Sunday, October 27, 2013

Happy Birthday, Brayden!!

Happy 4th Birthday to our nephew, Brayden - son of Tim's brother Rob and Ada!
The birthday boy!!
Brayden, Joshua and Galina
Rob, Ada and family
We loved getting to know our nephews and nieces better this past summer - they are such special, sweet little people!  Happy Birthday, Brayden - we hope you have a wonderful day!  Lots of love from your Mexican family!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Happy Birthday, Kiernan!!

Happy belated 5th Birthday to my nephew, Kiernan!!  I didn't forget, honest - just been busy!  Here's a picture of the birthday boy, yesterday!!

Katja, Kiernan and Ellie - partners in both crime and construction!  ;)

The whole beautiful family this past summer while we were all in Ontario.
My sister Liz and husband Trevor, and their 3 precious children.
Wish we could be there to celebrate with you, Kiernan!  We love you lots, and hope you had a super day!!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Keeping the Home Fires Burning

Lots has gone on the last few weeks since I've posted.  Yesterday, we finished our 4th week of school, and I've got to say that on the whole, so far, it has gone well.  I believe a large part due to Jessica having been here, and helping with cleaning, and watching the little ones so I could concentrate on the older ones.  I feel like we have a really good base now, though, and with work, we can continue to keep on track!!

Jessica has gone back home now, and we really miss her!  The girls loved hearing her tell stories and teach them games to play - they really had a lot of fun together.

Just in the last few days, I tried a few new things in the kitchen.  I had seen a couple recipes on facebook that Looked good, but you just never know.  After Thanksgiving, I had some pie crust dough left, and wondered how I could use it, when I remembered a butter tart recipe I'd seen (if you click on the link, it isn't exactly the one I made, but had good reviews so I figured it was fairly safe!).  I never knew before that butter tarts were uniquely Canadian!  The first few turned out well, and since I had some filling left, I made another pie crust dough this afternoon, and added some pecans - Tim seemed to like those, too! ;)  I had also seen a recipe for pumpkin muffins, whose only ingredients are a cake mix, canned pumpkin and spices.  I stuck those in the oven this morning before breakfast, and Mmmmmmm, they were moist and delicious!!  Tim recently bought dried hibiscus flowers for us to try making the drink, Agua de Jamaica.  It's a very popular drink here, and very good for you - seems to have many of the same properties as cranberries.  So, yesterday, I made jamaica.  It was really easy, and turned out well.  Mika is the only one in our family who doesn't like it.

Here are some pictures of the last bit.  I'm not sure who took the camera upstairs a week or so ago, but I ended up with about 80 pics on the camera, with only about 5 that were usable.  The non-usable ones being pictures of the ceiling, the floor, a chair, and some games they thought were interesting!  ;)

Alisa rolling her eyes

Alisa and Vivi under Tim's desk

I think I mentioned in the last update that Tim was in Cancun for 10 days.  I was extra thankful for Jessica's presence and help while he was away.  His time there went well.  There are several new believers there, but no one living there yet to teach them.  After Tim came back, Marcus went, and now there is someone else there for a week or so.  Tim got to the beach one day, and took these pictures - the colour of the water is almost unreal to me!!  So pretty!

One night while he was gone, I was bathing the kiddos, and went downstairs to get something quickly.  Nathaniel had already been washed, and had been downstairs playing.  All of a sudden, the girls upstairs called down to me, telling me that Nathaniel was in the toilet!  I thought, Oh brother, he's playing in the toilet again - a frustrating habit that is hopefully now broken!  We usually keep the doors to the bathroom closed while he's awake, just to keep him out!  Anyway, upstairs I went, and this is what I found:
He was actually trying to unroll the toilet paper here - little rascal!
"Umm, is there a problem, Mommy?"
I thankfully had the sense about me to call down to Mika to run the camera up - before hauling him out and bathing him again.  I sent Tim the second picture, informing him of what 'his' son had done!  =)
We were all so happy to have Tim home again!  I was trying to imagine how my mom ever managed when my dad was away for 7 weeks one time!  I'm so thankful that, on the whole, we are together as a family most of the time!

