Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I really don't know what I would do if my older three boys were are school all day. They are so much help with many things. In particular, they are great helpers with their younger brothers and sisters. A couple of weeks ago, I asked Andrew to look after Nate while I vacuumed the stairs. I peeked in at them when I was finished and they were still playing. I asked Andrew to watch him for a little longer while I put the girls down for a nap. He agreed. He entertained Nate for about a half an hour and on the couch the whole time, none-the-less. When I came into the room, I heard giggling and laughing from both of them. It was one of those price-less moments. I had to capture it on the camera. Andrew then showed me what they were playing. They were playing peek-a-boo with Andrew's belly button. He sure kept Nate entertained and helped mom out in the process. I just love seeing my kids love and take care of each other.

A Style of Her Own

Annaliese loves to get dressed all by herself. If I tell the kids to go get dressed, she is usually the first one down all dressed. Usually, she has two shirts on, one being her pj shirt, and almost always a skirt. Her outfits don't usually match either. That is the joy of staying at home, it doesn't matter much. I do make sure she matches when we go out and I usually pick her clothes on those days. She loves to be in dresses and skirts too. These are pictures I took of her last week. It was one of those days when she picked. I didn't get it in the photos, but she had a hot pink zip-up sweater on most of the day too. You can see she is sporting her new 3 pound Primark shoes also. She'll be one that needs mom's guidance on fashion in the future. Or maybe she will be a trend-setter.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Big Sky

After being in the house all week, I decided that today we needed to get out. I took the kids to a place called Big Sky. It is a big warehouse that they have turned into a huge play place. They have climbing ropes, trampolines, slides, ball pits and an excellent toddler play area. The kids absolutely love it. They just run and run. It is just what they need to do since it is winter and they aren't getting outside to play. It is also a great place to have gym class.

If we were to head home for lunch, I knew Anna and Nate would fall asleep and I wouldn't be able to wake them for lunch. I also knew that they wouldn't sleep for the rest of the afternoon. I have to admit, I like nap time too much for them not to sleep. So, we headed over to a shopping mall close to Big Sky and grabbed subs from a sub shop.

The kids were so good. It was a delight to take them out today and I think we all had fun. Now it is time to do some multiplication flash cards and then the boys get to play their DS's for a little bit.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Leah's Lingo

A few days ago we were talking about the election and the new president. Leah has obviously been paying attention to us because she likes to talk about "Rock a Bom Bom" (Barack Obama).
At dinner tonight we had scrambled eggs. There were not too many left so I asked if Leah would like the rest. As I scooped what was left , she looked into the pan and said "Dad, there a big snudge of eggs." She was referring to the last little piece of egg that I had neglected to give her.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day Abroad

I feel so disconnected. Living here has definitely separated us from all the anticipation, celebrations, news and happenings of this day. Today marks a huge day and a big impact on the history of our country with the first black man becoming President. We are not there and it all feels so distant. We don't watch the news to even see all the things leading up to this day. Steve checks the news online, but I don't even do that. I rely on him to tell me the important things. I forgot to even tell the kids what today was until this morning and we even home school. I just looked up to see when all the news coverage begins today. I just told Andrew to remind me that it starts at 10 (aka 4 our time) and that we will turn the tv on then and watch (as much as they stay interested in). I just think what a cool learning opportunity for the kids and also for myself.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Saturday at Sheffield

I had been in the house all week with the kids and so we decided to head out somewhere today. We talked about possibilities last night, but we didn't come to any conclusions. This morning we talked through the options again and decided to take a trip up to Sheffield. It is a city about an hour and a half North West of us. We haven't been there yet and we hear from friends that it has a really nice shopping mall, Meadow Hall. It was a very nice mall complete with food court (most malls don't have them here, they just have restaurants) and a stand that sold Mt Dew and kettle corn (also things you can't get here).

They also have a store called Primark. We don't have one in our city. Primark has very cheap clothing, shoes, accessories, etc. for adults and children. I love it because I am buying for six kids and they are very active, especially the boys. I have found that after boys turn two you can't do much hand-me-down on clothes anymore. They wear them out, especially jeans, with holes, dirt and grass stains on the knees. At Primark I was able to buy jeans for the older boys for 3 and 4 pounds each. For that price, it doesn't matter much to me if they do ruin them. If it interests you, I thought I would leave a breakdown of what I bought and the total price I paid. I couldn't believe how much I got for such a low price.

