Saturday, May 30, 2009

Just thought I'd pass this along. Our church service will be aired live tomorrow from 10-11am on BBC One. The BBC do one live church broadcast per year on Pentecost Sunday and KingsGate was asked to do it this year. It has been a crazy amount of work to get ready for it (so I am told) and the service is altered quite a bit from normal (it is live TV), but we are excited to see what God can do with this (the BBC say around 1 million people watch it). In addition, Andrew and Cason's class will be singing and dancing along with a song and will be shown as well (the boys think it's a sure thing that they will be on TV and are really excited about it). They are telling all the neighbors that they will be on TV and that they should watch at 10am...I love that kids aren't afraid to just be bold and ask people to watch.

Not sure if you can actually watch it 1) because you probably don't get the BBC and 2) because it would be at 4am your time. But if you are up, you could see if you can watch it online (I've not checked). We have checked now, and it looks as though you won't be able to watch live from the US. We will try to get some copies if the BBC makes some available.

Please pray that many lives would be impacted by this opportunity to reach our community and the nation.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Please Pray for Annaliese

Somewhere around 6-9 months ago, Steve and I started questioning if Anna could hear properly. She has also been a bit slower in her language development than the other kids, but some kids just do things at their own pace. Early in the year, we started doing bits of testing on her for example whispering her name when she wasn't looking and calling her from across the room, etc. At times, she seemed to hear us fine, but at other times she seemed as though she couldn't. We decided to take her into the GP to see what she said. Now starts the part of my story that gives a glimpse on how the NHS (National Health Care System) works.
Our first step was to the GP and she agreed we should probably have her hearing tested. She said she would have to find out what that took. I then spoke up and said that we had private health care insurance and that we would like to see this particular doctor (an ENT, who our friends use for their little boy. They really trust him and like him.) She said, "oh", proceeded to take this doctors info so she could send a referral to him. BTW, if we didn't opt to use our private insurance, I don't even know when we would have been able to get her in for a hearing test. We have friends whose daughter has been on a waiting list for a hearing test (not even an appointment with an ENT) for 4-6 months.

After we the doctor sent the referral, we waited. I think it took about 3-4 weeks to get the letter from the ENT's office with our appointment date and time. We then took her to see the ENT back in Februaury. He checked her over and asked a few questions. We then went to another room for a hearing test. Anna wouldn't cooperate with the lady and put the men in the boat when she heard a beep. They were just able to do a vibration test. This showed how much her eardrum vibrated when it heard sound. Her's hardly vibrated at all. We then went back into talk with the doctor. He suggested, because of the size of her tonsils (they are massive), her lack of hearing, and the fact that she snores, to take out her tonsils, adnoids and to put tubes/gromits in her ears. Steve and I were prepared for him saying she needed tubes, but weren't prepared for the tonsil part. We asked him if we could call him in a week with our decision.

After praying about it and talking with others who have had the same experiences, we decided to go ahead and do it all. We called the doctors assistant and she said she would send the referral to the hospital. Then, we waited more, a lot more! It took about six weeks to get our date for her surgery. Then, the surgery wasn't scheduled for another six weeks out, which brings us to next week.

Next Wednesday, June 3, is the date of Anna's surgery. She will be having her tonsils and adnoids out and have tubes put in her ears. We have to leave the house bright and early (5:30 a.m.) to be in Cambridge at the hospital by 7 a.m. Glenda, such a great friend, is coming to stay with the rest of the kids for the day. Thank you, Glenda! Anna will have to spend the night in the hospital because they watch for bleeding after taking tonsils out. I will be staying with her and Steve will come home to stay with the rest of the kids. She should get out the next day and Steve will return for us.

Now for our prayer requests...
1. Pray that the surgery will actually take place. The doctor warned us that it could be cancelled last minute because the hospital is so busy, they may not have a bed for her.
2. Pray for safety through the surgery and for quick recovery. The doctor said she wouldn't be totally well for about two weeks.
3. Pray for Steve and I as we send her off to surgery and wait for her to be out. Pray for peace, comfort and faith.
4. Pray that the surgery would work, she would be able to hear once again and that she would continue to develop with her speech
4. Pray for the rest of the kids to be safe and have fun with Glenda.

