Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Best Friends

Megan and Leah are best friends. They will both call each other it too. They are two peas in a pod. Rachel (Megan's mom) and I once took them into the bathroom at church together and the two of them giggled and talked the whole time. Rachel and I just shook our heads. I didn't realize how girls do the friend thing. My boys have been completely different. They will be friends and play with anyone. I don't know if they have ever said they have had a best friend.
In the above picture, Megan is wearing Leah's sweatshirt. This is not uncommon either. Leah says Megan can borrow her clothes. When Megan leaves our house, she almost always has something that Leah has given her. I am amazed that girl and clothes sharing thing has started so early.
A couple months ago, Megan was staying at her grandparents for the week. When she got home, she asked if she could go to Leah's house. She said that while she was at her grandma and grandpa's, Leah text her and told her she could come over. Rachel had to call me to tell me this. We cracked up. Apparently, the girls have their own cell phones and text each other. I asked Leah if she got a text from Megan and she said, "no." I would have died if she would have said yes. These girls just crack us all up. It is so fun to watch their special girly friendship.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Conversation Between Boys

The other night while we were out for a walk, we were all discussing what kind of dog we would like to have someday. We all shared and then continued to walk along. After a bit, Steve overheard the following conversation.

Andrew: "I want a Toy Poodle."
Either Tristan or Cason responded: "I want a real one."

Just wanted to capture this so we could remember it. They so crack us up.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Big Announcement

If you haven't already heard or seen the image on our sidebar, we are expecting baby #7 in mid January. We are thrilled at having a new little one join our family. The new one and Nathanael will have the largest gap in age that we have ever had. Nate will just be two when the new one arrives. The kids are excited as well. It just amazes us how welcoming they are to having more siblings. You would think selfishness would kick in, but not with them. They think the more the merrier. The kids are having a fight on what the baby will be. The girls want a girl and the boys want a boy. Leah is sure it is a girl and will argue her case to anyone who says otherwise or argues with her. It is pretty funny. We will find out (probably) what we are having at the beginning of September.

If you have just found out, please don't feel like you are the last to know. We just started telling people last week. I thought I would put the baby ticker up on the sidebar for a week to see who noticed. Then I would post this this week. This is a picture from our 12 week sonogram we had last week.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fourth of July in England

Unfortunately, this is the best photo of all the kids all decked out in their red, white and blue. Leah didn't want to look at the camera.

We enjoyed a nice Fourth of July together as a family. We had a pretty low key day but did a few things. Every summer there are a number of different fete's or carnival's that are held in the surrounding communities. Since it happened to be the 4th of July, most carnivals had an American theme so we obviously had to go and participate (Steve kept waving an American flag yelling "Free from tyranny, free from tyranny", and he only got beat up a few times :)

We headed off to a carnival in Market Deeping (the next town down from us.) The thing that really drew us was the American Civil War encampment that was set-up. There were tents and people dressed in period costumes so we briefly had a wander...although for some reason we were expecting them to have American accents rather than English accents. We did a few things (as detailed below) at this Carnival and then headed for the Langtoft Primary School Summer Fete.
Cason playing a golfing game at the carnival. This booth was run by a small group from our church. The had what is called a Share-Out. It is like a free garage sale. They had tables of stuff and a sign that said 4 Free Items Per Family. It is such an awesome idea. People were so surprised that they were giving away stuff. We heard that they even gave away an XBox. How cool is that for the people that got it?
Andrew doing the same golfing game.
Tristan doing a cross bow game. The boys begged Steve to do this one.
Andrew doing the cross bow with the boys looking on.
All Leah wanted to do was ride the pony. She beamed the whole time. Out of all of our kids, our girls are the bravest. The boys wouldn't go near a horse much less ride one.
Leah (and mommy) at the end of her ride.
Nathanael in his red, white and blue gear. I even found our famous star hat. We got that hat when Andrew was a baby for his second Fourth of July.

NOTE: The * marks the point of the blog where we do some shameless self promotion and bragging. If you would rather not read it, please skip to the bottom of the post.

The Langtoft Primary School Fete was a bit smaller, but really nice. One of the neighbor girls invited us to come see her school so we headed over and wandered around with her. These events are primarily a fund raiser for the schools so all the games cost 5o p. The kids each took turns playing some games. *We spent a pound and bought a blank map of the USA that we needed to name all the states in. When we got home, Andrew promptly filled in every state and we sent it back to the school with our neighbor girl (for the prize draw). Guess who won a 25 pound gift certificate to Frankie and Bennies? Andrew was the winner. The thing is, he filled the map out on his own from memory...all 50 states labeled correctly. The other thing is that we have never actually taught him the 50 states (we figure that can wait until we move back to the US). Guess this goes to show what some good book can do for a child motivated to learn. I am not sure if he won because he was the only one that got all the states correct or if he was drawn from a hat, but either way, he knew he was going to win and he did.

