Sunday, March 30, 2014

And Another Weekend bites the Dust

The weeks and especially, the weekends go so quickly.
One more day in March and it will be April already.
Time flies, not only when you are having fun but also when you get older.
This has been another great weekend.
On Friday night, the faculty and their families had a much needed, better late than never, get together at Jeanne and Tim's house.
There was so much yummy food and lots of great conversation.
I hope it made everyone feel a bit more united.
On Saturday, John and left on a road trip to Bloomington to visit Alissa and Nathan.
We did some shopping at Target and Gordman's before checking into the Motel 6 and getting ready for our dinner and night out.
Alissa and Nathan picked us up at the Motel and we headed over to Destihl for a few specialty beers and dinner.
We all had good food and the beer was, as expected, good, too.
After dinner, we went over to CII's which is Alissa and Hunter's favorite bar where everybody knows  your name.
I posted this picture of Lis and I on Facebook and one of my friends commented, "You look like sisters."  That did not sit well with Alissa!
Nathan suggested that we take a Taxi back to the motel so that John could enjoy as many beers as he wanted without the worry of driving, so that is what we did.  At the end of the night, all four of us hailed a taxi, we got dropped off first and then Alissa and Nathan got dropped off at their home.
We, John especially, liked the taxi idea.
 Sunday was a beautiful day, temps in the high 50's, so John and I stopped at Starved Rock State park in Utica, Illinois on the way home.
We had been there two summers ago when we vacationed at a "Dells" like resort in that area.
Because of the nice weather, all of Illinois was at the state park today.  I think the winter has been so long and cold and everyone is so happy to get out.
We hiked to St. Louis Canyon which was a three mile hike.
Even with all the people and dogs, did I mention the dogs, once we got away from the popular visitor center and Starved Rock area, the path was pretty deserted.

This is St. Louis Canyon where we had hiked to with the Van Aukens two summers ago.
It still had snow and ice and was not as accessible as it was in the summer, but still pretty.
 After hiking for about two hours we headed home.
It was a wonderful way to spend our weekend.
Now bring on the week!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

My Spring Break comes to an end

Today I am taking in my last day of my spring break.
It feels nothing like spring out there in the 30 degree, wind chill of 15 degree weather, but it was spring break none the less.
The days went so quickly.
They were filled with wonderful times with Soli, Tiz, and Courtney.
I spent Wed till Friday up in Oshkosh and then they came to Watertown until today.
So much precious time spent with them and so many happy memories being made.
It was the perfect way to spend my spring break.
Here are some photos and a few of my favorite memories.
On Wednesday, we picked Tiz up from school and she chose to have a treat at Caramel Crisp.
The girls each had a big cookie, some yogurt, and then they finished up with a lollipops.
It was the beginning of five days with too much sugar, if there is such a thing.
On Thursday, I spent the entire day organizing the playroom and the girls' bedrooms.
What started out as cleaning/organizing one closet turned into a much bigger project, but it was fun.
Soliana played right alongside me as I did the cleaning.  I actually think she thought we were playing the entire time.
At one point while playing babies, she said she was going out to the store.
I asked her how she was getting there and she said she would just ride her donkey.
Her donkey is actually a horse clothes pole and she sat right down on it with her babies and rode to the store.
Now, I realize this doesn't sound very funny to anyone reading here, but it was funny to me.
Soli is just so cute and her expressions are priceless.
I just really wanted to remember this story in years to come.
After we picked Tiz up from school, we came home to celebrate Natnael's birthday.
Courtney bought a big chocolate cupcake and we shared it while we talked about their brother who they as well as myself had never met.
Courtney had an event to attend that evening, so I was in charge of getting the girls to bed at a decent hour.
We watched Night at the Museum and then I started the bedtime ritual which was not helped by the viewing of a rather intense movie chosen by Tiz and Courtney.
I was successful and both girls were out by 8:30.
On Friday, Courtney, Soli, and I had a ladies' lunch at Red Robin followed by some shopping.
Frozen and Easter dresses were purchased at Target.
After picking Tiz up from school, we came to Watertown for the rest of the spring break.
On Friday night my mom, John, Courtney, the girls and I went to Blue Moon Pizza in Lake Mills.  Such yummy pizza and the kiddy cocktails were the best according to the girls.
We came home to all watch Frozen together and then we called it a night.
On Saturday, John, Soli, and I went shopping at Aldi and Walmart.
We had so much fun with Soli.
On the way out, she wanted to ride the pony and the elephant rides, which we did.
I wish I would have had the camera to document that happy face,  As John says, it was the best $1.00 ever spent.
After that, Courtney, the girls and I went over to St. John's.
I had some things to get ready for school tomorrow and the girls always enjoy playing in my room.
We ended up in the gym which was really fun.
We rode scooters, played basketball, and hula hooped.