I think that is it. We would greatly appreciate all of your prayers next week and following. We will give an update when we are able. Thank you!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tickets Booked

I am so excited to share three sets of tickets that are booked.

First, Steve's mom and brother are booked to come here the middle of June. We are so looking forward to seeing them and for the kids to have some quality time with Grandma. Its been a year since we have seen them.

Secondly, Steve and I just booked flights for just the two of us to Venice, Italy for a weekend when his mom and brother are here. They so graciously offered to watch the kids for us so we could get away together. I am so looking forward to it. It will be nice to travel sans kiddos and to also see Venice. Venice has been on our list, but we didn't think it would be an enjoyable trip for the kids. We, also, can't wait for the yummy Italian food.

The final set of tickets that are booked are ones for my sister and mom to visit us over here the middle of August. This will be my moms third time visiting, but will be my sisters first time. I am so excited to show her around where we live and let her experience a bit of the English life. We hope to get a girls weekend to London in sometime when they are here too. My mom and sister, also, offered to watch the kids, so Steve and I might sneak away to London for a show.

We are all looking forward to having a bit of company and enjoying some of the summer with them.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Happy Birthday, Tristan!

Today, we are celebrating Tristan's sixth birthday. He was up bright and early to begin his special day. After everyone was up and before daddy went to work, he opened his gifts. He was excited about a Lego monster truck, Lego pirates, a watch, a cricket set and a picture from Grandma F. Mommy made Tristan's favorite breakfast, pancakes. Yum! Tonight Tristan decided we will go to McDonald's for dinner. We will meet daddy in town when he is finished work. After that we will come home to enjoy, cherry chip birthday cake.
Tristan, we love you so much and are excited and thrilled to see you grow another year older. You are such a good big brother to your sisters and Nathanael. We adore your energy and the way you play so hard. We can't imagine our lives without you. We love you, buddy!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Little Irish Music

I took a little video in one of the taverns we visited in Belfast. You can hear the Irish music in the background. Four guys just sat over in a corner at a table and played. Kenny is also telling the history of this tavern in the video. Thought you may enjoy hearing more of that Irish accent.

Giant's Causeway Interview

While at Giant's Causeway, we asked Glenda to tell us a little about it. She told us the Legend of Finn McCool. Thought you would enjoy hearing her accent. We made fun of her all weekend, but we really envy her and want her cool accent too. Visit Holli's blog to see some Irish sayings.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Girls Weekend in Northern Ireland

This past weekend (Thursday evening through Sunday eve) I was blessed to get away with my girl friends - Glenda and Holli. We traveled to Northern Ireland and Glenda's hometown. Her parents were away on holiday and graciously let us stay at their home and use their car. Let me just say that it was a excellent, relaxing, fun, and craicing good time. It was so nice to be in Northern Ireland with a local. We tried the local food, the beer(Guinness) and the talk. I definitely came home refreshed.
On Friday, we traveled up to the Giants Causeway. It was my second time there, but it is ever so beautiful. We had God's favor all weekend with the weather. It seemed to be sunny everywhere we went or it just rained when we were in the car driving and then it would get nice when we wanted to get out. We heard from Glenda's friends that it rained all day where they were.

On Saturday, we headed down to the south west side of Northern Ireland and drove through the Mourne Mountains. We stopped off to see some of Glenda's friends, who live in the most beautiful house and location viewing the sea and the mountains. We eventually made it to New Castle where we enjoyed a delicious lunch at Percy French's, one of Glenda's favorite places to go.
My lunch: Chicken Curry, Basamiti rice and Naan bread. So yummy!
After our lunch, we headed into Belfast to take a Black Cab Tour. We took the tour that took us through the areas the Troubles took place not too many years ago. It was eye opening and sureel. Glenda was overwhelmed at times, because we went places she knew to never go to - because of the danger. It was neat to be with her and experience something we can never truly understand. We just have to hear stories about it to even grasp a tiny piece of all that she grew up with.

These two pictures are taken of the murals at the Shankle. This is the area where the Protestants live.

This is the peace wall between the area where the Catholics and the Protestants live. It was built to keep the peace between the two.
Holli and I stopped for a quick American snack - Auntie Anne's Pretzles. Yummy, pretzels, cheese and lemonade.

