Friday, November 18, 2011

Jaylin's 7th

Jaylin had her 7th birthday while Chad and Erin were here, and loved having them here with us to celebrate.  Last year, Luke and Debbi Porritt and their family were with us during Jaylin's birthday, so Jaylin has been quite blessed to have had such great birthday guests both years!  We are looking forward to seeing if any of you will be Jaylin's 8th birthday guests next October!

Jaylin enjoyed a few different birthday cakes this year...the prettiest, of course, was her "Jelka cake".  We were happy that the Bonawitz's were here to experience a grand Jelka birthday celebration.  We also took birthday cupcakes along to the hotel, and celebrated there.

The seven other kids each held up a finger to represent Jaylin's 7th

Jaylin's birthday cupcakes at the hotel

Eating lunch at Pavel and Jelka's

We spent some time at Pavel and Jelka's house one evening toward the end of Chad and Erin's time with us, and they, too, were blessed by the incredibly gracious hospitality of our dear friends the Petric's.  Jelka cooked a huge meal, using all food that they had grown or raised there in their village.  The only thing that she had bought was the rice, she told us!  Amazing!  Chad and Erin and their kids enjoyed seeing how industrious this family is.  We had a sweet time talking around their table, and listening as Jelka played some folk music on her accordion.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Little Sister Part 2

Just a few more pictures to share...there are so many from our three weeks together!  Some of the fun things we were able to do while they were here were... visit three castles (or castle ruins), walk around town, go for an overnight to a hotel in Poland where we enjoyed swimming in the pool and hot tub (thanks, Grandma Milly, for treating us to such a fun time with everyone!), many coffee shop visits, date nights (the four adults together, and then the Daddy-Daughter Date to the ice cream shop), and many game nights and late night talks.  Just being together was a treat for everyone...the kids always had someone to play with!  Cole (their oldest) even went to school with Gage for a day!  

Erin and Jaylin on the way down from a castle

Yes, they actually wore these to the hotel pool!

At the hotel in Poland

DATE NIGHT at the underground restaurant!!!!

Sipping lattes in the castle courtyard

The Bonawitz family at the castle

The much-anticipated Daddy-Daughter Date!!!

Three happy girls!
She just cracks us up!

These two are quite a pair!
The moms and boys spent the evening playing LEGOS and Sardines!
Off to school...buddies!

At the school, changing into their slippers.

Thanks for coming, Chad and Erin!  We love you!

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Little Sister

One of the reasons we were so thrilled that God blessed our family with Shaylee, #5, is that she became the younger sister that I really longed for Jaylin to have.  I have only sisters, no brothers, and have been blessed beyond words with my relationships with both of my sisters. When I was pregnant with Gage and then with Shaylee, I really wanted the baby to be a sister for Jaylin, because I knew how much I loved having sisters that became my best friends.  God gave us Gage, and then He gave us Shaylee, and of course, now we can't imagine it any other way.  I am completely thankful for each of my kids, and because of my childhood, I am especially happy that my girls have each other.  And, if Ed were to add his two cents to this introduction, he would be especially happy and thankful (because of his adventurous brother-heavy childhood) that our boys each have two brothers!  Anyway, this introduction is NOT heading toward announcing another child in our family...because I am NOT pregnant...but to let you know exactly how thrilled I have been these past three weeks when MY beautiful little sister, Erin Bonawitz, came all the way here with her awesome husband, Chad, and their three kids...Cole (5), Brynlee (4) and Mason (3)!  We have been soaking up the time with them, enjoying every minute of their being here with us.  Our kids have LOVED the cousin time, and have once again, loved the chance to get to know better another amazing aunt and another fun uncle!

It seems like so long ago that together we were all planning this trip of theirs...Ed and I were here, thinking of all the plans we could do with them once they got here, and they were on their end arranging all the tickets, passports, and other travel details.  And now as I sit and blog about it, I can't believe that it's done.  The time has already come and gone, like a snap. They've come, they've blessed us, and now they've gone back home.  It was an amazing three weeks with them, and we definitely made some unforgettable memories.  I will try to condense our three weeks into two blog posts, in order to show a good sampling of all that we did together.  The sequel will be coming shortly, with more pictures.  Thank you, Chad and Erin, for braving the intimidating travel experience with your three little ones, in order to see our world and to be with us!  We are so thankful that we were able to have so many great times with you, and to get to know your kids better!  We love you both, we love your kiddos, and we can't wait to be with you again in the summer when we're home!

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Halls

At the end of September, Ed went to our Josiah Venture Fall Conference in the Czech Republic, which is the conference that the kids and I don't go to, as it is not set up for kids.  So my friend Gretchen Hall, also serving with JV, and her kids came to spend the week with us while our husbands were at this conference.  It was perfect having another mom and three more kids here for the week, much more fun than being alone.  The husbands returned after the conference, and we enjoyed time together as families again.  This was the same family with whom we spent the week at the beach back in August.  We spent a morning at a town near us where there are many old World War II trucks and tanks.  The kids loved climbing on all of them.  We loved having Justin and Gretchen and their kids here in our home!