When we got home, we braved the elements and got the Escalade out and took it for a spin around the block.

After our spin, we enjoyed popsicles.
We watched some more movies and then on Sunday, it was church and Culver's for lunch.
That brings us to now.
I wish I had taken more photos, I am usually always shooting pictures, but this time I spent more time in the moment which is nice sometimes, too.
So, girls, thanks for a great, fun filled spring break.
It was the best ever.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Happy Birthday Sweet Natnael, we will never forget you

Tomorrow, March 20, Natnael will be four years old.
He will be celebrating in heaven, but we want him and everyone to know that his grandma and grandpa will never forget  him.
We never got to meet him personally or hold him on our laps or read him our favorite books or take long walks with him, but he still touched our hearts in a very special way and we were waiting for him to join our family.
God had other big plans for this little man.
Today, on FB, I read a post by a friend who adopted a little boy named Tesh.
I met this friend on an Ethiopian adoption forum that I turned to when we lost Natnael.
God definitely had a hand in bringing us together.
Her son, Tesh had been best friends with Nathnael at the Care Center, she had met Natnael just weeks before he died.
She says her son, Tesh, talks about his buddy Natnael often.
It makes me feel good to "know" someone who actually "knew" Natnael and as I read  her posts and see her many photos, I can imagine how Natnael would be growing and the things he would be doing.
This is Tesh on his fourth birthday.
This is one of a few pictures that I have of Natnael at the Care Center.
I can only imagine how happy he would have been on his fourth birthday.
I know we would have had a grand celebration as we do for Soli and Tiz on their birthdays.
But, in the same breath, I know he is happier than I can even imagine celebrating up in heaven.
So, Happy Birthday Natnael, we love and miss you every day and wait patiently for the day we will se you again!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Weekend Recap

My spring break started on Friday, yes, I am in need of a break from school,
Spring break comes at just the right time for me.
On Friday night, Alissa arrived to start our weekend.
She, my mom, John, and I went to Bismark's for beers and dinner.
Ended our evening at Firecracker for a few more pitchers of beer.
On Saturday we (Alissa, my mom, John and I) left for Oshkosh to celebrate Courtney and Paul's birthdays with goody boxes and ice cream cake.
The ladies all went to Neenah to check out Vinitique, the Boutique where Courtney sells some of her crocheted items and is a featured artist.
This is Courtney wearing one of her skirts.
As you can see, the same skirt is in the window.
We all really enjoyed the boutique, especially the vintage items and clothing.
After shopping we went to a ladies' lunch at The Green Pour House.
We all enjoyed some yummy food and wonderful conversation with lots of laughs.

After lunch we headed back to Oshkosh, joined the men who had their lunch at Mahoney's.
Goody box opening and ice cream cake followed.

Paul did have to finish his cake under the table because he talked while he was eating it and that is not allowed in this family.
We  have all spent time under the table.

The girls got to enjoy their time with Auntie Alissa.
 Alissa brought along some Robin Egg candy that she and the girls painted with edible markers.
We all enjoyed those tasty eggs.
After the birthday fun at the Van Aukens, we went over the hotel where John, my mom, the girls, and I would be staying.
Paul and John enjoyed some time in the pool with the girls.

 After swimming we went to Cranky Pat's for pizza and beer.
There was a St. Patrick's day parade that we were able to see right from our table.
Alissa, Courtney, and Paul went out for the night while we enjoyed our time with the girls at the hotel.
Just so I don't wonder about this years from now as I read this, Nathan had a late meeting at work so he could not join us, he was missed especially by the girls.

On Sunday\t morning, we got up, enjoyed breakfast in the hotel and then had cheetos and skittles before church.
It was a great weekend full of happy memories.
I love spending time with those little girls as well as my big girls.
This weekend I will be going to Oshkosh for a few days, what a great way to spend my spring break!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Sweet Soli in Preschool

First off, the oil pulling is going well.
John has joined me in the ritual.
Found out the Courtney and Paul have been oil pulling for the last week, too.
Alissa tells me it is all a big SCAM perpetrated by coconut oil companies to sell more coconut oil.
She may be right, but it can't hurt, can it?

