Wednesday, April 29, 2009

North is north and south is south

There's a beautiful picture at Elaine's house that I always admire when I'm there. But, wait! Did you notice it too?? Yes, it's upside down! I had to ask, of course! Well, the answer is simple: Why is north called north and south called south? Anybody out there know?? So, let's make north be south and south be north! Can't get much simpler than that!

Cat, we love cats

A cat and her six kittens live under my sister Elaine's trailer. The neighbors had been feeding them, but when they left for two weeks, Elaine got a little worried and finally relented. I bought some cat food and she started feeding the hungry mama kitty! But OF COURSE these kitties ARE NOT hers! Never! Feed me, I'll love you forever - that's a cat's motto! But today Elaine figured out that the neighbors have asked SOMEONE ELSE to feed the cat, so problem solved. No longer Elaine's cats! If only someone would tell the kitties that!

Des Moines

Elaine and I participated in First Federated Church's annual missions conference in Des Moines, Iowa. What a great time! We met lots of wonderful people and saw friends and family we hadn't seen in awhile.

We enjoyed a meal with dear friend Angie Gardner. The next day both she and hubby Greg came to church to catch a "Glimpse of Latin America" that Elaine, Peter Hocking and I presented. It was so fun to see them again!

We met so many wonderful people. Peter and Yana Smirnov were at the conference just one day. I was SO GLAD to get to know them! They're Russians, serving the Lord in their own country in youth and leadership development ministry. What an outstanding couple!

We enjoyed two meals with Uncle Walt and Aunt Loretha. And of course I didn't think to take pictures! But I did get one of Aunt Helen in her new beautiful "pad" where she just enjoys life, no dishes, no cleaning house, no worries, she just lets others take care of her! She's worked hard all her life, she deserves the rest!

Elaine's children Daniel and Mary Vogt and their four little ones were also at the conference and as per usual, I didn't think to take pictures! They're headed to Malawi with SIM. It was a special joy to see them and hear about their ministry.

Fun in the sun

Kris and the four "enanos" took me to Warrenton, Missouri where we met up with my sister Elaine at the Child Evangelism Fellowship offices. The kiddos quickly found the wonderful statues that grace the grounds. Note the boots - yes, they came from our favorite resale shop! And the umbrella really IS helping keep the sun off in this case! Elia took a few minutes to write in her journal - might as well start at a young age!

Del wasn't totally sure about that cat! But he didn't move, hiss, or scratch, so Del was OK with him!

A trip to the Arch in St. Louis! You might remember that we made that trip just a year ago! We loved it so much, we had to repeat! This time it was a nice day and we didn't get soaked, like on the last trip!

Here we are up on top with Aunt Elaine. Left to right: Del, Abuela, Mikey, Elaine, Elia and Josie

The Resale Shop

There's this fantastic Resale Shop in Chesterton, Indiana, run by several of the local churches. All the profits go to charities. What a fantastic store! We love it! Here are some of our SPECIAL purchases of late!

Umbrellas! A great item to keep around when April showers hit.

Isn't Mr. Teddy great? I don't know how he AND Elia are going to fit on her bed, but they'll figure something out!

Umbrellas are a huge necessity when traveling - they keep the sun - and the rain - out! They kind of block Mami's view though, so unfortunately, they had to come down!

Junior died two weeks ago

In case you're wondering who Junior is, it ISN'T one of the cuties in this picture! Junior has gone to Betta Fish Heaven - ahh, now you figured it out! While he was with us, we had these smiles. At the "funeral", there weren't many smiles.

Feeding Junior was so much fun. And WATCHING him - WOW! What THAT fun!

He started out as Luther (now where did that come from???), but soon it was changed to Sweetie Pops, then Josie decided he should be Josie, but she was outvoted, so he became Junior! Not many fish have so many names in their short lifetime.

Junior was established on the beautiful handkerchief tablecloth that Abuela made. For such a short time!

I'm back!

I've been gone awhile! Did you notice! Well, last night I arrived back home to Mexico and will now have lots of catching up to do in this blogging business! So, get ready!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Makin' STUFF

The sewing machine's been busy: A new tablecloth!

While I was busy at the sewing machine, Kris was busy in the kitchen making mozzarella cheese! And ricotta cheese! And farmer's cheese! And from the leftover whey, she makes luscious pancakes!

A Zorro cape! Or if you were to ask Mikey, he'd say it's a Spiderman cape! Whatever! He's happy.

Shorts and pants from what was left of the material for Kris' skirts! Very cute!

AND.... Some of you will remember the handkerchief tablecloth I made for Kris awhile ago! It's still looking good! Today I made another, smaller tablecloth from handkerchiefs Kris has collected from the Duneland Resale! It's the perfect size for my table at home. So, when I leave, if Kris can't find that tablecloth, she'll know JUST where it went to! Just kidding!
On Elia's birthday, April 8th, we had lunch at Long John Silver's! What a treat!

.....And dessert at Dairy Queen!

That day Elia, Josie and their friend from next door, Grace (usually called Gracely by Josie and Elia!) made Crispie Monkey Pops - yet another recipe from Elia's new cookbook!

Friday, April 10, 2009

WHY do I do it?

Why do I read tragic books?? Never fails, I always manage to find one! The latest is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Tragic, sad, happy - at times, full of the horrors that have happened in recent history in Afghanistan, but it also shows a beautiful portrayal of the Afghans and Afghan culture. Iowa City Press describes it as a "gripping and moving story that offers a surprising reward: an understanding of, and sympathy for, the people of Afghanistan." Yes, it was excellent. Not a Christian book, but I highly recommend it! Now that I've read the book, we'll watch the movie - I've heard it's just as excellent, as sad, as tragic, as the book! WHY do I do it??

