Monday, October 11, 2010

Welcome, Shana!

On August 18th, we were fortunate enough to welcome another member to our family. Shana comes to us from Belgium and will be staying here until June of 2011.

Her flight was delayed several times, so we had plenty of time to take pictures and hang out at the Greensboro airport.

Finally, her flight came in! Emma was the first to see her. There were lots of hugs and yes, I even had a few tears. It was very exciting, but also brought back lots of memories from past exchange students.

We drove home, talking the whole way. The kids were a little shy, but I really don't think it will take long before they are treating her like a real sister. God help her then!

It's a very exciting time for us and we can't wait to share our home and our country with Shana!


In an effort to prove that they are responsible and can take on new "jobs", the WEJ have been taking on some new responsibilities. Everyone has been known to dry the dishes for me, but the other day, I found Emma and Jack taking care of business on their own! Miss Emma was the washer, of course. Everything is more fun wearing pink rubber gloves! They're doing a good job of making their case for getting a new puppy. Keep it up guys!

Goodbye, Friends!

We are all sad to say goodbye to dear friends. Kyle and his family are moving to Wisconsin.

Kyle and Will have been friends since Kindergarten. They have been in Cub Scouts since First Grade together. We got to know Kyle and his family really well through scouts as Kyle's dad was the den leader for awhile.

Kyle and Will were able to spend a couple days together before Kyle moved. They just hung out, explored the woods, played Wii, played on the computer and laughed - a lot!

No More Braces!

Wahoo!!! I made it!!! On August 2, 2010, those nasty things were removed. Amen.

I can now go on vacation to Germany and have fun eating whatever my little heart desires. I can smile freely. I will still have to deal with the retainers, but I don't care. I can eat again!

The whole process of removing the braces was horrific. I have never endured such agony. I told the doctor that I would rather give childbirth again, than have braces removed. I was in so much agony that I had kicked my shoes off and the back of my shirt was soaking wet by the time they were done.

It's over. I can eat again!

Ohio Summer, Day 9

Jack is tuckered out!

Can you say exhausted?! What a long, but fun, trip! Most of the cousins spent the night at Nana's after the fair. They had a ball, but definitely not much sleep. And that goes for me too! Lauren started out in bed with me and couldn't stop talking. It was fun catching up, but I just couldn't hang. Over a week of being away from home and countless miles of driving had finally caught up with me.

We spent the last day packing up, picking up goodies from Paul's Market and swimming in Uncle Brian and Aunt Mary's pool.

It was a fun week in Ohio. It was what summer should be. Family, friends and fun. Until next year.......

Ohio Summer, Day 8

Brad with his pigs
Alec with his chicken
Awesome pizza!
Alec, Will and Emma try out some new shades

Up and at 'em early, we headed to the Seneca County Fair. Talk about a blast from the past! We checked out the milkshake stand where I used to make and sell milkshakes, the NR Nimble Thimble's booth, Brad's pigs, John and Alec's chickens, some rides, and of course, the food.

Luckily, we were there on a day when Brad showed his pigs. It was fun and interesting to see him move those pigs around the pen with a stick. While the kids enjoyed seeing Brad, I don't think they were impressed or moved enough to want a pig of their own to take to the fair - Thank God!

After having enough of the fair (I'm speaking for myself), I was ready to have some pizza from Napoli's. It was just as good as I remembered. And the guys still toss the crust in the air. Does it get any better?!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Ohio Summer, Day 7

After spending the night with the Tyrrells, we headed out to a water park that was close to their home. There was a maze, splash pad, spider web to climb, playground equipment and an eco exhibit. The kids had a ball! On our way to the underwater viewing area of the pond, the bottom dropped out and the rain came down. It was crazy! But also very cool to see the rain coming down from an underwater view. Now we know how the fish feel in a rain storm!

We spent more time playing and then headed back to New Riegel. On our way, we just couldn't resist stopping at Mr. Freeze in Perrysburg. Their turtle sundaes are to die for! Emma thought it was cool to be in the town where she was born.

Ohio Summer Day 6

On day six of our Ohio tour, we continued our stay with Aunt Debbie and took a spin around the neighborhood on a friend's golf cart. More time at the beach and more treasures found to take home.

In the afternoon, we headed north to Highland, Michigan. It really disturbed Will to know that we were willingly entering Michigan, but seeing our friends, the Tyrrells, made it worth it! Not being a fan of Michigan myself, I found that I dislike it even more after sharing the roads with their terrible drivers and traffic jams.

The drive was worth it though because waiting for us were the Tyrrells! Jen and I sat outside and enjoyed a great bottle of wine while the kids disappeared and played together. Believe it or not, we didn't even notice that we were in the company of six kids! They had an awesome time together and Jen and I had a great time catching up.
The fearless boys
The sweet girls
The whole crew took a ride in the back of Scott's truck. My city kids loved it!

Will and Debbie walking the beach
Out for a spin in the golfcart
Eating breakfast in the living room!!! Can you believe it?!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ohio Summer, Day 5

On day five of our Ohio adventure, we picked up Grandma and headed up to Lake Erie to visit with Aunt Debbie. There's always a good time to be had with Aunt Debbie, but especially in the summer!

