Saturday, February 28, 2009

You're Gonna Miss This Moment

Pam does a weekly meme called "Your Gonna Miss This Moment". It's about writing about those times with your children that one day you will miss. Even the tough things we go through or the challenges we have will be missed at some point. Certainly all the great times we have together will be remembered and even wished for again. Time goes so fast. Take this opportunity to write about one of those "moments". To read more of these, go here.

Megan, Braaten, Amy, and Melanie. 

My daughters are the 2nd and 4th from the left. The other two girls are sisters and my daughters' friends. We go to church with their family and every Wednesday we do a girl swap. Their mom, Jane, comes to pick one of my daughters up and leaves one of hers and the next week we switch again. She is kind enough to do the pick up and drop off for me. I always try to cook a special meal for them and make a nice dessert, too. American cooking and recipes are different from English cooking. There are some similiarities, but I like to make things that maybe they haven't tried. For example, one night I made sloppy joes and another, chicken enchiladas. And one thing they love is Rice Krispie treats of all things. It's not something they make here.  Their family has also joined our small group which will knit our hearts together too.

These two sets of sisters are becoming very close as the weeks go by and it's sweet to watch. The problem is one day we're going to move back to Michigan and they will have to say goodbye. If you think I'm "gonna miss this", imagine how they will feel. This special English family will always have a place to visit back in the U.S. and I hope that one day will. 

I didn't mean for this to be such a sad one, but it will happen one day. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Word-Filled Wednesday

Our marriage is a gift from God.

And each of our children are a precious gift from God. 

Wordless Wednesday - The Many Faces of Grant

He just can't help himself when the camera is on him. :-)

To join in the fun and post your pictures for Wordless Wednesday, visit

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A new photography website called, "I Heart Faces" has weekly photo contests. This week's theme is "Black and White." I thought I would give it a whirl. 

"Kitty & Mel"

To have a little fun and add your own entry, go here.

Monday, February 23, 2009

One Piece At A Time

I absolutely love to quilt! In fact I saw this beautiful quilt made by another blogger, and bought the same kit on ebay at Quilt Taffy. The one I'm working on in these pictures is different though. It will be a quilt for our bed. I've always made wall hangings, but now it's time to work on something a little bigger. I can't wait to finish it. The thing is that I do everything by hand. I don't own a sewing machine, and if I did, it scares me to figure out how to use it.

What kind of hobby(ies) do you have? I'd love to hear about them. I also scrapbook, although that doesn't take place very often. It's tough to find the time and I want to create each page so that's it different and beautiful. 

This is one of the quilt squares

A little closer look

Such concentration!

I still have some pieces to add to this particular sqare. 

Perhaps one day I'll use a sewing machine, especially since I would love to make a queen size quilt for each of our children. 

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I'm baaa-aaack :-)

Wow, I've missed everyone. I hope you all had a great week. I'll have to find the time to catch up on your blogs, for those of you that have them, and start writing again.

Though we went to New Jersey for my uncle's funeral, we also had the opportunity to see family and friends and spend lots of time with them. We enjoyed some great east coast food and did a little shopping, too. There are things that I like that I can't find in the U.K. Things tend to be more expensive, too, so if I can get it while I'm home, I do!! 

My Aunt Judy is holding up pretty well considering her great loss. It was a long hard road since my uncle had Alzheimers and a spine that had lots of stenosis that caused him great pain. We were glad to be able to be there. 

I'll write again and post pictures. Have a very blessed Sunday. 

Saturday, February 14, 2009

New Jersey Bound

I probably will not be posting this week because the kids and I are taking a trip to NJ. My dear Uncle Lenny passed away on Friday morning of complications of Alzheimers. It will be good to be around my Aunt Judy and the rest of our family.

Please pray for our family and safe travels. Shawn will not be going with us as he has work commitments. I never like being apart from him and neither do the children. In fact, Braaten was crying tonight as we tucked her in because she'll miss her daddy and the dog, too. 

Blessings to you all for a great week. 

Happy Valentine's Day!

Lastnight I set our kitchen table with a Valentine for each of the kids and for Shawn. The kids were really excited to get up and see if they received a Valentine from us.  After breakfast sometime, Shawn went to play baseball with the boys for a little while and came back with a box of truffles which are one of my favorites, and an orchid. Our 3 boys also presented the girls with flowers and a note. 

My husband is so precious to me. He has a heart of gold and would do anything for me. One of the things he wrote in his card to me is, "I love you more today than on Valentine's day when I plastered your apartment with 'I love you' papers". For our 1st Valentine's day that  is what he did...he taped up 50 8 1/2 X 11 copies that said, "I love you Valentine". 

Shawn, I absolutely love you more today than I did almost 16 years ago and God could not have given me a better gift than you. You are an amazing, wonderful, handsome man and I will love you forever. 
Here's a poem I found that I wanted to share with all of you.

