Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Birthday, Jared!!

Today is my nephew Jared's 8th birthday!!  We were so thankful to be able to spend time with him twice this year already - once when they visited us here, and then when we visited in Ontario!

Jeff, Marianne, Jared, Gracia and Lucas
We love you Jared - have a wonderful day!!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Here we are...

Finally got all these pictures uploaded!!  My last update with pictures was a month ago - wow, does time go by quickly!   Tim and the 4 older girls are at the children's meeting in Tirocapes right now.  Alisa is in bed, and Nathaniel is beside me, playing with some toys.  The laundry in on the go, the dishes are done, and after having company last night, I swept and mopped the floor before going to bed - so everything is Clean!!  =)  I actually turned on all the lights downstairs this morning when I got up, so that I could enjoy seeing how clean it was until the rest of the house awoke!!  Wouldn't it be nice if it was Always like that!?!  Nathaniel has had the croup now for 3 days.  We really only had 2 bad nights, but one was Really bad.  He's kind of lost his voice right now, so when he cries it sounds so sad!

I'll start back in where I left off, in Canada, on our visit with the Sharps.
The girls had so much fun with this wagon!

On Sunday, we had a family photo shoot after meeting.
Mommy and Nathaniel

On the swing, waiting to be called over for the pics

Our family - September 2012

My beloved and I

Ha ha to my dad!  He ran in after meeting and got changed, and then found out there were going to be pictures.  He chose to just change back his shirt and tie, and hide his shorts for the pics!! =)

My parents with 9 of their 12 grandchildren

Apparently someone was being really funny behind the camera!

My parents, Jeff and Marianne and their 3(.5) kiddos, and Tim and I with ours.  
The hardest part of being with the Sharp family this year, was not having Trev and Liz and their 3 with us.  We were able to visit them at their place last year, so it wasn't as hard.  HOWEVER, we got the good news recently that they are planning to come visit us for Christmas - YAY!  Can't wait to see them all!

My mom thought it would be fun to have a tea party with our girls one day.  She got out some china plates and teacups, some hats she has, and the girls got dressed up - except for Vivian, who thought her outfit was fine!  Shaelyn was wearing a pair of brown jogging pants that had a heart on them - she thought that was pretty fancy!  ;)  I managed to change her mind.
The pretty table




Alisa wasn't invited to this party!  =)

The girls' unique personalities came out during this tea party.

We had many a good chuckle!

One day, Marika was invited to go with Jared to his Christian school in Orillia to spend the day.  We were invited in the morning to do a missionary report for the students.
Orillia Christian School

Trying to keep occupied and quiet!  =)
Playing outside afterwards on the playground
My aunt Jil was on her way back from the Soo, and drove my grandpa down for a couple day's visit!  It was nice to have a visit with her for an evening, and enjoy Grandpa's company.  Jeff & Marianne, Grandpa, Tim & I and all the kiddos went to Horseshoe Valley to use the pool there one morning.
Beautiful colours in Ontario

Such a special time!

These ones enjoyed raking leaves (for a while) - I think they got a toonie each for it!
My mom thought it would be fun to open stockings while we were there.  She borrowed a tiny Christmas tree from a friend, and put up some snowmen decorations.

Each of the girls got a special gift from my mom...

A beautiful china tea cup and saucer

I love this one of Grandpa and Nathaniel!

Alisa, who doesn't usually think climbing into laps of people she doesn't know is a good idea, must have thought Nathaniel looked safe enough in Great-Grandpa Clark's arms, because she sat happily for the picture!

Great-Grandpa and Nathaniel's hands

"Christmas" dinner

That evening, we stayed up late, talking to Grandpa, and hearing stories of when he was young.  Such a special, special time!  Friday morning, just before Thanksgiving, we packed up and headed to London.  Thankfully, Dad and Mom, and Jeff and Marianne went down to the conference, so we didn't have to say goodbye yet!  Tim helped his brother Mark set up for the conference, while the rest of us got to see Bekah!  She then kindly babysat the 5 girls, so that I could go to meeting that night!

The conference was Wonderful!  Of course it was great seeing so many friends, and even relatives that I haven't seen in ages, but to hear a whole weekend of English ministry - it was so great!

Here is dear Aunt Doris McCandless and Mrs. O'Brien with Nathaniel - such lovely ladies!
My Dad doing the Sunday School lesson on Sunday
Unfortunately, those are the only 2 pics which were taken over the weekend!  Had to say goodbye to Jeff and Marianne and kiddos Sunday evening.  There's just never enough time to spend with our dear ones.

