Monday, December 15, 2014

Zeky's Music Themed Bar Barakah- Son of Blessing Celebration

Our good friends, the Brothers hosted a big celebration for their son Zekaryah for turning 13.  Instead of doing a traditional Bar Mitzvah, they chose to go with a different direction and did a Bar Barakah, which means Son of Blessing.  The whole afternoon was centered on blessing Zeky as he enters manhood.  He received blessing from his father, from men in his life, and was prayed over by the men who are there for him on a regular basis.  What a blessing it is to have such a large support group of men to be there for our boys and come along side of them as they grow up and become men.  You can see all of the decoration details of the celebration at our party blog CLB CeLeBrations, but this one is packed more with fun pics of the guests and a few decor details.  Enjoy!

We love this family so much!  I can't help but look through all of these pictures and just smile at every one of them.  Not because they are such a nice picture, but because they are filled with love from people all over.  Family and friends who wanted to give their every bit of support to a young man to encourage him in walking this walk in Truth is something that just can't be replaced and makes my heart glad.  I didn't host the party and he's not my son, but thank you to every one of you who chose to take time out of your busy lives to attend his special day.  We are glad they are so well loved by many.  :)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving in Wisconsin- 2014

Our long weekend to Wisconsin started out with leaving around 3:00pm after some things at the home front that slowed our departure down.  With leaving so late in the day, our children were quite tired and slept till we got to Chicago.  The 7 hour trip was a little longer than that, but we still only stopped one time and had great travelers despite getting caught up in Chicago traffic.

We arrived safely at our hotel where my parents were waiting from having a good afternoon at my brother's house.  We woke up the next morning, had breakfast at the hotel, then headed off to my brother's place.  The Grandpa took the boys out for a walk before lunch.  The rest of us watched them from the warm inside to see how and where they were going to cross the river.  They figured it out.  The boys crossed quickly and Grandpa crossed with a little more caution.

 A lovely view from one of their windows.

The first day we were there was Thanksgiving.  Our main mission was to go and help get work done on the house and barn.  I wish I would have taken more pics of what was accomplished.  I forgot to bring the camera along on the work, so I missed some pretty good shots of the children on the horse pulled wagon, hauling hay to the barn.

Anyways, the first day, Joshua said he just wanted to spend time with his family and show us around.  So, it's always a given that the children want to show us their school and our's always want to see their school.  It was a cold 5 degrees out, with the wind whipping, making it a cold, cold air.  The walk to their school was pleasant, on a path cut out of the side of the small mountain they live on.  No walking on the road for them anymore to school.  It's great!

 Saphira wanted to walk and made it all the way to the school on her own.  Grandpa brought up the rear with a couple boys along his side.  
It was truly a beautiful, sunny day.  If only the temperature would have been a lot higher.

Inside the school:
 This first picture is just inside the door of the school house.  The sink where they wash up and keep their belongings.  The big tank holds water that is drained into the sink.  They each bring their own drinking water in a jug.  The shelf with cups is each one of the children's own cups.  Their name is on the shelf below their cup.

 Saphira had fun sitting at the desks.  The children enjoyed showing us each area and their work.  I enjoyed hearing how the school worked with so many children all being in different grades.  I think my teaching days are rough with teaching 4 grades.  :)
 After the school tour we headed outside to enjoy the snow.  Some of the children went sledding down the big hill until the rest of us were ready to play fox and geese.  The school children made a huge playing area for this game.  There were a lot of us playing, running, catching, and falling in the snow.  Lots of laughs!

This is their school house.  The hill to the left is where they sled.  They go to the top, come down to the path cut out of the hillside, then down again into the field area next to the school.  It's quite a ride for them!  You can see sled marks on the top portion of the hill.

Back to their house to warm up and get supper ready.  Boy were we cold and TIRED!

We ended that day with supper then a visit from Pinky.  Pinky is a marionette puppet that was given to my parents by a dear friend from Chicago.  Pinky is a yarn bally, blue and pink creature of some sort.  Thelma requested that Grandpa and Grandma bring Pinky along, so it came out after supper.  Grandpa is the one that moves him around from child to child climbing each one and talking to them all the while.  It's always a good laugh as we watch the children respond to it and they laugh when he climbs up their backs and on their faces.  Good memories!

The next day was work day!  Joshua had a list of what everybody was supposed to be doing and after we arrived there, we set out to accomplish what we could.  My mom and I were assigned getting the insulation done.  We got the rest of their wash house/pantry area insulated and then got some of the basement done as well, but not all of it.  By the time we were done, it was getting dark, and we were both whipped from the work.  My dad was diligent with the task of building canning shelves and getting the pantry room studded in and finished.  By the time they left, his job was completed.  Jonathon did a lot of things.  He helped hang chicken feeders in the barn, he helped install a door to the basement and one to the upstairs to help keep the heat in the house.  It seems like he did more than that, but I don't know.  He was running around a lot and busy the whole time.  The children, they helped haul wagon after wagon load of hay into the new chicken barn for bedding.  The chickens were supposed to be arriving that night, so they were trying to get everything ready for their arrival.  The truck never did show up, so we missed out on helping move 500 chickens into the barn.  That was okay though, as we were enjoying just hanging out and visiting.  And we can't forget that there were also 2 meals prepared for all of us, kitchen cleaned up after meals, and small children entertained too.  There isn't much time for sitting around that place.   :)

On Saturday, we had a shorter visit as we had problems back home that Jonathon wanted to get to before he has a big work week.  We left in the afternoon and brought back Benaiah and Saphira with us leaving the other 3 children to enjoy cousin time for just a bit longer.  It sounded like they did too as the temperatures were finally into the 40's and a beautiful day.  The picture below was taken as we were leaving their house to go home.  I wanted to show how their place looks from the road and the distance between their house and the schoolhouse.  

Benaiah sure enjoyed being with us on the long drive home.  He wasn't real excited about not getting to stay behind with the others, but did take advantage of the time with just us.  He told story after story about hunting and snakes and his friends.  It was pretty cute, entertaining, and then annoying.  :)  The drive was quick and smooth and again we were able to stop only one time.  The children traveled absolutely amazing this time around, and we didn't miss our exit which meant that we didn't have to drive through crazy traffic Chicago.

The picture below was requested by Benaiah because he knows how much Alegra enjoys taking pictures of sunsets.  It was a lovely addition to our travels home to enjoy the beautiful colors in the sky.  HIS creation is just beautiful as we experienced a lot on our trip between the mountainy areas, the snowy areas, and then the sky's colors.

It was a much enjoyed trip.  We made it home to take care of things here, and the children arrived the next day with my parents safely as well.  They were also full of stories from after we left.  Sounds like the children had an amazing snowball fight, boys against the girls.  There were also more chore stories that were humorous.  I forgot to mention that we also celebrated Diella's birthday while we were there.  She requested certain foods for a meal and brownies with ice cream.  The children helped crank the ice cream, and they used snow for the ice to keep it cold.  It was so yummy!

Let's see what else did we do?  There was a lot of singing, a lot of laughing, a lot of playing with little ones, a lot of working, a lot of eating, a lot of cleaning, a lot of enjoying one another and wishing it didn't have to be only a couple times a year.  We'll look forward to the next time though and be thankful for the memories of this visit.