Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Happy 15th Birthday, Gabriel! ... January

Gabe turned 15 on Jane. 24. WOW. I mean .... WOW. Where did those years go??!! He had school, but got up early, to decorations and two or three presents ... an under armour shirt from Grandma Carol ... new pants and a Toby Mac CD from us. Then, after school, he had to study for finals. BUMMER! But we had Aunt Kathy over at dinner time .... we ate shrimp pasta and had his favorite, homemade not-red velvet cake with chocolate ganache  (from FOOD52). The BIG gift (other than a fun Lego Star Wars game for his Xbox One, and a new book and some new underwear (ha ha!!)) was a new bike. Nate spent WEEKS finding it on Craigslist. It's a white Bianchi, and will fit him into adulthood. He looks GREAT on it, and was SO excited to get it. ("It's FAST!!" he told me today, when I met him while running the dog, and he was on his ride home from school.) Although, I think dad was JUST as excited to welcome a new Bianchi into the family. Happy birthday buddy!!

Underpants!!! LOL!!You have to give gifts like this ... keeps 'em humble. ;)

Geeze, they're almost the same height!! :(

Asher wanted to light the candles.

The traditional, "mom with cake" photo....

Wonderful Weekend ... January

We had a marvelous weekend on Jan. 20-21. On the 20th, it was nearly 60 degrees!!! We went for a hike out at Grand Mere with Aunt Kathy. There had to have been over 100 people there, with their dogs! Everyone was excited to be out. Kathy and I walked the shore and found some sea glass. And the kids played in the dunes while Nate read a book on the beach. WHAT a day!! Later, I caught all three kids playing Hogwarts and making potions in the kitchen. SUPER fun. I had to snap a photo, since I know Gabriel will outgrow this SO soon... (I think he was trying to be Dumbledore, with the grey beard...)
Making Potions!

Sleeveless on the beach on January 20!

Odds'n Ends ... January

The kids eyes popped out of their heads when I came into the living room one evening and announced that we would be having a turtle race before dinner. Oh my goodness it was fun! These little guys can RUN! They are aquatic turtles, which means they spend most of their time underwater, using their little feet to motor around their tank ... and those little feet work VERY well on land! Asher's turtle, Sirius, won the race, and Asher, therefore, currently has bragging rights.

Grandma made Rhy and me some GREAT hats ... our ponytails can poke through!! We love them!

The kids have been making MASSIVE tents in the living room lately. All three of them! I'm fine with it, as long as they clean up ... which they DO. :)

To the Dogs ... January

Rhy was home sick, and Rou was watching over her. :)

Short Rib Pot Pie ... January

Made this for dinner the other night ... courtesy of Bon Appetit online. Homemade crust and everything! And I used papa's Norton wine in it too! YUM! It was GREAT winter comfort food!

Turtles ... January

The kids turtles continue to thrive, if not grow. They don't seem to be getting any bigger, but I guess turtles grow at an extremely SLOOOOOW rate. We just love watching them. They are so funny ... always stretching their little heads waaaaay up high, out of the water, whenever we pass by and say hello. Such curious little critters! They are so fun to watch!

Trip to Milwaukee...December

Just before New Year's, we headed to Milwaukee for a few days. The holidays were very strange this year ... my sister, Gretchen, was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was quite a shock, as I'm sure it usually is for most families ... but our faith in God is strong, and we trust HE is in control. So we've been pulling together and rallying around her, trying to help, even all the way from Michigan.

And Nate's grandma Alice has not been doing well. So we made a trip to visit a LOT of family and spread a LOT of love!! Rhy and I ended up staying at Gret's through New Years, while the boys drove home. We came home on the train the following Wednesday. That way, I was able to help out with Sydney and Ree, during her second surgery.

The train-ride home was super fun. Rhy had never been on a train before, so she was EXCITED. The Grand Hall in Chicago, really made an impression on her. (I love the photo with her walking in, with her head tilted back in awe.) She felt like she was in Hogwarts. :) She got a little nervous, when we got on the late train, headed into St. Joseph ... it was a double decker, and we sat on the top ... but to get to the dining car, we had to walk all the way to the end of the train, "hopping" between cars, in that rickety midsection that always feels like it's about to pull apart. She squeezed my hand for dear life, and followed along, with a little squeak of fear ... but by the end, she was doing it like a pro! :) And the idea of buying snacks and then going back to our seats and eating them, was such fun to her! We had a blast!!
car buddies

The girls gave Ree a makeover

In Chicago!!

Biggest Christmas Tree EVER ... look how small Rhy is!

The Great Hall at Union Station in Chicago

With Marilyn ... cause we HAD to... ;)