Saturday, June 30, 2007

Vacation, Part II, Food and Shopping

This is our rental car. It was a great little car...till the night
we left. But, that's another story for another time. It was a Fiat Panda. Fiat is made by Ferrari. Chris and I both wondered aloud why these aren't sold in the US.
If anyone knows that answer, I'd like to know. It was a great
little car...most importantly, the A/C worked GREAT. A big
deal :) It was a stick shift, so I often begged to drive to wherever we
were was lots of fun to zip around in.

Our neighbors car seemed to have attracted the Geico posterboy.

Every day, at some point, we had to find one of these places, so we could
call home and talk to the kids. These places (not sure what you call them..maybe
a cyber cafe, without the cafe') had computers, faxes, copiers and
phones. We visited five different ones over the course of five days.
Not sure what the tree is in the front, maybe Melodie Sankey could help
me out with that. Calls home usually were approx. $.50 per minute.

A row of phone booths.

Nearly to Solimon Bay...had to call home!

Our first meal in Mexico was SCRUMPTIOUS. We were starving since
we hadn't eaten in 8 hrs. This was the first of MANY meals
eaten outside. All restaurants are 'al fresco" least the
ones we visited. On my plate were black beans,
white rice and some kind or chicken /veggie dish. Can't really
explain it without boring everybody, but it was so good that I
get very hungry every time I think of it. The owner was from Spain. So
he told us that the menu was influenced by Spain, France, and Italy. An
interesting, but tasty combination.

Chris buying milk. This is something I'm not sure I could
get used to...the milk is in boxes, non-refrigerated. The taste is very
different...but it kept us alive!! haha Also, the eggs are just sitting
out as well...not refrigerated. But, like the milk, we
ate them and survived just fine!

Buying bread at Soriana. Divide the prices by 10 to get the
approx. cost in American.

All these treats looks SO good. and they were rather cheap. It
was hard to get used to seeing them out in open
like this. Germs didn't worry me as much as I couldn't help
but think how DRY everything was getting. The items I bought weren't
too dry though.

After selecting items on the tray you take them to an
attendant to get them packaged and priced.

A table of delectable desserts

A little McD's treat stand. Here in our area, the McD's do not
have my favorite caramel. This one, just outside Soriana did.
I want every one to know, I ordered all by myself
in Spanish. LOL. I needed to know about 4 words...hahaha

These beautifully waxed floors always caught my eye.
Surely if they can keep them this
clean, with all the dirty foot traffic, you'd think I
could do better with my kitchen floors...haha There was
a guy out there cleaning them when we arrived...the
first of many times a day, I'm guessing.

Chris checking out at Soriana. The cashier shorted him 10 pesos..I think
on purpose. We Americans aren't supposed to be that good
with their money I guess...Maybe she really didn't mean to.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Lil' Entrepreneurs

This has been our "excitement" for the past 3 days...a lemonade
stand! Over the weekend, I hit a really good garage
sale and picked up the stand for just $1. Monday, I decided
we would capitalize on all the traffic from the community pool
just down the street. Everyday the pool closes at our hours of
operation are from 4:30 - 6:00. The kids have had
loads of fun. The first day, we started out selling small bags of chips
and lemonade. Since Monday's incident (read on) we now
only sell lemonade, red koolaid and Flavorice popsicles.

Here are a few of our customers. Also included in the picure is the
kids' hero...Jeff Englund. About the time Jeff happened to be visiting our stand,
we had a whole group of kids from the pool all at once. I was detained up
on the porch by about three kids who were determined
they were going to get a popsicle from me. I was just as determined they weren't
because they had not paid for any! Anyhow, two boys decided to walk off with
a bag of chips each. Jeff was the only one that saw them do it...they just walked
by so casually and snatched. As they were about halfway down the block,
Jeff yelled at them to "get back here! didn't pay for those! you can't just walk off
with a bag of chips". For some reason, they listened to him and
brought them back. To my kids, he really
saved the day. We decided against the chips because it seemed
very likely to happen again. The Popsicles and drink we
are able to keep hidden under the stand till they have actually paid.
Oh , the joys of a lemonade stand in the city!!!