Sarah S's cousin, Beth, came to visit for a week.  They didn't stay with us, but we got to spend a little time with them.  Here are a couple pictures of some of the young ladies at the hall - Sarah and Beth are in the top one, and Jessica and Beth are in the second one.

Sarah and Beth offered to babysit one day so Tim and I could go on a date!  They stayed with Jessica and the kiddos, while Tim and I enjoyed some ice cream, a stroll through the park, and just some quiet time alone.

Jessica showed the girls some neat crafts to do.  They were making pop-up books here, that turned out really neat.
We went to the park a few blocks away a couple times.  The weather has progressively gotten nicer - starting with cooler mornings, and now we have cooler days, as well.  The humidity seems to be out of the air almost completely, and them temperature is just about perfect!

Shaelyn pushing Alisa on the swing


Mika, Jessica and Kyla

Alisa and Vivian

Alisa and Nathaniel
We also got in a day at the beach.  Jessica came, of course, as well as Evelyn and Sarah and Beth - it was a really nice day!
A man making a bracelet

Why he rejects food but eats all the sand he can, I do not know!

Kyla, warming up in the sun


Beth and Sarah

Vivi enjoying the waves

Shaelyn and Jessica

Building/playing in the sand

There was a puddle of water here, and Alisa and Nathaniel thought it was the best!

The babies playing near our palapa

Beth and Vivian matched!

Fun in the sun!

Somebody was extremely tired

Had to get this 'bottom' shot, too!  Love those chubby legs!
We went to the beach on Friday, and just the Tuesday before, we received an invitation to go to a friend's birthday party Friday afternoon.  We left the beach around 230pm or so, had time to get home, change, get hair done, and run out the door again.  Tim stayed home with the babies, and got them bathed, fed and into bed, and Jessica went to Eleo's as she was having the young people over that night.

The birthday party was held at an event center, and it had a pool!  The girls were pretty happy to swim twice in one day, but the water was pretty cold in the pool.  The most exciting thing about the swim, was the slide! Eva was at the party, too, and she, Mika and Shaelyn all enjoyed going down it many times!

There was a special 'clown' that played games with everyone, did the piñata, as well as painted faces at the end.  The girls had a super time doing all the activities.

In line to hit the piñata
Face painting: Vivian didn't want her's painted, but had her nose practically in the middle of everyone else who got their's painted!  ;)

Cake time!
Despite the tons of sweets and chips they had out at the party, plus the girls not having naps that day, they all had a super time, and I'm glad they had so much fun.  Kyla thought her next birthday should be at the event center - I told her we like to do our parties a little closer to home!! =)

We then were getting ready for Thanksgiving!  I was feeling quite organized - getting my cleaning done on Friday and Saturday, plus pies baked and stuffing made the day before!  Here are three out of four pies - apple, pecan and pumpkin - yummy!!!

Tim mashed the potatoes
To keep the girls busy and not getting into everything we'd already cleaned up, I got them to do school that morning.  Afterward, Jessica helped them make a special chain to count down the days until our baby comes!

Finally, everyone arrived!  We missed Marcus, as he was in Cancun, but the rest of the Cain family came, plus Eleo and Sarah.  It was a really nice afternoon!
Eva and Mika

Shaelyn, Vivian, Kyla and Nathaniel

L-R around the big table: Madeleine, Alison, Isaac, Sam, Tim, Jessica, Sarah and Eleo
There were several yummy vegetables and salads.  I was thinking we would be missing out on squash, since I couldn't find any, but Alison made a sweet potato casserole, and put marshmallows on top, and it tasted just as good!
Alison and Sarah helped with the dishes before dessert

Three previous pies, plus lemon
Tim, and several of the guys from the meeting left in the afternoon to go to a drug rehab center.  They had been invited to go and preach the gospel there.  They are now set up to go every Monday evening from 5-6pm.  While they were gone, the babies slept, the older girls played upstairs, and the ladies got some chat time in!  It was so nice to just sit and relax, and enjoy each other's company!  
We have so much to thank God for!!