Now on to something new.
Soliana comes to my preschool once a week.
I am so thankful that Courtney brings her all the way from Oshkosh so I can have her in my class just like I had Tizita.
Such a treat to be her first teacher and watch her grow and play in Preschool.
Here are a few pictures from her times in school with me.
Here she is with her sweet smile after putting on her shiny scale from the rainbow fish.
 This is Soli and her two friends, Katrina and Paige.  They were all dressed up to go to the beach on a very cold, snowy day.
 Enjoying a snack.
 Soli and Paige were taking cover during a tornado in the train center.
 Nothing so sweet as secrets between friends.
 Painting on hat and scarf day.
Dancing with a scarf.
I just love having her in my class.
I may be a bit biased, but I think she is just about the cutest thing ever.
Her smile just brightens my day.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Oil Pulling

 Last weekend was such a busy one with our trip to the Museum with Soli, then our GALA event, and finally the circus.
I love a busy weekend especially when it involves our sweet granddaughters.
This weekend we had nothing planned.
I do not do well with nothing, so I tried to fill up our weekend with some activities.
On Friday night, we went to On the Rock for our monthly free pizza and two pitchers of beer.
We rented Catching Fire, the second movie in the Hunger Games series, but both of us fell asleep about ten minutes in, so we decided to wait until Saturday night for the movie viewing.
On Saturday morning we did some shopping.
Always nice to have some shopping therapy when there is nothing else to do.
On Saturday afternoon we went to Willie Gaspar's funeral.
Willie was Vikki's dad and she found him dead on Thursday night.
I had gone to school with Willie.
He was much too young.
Vikki did a wonderful job of eulogizing her dad and the pastor had a great message for all of us.
After the service, we were all invited to Lindberg's for a meal and drinks.
Willie would have enjoyed the party we had for him.
John and I had our wedding at Lindberg's 37 years ago and the place has not changed at all.
Same bathroom decor, same bar, same booths, it is like a step back in time.
On Sunday after church, we did a little more shopping, then I did some baking.
It turned out to be a great weekend full of good times.

Now, on to the oil pulling.
Thanks to one of my FB friends, I learned about something called, "Oil Pulling."
It is really an old remedy.
You just take a tsp. to tbsp. of organic coconut oil and swish it around in your mouth for 20 minutes.
It is supposed to whiten teeth, strengthen gums, freshen breath, relieve headaches and other pains.
I was intrigued by the process so decided to purchase some organic coconut oil and give this oil pulling, or swishing as some people call it, a try.
The hardest part for me is when I first put the oil in my mouth.  I get a little gaggy until it liquifies.
It only takes a little bit to become liquid, so it isn't too bad after that.
I have done it both days while I take my shower and do my hair.
It sure does make my mouth feel clean.
I think I will continue and see if I notice any results.
Coconut oil is really good for so many things including skin care, hair care, and cooking/baking.

 I have been using Young Living Essential Oils for a few years now.
These five are my favorite and cannot say enough about how much they help me.
The peppermint is great for aching muscles and any tummy troubles,
the lavendar is great for any minor cuts and bites,
the joy just makes me feel good all day long,
the purification is perfect for any skin problem, and my favorite is thieves which is great for the immune system.
Now when I add my coconut oil to these products, I should be set as far as keeping myself healthy.
Finally, these are my Inner Defense capsules which I take daily.
Since I started taking these, I have not gotten any sicknesses from my students which is pretty amazing.
There, now you know some of my secrets to staying healthy.
Stay posted to see how the oil pulling goes over time.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

May all your Days be Circus Days

Today we took the girls to the circus in Green Bay.
This is the second year we have taken them and I hope to make it a tradition until they are too old to enjoy it.
We had such a great time.
We picked the girls up at the Gas Station just off of Highway 41 at 8:30 and took off for Green Bay.
The doors open at ten and you have an hour to walk around the floor, ride animals, get clown autographs, and get your souvenirs and food.
Kids get into the circus free with the purchase of an adult ticket, but we more than make up for that with all the things we purchase once we are there.
This year both girls wanted to ride a pony which is a bit cheaper than an elephant like last year, so that was good.

Tiz enjoyed all the clowns, but Soli kept her distance.
:Like Grandpa, like Soli.
Soli struck this pose after John stood like this.
So cute.
 What circus is complete without snow cones,
 and a funnel cake!

Both girls were so into the circus acts.
Some of it was very intense.
I think we all had a memorable time!

Last night John and I attended the first ever St. John's GALA.
It was so much fun.
We came home with a number of nice items from the silent auction.
There was great conversation, yummy food, and all the Miller Lite one wanted.
I hope they make it an annual event.
All in all, a near perfect weekend for us.
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