For dinner we headed to a Spanish restaurant for Tapas. I've never had them before and was a bit fearful I wouldn't like them because Steve doesn't. I had nothing to worry about. The food was so delicious. I will definitely be dragging Steve to a Tapas bar in the future.

As you can see, I am writing a lot about the food we ate. Food was priority for all of us this weekend. We could eat where we wanted, when we wanted and we didn't have to cut up anyone's food. We enjoyed every bite!

After our dinner, we met up with Kenny, Glenda's brother for a night on the town. We thought Kenny was taking us to a pub. What we didn't realize is that it turned into a pub crawl. It was so nice of Kenny to take three married moms all around Belfast into the wee hours of the morning. I am sure we must have looked funny as we drank our cokes and soda waters with lime.

This, the first pub we went to is the oldest pub in Belfast and it is across the street from the Europa Hotel, the most bombed hotel in Europe (or NI or something).

Since we were in Ireland, we had to try a Guinness, since it is made there. These are pictures of us and our beers. Actually, Kenny drank both mine and Glenda's since we don't like Guinness. We did have a couple sips though.

The Three of us and Kenny at the oldest tavern in Belfast. This one had a group of guys playing traditional Irish music.
This was taken at about 12:30 a.m. way after my bedtime. We left Belfast around 1:30 and drove back to Glenda's parent's. I fell asleep as soon as the car started moving. We were able to sleep in until 9:30 on Sunday morning, though, since we didn't have to leave for the airport until 11:00 a.m.
Holli and Glenda on the train on our way back to Peterborough. It was such a great weekend. Girls, I had a lovely time. Thanks for all of it! Love you both!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mothers Day

Since Marti is off enjoying some time away in Northern Ireland, I thought I'd post a quick blog to wish her a happy Mother's Day. Having been home for two full and 2 half days with the kids, I continue to marvel at what a great mother she is and wonder how she does this day in and day out. I know that Marti's dream since childhood has been to be a mother and I am so thankful that I can be part of this journey with her. I know that the kids don't always make it easy (okay, most of the time they don't make it easy) and that I don't recognize and appreciate all she does for us, but please know that I know what you give to us. But more than what she does for us and for the way she runs her household, I am thankful for her desire to see me and her children living out God's vision. Marti, I know you have sacrificed a great deal because of us, and I want you to know that I thank God for you and for the beautiful children you have brought into this world.

Now, I had intended to have the kids each give me something to blog about mom, but I wasn't able to get this done...but who knows, maybe they will think of someway to tell mom how much they love her.

Marti, you mean the world to all of us, so please know that we love you dearly and have missed you while you were gone.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Andrew Turns "9"

I have been little blog overwhelmed lately, with the Ireland trip and all. I completely forgot to blog Andrew's birthday. I am sorry, Andrew. I wanted to do it now so he didn't think I forgot him.

It is hard to believe that, last Saturday, May 2, my baby turned nine. I seriously don't know where the last nine years have gone. I don't even feel old enough to have a nine year old. I guess that is a good thing.

We had a very nice day on Saturday. We started the day with Cinnamon rolls, Andrew's pick. Then the guys headed off to church for a work morning. I got a few things done around the house with the little ones. The weather was absolutely beautiful. We spent the rest of the day working around the yard and such. For dinner, Andrew's choice we grilled hotdogs and steak. Yummy! After dinner, the Houston's, Glenda's family, came down for some cheese cake. The kids all had fun running around and wrestling (Glenda's boys are 14 and our boys love them). The girls had more sofisticated talks with Chloe (12) on the trampoline.

Andrew really like his birthday gifts - Legos, and built them all afternoon. Grandma F. also made him a picture with his name and how he is special written on it. He thought that was pretty neat.

I am pretty sure he had a great birthday. Just the other day, he said, "only four more years until I am a teenager." AAAHHHH! That is scary. The time is going too fast.