Since Aunt Debbie lives just steps away from Lake Erie, the kids were able to swim in the lovely algae-filled water. Luckily, Matt was available and nice enough to get in the water with them. For some odd reason, I prefer that the water I swim in be free of green floaties. :) They had fun and didn't even care if the water was green. As always, they found lots of "treasures" at the beach to take home.

We were lucky enough to have both Matt and Brad spend some time with us. I think all three kids would have taken them home with us, but unfortunately, they have work and school to keep them in Ohio. We're still holding out hope that Brad will stay with us after he graduates so he can look for a job in NC.

Deb made her famous margaritas and we stayed up late watching "Avatar". I have been adamantly opposed to watching this movie and told Allan that he would have to watch it alone on a night when I was out with the girls. I am big enough to admit that I watched it upon Deb's recommendation and LOVED it. The kids did too, although that was no big shocker.

The WEJ with their cool cousins, Matt and Brad

Deb shows off her margarita ingredients
The kids have fun with Grandma at the beach

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ohio Summer, Day 4

After returning to New Riegel, I got the call that Will was back from the man trip and ready to come to Nana's. I drove to Uncle Jeff's to pick him up and found three guys vegging on couches in a dark living room, watching a movie. Evidently, the heat had taken a toll on our guys and they were running on E. Not only that, but it looked as though Will hadn't showered or brushed his teeth in a week (I am sure this wasn't too far from the truth)!
We went straight to Nana's and got him all cleaned up, only to get smelly again by building a fire. Poor Will wanted nothing more than to build a bonfire and roast marshmallows. Unfortunately, Nana's wood was a bit wet and all he made was a lot of smoke. I did let them enjoy some of the giant marshmallows I found while grocery shopping. Any guesses on who could fit the whole giant marshmallow in their mouth at once?!
We had a great night with Uncle Steve and Aunt Sharon and almost all of their kids. It was fun seeing everyone together. And I even dined on New Riegel's famous BBQ chicken (sauce on my fries, too). If you're thinking I was eating my way around Ohio, you're about right! Thank goodness I still had my braces on or I would have weighed an extra 10 pounds by the time I headed back to NC!
Big marshmallow, little mouth
Makin' smoke!

Ohio Summer, Day 3

On day three of our Northern adventure, I planned to meet up with two of my best high school buddies - Rhonda and Amy. They both live in the Columbus area, so I decided to head down their way for a girls' night out, no kids allowed. Before leaving, Nana had to get an acupuncture treatment from cousin, Lisa. Lisa happened to be at the annual Schalk camp out. Nana was going to go and get her treatment, then come back to her house to watch Emma and Jack so I could go to Delaware to meet Rhonda. When Aunt Pat heard that they were in town and with Nana for the day, she insisted that they come and join the Schalk family party. I hated to impose on them, but I'm so glad I did! Those kids had a ball at Fred and Mary's backyard resort. They played in the pond and on a giant slip n' slide until well after dinner. I would even go so far as to say that they were SPOILED! From what I understand, Emma introduced Sarah to George Washington hair and it was quite a hit. :) For pictures of the kids at the camp out, you'll have to go to one of the Schalk's Facebook pages.

After dropping them off, I took off for Rhonda's house where I was greeted with a yummy sangria. Well, there were actually a couple of them! After slurping those down, we took off to pick up Amy and go to a local bar/restaurant. One of Amy's neighbors was in a band, playing there. They were great. The food was great and the company was the BEST! I had so much fun catching up with those girls! I spent the night at Rhonda's and was treated to yummy bacon and pancakes in the morning. I was feeling a spoiled myself!

Rhonda, Amy and I
Jack with his BIG birthday present
A racetrack!
Jack and Uncle Steve

Ohio Summer, Day 2

Emma and her mini cupcake
Danielle with her Emma-made name tag
Emma and Aunt Sharon
At the Horseshoe
Can't I please go in?!