Yesterday they were joined by a friend, Maddie Stetler. She
was quite thrilled to take home some of the profits as well. We
had a construction worker down the street buy a
drink and a Popsicle and give the kids $5. They
were thrilled! After most of the sales, they are jumping up and down.
To keep them from getting greedy, we are doing it
for missions today. They will still get the fun of running the stand
but the profits will go to someone else today!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Monday's Memory

We were married June 20th, 1997, at 6 PM. Rev. Larry Smith officiating.
(Larry and Carol had only been married a year themselves)
The colors were hunter green, cream and white.
Basically, I had always dreamed of a Christmas wedding. Chris and I
got engaged in Jan.,and truth be told, I couldn't wait till Christmas for that wedding.
So, I decided I could still use hunter green and have
an evening wedding. Bro. Larry Smith was a wonderful minister
and one of our favorite people
He tied the knot well! :)
We were married at a Congregational church in
my hometown. I always thought the church was so beautiful,
and since my parents were pastoring a little church at the time, I decided
just to rent this one. It took more than a little convincing, however,
for the pastor to let me use the facility. He said they'd never
rented it to a non-member before. He didn't realize how persistent a
young bride can took three visits, but he finally consented.

Girls: L to R : Leanna Lambeth (Englund now), Amy Goins,
Rebecca Paulus and Stephanie Sturtevant.
Guys: Craig Lambeth, Dan Neil, Jim Hamer and Brad Gingrich.
Now for a couple chuckles.... There were two things I insisted on in my wedding...
"had to haves" :) 1. real flowers for bouquets (I thought silk
was tacky) and my dress had to have a long train. In my own words exactly..
"When I'm standing at the front of the church, I want that
train hanging out the back door." Well, if I got married in
some holiness churches churches I've been to, that might have
been the case. However, I got married at the Congregational Church
in my hometown, so the aisle was too long. Really, I would've
liked the train even longer, but I had to also find a modest
dress to, so the combination really narrowed my options.
Now for another laugh, two hours BEFORE the wedding, I decided
it was probably a good time to get the top part of the dress filled
in. Mind you, I'd had the satin and dress a couple weeks ahead of time,
but to sew on my gown seemed SO scary to me....what if I ruined it???
So, around 4 pm, I decided it had to be done, so I sat in the back room of
the church and hand sewed it. Don't try to figure it all out....
this is one aspect of me that still has Chris stumped. Oh well,
it keeps our life more interesting....(I think)

Two hours after the wedding, we're both wondering
just what we'd gotten ourselves into.

We honeymooned for nearly a week at Disney. Two things
stand out in my memory....very hot,
very long lines. Anyway, it was fun!

It was Disney's 25th anniversary. I thought they made the castle
look so cute.

The above two pictures are where we went
for our wedding night. It was about an hour from my house.
The Inn is named Tara, after "Gone With the Wind". I just visited their website
and you can see all the rooms....very interesting. I forgot how pretty
they all were. We arrived late because of the
wedding, of course. I ended up wearing my wedding
dress, and going into the front door of this
beautiful place, I FELT "fancy" like Scarlett......really
fed my romantic side....haha It's almost amusing
now...They offer a 7 course meal, included in the price of the room.
We went back for our 1st anniversary and were able to enjoy that
and the beautiful gardens as well.
Hope you enjoyed all the pics and good laughs...
hopefully we've grown up along the way. As we were looking at these pictures
together last night, Chris and I both wondered aloud
"What were our parents thinking to let us get married this young???"
I have no regrets, though....

Friday, June 22, 2007

10 Awesome Years

Thank you, Nancy, for 10 wonderful years.

P.S. Don't go to town and leave your blog unprotected. :)

Soliman Bay.....Part I

The aerial view of the beautiful, sandy beaches.

Waiting for the rental car. Cancun, Mexico

Our beach house/bungalow. Downstairs was the living room,
kitchen, bath, etc. The upstairs was a huge bedroom and another
bath. The deck upstairs had french doors that opened out
to our ocean view.

Another angle of the house

Our swimming pool

Path that led from our front porch
to the beach.


Opening the French doors every
morning, this the view we were
greeted with.....