Here is a picture of some of the butter tarts I made with the left over pie crust dough.
The day after Thanksgiving, I took Jessica up to Tucson with Mika and Alisa to meet her grandparents.  It was hard to say goodbye - hopefully we'll see her again soon!

I had been planning since we returned to Canada to take the older girls out on a date.  So this past week, I finally got to it.  I did the same thing with each one - we went to a convenience store and they picked out a treat, and then we went across the road to the park, and just walked around.  I'm so glad I finally did it - it was a really special time for me, and I know the girls enjoyed it, too.

One thing I was noticing again, but was accentuated while we were out alone together.  I took Shaelyn first.  She hardly let go of my hand the entire time, telling me thank you over and over again, and telling me she loves me.  She is such a cuddle bug.  It was really sweet to spend time alone with her.

I chose not to go with Alisa this time, as I didn't figure it would make too much difference to her at this point - but we did get her picture taken with me.  My head is cut off in this one, but I love her smile, and I love her face in the next one, too!

Alisa right now is a complete rascal, getting into everything, constantly!  A few years ago I read that 2 year old often don't tell the truth, they tell what they wish had/hadn't happened.  I think this is often true, and had forgotten.  She constantly denies something happened, or that she did something, even though it Just happened.  "I didn't just have a drink, Mommy." "I just gave you a drink, Alisa." "No, you didn't, Mommy."  "Actually, I was there, and I did!"  
She is full of giggles and screeches, and loves spending time outside.

Vivian.  Vivi is a watcher, not so much a doer.  She held my hand most of the time, and just went to the playground for a short time to go down the slide a couple of times.  She wasn't really sure what to expect, going on a date, and asked if we were doing 'enough'!  =)

Marika.  Mika put on perfume, and dressed up.  We walked close together most of the time, and shared the chips she had chosen.  There were two wedding parties at the park during the time we were there, and we sat in front of the fountain pretty much the entire time, watching them get their pictures taken.  She told me that she and Eva had been talking about what they would like for their weddings, and told me what she colours she wants for her bridesmaids, what kind of dresses for the flower girls, and what flowers she would pick.  It was very sweet!

Kyla.  The most independent out of all of our children.  She hardly held my hand even crossing the street to go to the park, and didn't once while we were there.  She Ran everywhere, and I had a hard time keeping up!  I was thankful she was the last one, otherwise I wouldn't have had enough energy for the others, I don't think!  =)  As we were leaving, I told her, like I had told the others, how much I love her, and how glad I was that we could spend some time together.  She smiled, told me she loved me too, then ran off.  This morning, she came and sat beside me and told me how glad she was that we were able to have gone on our date together, and how much she enjoyed it!  =)  Love my unique, individual girls!!!

This past Saturday, all the girls went with Tim to the children's meeting outreach in Tirocapes, so I was home alone with Nathaniel.  He has so much fun just walking/playing/exploring outside now that he can walk and the weather is so nice.  We haven't had the a/c on for several days now.
Wherever Nathaniel is, Nico is usually to be found close by!  They get along a whole lot better now that Nico is learning not to jump up so much, and Nathaniel is learning to be gentle!  =)
I gave Nata two buckets of water with some spoons, and he had such a blast playing with them for about 45 min.  I love how this picture turned out!

We are looking forward to Dr. Sandy Higgins coming this week.  He'll be having meetings Thursday to Sunday - and the best part is, he'll be speaking in English (and then it will be translated)!!!!  So looking forward to not having to concentrate Quite so hard in the meetings.

Baby #7 is growing and growing, and there is definitely a lot less room in my belly!  I'm feel like I'm getting slower and slower, and it's getting more difficult to sleep and rest comfortably.  Definitely getting close to the end!  I'm 33 weeks right now.  My mom will be flying in mid-November, with baby coming shortly afterward.  It will be nice having her, as well as her friend Darlene here while recovering.

I think that's it for now - I was surprised to see that it had again been less than a month since I'd updated.  As much as I would love to update more often, this looks like more what will be normal!!  Have a good night!