Tuesday, December 29, 2009

12th Anniversary in St. Louis

On Sunday, December 27th (the 12th anniversary of the day I married the love of my life...), we drove to a nearby town to board the Amtrak... This is the kind of weather we faced - not good! The snow was really coming down and only one lane of the interstate was open for most of the trip. We made it to the train on time, but I was exhausted from tension!

This pic symbolizes a lot of our trip - we rode the Amtrak to St. Louis, then the Metro train all around town while we were there...
A view of the arch from the train station...

We went shopping at Union Station - a fav. place of mine...
Right outside of our hotel was a view of the arch and Busch stadium...Happy Anniversary, honey! I love you and I can't wait to spend the next 12 years with you... plus some!

I'll Be Home for Christmas...

Fun at the Majeres family Christmas...
Fun at the Payne/Barker family Christmas...

This is how we spend the day after Christmas... Truman's trying to put together his LEGOS, Tommie is working on a puzzle (using my parents' magnifying glass! ha, ha), Dad is helping Franklin with his electronics set, Mom is checking out pictures on Facebook and Harrison is playing with toys.... Me? I'm taking pictures, as usual! All the while, it's snowing outside... A perfect winter day back home...
(click any collage to enlarge)
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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Gracie's Visit!

My niece, Gracie, came to visit us for a few days before Christmas. She is the youngest of my brother's three daughters. It was nice to get some one-on-one time with Gracie. She is a sweet girl and really enjoyed spending time with the boys. She sure played a lot of LEGOS! She attended OneLight with us, went ice skating, bowling, to the Festival of Lights and made the trip back to Illinois for Christmas with us. We can't wait until she visits again!!
Hopefully, Gracie enjoyed the boys as much as they enjoyed her!
We explored the insides of pomegranets and coconuts - just for fun!
Artist at work... the boys, Gracie & myself all enjoyed a painting project - little statues. It kept us busy for hours!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


All three of the boys participated in our church's Christmas services - a production called OneLight.

Truman had the very important role of starting the entire program as an acolyte. He wore a white robe and walked with the candle lighter down two flights of stairs, across the room, upstairs onto the platform and lit a single red candle. The effect was very dramatic. The room was pitch black, other than a spotlight on Truman and the flame. The very instant his flame hit the candle, a bell rang and the entire stage lit up!

Franklin & Harrison participated with the kids' worship team during the service. They wore winter clothing (so cute!) an sang "The Twelve Days of Christmas" with choreography. The boys had so much fun attending rehearsals, learning the music and motions and performing at three services. (Harrison is in the back wearing a red vest and blue hat.)All three services complete!! Yippee!All three boys did a wonderful job and did not mind being in front of a crowd of over a thousand people. We were so proud of them for wanting to be such a part of a big deal at church and not complaining about the time commitment. They also invited several unchurched friends (including our Japanese friends) who attended the program.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Our visit to Japanese school...

Our Japanese friends invited us to attend their Christmas program at Japanese School. We didn't really know what to expect, since we are still experiencing extreme communication difficulties. We decided to attend, because it would be a gesture of goodwill and a good cultural experience for the kids.
Japanese school is held on Saturdays during the school year and Friday/Saturday during the summer. We weren't sure whether the school teaches the kids English or whether it teaches them regular grade-level material in Japanese. The latter was true. The program was a combination of plays put on by each grade level and project reports. We were the only non-Japanese people in attendance (out of about 100 people), except one white dad! :)
The entire program was conducted in Japanese and we did not understand a word! It was entertaining at first, because the 1st and 2nd graders performed plays that were folklore tales that the boys recognized. Once they got to 3rd grade, we understood less and less. The whole experience was very entertaining, even though we did not get much out of it! The most important thing is that we showed support for our friends. We are so glad that we took the time for this once in a lifetime experience!

Ruyki's class - 1st grade: (He is the 5th from the left - a cat!)
A rabbit had a hard time pulling the carrot out of the ground & kept going back to find more friends to help!
2nd grade performed a story about 10 red fish and 1 black one...

Taiki (far right) & 2 other 3rd graders presented a project about recycling:
We did not understand a thing about this 4th grade skit, which included some sort of origami store, a ninja and an origami swan getting into a boat and a bulldog. lol
Fuma (far right) and the 5th graders performed a skit that we didn't understand either, but he had a weapon of sorts and defeated all of the enemies.Truman and Ruyki were thrilled to be together - as always!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

December Fun

In no particular order, this is what we've been up to so far in December...
Truman's den visited the fire station:

Tommie & I painted the rest of the front living room, entry, dining room and hallway. Goodbye icky yellow color! I'll try to post a picture when we get the trim up and it's all decorated and finished.

Franklin was home sick one day, so he & Max spent the day cuddled under blankets.

I baked and baked and baked. We ended up with enough cookies to have our fill and give out 8 dozen to the neighbors. I copied my friend Randi's recipe and made doggie treats this year. Max is giving a goodie bag of doggie treats to all of his friends in the neighborhood too. They turned out really well!

Franklin has been spending a lot of time with his LEGOs lately... Tommie helped him build a tower up to the ceiling yesterday. Should we be concerned?!? *smile*

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Gingerbread House Party

We invited our former neighbors over for a fun afternoon of gingerbread house making and hot chocolate! Amber & the kids are a lot of fun to hang out with - we miss living right next door!!

The Payne fam made a gingerbread train this year... Choo - Choo!

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanksgiving Day 2009

All digiscrap pieces parts are from "Give Thanks" by Stacey's Scraps.
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Giving Thanks

Yes, it does seem that these two got their holidays mixed up. I guess my father-in-law decided that since Santa makes his appearance at the end of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade that it was okay to wear this to Thanksgiving dinner!
Aunt Karen & I seem to be wearing more appropriate colors!
Tommie, his mom & brother working very hard on the puzzle. The senior center always has a puzzle out on the table. When we go there for a holiday gathering, the family usually completes the puzzle. I always wonder if there are hacked off old people come Monday.
Harrison and Great-Grandma Barker
Franklin and Truman with their Thanksgiving wishes for Great Grandpa Barker.
Great Grandpa Barker was unable to join us at the family gathering this year. He has been diagnosed with bone cancer and not given very long to live. He was placed in the nursing home 2 days before Thanksgiving. We were especially thankful to spend time with him this Thanksgiving.
My dad helping Truman hold up his magnetix string. We spent part of the weekend with my parents, though we missed the Majeres family Thanksgiving dinner.
Harrison received an unpleasant gift - road rash! He was riding the skateboard on his belly and hit a bump. The skateboard stopped while he kept going. Ouch!
My parents love it when I take random pictures of them resting... can you tell?