Monday morning we left bright and early to head to Kitchener, to get together with the extended Woodford family for Thankgiving.  My parents also joined us, and we enjoyed yummy food, great conversation, a trip to the park, and singing to make it the best!
Mark and Nathaniel having a snooze

At the park

Tuesday was catch up day.  Tim and Mark took the girls to a park near M&B's in the morning while I got some  laundry done, and things organized after a crazy weekend.

Tim's parents, and brother Rob and Ada and boys came over that night for supper.  I'm sure thankful they are close enough that we could do that as many times as we did.

Mark thought this was funnier than Alisa did!  ;)
Wednesday, Tim took Mark out to where he used to work, ETBO Tool and Die.  He was glad for the opportunity to see his friends there.  In the afternoon, we drove to Chatham, to Jon and Julie's, and Sarah K met us for supper there.  The kids had lots of fun playing, and then we went to meeting in Chatham for a missionary report.

Thursday afternoon, we drove to Brian and Jeanette's in New Hamburg.  We had supper, then were invited to their outreach center in town, and Tim did a missionary report there.  There were several from the Kitchener Gospel Hall there, and it was nice to see them.
Shaelyn spent as much time as she could with their puppy.

The guys holding their baby girls
Friday morning, we decided to go to a pumpkin farm, but it was SO cold!  We weren't prepared for that temperature at all, so thankfully they had hats, mitts and winter jackets all the children could use!  It was the neatest place, where we went - and even better, it was free!!
Shaelyn with a funny-shaped squash around her neck

All our kiddos
There were lots of animals: young calves, cows, goats, miniature horses, pigs, a donkey, bunnies - it was so neat!
Petting the donkey.  Shortly after this, this donkey opened its' mouth, and brayed!  I don't know if you've ever heard a donkey to that, but it is a sound to hear!!  All the kids just stood and watched with their mouths hanging open!  A couple of them started crying and then ran away - it was kind of funny!

Three little pigs

The farmer put food on top of this house, so that the goats would climb up to eat it.

Shaelyn and Aubrey were best buddies
We then went to a little park in New Hamburg, and had a picnic!

On Saturday, we went to Tim's parents.  His dad had already raked this giant leaf pile before we got there, so you can guess what the girls (and their Daddy) did as soon as we arrived!

The tire swing was great fun!

More fun when Grandpa pushes!

Daddy and Alisa

Mark with Joshua



Shaelyn pushed all the kids for ages!!  Here she is with a handful of leaves, and a big giggle!

"Gotcha!!" =)

Grandpa made a fire, and Mika helped

Shaelyn and Brayden

Uncle Rob pushed Kyla on the swing

The fire's getting bigger

The amazing photographer!

Rob, Ada, Brayden, Joshua and ?

They started to combine the field that days, and we got to see them do it -  it was neat to watch!

Shaelyn and I went outside after lunch, and had fun running through rows of corn, and watching them harvest the corn.

Apparently the other kids were getting airplane rides, and Mark felt left out...?  =)

Conked out on the way home after a long, fun day!
Sunday morning we were in St. Thomas - it was great to be there!  We were invited to John and Joan McC's for lunch, and also enjoyed Emily and Alison & Darren's company, too!  Sunday evening, we drove to Burgessville, which is close to Tim's parents.  At the gospel hall, while there are migrant workers working, they have a Spanish gospel meeting, and Tim spoke.  We also got to see Michael and Sharica, and their family, which was great!

After meeting, we headed to Tim's parents, where Tim's sister Joia, Philip and kiddos had arrived earlier that day!  It was so great to see them, and we're so thankful they came up the same time we were there!  Marika, Shaelyn and Kyla were invited to stay overnight, and they were pretty excited about that!!

Monday evening, the extended Woodford family went to Mark and Rebekah's and had dinner.  It was also almost Tim's twin cousins' birthday, so we celebrated that, too!
Allyson and Lindsay
Joia made and decorated the cake, and Mika put on the flowers and vines
The next day, we were all to go to Honeymead Apiaries.  Vivian was sick, though, so the 3 littlest and I went to Rob and Ada's, to wait with Mom who was watching Caleb.  The rest had a hoot at the apiaries!

Someone locked up Shaelyn!

A funny sign

We had lunch at Rob and Ada's, and then we went to Dad and Mom's again.  I made a Mexican meal for supper, and Tim made dessert - Pavlova!
Mika spent most of the afternoon outside, breaking off the kernels of corn!
It was so nice to spend the time together, and having the kiddos all play.
Opening some early presents

Vivian fell asleep in the middle of the noise and mess.  The poor kiddos missed naps almost every day, so they were pretty tired out.

Ada, Rebekah and Tim
Our visit with Joia and Philip ended too quickly, and it was sad to say goodbye!  Wednesday morning, Tim went to St. Thomas to get a hair cut, and I met Emily for coffee and a chat - it was so nice!  We went to Bert and Michelle's after lunch, and stayed there for a nice visit in the afternoon and supper.  As soon as supper was done, we headed for St. Thomas, where Tim did a missionary report.  Got to see several dear folk from London and Straffordville.