2 two-packs of summer night gowns for the girls 6 pounds (for 4 night gowns)
long sleeve tee's for the girls 2.50 each (x2)
2 pair of pink glittery tennis shoes 3 pounds ea.
a two-pack of tights 2.50
6 pair of jeans for boys 20 pounds

Total of all 39.50

I think that is just crazy. And now with the better exchange I am not doubling it like I was a few months ago.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

2008 Christmas/New Year Letter

Although we would have like to have sent a real letter to all our friends and family, we ran out of time and frankly, mailing letters from here to the US and Canada can get a bit expensive. Instead we are going to do a 2008 highlight blog.

Well, the biggest news since last years highlights came right at Christmas. Nathanael Matthew made his big debut and joined our family on Christmas morning at 8:09 a.m. (London time). You can read the previous blog for more info on him. All we can say is that he is a blessing to our family.

January - We were extremely happy to have both of our moms over to visit and help out at the end of December and early January. It was Steve’s mom’s first time and great to show her around. Our moms also spent a day in London together seeing the sights, as well as The Lion King live. We all enjoyed having them around and having the help.

February - Leah turned 3! She is quite the little jabber box of the family. She cracks us all up with some of the little, cute sayings she comes up with. Leah is a little princess and loves anything pink. She can also be rough and tumble with her brothers. Leah loves having a little sister (even though her little sister is bigger than she is). They are best of friends.

March - We (Steve, Marti and all four boys) made our way to London via train to visit the American Embassy to register Nate as an American citizen and apply for his passport. We were in the embassy two hours and then we took the boys to the British Museum. It was a nice day out with the older boys and it was much easier to take the Underground.

April - Steve turned 32! Steve is still enjoying his job at Caterpillar and has been stretched and grown as a leader quite a bit this year. He has actually made his way through two leadership books this year (plus a few others.)

May - Andrew turned 8 at the beginning of the month. Andrew is such a great big brother. He loves to learn and especially read. He can almost always be found with his nose in a book. He enjoys The Boxcar children set, which he is reading for the second time through ( I think we need to go book shopping) and the Chronicles of Narnia. Dad and Andrew read the Hobbit together this year and they both loved it. Andrew wanted to go right on with the Lord of the Rings, but Dad thought he should wait a few years. He also loves to build Legos with his brothers.

Tristan turned 5 at the end of the month! He is our very energetic little boy. He loves to run, play sports and is great with any sort of ball. He also makes guns out of anything and everything. Tristan loves having a baby brother and loves to play chase with him around the house. He, too, likes to build Legos with his brothers.

We took our first holiday of the year. First to Northern Ireland and then to Edinburgh, Scotland. We left on Andrew’s birthday. It was our first trip driving and we loved the flexibility. We stayed at a house in NI and rented an apartment in Edinburgh. It was so nice to have the extra space and also a kitchen where we could eat breakfast in and make a picnic lunch. Highlights from that trip were Giant’s Causway, hiking in Northern Ireland, driving the countryside, seeing all the sheep in NI. In Scotland, it was seeing Edinburgh Castle, seeing the Scotish crowned jewels, and hearing the one o’clock gun.

June - Annaliese turned two! She is talking more and more. She is a very tender hearted little girl and goes to comfort any of her siblings when they are sad or hurt. Anna is also quite the little mommy to Nathanael. She adores him and can be found in bed with him waking him up each day as soon as she wakes up. Anna also loves to help mommy bake. Whenever she sees me start getting food or bowls out, she comes running saying, “me help mommy.”

Steve’s mom, dad, brother, aunt and uncle came to visit. We had a great time showing them all around. We took them to Warwick Castle, Cambridge, and Lincoln. We also spent a day in London with them at the end of their time here. The kids loved having grandma and papa around to play with. At the very end of June, Annaliese’s birthday to be exact, we made our way back to the US for our home-leave trip. It was great to spend time with our families, catch up with friends, eat American food and shop where the prices are half of what we would spend here.

July - We spent the Fourth of July in America, celebrating with friends.

August - Cason turned 7! Cason has enjoyed being able to read this year and he is improving almost daily. He enjoys playing Legos with his brothers. Cason had a big heart, loves to help out and likes to organize things (I think he gets that from his mom).

We celebrated our ten year wedding anniversary this month. We did get dinner out to celebrate, but will have to wait for Grandma to come next summer to get a trip somewhere just the two of us. We are still deciding where to go. We maybe think somewhere in Italy like Venice or Milan. We’ll see.

