Saturday, December 30, 2017

Photo Friday [206]

Time to dish on our Christmas-y doings.

We had an early Christmas with the Freys, since we wouldn't be in Oregon for the holiday itself:

Just missing one of Brian's brothers...

Then it was road trip time! 

 Three days on the road as we drove to Colorado to see my side of the family.

 Froggy even helped drive.

 There were some "fun" winter roads for Brian to navigate on that last day... Although by the time that we got to Grand Junction, where my parents live, the roads were dry and the skies clear.  No white Christmas for us....

Teaching grandpa how to play Exploding Kittens.

The seemingly impossible task to get a nice tree photo with the kids.

The whole gang back together!  Last time we did Christmas together, Kate was a newborn. 

 Both of my brothers love to cook, and so we had cinnamon rolls, chipotle-raspberry glazed bacon, and even tri-tip cooked to perfection in a professional steam oven.  (I contributed the pies, which has been my area of specialty since High School).

Day-after-Christmas Lego building

Fun times with cousins:


After my brothers left and it was just us and the grandparents, we checked out a few of the fun things Grand Junction has to offer.

There is a neat place (in the mall!) called the Children's Nature Center, which offers a very educational hands-on tour of their reptile, amphibian and fish menagerie, including a massive albino python once owned by Michael Jackson and a rare pig-nosed turtle which is only found in the wild in Australia and Papua New Guinea.


Yesterday afternoon we drove through the beautiful Colorado National Monument, which includes some of the mesas that surround the town of Grand Junction.

Up on the mesa there was a little bit of snow on the ground.

The boys were enamored of the rock formations

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Photo Friday [205]

Sorry that I've been AWOL for a few weeks.  Let me try to catch up:

We had a round of sickness this past week.  That combined with cold weather made it a good week for random naps near the fireplace.

Greg proud of himself for realizing that he could work ahead on his daily spelling homework so and have some "days off" later in the week.

 Did you know that Candy Land can be a very high-stakes and emotional game?

Kate had a birthday!
She requested an "Elsa" cake, and here was my attempt.

As a special surprise, grandma had arranged for Elsa to come to the birthday party in person!  Kate loved it.   (The bulletin board in the back is part of a very elaborate party game devised entirely by Greg). 

 Caleb and his faithful friend Froggy.

 Kate has been living in this "dancing dress" that she got for her birthday from Aunt Becky.  Not sure what was going on here though...

I saved the best for last.  On black Friday, our newest nephew Hudson was born!  I was able to make it to Portland in time to be there and document his birth in photos.

Kate was not happy about the baby.  Although usually she loves babies, this one was taking up a lot of the attention that day, and she didn't like it.  I think she's used to being the "baby" of the group of six older cousins and brothers.

Greg, on the other hand, was totally fascinated. 

Holding a tiny newborn did give me some pangs of nostalgia and perhaps the thought of having one more of our own crossed my mind.  But then we took our own three plus my four nephews to Costco to feed them lunch, and the craziness of taking seven kids out to eat kind of put that idea to rest!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Photo Friday [204]

Dirt.  Lots of dirt this week.

Lots of dirt, and lots of time at grandma's house, because this week it was time to dig up the dahlia tubers!  The weather was unusually beautiful this week, which made the process much nicer.

The tubers are all out of the ground, but there is still work to be done to get them all washed, sorted and stored in the barn.

Greg was actually a big help in the field.  Caleb and Kate found other things to do on the farm.

 I made a short little video of the process, trying to make it seem a little more epic than perhaps it really is:

 I got a new passport this week, which means we need to also renew my PNG work permit and visa, along with Kate's since her visa is attached to mine.  This meant taking some passport-type photos of an almost-three-year-old who doesn't understand what a neutral face is:

The kids all had dentist appointments.  Kate did amazingly well for her first time.

The following photos may be the most boring to you, but they represent a highlight of my week.

In the last three years in PNG, my camera's sensor has picked up a lot of dust.  See all those little specks on this photo of the sky?  That was the before picture.  Awful!   In still photos it hasn't been that big of a deal.  I've been able to edit them out when they were too noticeable.  As I've started to do more video however, it's become a big problem.  If you watch the video above again, you'll be able to easily pick out the dust spots in the footage.

So yesterday I visited a camera shop and had the sensor cleaned.  And look at the difference!  No more sensor dust!!

A plain, grey, speck-less sky makes for one happy Susan.

Until next week!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Photo Friday [203]

This week (and last...):

 We visited a church in Lincoln City, OR and spent  a few beautiful days at the beach.

Deer right outside our cabin! 

T-shirts and sandcastles.

 Beach sunsets and being chased by waves.

We wrapped up a month of speaking at different churches with a missions weekend at our home church in Stayton.  We shared a bit of PNG food at their taste of missions dinner, along with several other visiting missionaries.

Greg's elementary school had a jog-a-thon fundraiser.  Greg was very anxious about being able to meet his goal of 15 laps.

He shouldn't have been worried.  He was at the top of the class with 22 laps.  He was a very proud little boy.

 And he went ahead and lost that other front tooth.

 Loving the fall colors!

 The kids now all own tennis shoes!  We've finally reconciled to the fact that we can't make it all year round here in sandals and Crocs.  We celebrated Caleb's new kicks one morning with some races around the loop in front of our house before Greg caught the bus to school.

 This morning we visited a pumpkin patch with Caleb's preschool class.  Caleb was happy, but miss Kate is feeling sick today, and so this is pretty much how she felt about the whole thing.

Hayride to the apple orchard to pick an apple.

 Lots of pumpkins to choose from!

 And most importantly, fresh apple cider and an apple cider donut to finish off the morning.

Until next week!