Well, we've been home for almost a week now- it's about time I get to updating the blog! We had so many fun adventures while we were on vacation up north, I have so many blog-posts mulling around in my brain... Just yesterday I was finally able to find our dining room floor. I'd been working for days on unpacking and putting things away. I don't know why I do this but when I have a big job to do (like unpacking), I always feel the need to organize and clean WHILE I'm tackling that job. That just makes my task-at-hand 10 times bigger but somehow I feel it needs to be done. So, while I was unpacking and putting things away I've managed to: clean and reorganize our laundry room, organize the kitchen cabinets and find a place for all our empty quart-canning jars (they came out of the laundry room), pack away all of our fall/Thanksgiving decorations and move Angel Baby's clothes to the upstairs dresser in the girl's room.
This is one of our first days in MN. In the picture are our 4 little ones and my one of my sister's daughters. Angel baby is in the car seat and is not thrilled...it was so cold during these days, it stayed below zero. My son, particularly, was about going out of his mind because he was cooped up in the house. Our boys are used to being outside all the time and the weather just wouldn't cooperate! This was a really cool indoor play area...the kids ran off some steam and had a blast! It was snowing the whole time we were there (over 3 hours) and I got my first refresher in snow-driving on the way home. The roads were less than desirable and were quite slick. Welcome back to the northwoods!
When we got back to my sis's place, my mom was there waiting. She stayed a few days to visit with the grandkids (well some of them anyway)- boy did she stay busy! In this pic she was making the kids balloon animals. When I was a child my mom took a clown course and became "Fanny the clown." This was one of her many 'clown' skills and the kids had so much fun waiting in line for their animals. Who knew balloons could be so much fun (and make so much noise!)??
Angel baby was still getting over her pneumonia during this time and she was still a little cranky. I was busy doing something and grandma started rocking Angel baby to sleep. The coolest thing is that she's sitting in my great grandma's rocking chair...
'A laptop??? I know what to do!' My darling daughter was teaching the younger girls all the cool stuff that can be done on Barbie.com!! My poor son was 'odd man out' but he still had fun with his balloon crown and swords. Both little girls had to sit on grandma's lap-if she would have had 4 knees, all 4 little ones would have been sitting by her!
Hubby and I met up in northern Wisconsin (at his family's house) on December 19th. This is the morning after when all the kids bundled up and headed out for some fun in the snow. The two little boys were so happy to be reunited- they really missed each other! We had a really good lesson on how much chaos happens when you try to get 7 kids out the door and dressed warm enough. We had to have a tutorial in 'real winter' dressing. They learned quickly....
Doesn't this picture speak for itself? This night was our first Christmas party with my mom's side of the family. Needless to say, she came with her balloons again... leave it to my boy to dream this up! We had our get-together at my great aunt's house, the 'homestead' house. It was nice to see a few of my cousins there and my aunt. My aunt stayed with the Christmas Swedish tradition of making (and eating!) Leutafisk. I bravely tried some and choked it down...all the while my sister enjoyed an entire plate. Thanks sis...you really showed me up!
Me and my sis!
Mom and her two girls...
This is the 'kitchen discussion group.' My mom, aunt, brother-in-law, Hubby and Angel baby. This was during the Leutafisk cooking...it smelled great in there, NOT!
We got all the kids together to take a family pic. You only see 9...Angel baby must have been somewhere else, sleeping probably! One of my sis's kids said, "Mom, is that all the the kids they have?" As if to say, "Why don't they have any more?" Too funny!
My aunt gave me this feather hat. I forget who the owner was, a family member of mine from long ago- I"m sure. We were all taking turns wearing the hat and taking pics...
Our annual Christmas photo. It took 3 tries to get this shot, it's about as close to perfect as we'll ever get. I love this crew!
Little sissy resting with big sissy...probably watching Dora Snow Princess (her new favorite!).
Dear Daughter #3 and her best friend. These girls met when they were 2 years old (and both have type 1 diabetes and insulin pumps) and even though they now live over 1,000 miles apart- they still love each other just the same.
What fun would playing in the snow be if you can't eat on a big chunk of snow??
The two little boys digging in their 'cave.'
The aftermath of playing in the snow!
Princess got this shirt for Christmas (to put away for summer time). Well, our fashion diva decided she should wear this shirt just about every day. I kept trying to con her into wearing actual winter clothes but she wouldn't hear of it...you know it's bad when you can't out-smart a 3 year old!
My dad and Angel baby. This is such a great pic!
You know an African when....he sits around watching tv with a pillow on his head!
We visited the nursing home this day to see Hubby's grandmother. Unfortunately, she had just fallen a few days before and had bruises on her face. We're not sure when we'll make it back up north again so we wanted to be sure and get pictures with great grandma and the kiddos.
I wondered how the Liberian kids would react to seeing a nursing home. I don't believe they have such a thing in Liberia, most older people either live on their own or with their families. They were great about being there and were very friendly with all the residents. This was the first time they met great grandma, they were so happy to finally meet her because they've heard a lot about her.
And last but not least for this year's birthdays....Big Brother! It was a big one this year, he turned 18.
On his last bite of cake, we got him laughing and he got his turn under the table! It was like a circus of craziness in that house, trying to get him to talk or laugh! Ultimately it was Hubby that got him to laugh....way to go honey!!
On our last day, we had the privlege of attending an open house in our honor. Friends from our previous church opened their new (and beautiful!) home to us and to anyone who wanted to stop by and visit with us. We enjoyed warm soups, breads, fresh veges and lots of warm drinks along with tons of great fellowship! Hubby had the kids outside playing while I stayed warm in the house with Angel baby. This one is of him trying to hold up Dear Daughter #3 while ice skating.
"Thank you, trusty chair...I needed you!"
This was truly a sight to be seen!!
"I can do it, I can do it!"
This pic cracks me up! Dear Daughter #2, Hubby and a great friend of ours...trying to hold her up during her first try at ice skating!
All in all we had a great time up north. The kids had so much fun and they now have a visual to go along with all of our stories. It was a lot of work to take 10 people that far, and over the holidays as well! It was so worth it though- we made great family memories. We're happy to be home now and enjoying our mild, Arkansas winter. We hope you all had a great holiday season and a very Merry Christmas!