just stinks.

The day started with a call from my dad saying "I've got a bit of news..."  I knew right away it was bad news.   Rob and Ada and the kids had been in an accident last night and although most of them were fine (praise God!) Ada had suffered a broken neck.

No, if I was there, there isn't much I could have "done", so maybe the ache in my heart was purely selfish, but oh, I wanted to be there!   To hug Rob, to hold Ada's hand, to kiss my nephews and niece and love on them... to rejoice with family that we still had them all and that the precious life inside of Ada was still lively and kicking.

But I wasn't there.   The beautiful part of that though, is that they Did have family there to do All of those things, and to do it so sweetly and at just the right time.   I am So thankful that God had members of our family in the perfect places to serve Rob and Ada when they needed it most.

I could pray though, and I did.  And Keenan and Moriah and Caleb in their simple, sweet ways did, and my family in Florida did, and Philip in another state did, and Dan in Kenya did, and our house church did, and my neighbor down the street did... and He heard, and He worked.

A thousand miles is not too far for Him.

*** Here is the story, borrowed from Rebekah***

Words cannot express how thankful we are today! Yesterday Rob and Ada came to visit for the afternoon so we could take some pictures. After Gospel Meeting, they had an accident on the way home on the snowy roads. The EMS brought them back to St. Thomas hospital (never was I so glad that we live two minutes down the road from the hospital!) to assess them. Rob, Brayden, Josh and Galina were all fine. Ada had some tests done, and was sent to London in the middle of the night. Her baby (she's 22 weeks pregnant) is fine. Ada broke her neck though and is in surgery right now in London. We are so thankful that the Lord preserved their six lives. We are so thankful for family who loves them and who has either been close enough to help, or who has been praying from afar.
Please pray for Rob and Ada that the surgery goes well (she went in at 2:30) and that Ada will recover well.
Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.
Psalm 62:8
Above is the verse she asked me to read to her while we were in the ER last night. She said, "I'm just putting my name in there - Ada, pour out your heart before Him."
*** Update on Ada ***
We just got off the phone from talking to Rob and Ada.
Ada says she's feeling better and that she's in less pain. She's hoping to go home in a couple of days although she will have a neck brace on for a long time. Of course she wanted to hear how her kids were doing since she'd only seen them for about 10 minutes before she went into surgery... But she's doing better!
Thank you so much for all your prayers. Rob is staying with Ada in London, and Brayden, Josh and Galina are now with Mom and Dad Woodford in Norwich.


I don't think I said yesterday, but by the time it was all said and done, we had about four inches of snow! Philip said, as we were driving over snowy roads, "It seems like we should be Visiting here, not living here." It Does seem surreal that we live in a place with snow again! =)

Philip is out of town for a few days for some training, but the kids and I (after finally outfitting them all with the appropriate outdoor wear), bought some sleds and tried out a small hill not to far from our house!   I have to admit, my expectations were pretty low....the hill is not very tall, or steep, and I figured I was going to have to push them all the way down the hill! =)  Surprisingly though, they Flew down the hill and went quite far and we all had a blast!   Take a look..

This girl's got steering skills! =)

The boy's first run down

I love the progression of Keenan's facial expressions =)


Pure Joy!  Moriah Joy!

Getting ready to steer that sled!

Dream come true for this boy to be able to sled near HIW OWN HOUSE!

These pictures make my heart so happy

Look how far Moriah went!

Keenan actually took this one, I really like it!

Caleb and I, thumbs up!

Off we go!

I LOVE this picture of these two!

Moriah made a snow angel when we got home (and immediately regretted her choice to do it without mitts on!)

Yay for winter fun in November!