Sunday, April 26, 2009

Home Again

Torc Waterfall
This is the closest I have to all of us together in a picture from our holiday.

Bet you didn't even know we were gone. We just returned home yesterday after a very long day (14 hours and 15 minutes) of traveling back to the UK from Ireland. We drove left at 7:30 and drove across Ireland, hopped on the ferry and rode across the Irish Sea, and hopped back into the car and drove through Wales and across England to arrive home at 9:45 p.m. It was a long and tiring day, but we made it safe and sound.

This time we did the South of Ireland - Dublin and the west coast. We all agree that Ireland is our favorite country to visit. It is such a beautiful land. It is so full of natural God-made beauty.

I do plan on blogging on it or at least have Steve soon. We just need to get settled back into our life here at home.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter 2009

We had a very nice Easter weekend, although we were reminded by the weather that we live in England. It pretty much rained and was dark and cloudy most of the weekend. The sun finally came out around 2 p.m. Monday afternoon. The weather was a bummer, but we still had fun.

Friday we spent a great day with friends. Saturday we did some chores around the house, I headed out for groceries and that night we took the kids out to dinner.

Easter morning we started out with Hot Cross Buns and hard boiled eggs for breakfast. We always have the eggs the kids decorate. This year we tried an English tradition of the Hot Cross Buns. Some of the kids liked them, but not all of them. Then we were off to a long day at church. KingsGate does special guest services at Easter and does four services over the weekend. Steve and I were both on in the kids classes for the 9:15 service and our babysitter and her mom were meeting us for the second service at 11:30. The service was awesome and loads of people came to Christ. The kids also love the Easter services at church because they each get a huge chocolate egg. Yum!

After church because it was so late, we had a nice Easter lunch at McDonalds. We then headed home and put Anna and Nate down for a nap. The rest of us watched the first part of Prince Caspian. When the little ones woke up, we headed outside for an Easter egg hunt. Then we were back in to talk to Grandmas and Grandpas and have dinner. Mom and dad got to go out to celebrate my friends birthday. We had a very nice day.

I am happy we actually got a few good shots of the kids.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wagon Torture

Nate - 16 Months

Well, he is not actually sixteen months for a little over a week. I did have a few cute pictures of him and I wanted to share them. He is growing so fast. Nate is a funny little guy and still so good. He is finally walking all the time. He has been doing it for about two weeks now. He just took his mighty time and gradually faded out the crawling. I was watching him walk around this morning and thinking that he has been walking forever. He is quite stable. It is funny to watch him try to run from us or one of the boys. I will try to get a video of him walking up soon.

Since the weather has been nice here, the kids have been outside quite a bit. Nate loves watching them out the windows. He also stands at the open back door and throws anything that is near him out the door. It is a fun game for him. He also loves to be outside. The boys take him out and play with him. He loves it until they try to lug him around or pull him in the tiny wagon (picture to come). Then he starts to yell. It is so fun to watch your baby explore their first year of being able to go outside. All of a sudden their world gets a little bigger. Mom also notices that her little baby is growing up too (weep, weep).

Nate's new hair-do. Isn't the mohawk in?
In this picture, the boys got him to say "cheese". That is exactly what he is doing.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Guys Weekend in Northern Ireland

I'm finally posting some pictures and a few comments about our trip to Northern Ireland. The picture above is of us having lunch at a small cafe in Ballycastle. All of us except Cason had an Ulster Fry. It's basically a bunch of breakfast foods fried. It consisted of fried potato bread, fried soda bread, pancake, fried eggs, bacon, sausage and beans. It was great and we all really enjoyed it (Cason had a chicken curry). This was the point when I commented to Ted that when I married Marti I would have never thought that I'd be touring around Ireland with him and my boys.

This is a picture at the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge (on our way out to it).
As you can probably tell from the pictures, it was quite windy and chilly.
We did get a bit of sun and could just barely make out Scotland (not in the above picture). The boys and I have been here before, but it was amazing how easily we could get around with just the five of us.
The two eldest at Giant's Causeway (along the North Antrim Coast). Still very windy and wavy (which the kids really enjoyed).
More pics at the Giant's Causeway. We were very close to the water but because it is such a shallow approach to the beach, the waves weren't too bad right on the edge (although I suspect mom wouldn't have let the kids get quite as close, but we won't tell her.)
Cason and dad at the top of some columns of basalt enjoying the view.
Ted in front of Dunluce Castle. The kids stayed in the car (pretty tired-out from a very early morning and lots of driving and walking) so we didn't explore it too much, but it really a very pretty setting. I can only imagine what it would be like to live in a castle in this location (cold, wet and drafty I suspect).
On the second day we did more driving and spent some times in the Sperrin mountains. Towards the end of the day we stopped at a museum called the Ulster American Folk Park. It is a park that explores Irish immigration to American in the 1800's. We learned that the poor in Ireland at around 14 pounds of boiled potatoes (at least a man did) a day. I think the kids enjoyed it and Cason even got to feed the chicken (above).
On the last day we drove all the way from Coleraine (near the 'top' of NI) to Newcastle (near the 'bottom' of NI). The above picture is of Ted trying on some hats (not sure what they are called).

This is a quick summary, but all in all we had a good time and I really enjoyed spending time with my father-in-law and the boys.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Last Few Days With Grandpa

My dad left bright and early, 4:30 a.m., yesterday morning. We all had such an enjoyable time with him. The kids were sad to say good-bye to him on Monday night. Leah said, "I want papa to stay here all the time...because he is friendly." I also overheard Cason saying he wanted papa to stay for a year. We will all miss him. I will definitely miss the extra set of hands. We wanted to get a last minute picture of him with the kids and as you can see, not all the kids wanted to cooperate. Such is life with six kids. It is next to impossible to get a decent picture of all of them.

Sunday, we went to church, grabbed a quick lunch and headed down to Cambridge American Cemetery in Cambridge. Around 3,812 American soldiers are buried there. Most of them are from World War II. It was an incredible and memorable place to visit. It also meant a lot to visit the cemetery with my dad since he is a vetran of the Vitenam War.

To keep the kids busy while we were there. We had them play a game while walking through the cemetary. We would call out a state and they had to find the grave of a soldier from that state. Afterall, they are kids and they don't understand the significance of the cemetary. Someday they will though and it is good to give them this experience while we live here.

Steve, my dad and the older boys went to Northen Ireland the end of last week as well. I will let Steve blog about that trip.