September - We started our fourth year of homeschool. Wow, four years! We all enjoy it. We sometimes find it hard to fit is all in, but the kids are great learners and they work hard. We all enjoy the flexibility and mom especially loves the fact that she doesn’t have to get all six kids up in the morning, dressed, fed and out the door to walk or drive to school by nine a.m. We are still usually having breakfast at nine.

This month we also celebrated our second year anniversary of living in England. Oh, how time flies.

October - The beginning of October we took another vacation. This time we drove to Euro Disney in Paris, France. We drove down to the coast of England (Dover) and took a ferry across the channel. Daddy did great driving in France in the wrong side of the car on the right side of the road. We did three days at Disneyland and had an absolute blast. We also took the train into Paris for a day. That trip was a bit stressful, but we were still able to see some of the sights in Paris. Everyones favorite was the Eiffel Tower, of course.

November - It was a pretty uneventful months. We did celebrate our third Thanksgiving in England. We had a nice family dinner. On the Friday after Thanksgiving, the kids had some friends over for a Thanksgiving party. They all had a blast making Pilgrim and Indian hats, eating pumpkin cookies and playing a game.

December - Marti turned 32. Our good friends, Clayton and Rachel, and their four kid came over on the Saturday before and we celebrated. Rachel brought along her super, yummy, to die for chocolate cake. Thanks, Rachel. Marti loves being at home, enjoys reading when she has the time and a good book, loves baking, and adores teaching the kids and watching them learn.

The rest of the months was spent decorating and shopping for Christmas. It is hard to believe that this was our third Christmas in England. The time has flown by.

It is also hard to believe this letter sums up another year in our little, I mean big family. It feels like each year goes a little faster. We have so much enjoyed catching up with all of your families by reading your Christmas letters and seeing your pictures. We wish you all a very Happy New Year!

Dinner in London

Thanks to Kathy, one of our favorite babysitters, Steve was able to come home from work early on Tuesday and were were able to take the 3:00 train to London to have dinner with Sherwood and Areli before they left on Thursday. Steve and I don't get out too much on dates, so we were both excited to get a whole afternoon and evening away together. The hour train ride was great for talking and dreaming together. When we made it to London, I took Steve for a quick tour of Covent Gardens, seeing as he had never been there before. It was a cold, cold day so we headed into Starbuck, grabbed a cup of coffee and walked to the British Museum to meet up with Sherwood and Areli.

We met up with them and took the Tube to Oxford Street to Comida Bar, where we had reservations for dinner. Comida is an excellent Brazillian restaurant where they keep bringing skewers of meat to your table until you are full. The food was excellent and the guys especially liked eating all they wanted. Thanks for the recommendation, Jen.

It was such a blessing to have some adult time with Sherwood and Areli before we said good-bye. It was hard to say good-bye not knowing when we will see them again. Maybe next time they will have some babies of their own.

May God bless you both as you serve him in Guatemala!

Weekend with Friends

Last weekend we had Steve's best friend and his wife come to visit. They were doing a quick tour through Europe before heading off to the mission field in Guatemala tomorrow. They were kind enough to come see and stay with us for two days before taking in their last stop, London. We figure it has been six or so years since we had last seen Sherwood. We have never met his lovely wife, Areli. They were married in the summer of 2007.

They went to church with us on Sunday and then we took them out to a traditional English pub, the Cuckoo. We enjoyed a nice Sunday roast. We also enjoyed late night chats and laughs with them.
Nathanael really took to Areli. I think she enjoyed him too.
Steve took the day off on Monday and took Sherwood, Areli and the boys up to Lincoln. They toured the castle and the cathedral up there. I stayed home with the little ones to keep warm. They came back for some tea and hot chocolate before Steve took them back to the train station for them to head to London for their last few days on their tour of Europe. It was so nice to see them. We had a great time catching up and also getting to know Areli. We are so grateful they took a couple days out of their itinerary to spend some time with us.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Welcome to our new blog. It has been a dream for a while, but I've just needed the time and motivation to sit down and work on it. We've still been having problems with Mac so we thought we would try blogger. So, this is where you will find us from now on. Please bookmark it or subscribe (or become a follower). Whatever you do, please stop by and say hi so we know you are here. We may link back to our Mac page in the future with pictures, but we will do all our posting here.

Like the title? Steve heard that a few years back and we joke about it being a title for our first book. For now thought, we thought we would make it the title of our blog.

Please comment or e-mail us if you have any questions on how blogger works.