We love you, Andrew, and we couldn't imagine our family without you. You witty humour makes our days brighter. The fact that you adore your little brothers and sisters amazes us and how you are so willing to help with them and play with them, especially Nathanael, is a joy for us to watch. Andrew, you are a blessing and we love you. Happy nineth birthday!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Ring of Kerry - Ireland

This is the house we stayed in for the rest of the week. Through all of our travels, we have found that it is much easier for us to rent a cottage/house for our holiday than to stay at hotels. Hotels just aren't big enough for us, so we have to get two rooms. We, also, don't have things like a refrigerator. Having a kitchen enables us to have breakfast at home before going out for the day and to make picnic lunch to take with us. That it what we did everyday. It saved money too, as we only ate out dinner. Price wise, renting a house is cheaper for us than getting two hotel rooms for a week. In our opinion, the way to go!

This house was in Killarney, and it was perfect for our family. It was big, plus it had a huge fenced-in driveway and garden/yard for the kids to play in. It also had everything we needed for the week, for example a washer and dryer. This house was also well decorated, had comfy furniture and beds and it was super clean. It, by far, was the best cottage we have stayed in across Europe. If anyone is headed to Ireland and you would like the info, let me know. You won't be disappointed.
Ross Castle in Killarney
Tuesday - 1st full day in Killarney, we just did local things.
Cason and his lucky clover.
Picnic lunch at Ross Castle
This is at a viewing area just up the road from our house. It looks down to the lakes at the bottom of the mountain.
Wednesday - We drove the Ring of Kerry. It was a windy gloomy day, but when we wanted to get out of the car it was dry. We drove for a few hours and then followed some signs and found a beach. There were only two other people there, so we had the beach to ourselves. We climbed a few dunes and then the kids just enjoyed climbing on the rocks and playing in the sand. After we did the beach, we ate our lunch in the car and then continued on the Ring of Kerry. It is a beautiful drive through the mountains and on the coast.

Wednesday was also Steve's 33rd birthday. After our drive, we headed back into Killarney and had dinner at a traditional Irish pub. Steve's dinner is shown above. He, of course, had a Guinness. You can't go to Ireland with out having a Guinness. Everyone says they taste so much better in Ireland, much smoother. I did have a drink, but gagged. He also had Steak and Guinness pie. I tried that too and it was soooooo good. Funny, though, I don't remember what I had to eat.
Dinner at the pub
After we ate, we headed back to the house to have birthday cake. I had run into Marks and Spencer and got a Black Forrest Gateau earlier. Yummy!

On a side note, Happy Birthday, Babe! I hope you had a great one. We sure had a great time with you in Ireland.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Dublin, Ireland

We left home bright and early on the morning of Saturday, April 18. We drove to Holyhead, Wales to catch our boat into Dublin. During this drive, we were able to see the north coast of Wales and decided that we definitely should make a trip to Wales. It is so beautiful - mountainous and the sea. How lovely.

We caught a 1:50 p.m. ferry and the ferry ride was three hours. It was a long ride, but the kids did excellent. We just made our way around the boat, ate a few snacks, saw a magic show and played a few games. Nathanael and I weren't feeling well as we both had colds, but we made it. We finally arrived after a bit of our detour in Dublin to our hotel around 5:30 or 6:00. We had dinner at the hotel restaurant and headed to bed.
On Sunday our first full day in Ireland, we headed to the Dublin Zoo, along with the rest of Dublin. The line to get in was crazy long, but once we were inside it didn't seem overly crowded. We spent the rest of the day viewing and admiring the animals. The kids just love going to zoos. We have tried to make it our goal to visit zoos everywhere we travel especially since we know it is something the kids enjoy.
Nathanael enjoyed getting out of the stroller and walking around a bit.
After we were done at the zoo, we headed to the Hard Rock Cafe for some yummy American food. The food was okay. It made me realize how I don't really miss much (food wise) from America anymore. Oh, how we have adapted. The food, also, came in such large portions, we weren't even able to eat it all.
At the Hard Rock Cafe, they sat us back in a hidden booth. It was great. It gave the kids boundaries and also gave us a bit of privacy from gauking eyes. Our waiter was quite chatty as well. We had a very nice dinner there.
Daddy's girl
After we finished dinner, we took a bit of a stroll around the streets of Dublin. It is a beautiful city with of course, a river as all cities have. We then headed back to the hotel to get a good nights sleep before driving to the West coast of Ireland the next morning.