Our beach front.

Looking from the beach towards the house.

Part of Soliman bay.

I guess the suspense is over....
A week ago Friday, we left our house about 5:30 AM and flew out of
Cincinnati. My parents graciously accepted responsibility for
our brood and we were able to celebrate
10 years together in a RELAXING way! We flew into Charlotte, got the
connecting flight and landed in Cancun, Mexico
by noon. After getting a rental car at the airport,
we drove 75 minutes out of Cancun to beautiful Solimon Bay.
Soliman Bay is a quiet, private beach area that is surrounded
by privately owned beach houses...just perfect for relaxing
in solitude. A protective coral reef joins the two points of the bay,
that keeps the water calm.
The climate was pretty much the same as it
was here while we were gone. Although it is more humid there,
there is an ocean breeze that blows continually....very pleasant.
Although it was extremely hard (underline EXTREMELY) to be
away from the kids, we both feel very refreshed and
rested. As for me, I haven't felt this good for this many days in a row
since I had Caleb. I can now understand why people go to
seaside for healing. There is just a calm
and peacefulness that you can't find any where else......or is it
just getting away from the daily duties of life? Anyway, it was fun.
But I am SO happy to be back in the US and with
my children again.....better get back to the laundry! :)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

See y'all later......

June 20th is our 10th anniversary, so we've decided to get
away for a few days. I'm still not sure about this....leaving the kids
for 5 days. My parents have graciously accepted responsibility
for the duration. However, I've NEVER been away from the kids other
than hospital stays....which required frequent visits. I'm sure
they will be ok....but........

I'm leaving only a few hints. Suitcases,

Airlines tickets

and Passports. I promise lots of
pictures upon my return. Till then......enjoy the US for me!

Hot summer days...

Some mornings we take advantage of the big, empty
parking lot and ride bikes. The Shirk family lives just down the
hill from the parking lot, so the kids are often invited into their
yard to play. As a result, Lauren and Brianna have become VERY good friends.

We often hear the ice cream truck on surrounding streets, and poor
Michael will race to get his money....but the ice cream man drives
off without visiting our street. Last night, I decided I'd seen
enough disappointment...I jumped in the van and found him two
blocks away and told him there
were two very EAGER customers on Young Street....this time he
came! The kids were jumping up and down.

"Why don't I get any?"

Two seconds later...."cheese" with both hands up! Last week Caleb
grabbed my camera, held it up and said "cheese". While he was doing
it, I took a picture of him with my cell phone.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Happy Birthday, Michael!

Happy 5th Birthday to our sweet blondie boy!
Mommy and Daddy love you so much. You
fill our lives and home with laughter and fun. You are a
great brother to Lauren and Caleb. We love you!

Yes....I'm just a little bit behind schedule. Michaels' birthday
was really Sunday, the 3rd. It's hard for me to
look at all the pictures I've posted and realize how time
is speeding by SO quickly!! Sunday, after church, there were
persents to open! Lauren even went to the Dollar Store
and spent $2 of her own money to buy him a couple gifts.


Tuesday, there was a party. Originally we were just
going to have a quiet little party with a couple boys over
to play. I was going to use regular old plates, and just have a playday
for him. Well, the morning of the party, I made the mistake of going to the party
store. We came out with 8 balloons, and ALL the matching dinosaur
party goods!

There was a dinosaur egg hunt to start off the party. Then it
started to I had to quickly think up a few indoor games. Musical
chairs went over well. By this time it had quit raining....
so we all trooped back outside. :)

There were 8 kids in all! It was a really fun day....Michael hated for it
to come to an end!
L to R: Fr. Row Adam Kelly, Michael, Alan Brown, and Caleb.
Back Row: Alex Kelly, Warren Shirk, Daniel Shirk, Chris Stamper, and Lauren.

Dino cake by Marianne!

Nearing the end of the party, Michael reminded me no one had sung
to him yet and he hadn't gotten to blow out his candle....oh yeah...
so that's what I bought that candle for! haha....hence, the picture below!

Memory Lane...........

Michael 1 month

6 months

18 months

2 1/2 years

3 years (my favorite picture!)