God's Valentine Gift

God's Valentine gift of love to us 
Was not a bunch of flowers;
It wasn't candy, or a book
To while away the hours.

His gift was to become a man,
So He could freely give 
His sacrificial love for us.
So you and I could live.

He gave us sweet salvation, and 
Instruction, good and true--
To love our friends and enemies
And love our Savior, too.

So as we give our Valentines,
Let's thank our Lord and King;
The reason we have love to give
Is that He gave everything.

By: Joanna Fuchs

Happy Valentines Day from our family to yours.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What is a Cotswold anyway?

Recently I put on my Facebook status that I was going to the Cotswolds for the weekend with my family. And one of my dear friends asked, "What is a Cotswolds anyway"? One of my bloggy friends commented about how there is a new development called the "Cotswolds" in her town. She found it funny that they would not have picked a more posh British name for it. My friend Sarah says it sounds like a skin rash.  I mention all of that, not to be offensive, but to explain what it really is. 

Now that you are dying to know, here is what I found on the internet to describe it properly. 

"The Cotswolds is a region that covers an area of 790 square miles in the upper part of the southwest region of England and is the country's largest officially designated 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty'. Popular with both the English themselves and international visitors (or expats like us) from all over the world, the area is well known for gentle hillsides ('wolds'), outstanding countryside with river valleys, water meadows and beech woods, sleepy ancient limestone villages, historic market towns and for being so 'typically English' where time has stood still for over 300 years."

With all of that said, we just had to take a drive to one of the towns and check it out for ouselves. We rented a cottage for a couple of days and had a magnificent time. Here are too many pictures to tell you about it. :-)

A great wintry scene down the street from our cottage.

Here is Braaten in front of "Rose Cottage" where we stayed.

I took Fletch for a walk and a dog was barking wildly in that house at him. I'm so glad he didn't come out. 

I took this as we were driving. 

Mel was taking Grant for a little ride.

How many people can comfortably fit in an English phone booth? Apparently 6!

We were walking in the town of Stow-on-the-Wold. And you thought Cotswold was an interesting name! 

Austin with his uber snowball.

I really like the architecture and coloring of the buildings.
Remember the tiny little deck snowman I posted about? Here's his big brother. 

The sign reads, "The Royalist Hotel - The Oldest English Inn in England". We had lunch there.

Ooooh pretty.

My men were playing Yahtzee. Austin won the game.

The girls were beading bracelets first thing in the morning. 

We love watching "Little House on the Prairie" together. We are currently on Season 6.

The view out our window.

A sunrise from our bedroom window.

Time to go sledding. 

Nice face, Honey.


Another successful run.

There's my spunky Melanie.

I love his eyes, though I'm not sure why he looked into the camera like that. 

So there you have it. Our journey into the Cotswolds. Enjoy your weekend everyone. 

Monday, February 09, 2009

It's all proportionate..

A tad bit of snow equals a tiny little snowman.

Isn't he cute? Melanie decided that even though we only got about a 1/2 inch of snow, we still needed a snowman. Isn't he adorable perched up on the deck railing?

The good thing is we took a drive down to the Cotswolds this weekend and to our surprise, they had gotten about a foot of snow. I'll blog about that soon. I just thought I'd share our little snow creation. :-)

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Wellies and Metal Detectors!

The other day we went out for a nice walk. It had been raining quite a bit the day before, which meant we needed to wear boots. The kids definitely like to slosh around in the mud and explore areas around the Lymm Dam. When we moved here, it became quite clear that we would need to invest in "Wellies" for everyone. Previous to that, seven lovely umbrellas were presented to Shawn at work before the big move and they all came in handy. It hasn't rained too much lately, but we do get our fair share at different points. 

On a slightly different note, this week we have gotten as much snow as they have seen in about 16 years. We got an inch people!! I know that most of you have seen enough snow and ice to last you about 3 or 4 years so I'm not complaining about the inch. In the London area, about 3 or 4 hours south of where we live, they got 6 or 7 inches. You might have heard that on the news.

On Tuesday morning, we literally had about a half inch at the time, all 5 kids were out in the back "garden" (yard) at 7:15 a.m. sharp! They had a blast in that little bit of snow. I did capture a couple of photos which I'll have to share. This post was originally about the much-needed wellies. Oh, and Austin, our 12 year old decided to bring along his metal detector to see what he could find. I think they ended up finding a couple of bottle caps and something that looked like a rusted, old crow bar. Cooper was the one that lugged it around the dam because he looks up to Austin so much and loves to please him. :-) Bless his heart!

Havin' fun in the mud.

A little close-up.

Austin says his wellies are really comfortable.

I think they were digging for the crow bar here.