Jack enjoys tea with the girls
Emma and Nana

On day two, we spend a leisurely morning at Nana's and then picked up Mary Jo for our "girl day" in Columbus. We drove to Upper Arlington to meet Aunt Sharon, Danielle, Alicia and Brittany for tea in honor of Nana's birthday, which was last month.
In honor of the event, Emma had spent all morning making name tags for everyone. They were cats or bunnies, drawn on construction paper, then cut out with each person's name on the back. She even made a special crown for Nana out of some pretty paper that Aunt Theresa had given her from the scrapbook shop. She was SO proud of the name tags!
At the tea house, we had High Tea which provided each of us with a pot of tea and various finger foods and scones. Everything was delicious and I think we all agreed that Alicia's tea choice (Paris) was the tastiest.
After tea, we took Emma and Jack to the horseshoe so they could see where the Buckeyes play. Jack was enthralled. He was so disappointed to find that the gate was locked and he couldn't actually go onto the field or even into the stands to see the whole thing. He did get excited when he got down low and saw the block O on the field. Emma was so excited, she about peed her pants! Actually, the tea started working on her and she decided she had to go right at the time that we were at the stadium doors. Seriously?! Her only option was to squeeze between the bushes and go right beside the stadium. Only Emma.
From there, we tried to find a Buckeye ball cap for me, but were unsuccessful. All of them were huge and looked like old farmer hats. Store clerks looked at me like I was from Mars when I asked for a "girl fit" ball cap. Really? Leave it to me to have an outrageous request like that! My quest for a perfect fitting OSU cap continues.
We stopped by the Oh So Awesome sewing shop, Sew To Speak. I follow their blog and look at their fabric and projects while drooling, so it was fun to actually be in their store. I am sure it comes as no surprise that I walked out with a huge bag of fabric and lots of ideas. Too bad they don't sell time too!
We kept venturing up High Street, until we hit a fun wine store that had wine on tap! Using a credit card, you could choose which wine you wanted to try and how much you wanted. What a great idea. It worked, because three of us tried a wine and bought it. Mmmmm.......
Next, we headed to Dublin to try the famous Jeni's Ice Cream. It lived up to it's reputation. The dark chocolate was to die for! I could have eaten my weight in it. And now that I have my braces off, I would love to go back and try some flavors with crunch! Wow, it was yummy ice cream.
Since it was getting late and I was tired, we headed back to NR instead of Danielle's. You might know though, but the time we are almost to NR, my tummy started talking. We decided to hit the Moose for some wing dings, which I haven't had since I was a cheerleader in High School! They were just as yummy as I remembered. The Moose hadn't changed. Well, people were a bit older and heavier, but that is about all. The kids thought it was cool to hang out where I used to when I was young.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ohio Summer

Emma and Jack with Uncle Larry and Aunt Theresa

Jack and the canon that Aunt Theresa helped him make
Emma shows of the ice cream cone that Aunt Theresa helped her make with the Cricut

My intent is to chronicle all of our activities while visiting Ohio this summer. Just try to keep up! We left NC on Wednesday, July 21st after lunch. Allan left work early and everything was ready for him to pack into the van. Given that he is a "master packer", I usually leave that job for him. :)
We had a pretty uneventful trip, thank goodness. Our only stops were for drive thru food and bathroom breaks for Jack. I think his big toe is bigger than his bladder! We made it to Grandma's house by 10:30 pm. Just in time for a couple cold beers and snacks for the kids. We stayed up until after midnight, munching and catching up.
The next morning, we were up early for a big breakfast and some walks around the farm. July in Ohio is so beautiful with all of the crops so green. It was pretty awesome to stand next to the corn, which was over 8 foot tall!
Uncle Dennis came to pick up Dad and Will to head south for the Man Trip. This year's destination was Chillicothe for canoeing. Excitement and testosterone were running rampant!
I packed up Emma and Jack and we headed to Nana's house. After getting settled in there, we headed to Bellevue to visit Grandma Grace. Of course, it was quite the expedition with me not knowing where Bellevue was, Nana's crazy directions and British Jill yelling at me through the Garmin! Throw in a couple detours and I was ready to scream! Thank goodness, we ran into an ice cream stand and I hooked up with a shredded chicken sandwich (only in found in NW Ohio) and turtle sundae #1 of the trip.
Our visit with Grandma Grace was nice. She lives in a very comfortable home with other women. After tiring Grandma out with a lot of talk, we headed to Fostoria to see Aunt Theresa and Uncle Larry. It was a fun, but also sad visit. Uncle Larry gave each of the kids something of his that he wanted them to have. Will got a pocket knife that had belonged to his dad, Emma got a doll from Germany that Aunt Theresa had been given as a gift by Catherine and Louie when she was a little girl and Jack got a Roy Rogers guitar. Uncle Larry wanted the kids to have these gifts while he was still doing well and could enjoy watching them play with the toys.
Aunt Theresa then took us out to show off her scrap booking shop. Emma was in hog heaven! Everything she touched or asked about, Aunt Tree C had to show her how it worked. There were drawers and drawers full of ribbon, brads, die cuts, embellishments, etc. You name it, she had it! Emma especially loved the Cricut and embossing machines. She told me that she could have spend weeks in that shop!
On the way back to NR, we stopped at Bubby's for pizza. Delicious as always. And it went down so well with a cold beer!
After dinner, we headed over to visit with Chris, Jill, Evan and Wyatt. What a hoot! Those boys are just precious. It made me miss the days when all of my kids were little and home all day. I really feel that I made the most of my time with them all home, all of the time, but I still miss their littleness. Is that a word? No matter, that is what I miss. I guess that is why we get such joy out of Jack. It is just different from the other two.
I'm straying from my point. It was great to catch up with Chris and Jill. It's always fun to be around people who are happy and enjoy life. Emma and Jack had a great time playing with someone else's toys. It was almost like Christmas!
Having fun in the corn field
It just isn't a visit to Grandma's without climbing the Tree of Heaven
Look how tall the corn is!

Having fun with Grandma

My handsome guys