Thursday we met Erin and their kids at McDonald's, where she treated us to lunch - then we headed to the kids' favourite park, Pinafore, to play!

Alisa playing with someone's doll that look like the same size as her
Tim swung the kids on these swings for ages!  Cam met us there in the middle of the afternoon.

James and Kyla

Alisa, Shaelyn and Vivian

Erin and James

Three amigas - Leah, Marika and Rebekah

We went back to Cam and Erin's for the rest of the afternoon, and enjoyed supper with them, and Mark & Bekah.

Friday we drove to Jim and Zonya's, and had a wonderful afternoon with them, and their children.
Vivian enjoyed playing with their Guinea pig
Friday night we hung out with Mark and Rebekah, then on Saturday, Tim's parents and Rob and Ada went to Mark and Rebekah's and we had lunch and supper together.  It was nice to have one last day all together, but oh, those goodbyes are so hard!  I tried to get most of our stuff packed up Saturday night.

Sunday were in St. Thomas again, and were invited to Darren & Alison's for lunch.  Em was there too, and the girls found Alison and Em's high-heeled boots and were trying to walk in them - it was so funny!  We had a little rest in the afternoon, then back to meeting.  Tim spoke in the gospel.  We ordered Pizza Pizza for our "last supper", and stayed up way too late chatting with M&B.

Bekah had to be gone pretty early the next morning, but we got a picture together before she left.

We got the van packed up, and said goodbye to Mark around 10am.  Did I mention that I hate saying goodbye?

We were invited by the Greens to drop in for a visit on our way out, so although Daniel and the three older boys were working or at school, we had a nice lunch, and a great visit with Eileen and the three younger ones.
Isn't that a gorgeous view!

Benjamin on stilts

Shaelyn giving it a try

Naomi and Mika

It was so beautiful and peaceful - the girls had so much fun playing and running!

Trying out the stilts again!
We were on the road again by mid-afternoon, but thankfully only had a few hours to go, to Hebron, Kentucky.  On Tuesday, we went to the Creation Museum there, again using free passes from some kind friends!

Entering "The Garden of Eden"

There was a really neat display of old Bibles, manuscripts, etc.  Some were partially burned - they were hundreds of years old!  I had one of those, "Our God is so awesome and amazing!" moments, remembering the verse in Matthew, Mark and Luke, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away."

The astronomy video was again Mika's favourite part.  She turned to Tim and said, "Daddy, if those galaxies, and this universe is so big, imagine how big God is!"

Eating our picnic out by the van

We drove all the night, and all the next day.  Stopping for food, gas or bathroom breaks.  Here we are having a picnic in a somewhat sleazy park in Texas, I think.  I was feeling a little stressed the whole time we were there.
We stopped at a hotel that night in Albuquerque, NM, and then drove the rest of the way home on Friday, getting home at 930pm.  We do not take for granted the safety we were granted while traveling - we are most thankful!

It has been good getting home, and so wonderful seeing our friends here again - we missed them!  We returned home with a van full of linens, clothing, baby food, homemade chili sauce, homemade jam/jelly and maple syrup that others kindly gave us!  We are so blessed!  

We've started back at the school year, and while it's been a little bit hit-and-miss while trying to get everything unpacked and put where it's supposed to go, it's been mostly good, and I'm glad to have a routine again.

Here are a few pics since we've gotten back home.
Alisa climbing up to be with Holly

Alisa has added a few new words to her vocabulary, and is trying more, finally: Vava - Vivian, peesh - please, mean - mine
Nathaniel - 6 months old!!
 He's cut his first tooth, and a second is ready to pop through any day.

Tim took us all down to a mall in the south of the city.  We had supper there, and the girls rode on a pretty carousel.

Shaelyn wanted a picture of her and Alisa in their "matching" outfits

Pretty hair!

We invited Eva over, and had a fun games night the end of October.  The rest went to meeting that night, but we had a good time just us.

School day

Vivi sweeping out back

I joke about our "twins" - 13.5 months apart.  Nathaniel has pretty much caught up in weight - Alisa is just a little longer.

The Cain's came over for Alison's birthday

Yummy Pavlova

Holly thought Nathaniel's bed looked comfy - he thought that was pretty funny!

Finally having his first solids just a few days ago.
 I'm sure I've forgotten lots, and even after that long post, I can still say I didn't take nearly enough pictures!!  We're so thankful for our time away, thankful for family and friends, and so thankful for our faithful God.

A verse I enjoyed the other day: "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain."
1 Corinthians 15:58