The other game we cleaned-up on was the basketball shoot. They had a hoop and a container of basketball's and you had to see how many you could make in a minute. We watched another English guy do his shooting (I think he made 2 or 3) and then Steve started warming up. From the first shot, I think they realized that he had actually played ball before. Steve made 9 baskets (previous high was 4).

Before I go any further, I should make note that whenever there is a basketball shooting game (like at an arcade), we (Marti and Steve) can't pass on a bit of healthy competition and I would also like to point out that Marti usually wins.

This time was no different. Marti made 10 baskets in a minute. The amazement that the onlookers showed for Steve was ten-fold for Marti as I don't think the boys running the game had ever seen a girl shoot so well. When they called out the winners of the prizes at the end of the fete, Marti had indeed won a brand new, junior size basketball. As I said to one of my acquaintances there, they grew up playing football (soccer) and cricket...we grew up playing basketball.

We now return you to the normal, less self-promoting and braggin portion of the blog.

That evening we grilled hamburgers and had a bbq. We invited the neighbor girls over after dinner for smores over our patio fire pit. All the kids loved the smores. Smores may be a new Fourth of July tradition. We had a really nice day doing some fun activities with the kids. It was nice to be together as a family. I am thankful the the fourth was on a Saturday this year or Steve wouldn't have had it off work. That would have been yucky.

Hope you all had a great Fourth too!

-Steve and Marti

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Get-a-way to Venice

Last weekend, Steve and I had our romantic get-a-way to Venice, Italy. Steve's mom and brother graciously watched the kids so we could go. We had such an incredible time together. Venice is absolutely beautiful and a must-see place. I really think we would have had a great time anywhere just being alone together. Before our trip to Venice, it had been two years since we had been away alone together and that was to London for just one night. This time we had three nights and it was so relaxing. We enjoyed sleeping in, getting out of the hotel in record time (when you add 6 kiddos nothing happens quickly), seeing some incredible sights, laying on the beach, gelato, eating when and where we wanted, a break from being mom and dad, and enjoying just being husband and wife. We both agree that we better not wait two years until we get-away together again. I think we should go every 6 months. Steve is more practical and thinks once a year would work better. We are so grateful to Steve's mom and brother for taking care of the kids for us to have some time together. I do think they needed a vacation once we got back though. The kids kept them hopping.

This is the view down the walkway to our hotel (you can just make out the sign for the hotel)
This is a typical view in Venice. This was taken from a small bridge looking down a canal.
Picture of the Rialto Bridge. This was the closest bridge across the Grand Canal so we crossed it many times. Much to the disappointment of our tired and weary legs. I began to loath the bridge by the last day.
View down the Grand Canal at dusk. We had dinner at one of the little restaurants lit up down the right side of the canal on our last night in Venice.
Another self portrait in Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square). It was raining a bit so thus the jackets.
Another view down a small canal near Piazza San Marco.
Picture of our room. This hotel felt much more like a B&B than a hotel (which makes sense since this hotel was a former home for a famous Venetian Painter) We loved the hotel. It had a yummy breakfast and it was in a great location. The bed, though, was terrible. We were happy to get home to our own comfy bed.

We paid the big bucks for a Gondola ride. You can't go to Venice without taking a trip in a Gondola.
Picture of our Gondalier and the Rialto Bridge.
Marti walking down a narrow alley-way on our way to catch the waterbus to the island of Murano.
Picture of us with the Adriatic Sea behind. We went to Lido Island and walked a short way to the beach. The beach was full of people as it was a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon.
Another self portrait. As you can tell, we were very relaxed and had a wonderful time just enjoying the sights and being together.
This is a picture of our hotel (we were passing by on a water bus). We sat on the lower level one afternoon and had a coffee and there were a couple of tables on the upstairs balcony where you could have breakfast.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Leah's Lingo

Our weather has been hot, hot, hot over here. It is actually too hot to not have air conditioning. We just lay around in the afternoons as we don't feel like doing anything. The other day, I got out the sprinkler for the kids to play in. They were so excited they wore their swimming suits all day.

I thought I would share a little bit of how English Leah is.

1. While playing in the sprinkler, she yells, "I don't like this swimming costume!" We asked her why laughing under our breath. She said, "It's too cold!" BTW, swimming costumes are what they call bathing suits in England. I have never used that term and wonder where Leah picked it up. I think she probably got it from a TV show or something.

2. While she was in the bathroom the other day, "Mom, I'm nearly done."

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Annaliese Turns Three

With company here and packing to get ready for our trip to Venice, I completely forgot to post Anna's birthday pictures. It is so hard to believe she turned 3 last Thursday. She was the little baby that was only two months old when we moved here. She is more English than American. The time has flown by.

Annaliese is the little mother of the family. She adores babies real ones and baby dolls. She loves taking her baby with her where ever she goes. Annaliese is a delight to our whole family. Her name should be Joy because she is a little girl filled with joy and brings joy to everyone around her.

We were happy to be able to celebrate her birthday with Grandma S. and Uncle Mark. We went out to Pizza Hut for dinner and then back home for chocolate cake and presents. I think she had a fun day.
Anna showing off her new princess dress and scooter.