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Heard and seen around

Elia: "THANK YOU, Abuela, for fixing my apron. Now I'm gonna cook!"

Mikey: (right after Abuela asked if the kids wanted a picnic dinner on the living room floor) "Yeees, I love...." CRASH, BANG, "Waaaa!" Oops, he fell off the bench he was standing on!

Del: (many times today - and all days) A bellowing cry and eventually, after much discipline and talking, "Si papi" or "Si mami." It's so hard to obey!

Josie showed up to go to the Y in jeans, a green shirt and a princess skirt (bright pink of course) that Mami made out of a curtain valance! Very nice! There she is, Miss Uhhhh...

Del, age 21 months, doesn't walk, he RUNS! He runs out of bed in the morning, he runs in his play, he runs back to bed crying and carrying on when he's been naughty, he runs to Mami, he runs to get a book to read, he runs to tease his brother and sisters, he RUNS! Only time he doesn't run is when he's sleeping. Whew! The energy!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Relatives, relatives and more relatives!

Uncle Ed was so sweet with the kids. He gave them PICKLES, yes, HUGE jars of PICKLES! And he spoiled them the whole time we were there. There's been MUCH mention of Uncle Ed since we came home! Thanks, Uncle Ed - TIO ABUELO - for being such a super uncle!

Don and Jill, Ed and Betty Jo's oldest. They came with their daughter Lanae who's 15 and son Dallas, who is younger (I don't know how old he is!). They also have a son Tyler (17) who we didn't see.

Jimmy and Mia and their growing family! Jimmy is John and Paula's oldest son. Hunter, Owen, Sierra and Taya. Taya is just 9 days younger than her cousin Faith.

Quite the contrast, right? From right to left: Kris, Christopher (Fusser to us who love him!), Don and Uncle John! Don and Fusser are Ed and Betty Jo's boys. Their brother Matt and his family were out of town, sorry we missed them.

Dave and Pat, Ken's sister and hubby, were also out of town, visiting their children in Atlanta. We were really sorry to miss seeing them! Maybe next time, you guys!

And the climax of our visit - the HOT TUB! Wow! What fun! Yes, it's outside on the deck and yes, it's cold out there! See the snow?? Unfortunately we only had time for ONE visit to the hot tub, but it was worth it! So much fun!
Uncle Ed and Aunt Betty Jo put on an open house Saturday afternoon for all the relatives to come on over! What a gang came! Several friends came too - John and Rose Brayton bringing Moomers ice cream (WOW!) and their own maple syrup, Duane and Pam Merritt and his daughter Mindy with her children came too. I haven't seen Mindy in many, many years! Gotta admit I didn't even recognize her - sorry I didn't get a picture of her.

Kris with Willie (OK, Will! He'll always be Willie to me!). He's a sweetheart of a young man. He and his wife Holly very recently lost their firstborn - she died in the womb the day she was due. Very sad, but they're doing well and getting past it. We all LOOOVE Willie!

Jenna with Jaqueline and Josee on the left, Jill in the middle and her daughter Lanae on the right.

The "Josies" grabbed each other the minute Josee arrived! They were so happy to see each other again! Our Josie is Josephine, Chris and Jenna's Josee is just that, Josee (I may have spelled it wrong, sorry!). They were very sweet together!

Elia with Mindy's daughter, who is the "spittin' image" of her mom at that age.

Sisters Audrey and Jenny Mae (and sisters to Willie). Audrey was very talkative and we had a great time with her. Jenny Mae is now married to Doroteo Gutierrez and they live in Kingsley. It was so nice to see her again after so many years.
,Getting acquainted with little Faith was FUN! Faith is Matt and Alice's daughter - Alice is John and Paula's daughter. They live next door to Uncle Ed and Aunt Betty Jo. They came over Friday evening, then Saturday morning for breakfast and again Saturday afternoon!

Matt, Alice and Faith (2 months old)

Grandpa and Grandma to Faith (and a bunch of other kiddos!), Uncle John and Aunt Paula.

Gram Hanna

We visited Gram Hanna in Traverse City, Michigan this weekend. (She's my mom in law). She now lives in a lovely nursing home - one of the nicest we've seen - and is very happy there. No worries, no cooking, no cleaning house, no taking care of family, just tooling around in her little riding chair and enjoying her little room and getting acquainted with lots of new friends. It was obvious that nearly everyone knew Alice (actually they call her Vera there) and loved her. We took her flowers and she showed us around her new home. And we OF COURSE took some great pictures!

We played with Gram's toys!

In badk: Mike and Kris. In front Mikey, Del, Gram, Elia and Josie

Elia and Josie sang for Gram. They just learned the song Trust and Obey and did a beautiful job of singing it especially for Gram.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Elia's been cookin' again! She and Mami made a luscious pizza that disappeared like magic!

A birthday gift from the Tharp cousins is a hit! I don't know what's gonna happen when all FOUR want to get on at the same time! But it's perfect for three!

What's better than a story at the library with "Miss D"? Nothing, of course! Josie and Elia love their weekly class!

In the meantime, Mikey finds a little friend to play with.

Learning to read with Papi! Both girls are learning to sound out the words and Elia is actually reading simple books! She's so proud when she can read something! Isn't learning wonderful?!